[New York Fa Conference] The Meaning of “Cherishing”
(Minghui.org) Greetings reverent Master, greetings fellow disciples!
Throughout my life, I’ve always thought I knew what it meant to “cherish” something. However, after going through one of the hardest tribulations in my life, I came to realize that the “cherishing” I knew was merely skin-deep.
On November 19, 2017, while I was flipping during tumbling class, I ruptured my Achilles tendon. I was doing a backhand-spring backflip. Before I did the backflip, I told myself to use more force than normal to gain more height, but as my feet touched the ground I felt a sharp pain in my Achilles. It felt like someone had stuck a knife into my heel. At first, I thought the tumbling teacher kicked me, but after I landed I looked at him, and he had a very shocked expression.
As I glanced around the classroom everyone had stopped moving and had the same shocked expression. I got up and tried to walk, but I felt like I was missing something in my foot. I couldn’t control my foot. In my mind I immediately told myself “It’s fine, nothing happened”, and in my heart I asked Master for help. I knew this was interference from the old forces because we were just weeks away from going on tour. The Shen Yun office arranged for me to have surgery done, so that future shows would not be affected.
As I was preparing to leave I kept repeating in my head, “I will not follow the arrangements of the old forces, I will only follow the arrangements of Master.” However, negative thoughts still arose like, “Will I be able to recover? Would I be able to dance in the future? Could I still come back to the mountain afterward?” etc. As these thoughts were going though my head, I received a phone call from the Shen Yun office asking about my situation. I said, “I am not afraid of anything, only that I may not be able to come back to the mountain.” The office replied, “You will definitely be able to come back.” I was very moved by these words, and they gave me the courage to take the next step in my journey.
After the doctor’s diagnosis, the surgeon said that my Achilles rupture was different from normal, instead of rupturing down the middle, my Achilles had ripped off of my heel bone. After the surgery I couldn’t walk normally, and the only way I could move around was with crutches. The simplest of activities became extremely difficult, forcing me to spend most of my time sitting down.
I had a lot of time to myself just to think, I looked inward and asked myself “Why did this happen to me?” I found many attachments such as, the attachment to saving face, the attachment of jealousy, but the attachment that stuck out the most to me was the attachment of sentimentality. I was getting older and would often have thoughts of finding a partner. Every time I had these thoughts I would tell myself, “I am not yet old enough, I shouldn’t be thinking about these things,” but these thoughts would still appear often.
In the past I would be very careful around girls, and almost never talked to them. However recently, as I began to help with other Dafa projects like videography, which involved collaborating with girls, I became more and more relaxed and let my guard down. I knew that during this period of time I had to work hard on my cultivation, and rid myself of these attachments.
So during my rehabilitation period everyday I would study the Fa twice, once with my father and once by myself. I would also do two hours of exercises, which was difficult at the time because I couldn’t stand up. After a few weeks of extra Fa-study, I began to realize many Fa principles that I had never known before. I was puzzled as to why I had never thought of these principles before and realized that previously when I Fa-studied with a group, my thoughts would often wander and I wasn’t truly Fa-studying. So everyday I forced myself to read slowly so that I could take in each word. Reading this way helped me improve tremendously in cultivation.
After two months I could walk again, but I became very lonely and depressed. In the past I always complained about not having enough free time, but now all I had was free time, yet I wasn’t happy at all. I felt extremely guilty that other practitioners were working hard and saving people, and I couldn’t do anything. At my lowest point my classmates reached out to me, and through experience sharing they helped lift me out of my depression. I told myself that time was precious and I couldn’t let it go to waste. So to make good use of it, I helped with Shen Yun promotions, helped backstage during performances, improved my Chinese, analyzed dance videos, learned videography, and took acting classes.
While helping backstage during the Shen Yun shows, I saw and experienced things that changed me forever. One thing that stood out to me was seeing how grateful local practitioners were just to see Master once, and some were so overjoyed they would cry. However, with me being in Shen Yun, I started taking things for granted, and forgot how extremely fortunate I was to be close to Master. I was also moved at how local practitioners treated the Shen Yun performance and its members. They prioritized Shen Yun over themselves. There were countless examples of local practitioners not eating or sleeping so that the Shen Yun performance went well. I felt a deep respect for all the local practitioners. I thought back to all the times when I was in Shen Yun, how I would complain that my life was mundane, or that I was always tired. I was regretful for not cherishing the time I had in Shen Yun.
The troupe that I was in before came to Los Angeles twice, and after meeting with them I realized many things. It became obvious while talking to them that the cultivation environment that I had in Shen Yun before was extremely precious. Everyone around me was a practitioner, and they were almost all about the same age as me. When I was at home in Los Angeles, the people around me were mostly ordinary people. I could converse and make friends with ordinary people, but I always felt that our conversations could only reach a certain level, but in Shen Yun almost all my connections were very deep, because everyone had the same goals and ideals. I thought back to the times in Shen Yun where I would get angry or argue with my fellow cultivators, and felt deeply ashamed.
A few more months passed and my Achilles healed more, aside from jumps and flips I could do most dance movements. I really wanted to go back to Shen Yun. However, when I contacted my company manager, the answer she gave was uncertain; she told me to wait a little longer. I was becoming very anxious, because the touring season was almost over, and soon the preparations for next year’s tour would begin. I thought to myself: I know the Shen Yun office said I could return, but what if things had changed? What if I can’t go back, what am I going to do then?
My mom saw me become depressed and told me “Let go of your attachments. Whether you go back or not is not the important part, the important part is you continue to be steadfast in cultivation. Remember no matter where you are, you are still a Dafa disciple.” I realized she was right, and looked inward and found I had a huge amount of fear. I told myself not to think too much, and to just follow Master’s arrangements. After I let go of this attachment, our school principal called me and said I was granted permission to come back to Shen Yun. When I heard the news I could hardly believe it, and I knew that it was Master’s benevolence that allowed me to come back.
Nowadays, when I come across hardships, I remind myself of the lessons I’ve learned during my time in rehabilitation. Every time I lose the motivation to dance, I remind myself of how much I wanted to dance during the time I was unable to walk. Every time I have conflicts with the people around me, I remind myself how lonely I felt without practitioners around me. Every time I have problems in cultivation, I think about how benevolent Master has been to me.
Most people would think that having an Achilles rupture is one of the worst things that could happen to a dancer. However now that I look back, I realize that this injury may not be such a bad thing. It forced me to truly look inwards, but most importantly it showed me what it really meant to cherish something.
I was able to get through this tribulation in part because of the encouragement from my teachers, and in part because of the care from friends and family. But most importantly, I know I was able to pass this tribulation because I maintained a steadfast belief in Dafa. I know that Dafa can rectify anything and everything, changing something seemingly terrible, to something uplifting and good.
Thank you Master! Thank you Shen Yun! Thank you fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2019 New York Fa Conference)