Karen: It looked like I continue asking the question but this is an escape
—-Sharing on 2-day retreat (2R6), 2014/10/04 ~ 2014/10/05
Fortunately, I hadn’t got caught for a while. Unluckily, I got sick just two days before the retreat. I thought this time had to be tough one to me. Even worse, I hadn’t practiced my sitting meditation over an hour for a while. So if you ask me what my expectation to this retreat is? Actually I didn’t expect that much. I wouldn’t die at least and I needed to deal with any troubles only when they happened. Time would pass eventually and let it solve my problems.
If doubting is consciousness, which occurs at the moment when we don’t know a thing, not-knowing is just only not-knowing. We don’t have to make our extra energy to “don’t know” a thing. In reality, I calculated how to avoid predicted unbearable situations every single second during an-hour long class after hearing the starting bell ring and closing my eyes. Things changed when the time factor was considered. The calculation was always embedded in my every breath so that I couldn’t shake it off. Of course, I still kept doubting in this situation. I was stuck. During the first break, I asked Linda how to face myself sincerely. Linda replied, “Keep doubting whenever you are aware there is an I. To face yourself is to face yourself.” I could understand what ‘keep-doubting’ meant, but I had no idea what ‘to-face-yourself-is-to-face-yourself’ meant.
My meditation was almost similar in every following session— Sometimes, I raised my questions, while other times I concentrated on maintaining unknown consciousness. I was getting steady during the process, but after a while I found I was cheating myself again. That was not stillness, but sleepiness. If I was aware of my wandering thoughts, I used them to fuel my doubt. And then I found my mind became too complicated, so I tried to skip this process and just focused on unknown consciousness. I felt steadier by doing so. Sometimes, I found myself calculating many things, such as the time or my body’s condition, but didn’t know how to doubt sincerely. At other times, I thought I had been asking honestly but I breathed so hastily. Gradually, I found I didn’t doubt earnestly, but urgently. It looked like I continue asking the question when I encountered wandering thoughts, but actually I skipped the phenomena of wandering thoughts. This is actually a way to skip facing myself; this is an escape.
At the beginning of each class, I had to blow my nose and coughed several times to avoid too many coughs or too much nasal mucus later in my meditation. This was also a calculation and escape. Actually, I seldom coughed during my meditation. When the bell rang, I opened my eyes and coughed. This process repeated several times, and then I felt confused every time I coughed. I paused and thought what was behind the cough. I was also doubting while I was coughing off the cushion. I asked, “What is no-self?” or “?” Strange. Everything I had done was just to fight with the things I didn’t like methodologically. How do we explore the true nature of our life rather than struggle with my likes or dislikes? I don’t really know.
Linda asked me how my doubting was for these two days in the final discussion. To be honest, I couldn’t answer it clearly. It was vague. I choked on my reply and just said I sat more steadily and longer than before (because I slept a looooot.) My legs didn’t hurt but one session. Besides, I reminded myself to keep doubting during the break. But I didn’t reach the state where there are only doubting and me. “How to face myself sincerely?” “What is to-face-yourself-is-to-face-yourself?” These two questions confused me all the time. It has been almost two weeks since the retreat finished. I am still thinking these two questions while I am writing this sharing. Isn’t “to explore firmly and stubbornly” “to face myself”? If the answer is yes, it means my question isn’t a question at all. In fact, it’s just me to find a question to confuse myself. Anyhow, I still don’t know what our true nature is, so all I can do is to keep doubting and to explore it firmly and stubbornly.**** check more Students’ Sharing ****