(Minghui.org) I started practicing Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) with my parents in the winter of 1996 when I was 14 years old. The happiness our family experienced was indescribable. Everything in our lives improved under the guidance of Dafa. But our world fell apart on July 20, 1999, when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—led by Jiang Zimen—launched the persecution of Falun Gong.

All Falun Gong practitioners in China have been persecuted for our beliefs ever since. And the long years of brutal persecution left a shadow of fear in my heart that I could not conquer until recently.

At the beginning of the persecution, my father was arrested and sent to a forced labor camp. I never saw him again, as he was tortured to death for refusing to give up his faith in Falun Gong. My mother was arrested and sent to labor camps more than once, and I was separated from her and sent to brainwashing centers myself many times. Our home was ransacked and we were harassed often.

These experiences instilled so much fear in my heart. I felt suffocated by the scenes that plagued my mind. My heart pounded whenever I saw a police car, and I dared not carry my identification card for fear of being searched at a checkpoint.

I knew it was not right to harbor these feelings, for as a Falun Gong practitioner, I should have felt wonderful and confident knowing my true purpose in life. But I just could not relax or feel happy. Though I wanted to cultivate and improve myself, I couldn’t concentrate on my cultivation and Fa-study. To fill the void, I tried to find comfort on the internet, which didn’t help.

One night I had a dream that I was climbing a long set of stairs that led up through the clouds. There was nothing blocking the way, and I climbed straight up into the sky. The top was hidden in the clouds, preventing me from seeing where I was. I decided to stop and rest. When I looked back, I could only see a few steps behind me and had the feeling of vertigo. Just when I was about to sit down to rest, a young practitioner climbed right past me with light steps. I thought, “She is younger than me! I should hurry up like her.” Seeing her climb the stairs so lightly gave me the inspiration that I needed to make it to the top. It turned out that I was already very close to the top, but because I couldn’t see it, I let my attachments get the best of me.

Master said:

“I have always said that the toughest thing about cultivation is how long and drawn out it can seem, especially when one is being tempered through tribulations and ordeals. You can’t see the finish line or when it will conclude, and that is in fact what’s most trying about it. But there’s a saying, right? “Things will always turn around when they reach a certain point.” And this holds true for everything; it’s a law. Things will always change at a certain point, whether it’s what people are expecting or not.”(“2018 Fa Teaching Given in Washington, D.C.”)

Yet, with fear in my heart and not being able to see the end, I still could not stay diligent. I needed to improve my cultivation state but did not know how. No matter how I studied the Fa, the meaning behind the words did not penetrate my mind.

Master said:

“You may not have noticed that yesterday morning when a student spoke about his experience, he mentioned that [at one point,] no matter how hard he cultivated, he didn’t feel he was making any further progress. And then one day, all of sudden he realized, “It’s time for me to change in this area.” Then as he cultivated more, that wall was broken through immediately, and a different realm was instantly right before his eyes. I think you should put more thought into that student’s speech.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Eastern U.S. Fa Conference")

When I read Master’s words, I woke up and honestly searched within. I found many attachments, including zealotry, jealousy, and laziness. I was able to eliminate them to a degree but could not pry loose the root of my problem.

Then I had another dream: There was a lake, and three young ladies were standing at the shore. I knew one of them. They needed to somersault over the lake. The one I knew died when she failed to make it to the other shore. I woke up at that point and realized that Master was letting me know that I had to keep moving forward in my cultivation regardless of how arduous the journey was.

Then, recently, I had to go through a security check. Negative thoughts swirled in my mind. I had digital Dafa books and CDs with me and was terrified I would get searched. I said to myself, “There should be no persecution for practicing Falun Gong.”

Suddenly, I remembered Master's teaching: “A Dafa disciple is no longer subject to the jurisdiction of the Three Realms.” (“2018 Fa Teaching Given in Washington, D.C.”)

I repeated Master's words in my mind and tried to keep calm. The fear tried to dominate me. I begged Master, “Master, I want to eliminate this fear. Please take away the darkness in me.” At that instant, I felt a surge of warmth emanating from my heart. My body shook, and the suffocating darkness that I had carried all those years vanished in a flash.

That darkness was the root cause of my slacking off in cultivation. It made me feel hopeless and was the fundamental reason I was unable to remain in a tranquil state sitting in meditation.

Those negative feelings began to accumulate as soon as the persecution was launched. They blocked my way forward and prevented me from experiencing the true goodness of cultivating in Falun Gong. Once these dark feelings were finally eliminated, my will to cultivate diligently became strong.