I thought the retreat was a resounding success because of
a) the freshness of your and Deeya's approach... flexible to the moment and varied in delivery (e.g., bhajan, guided visualization, lecture, reading, walking meditation, devotion, joking... even deciding to go to the SRF Lake Shrine.)
b) you and Deeya were very "hands-on," both literally and in respect to your interaction with the participants... not aloof, not hiding behind an inflexible pre-planned schedule or series of "levels" of attainment or desired states. You gauged where students were at and did both explicit teaching and discussing and advising, and hidden inner healing and loving.
c) Participants were free to engage on whatever level(s) they were at. There was a considerable amount of both support and freedom.
As to my own inner states and development, of course there was a lot.
I felt greater confidence about myself as a support others, and found myself sending love to everyone in the group often, spontaneously and continuously.
It's very important to me that I am able to do this in my life, and I found confirmation that this is a role which Consciousness wants me to play, and I can do it.
Also, I love your personal frankness. "Love" is an understatement.
You always express exactly how you feel and what you think, and this is a great example because your expressions run the gamut from emotions felt about a student's betrayal or avoidance behaviours, to exact delineations between experiential and transcendental states, to caustic jokes, to loving humorous encouragement, and more.
Nothing is held back. Nothing is suppressed as "un-guru-like" or "non-spiritual."
You're a living example of your teachings. Your state shines through every word you speak, breath you take and action you make, as well.
That is your Grace.
Meanwhile the great healer Deeya's energy, lightness, delight, whimsy and love were a great feminine counterbalance and complement to your constant position in the Absolute, insight, directness, compassion and rational linear explanations on the masculine energy side. It was like treble and bass.
I have never sung bhajans so openly or danced with such spiritual abandon and they both brought me deeper, along with the Self-inquiry you taught me, than I have ever been. (That was when you commented at lunch that you'd never seen me so quiet!) I was still aware, but all the thinking had been completely dropped. This confirmed for me what the enlightened state could be like.
I could see how it would not only be difficult to function, but contemptible to engage in "mundane" conversation. I agree.
However, I have taken a Bodhisattva vow and returning gradually to a state slightly more "functional" is okay with me. That's the line on which I've been living my life for some time now--practicing on the inside, supporting and healing others where possible and being completely present in my own consciousness and states and the "I Am," while still engaging in the occasional discussion about the weather, TV or what somebody else does for a living.
The only changes I would recommend are regularly scheduled 15 minute and hour-long lunch breaks; otherwise the uncertainty and fatigue could be distracting. On the one side there is the Zen paradigm of incorporating discomfort and transcending it through complete presence and "breathing into" it, but on the other hand the human mechanism for MOST of us requires a breather and
some food on a fairly predictable basis.
As you know, like Max said there are people in his life who really love and depend on him, and that is part of his practice, and I feel the same way. I was grateful to come, I was grateful to participate and support, and I was grateful to return.
I love you very much and will always support you and Deeya.
Holy Crap! What wonderful feedback! I love it. Sometime soon I am going to have to post emails from other that have opposite opinions. Thank you so much M.