(Clearwisdom.net) For two years I've worked with a fellow practitioner to validate the Fa, but only twice in that time have we practiced the exercises together. This exposed a problem in our cultivation.

Although I understood that doing exercises together is a part of Falun Gong cultivation required by Teacher, it is actually very hard to do. Once, while we were practicing together, he told me that he'd become used to practicing alone. Along with other problems, we ended up practicing separately. Although I knew it was wrong, I found it was easier to ignore my own attachment. From then, I didn't practice except for the times when I was very diligent in cultivation.

Recently, after experiencing many troubles, my fellow practitioner seemed to realize that he hadn't done well the three things required by Teacher and had let the evil take the advantage of his laziness. I asked him to practice with me and he agreed.

When I called him at 5:30 a.m. the next morning he was still sleeping. Later I learned that he hadn't gone to bed until 3 a.m. I suggested we practice the first set of excises and then send forth righteous thoughts, but he wanted to send forth righteous thoughts first to clear his mind, so we proceeded separately. Only from the second set of exercises did we practice together.

While practicing the second set I noticed he scratched himself. I thought, that's not right, we shouldn't move. I intended to mention it to him when we finished. What happened next really surprised me. He scratched again and again, and his posture was seriously distorted. A thought came to my mind: "How can you practice such a great cultivation way like this? It's no surprise at all that you've had so many troubles recently. If I were the old forces I would punish you too ."

Having read this far, I bet you've noticed that I kept blaming the other practitioner, but failed to dig out my own hidden attachments and unrighteous thoughts.

My thoughts were not merely bad, but evil. Such thoughts, which endorsed the old forces' persecution against my fellow practitioner, finally grabbed my attention. I realized that it wasn't actually my own thought, and I didn't hesitate to deny those thoughts, but how could this happen to me, and what was causing it?

On the surface, the evil was caused by my first thought that my fellow practitioner wasn't exercising properly, and didn't cherish the precious Fa. My thought appeared to follow the Fa, and my reasoning seemed sound, yet perhaps it might have been that he didn't realize how bad his posture was or that he was too sleepy to stay in the proper position, or maybe the old forces were interfering with him. The purpose of group Fa study and practice is to help each other and identify and resolve problems. All I needed to do was kindly point out his problem, because correcting the problem was the only thing that mattered.

Why did I have to help the old forces to persecute him? How could I allow the old forces to make arrangements for my fellow practitioner? Was it just because he hadn't done well? Due to the principles of mutual generation and mutual inhibition and our attachments, it is not unusual for practitioners to experience trouble and interference. Teacher recognizes this and allows it. While working through these difficulties, we also get opportunities to improve ourselves, but what the old forces have arranged can only interfere with the Fa rectification. This should not be allowed!

These are the types of arrangements the old forces attempt to make for Dafa practitioners: Falun Dafa practitioners' shortcomings are used as an excuse for the old forces to persecute them until they are able to do well. The gods of the old forces don't want Dafa practitioners to succeed in their cultivation, so they enlarge and reinforce their attachments. They inject evil thoughts into practitioners who haven't done their tasks well and try to make them enlighten along an evil path. In so doing the old forces can eliminate those they don't want, and those who they believe have not met their standards, such as those who have yet to defeat the demon of lust.

We are the students of Teacher, the greatest Master of the universe. Teacher is looking after us, caring for us. The old forces have no right to decide our fate and interfere with the Fa rectification. Our merciful Teacher has imparted to us such a great Fa, which will save the whole universe. Teacher is absolutely capable of saving us if we abide in the Fa, even though some of us have done terrible things, like working for the Communist Party as spies.

That is why Teacher told us to deny all the old forces' arrangements, as well as the old forces themselves. Neither should we acknowledge the persecution the old forces unleash on the Fa and Dafa practitioners.

I realized that the bad thoughts reflected in my mind conformed with those of the old forces. It may be because the old forces had planted them in me during my previous lives, from the education I'd received, or the Communist culture I had been immersed in. Once I accepted them as my own, I'd given them an excuse to arrange our paths and persecute us. They would claim that I had accepted their arrangements.

It's also possible that it was rooted in my mind because I was a being of the old universe. I'd been getting worse and worse in accordance with the old universe's law of formation, stasis, degeneration, and destruction. But I have chosen to assimilate to the Fa and assist Teacher in rectifying the Fa, while the old forces have chosen elimination.

Although they don't really want to be eliminated, the old forces have insisted on the things they want during the Fa Rectification, not what Teacher wants, and they haven't made the Fa their top priority. Their selfish nature and unwillingness to change has made it impossible for them to enter the new universe, so they have to be destroyed along with the old one.

Similarly, if we can't abandon our attachments and various intentions (i.e. fear, comfort, or the mentality of doing things), can't make the Fa our top priority, or don't do well the three things assigned by Teacher, then we become the expression of the old forces among Dafa practitioners and are no different than the old forces, and are deserving of their fate.

We are in the maze of human society. Teacher hasn't given up on us and keeps giving us opportunities to do well according to the Fa and assimilate to the Fa. That's the way Teacher is treating all sentient beings. If we don't do well, we'll surely have reason to regret it deeply, even if we return to our origin due to Teacher's immense grace.

From this experience I found a few things we should watch out for:

While being mindful of our safety, we should try our best to practice as a group. For those of us who don't have these conditions, we must still practice the excerises and study the Fa daily. Failing to do so, no matter the reason, is wrong. "Maintaining Dafa's tradition, upholding Dafa's cultivation principles, and persevering in true cultivation are long-term tests for every Dafa disciple." ("Abandon Human Attachments and Continue True Cultivation" from Essentials for Further Advancement)

The righteous thoughts of Dafa practitioners possess mighty power. If I'd reminded the practitioner with righteous thoughts he would have gladly corrected his posture, but at the time I didn't understand the principle clearly and the power of my righteous thoughts was limited. We have to pay close attention to the importance of sending forth righteous thoughts from a Fa based perspective. We should make sure we participate in the global effort to send forth righteous thoughts together. From time to time, we should increase the number of times we send forth righteous thoughts.

Believe in Teacher and the Fa. Unconditionally clarify the truth. Realize that fear and selfish intentions are merely false images.