Odds and Ends in My Cultivation
Shared at the 2005 San Francisco Falun Dafa Conference
Greetings, revered Teacher. Greetings, fellow practitioners.
Today I want to share with you some experiences in my cultivation.
Practicing the Exercises
I learned Dafa in February, 1999. At first, I went out to practice on weekends. A few months later, I went out on weekdays too. Since then, I have been going out to practice almost every day for the past six years. I remember one winter morning, it was raining and the wind was gusting so hard that when we went to the practice site, we found that the ground under the roof had an accumulation of water. There was no place to sit or stand and we could not help but give up. Otherwise, I have been consistently practicing the exercises every day.
Fellow practitioners have asked me how I can be so consistent. I think that aside from the realization that it is important to do the exercises, one should never take a break to begin with. If one skips one day, he will then skip another, then another. Eventually he may not go and practice at all. In order to not take that first break, the first thing to remember is that you should not try to sleep a few more minutes after the alarm clock wakes you up. Nine out of ten times the "few minutes of extra sleep" will turn into an hour or two. Secondly, you must not think too much after waking up. Once you start to think, your mind will find all sorts of excuses for yourself, and you will end up not going. If you don't think, you will not let the laziness in you have any chance to take hold of you. So the question of whether, "Should I go or not?" or "Can I not go today?" does not exist at all. When I wake up, I just wash up and go. I don't do any thinking. I do not need to think about whether I need to brush my teeth or not every morning, do I?
Cultivating My Xinxing
Before I learned Dafa, I was rather narrow-minded. I liked to show off my own capabilities. Although I would not pretend to know things that I actually didn't, but if I knew something, I definitely would not be shy to say so. When I had some good idea, I would either keep it for myself, or, if I shared it with others, I would make sure that people knew that the idea was mine so that they could see my intelligence.
After I learned Dafa, I knew that these were all strong attachments and gradually I learned to not care about showing off any more. When I do not understand something or when I make a mistake, I frankly admit it. When working on things, I often remind myself that the most important thing is to have a successful outcome to our project, and whether I am given the credit or not should not be a concern. As a result, I find that the relationships between my colleagues and I have much improved. No one has laughed at me for my mistakes. They found that I was more open and frank and they were more willing to help me. Not trying to hide anything, I feel much more at ease as well. In daily life, I feel that no matter what the cause, as long as I feel uncomfortable about something, it indicates that I have an attachment in that area and it needs to be eliminated.
In the past six years my cultivation has been reasonably smooth and without too many difficult tribulations. But lately I found that after having cultivated for so long, all I have accomplished was to become a good person among ordinary people, and probably not even that. So I am still struggling hard to discover and work on the critical issues. The problem is that my ordinary peoples' notions are still too strong, and the requirements I set for myself are too low. I always use ordinary people's standards to judge myself. In other words, I have not been able to immerse the Dafa principles into my daily life and work. In this aspect, I am still trying to find ways to improve myself.
Studying the Fa
In the first two years, I maintained my reading of one chapter of Zhuan Falun each day. I finished the book close to 100 times in two years. But my reading was not that deep and I could only see the superficial meanings. There are many good articles about Fa-study on Clearwisdom.net, but my improvement was limited after reading them. I never stopped studying Dafa because I know it is good and I need to study it. But I often am distressed because I find that I do not know the right way to study. Recently the situation has improved a bit and I can feel Teacher's boundless compassion and benevolence in his lectures.
I was a physics major in college. A few days ago I discussed the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party with a college classmate and we touched upon evolution. At the end of our conversation he asked me surprisingly: "So you do believe that God created human beings?" Hearing that, I was surprised too. Because I was not thinking about this issue at all at the time. My belief just revealed itself in my speech. It means that the understanding has become a part of me without my paying attention to it. It has replaced the notion that modern science had solidly planted in me long ago. So although I did not feel anything specific, studying the Fa frequently is useful.
Telling People the Facts about Dafa
I have done some truth clarification and I attended some Fa-rectification activities after the persecution began on July 20, 1999. But there was quite a long time when I was not too enthusiastic about these kinds of activities. It is mainly because I did not have a proper understanding toward the Fa-rectification, and my belief in Teacher and Dafa was not a hundred percent. Although I would tell people that I believe in Teacher and Dafa (and I knew I did), deep in my heart I still was having some doubts. My belief was not solid. This, plus the fact that I was lazy and my family members' objection, made my participation in Fa-rectification activities less frequent. I knew that the situation was not good, but I could not break through and overcome the obstacle.
Later, through my discussion with fellow practitioners, my understanding and trust toward the Fa-rectification improved gradually. They suggested that I participate in Fa-rectification activities more often, and go with an attitude of not wanting to accomplish something. They told me that I needed to go as much as I could even if I did not truly see the meaning of it, and that gradually I would see the importance. I followed these suggestions, and in the past six months the situation has gradually improved. During my participation in the activities, I saw the complete dedication of fellow practitioners and their selflessness. I found that all of them had matured, and were full of confidence and capable of taking charge, and most of all, I saw their steadfast belief in Teacher and Dafa. All of this moved me and affected me. I felt that I was no longer left behind and I was part of the overall great energy channel that was circulating. My cultivation has become easier.
Some of my experiences in six years of cultivation are good and some are bad. I have stumbled because of my own attachments. When I did not do so well it was mostly due to a poor understanding of the principles of Dafa. But one thing that I was determined in was my wishing to do well. I believe that because of this determination, Teacher has always been watching me and taking care of me. When I was unclear about the principles of Dafa, he let me meet fellow practitioners who could guide and correct me. When I was confused and hesitated to move forward, he created an environment to help me break through this barrier. Ordinary people think that miracles mean flying up into the sky or diving into the earth. A practitioner's miracles are usually not that earth-shattering, but they occur very frequently, right around to us.