The group format of the retreat requires care because we can't help but enter each other's presence. Precepts offer boundaries that catalyze quality of heart and sensitivity to how we negatively impact ourselves and others.
In the embodied state body and mind are not separate. The somatic sense, or internal sense, is a mirror of what's happening to citta. This sense is more accurate than thoughts – which tend towards an abstraction that diverts awareness from unpleasant feeling.
The great heart's natural response to pain and suffering is compassion and equanimity, released by directly handling experience through embodiment. Without the natural ground of embodiment there is a tendency towards differentiation and forming abstractions about self and other that create separation.
Accessing the gift within takes a particular kind of attention that is light and sustained, like an open hand. This is the attention that ripens into mindfulness and deepens into samadhi; from this wisdom can arise.
The practice of recollections brings a sense of immediacy, heightening attentiveness and focusing the mind. With each recollection ask, "How is the mind being affected?" The embodied response to this is a means for breaking old habits and releasing kamma.
Our inability to stay with unpleasant feelings causes us to dissociate and split off. Attention to breathing provides the anchor to stabilize volatile emotions and creates an agreeable abiding that paves the way towards unification (samadhi).