Dr. Sim0n Child--Sharing

Sharing                Sharon Liu

I connected with DDM San Francisco in Spring of 2011 by way of the internet and it has been an inspiring journey for me ever since.

Like everyone else, there are numerous choices to spend a carefree two-day weekend; such as a social gathering, walking around the lake, watching a video, or going on a date with someone. For my husband and me, our choice was to drive from Sacramento to Sunnyvale for the purpose of attending a two-day sitting meditation with Dr. Simon Child, who came all the way from Manchester, United Kingdom.

During my short time with Dr. Child I observed that he displays a unique way of sharing his meditation wisdom with calm and clarity. Training as a M.D. and planked with a plethora of meditation experience, he has a special gift of understanding our struggles and offering succinct, logical, and straightforward messages. He has been practicing meditation since the 1970’s and his broad experiences really touch me with a common sense solution. He passes no judgments and is resourceful in covering all sorts of questions from simply elegant to ultimate sophistication with extreme ease.

During the Dharma talk when explaining the suffering, the first of the four noble truths, he expanded to the feeling of unsatisfactory, unhappy, and comparison, which are all forms of suffering with a lesser degree of severity.

In clarifying the differences of wondering mind and observing our mind, he addressed the tendency of absorbing oneself in the accumulation of a lifelong memory instead of being observant thoughts as they come and go with no grasp or attachment.

In addressing a frustrating experience by a first time participant who felt trapped in following a slow walking person while doing the walking meditation, he clearly displayed sympathy and offered the essence of walking meditation, which is not about the speed of walking however is about walking itself and focusing our mind on the process of each movement.

The first day of our silent retreat was focused on calming the mind, and as such, I chose to count my breath from 1 to 10 as my anchor of attention. Initially, I frequently lost my count at 2 with wandering thoughts but by the end of the day I was able to improve the length of my count. The overall feeling was quite struggling, unsettling, and scattered. With a type A personality, I have tried to integrate yoga or Tai-chi to reduce my tension and feel that I’ve been successful in releasing my stress. At end of the first day, when my awareness to my body was in high alert, I noticed that my shoulder felt tense and sore which revealed the unintended accumulation of my daily stress that I might have otherwise ignored because my inattentive to my body parts.

The second day of our silent meditation practice was focusing on investigating the mind. Observing thoughts that come and go with no direction, just like observing clouds in the blue sky floating in front of your eye without any emotions attached to it. Looking at the objects for what they are without attaching or avoiding any personal emotions associated with that object is a way of revealing my subconscious minds and truly the beginning of self inquiry and transformation.

I did not have any expectation going to the meditation and was prepared to let go of any preconceived notions. In the end, I enjoyed everything along the journey; the Dharma talk, noble silence, two cozy beautiful days, delicious vegetarian meals, fresh lemonade, comfortable Chan Hall, library with a shelf of inspiring books, clean restroom, and a tranquil surrounding.  I’d like to express my appreciation to Warren and all the volunteers at DDM San Francisco for providing such an enticing venue to continue Master Sheng-Yen’s life-long mission to spread Chinese Chan tradition to everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, or gender. With its opening arm I felt at home and left the meditation with reinvigorated enthusiasm, less restricted, and a peaceful mind.