Western Practitioner: Some Thoughts on My Journey of Cultivation
(Minghui.org) The path of my cultivation has been a long journey, which continues to this day. I started practicing Falun Gong in 1997, in Geneva. I immediately felt the benefits of doing the exercises, which put my body in a very good state of health and gave me a calm mind.
With the Minghui website's request for Western practitioners to share their experiences, I felt a serious shift in the state of Dafa: an increased trust in Western practitioners and encouragement to help them enter the process of questioning themselves, looking inside, expressing their understanding of cultivation practice and doing the three things.
In fact, I have often regretted that there are so few articles from Western practitioners, but I have done nothing to change this conception and I realized that we also can talk about our experiences!
Below are some thoughts about my journey of cultivation.
Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts, Looking Within
It is in the process of the first five minutes before sending forth righteous thoughts, when we eliminate our bad thoughts and ordinary thoughts, that I became aware of the process of looking inward and actually practicing it.
I usually have no reason to have negative thoughts in the process before sending righteous thoughts and purifying my environment, but sometimes, suddenly, an annoyance, a worry or some other issue pops up. Why this annoyance? Why am I troubled? Once the reason is recognized, this distraction becomes lighter and it is also a way to realize that everything is a cultivation factor – from the simplest to the most complex.
For example, during those five minutes, once, I was concerned about everyday things to do and I could not concentrate. Then, negative thoughts about someone around me who had started criticizing me appeared to show me that I was not as serene as I thought. Instead of letting these negative thoughts grow, I searched inside to understand what was affected in me. I saw that I still had a deep resentment against this person, when instead I needed to look for the merits of their criticisms!
“But normally when a problem arises, if it does not irritate a person psychologically, it does not count or is useless and cannot make him or her improve.” (Zhuan Falun)
Having understood this, I sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate my ordinary thoughts, to cleanse my environment, and I was able to continue the next phase of sending righteous thoughts without negative or distracting thoughts.
It is through this process that I try to question myself when I am disturbed, and the daily set times for sending righteous thoughts are opportunities to try to get rid of my egocentric thoughts.
Following Dafa's Principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance
Although those around me, my family members and acquaintances, are not Dafa practitioners, I believe that my path of validating Dafa is to make them aware of the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance by trying to follow it in everyday life.
I try to keep the Fa in mind when confronted by all the distractions and pressures of ordinary life. This is especially important as I live in ordinary society, close to others, and am not isolated. I strive to position myself within the Fa and to measure everything from the basis of the Fa. I also understand how fortunate I am to have received the Fa.
I work hard to live by the Fa's principles.
Be benevolent. The path is long to naturally have a benevolent attitude. Taken by my desire to achieve a benevolent mind, I realize afterward that sometimes in my discussions I lacked benevolence. In particular, in a discussion among practitioners once, I gave my opinion that was different from that of a fellow practitioner. Later I asked another practitioner if I had spoken correctly. He replied, "Yes, this time it was good.” His response awakened me, because I had not seen the problem that manifested the other times when I had not been correct. So it is also in the sincere exchange with our fellow practitioners that we can improve.
Be tolerant. I would like to share an event that put me on the path of tolerance.
I had a dream in which I saw my companion, who was traveling, developing affinity with other people. I was upset and angry. When I woke up, I was very upset and asked myself a lot of questions.
“When you deal with conflicts the same way as everyday people, you are then at the same level, or in the same realm, as everyday people. That is to say, you are one of the everyday people.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Fa Conference in Australia”)
I heard a voice saying, “Don’t think as an ordinary person; a practitioner doesn’t have ordinary thoughts!”
“What does “ordinary human thoughts” mean? It means that you still have the various emotions and desires of an ordinary human, you still have ordinary human attachments in various regards, and that you still have ordinary human emotions when you think about things—all of which are ordinary human thoughts...” (“Teaching the Fa at the Conference in New Zealand”)
These sentences shook me and I realized that I had been disturbed by the feeling of jealousy that was revealed to me in the dream. Then, I felt a great strength in me that dissolved this feeling, the shadow that had crossed me disappeared totally, giving place to a ray of benevolence that illuminated the scene of the dream. This was a very important test on my cultivation path.
Clarifying the Facts, Breaking through Misconceptions
When I talk about Falun Dafa, some people sometimes have avoidance reactions with prejudices that date from the false propaganda from the Chinese government, which has touched even Westerners. This gives us every reason to clarify the truth, to spread the word about the persecution, and to give information about cultivation and the practice of Falun Dafa.
I noticed that I really had to clean up my own thoughts before contacting influential people in society to clarify the facts. I sometimes find myself worried about not being able to move the person. If I have a fraction of this thought of doubt, it will be difficult.
On the other hand, I have had some wonderful experiences, for example when visiting a company, the secretaries told us, “It is impossible to see the leader without an appointment.” Then, thinking strongly about how important it is for this person to know the facts, so that he will be able to position himself, the doors open, and the person is there as if he was waiting for us. This has happened many times.
With strong righteous thoughts in my heart and the conviction that I can move everyone when collecting signatures to stop the forced organ harvesting in China, I gradually eliminated my hesitations to approach people. People are very moved by the plight of practitioners in China and show their support for persecuted Chinese practitioners by signing petitions.
But I often feel that I don’t do enough, especially when I think about what our fellow practitioners in China are doing. I have boundless admiration for their efforts to reveal the truth in their country, under the weight of the threat even of death.
Through my cultivation process, my attachments are revealed to me and every step I take to get rid of them, little by little, brings me a new understanding of the immensity of the Fa.
Thanks to our revered Master. Thanks to my fellow practitioners who, by their examples, help me to see my shortcomings and encourage me to follow the principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Thank you for pointing out anything in my testimony that does not conform with the Fa.