Cultivating Steadily, Without Worrying or Going to Extremes
Master taught us,
“In Buddhism it’s said that a person should seize the years he has in this life, and that if he doesn’t cultivate now, when will he?” “I hope that after you go back home you’ll seize the day to really cultivate.”(from Zhuan Falun)
Over the past ten years, I've constantly fretted over finding enough time to do the Three Things well. To that end, I arranged my life so that I ate simple foods, walked briskly, and slept very little.
Although it was a good thing for me to strive to follow the Fa's standards, I also constantly worried that I would do something wrong. Thus, I felt exhausted, pressured, and tense all the time, making it hard to get anything done.
One day I asked myself, “What is the fundamental problem here?” When I looked inward, I noticed that I didn't understand the Fa rationally, nor was I able to balance the various aspects of my life. This caused me to go to extremes in my cultivation practice.
The following are a few insights that I'd like to share with you, after looking inward.
Seize the Time to Cultivate, But Don't Worry
I now understand that we must treasure the remaining time that we have left to cultivate. However, we cannot go about things in a hurried manner, like quickly reading a chapter in Zhuan Falun without knowing what we're reading. We can only study the Fa well when our minds are quiet and at ease.
If we always have a tense mind, find ourselves constantly squeezing time in our schedule to do the Three Things, or ignore the need for proper rest and food, we will inevitably become stressed out and anxious, making it hard to calm down when studying the Fa.
If your Master Consciousness is not focused while studying the Fa, then who is studying the Fa? Could it be your Para-consciousness or some other life form? Is this a trivial matter? Being stressed and anxious are human attachments, and they should both be eliminated.
Cultivation requires that we study the Fa, send righteous thoughts, and save sentient being with compassion. In order to do this, practitioners need to have a calm and steady mind, patience, and always be considerate of others.
Although we are required to be strict with ourselves, we shouldn't always worry about making errors or being too careful.
“You worry about everything you do—I think you shouldn’t be so attached. It’s really hard to balance this relationship: if you think about it a lot, it’s an attachment; if you think about it little, apparently you’re afraid of doing something wrong. I don’t think we need to go as far as making our minds tense. So whenever we do something, with usual things we know right away whether they’re good or bad.” (from Explaining the Content of Falun Dafa)
Master also taught us,
“Qigong cultivation is exactly the opposite of working out. The movements don’t have to be vigorous, and when there are movements they’re relaxed, slow, and smooth. They’re really slow, and people are even motionless or become still sometimes.” (from Zhuan Falun)
I enlightened to the fact that one needs to put their mind on cultivation, not doing ordinary people's things. If you find that you're always busy, tired, and agitated, then you definitely need to adjust your thinking.
I know some local practitioners who are very busy. However, this absolutely does not equate to being diligent in cultivation. Their “busyness” may in fact be a form of interference on the part of the old forces. We must firmly break through each and every arrangement that the old forces have made for us.
Master asks us to cultivate our hearts while studying the Fa, sending righteous thoughts, and saving sentient beings. He does not ask us to busy ourselves doing ordinary people's things.
In the poem “Acting with Intent,” Master said,
“How they busy themselves, building temples, worshiping,Knowing not their acts are all for naught;Lost in stupefying illusion,they vainly dream of journeying to the Western Paradise,Groping blindly, walking in darkness,they try to scoop the moon’s reflection from water.”
Don't Go to Extremes
I noticed that sometimes I went from one extreme to another. For example, in an effort to “seize the time to cultivate,” I tried to make every second count. However, it didn't take long before I discovered that it was very difficult to balance my day-to-day relationships. This shows that I didn't understand the Fa rationally.
“Because of disciples’ differences in understanding, some disciples always go from one extreme to the other. Whenever they read the Fa I have written they take extreme actions, thereby causing new problems.” (From Essentials For Further Advancement)
Master taught us,
“You are not supposed to go to extremes while cultivating in ordinary society. Normal social routines should be easy to handle.” (from “Fa Teaching Given at the New York Fa Conference Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Dafa’s Spreading”)
Master also said,
“...because those practitioners tend to take things to an extreme and achieve the opposite of what was intended.” (from “Fa Teaching Given at the 2015 New York Fa Conference”)
Do Things Naturally
In an effort to achieve a specific goal that I had set for myself, I would sit down and draw out a plan of action. Then, I would subdivide my main goal into smaller bite-size goals, which I strove to achieve.
This method kept me focused up to a certain level. However, from a higher perspective, I noticed that too many goals or too many detailed goals, could wind up becoming obstacles along the way.
For example, one goal I made was to read one lecture a day in Zhuan Falun. However, I noticed that some days I was busier than other days. On the days that I accomplished my goal, I felt really good about myself. On the days that I didn't read one lecture, I found that I became anxious and stressed out. My moods constantly fluctuated, making it hard to have a peaceful mind.
I realized at some point that not only was my mind similar to an ordinary person's mind, but my righteous thoughts were also severely lacking. My thinking and actions did not reflect the solemn attitude of a Dafa disciple.
“So we’ve said again and again that in cultivation you should let things happen naturally,” “It’s wishful thinking when you try to achieve certain goals just because you want to.” (from Zhuan Falun)
I finally enlightened to the fact that one needs to understand the Fa principles naturally, and get rid of the desire to intentionally achieve this or that goal.
By following Master's teachings, believing that Master has arranged everything for us, and trusting in the mighty Fa, one will naturally be assisted by divine beings and more easily accomplish the task at hand.
For example, if we plan to clarify the truth at a tourist site frequented by mainland Chinese, don't think, “Today, my goal is to advise 30 people to quit the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated organizations.”
Without a set goal in mind, it's possible that we might even exceed what we initially thought possible, as we would not be burdened by our human intentions, which the old forces regard as loopholes. I feel it's better to trust in Master and the Fa than to set arbitrary goals for ourselves.
Cultivation Is Not a Race against Time
“Cultivation is a long process, it’s a gradual process to get rid of attachments. But you really have to be disciplined.” (from Zhuan Falun)
Although Master requires us to be strict with ourselves, we also need to rationally understand the Fa principles and not go to extremes.
Only by assimilating to the Fa and ridding ourselves of human attachments, can we have great wisdom, a calm mind, and truly fulfill our sacred mission on Earth!