Becoming a True Practitioner by Breaking Out of My Shell
(Minghui.org) When I began to practice Falun Gong in 1998, I was not very familiar with cultivation practice, but thought it to be consistent with my expectation of life and my future.
Hiding True Thoughts
During my childhood, I witnessed abuse, which taught me to be cautious and independent. To protect myself, I learned to hide my real thoughts and thus avoided conflicts with others, for I was scared of arguments and fighting. I tried not to annoy others, even to the point of making fun of myself. These were my survival skills.
It is not that I did not hold an opinion about people, but I had created a shell where I hid everything from others. I believed that being nice to others would cause less harm to myself, which could be equated to passive endurance and cowardliness. However, when the harm was more than I could bear, I burst out in anger, which was difficult for people to understand.
After becoming a Falun Gong practitioner, I found Master's Fa principles to be in line with my understanding of behaving like a good person. This is why I began to cultivate and tried to achieve Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance on the surface. But, I still held my hidden thoughts. This situation had lasted for more than 10 years of my cultivation path.
Awakening to the Truth
After a practitioner had sent forth righteous thoughts with me in 2011, she said that she saw my entire body shining except for palm-sized darkness at my chest. She asked me to look within. I immediately realized that I had been cultivating to appear like a practitioner, instead of really changing my heart.
Large scale arrests occurred in my city and many group study places stopped functioning. I was not arrested, nor was my group study place affected. But as I walked to the Fa study location, I experienced a feeling of intense pressure and I held deep fear, which made me feel lost and panicky. I realized that the shell could no longer protect me.
When facing this severe persecution, my shell was too weak to protect me any longer. But, who would protect me? The answer was simple – Master.
I examined myself to make sure the shell was not there and reminded myself to be truthful. I no longer covered myself or avoided my feelings. It was difficult, because other practitioners thought I was not candid. I was in a bad mood, not so amiable as I had been in the past, and got upset, angry, and less tolerant.
I was confused: I used to be easygoing and people liked me. How come I had changed to this? I wondered, how could I overcome this situation and move forward in my cultivation practice?
Buried by Human Notions
“The most difficult things for people to abandon are their notions. Some people cannot change, even if they have to give up their lives for fake principles. Yet notions are themselves acquired postnatally. People always believe that these unshakable ideas—ideas that can make them pay any price without a second thought—are their own thoughts. Even when they see the truth they reject it. In fact, other than a person’s innate purity and innocence, all notions are acquired postnatally and are not a person’s actual self.” (“For whom do You Exist” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
After reading Master's words, it dawned on me why I could not make further progress in my cultivation, or fundamentally change myself. I had considered the human notions as me. They were deeply buried in me, making me think that they were part of me.
After these thoughts were exposed, they did not want to change. In fact, they covered me and they were selfish. I decided to unconditionally assimilate into the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. With that thought I felt my world was filled with hope and many problems that had bothered me were gone.
“In dealing with relevant, important matters, if a life can really assess things without any preconceived notions, then this person is truly able to take charge of himself. This clearheadedness is wisdom, and it is different from what average people call “intelligence.” (“For Whom do You Exist” From Essentials for Further Advancement)
Hints by Master
I was detained in a labor camp in 2002. Before one practitioner was released she told me, “I hope you can get out of your own circle.” I remembered her words, but was not clear what she meant.
Another practitioner talked about her dream, in which a group of practitioners sat in one room. Because they were aware that police officers were on their way, some practitioners began to send forth righteous thoughts and some were ready to tell officers about Falun Gong. The group that the practitioner belonged to was sending forth righteous thoughts peacefully and without attachments or human notions. That practitioner told me about the dream and she was happy with what she saw. But somehow I felt I could not achieve that level.
Another practitioner once told me, “I know you are a practitioner, but I feel you are like a bystander. When can you truly come in and join us?” At that time, I was confused by her words since I thought I had attended activities just like others.
Even an everyday person told me, “Hey! I want you to be yourself. How come I feel as if I cannot understand you?” At that time, I just smiled, thinking: you are not a practitioner, of course you cannot understand cultivation practice.
Now, I know that all these were hints from Master to point out that my cultivation had loopholes.
Cultivation practice is serious and I have a long way to go. I have decided to do better from now on and remain humble, just like an elementary school student.