(Shared at 2006 Melbourne Experience Sharing Conference)
I have tried many times to write an experience sharing article. However, each time I started putting pen to paper and the words started materializing in front of my eyes, fear and panic began tightly gripping me.
I panicked because my most inner thoughts were going to be exposed. I wondered, "How I am going to cope with it, and most importantly, what is everyone going to think about it?" The thoughts themselves were probably partly to blame. Another factor was my thinking that those thoughts were me and that I was more comfortable with them staying hidden. They were hidden deep in my consciousness and surfaced only when it was required for them to bend my will according to their need.
My thoughts were often driven by my concern for what others thought of me. Therefore incorrect understandings often emerged. Moreover, because I was unable to openly share from the Fa, such understanding could not be corrected.
This was what I was going through. Yet, I felt that it was a reflection of the cultivation environment at large because local practitioners rarely shared about their cultivation and enlightenment when we got together. This just pushed me more and more away from the one body because I didn't feel that the environment was open and able to accept mistakes. However, this was not correct because I was blaming an external factor when I should have looked inside to identify the cause.
I often felt that the cultivation environment was not very good, but I never did anything to try and change it. I just went along with the flow. I kept asking myself, "Why am I doing this, and why am I unable to help improve things?" It felt like I was trying to lift a very heavy weight off the ground.
One day as I was reading one of Master's lectures, it hit me like a ton of bricks that I have not been diligent. Of course, the answer was simple. However, it took a few months of getting up early every day, doing the exercises and studying the Fa before work, to enlighten to the difference between the meaning of being diligent and not being diligent.
I realized that the apathetic feeling I had been carrying around with me was due to my enlightening along an evil path and straying away from the Fa. I had allowed Fa-rectification tasks to overtake and run my day. I made them my priority, although I can't say that I was being all that efficient in doing the tasks.
This, of course, caused a lot of disruption because everything I was doing was being done with a human state of mind and was controlled by human concepts. In turn, I was unable to break out of this human state because my cultivation, exercises and Fa Study had been pushed aside and became a second priority.
I often looked at veteran practitioners and compared myself to them. Hearing them sometimes say things like they had not studied the Fa or practiced for a day or two helped fuel my human thoughts linked to comfort and ease. Things slowly got worse and worse to the point where I was separated from the main body completely, and I started to get caught up in things that had nothing to do with Fa-Rectification.
At this time I realized that I initially needed to improve myself and the environment at home. So I decided to go back to the basics that Master gave us to help us cultivate: Zhuan Falun and the five exercises. These are two of the most precious things a person can come across at the present time. First, they allow the mind to be rectified and elevated so that one may be able to take part in Fa-Rectification and constantly improve one's xinxing. Secondly, they give us enough energy to slowly change and cleanse our bodies at all levels and transform them into something pure.
Once I started doing these basics diligently, I found that doing the three things well became effortless again. My righteous thoughts were stronger than ever. Opportunities to clarify the truth were crossing my path almost every day without even making an effort. Things just seemed to fall into place. I was not finding things difficult, and I was able to carry a lot more Fa-Rectification responsibilities without feeling the weight at all.
I was shocked because I realized that all this time I had been fumbling along, comparing myself with others' shortcomings, and sometimes using them as excuses for not puting in more effort. The most humbling thing in all of this was that Master never stopped giving me hints and trying to help me break out of the mire I was bogged down in. Moreover, knowing that I was probably just barely hanging on by my teeth, He never lost faith in me when I had almost given up and I thought that I was hopeless and unable to enlighten to how to move forward.
I also realized that I needed to take one day at a time and not expect miracles overnight. So it felt like I had started cultivating all over again. However, this time my understanding of the Fa was much clearer and the fog and haze were no longer there.
More than ever before, I started to try looking inside first when facing a test. I realized that the first thing I did in the past was point outward whenever a problem surfaced, instead of looking within. Therefore, I missed precious opportunities arranged by Master to let go of my attachments and improve my xinxing.
I can now look inside and say that I know what it means to be diligent. If I find it hard to balance things and find that I don't have enough time, or if I allow anything human to influence Fa-Rectification tasks, I see it as an indication that I have not been diligent and that my Fa study and righteous thoughts are not up to the required standard. I also look to see if I have been doing the exercises as I should.
With this in mind, I am improving every day. I know that I can help change the cultivation environment by changing myself first and foremost. I then look outward and see where I can complement and point out the shortcomings we have as one-body. I will also promise to share a lot more about my cultivation as I encourage all the veteran practitioners to do the same.
Please point out anything incorrect.
Thank you Master, and thank you fellow practitioners.