What is this self?  Is the mind fixating on thoughts and stories that we are a separate entity locked into a cocoon apart from all other life?   And from that grows insensitivity while we seek pleasure at all costs without concern for the potential impact on others? Are we indulging this sense of me? A me that stands above and apart from all others, striving for power, material wealth and pleasure at the expense of other living beings? Or are we coming to retreat out of a feeling that we feel out of balance within this body mind and there is a need to sit quietly to get in touch deeply with how we are.  Because we are aware that living an unbalanced life, full of reactive states only serves to foster more disharmony in the world, starting with the people we interact with.  Going further into this, isn’t meditation a form of caring for oneself?  Oneself being this body/mind because this body is not separate from the mind, and it has needs to sustain its life, such as eating, getting enough rest, exercise, and so forth.  When we are taking care of ourselves coming out of awareness, and seeing directly what is needed aren’t we also taking care of others and the world?  Because we are in fact not separate from this world, we are living beings connected with all life.  It is out of conditioned thought telling us what we should or should not do that our actions get muddied up. When we are influenced by outside forces telling us that it is not okay to do what one sees that one needs to do and when we falsely take that on, we are living a life out of balance.  We then perpetuate that state onto others and on and on it goes.  Endless suffering.  Compassion and love comes out of awareness, a seeing that goes beyond the enclosure of conditioned thinking. And we start with where we are from moment to moment, sitting quietly getting in touch with the inner most core of who we are.  So, isn’t coming to a silent retreat a form of caring for this body/mind organism?  And isn’t this activity of doing what one feels is needed in a sense caring for others?  Maybe it is possible that we can live a less reactive life when we can feel this balance and harmony within ourselves. And maybe we can cease to spread disharmony out into the world a moment at a time.