Western Practitioner: Cultivating and Returning to My Original, True Self
(Clearwisdom.net) I am both honored and humbled to stand before you, my fellow practitioners today, as I have been practicing Falun Dafa for just a year and a half. In this short time, my life is becoming utterly transformed. What I want to share about today is my experience, as I understand it, of returning to one's original true-self, something I feel has always been a deep wish.
Along with having a teaching which could clarify feelings and beliefs - I remember learning the story of Jacob in the Old Testament. He had a dream of a ladder ascending to Heaven. I knew that this dream was more real than anything in my human world.
What I could not have predicted is how difficult letting go of human attachments would be. I understood the basic principles and had already come to accept that this was the only way to really live in this chaotic world. I remember using the very phrase, being lost in a maze, as Zhuan Falun says , and was quite resolved in wanting out of the human delusion. Knowing all this surprisingly did not make it any easier.
When I first began to cultivate, I had tremendous fear and apprehension about letting go of certain attachments; I had so identified with 'sentimentality', like Master says, "They just live for emotion (Zhuan Falun, Lecture Six)". As an artist, it was the source of everything I did, all my work, thoughts and behavior. In order to free myself of this incorrect thinking, I would remind myself of Master's words, "If something is yours, nobody will take it away". If it's really mine, it can't be taken away from me; I understood that if I let everything go, what is really mine, my true essence, cannot be taken from me, as it is therefore only something I do not want!- and if it is not my true self, then I am happy to let it go, for the opportunity to know, and to live my true self.
I am constantly baffled by these contradictions, by the tenacity of my human attachments, especially to sentimentality. I know it is common to have one attachment which is greater than all others, for which the karma is most dense. As a single woman, I was filled with romantic aspirations and desire, and then a great deal of disappointment, hurt, loss and confusion almost always accompanying the experience of connecting to a man. The more I desired for this connection, the greater the karma. In Zhuan Falun, Master Li explains the desire for the third eye to open:
" And there are some people who really want to get their Third Eyes opened, but the more they practice, the less likely they are going to open. What's the reason? They're clueless about it. The main reason is that you can't seek the Third Eye--the more you seek it, the more you won't have it. The more you seek it, not only won't it open, but worse yet, something will actually flow out from inside your Third Eye, it's something you can't quite call black or white, and it'll cover up your Third Eye.)" ( Zhuan Falun, Lecture Two)
Thus, the more I was seeking it, the more lost in the maze I became - more hurt, confusion and now creating distorted notions about myself and the world. I formed beliefs about myself that were neither truthful nor compassionate, separating me further from the nature of the universe and my true self. As Master said in Zhaun Falun, " It forms a field around your body and envelops you, it cuts you off from the nature of the universe, to be True, Good, and Endure" (Zhuan Falun, Lecture Four).
I started to have deeper awareness about how this happens, the cycle, the constant painful reminder of how I elude and mask my original true self.
It reminds me of what Master Li delineates when he talks about, "demonic interference of ones mind- transformation follows mind intent." One's impure thoughts, of either grandeur or worthlessness, can create a mirrored reality which affirms the false premise.
" Everything in your dimensional field is controlled by the thoughts in your brain. In other words, when you look at things with your Third Eye, if you calmly observe with no thoughts added in, what you see is real. But as soon as you use your mind, even if it's just a little bit, everything you see will be false, and this is "breeding demons in your own mind," which is also called "transforming according to thoughts." It's because some practitioners aren't able to act as cultivators" (Zhuan Falun, Lecture Six)
I thank Master Li, who has taught me the principle of wuwei, (non-action) for this alone has revolutionized my life.
Almost a year ago, a fellow practitioner asked me if I wanted to write movie reviews for the Epoch Times. My first response was 'sure', but within a few hours I was laying in bed awake recounting all the reasons why I could not do this. I had never done journalism after all, I could not type, could not spell, did not have a computer, etc. And then it occurred to me that thinking "I can't" was also an attachment that I needed to get rid of. This new way of thinking, or thinking less perhaps, has profoundly changed me.
As one who perceived myself as unable succeed in many areas, because of learning disabilities as a child, I now was freed to know that the Fa can do anything, and can accomplish anything through me. My writing is improving all the time, as well as many other skills as I have many opportunities to learn and expand constantly.
Each new thing that presents itself, feels actually like an old skill or talent, or interest, that was never realized or developed because of some false notion I had--karma no doubt. In this sense, I feel that this is one manifestation of returning to my original self- innate abilities and tendencies which I had discarded, as I had loved to write as a child.
Additionally, writing for EET's Arts and Entertainment section, both nationally and locally, has meant interviewing various artists. I learned a new level of clarifying the truth.
A few months back I interviewed a director at a lunch meeting. He invited the leading actress of his newest film and play. They were a couple, but this was not public information. We were very congenial and I was able to tell them all about the Epoch Times, which they both thought was wonderful.
The following week, I met up with the actress to give her a copy of the article. I admitted that I hadn't used her best quotes as I was honoring her privacy about the relationship. She was stunned, "You know, no one does that," she said. "No one else would have done that." She paused and said, "But I guess that's what your paper is about, isn't it?"
I have discovered a real appreciation in making these personal and sometimes intimate connections, as I have always preferred one on one situations.
Again, I started to feel that these arrangements for me, though I could not have imagined it so, were perfectly suited to both my abilities and to where I still needed to improve myself.
Most recently, I was talking to an acquaintance, a filmmaker, who was reading a book about directing. When I inquired about the book, he asked "Are you interested in directing?" I said, yes, but no, but yes. He asked me to clarify my ambivalent response. I explained that in my practice, I don't pursue anything, yet if I am to be honest, the memory came rushing back, that 15 years prior, directing was a real secret desire of mine. But I had so many reasons why I could never do it. Now that I have given up this attachment, I guess I have to say that I am interested.
Right then and there, this friend offered to take me on as a student and mentor me. I felt immediately that this was Master Li's arrangements and that I should work hard.
As Master states in Zhuan Falun,
" So you cultivate in a state of nonaction and just focus on cultivating your character, then you'll be making breakthroughs in your level, and you'll definitely have whatever you should." (Zhuan Falun, Lecture Two)
This has been the most salient and profound part of cultivation for me, the continuous shedding of the layers. As I have been able to discard being led by selfish desires, and the tiresome existence of trying to figure everything out myself, or futilely trying, to do, make, and have, the things of this world, I get closer to these other parts of myself. Through adopting wuwei as a guiding principle, and deepening my ultimate trust in the Fa I have experienced so many of my old, or original, wishes being realized--wishes even I had forgotten.
I finally have found my true ladder to heaven.