Cedric: Grabbing on doubt carries me away from real doubt (the 3-day retreat experience)
This was my first time doing such a long and intensive retreat , I was scared but it push me to prepare myself more, sleeping and waking up early everyday. But even so I was so scared of it. Now I can say it actually went well.
The environment was calm and beautiful in Yamingshan mountain, in a church facilities. We did a lot of activities like cleaning and removing plants.
There were no time to take a break from the practice and no way to escape. I had to focus on my method, doubting.
Going through each session was really hard particularly in the end of each of them, when the legs are so painful. Pain is something that cannot be avoided. Sometimes I just want to find a way to escape, wait for the bell ring, but it just makes things worse as my mind and body get really tense. Grabbing on doubt is not a way out. It carries me away from real doubt, about myself. The only way is to ask myself what is no self, being aware of everything happening in my mind when in such situation. Then the pain is there but I am more focus on the doubt rather than the pain and it does not bother me so much.
When I finally made it after each session, during breaks, there is a more intense doubt in me. How come there were an” I” suffering so much, I am more focus and have a more truthful doubt. Even breaks are an opportunity to practice.
After each break and before each session, we have instructions from our teacher Linda, which help to prepare for the next sitting session.
At the end of the three days retreat we all share our experience, It was a good moment. I know I still have a lot of progress to make to improve my practice, but after such experience I feel more confident about my ability to make it. I would definitively attend another zen retreat if I had the opportunity. ***** check for more Students’ Sharing *****