My Cultivation Experience with Falun Dafa
Joel Chipkar, Canada
My name is Joel. I live in Canada. I started to practice Falun Dafa just over one year ago. I want to share one of the many reasons why Falun Dafa has become such an important part of my life.
I grew up in a hot blooded, short tempered, angry, southern Italian family. I learned to fight with my brothers at a young age. We yelled and screamed and fought with each other or with any one else who crossed our path over the smallest things. Any excuse to vent the powerful destructive feeling of rage that steamed inside us.
My discontent, unhappy and angry life became progressively worse. I became a victim of my own agitated mind. I blamed society and my family for all my unhappiness. Thoughts of blame, self loathing and negativity stormed in my head in a whirlwind of confusion. I became a slave to my addictions. However, it didn't matter how much marijuana I smoked or how much alcohol I drank or who I slept with or how much money I made or how many trips I took or what books I read or what psychologist I went to see I couldn't stop my dissatisfaction with life or my anger.
I wanted answers but I didn't know where to turn. I decided to call my mom who I knew practiced Falun Dafa for some support. I had witnessed fantastic changes in her attitude towards life since she started practicing Falun Dafa. I told her how I felt. How I was so confused and tired of going around in the same vicious circles of negativity over and over again and that I needed help. My mom smiled and gave me a copy of Zhuan Falun. With all her love and compassion she said very simply to me, "Start to read this book. All of your answers are in this book."
I followed my mom's advice. I started to read the book and do the exercises. I vowed I would dedicate myself to read a little of the book each day, and also do the full set of the exercises at least twice a week for the next six months.
Zhuan Falun is the hardest book I ever tried to read. It pushed all of my buttons. As soon as I started to read thoughts of judgement and doubt filled my head. I judged and criticized what I read. I doubted the teaching. I found all kinds of things in the book I didn't agree with. I found all kinds of things that went against my beliefs. I found all kinds of things I didn't understand. The more I tried to figure it out with my intellectual mind the more lost I became. It made no sense to me. However, I was determined to stay true to my six month goal so Whenever I came across something I didn't understand or didn't agree with I just put those things aside and continued to read with an open mind.
As soon as I began the exercises I got so tired and so lazy. My mind wandered to thousands of thoughts and desires and away from the exercises. I got so restless when I sat for the sitting exercise. The music would start to play. I crossed my legs. I closed my eyes. I felt calm. I sat for a while. Then, I would spring up and walk into the kitchen to check my phone messages.
I finally made up my mind I would sit for the full hour. The music started to play. I crossed my legs. I closed my eyes. I sat for a while. My mind raced full of thoughts and pictures and desires. The pain in my legs became so intense I had to stop. I felt defeated. I then realized I had no self-control.
Three quarters of the way through the book I felt the power of Zhuan Falun. I became aware of character traits in myself that I had never seen before. I realized I grew up a very insecure, dissatisfied and selfish person. I was never happy with who I was or what I had. I always wanted more. I judged and criticized everyone I met. I looked at people as objects for my own needs. What benefit could they possibly give to me? Were they good enough? Were they smart enough? Were they attractive enough? Could they make me any money?
I had mastered the art of controlling and manipulating people for my own emotional needs and selfish desires.
Falun Dafa brought all of all my deep-rooted mental and physical defilement up to the surface and right in my face. It made me aware of who I was and how I lived.
The basic teaching of Falun Dafa is simple; Keep upgrading myself by living in accordance of the universal characteristics of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance, which Falun Dafa teaches are the true characteristics of the entire universe and of every human being. Don't fight with others. View others through the eyes of kindness and compassion. Diminish your attachments. Work hard but don't compete and stress for personal interest. Accept and understand others for who they are and look within to cultivate myself and live a peaceful life. As a practitioner one must follow the characteristics of the universe instead of the standard of ordinary people. If you can follow these characteristics then you are a good person.
When I first heard these words they sounded so peaceful. This was the answer I had looked for all my life! I was going to live by these guidelines! With this new information I felt like a new person, a kind person, a compassionate person, a tolerant person.
The next day I walked into my office with my new attitude. Within 5 minutes my brother said something that pushed my buttons. I flew into a rage and yelled and screamed as loud as I could. I left in a rage and slammed the door behind me. I boiled in negativity all the way home. I walked into my living room. The first thing I saw was Zhuan Falun on the coffee table. I sat stunned. "I understand the teachings! I know these teachings are the real truth, the real answer to my peace and happiness! Why can't I do it? Why do I slip back into my old negative and abusive patterns?" And then a story came to me. A story I witnessed some years ago of a young boy who throughout his short life had been badly abused by his mother. He had cigarette burns all over his body along with several fractures in various stages of healing. He also suffered from malnutrition. In this story a police matron is very gently and very cautiously holding this little boy as the mother is being hand cuffed and arrested for child abuse. As the police matron starts to take the child from the room, the child begins to lean over the police matrons shoulder, and reaches out to his mother. He screams, "mommy, mommy!" He screams out to the torturer, wanting desperately to go back.
I wondered why this child would want to go back to such a hell. Then I realized this negativity was all this boy had ever known. This abuse was his only familiar. He had no concept of what truth was or what kindness was or what compassion was.
I now understood that I, like that little boy, had become so familiar with my patterns of negativity that the simple and pure traits of kindness, compassion, selflessness actually felt foreign to me. All my life I had chosen the wrong paths. I knew if I wanted to build these new traits of kindness, compassion and forbearance into my life I would need support and I would need a guide. Falun Dafa has given me the support and guidance to create new choices in my life.
I thought, it's easy to look out into this world and want to stop the violence and the hate and the pain that surrounds us every day of our lives. It's easy to blame our society. It's easy to blame others. However, how often do I look at myself and take responsibility for how I act and how I treat people in my everyday life? Falun Dafa has taught me the only way I can truly make a difference in this world is to acknowledge my own short comings and choose to learn to cultivate my mind and live my life with higher morals and higher virtues so I can make the right choices.
As I continue to read Zhuan Falun over and over I find the teachings incorporate themselves into my everyday life. My old powerful patterns of negativity and fear are slowly decreasing as new patterns of compassion and tolerance become my new familiar. As I continue to read Zhuan Falun over and over everyday new lessons appear before my eyes and those things I didn't understand in the beginning are starting to make sense to me now.
My mom is my inspiration. She inspires me to persevere through my own hard times and build my determination to also succeed. I now find the pain has become my friend. It keeps me focused and alert. I also find when I persevere through the pain I build strong forbearance, endurance and acceptance in my every day life. Now when my brothers try to fight with me I say nothing. My trials and tribulations seem less intense. My mind is less agitated and more peaceful and my desire to react with anger is gone.
A friend and fellow practitioner once said to me, "It's like Falun Dafa has given me a new skin and now when start to criticize or fight with others I feel like I slip back into my old skin and it feels sticky and gross. "Sometimes I still slip back into my old skin. When I am weak and my demons of greed and lust and selfishness become too strong and devious I feel Master Li looking over me. He tells me this is a test. He reminds me I have a choice. He reminds me how strong and pure I feel when I stay true to the Law and not react to these demons. He also reminds me how defeated and painful I feel when I give in. He tells me to stay on the right path. He also tells me, in the end it is up to me. I am the master of my own salvation. It is my
choice whether I give in to these demons and drown in my own negativity or build my strength as a practitioner and persevere through this test. At times it is a huge struggle but I always feel stronger and more pure when I choose to follow the Law.
Everything that happens to me is good. "This is how it feels to release karma. Go through the suffering. Consciously endure it. You are becoming purer." My mom congratulates me and reminds me to read Zhuan Falun over and over.
I always find my peace in Master Li's words, "When it is difficult to endure it you try to endure it. When it looks impossible and is said impossible then you give it a try to see if it is possible. If you can really make it, you will find that after passing the shady willows there will be bright flowers and another village ahead."
As I endure through my emotional and physical pain and keep my mind as balanced as I can, I find my pain always passes. I feel stronger and more peaceful as I pass the shady willows and make my way to the next village through the bright flowers.
I am so glad I didn't throw this teaching away in the beginning just because I didn't understand or agree with some of the things I read or because I couldn't put up with a little pain. I'm so glad I put those things aside and continued to read and do the exercises with an open mind.
I am forever thankful for the awareness and wisdom and peace Falun Dafa has helped me build in my life. In less than two years Falun Dafa has empowered me to break the chains of illusion, ignorance and fear that has controlled my life and dominated my family for many generations.
Falun Dafa has helped me shift my perspective of my relationships with my family, my friends and with my society. For the first time in my life I feel a genuine peace and happiness with everyone I come in contact with. I also feel more content and happy with myself.
As a practitioner my new life goal is to bring the characteristics of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance into every relationship I have. With Falun Dafa as my guide, I feel fantastic strength because I know my life has a great purpose. I also feel fantastic peace because I now know my future children will learn to live in this new realm of peace and happiness and for this I am forever grateful.