Notes on Term Intensives

The main purpose of a Term Intensive (or TI for short) is to provide a supportive structure for people who would like to experiment with intensifying their Dharma practice or reshaping their daily life. The idea is to examine oneself and see what feels in need of shoring up or cutting away, and then to make one’s commitments accordingly. If your life feels just too crowded, what might be cut out of it, to allow for more space? If your daily practice is shaky, what would help to make it more solid? In what ways do you dream of changing habitual ways of thinking, talking, eating, or working?

The point of a TI is to experiment, either by stretching ourselves or by letting go of something, and while virya, or effort, is often involved, it is important to take a balanced approach. You are accountable for what you pledge – once made, the commitments should be taken seriously – but succeeding with small steps may be better than repeatedly not meeting more ambitious goals. 

Also consider any changes to your usual routine during the TI period, such as business trips or holidays. It may be prudent to treat these times differently, just as you may want to do things differently on weekends/non-work days.

Once you have decided on your pledge, make a note of what you plan to do and bring it along to the Opening Ceremony. Part of the ceremony involves participants telling the group what their pledge is. Also register here and if you won’t be at the opening ceremony Sensei will read out your commitments for you.

There’ll be weekly group meetings (Wednesday 8:00 on Zoom, after book night for the 2020 Spring Renewal TI) in which participants report on how their TI is going. This part of the TI is what gives it some fibre – we are each accountable to the whole group, and our efforts support and encourage others in their efforts. If you can't make one of the Zoom meetings, send an email report to Sensei by Wednesday lunchtime.

Because TIs are for a limited period, we can dare to try different things – but the test of a TI is the degree to which it carries through into our non-TI life. At the very least, it may give participants a sense of what is possible, with a little help from our friends.


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