Eric: I pretended the leg pain is not my business, not me
—- Sharing on the 3-day retreat (3R3), 2015/04/18 ~ 20
I attended the first 3-day retreat of the year 2015 only on the last day because of a business trip. I thought I could face it easily, but the fact is I woke up in shock at 4 am on Monday morning when I supposed to go up to the retreat site. Quickly the nervousness and anxiety started to spread out to every cell of my entire body. No matter how many days the retreat is, it turns out that the pressure of attending a retreat follows me all the way like a shadow. The question is, is this no self, too?
I was supposed to be the most energetic person among my fellow students in the first sitting session, but I felt drowsy and fell asleep. It was until Linda stabbed me with her Zen stick that I woke up from my drowsiness. When I was stabbed, I thought I was caught by the teacher, felt ashamed, and asked “Is this me no self?” Although I tried to uplift myself and asked, “What is no self?” it was like a routine process. I did not devote myself into the question. I was capable to continue when I heard the end-up bell, but within that short moment, just in a couple of seconds, my mind moved up and down with so many voices, “What if the pain gets worse to kill me? “, “I would feel anxious if I do not stand up now.”, “Does everyone gets up from their cushions?” When I heard some fellow students standing from their cushion, I struggled and made a decision to change legs. I changed my legs and continued my sitting meditation. I asked, “Is this I who calculate so many in such a short moment no self?”
Linda taught us to enlarge the moment when we are aware of our mind moving, to watch the various manifestations of I, then we will realize there are so many I that we have never been aware. When I practiced accordingly, I really wanted to know how many I that I have never known hidden beyond my struggle with leg pain and drowsiness. What is the me before I get drowsy? How do I make the decision to follow my drowsiness? Are all these me no self? When I tried so hard to be aware, it seemed the drowsiness did not come to me at all. But at the moment when drowsiness is only one step apart, it was dim, hazy and shadowed. I could not find any mind movement at all but just some purposely created thoughts and feelings. I still continued and asked, “Is this me no self?” At the sharing time when the retreat ended, I found I was just grabbing and creating thoughts during the process. I thought that if I could enlarge every moment, I would be more concentrated and would not fall asleep. This scenario was similar to what I did before that checking if I was doubting or not to make sure I was aware of myself.
Onto the afternoon, the leg pain came to me. Although, with my experience, I told myself not to fight nor struggle, it was still very difficult to face the leg pain and ask on it. Most of the time before I knew it, I turned my head away from it, then I asked. It looked like I was not fighting with the leg pain but I still pretended leg pain is “another thing”(not my business, not me). The other times I looked at it and asked, but I did not face the impatient and anxious me. I was afraid that if I found myself impatient or anxious, I could not sit there anymore. It turned out that I did not fight, and I did not really ask the question.
When I heard one of my fellow students made a major breakthrough in this retreat at the sharing time, I felt so happy for her. At the same time, I was regretful and not content to stay at the same level without progress. I look forward to next retreat. **** check more Students’ Sharing ****