Don't Know Mind In Action

don't know ego meditation in action personal stories

When I was young, my Dad would often say to me, “If you say you can’t, you can’t.” During that time, self-help tapes were very popular. The theme was “I can! I can do it! I can do anything. Believe in myself!” If we look at these two different statements closely, we can see that I can and I can’t are two sides of the same coin.

In 2006, I did a 90-day solo meditation retreat. Before the retreat, I had asked my teacher to create a schedule for me. When I looked at the retreat schedule he gave me, right away I noticed it included five sets of 200 prostrations a day. That’s 1,000 prostrations a day! I was a little nervous to see this. I had never done over 500 prostrations a day, and three months of 1000 prostrations a day is quite a lot.

It was day number three of the retreat; I was bowing, bowing, and bowing. My legs were sore, my knees were sore, back was sore. Then a little checking appeared. “Ah, day number three. There are 87 more days to go. Let’s see, 87 days to go times 1,000 prostrations, that’s eighty-seven THOUSAND more prostrations to do! I can’t do that! Not possible!!” Then the opposite mind appeared. “I can do it. I have sat so many long retreats and lived in meditation centers for a long time. I can do it! No, I can’t do it. I can do it! No, I can’t do it! I can! I can’t!” Then at some point, “I can” and “I can’t” disappeared. What appeared was don’t know if this is possible or not, but… this bow. Bow down and get up. This bow. Bow down and get up. This bow. Bow down and get up.

So if we can let go of I can and I can’t, it is possible to be free from this constant struggle and turmoil. All we need to do is to keep our minds open and perceive the moment clearly as it is. When we put our energy into what we need to do now, our life can become clear. Then it is possible to discover who we truly are.

So what about you? I can or I can’t?

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