(Minghui.org) Sleep deprivation is a common torture method employed by the Chinese authorities to force Falun Dafa practitioners into denouncing their beliefs. Usually several people take turns keeping a practitioner awake for multiple days on end.

Studies have shown that prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to disorientation, visual impairment, apathy, and severe lethargy. In extreme cases, it could result in widespread physiological failure and eventually death.

A few years ago, I read an experience-sharing article from a Falun Dafa practitioner. When the police deprived her of sleep for several days, she didn't feel tired at all. She kept telling the police officers about the persecution of Falun Dafa. After many days, the policemen were too tired to keep going. At the time, I thought she must have had supernormal abilities. I felt that I couldn't do it; I had a fear of sleep deprivation.

I was taken to a brainwashing center a few months ago. For the first few days, I was allowed to sleep. As time went by, however, they saw that I had no intention to change and became more exasperated. But I kept a smiling face no matter what they said and always calmly told them, “I will not change my mind about practicing Falun Dafa. It is illegal to keep me here.”

I had an inkling in my mind that they would not use sleep deprivation on me if I remained calm. Then I realized that I was naively hoping for the evil to not be evil.

“At worst, I'll lose consciousness from sleep deprivation,” I thought, “They cannot change my belief in Dafa. I won't let my heart be moved by it and I won't believe in anything but Dafa. Let's see what they can do to me.”

That was the first night I was not allowed to sleep. I suddenly felt a surge of energy filling my body; a sense of tranquility and calm came over me. My whole body relaxed. I knew that sleep deprivation would not affect me anymore.

“If you are not afraid, the factor that would make you afraid will cease to exist.” (“Eliminate Your Last Attachment(s)” from Essentials for Further Advancement II)

Just as I expected, I didn't feel very sleepy that night and I wasn't tired the next morning. Another day passed, then another. After a few days, I was still full of energy. I realized that the practitioner that I read about years ago was able to overcome sleep deprivation because she had righteous thoughts, not supernormal abilities. It was just like Master said,

“When disciples have ample righteous thoughts, Master has the power to turn back the tide” (“The Master-Disciple Bond” from Hong Yin II)

The secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee came and saw how I was; he thought my situation was unbelievable. The director of local 610 Office came and was at a total loss as well.

By then, I no longer feared them. These were people who were supposedly responsible for “transforming” me. I used to get angry whenever I saw them. Now I only had pity for them – they seemed so very insignificant. After over a month of brainwashing and almost 10 days of sleep deprivation, I was released unconditionally.

Looking back at my experience in the brainwashing center, I think what helped me to prevail in the situation were:

1. Firmly believing in Dafa at the crucial moments. It is not just saying “Falun Dafa is good”, but truly believing “Falun Dafa is good” from the bottom of my heart, with all of my life.2. Looking within. I asked myself often if I had truly let go of everything. Was I annoyed by their words or gestures? Was I resenting them? Did I feel that I was suffering? Was I worrying about my family? I knew that my heart should not be moved by anything.3. Continuously sending forth righteous thoughts. At first I had to sit through lectures 16 hours a day and I just used that time to send forth righteous thoughts. Later it was changed to 20 hours a day. But I didn't care. I thought to myself, “Good. Now I have four more hours to send forth righteous thoughts.”

Through this experience, I learned that when facing tribulations, maintaining righteous thoughts is the key to turning back the tide.