The Dyad Technique for Insight or Enlightenment
Two individuals, not involved in trying to straighten out their relationship, sit a comfortable distance apart, directly across from each other in chairs or on floor cushions. They decide who will speak and listen first and what instruction(s) they each will work on, from the list of instructions provided. It is not necessary that they work on the same instruction. The listener (or a facilitator) will operate a timer that chimes every five minutes
Instruction: The listener gives the speaker their instruction in the “Tell me” form eg. “Tell me who you are.” “Tell me what life is,” “Tell me a problem you are having”. The facilitator or listener starts the timer.
Reception: The speaker accepts the instruction and proceeds through steps 4 to 7
Listening: While the speaker proceeds through the steps, the listener watches, listens and tries to understand, without interrupting, commenting, nodding, or evaluating in any way.
Object: The speaker first gets a real sense in the moment of the subject they are working on eg. self, life or a personal issue.
Intention: The speaker then intends to directly experience the truth of the subject they are working on.
Contemplation: While holding this intention, the speaker remains open to an experience of the truth of the subject they are inquiring into, and anything else that may occur in the mind, emotions, or body as a result of this intention, without filtering anything coming into conscious awareness.
Communication: The speaker then gets across to the listener whatever occurred as a result of contemplating, trying not to leave anything out or add in anything. The speaker tries to keep a balance between silent contemplation and communication. When the speaker completes their communication, they put their hand on their heart.
Acknowledgment: The listening partner then says “Thank you,” acknowledging the speaker for his or her response to the original instruction. The listener goes back to Step 1 and gives the same instruction again or the next instruction in the series of instructions.
Change-over: When the five-minute timer sounds the roles reverse. The speaker becomes the listener and the listener becomes the speaker proceeding through Steps 1 – 9.
The total time of the dyad is 40 minutes, segmented into 8 – five minute periods of speaking and listening.
Agreements for an On-Line Session or In Person Retreat
Confidentiality – keep confidential what others say or do during and after the session or retreat.
Non-evaluation – avoid blaming, evaluating or criticizing other participants
Self-Reference – Use “I” statements and avoid referring to what others share
Non-interference – allow others to go through whatever they are experiencing without facilitating their process, ie. let go of giving advice and encouraging more sharing.
Non-distraction – avoid reading, writing, cell phone calls, drinks, food and e-mails not related to the session during the retreat (and on-screen time if on a Zoom ) Follow the guidelines for creating your space.
Gossip – maintain silence outside the dyads around family, friends, etc
Grounds – stay within the boundaries you have set if there is a walking contemplation.
Cross-talk – refrain from crosstalk during group together time.
Food – eat moderately simple meals, prepared if possible, in advance.
Reduce coffee and smoking and avoid alcohol, recreational drugs, etc.
Abstinence- refrain from sexual activity
Technique – set aside other techniques for the duration of the retreat or session.
Schedule – Follow the schedule and set-up instructions of the staff.
Bathroom – avoid bathroom breaks when a listening partner, sitting contemplation and lecture and take only as long as necessary
Humanity – Ask your questions, receive guidance, be okay about making innocent mistakes and avoid taking minor corrections personally
For information about a dyad retreat go to:
For information on how to participate in a Dyad session or retreat e-mail: