Ally: I chose to stay on the surface of forms and emotions and did not doubt on these thoughts
—- Sharing on the 3-day retreat (3R4), 2015/06/13 ~ 15
Because of running out of hot water for shower, we started meditation earlier than we anticipated. I was affected by this situation, so I doubted on this I who was affected so easily. I doubted with 100% attention after Saturday’s breakfast. I still got wandering thoughts, but right at the 2nd thought or 3rd thought, I could be aware of it and doubted “Is this I no self, too?” I got the feeling of not knowing, and that not knowing rocked out the following not knowing continuingly. I really wanted to know the answer of no self. In the 2-consecutive session, there was a short moment I was so eager to know the answer that I could feel that every cell of my entire body wanted to know the answer. I even got a flash idea that I would like to exchange the answer with my life. Then I continued.
My legs hurt very much in the 3-consecutive session that afternoon. I asked, “Is this I who is suffering the leg pain no self, too? What is no self?” I asked like this for a while, but I could not doubt at all. The pain lasted till the end of the session. Deep in my mind I knew the pain would gone (I passed over my pain) but I did not find my mind movements at that point. Linda asked me about my practice; I told her my leg hurt very much in the 3rd session. Linda answered me, ”Yes, of course. And then what?” I replied instinctively, “I need to doubt with 100% attention.” Linda then asked me not taking any break during the consecutive sessions in the following days, and I answered her with “Okay!”
I felt stressful and nervous after Sunday’s breakfast. I asked, “Is this nervous me no self?” I focused on my doubt, nearly without any wandering thought. My doubt speeded up naturally. I really wanted to know the answer, and I doubted very hard,” What on earth is no self?” It seemed that I went beyond a point and suddenly felt so calm. I felt no burden physically but doubt surrounding me. I continued to ask the doubt question for a while. Later on, I did not pay 100% attention. I felt the doubt dropped down, less powerful.
The first session of the afternoon, I felt drowsy and doubted on “Is this me who is doubting on my drowsiness no self? How is it possible no self?” I felt so strange, so much doubt. I put about 60% attention on my doubt, so I did not completely fall asleep. My doubt kept going parallel with my drowsiness and then turned weaker and weaker. I felt the duration of that session was comparatively short. Onto the 3-consecutive session, I heard Linda shouted, “Continue. Focus on your doubt.” Sometimes I felt intense and tight, but I didn’t doubt on it. I just continued my question, “What is no self?” Consequently, my leg hurt from the 3rd session. I was totally distracted by the pain. I tried to adjust my posture and totally ignored the fact that I was fighting the pain. I tried to avoid the leg pain whole-heartedly, and of course I suffered from extreme pain. Linda asked me, “You just have one day left. What should you do then?” I answered, “Engage 100% to doubt.” But I was not aware that my practice was so wrong that day.
Onto Monday morning, I thought it was the last day of the retreat, and I needed to work hard, so I doubted with my entire energy. I felt drowsy, I had wandering thoughts, and I asked the doubt question so hard that I felt my sitting posture was distorted. The end-up bell rang when I had such intense doubt. I was shocked and wondering, “Didn’t we just start sitting?” Linda asked me, “What’s wrong with you?” I suddenly realized that I kept grabbing on my doubt. Linda continued asking me, “How will you improve your practice?” I looked around, lowered my eyes and answered, “Engage 100% to doubt.” Linda shouted at me, “You need to doubt on your mind movements. You thought you had followed my instruction to doubt and how could it be wrong when you looked around with your sight floating. Then you need to doubt on this mind movement, asking “how is it possible this me no self? “ In the following 3-consecutive sessions, I didn’t doubt on my mind movements. I didn’t engage 100% in my doubt. Most of the time, I went blank, felt drowsy, wandering a lot, and stuck in a chaos. My leg hurt but this time I didn’t fight with the pain. I sensed the pain and asked, “How is it possible this pain, such real pain, no self? What on earth is no self?” I gradually focus 60% on my doubt. I doubt weakly with the pain.
In the discussion session at the end of the retreat, teacher Jeremy said I was dishonest. I was so upset and didn’t know how to response. I felt so embarrassed, along with thousands of thoughts at that point, but I chose to stay on the surface of forms and emotions and did not doubt on these thoughts. Until I arrived home, I was willing to check myself. I was such a person that when things went beyond my plan or control, I would not accept it; I would get angry, and I would “turn the wheel faster” to ignore it. I was timid, unwilling to face my failure and unwanted things. It was just as I would turn the time wheel faster for my leg pain when I sat on the cushion. I went pass the embarrassment of don’t-know-what-to-do and asked the doubt question “what is no self?” to pretend nothing happened. Until twelve o’clock in the midnight, I was willing to ask, “Is this I who is unwilling to face myself no self?” that I didn’t put it in a phrase or any language. Then, I finally was willing to put myself to bed. **** check more Students’ Sharing ****