Ally: I was shocked by the fact that I had so many MEs in my mind
—- Sharing on 3-day retreat (3E2), 2014/12/13 ~ 15
Before I headed up to the retreat site for the 3-day retreat, I was full of fear that I had never experienced.
Linda had given me a one-on-one tutorial before the sitting session started on Friday evening. She pointed out my problem that I was not eager for the answer to “What is no self?” She said, “If your contractor does not show up, will you just fall asleep? Definitely, you won’t! You will give him a call, two calls, three calls to push him, right?” I was shocked by the metaphor. In fact, I had encountered the similar scenario recently, so I knew the feeling. Then I checked my practice, finding that I really was not eager for “what is no self?” so I fell asleep all the time during my sitting sessions. Linda told me that I should do my every effort to improve my practice and face myself bravely in this retreat.
I was touched deeply. I am afraid of Linda’s preach, and yet the fact is I am afraid to face myself. I tried to put myself together to face myself sincerely, and I vowed that I must doubt from the bottom of my heart. (This me who is vowing, is no self?) I heard a marching song rising from my mind, like “Go for it, Ally”, encouraging myself to move forward. (This me who encourage myself with positive thinking, is no self?) Of course, all these questions were not generated from the bottom of my mind.
I went back to the very beginning and asked “no self?” continuously from my bottom of my heart no matter what situation I encountered in the first session. Then I found that I really don’t know what no self is indeed. I worked so hard and kept asking all the time. In that evening, I really really wanted to know what no self is. Even when I walked out from the sitting hall, to the bedroom, and until I lied down to sleep, I just don’t know what no self is. “
My roommate Lore got up very early in the first day, so I kept up with her pace. I got up, opened my eyes, and asked, “This me who is so worry about being tardy for the class, is no self?” Then I felt I don’t know and I really want to know what no self is. Before a sitting session in that morning, Linda told us, “Do not let go of ‘any single me.’ Every and each me is me. Use every and each me to doubt.” When I heard it, I thought I would check every me and not let go of any. But just about ten minutes soon after I sat on my cushion, I found I did not sit properly. My legs turned numb and started to pain. Simultaneously I asked, “This me who suffered from leg pain is no self? The pain is so real, how is it possible no self? I did not experience no self at all, what is no self? ” Every time when I felt pain, there was “another me” arising and saying, “You acknowledge the fact of leg pain, and do not fight against the leg pain.” I found so many “my ideas and my thoughts” and I was shocked by the fact that I had so many MEs in my mind. So I asked “This me who suffered from leg pain is no self?” seriously. Gradually I felt strong intention and ambition to know what no self is.
On the evening of the second day, Linda told us a story about her teacher Master Guoru’s 2-hour-long sitting session. I was inspired and used the story to encourage myself, “If I did not have much time left in my life, I would cherish more about the opportunity of sitting meditation.” I did not know why that I became so nervous as soon as I sat on my cushion, and I swallowed my saliva all the time until the end of that session. Linda asked me, “Why are you so nervous?” I could not tell a word. I found myself funny; nothing needs to be nervous at all.
Onto the third day morning, I found I went back to the situation that I asked the question, but I did not mean it. I was eager for nothing, so I asked and fell asleep again and again. During that session, Linda kindly encouraged us by shouting, “This is your own business, and you need to ask from the bottom of your heart.” I really felt it was my business, so I asked sincerely. I did not know and wanted to know what no self is. In the afternoon, when the first session ended up, I hesitated about whether to take a short break to massage my legs. But soon I knew I did not have much time left in this 3-day retreat, so I continued asking “what is no self?” without taking any break, though I still felt leg pain.
What did I attain most from this retreat? Firstly, I find I can ask “what is no self?” from the bottom of my heart. I can be “unknowing” simply. It sounds super-easy that even a child knows it, but it is so difficult to practice accordingly. Secondly, I really need to face myself, to face the fact of “all me”, bravely. **** check more students’ sharing ****