Rectify Every Single Thought: An Analysis of My Deviated Thinking
(Clearwisdom.net) Today I was finally able to break through the interference and write an article about my cultivation experience of exposing my fundamental attachments in the past year. I hope to help fellow practitioners who have had similar experiences.
Since last October, the program I was responsible for at work was temporarily terminated due to some restructuring in my company. However, my employer still paid me. This meant it was perfectly justifiable for me to get out of my busy work schedule and completely devote myself to practicing Falun Dafa. I would have sufficient time to do the three things a practitioner in the Fa-rectification period is supposed to do. I understood that this was Master's benevolent arrangement since I hadn't been very diligent in my cultivation. I felt that Master wanted me to make up the time I had wasted. For a long period of time, I had no pressure from work, nor did I have any worries in my daily life. This was a great opportunity that many fellow practitioners couldn't even imagine having, so I decided to make the three things my priority: studying the Fa, sending forth righteous thoughts and clarifying the truth. I told myself not to slack off and not to allow an attachment to leisure to develop.
However, things went contrary to my hopes. What followed was interference and persecution from strong thought karma. I could hardly stand it. It severely impacted my daily life and disturbed my normal mindset. Regardless of whether I was awake or asleep, miscellaneous thoughts came up just like the tide coming in. It was as if all the thoughts I had had in my entire life were all stirred up. I felt like I wore a huge and heavy hat that made me dizzy and gave me a headache.
I tried hard to study the Fa and to memorize the Fa. I tried not to treat the thoughts as mine. I wasn't able to get rid of them or suppress them. I tried to send forth righteous thoughts about ten times every day for a year. It didn't help that much. I struggled between the thoughts from my "fake self" and my "true self." My brain didn't function well. My arms and legs even felt stiff and were not very agile.
As time went by, I became very anxious, and I wasn't happy. I didn't feel poised anymore, nor did I feel the wonderful feeling I had experienced when I first obtained the Fa. I became depressed, worried, and hopeless. I even lost my confidence. I was puzzled because I didn't think I had slacked off on studying the Fa and memorizing the Fa. I tried hard to make truth-clarification materials and clarify the truth. I continued to send forth righteous thoughts. However, I didn't understand how I got further and further off track. I kept looking inward, but I was never able to find the root cause. Instead, I developed new attachments by trying to get rid of this attachment.
This morning, as I was getting up and getting dressed, I started having one thought after another as usual. Suddenly, I clearly "looked at" the thought that just came up, and then I thought: "This is obviously not what I want. I don't want it. Why am I not stopping it? Would I die if I didn't think this way?" I seemed to understand that it was my deviated thinking that was allowing the evil factors to exert control. Strong attachments to fame, money, and sentiment were behind these thoughts and continued to supply energy to them. I was the one who didn't want to completely eliminate the attachments. I was afraid, afraid of letting them go! So, although I was trying hard to get rid of them, I was still not successful. The fundamental reason was this underlying factor.
On the surface, I seemed to be very diligent in studying the Fa and cultivating. In fact, from the bottom of my heart, I kept the human notions to myself and didn't want to let them go. As a matter of fact, I was trying to use Dafa to bring me a healthy body so I could enjoy a good human life. Although I perceived myself to view fame, money, and sentiment lightly, it was only because I was comparing myself to regular people or to myself in the past. This is definitely not the standard for a practitioner. It's far from the standard of a Dafa practitioner cultivating to consummation. I know that, as a practitioner, it's not right to chase after fame, money, or sentiment. So I hid my attachments in my fantasies and imaginative thoughts. I enjoyed them, protected them, and didn't want to let them go. After a while, this became a habit. Now the attachments have become a huge granite mountain on my cultivation path. They manipulate me. I never paid attention to them like I did today. I just blindly negated them and eliminated them. In fact, I was avoiding them, I was afraid of them, and I didn't want to face them. I had the pursuit of having a clear mind when studying the Fa and sending forth righteous thoughts. Therefore, I wasn't able to completely eliminate my attachments because, in the end, I still wanted them.
Since I was very young, I have been, on the surface, very gentle and plain, and I was never good at promoting myself. However, in my heart, I was very complicated. I liked to daydream. I could have several dozen thoughts within a second. Oftentimes, while I was doing one thing, I was thinking about something totally unrelated. When I read novels, I imagined different scenes and pictures, and I was easily moved by the characters, becoming happy or sad and laughing or crying. I put myself into the different characters as I daydreamed, and I became very involved. I indulged in my imagination and dreamed of things that I wanted to do but was afraid to do or things I wanted to have but didn't have in real life. I imagined many vivid pictures like movies in my mind. I enjoyed the satisfaction and happiness that I didn't enjoy in my real life.
The dreams I had when I was young were certainly full of kindness, purity, and aspirations for the future. However, as I was growing up and experiencing more and more of life's pressures, this habit negatively affected my normal thinking. I developed headaches, a weak and frail nervous system, and neurosis when I was in high school. When I was under pressure, this daydreaming habit immediately increased the pressure in my mind. I became a perfectionist and, in the end, I developed insomnia. I was nervous, anxious, dizzy, and tired all the time. Although I later became a doctor, I understood that this disease is not curable--it can only rely on psychological treatment. Sometimes it improves, sometimes it worsens.
In 1998, I began Dafa cultivation. I didn't pursue anything in Dafa at the time. It turned out that not too long after that, I suddenly realized that I had become happy and mentally and physically healthy. My mind became so clear and both my body and mind felt purified. I was so thrilled. I deeply understood the wonderfulness of Dafa. I made up my mind that I would never slack off in studying the Fa, practicing the exercises and cultivating my xinxing.
Not too long after I started practicing Falun Dafa, I was transferred to work at a shopping center and became a sales representative. Although I warned myself not to be contaminated by the business world, I still learned to be less than honest or to guess what others were thinking in order to discover what they liked. I knew I should have restricted my behavior, but I slacked off in controlling my thoughts. I didn't have enough righteous thoughts and my main conscious was not strong enough. In the end, my human side was occupied by different evil thoughts and bad things.
With my outstanding performance at work, I developed a show-off mentality, the attachment to zealotry and jealousy, a competitive mentality, and the attachment to self. They were becoming my natural habits. In my daily life, I hadn't been very strict with myself in every single thought, word, or action. I didn't cultivate as diligently as I should have.
When doing the three things, I fell into a state of just doing them, and I felt anxious and became attached to time and to consummation. As Fa-rectification has reached the final stage, the requirements for Dafa disciples have also become increasingly higher. Moreover, the evil beings in other dimensions are menacingly glaring at us. My habit of degenerated thinking could be even more easily exploited, aggravated and intensified by evil factors. Master said, "Having humanly fostered the evil demons, you allow them to capitalize on the loopholes in the Fa." ("Expounding on the Fa" in Essentials for Further Advancement) The old cosmic forces' ultimate goal is to control my thinking, make me unknowingly give up my true self, weaken my will and righteous thoughts, and finally ruin me.
This kind of degenerated thinking could also easily incur demonic interference, and it could transform into different false scenes following my mind intent. When I cared about my vanity and was afraid of speaking in large meetings, the following imaginary scene would come into my mind: I am speaking with either emotion or eloquence, there are no vacant seats in the room and all the audience members applaud thunderously. When I felt that my appearance was not good enough, I imagined: I am speaking and walking with charm and elegance, and all praise me for my poise and charm. When I became attached to myself, to showing off and to complacency, the following scenes would appear in my mind: Others are praising me and speaking about me favorably regardless if they are facing me or not; both my customers and competitors are speaking highly of me, and they genuinely praise and admire me; the others also talk about me favorably; I am modest, have accomplished a lot, and have done well in business; I, by myself, can do as much work as several other companies, etc.
However, the difference between reality and my fantasy again gave me a strong sense of inferiority because I knew well that I was far from being as "good" or "strong" as I was in my imagination. I had perceived the marketplace to be like a battlefield and that everything there could hardly be predicted. With my strong vanity, I was afraid that a minor slip-up in my actions would cause damage to my reputation. Therefore, I tried hard to maintain my superficial modesty. In actuality, I had not really let go of my attachments to reputation, gain, and sentimentality. These attachments had instead become even more hidden and sly. When my jealousy strongly surfaced, I felt that no one was better than I was. Thus, I was like a flashlight that pours light only on others but not itself. When I saw that fellow practitioners did better than I, I then thought: "She still has this or that attachment, which has not yet been eliminated." What came next into my mind were those past incidents that showed how the other practitioners were not as good as I was, as well as various scenes that I transformed to accommodate my thinking that I am better than other practitioners. When I felt fear, my mind would churn: I felt as if someone was following me, and I always wanted to turn around and take a look. If someone did follow me, how could I escape? If I failed in my escape, what should I say? If I was arrested, how should I handle it? Should I stage a hunger strike first or do something else? This scenario went back and forth in my mind all day long.
When I first started practicing, Master purified my mind. I did not know to cherish the opportunity and I took a laissez-faire attitude. I do not know when my mind started to gradually become muddy and heavy. At first, this kind of imaginary thinking occurred only occasionally and during the day. Because I did not stop it, it got worse with time. In the end, it developed to such a degree that I was in this kind of murky thinking from morning to night, and even during my sleep. It was hard to control.
- Searching within myself, I looked back at the detour that I took. Why did I still have such strong thought karma and such a degenerated way of thinking? Besides the old forces' systematic arrangements, there were even more serious problems that had existed in me. First, I failed to respect Master and the Fa. When I studied the Fa, my mind was not clear and clean and I could not concentrate. I just studied the Fa for the sake of studying the Fa. I just memorized the Fa for the sake of memorizing the Fa. I studied the Fa for the sake of eliminating my own attachments. I only paid attention to what I felt physically and mentally when I practiced the exercises. When I got away from the Fa, the demons would find my loopholes and interfere. Second, I failed to genuinely search within myself, cultivate my xinxing, restrict myself, and truly control each and every thought of mine. When a bad thought surfaced, I did not immediately stop it or send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate it. I instead thought along its lines and let it roam freely. As a result, this kind of evil took control of my mind. When I could not solve the problem, I turned to Master for help. This was, in fact, the same as "It is precisely because of one's ill intentions that one brings to oneself bad things." (Lecture Three, Zhuan Falun) Third, I relaxed my main consciousness, and my righteous thoughts were not strong. Master said:
- "It no longer wants to be in charge of the body. It is always in a daze and cannot become conscious. At this point, the person's Assistant Consciousness or foreign messages will interfere with him. There are so many levels in each dimension. All sorts of messages will disturb him." (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
- As I had more time and as the environment became better, I unknowingly slacked off and my main consciousness became weak. When my main consciousness became weak, the demonic interference became stronger, and all kinds of interference came. The situation rapidly became aggravated and overpowered my human thinking. It later reached a stage such that the interference could hardly be controlled.
Facing the dilemma, I knew in my heart that only Dafa could save me. When I read Zhuan Falun and studied the Fa, my eyes seemed to be covered with a layer of shimmering light. I sent forth righteous thoughts and tried my best to calm myself down. I had to open my eyes wide to be able to clearly see each word of the Fa. My head was so heavy that I could not even raise it. My mind seemed to be carrying a mountain when my eyes moved from one word to the next. In my mind, there were numerous miscellaneous thoughts that were wrestling and in a stalemate with me. Every day I persisted to send forth righteous thoughts over ten times; I targeted the thought karma, the warped way of thinking, and the evil Party's culture, which essentially does not belong to me. I used my righteous thoughts, which were so powerful they could chop mountains in half, to completely eliminate, disintegrate, and negate the old forces' arrangements. I read through the Fa and recited the Fa from memory twice. (I just partially recited the Fa; I could not recite the Fa with the book completely closed.) As I memorized the Fa, I slowly got to a level at which I could recite some whole sentences. With perseverance, I could recite whole sections. From studying the Fa, my main consciousness gradually became strong. I could clearly feel that "my" thinking had become clear, clean and elevated, and I could differentiate and recognize the interfering thoughts. I could quickly realize their existence and then send forth righteous thoughts to eliminate them. Every day I repeatedly recited in my mind that my main consciousness should be strong!
Although my mind is still not as clean and clear as when I first started practicing, and although I still have inference when I study the Fa and practice the exercises, the demonic interference can no longer affect me much. I am confident that through studying the Fa and cultivating myself diligently, I can definitely have a rebirth in my cultivation. I can cultivate the mindset that a cultivator should have and allow every thought of mine to be genuine, compassionate and righteous.
Just as I was about to finish this article, I still felt that I had not completely dug out everything in my mind. It seemed that I had not found the ultimate root cause and that some even more hidden and huge fundamental attachments were still there. Master also hinted to me that there were still loopholes in my cultivation.
It has been eight years since I started my cultivation, and I have tried hard to cultivate myself diligently. So why did I always feel that the more I cultivated myself, the more tired I felt, and the more I studied the Fa, the more backward I was going? The demonic side of my thoughts had also gotten increasingly larger. I always felt that there was a very thick layer of insulation separating me from Dafa. I always had a panicky feeling in my inner mind. I did not have that kind of candid and natural mindset at all. It was even more so that I did not have the feeling of enjoyment like a lost child having found the way home.
For a long time, a voice has been asking me, "Why do I have to persist in cultivation practice under such hardship? Is it because of my faith in Teacher and the Fa? How much faith do I have? Is it one hundred percent? Am I steadfast enough?" I think that I was fairly steadfast during the first few years. Faced with the evil understanding spread by those who turned away from Dafa, although I could not subdue them, I told myself in my heart, "I will never give up! I will hold on until the last minute!" I then lost contact with other practitioners and the Minghui/Clearwisdom website for three and a half years. Wading through the mist, I made it to today. During dangerous encounters with the demons of lust and sentiment, I almost fell, but with the remainder of the faith in my heart, I made it. Countless times, Teacher has imprinted in my mind the Fa, "What's there to fear? My body would still sit there even with my head cut off." ("Huge Exposure" in Essentials for Further Advancement) The steadfastness of my faith in Teacher and the Fa has helped me make it to today.
In the last year or two, as my cultivation environment has eased up, I have tried to be as diligent as I could and keep up with the process of Fa-rectification. However, I felt my once steadfast faith was shaky and I was having doubts. This especially occurred when the thought karma was rampant and when I became depressed. I thought, "I was not meant for cultivation practice. What sense does it make for me to hang on? It isn't bad to just become a new human in the new universe."
In fact, the problem that lay deep in my mind that I never thought of or exposed was that I have the fundamental problem of not firmly believing in Teacher and the Fa and the attachment of fearing hardship. For the past eight years, I have studied the Fa a lot and have been doing the three things. However, I was merely doing them. I was reluctantly following the big external environment and big trend of Fa-rectification cultivation practice. When I read the articles from the Minghui website or saw other practitioners doing something, and when Teacher articulated the principles behind it, I told myself, "Oh, I should do this, too." It was not because I truly understood the Fa from the depth of my mind or because my xinxing had reached a certain level that I did those things. Instead, I did those things without touching the rock-hard substance in the depth of my mind even a little bit. Just as Teacher has pointed out in "Determination" in Essentials for Further Advancement:
"If you take up this path out of some interest, your mind will definitely not be firm and you will definitely forget the fundamentals while living in human society. If you don't firmly hold to your faith you will gain nothing in this life."
I also have this deeply hidden attachment to fearing hardship and seeking ease and comfort. I felt, "Even if it is possible for a human to become a god, how difficult it must be and how much effort one must put into it." Besides, Dafa practitioners carry big responsibilities in that we not only have to cultivate ourselves, we also have to save others. I did not believe I could do it, and I complained in my heart, "Why did I choose to come down here? If only I had chosen to stay up there and wait for Teacher to finish the Fa-rectification!" I was only thinking of gaining--I was not thinking of repaying my debts. I only wanted to take advantage of the benefits of learning Dafa without thinking of the great responsibility bestowed upon Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples by the universe.
All lives in the entire universe, regardless of their level, must assimilate to Dafa unconditionally, follow Teacher's arrangements during Fa-rectification, and position themselves according to their true xinxing standard during Fa-rectification. This is what Fa-rectification is! It is the choice of the future, new universe! Dafa disciples, especially Fa-rectification period Dafa disciples, are so fortunate to be with Teacher in the same world and to be chosen by Teacher to come to this world to assist in Fa-rectification. Master told us that this is the highest honor and glory of all the lives in the entire universe, and is the title that numerous gods envy but cannot obtain--even though they want to. I was so poor in my understanding of it, and I did so poorly in treasuring it.
I did not firmly believe in Teacher and the Fa. I did not respect the Fa, and my mind often wandered while reading the books. I treated the supernormal Dafa and cultivation practice with a human heart. Thus, I allowed the evil thoughts in my mind to grow rampantly. I only cared about how to conduct myself to become a good person and how to take advantage of the benefits brought to me by practicing Dafa, so as to have an easy and comfortable life. I had never thought of indeed becoming a god. I did remove some attachments, but those were only to bring me a healthy body and soul, for peace of mind, and to become a decent and refined human. I could not get rid of all of my attachments. Therefore, there were always everyday things in my mind, and I always liked to talk about everyday matters. If I indeed wholeheartedly thought only of Dafa, wholeheartedly thought only of how to look inside and cultivate myself well, and wholeheartedly thought only of saving sentient beings who have been painstakingly looking forward to being saved, how could those filthy thoughts exist? They would have disappeared a long time ago. I feared bearing hardships, I was lazy, and I was after ease and comfort; therefore, my righteous thoughts were not powerful. I did not remove my attachments completely. Instead, I always carried pursuits while studying the Fa and doing the exercises; therefore, these bad substances piled up in my dimensional field.
Holding on to these fundamental attachments, I have been trapped in the following alternating situations for a very long time. When my mentality of not believing took the lead, I would slow down in cultivation practice, pursue ease and comfort and think subconsciously, "In case cultivation practice is not real, I did not waste my time. After all, I have tried a relaxing way of living and have obtained health benefits from practicing Dafa and doing the exercises." When my mentality of believing took the lead, I would rush to do the three things wholeheartedly, and I regarded anything or anyone that was not related to these things as annoying and interference. I felt an urgency of time and worried about my lack of accomplishments in so many aspects. Therefore, I could not attend to one thing without losing track of another, and I developed attachments to all kinds of things such as irritability, doing things, time, and consummation. Being back and forth like this, my behavior was far from the standard of a practitioner. When I was clarifying the truth and persuading people to quit the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated organizations, I did not fully believe it myself. Even though I put a lot of effort into talking to people about it, people would always ask, "Is this real? I know the CCP is not good, but is it really going to collapse? Even if it happens one day, it probably won't happen in my lifetime." Some even said, "I suppose it won't happen for 100 years." And some said, "Why bother thinking about that much? It has nothing to do with me. I would just take care of myself. What do you think?" I always got responses like these. In looking back, I realize that such comments were nothing but reflections of my own mentality.
For a long time, I had admired other practitioners who steadfastly believed in Teacher and the Fa as soon as they started cultivation practice, including those who had very little education. I was quite frustrated by the fact that I could not be as steadfast and diligent as others. Now I see that I had been taking these thoughts of doubt as my own thoughts, thinking of high level matters with my human thoughts, and trying to judge the Fa and prove the Fa with my human knowledge and understanding. I also convinced myself using the manifestation in other dimensions as seen by other practitioners whose third eyes were open instead of strengthening my righteous faith and righteous thoughts through understanding the Fa from the Fa. It turns out that by doing this I had made a terrible mistake!
I now realize that my enlightenment quality was really poor, and I had fallen in the maze of the human world too deeply and for too long. Today, regardless of which category I belong to, I am so fortunate to have obtained the Fa, to have received Teacher's merciful salvation, to finally understand the true meaning of Buddha Fa cultivation practice, and to understand the mission of Fa-rectification Dafa disciples. Our merciful and great Teacher has again scooped me out of hell, washed me clean, helped me elevate, and bestowed upon me the highest glory so that I can return to my real, long-departed-from home of pure gold. As long as the Fa-rectification is not over, I will grasp every moment to advance diligently! I firmly believe that I will not let down Teacher's merciful salvation, and I will not let down the sentient beings in my world who have been painstakingly looking forward to being saved!
Please point out anything improper. Thank you again, our esteemed Teacher!
Nov. 25, 2006