I attained Dafa towards the end of 2001, and very soon afterwards began to take part in activities to clarify the truth. At that time, there was a lot of pressure on me, since I was in a very poor financial state and my family and friends were strongly against my taking part in activities to validate the Fa. I also had strong and overpowering human notions, especially fear and embarrassment. Despite this, I became very involved in many Fa-rectification activities and did a lot to clarify the truth.

Over the course of cultivating during the Fa-rectification period, things started to get easier. I later got a job that paid decently, and my family and friends also started to understand and sometimes support my clarifying the truth. It also became easier to clarify the truth and get people's support.

At this time, I started to become more and more complacent. I liked my job and research, and sometimes spent more time than necessary there. I also felt that I was not spending much time with my family and friends, and started spending most of my free time with them. I sometimes gossiped about trivial things and watched movies. I started to completely behave like an everyday person, and sometimes even felt embarrassed to do truth-clarifying work when my friends were around, afraid that they would think I was obsessed.

I knew that I should spend more time on validating the Fa and saving sentient beings, but I couldn't. Sometimes, I would sit in front of a computer in order to do some time-critical and very important Dafa work, but then I would lose interest and just browse some websites. I felt very upset and frustrated that I was not living up to Master's mercy, and wondered whether I was qualified to be a Dafa disciple.

I looked back and asked myself, "Why was I able to do so well when the environment was so evil, but have done so poorly in the recent time period?" As I thought it over, I began to understand the words "stepping forward" differently.

Is it that once a Dafa disciple has done the three things well, that counts as stepping forward? I had always thought that way, but my heart was showing me otherwise. I really wanted to do well, but I was not doing well. Didn't that mean that I was allowing my attachments and notions to stop me from stepping forward?

What does stepping forward truly mean? My understanding now is that simply stepping forward on the surface to do the three things well is not enough. Of course, we all must do the three things even if we have attachments, as we cultivate while validating the Fa. However, stepping forward on the surface is merely a formality. Master has talked about this in the Fa he has taught us:

"Ever since Dafa's introduction, there have been people who have watched others--'whatever others do, that's what I'll do'--instead of using the Fa to measure whether something is right or wrong." "And whether a person can, while breaking and eliminating the evil, step forward to validate Dafa becomes a testament about [letting go of] life and death, becomes confirmation of whether a Fa-rectification disciple can achieve consummation, and also becomes what differentiates a God from a human."
("Path", "Essentials for Further Advancement II")

Was I truly stepping forward as a particle of Dafa, as a Fa-rectification period Dafa disciple? I realized that I hadn't been doing so. Instead, I was stepping forward simply because Master had asked us to, because I would consummate only if I did the three things well, etc. etc. Looking back, when I initially stepped forward, I hadn't stepped forward to validate Dafa; I hadn't stepped forward to save sentient beings. I had stepped forward because I was hoping Master wouldn't leave me behind, and so that I could consummate as quickly as possible.

My understanding now is that we must truly step forward from our hearts and make validating Dafa and saving sentient beings the prime reason for our existence -- that is the most critical and important thing.