New Practitioner: My Own Shortcomings Are Mirrored in My Husband
(Minghui.org) I am a new practitioner of Falun Dafa. Before I took up the practice in 2015, I was hot tempered, arrogant, and selfish. When I first started out, I made many mistakes because I didn’t understand the Fa principles very well. Especially when it came to my relationship with my husband, I handled our conflicts poorly.
I sometimes could pinpoint the exact attachments I needed to eliminate when conflicts arose, yet I just couldn't let them go. I often plopped down and cried in despair after a fight with my husband—it just seemed impossible to pass some of the xinxing tests. I asked Master for help, but I also blamed myself and felt guilty that I didn't do well.
Luckily, like Master said in “Drive Out Interference” in Essentials for Further Advancement II), “The Fa can break all attachments.” I was able to overcome many obstacles when I studied the Fa with a calm and clear mind. With Master's protection and the Fa's guidance, I came a long way by taking one step at a time.
I went from being clueless to knowing how to cultivate, from being touchy about every little thing to being able to at least not snap back, to then being able to take criticism with a calm heart; from being unwilling to look inward, to actively examining myself.
I slowly came to understand what cultivation really is and the true meaning of life. I also experienced the great happiness of finally getting rid of attachments that were bogging me down. I am able to treat my husband and people around me with patience and compassion, because I now know that they are true mirrors of my own shortcomings and are only here to help me improve.
Conflicts in My Marriage
I started practicing Falun Dafa right around the time I got married, so many conflicts arose between my husband and me. I used to be very proud. In others' eyes, I excelled in every aspect in life and naturally I was arrogant and bossy, both at work and at home. But once I became a cultivator, I knew that I needed to change my ways and be considerate and kind.
My husband is very sensitive and even more hot-tempered than I was, and he caused me so many headaches after we married. The conflicts just seemed to come out of nowhere. Sometimes it was really his fault, but he'd blame me and take it out on me.
I couldn't take it at first—I either started to argue with him or hid somewhere and cried. However, I knew as a practitioner I had to endure and to be able to “not hit back or swear back.” (Lecture in Sydney) I looked inward and examined myself after each conflict to find the cause of my failing to maintain my xinxing and promised myself to do better the next time.
I slowly improved and started to understand how to look at these conflicts from a cultivator's perspective. I stopped trying to figure out who was right or wrong. Instead, I looked at these conflicts as opportunities for me to improve. I was able to bite my tongue and not argue with my husband most of the time.
However, “To endure with anger, grievance, or tears is the forbearance of an everyday person who is attached to his concerns.” (“What is Forbearance (Ren)?” in Essentials for Further Advancement)
I was still just at the level of an everyday person. I was able to hold myself back and not fight, but I still was angry and resentful. My competitiveness often surfaced in my most private thoughts: “If I weren't a Dafa practitioner, you wouldn't stand a chance of winning this argument.”
Our Relationship Deteriorates
By biting my tongue, there were fewer overt conflicts between my husband and me, but my attachments and the root cause of our conflicts created new problems.
I started to look down on him, and it came out in my tone of voice and my expressions. I knew it wasn't right, but I just couldn't help it. Our relationship became tense and, once again, we often fought.
We disliked each other. My husband hated that I was condescending, inconsiderate, and selfish. I resented him for being lazy, irresponsible, picky, and argumentative. He complained that I was not a good woman, and I despised him for not being able to take criticism.
I knew that these problems were not coincidental—they were probably all areas that I needed to improve on and tests that I needed to pass. But it just seemed impossible to handle them well when I was in the middle of a conflict. I recited Master's words over and over again:
“Cultivation is not hard,It’s attachments that are hard to part with.When will you sever those many attachments?All know the sea of hardship has no shore.If your will is not firm,The hurdles are like mountains.How will you transcend this mortal life?”(“Severing (in Yuan verse)” from Hong Yin Volume II)
I kept asking myself, “Why do you look down on him?” I realized that, deep down, I felt that I was better than him. I didn't like it that he had no ambition and was content with where he was in life. He didn't try to improve himself, which to me, was being irresponsible.
I forgot that I had only become “better” because I cultivated in Dafa. My husband was just an ordinary person, a person living under the influence of today’s declining moral standards. How could I measure him with my standards? Plus, Master has said that as cultivators, we are cultivating ourselves, not others. Instead of focusing on his problems, shouldn't I examine myself first?
Didn’t I have the same problems that I disliked about him? Wasn't it laziness that kept me from getting up early every morning to do the exercises? Wasn't it jealousy that made me think it unfair that I contributed more to the family than my husband? Wasn't it irresponsible of me to not do the three things diligently during the Fa-rectification period? Wasn't I the one who only liked to hear praise and not criticism? Wasn't it my competitiveness that made me constantly try to prove that I was right?
Compassion and Forbearance
When I looked inward, I found that I was exactly the type of person that I disliked. My husband was like a mirror, in which I saw an honest reflection of my own shortcomings. I realized that it was not a coincidence that I found so many faults in him—it was meant for me to see my own attachments and get rid of them.
What came as an even bigger shock was the realization that, while I had always considered myself better than others, it was only so by comparing myself to ordinary people in this Dharma-ending period. Compared to the standards of the Fa, I was still far off. But Master is so compassionate and never gave up on me. He is always protecting and guiding me. That is the benevolent compassion of a true enlightened being.
The Fa requires us to cultivate compassion and be considerate of others. The root cause of my not being able to endure and feeling superior to others was my lack of compassion. I finally understood why my husband never appreciated my trying to help him improve—the kindness I showed him had human sentiments and selfishness mixed in.
Master said, “Without 'nothing,' it is a human feeling. If it is a human feeling, then it's not bei (compassion).” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Western U.S. Fa Conference” in Teaching the Fa at the Conference)
As long as I still have attachments, human notions will be mixed into whatever I say and do. Even if I disguise it really well, the other person can sense it. Other people reflect the shortcomings and human notions that I still have.
When I worked hard to get rid of my attachments, I found that I was able to stay calm and harbor no resentment when conflicts arose. That is the forbearance of a true cultivator. No wonder Master always emphasized the importance of looking inward and cultivating ourselves, because, truly, all problems that we encounter are meant to help us cultivate, so that our lives can ascend to higher levels.
My level is limited and my thoughts are shallow. I ask my fellow practitioners to kindly point out anything that's inappropriate. Heshi.