Testimonials & Personal Accounts

Winter EI 2017Hayley Bennett

At a time when my spiritual journey and daily life felt as though it had hit a wall, I stumbled across EI with Shivam and instantly knew this was my next path. I was welcomed into the process feeling completely  supported and gave to it my full intent. The process was something I had never experienced before, but neither were the results. I felt a peace descend as the ego’s voice ceased, knowing it wasn’t in charge anymore. The energy within my being was all consuming and I could see with a clarity and depth that was beyond anything I could ever have imagined. At one point I literally filled the room, from walls to ceiling and was overwhelmed as I realised I was not who I was anymore, never would be. In that moment I grieved, but I also remembered I didn’t want to be who I had been anymore, and I rejoiced!
I still am rejoicing at what I now know and will always know. The mastery of Shivam is never held back and this is what makes the EI so powerful and transformative.

Tomas PiatrikSummer EI 2016

The Enlightenment Intensive led by Shivam O‘Brien was the most powerful experience I have ever had. I felt strong connection with Shivam from the very first moment I saw him and it stayed with me until now. The energy and light he shines on everyone is indescribable, and the atmosphere created by his presence, talks and evening stories unforgettable. Shivam was there for everyone at any moment, giving full encouragement, guide and support. His beautiful fusion of authenticity, focus, ruthlessness, and unconditional compassion gives his Enlightenment Intensive powerful punch to serve its purpose. And it did for me, as for many others among us, now and in the past.

If you are looking for the answer to the question “who am I”, seeking the ultimate truth, or trying to find more joy, peace and harmony in life, this is definitely the place to come. With true intention, this process will strip all fake and unreal to land you into the centre of being, timeless and limitless presence beyond fear, desires and needs, into your true self, ever-loving, ever-joyful, ever-peaceful.

Thank you Shivam.

Robby MacSummer EI 2016

Another great intensive experience. My first time in the beautiful, wild valley, which was an experience in itself. I had another ‘breakthrough’ event, which has given me more perspective on the previous one. It is so reassuring to meet other people who know what I’m talking about, and Shivam and Claire were excellent at holding and contextualising it for me. I’ll be back for more!

Jay Keshava

To be invisibly yet firmly held by the ravagingly magical presence of this incredibly wild haired, beautifully humble, ancient hearted mad mystic and fiercely loving warrior of truth is a deep privilege.  I would want only to do an Enlightenment Intensive with this guy.  There is only Shivam.

Nick Lewis
Director of Training

I can’t really put into words how useful the course was for me. Here we go!

I attended the 3 day Enlightenment Intensive facilitated by Shivam O Brien and the Authentic Self team on high recommendation from a personal friend.

Sceptical of the proclaimed results, I packed my bags with an open mind heading for the country manor in deepest Wales. What followed a thoroughly warm reception was 3 days of the most advanced personal development I have EVER attended, period. Having been involved with the Enlightenment path and personal development for over 20 years, the 3 day claim seemed beyond belief. Well let me tell you – this course delivers.

If you are looking for more fluff and plasters to cover the cracks this course isn’t for you. If you are after real results to apply in the real world, then go for it.

Arriving as a 20 a day firmly addicted smoker I dreaded the course rules, however the way the whole course is delivered they where easy to stick to. I believe as I contacted my true self/identity whilst on the EI these changes have become PERMANENT. From attending this amazing experience I am a better parent, and an overall better person. In an inexplicable way all of life has improved 1000 fold.

Being a leading training provider in personal development I have had the pleasure to work with some of the very best trainers in the world. Shivam is at the top, his knowledge and style will assist you in achieving your true potential.

It is my intention now, to attend the next EI to work on the next question, I am eternally grateful to all at Authentic Self for their passion, courage and determination in opening up these experiences to the world. The world needs it!

Why do you want to attend The 3 day Authentic Self EI? Because you don’t have the rest of your life to hope in vain!

Jerry Hyde
Psychotherapist (lapsed)

“Over twenty years I’ve done over three and a half thousand hours of workshops, trainings and personal development work.  Not one moment of this came close to the power, beauty and transformation that I experienced in three days on Shivam’s EI.  It also challenged me more than anything else, including three Vision Quests and a burial.  It drove me half mad, I hated and raged against it and then on the third day I realised I was God.”

Stephen Moss.
Management Consultant, London.

The Enlightenment Intensive was a most moving and profound experience and exploration of ‘who I am’. Stripped away of the usual defensive routines and masks through rigorous use of the EI technique, it is possible to connect with a more expanded sense of being. Shivam O’Brien ‘holds’ the space with a strong and authentic presence, paying attention to everyone with empathic yet detached observation and questioning. No pressure or judgement to achieve anything – more an invitation to apply the technique and explore a simple, humble process of direct experiencing – in eating, working, reflecting, walking and breathing, as well as the structured sessions. The support team are sensitive and aware and understand the process – always there in an unobtrusive way.

Personally, I felt a tremendous build up of a vibration and energy over the days and had a number of profoundly moving and beautiful experiences of ‘being’. Thanks to Shivam for holding the space so wisely and clearly for this to happen.

Summer Intensive 2008
Halimah Davies
Biodyamic farmer

After the 3 day intensive I sat in a train and looked at love bursting through the surface of every thing and being, whatever the surface, however cold and hard, bursting bubbling weeping, love was bubbling through in the cracks and the corners, splitting through the surfaces, however sad or grief-ridden love pushed and pulsed, bubbling up, unstoppable, uncontainable, inevitable.

The intensive took me on a journey to the centre of the universe and showed me the unknown. Now that I know what lies behind fear, gravity no longer keeps me bound to that unknown dark centre, I have been initiated into my own being, into the greater part of myself and now compassion replaces fear as the new foundation to that bursting rippling love.

Thanks and Love to Shivam for his delight in our abundance

Colleen Sullivan

“I looked into the eyes of the divine where rivers flowed. There I drowned in the amniotic fluid of remembering”

Shivam O‘Brien walks in giants’ steps with wildness and grace.

He is an attentive and informative teacher who creates a safe space for magic, growth and authenticity to happen.

Ronnie AaronsonPsychotherapist, Bristol
(Author: Addiction – This being human)

Enlightenment Intensive can be a life changing experience and at the very least is a practice which enhances mindfulness and tips you into a different state of consciousness during the course of the weekend
I’d like people to know that, enlightenment experiences aren’t just a one off experience – they also produce mini ‘aftershocks’ which will permeate your life with bliss for quite a while after.  ( That was my experience)
Shivam O’Brien brings with him flair, relentless dedication and creativity to an Intensive which is tangibly steeped in his generosity.

Johannah ProctorTheatre creator and Dramatist

There is nothing else quite like an Enlightenment Intensive.  It has a tried and tested formula but EVERYTHING depends on the Master facilitator of the particular group.  In my experience Shivam O’Brien cannot be beaten.  He is extremely focused and intent on everyone in the group getting the most out of their own individual ‘experience’. He can hold the space of the group unlike many others which allowed me to feel completely safe. I felt very supported and encouraged…like a gentle but powerful energy pushing me from behind.  He understands clearly the objective and quietly and gently reiterates the point to steer us in a particular direction.  This is the penultimate and I felt Shivam was always there for me on my journey.  Fantastic and rare opportunity!

Sue HardimanCounty Council Co-ordinator

Mr O Brien with his warrior mane and gentle heart holds the space with strength and compassion, sitting in between the two plains with one ear to the heavens and one ear to the ground. His presence is the hand out stretched across the river drawing us onwards. He knows every inch of the river and instinctively knows the place your spirit will cross. 

In my experience he is an expert facilitator and has an exceptional aptitude in creating the right environment to allow enlightened experiences to flow.

Yes I was present in that small hidden valley, cradled by the mountains, lulled into a place of safe keeping by the song of the river. For three days the question ‘what am I’ resounded through my mind seeping into my very essence.

The well of resistance held me for but a brief time as I dissolved into the intensity of the moment. The doors of my heart flung open and the thaw of a thousand winters took place within.  At first the flow was but a trickle which becamr a gush as realisations began to flow and become unstoppable. Flickers of infinite understanding sent me soaring to new heights.

For a moment every sinew of my body sighed in tune with the cosmic breath.

Elaine BennetArts facilitator, Manchester

My experiences of a three day EI.  Well, nothing I could write would ever come near.  Nor could I truly say it is intense now as it was then.  What does however remain with me is an all pervading residue – an overflowing reservoir of being truly alive, protected and fully present.  Belonging fully in my body, the world, the universe and beyond, and total clarity and knowingness extending much father than tentative belief systems.  A reaching into the place where the world is breathing. Witnessing extraordinariness of the ordinary as the mysteries of the universe unfurl, scented by the lingering inescapable vibration of that which brings all things into being.   – in fact, Kabir says it so much better, for

“He saw it for 15 seconds, and it made him a servant for life”.

On a more practical note, Shivam holds Enlightenment Intensives within several differing environments.  It might be a 16th Century farmhouse in Wales or in a great Mongolian Ger set in the wilds of a remote Welsh valley. Each gives a different flavour to the contemplation and is as selective to an individual as a savoury or sweet. But, whichever chosen, the openness and nourishment of being supported by a well trained and experienced master and monitors provides the basis of a trusting relationship which lifts one up when one falls, and holds steady in a shifting and unravelling world.

Polly O’Keefe
NLP practitioner

I’ve spent thousands of pounds on personal development, healing and spiritual growth.  Taking the Enlightenment Intensive weekend facilitated by Shivam O’Brien was ultimately one of the most powerful experiences I have had to date. And pound for pound the best value!

I found the weekend extremely challenging, but the process itself dragged me to the delicious edge of self-realisation in a way I have not encountered before or since.  On this occasion I did not leap into the ecstatic precipice of direct experience because I was simply not ready for the way this weekend could have totally changed my life. At one point in the process I literally could not tell the difference between my own physical being and other seemingly solid objects. I was not frightened; I was simply absorbed in the vastness of everything.  That colossal and beautiful realisation of oneness was more than enough for me on that occasion and in retrospect I know I have never looked at the world in the same way since.   

For me the Enlightenment intensive had unexpected benefits that have lasted long after the weekend was actually finished.  About a day or two after I returned home and became reabsorbed by the usual responsibilities of work and play, I awoke one morning from a beautiful sleep with a fully formed poem in my head. At that point I was writing bits and pieces of poetry but the experience felt a little like opening a vein every time I sat down to write.  Since the Enlightenment Intensive, every so often something beautiful arrives in a daydream or a lapse of concentration like an unexpected gift in the mail. I’m not exactly sure what changed that weekend, but I feel the entire process has lifted a veil somewhere in my subconscious.  I have never thought about creativity in the same way since.  Instead of battling with hard work and perseverance I have become an observer.  Instead of acting and doing I simply wait patiently for something to occur. This unexpected benefit has been absolutely priceless in the course of my own personal development and I remain eternally grateful to Shivam for providing the space to allow such magical transformation to come into being.

Shivam O’Brien is quite literally one of the most charismatic and authentic teachers I have ever met.  I refer to him as a teacher because of the profound wisdom he carries with him, although I am aware he may or may not describe himself in such a way. At any rate I would quite happily walk to the other side of the earth to hear this man talk about spirituality. He is the authenticity and awareness he searches for and is more than capable of guiding others safely to that wide and crumbling road of self-discovery. 

A Personal Account:

What is it actually like to be immersed in this technique for three days, What is it like when you break through?

It is different for everybody of course.

Here is one inspiring account from our December Intensive 2008.

Not everyone is so clear about what’s happening to them.

Enlightenment Intensive, December 2008 by Asa Medhurst

“Meditation is the new rock and roll!”

Day One

After the first few hours (which seemed like a hellish eternity) of self reflection, dissection and dismantling of everything I perceived to be me, I came to the realisation that everything I knew to be ‘me’ was an illusion. I could not be defined by my physical being, my thoughts, memories, experiences, desires nor conditioning. They all contributed to a sense of I, but fell away under my intention to directly experience them.

In the sitting contemplation I grasped a sense that all that remained was conscious awareness and that this was of the same consciousness as everything else. This sense of undivided consciousness being the only truth led to a rush of realisation that this consciousness was God, and that I was in fact God IN THIS MOMENT. God experiencing itself at the cutting edge of this moment. God experiencing itself embedded in time. Suddenly my sense of ego dissolved and I felt myself to be infinite in nature. The only truth was a sense of unbound infinite consciousness in this moment.

This experience faded and my further dyads revolved around expressing this insight from different angles in an attempt to directly experience it again.

Day Two

Once more in sitting contemplation I grasped a sense that I was consciousness alone, the same consciousness as everything else, God experiencing itself in this moment. I experienced a sensation like a nutshell breaking open and falling away.

Unlike the previous day I experienced a sense that there was a greater part of me holding the small husk of my ego awareness. While I identified with this infinite part of consciousness I still had awareness of my ego and had the direct experience of being held in a giant hand: that I was loved, looked after and held by my Holy guardian Angel, soul or aspect of universal consciousness most intimately experiencing I.

In the most comforting way I could have imagined all my fears, guilt, shame and sense of loss were washed away by the ultimate parent.

In addition while I sat with my eyes open I could see the manifest word around me dissolving into light. I knew the solidity of the objective universe to be illusion – a light construct, a hologram formed from consciousness WITHIN the body of God. I knew reality as a construct created within the body of God to allow God the experience of coming to awareness in the illusion of time and separation.

I looked up and saw Shivam’s body in front of me as if for the first time; ethereal and constructed from light but with a core pillar of dense white light running through.

The sensation of being held by my love, my soul, the grown up, divine part of me lasted for the rest of the day, throughout the dyads. I felt blissful, reassured by a deep rhythmic throbbing at my crown and top of my forehead.

Day Three

Though I struggled to recapture the direct experiences of the previous days, retracing my footsteps through the logic to the realisations, I could not recapture the direct experience. The experiences remained intellectual rather than experiential. I realised I could not spring the cage of ego awareness the same way twice. “Always take a fresh approach.” I had to let go of the highs and sense of accomplishment I believed I had achieved in the previous two days.

Again while in sitting contemplation I caught a sense of ‘I’ and as I gripped on to it, it shrank in my mind to a black micro-dot wriggling to be free of my unyielding gaze. With determination I continued to grip on to the diminishing dot until it vanished in a ‘poof’ triggering an overwhelming experience of unfolding from the centre of my being. Like a web being flung out in all directions, or a geometric shape unfolding one face at a time this expansion continued to encompass ‘everything’. I was God once again, but the experience this time was almost exclusively regal. No bliss, but an intense detached regal overview. I was the king of everything, aloof and over-viewing. I was Shiva and Parvati in the centre of this web, like they were sitting at the centre of the Sri Yantra. I was not observing them I WAS Shiva and Parvati observing the extension of my own body: the manifest universe. I was home and always had been.

I found the sense of detachment and regality unnerving, unlike anything I have experienced before. The absence of bliss was the marked difference from the previous day.

I was unable to go further with any more direct experiences that day and found a strong urge to sum up and ‘work it all out’ which I fought against, applying and reapplying the technique as best I could.

Later that evening…

That evening I talked freely with other participants of the intensive and quickly our conversation dissolved into laughter. This built up until I had a conversation about parents and drugs. Suddenly I felt a deep sense of shame and flushed as heat poured through my body. In that moment I felt as if a final piece of ‘self’ has come loose. I was surprised as I ‘thought’ I’d dismantled all these feelings through the first intense day of dyads. I realised the process was far from over, despite my ego telling me how well I’d done.

That night I just could not sleep. My crown felt as if it was going to explode. As I lay with my eyes open I ‘saw’ at the end of my bed, myself as a child dressed in a St-George fancy dress outfit my father had made for me, one of my earliest memories. As I looked at this image, my child self smiled with joy and nodded – I had killed the dragon. Before the retreat I had dreamt of St-George and dragon slaying – the dragon of mind. All very obvious symbolism I noted at the time, but seeing the figure before me I started crying.

At this time I also saw Shivam, sitting in meditation with a fixed corpse like gaze, surrounded by a host of ethereal burgundy robed monks inches from his face peering inquisitively at him. Checking him and his technique out I thought!

Returning my attention to my child self still standing at the foot of the bed, I felt waves of ‘energy’ bubbling up through my body, as if I was going to vomit light. The waves intensified until I felt myself on the verge of bursting. I ran outside and exploded into the richest laughter I have ever experienced. I laughed uncontrollably, passionately each laugh building on the last, falling to the floor, whooping, hooting, howling, gripping my sides and thumping the grass. As tears streamed from my eyes, I surrendered unconditionally to the laughter. My back arched and with arms wide I fell to the grass. As my head hit, suddenly ‘I’ was gone. My entire awareness was consumed in divine laughter. I laughed at everything laughing back at me, the moon, the stars, the earth. I knew why the laughing Buddha laughs. I was the laughing Buddha! That was the joke, it was all so obvious!

I felt no heat, no cold, no bodily sensation except unending waves of warm blissful laughter cascading through my body. I had no sensation of time or place. No sense of I whatsoever. When the laughter began to subside I suddenly became aware I was freezing cold and should go back to the house. I stood and felt strange in an unfamiliar body. I stumbled back to the house for a warm cup of tea.

The next morning in an optional dyad, the laughter resurfaced. But I was not alone! Open and infinite hearted the laughter rippled around the dyad, one two three four people began to laugh unconditionally, each laugh rebounding of another until we were in tears. No fear, non restriction, no limits, just pure joy.