Clarifying the Truth Through Exercise
(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master. Greetings, fellow practitioners.
I began to clarify the truth through – in what I perceived to be an unconventional method – through ordinary people's exercise. I found that it has given me the opportunity to meet many people, clarify the truth, face tests in cultivation, and uncover and let go of attachments.
I'd like to share a bit about the path I have taken in cultivation. I am 67 years old. I began practicing in January of 2003 at the age of 52. I had a very weak immune system and was besieged with constant colds and the flu. After learning Falun Dafa, I became healthy overnight. At family gatherings, my relatives said, “give the sick babies to Jeanne, she doesn’t get sick.”
A young practitioner had advised me to learn a few phrases in Chinese when I first began to practice. I said I was practically tone deaf and that this was impossible. Two years later I had a burning desire to learn Chinese, and with Master’s help I can now read Zhuan Falun in Chinese. I try to read a lecture every day.
I have a husband, two children, a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter, as well as extended family members who do not practice Falun Gong. Master has spoken about, not his exact words, that as we improve in cultivation our environment becomes more harmonious. I have found this to be the case. It hasn’t been without its challenges. My husband read some bad literature on the web when I first started practicing and feared that Falun Gong was a cult. But after one month, he said I was easier to live with and has been very supportive. My father gave small monetary contributions to the organization Friends of Falun Gong while he was alive and my mother saw Shen Yun before she died. Most of my family and friends have seen Shen Yun. My best friend has been very supportive from the very beginning. I became very close to a Chinese person (a non-practitioner) when I was studying Chinese, and this has given me further opportunities to clarify the truth and also help her husband withdraw from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
My husband and I moved to a location at the northernmost end of the Jersey Shore about five years ago. Since we are retired, we haven't had many opportunities to meet new people. My daughter has continuously encouraged me to join a gym, which I have repeatedly refused because Falun Dafa has given me wonderful health.
In December I decided to join a gym that is about five minutes from my home. I was surprised to find out how social the gym is and this has given many opportunities to clarify the truth and tell people about Shen Yun. The gym also let me leave literature at the front entrance when Shen Yun was performing at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.
The fact that I am 67 and have extraordinary good health affords me many opportunities to speak about the health benefits of Falun Dafa. I have often had doubts as to whether I am walking down the right path. I have also had fears that I will be criticized for what I am doing by fellow practitioners, but this hasn't been the case.
I have lived in areas where there haven't been many practitioners and have not had the opportunity to share with fellow practitioners on a regular basis, but I am also a private person and have isolated myself. I was the third child in my family and often felt left out. I have carried this attachment of feeling left out and feeling hurt into my adult life and cultivation. I need to connect more with other practitioners and completely eliminate this attachment. How can I feel left out when I have Master guiding me every step of the way, and am part of the one body of practitioners?
I had the idea that I wanted to do a triathlon in January (a triathlon is a race that involves swimming, bicycling, and running). I googled triathlon and found the Jersey Girl Triathlon that was being held near me in August. From a human perspective this idea came out of the blue, but as a cultivator I have to believe that Master and his Fashen were guiding me.
I’ve never run in my life before and this was the biggest physical challenge of the triathlon. I was pretty comfortable swimming and bicycling. This was a sprint triathlon and the distances were not that long, but it was quite a challenge for me. My goal was to finish the race and proudly wear a Falun Dafa t-shirt. There were 1,000 participants, plus spectators. I realized that my Falun Dafa t-shirt, since it is cotton, wasn't going to be suitable for this kind of activity, so I had a triathlon jersey made that says, “Freedom for Falun Dafa,” on the front and back as well as the website, Faluninfo.net, printed on the back.
The company that I ordered the jersey from is based in California, but when the tracking information arrived – I found it was being shipped from China! I hope it helped to clarify the truth to the people who made it.
One time, I was to go to a swim workout held by the Jersey Girl Triathlon coach, but this wasn't for the participants in the sprint triathlon that I was doing. It was designed for his serious athletes and was held in the ocean in deep water. I was anxious driving there for the first time because I wasn't sure of the directions and the traffic was really bad. I have let go of many layers of the qing (sentimentality) of anxiety and fear but I realized that I have deeper layers that I still need to let go of.
I arrived late and the other swimmers were already in the water. I felt disoriented and could only see two buoys in the water. As I headed back to the first buoy, the coach yelled at me. There were actually three buoys and I was swimming against the traffic. I have never heard him say a mean word to anyone and he is usually so supportive of beginners like myself. I tried to defend myself in the water but he just got cross again and said that he had written everything on the website.
Master has written in Zhuan Falun,
“This is particularly true for a person with good inborn quality. He may think that his gong has been increasing well and that the practice has also been going very well. Why are there suddenly so many problems? Everything goes wrong. People mistreat him…”
I later sent the coach a text message and apologized, and he apologized for being short, but I was still hurt inside and attached to the qing of not being treated well. I avoided seeing him for a while.
Master said at the “Lecture at the First Conference in North America,”
“As I said earlier, it’s not because others treat you improperly, but rather that there’s something wrong on your part. For example, if the grand cosmic body is in harmony but there is discordance on your part, and a knotty situation occurs only where you are, you are the one who isn’t in accord with others. When you spot the cause within yourself and correct that problem, the situation will become harmonious and calm, and everyone will treat you nicely once again.”
I knew I needed to face the situation and worked on letting go of this qing. The next time I went to the swim workout, the coach invited me to sit on his paddle board. There were hundreds of dolphins in the ocean. He had never seen so many before. Also, when the water is rough he doesn't usually see dolphins. They were also jumping higher than he has ever seen before – like they were putting on a show. I think Master was rewarding me for looking within and working on these attachments.
I don’t like to be criticized and am not very good about accepting it.
In talking about the issue of criticism, Master said at the “Fa Teaching Given in Manhattan,”
“You all know, being cultivators, the principle of “not striking back when hit, not talking back when cursed at,” and that when a cultivator truly suffers some form of loss he simply laughs it off. That is the state that you should have, and that is what you must achieve, for you are not ordinary people and you seek to transcend their state of being. You have to hold yourself to high standards, not those of ordinary people. So you have to achieve what I described.”
I still have a long way to go to reach this standard and still have much sentiment to let go.
I went to the Sandy Hook National Seashore to practice swimming one day. The current was really rough and it was too strong for me so I didn’t stay in long. I then went for a bike ride. I was wearing my new Falun Dafa triathlon top. As I returned to my car, two middle-aged men approached me. They said they had seen me swimming, and couldn’t imagine how I had swum in that water, something that they couldn’t do. I was able to clarify the truth and tell them that I wouldn’t be able to do this if Falun Dafa hadn’t given me such good health. They thought I was much younger than I am, and wanted to learn the exercises. They photographed the back of my jersey with the website information. I taught one of the men, Murad, the exercises on Thursday, and we will meet again on Monday. We talked at length and he is very interested in Falun Dafa.
There were weekly trainings that led up to the Jersey Girl Triathlon, and a mock run of the race the week before. I also participated in track meets, and the deep ocean water swims that I mentioned above. I mention this because it gave me many opportunities to meet new people and many opportunities to clarify the truth.
I participated in the triathlon on August 4th. The forecast was for thunderstorms all day, and I wondered if I was truly doing the right thing. The day before the event, we picked up our race packets. It poured during the presentation that was given, and then a full rainbow appeared over the ocean. Another participant mentioned that this was a positive sign. I realized that I was being too negative and anxious, and realize now that I didn't trust enough in the Fa. The weather forecast changed by the next morning, and only rain was predicted beginning at 8 a.m., one hour into the race. It only downpoured in the third part of the race when I was running, and I was fine.
I had digestive problems for weeks before the race and was in bed with severe cramps and diarrhea two days before the race. At the time, I wasn't clear whether this was related to karma, interference and/or attachments to anxiety/fear. I concentrated on reading the Fa and doing the exercises. In my heart I knew I would be OK by the time the race began. The digestive problems started clearing up immediately after the race. Karma and interference may have been involved but I knew clearly that I still have attachments to anxiety/fear that I need to let go of.
After the race, I went for an open water swim with a new group at Sandy Hook National Seashore and worked on this attachment. When I felt the anxiety and fear, I didn’t acknowledge it, breathed deeply and it dissipated. I enjoyed the swim.
I posted photos and videos that my family had taken on the Jersey Girl Triathlon website, as well as my Facebook page. I am still pretty new to Facebook but I received more likes and comments than I have ever received before. The first photo is a close-up of me wearing the jersey with “Freedom for Falun Dafa” on it. I had wanted to clarify the truth more thoroughly but left it at that. One of the first responses that I received on Facebook asked what “Freedom for Falun Dafa” meant, and it gave me the perfect opportunity to clarify the truth, and also say that Falun Dafa gave me the good health that enabled me to do this triathlon.
My husband, daughter and her boyfriend were at the event and their support deeply touched the viewers on Facebook. My daughter’s enthusiasm: she made a sign, yelled and even ran with me for awhile at the beginning of the run, as her boyfriend videotaped us, yelled and encouraged us to run!
Although my daughter is not a practitioner, she has done positive things for Falun Dafa. She wrote a paper on the persecution when she studied abroad and specially ordered a book on the persecution and gave it to her professor. I think that this enabled her to play this positive role in helping to clarify the truth at the triathlon. People were touched by the human content on the Facebook posting which I think helps people to have a more positive understanding of Falun Dafa. She didn't know that I had a jersey made and liked it.
I have never run before, nor participated in any kind of race, and doing this for the first time at age 67 made for an interesting story. Hopefully it helped people to have a positive understanding of the goodness of Falun Dafa. I have posted a few Falun Dafa activities that I have participated in before on Facebook and there have been a few positive responses but not like this. I completed the triathlon at a faster pace then I anticipated with Master’s help and placed third in my age group, 65-70 years old. The photo of me on the podium received the largest response.
I like to tell people about how I did during the race as a window to further clarify the truth, but I have to make sure I don't show off and that I remain humble.
I have made more friends in person and on Facebook through doing this triathlon, as well as joined a women's running group, and another group of athletes who do triathlons. Hopefully, this will continue to give me opportunities to clarify the truth.
Please point out any incorrect understandings on my part.
Thank you, Master. Thank you, fellow practitioners.
(Presented at the 2018 New York English Experience Sharing Conference)