Ally: I was calculating, unwilling to continue, and so desperate
—- Retreat Sharing, 7-day retreat, June 4 – 11
The first three days:
- I started out asking loudly with exertion, but then I stopped. I restarted to ask and then stopped, again and again.
- There was a moment that I could asked loudly and continuously, like one question after another. But when I could do this, I also stopped and stayed there. Until I felt I was okay to go on or until I was aware of this, I would continue.
- I also made things to ask, like “this negative me, no-self?” , I relied on this connection to ask the question.
- There was a moment that I attached to the physical lightness, I was attracted to the physical sensation and asked the doubting question lightly. I didn’t continue to ask with all my strength.
- There was one time I asked the question “This “unwilling I” no self?” I cried out and I could ask the question continuously, because the question really connected to me.。
The fourth day I was totally occupied by my fear. I was calculating, I was unwilling to continue, I was desperate. This was the first time that I wanted to quit form the retreat. I told Shifu Linda “I can’t ask” and I was crying. Then Shifu Linda told me “you can just keep chanting. I did so myself when I was at the beginning stage. You just keep chanting. Take “no self? “ as the last piece of wood floating in the stream. All you have is “this moment”, and every moment is a new moment” I tried for three sessions and I finally could chant. So I kept asking, one question after another, without that much fear.
The fifth day I chanted so hard. But again I stopped chanting sometimes. I noticed that when I canted for a long time, I actually could ask the question instead of chanting.
The sixth day I asked loudly. I wanted to grab my feelings of doubt, so that I got stuck again and I would need to adjust my sitting posture or feel my breathing to continue. I could sit for the consecutive sessions but I needed to relaxed my sour necks (I didn’t shift legs) I really did not focus on asking with 100% effort.
In the early morning at four forty, a loud noise woke me up, and I decided to have a sitting session. I asked loudly and adjusted my head and posture in the middle. Before the bell rang I thought “That’s enough. It must have been two hours.” It was until Shifu Linda told us the importance of insisting to continue, I realize that I didin’t use all my strength to doubt.
In the following consecutive sessions, I shifted legs even though I could continue to sit. I was so regretful and told myself that I must insist to continue. I kept asking until I was so painful that my body shaking. I decided not to fight against the pain. I focused on chanting then my body stopped shaking. I thought I was safe, then I shake again. This time, I focused myself more on asking, and I asked the doubting question until the end.
In this retreat, I found there is an I who is so unwilling to face myself, and there is an I who is so real when suffer the extreme pain. I am getting closer to knowing myself. I need to acknowledge myself and have the courage to face myself bravely. I need to modify my attitude and continue my Zen practice. What I learned profoundly from this retreat are:
- I didn’t use all my strength to ask the doubting question. I stopped, restarted, and thought that it was enough.
- I was not willing to pay more to see the unknowing thing (“no-self”).
- I didn’t practice meditation exactly the right way. The foundation of my meditation was not stable.
- My had incorrect ideas about Zen meditation. I mis-set my goal as sitting for longer sessions, which became my obstacle.
- I clearly understood that self-inquiring is the floating wood toward the goal of Zen practice, with the understanding of the consciousness stream, the dharma stream, and the karma.
- Every moment is a new moment. There is only one doubting question right at this moment, no matter what has happened before and what will happen in the future. This makes the doubting question the floating wood when I was in chaos. When I decided to follow Shifu’s instruction to “continue”, I can change my “giving up.” I realize profoundly that every moment is ever changing. Every moment is a powerful result. **** check more Student Sharing ****