When on retreat these impressions will come through stronger than ever before because you’re not busy. And therefore this is the time to call upon that faculty that you have in yourself to repel impressions that are undesirable for you at this moment. We have that faculty, it’s just that we have to discover it. The, for example, the duck in the water is able to repel the water from its wings. We have that faculty.
And it gives you a wonderful sense of freedom because, you see, we involve ourselves with situations, with people, at the cost of our freedom. And sometimes we think that to find our freedom we need to free ourselves from those circumstances. But actually it’s not the circumstances that are constraining, it is our way of thinking and our way of emoting. So it is, for example, a vagabond is not free. A hobo is not free. Free from circumstances, but not free in his/her being.
And so it is—something that you discover in a retreat is the longing of your soul for freedom. And do not misinterpret it as being freedom from the world. That’s what a lot of people do and they leave and become an ascetic.
So it’s freedom in your way of—for example, in your opinion, that is, your assessment of your problems. So can you, while I’m talking now, can we think of our problems. And it’s no use my saying “our assessment is wrong.” But think of the way you assess your problems. A problem, just take a problem. And think to yourself, “What if my assessment is wrong?”
For example, “As long as I’m in this relationship I’ll never be able to attain illumination.” One is convinced. And supposing it were wrong? Supposing it was just within this constraining circumstances that you can develop qualities which you would not develop if circumstances were more favorable. Misassessment. So freedom from your assessment of your problems. And then see how you feel. Just every degree of freedom that one gains is like a pean of joy, a wonderful relief in one’s emotions from the compellingness of opinion. I’m free. And that’s what you need to do in a retreat is find freedom.