Cultivating with the Heart I Once Had
(Minghui.org) I obtained the Fa in November 1998, and have experienced the benefits from practicing Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong).
After I decided to write an experience sharing article, the SOS march during the summer of 2001 and practitioners' appeal at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the autumn of the same year came to mind. That was the time when I felt that I truly cultivated.
Reviewing the years after those events I feel as if I have slacked off and my heart is pained. Not that I have not contributed by being involved in various projects, but it feels as if I no longer cultivate with the heart that I once had. I cannot relive the past, but I can find a way back to my heart as it was in 2001.
Preparing the SOS March
The persecution of Falun Dafa in China worsened daily in 2001, and we wanted to catch the attention of the Swedes, make them aware of the persecution, and help rescue Falun Gong practitioners in China.
Therefore, we arranged a six-day 260 km SOS march starting in Falun City and ending in Stockholm. There were no participation rules. I signed up for the march and put in a backpack hiking boots and suitable clothing.
Naturally such an undertaking requires quite a bit of preparation. We had to designate a driver for the car, for hauling all the luggage and other things needed during the march, so that those who walked would not have to carry much during the long walk. No one wanted to drive, so after a long discussion I was chosen to drive the car. This was not what I wanted to do, but after some more back and forth, others promised to take turns in the driver seat.
We got detailed maps, but we still had to find out where it was suitable to walk, without any danger from traffic. This was the responsibility of the driver, especially since it was before the GPS vehicle tracking system was readily available.
Another practitioner and I contacted the media at given locations, and found places to stay at night. Just to be on the safe side, we also stored tents in the car.
Eliminating the Attachment to Reputation
Driving the car was a lonely job, and I was quite dissatisfied. Thus I was muttering to myself. I wanted to walk with the others, as this was what this tour was about. Yes, there were different things that needed to be taken care of, but it was still not the same as walking alongside the others.
While muttering to myself, I was hit with a thought that made me stop the car. I broke out in the loudest laughter. What a comedy! I realized that it was the right task for me. Driving the car meant that one would not be seen or noticed, and it would help me eliminate my attachment to reputation.
In the midst of laughing, I felt that a physical substance left my body and just escaped through the car door, much like a balloon flying away when you let the air out of it. It settled the matter and was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I would drive the car to Stockholm and use this to break my attachment to reputation.
Easing Hardships of the Walkers
Having time to ponder over issues, I realized that driving was much easier than marching. When one marches, one gets tired, and the body starts to ache. Thus, I needed to provide every possible service that would ease their bodily hurts.
They walked about 15 hours and covered over 40 km each day – a tremendous feat. Some suffered terrible pain and some got sore blisters that made them almost give up on the march.
My mind experienced a total turn around. It became important to arrange everything along the route that had more to do with bodily comforts than the SOS march itself. It dawned on me that the march would not have been successful without the car.
Besides, accommodations had to be ready every evening and the media had to be contacted. Thus, great opportunities for conversations with people who wanted to help happened along the way. These people heard for the first time about the long SOS march between Falun and Stockholm, and the persecution in China.
The first night we stayed on a farm. It was basically just a roof over the head. Many were so tired that they just stumbled into the house, fell on the mat, and eating became a chore. At another time we stayed in a gym and everyone could sleep on three thick mattresses. They even could take a shower, easing the pain of several days' walk.
There was also some pleasantness, as I could deliver a birthday cake for a practitioner's 30th birthday. Then, on another day I had to find a practitioner who had gotten lost when trying to join the march on the way.
On the last day, another practitioner drove the car to Mynttorget where we would have a rally with speeches by some politicians. I could finally march and use my hiking boots.
It was not what I expected. After twelve miles, I was completely exhausted and my entire body ached. Thus, in retrospect, I was thankful to be the driver during most of the trip. I would never have managed to march all of those six days.
Remembering this event, I'm touched by how all the practitioners struggled to walk holding a banner over their head, despite their aching bodies. Especially, I was given the opportunity to find my attachments when working behind the scenes in support of the marchers. On the funny side, I thought that gods feel humor when they plan all our short and long steps.
Appeal at Tiananmen Square
That same year, I also participated in the November 2001 Beijing Tiananmen Square appeal. It was also a big step on my cultivation path. The decision to go was arduous and my mind was filled with different thoughts. My mind wavered back and forth and my heart pumped hard and irregularly.
After Fa study and sharing, about two weeks before the trip, I finally was ready to make my decision. There were two thoughts that were the key to making my decision. First, if I had promised Master to take this trip, what would be the losses if I did not go? Secondly, sooner or later all practitioners would face the question of life and death at different levels, so why wait? Having understood that our paths are already planned, I made my choice and decided to go. My heart returned to its calm steady rhythm again.
My compassion towards practitioners in China had increased ever since the persecution started in 1999. I went to Beijing to help and support the brave Chinese practitioners and show them that they would not be alone when facing such a plight. I also wanted it to be a wake-up call for the world so that the governments of different countries would help stop the persecution.
We westerners gathered in Tiananmen Square, hoisted our banner with Zhen Shan Ren and Truth Compassion and Forbearance. After 20 seconds, we were surrounded by white buses and police cars. We were harassed and treated violently, but managed to stay alive. We were expelled from the country the following day. A good omen happened the day before we left China – our Foreign Minister had condemned the Chinese regime and supported us.
When we landed in Sweden and met with the media, I was interviewed on radio and television. After the events in Beijing, my feeling of discomfort no longer existed. It was wonderful and felt so easy and I became really aware of how our attachments limit us and hold us back when facing different situations.
Outreach to Media and Politicians
Some Swedish practitioners planned to write letters to our members of parliament in Gothenburg about the ongoing persecution that has lasted for 18 years in China in June of this year. We discussed during several meetings as to who would contact the respective MPs. I had my chance to contact an MP that I had been in contact with in 2003 when the Chinese Consulate General tried to stop the radio program I was in charge of – Falun Gong Time. We discussed different ways of writing, but I still found it difficult to write a good letter. Then, we went for our summer holidays and the letter was never sent.
During the summer, we did another car tour to the Almedalen park on the Swedish Island of Gotland. There is an annual Almadalen Week event during which there are speeches, seminars, and other political activities. Many representatives from political parties in Sweden give speeches.
It gave us an opportunity to reach out to society, including media and politicians. We had a booth in a good location, near a couple of major news media and just outside the university where many well-attended seminars and meetings were held each day. This gave us a great exposure.
The MP whom I was going to contact again was there and I talked to him. I mentioned that I was writing him a letter, and he wanted to know what it was all about. We had a great conversation.
He still remembered the time when the Chinese Consulate General tried to stop our radio program 14 years ago. Then, it was easy to talk about Dafa and the difficult situation for practitioners in China.
I had been thinking a lot about him during the few weeks before the holiday. I understand that our upright thoughts are strong. It gave us another chance to meet up and talk in person. We agreed to resume contact this autumn.
Practitioners were given an hour to take the stage in a square in the center of Visby, on the Island of Gotland. I was invited to talk about the disturbance to the radio program that I had broadcasted in 2003 from the Chinese Consulate in Gothenburg, and the recent incident where they tried to stop an art exhibition in Linköping.
I do not like being on a public stage and giving a speech. But then, I realized that this was an opportunity to peel off a little of my attachment to reputation.
As one of the incidents happened 14 years ago, I had to bring back memories by reading about it again. Eventually the pieces fell into place – at least when I was at home. But, when we were on stage the first day, I became nervous, and it appeared that I had lost my memory. It did not help that I had made notes earlier, I forgot them as soon as I wrote them. So, I asked the practitioner who hosted our part to help me by putting questions to me. Just before it was my turn to get up on the stage, I thought, “I shall change my attitude completely. Instead of seeing it as an unpleasant thing to be on stage, I should enjoy it!” It went quite well.
One of the last stops on our car tour was the Summer Festival in Stromstad. We were in the square to show the exercises and talk to people. The weather was very nice, so many people had come out, including from our neighboring country Norway.
I met a lady who had met up with practitioners earlier in the summer on Oland, the fourth stop of our car tour. We participated in the program together with other companies and organizations when Sweden's Crown Princess celebrated her 40th birthday. This lady met us there and she had talked with one of us. Afterwards I thought it was just as it should be. Imagine it would be great if everyone we met said they had heard about Dafa.
Developing Sound of Hope Programs
I have now broadcasted on the radio for 15 years since 2002. In the first years, it was exclusively about Dafa. So the program was called Falun Gong Time. When The Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party was published, I wanted to include them in the radio program. I discussed this with the Dafa Association. We realized that it would be good and that the content of the program needed to be a bit broader and more about China in general.
The broadcasting time was extended from 30 minutes to an hour and renamed Sound of Hope as of January 2006. Now, the program includes news from China, part of The Nine Commentaries, stories from traditional Chinese culture, language lessons and music composed by Dafa practitioners. I also help to produce a one-hour program in Chinese every week, done by a practitioner in Finland. It is not easy to develop a new program every week and it takes me an entire day for a program.
When I felt under the weather, could not get up, let alone do a program, I realized the importance of broadcasting the news, telling people what's happening in China, especially about things that are not reported by other Swedish media. I got out of bed, switched on my computer and started working. By the time the program was ready, I felt better. Although it took a little longer than usual, I felt really good.
I realized that when we do something upright there is help, even if it seems impossible. Listening to the radio is so easy today. Many listen to podcasts on their mobiles. Thus, this will be my next project, so I can reach out to more people with our news about China, which other media does not report.
Before closing, I wish to share Master's Fa with you, “Cultivate with the heart you once had, and success is certain.” (“Fa Teaching on World Falun Dafa Day.”)
(Presented at the 2017 European Fa Conference)