Karen: I didn’t want to come out from my comfort zone…
——– Sharing on the 2-day retreat (2R5) from June 14th to 15th, 2014
I hadn’t meditated in a stable condition before this retreat. Sometimes I could sit for an hour, but other times I quit easily soon after I set my cushion. I was not sure if I could survive the hour-long sessions over the next two days. But since I had registered, I thought, “Well, the worst that could happen is that I just quit in the middle, pack my stuff, say goodbye to my fellow students, and then go home. That’s no big deal.” When I thought in this way, I started enjoying my dinner and became ready for the challenge.
All the students stretched their bodies and prepared to start the mediation class after checking in. I did my stretches, like a runner prepares to run the hundred-meter dash, places their feet on the starting block, and waits for the gun to fire. “What are you guys waiting for?” said Teacher Jeremy, breaking the silence and comfortable laziness that we got used to. That’s right. What are we waiting for? We always think we still have time, and we can get the answer someday in the future, which is exactly the same that we often make an excuse for everything in our life. Therefore, I reminded myself, “What am I waiting for?” when I tried to be lazy in my meditation during these two days.
At the beginning, the teacher clarified that the method is to focus on one simple point and any emotions are distractions. We need to sincerely ask what our true nature is and make the question connect to our life. Focusing on one simple point is a traditional teaching method, which has been applied since the ancient times. But it’s very hard, especially for people nowadays, because we actively or passively receive a lot of stimuli from our everyday life, such as our emotions, thoughts, and senses. Most of the time, I meditate with a lot of feelings or thoughts. Focusing on one simple point for a period of time seems like mission impossible to me.
On the first day, I asked myself (doubted on) the only question, that is, what is my true nature. I spent the whole day doubting on this question with all my efforts, even though I often failed to keep concentrating only on a single question. Countless thoughts were appearing in my mind while I was mediating. I tried to push myself back on track exploring the question whenever I found myself starting to get lost in my thoughts. This was just like an endless loop. After I kept asking what my true nature is for a whole day, the question was deeply rooted, like a seed planted in my mind.
On the second day, our teacher encouraged us to get rid of the language and keep exploring our questions. I tried to follow the instructions. But soon I realized that I was no longer attached to language, but rather attached to my breath. It showed that I was not brave enough to give up the things I was familiar with. I didn’t want to come out from my comfort zone and be straightforward to the question. I went back to the language and kept exploring my question till the end.
“Concentration is distraction,” said the teacher. This sounds contradictory, but to me, it’s quite true. There was always an “I” monitoring whether I concentrated on asking the question or not. I didn’t explore the question with one hundred percent pure doubt. This two-day mediation was much more than training my concentration skills. It was not concentration training. Specifically, it was a process in which I stayed aware that “I” existed everywhere while I was running after the inquiry of my true nature. That is a process of self-awarness. **** check more Students’ Sharing ****