I have never attended any intensive meditation retreats before, only a one day retreat some time ago… this is my first time attending a 2 days retreat.
Frankly speaking, before this event, I was worried if I could ‘survive’ these 2 days. I tried doing some meditation sitting at home and so far, the longest I could ‘endure’ was about 15 to 20 minutes and my legs would be numb. This is one of the reasons why I dare not join the meditation classes or 共修. Besides, I was aware that my method was wrong but I did not know how to correct my mistakes.
About 1 week before this event, I started to try ‘sitting’ at home and these were problems I encountered:
- My heart beats were irregularly, fast and ‘loud’ – as such I was not able to concentrate
- My body was very tense – I do not know how to relax my body
- My leg was numb after 15 minutes and this made me gave up sitting.
With the above observations and challenges faced, I decided to find a time and opportunity to seek Fashi’s advice and suggestions so that I could better prepare myself before the event.
I was lucky that Fashi was kind enough to give me some advice and explanation and after I went home, I tried to follow Fashi’s advice and started to observe some ‘improvements’ and I practiced for another 2 days.On the actual day – Day 1, I was excited and a bit worried if I would ‘survive through’. The day started with Fashi’s guidance and instructions.
During the 1st Joss stick (session), I really struggled and again I had the same feelings as before and faced the same difficulties as usual. I tried to follow Fashi’s advice in facing pain, as an example, if I feel pain on my shoulder area, I then immediately try to focus elsewhere so as not to be distracted by the pain. When I feel my heart beating fast and furious, I will redirect my focus to my stomach. While it seems to help me a bit to last the duration of the meditation sitting, in between I would feel my leg numbness and I had to change my sitting posture. Of course, wandering thoughts would arise, I would start thinking and wishing for the sitting session to be over. As I did not have a watch (as we are NOT allowed to wear it into the hall), I did not really know how long I lasted but I think probably 5 minutes before the 1st Joss stick ended, I ‘gave up’ due to the leg numbness. Same for 2nd Joss stick.
As the day progressed, till the 4th and 5th Joss stick practice, I felt I was able to regulate my breath better. When I reached home after Day 1 was over, I felt tired.
Day 2 – I could feel a bit of improvement and overall I was happy with the experience I had and I managed to survive through this event.
However, the title of this event is ‘悦众心灵环保成长营’and maybe due to my poor understanding of Chinese, I thought that this 2 days event, besides meditation sitting, is designed as a session whereby the group leaders from the respective ‘departments’ will have a chance to interact and maybe discuss about their ‘visions and plans’. I also thought that Fashi might share with us or want to hear from us our direction and ideas about how to work together and support each other, and how to get along with each other so that all of us are UNITED and work happily together. This was missing – probably due to shortage of time.
Nevertheless, I found this 2 days event very meaningful and helpful to me as I got to experience meditation in a more ‘proper and correct way’. Of course I know I have a long way to go – to improve myself and adopt the correct method…and I will make an effort to practise at home.
Lastly, I would like to thank Fashi and the supporting volunteers for putting in so much time and effort to organize this event. The event was very well organized and I am sure all the participants enjoyed and appreciated this experience.
Event date / 15-16 Jan 2022
Written by / 张汉钟
Photo by / Johnny Sim