It can be tremendously valuable to occasionally practice in a more concentrated way. If you want to practice on retreat by yourself here are some suggestions:
- The place you practice can obviously influence your results. Absolutely the best is a place where a former practitioner has had an experience of great enlightenment or even a place where he or she has lived for some time. You may find that certain places in nature are particularly powerful for you. Don’t discount the possibility that a long airplane flight might be the perfect setting for a retreat.
- Practice resolutely and yet with a kind and flexible attitude. There are certain times in your practice when your energy is such, you can easily and naturally meditate all night long. If that’s not you yet, don’t worry; know your limits and allow yourself to be aware of what is best for your body and mind right now. The practice of this awareness, in itself, is an important aspect of spiritual cultivation.
- Avoid distractions, as much as possible. Do what you can to put your affairs in order. You are doing something of great value and importance for yourself and the planet. Don’t waste the opportunity.
- Time spent speculating on the outcome of your practice is time better spent in returning to the here and now reality – the only place where true spiritual unfoldment occurs.
- Don’t be surprised if deep and powerful results come quickly – they often do. Anyone who says you need to wait years and years on end to see any benefit is merely reflecting difficulties in their own practice. It is always best if you have a teacher you can refer to – someone who can help you orient yourself within the new reality that is unfolding for you.
- Enjoy your practice – physically, emotionally, spiritually – you are benefiting yourself and thus all beings on so many levels.
- Progress is important, both in ancient times and in this modern world. We have places to go; why prolong the agony? However certain particularly fast and powerful ways of practicing are the spiritual equivalent of driving a racing car. We can all get from A to B in a slowly-moving oxcart. If you want to get there quickly, you really need the right teacher. Tradition recognizes that a true teacher can energise the process of your spiritual maturing on both obvious and subtle levels. Once you’ve found your teacher, it’s your responsibility to maintain and foster this relationship. Your unfolding can accelerate exponentially.