Regarding what you said about attachment being challenging for you while you’re on retreat, desire is very sneaky, like a snake. We think it’s our friend, but all it does is cause us suffering. Anger is more obvious, because we can see that it makes us unhappy, and also causes a lot of destruction, but desire looks like our friend, but like a thief, it steals our happiness. Olympic athletes train for 40 years only to receive some praise, or their name on the TV, or a big trophy to put on a shelf in their home. They train for 40 years out of attachment, thinking that pride and recognition is what life is about.
If you want to take ordination, but have obstacles to this, or want to keep that wish alive, but can’t take the vows, in order to keep that wish alive, and to make sure that when you take the vows you keep them purely, you should do Tara praises and protector prayers every day, with a strong wish for ordination in your heart. Also, you should take the five lay vows and the eight Mahayana precepts as much as possible.
You should do lam-rim meditation every day, starting with the small scope and continuing each day for a certain length of time, for instance for three months, then should move on to the medium scope and do a meditation every day for a few months, and then spend a few months on bodhicitta, then a few months on emptiness, and then repeat the cycle over and over again until you gain realization of the topics. Every day, you should do some guru yoga practice in order to receive blessings so that you have a fruitful meditation.
You don’t always have to be in a formal meditation session to do lam-rim meditation. You should keep your mind in the topic all day long, so it’s mixed with your mind in whatever activity you do.
It’s good to contemplate the suffering in the lower realms when you recite OM MANI PADME HUM, and it’s good to do tong-len while you’re reciting it.
Regarding how one meditates on bodhicitta while meditating on emptiness, or how one arouses bodhicitta if everything is merely labeled, in emptiness, bodhicitta is seen as dream-like bodhicitta, your bodhicitta motivation and thoughts are seen as if you are dreaming.