Why is retreat important? In order for our spirituality, pure morality, wisdom, single-pointed concentration and insight to really grow, we need time and space. The normal twentieth-century environment does not give us this. It induces either distraction or sluggishness, and retreat can take us beyond both. As human beings, we have the potential for unlimited growth, for limitless compassion and wisdom, bodhichitta and the six perfections. So retreat is very important in expediting this. – Lama Yeshe.
Doing personal retreat is a very different to a group retreat. It gifts the opportunity to slip into your own rhythm with the chance to follow the flow of your mind by focusing on things that arise, when they arise instead of needing to fit in with a group. On the other hand, it requires the retreater to develop and maintain the energy to practice and to deal with difficulties that arise without the support of a group.
For this reason, it is advised to do personal retreat in a suitable place that is quiet, away from distractions, has been used by other meditators, where your practice will be supported and to be able to contact someone who is qualified to support through any difficulties that arise. This is particularly important for those who haven’t done a retreat on their own before.