Eric: So many Is were there helping me to find excuses to get rid of this thing
—- Sharing on the 3-day retreat (3R4), 2015/06/13 ~ 15
I was stuck in kind of endless anxiety one week before the retreat because I had anticipated that I would be required to sit for consecutive sessions in the retreat. Surely I doubted on this, “Right at this anxious moment, is this me no self?” and I kept doubting even when I did not feel anxious. But what should I doubted on was “Is this me who is lacking of faith no self?”
The teacher asked us to work on the top of our successful experience and put 100% efforts into our meditation.
I was required to sit for consecutive sessions without taking any break in the duration until I heard the teacher said, “Let’s take a break”, and this became the most test for me in this retreat. When Linda starred at me with her eyes telling me to do so, so many thoughts ran into my mind, “Can I do this?”, “Will the extreme pain kill me?”, “How can I manage the 3-consecutive sessions?”…etc. While looking at Linda’s eyes, I doubted on my mind movements and didn’t know how to response. Linda told me, “You have no way out. You just do it. “
I tried so hard to doubt forwardly in accord with Linda’s reminding through the consecutive sessions in the first day. How did I know I stopped doubting? It was my body shaking when Linda shouted “Continue!” in the sitting session, and that definitely meant I was no longer on the method. If I was not shaking when I heard Linda, it meant I was focus on the method. I usually felt leg pain in the later part of the 2nd sitting session in the 3-consecutive ones. At this point the pain itself reminded me of “I” and I could doubt on “Is this I no self?”, and also at this point I would not fall asleep whether I was struggling with the pain or finding a way to live with it. But when the end-up bell of 2nd session rang, my thoughts wandered a lot. I questioned myself whether I could continue, calculated how long the session was left, and I breathed faster and faster. And of course, I still asked the doubt question, “Is this I no self?” By the last session, I was always struggling, trying every effort to face the unceasing pain, watching the pain with strong will, and forcing myself to watch the pain, ask, and ask again and again. Sometimes I felt I was surrounded by pain but just in a blank I found I stood oppositely in front of the pain. It was too difficult to squeeze out any doubting question.
Onto the 2nd day, I felt totally hopeless to the 3-consecutive sessions. It was so hopeless that I would start telling myself, “Just let the pain kill me. Anyway, the goal is to know what no self is.” It was so painful that I could not straight up my waist. But Linda kept shouting, “Keep asking! Continue!” Every time when I felt I couldn’t do this anymore, Linda’s voice kept me moving one step forward. I started from struggling with the pain, and gradually became giving up the struggle, not struggling, relaxing the muscles of my thighs and hip joints. At the same time, I asked, “Is this me no self?” When I heard the 2nd end-up bell, I had a thought of switching the legs, and that thought grew bigger and bigger that I reached out my hands to the ground and tried to put down my legs. Suddenly a palm touched my waist indicating me to remain on my sitting posture. That was such a shock, “Linda would not let go of me. What should I do? I really cannot do this anymore. I just can’t. I…, and I…. ” So many Is were there helping me to find excuses to get rid of this thing. But while I continued the sitting posture, Linda put her hands on my shoulders gently, saying “No self?” I chattered in my mind, “It hurt so much.” Linda kept on, “Continue. Is this I no self?” I squeezed out the phrase “No self?” Then Linda said, “Good. Just like this. Is this I no self?” On the one hand I was thinking about “I don’t do this anymore.”, while on the other hand, I was asking the doubting question, “Is this me no self? It is impossible. What on the hell is no self?” I seemed back to the doubt question. At that short moment, I could be so painful and at the same time I could ask the doubting question so real. I also found that although it was so painful but I still could swallow the saliva, I did not grit my teeth. It seemed that my will and my pain are two different things. It just my body always reminded me of pain so all I could do was doubt along with the pain until the end of the 3-consecutive sessions in that morning. When the final end-up bell rang, I was so happy about complete one long session. But when I took the massage exercise after the session, I sighed and doubted on the two different Is, “How is it possible that both this I who is massaging and that I who was suffering are no self? How is it possible?”
Although I had the experience of moving forwardly with the unrepellable pain, I came back to the I who found the pain unacceptable in the afternoon. Without Linda’s reminding, I lost my direction again. I lost in struggling and did not work on my doubt. I wanted the sitting session pass over quickly and just hung myself over there. I almost cried out at the moment when the bell rang because I hated myself not insisting on the method, not even for a while. I blamed myself for not really sitting there, watching the mind, asking the question “How come this struggling I no self?”
In this retreat, I finally learned that I could squeeze the doubting question out. And even at that point that I was in the extreme pan, I really had no idea that how come this I who was suffering the pain is no self. **** check more Student Sharing ****