From a Competitive Person
to a Compassionate Person
Dan Alfjorden, Sweden
My name is Dan and I come from Sweden. I grew up in a family with four brothers and two parents who worked hard in order to give us food, shelter, protection and knowledge. In school we learned that unchangeable laws govern all nature and that everything developed through a struggle for survival and the fear of dying. The one who is the strongest, smartest and most beautiful wins and survives. We were taught that we were monkeys with a little more intelligence and that we have one life and then we disappear.
I thought that happiness came through competing and struggling with the others to obtain more money and buy things; this kind of happiness was always short and had to be conquered. In school we did tests and were compared that you were good and he was bad. In the school and during my free time I tried to be smart and compete. It was a hard life. The notions I've been taught about girls and sex created big problems for me since I had big requirements on myself and how a girl should be and look like. This is what I learned was important in life because to be beautiful and win is happiness. There were occasions I thought about the meaning of life, but it was just for a brief moment. Before any feeling of anxiety raised, I tried to calm down by doing something or eating something. No one spoke about the meaning of life or the reason for suffering. We were taught that suffering is bad, diseases came out of a bad immune system. Bacteria, viruses, come from other people or nature. Only if you eat right, take medicine and workout, your body will be fine. In the society there exists thieves and strange people. The solution was to be smart and let the others do the hard work. But why shall I live in a society, get knowledge, experience beauty, joy and grief, have the ability to create, play and discover things, get a family and children, become ill, meet with an accident, loose friends, become bitter, angry, worried, afraid, jealous, and die finally? Why all this? No one apart from the Master have told me why and how to really solve the biggest problem of humankind, the suffering in all its different forms.
One day, about five years ago, I saw a film where Samer, the Swedish Indians living in the north of Sweden, were chased by priests. I felt a tremendous pain in my heart and felt like the heart would blow into pieces. What was it that happened, I felt powerless. Earlier I also had been having trouble to swallow for a long time, I had some pains in my chest and could easily get headaches, but when I went to the doctor, they couldn't find anything wrong with me. The feeling of loneliness that I experienced occasionally now became bigger and I began to seek. I became much interested in philosophy, psychology, Buddhism, theatre and so on and felt as if I had found the way back to the happiness of discovering. Now I realize that it was out of this loneliness that I had received the power and the will to seek the truth, and meaning of life. Thanks for those sufferings and all the problems. They have shown me the way.
One day, thanks to a so-called "coincidence", I got in contact with these fantastic teachings and attended a nine-day seminar. Earlier I had heard about Falun Gong but was then busy with another teaching, and others had told me that Falun Gong was like a religion. But now I was given a second chance. During the two following weeks, I intensively compared Falun Dafa with the other schools I've been to. In Falun Dafa, I felt a greater openness and that the teachings was very profound. I learned the exercises and decided to leave the other schools.
After reading the Masters writings over and over again, I have come to understand and experience that much of what I learned earlier was wrong, if you see it from a higher level. What is happiness and freedom? Why do some suffer while others have a good life? Why do I sometimes feel unhappy? Why does life feel unjust to me? Is everything governed by unchangeable law? Can one alter ones life? What is human development? For these and many other questions I here found the answers. As I understand, the Universe and nature are really most friendly and filled with compassion. This incredible intelligence created all that we can and can not see. It doesn't want to destroy anything; it just wants to help us. Our body and mind also comes from this intelligence. I think that if I just learn to listen inwards it will lead me all the way back. But I hadn't learned to listen inwards, just to seek outwards.
As I understand it, man lives on the earth because of ignorance, desires and attachments to things, people, sex, feelings, fame and gain. Everything in this world is created for us. It's like a school of life, there is a cause and an effect for what we do and it can teach us something about the universe and ourselves. Each day and night, month after month, year after year, life after life we get new chances to learn new things and see the truth. But if we never learn our lessons and never take away the bad things in our heart we will finally be destroyed.
In my excitement and joy over finding Falun Gong I misinterpreted certain things and made many mistakes. I tried to convince others without really listening to what they wanted. I've stopped doing this bit by bit and understand the Master's words "If you don't want to cultivate, no one is going to make you cultivate, otherwise that would be the same as doing bad deeds. Who can make you change your heart?" I wanted to plan my own cultivation and find some tests. At first my body had a lot of pain. I perspired and froze. My mind often said no, stop practicing, stop reading. At my work, everything seemed to be difficult and everybody was hard to get along with. The desire for tasty food and sweet things grew; my mind swore occasionally and had bad thoughts about the Master, Dafa, other people and myself. I was suspicious of others and myself. Thanks to Dafa I now know that these things weren't really me but could help me learn something.
My determination grew. The more I read Dafa and learned to separate what was good and bad in my mind, the Great Law grew more and more in my mind and body.
Later on my job went easier; everything became easier, and I had more energy, slept better and began to be able to accept others instead of judging them. I understood more and more things, and this heart of mine didn't ache that much any longer.
When I showed Falun Gong to others, I felt that my arms, my heart and my legs were like cotton. My mind was often clear. Most of the times when I practiced at the practice site, all the good and bad in my mind and body appeared to be more visible. Occasionally a strong feeling of mercy entered my mind and made all pains or bad thoughts just disappear or not bother me. But when I finished practice, a great chill went all over my body. Occasionally when I saw the others practice, I had a feeling of both happiness and sorrow.
When I reflect further back on my life, it seems like a lot of what I have done has prepared me to get this Law and prepared me for helping others to get it. Through striving in my life, I have learned a lot of ordinary people's knowledge and their way of thinking. Thanks to Dafa, (the great law), I now understand these are the obstacles. I hope I can use the rest of my time on earth to cultivate myself and to help people understand Dafa and break through all these obstacles. For me I can't think of anything more important than upgrading my mind/heart nature and helping people to realize the meaning of life and get back to the true self.
Having introduced Dafa to a lot of people, I have realized that it is not easy to learn the practice. There are a lot of disturbing factors in people's lives and minds, but at the same time, we get a lot of help. Occasionally when reading the books my mind is elevated to a higher understanding. I then get a very strong desire to help others get the Law. But unfortunately I haven't done it well because of my being afraid of what others might think about me and because I compared myself with others and my previous way of being.
I can tell the following story. A couple of months ago, when waiting for a train, I saw a person I've been in contact with for a short time. I thought of going up to her and giving her some information about Falun Dafa. But suddenly I hesitated when she looked away and did not say hello. In my mind, I felt doubt and fear. Then, the next second, a 9-year-old girl came up to me, completely unknown to me. She stretched her hand up to me and asked if I wanted some candy. The simplicity and good will in her action and in her eyes made me dissolve inside. Here I was, having received the Great Law, the biggest gift a human being could receive, and still I was hesitating to give it to someone I knew. But without hesitation, this girl gave me, a stranger, the things she could share for the moment. My mind responded with a feeling of repentance and in it there was a force telling me not to hesitate the next time. Thanks for this lesson that I think has taken me one step closer to freedom.
During my cultivation, each time I have taken it easy, become satisfied with myself or proud of myself, a big test would occur that put me back on track again. From this I have learned that the attachment of complacency can have a negative effect on me in my cultivation. I should study Dafa more and be diligent. I realize that the only thing I should compare myself with is the Great Law and Truth Compassion Tolerance and always look inwards when something goes wrong.
I shall do my best to help others to get the Great Law. I hope that we shall all cultivate diligently and reach perfection.