Western Practitioner: Improving by Looking Within Myself
(Shared at Ireland Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference in 2006)
Greetings Master! Greetings everyone!
I started practicing Falun Dafa in 2003. As I was struggling to write an experience sharing article for this conference, I remembered that Master said: "A great way is simple and profound". This helped me to decide that I should, at the very least, say, "Thank you Master for the wonderful gift you have bestowed upon me and my fellow Falun Gong practitioners."
I first encountered Falun Gong on my way to the Market in Temple Bar one Saturday. At that time practitioners were performing a beautiful fan dance in front of Central Bank. The gracefulness of their dance and costumes were unforgettable, but what was even more unforgettable was the peace and compassion that emanated from this group of people. I wanted to learn more about this group of people who radiated such energy.
At that particular time in my life I was actively pursuing knowledge in Horticulture and Alternative Medicine. I was also considering returning to Yoga classes and I was receiving regular massage treatments for a back ailment. I visited health food stores frequently. Throughout my life, I have always wanted to maintain a healthy body.
Approximately one year before I started practicing, I gave up drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. I began crossing my legs while in the sitting position to stretch them out. Little did I know then that I was being prepared for the practice of Falun Gong. I also had a vivid dream that I was looking through the center of my left palm.
Since beginning cultivation, there have been tremendous changes in both my appearance and how I live my life. The stress that accumulated in my body over the years was removed and I no longer had to rely on massages to ease the muscle discomfort. My body became very light. I began to listen more attentively when people spoke to me, and I also smiled more. Now, in my mind, I always consider other's feelings first. I soon realized that what I was experiencing was the power of the Fa. The Fa was changing me fundamentally and had influenced my mind and lifestyle in many ways. My life had changed forever!
Once, I experienced the power of the Fa as I was cycling home after demonstrating the exercises on O'Connell St on a very cold winter morning. It was as if I was cycling through the air - only going through the motions of pushing the pedals. I felt that I had endless energy and a feeling of happiness that I had never experienced.
Practicing Falun Gong is like getting the key to a new world, but the journey requires diligent cultivation along the way. Being a practitioner and cultivating oneself is very hard, and requires determination and discipline. Reading and studying the Fa constantly reminds me to do better and return to my original true self.
When I started to get involved in the media, I did not realize how much it would require of me in cultivating myself. In the beginning, it was difficult beyond words. I had never found anything so difficult and challenging! As my weaknesses were exposed, I felt vulnerable and thought about ending my involvement in this project.
I frequently felt like I was out of ideas, and did not know how to manage anything. I found myself wondering why nobody would tell me how to do things or why nobody showed me how it should be done. Of course, when I looked inside, I found a loophole because I did not concentrate enough on the job. After I became more experienced, I complained when things were not done to my liking. I complained because I failed to look inside and treat others with compassion.
I have also become aware that, as practitioners, what we say and how we say it is very important. A very negative comment can have a very bad impact and our wrongful judgment of others can create unnecessary karma. Master said,
"We should all speak according to a practitioner's xinxing rather than create conflicts or say something improper. As practitioners, we must measure ourselves with the standard of the Fa to determine whether we should say certain things. What should be said will not present a problem if one complies with the xinxing standard for practitioners according to the Fa." (From Cultivation of Speech, Zhuan Falun)
When a practitioner did something that I felt was not in keeping with the Fa, I was shocked. I began to ask a lot of questions in my mind. After some time, I started to look inside. I began to realize the behavior of that practitioner was a manifestation of his uncultivated attachments. I knew then that I had to do better.
Another important incident in my cultivation was when we needed help to distribute our paper, but there was no help available. I reacted badly, but was able to look inside and see that this was a reflection of my own attachment to laziness. I became aware that I did not want to assume any responsibility or obligation. When we look inside, we become aware of our own imperfections and we can get rid of those attachments. I again felt that I was able to elevate my understandings and level on the path of cultivation.
Sometimes when I don't have righteous thoughts, and when I want to stop cultivating, I look back on my cultivation path and acknowledge the tremendous changes that have occurred. When I consciously want to do better, I know I'm still cultivating. I have cultivated my selfishness and I no longer have the mentality of thinking that "time for myself," as very precious.
My attachment to negativity shows up from time to time, and I continue to cultivate it. As I continue to cultivate and work for the media, with Master's help, I hope to eliminate my attachments and be more helpful to my fellow practitioners. I hope to do better on my path of cultivation, so that together we can all reach consummation.
Thank you Master, thank you everyone.