Don’t Hold Back

Dear Scott: I will be going on a 9 month solitary retreat starting in February. I really have no questions, this is absolutely the right thing for me at this time, but I was wondering if you had any advice for me, having been there.

Gassho.

Maybe something in this will be helpful. Off the top:

It’s all about love, so don’t hold anything in reserve. Give it everything you’ve got – body, mind, and complete, undivided attention. Do it out of affection and compassion; do it for everyone. Keep it light. Don’t forget to smile.

Cultivate a very broad (and sometimes outrageous) sense of humor. Don’t judge yourself. And don’t judge yourself for judging yourself. Forget about your history. Forget about your future. Both are just the play of memory, and highly edited, inaccurate, and incomplete memory at that. Remember that it’s not about improving yourself, or becoming somebody different, it’s about discovering what is real and what is not, what is important and what is not.

Drop the pretense that you know anything in advance, including spiritual things. Completely open your heart, and completely open your mind. Don’t resist anything. Relax, and let awareness reveal everything. Let yourself be shocked; let yourself be completely, absolutely surprised. Everything changes, so don’t try to cling to anything. If you catch yourself clinging to something, drop it immediately. (If you want to be free, that is.)

Finally, this present moment is everything: rest in it and completely give yourself to it. It is the only true lover you will ever have.

-Your own Self-
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