Matt: Nothing bothered me. I only wanted to answer the question
—- Sharing on the 3-day retreat (3R4), 2015/06/13 ~ 15
Before the retreat I tried to prepare and was practicing, but the week before my practice was erratic. I had no big ideas for the retreat but just felt really stressed from work and could only think about that as I walked down the steps to the retreat. All I hoped was that the stress would go away while I was there.
On the first day of the retreat, I found that I was constantly worried about my feelings. I started in the morning and tried to keep to my method but I would occasionally get lost. I also found at moments that I was falling asleep when I sat on the chair. I had never really had to deal with falling asleep before when sitting on the floor, because I was worried about pain.
By the middle of the day, I still felt like I was not really there. I wanted to have a deeper experience, I wanted to be engulfed by the retreat, but I could only see the arguments in my head and kept getting lost in them. I was founding it hard to let go and kept losing my method.
From this day, when concentrating on my method I tried to not grasp onto anything, just follow the question, then the ‘what’ and the feeling of the question. After a while, as thoughts, or I’s arose, I no longer had to ask any questions.
When I went to bed that night, I kept trying to raise my question, but realized I was trying to chase some specific meaning.
On the Sunday, I found in the morning that my practice was good. I kept disciplined in my practice, and at one point I found that I had lost my practice. I kept doing everything I could to recover, I was trying different things and different methods, trying to be back on course, talking to myself. I knew what I was doing was wrong and told myself to stop doing。
This continued for three sessions, in this up and down fashion. Until I heard the teacher speaking to another student, telling them to continue asking the question, and continue, and ask and continue. At this point I just stopped doing anything else and asked the question, only this.
After that, the rest of my practice for the day was fine. I became confident in my practice, meaning that I knew that even if was to get lost, I just had to come back to the question, nothing else. Only the question.
From this moment, I didn’t do anything but come back to the question. Ask, repeat, doubt on everything that appears, always come back to the question and keep this discipline.
In bed that evening, I did as Linda said and thought about all the different selves over the last few days. The self in pain, the sleepy self, the self outside, the self lost in thought.
The next day I sat on my cushion and was completely focused on my practice. I woke up and decided that I needed to do this completely today. In the morning, I sat for two hours for the first time. In this period, I had a sudden rush of energy and decided that I was going to answer this question that day, whatever happens. I also felt I had to tell Linda this. After this decision, everything was plain sailing. This was the difference between trying to do something and doing it. Nothing bothered me, the pain, sleep, I only wanted to answer the question.
In the last afternoon, Linda said that we had to make the last sessions count. At this point I sat and only focused on the question, whatever happened I came back to the question. I sat like this continually coming back to my question, asking, and then not having to ask, just following the question . Evert notion of self, the self asking the question i asked. ‘How can this be, I is here and there is no self?’
I reached a point where I just completely wanted to know the answer to my question with every last sinew in my body. My breathing became so heavy, I was so agitated by the question, I just wanted to grasp it. I became tight and just wanted to know the answer to the question so much, all my muscles became increasingly tight. But whatever happened, I couldn’t get the answer and suddenly collapsed and came crashing down.
At this point the sessions ended and I took a small break. In the next session, I continued with the practice and reached a point where i kept question the I that was there, and how could there be no self. At one point I reached a moment when there was no more self there to doubt on. I stopped and was shocked, I thought this must be significant, was this it, was I enlightened. At this point, after the confusion, I was high in the clouds. It was in a place of perfect bliss that was hard to come back from. I knew from our class that we were not supposed to stay here, so kept asking my question and came back finally before the final bell went. **** check more Student Sharing ****