Treasuring Dafa and Cultivating in Family and Work
(Minghui.org) I didn't start practicing Falun Dafa until seven years after I heard about it. I was a sophomore in a law school in 2007, when my health started failing. Something was wrong with my nervous system and I was always exhausted. After seeing doctors in a variety of different specialties, I was diagnosed with chronic lyme disease.
I had always identified myself as being academically minded prior to practicing Dafa. I spent every available moment reading and studying, striving for the best academic achievements and awards, and hoping for the best job. I was very much into fame and personal gain, and was also very selfish and quite spoiled. I always thought of myself first in everything I did.
As an everyday person who wanted nothing but academic achievements, I had to put off college for a year for health reasons, as I lost the ability to read or study due to the disease. I wondered if I would be able to even find a job to support myself. Devastated, my mentality and behaviors were very awful at that time.
With constant self-blaming, I developed depression, and increased the burden on my parents. I felt that my illness was too great to bear and thought of committing suicide. But, at that time I did not know that my mental pressure had actually aggravated my condition.
Master said, “It is known that what actually causes people to become ill is seventy percent psychological and thirty percent physical.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
Not long before I was diagnosed with lyme disease, my mother sat next to a Falun Dafa practitioner during a train ride. She learned about Falun Dafa's miraculous effects in healing and keeping fit from that practitioner, and that practitioner suggested that I look into it.
I began reading Zhuan Falun. I had never developed any interest in religion or spiritual things, but I found Zhuan Falun fascinating. I learned the five sets of exercises online.
From then on, I attended the local group study, and enjoyed the group practice, but I didn't quite understand what cultivation practice was really about. I couldn't let go of my illness, therefore I did not see the deeper meaning of the Fa. A few months later, I stopped attending the group practice, and my mental and physical health deteriorated. My diseases bothered me for several years.
When I felt better, I found a job. My health went downhill again a few years later. I tried all kinds of treatment, including treatment from a healer who claimed he had supernormal abilities, and my condition improved a little, but the disease was never cured.
Stepping into Dafa Practice a Second Time
In February 2014, I had an urge to read Zhuan Falun again. From that point on, I resumed Fa study and practice. This time, I felt it was indeed like a rusty plug being plugged into the socket, and I finally recognized the preciousness of Dafa.
I realized that Zhuan Falun was a ladder to the heavens that could change me to become a better person, and could guide me in cultivating away all of the attachments that caused me to collapse when I experienced a major life tribulation through sickness karma.
I also learned that the key to cultivation was improving xinxing, and that only by giving up attachments could I improve my level. I used to be very pessimistic due to my illness, and thought that if someone could maintain peace of mind regardless of circumstance, that person would be remarkable.
Now Zhuan Falun told me to maintain peace of mind under any circumstance. I realized Falun Dafa's power was beyond my imagination, and practicing Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance could help me reach consummation. I wanted to cultivate toward higher levels. My Buddha nature finally emerged.
I was very grateful for the second chance I was given, which led me to the Fa I had been looking for. I regretted for giving up Dafa in 2007, and was determined to catch up in the Fa-rectification progress.
My health kept improving as I practiced Falun Dafa. Sometimes I felt the disease recur, but I did not give much thought to it and continued cultivating – and then it was completely gone.
I have run into many challenges, and tribulations, along my journey of cultivation practice. But, I have this hope in my heart that I will be able to meet the standard of a cultivator, and succeed on the path of cultivation that Master has arranged for me.
Cultivating in the Work Environment
My job presents many opportunities for cultivation. I have a very demanding job at a law firm that really challenges my skills and abilities. The firm’s standard is very high and it demands that I work a lot, including frequently on evenings and weekends. Since we had a second child, I find it even more difficult to find time to do the exercises and study the Fa. But I need to balance my time better and cherish this opportunity to cultivate at work.
My work gives me a lot of opportunities to cultivate and get rid of my attachments to fear, reputation, and self-interest. When I start to worry that my work will not be well-received or it is difficult to come up with a good legal argument, I realize that my concern is selfish. I'm worried that my colleagues will not think I am smart enough, articulate enough, or that my work is not up to par. I must let go of these sentiments, and refocus my thinking and mindset on helping every client solve their problem to the best of my ability. I find that when I work from this mindset, rather than worrying about my own reputation or how my work will be received, I get better results, and clients and colleagues are more likely to be happy with my work.
Working in a law firm, I also faced some tests related to my own self-interest, which I passed with very mixed results. People in law firms often fight over credit for generating client relationships. My husband became general counsel for a good company a few years ago, and started sending my firm work. I was happy because it meant I would get credit for bringing in a lucrative client. But another attorney previously did some work with a human resource director at a subsidiary of my husband’s company. Now, my husband controlled all the legal work for the parent company and the subsidiary, so I signed up the parent company as my client. The partner who did work for the subsidiary called, and demanded that I split the client credit with him. Remembering Zhuan Falun, I said if he wanted it he could have it. But, I still thought about it periodically, which meant the attachment was still there.
The following year, I got an e-mail from corporate accounting asking me to confirm the split for that client, and the partner e-mailed to me to say we should connect to discuss the split. When I went to have lunch with my female colleagues, they began talking about the issue of male partners taking credit for their client relationships. When I mentioned my situation to them, they encouraged me to have a conversation with the partner and getting the split. One of them knows that I practice Falun Dafa and I took this as an opportunity to talk to them about Falun Dafa’s principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, and not fighting with others over such things. But, they told me that I should at least mention it because it would not be good for my future prospects at the firm.
So when I connected with the partner, I calmly stated the facts about the client relationship and asked him if he thought the current split was fair based on the dynamics of the relationship. He asked me what I wanted, but I told him to let me know what he thought was fair, or we could keep it the same and discuss it again in a year. He told me normally, he would wait another year, but he’d give me a 60/40% split in my favor. I accepted his offer but I still think that I did not pass the test completely.
In the following years, when the annual e-mail came around, I did not ask to have another conversation. I know I will get what belongs to me, and if I don’t get something, it’s not mine and I don’t need to fight for it.
I was very happy that three of my colleagues went to see Shen Yun. I have spoken about my practice of Dafa and the persecution with some of my coworkers. A few also came to see the Zhen Shan Ren ( Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance) Art Exhibition when it came to Cleveland. Although I sometimes get a strong attachment to looking for a different job outside of a law firm environment, I try to take this lightly. If I persist and do better in clarifying the truth, maybe more of my co-workers will have a chance to see Shen Yun, or learn about and develop a positive opinion toward Dafa. I need to do a better job of clarifying the truth to my coworkers.
Zhen Shan Ren Art Exhibition
I was very inspired by the Columbus practitioners’ efforts to exhibit the Zhen Shan Ren paintings and had a wish to bring these paintings to Cleveland, so that more sentient beings could learn about the beauty of Dafa and the persecution.
A colleague connected me to a popular contact in the arts community, who connected me to a prominent sculptor in Cleveland who owned an exhibition space. I clarified the truth to the artist, and he was very supportive, read Zhuan Falun, and let us use an arts hall he owned to host the first Zhen Shan Ren arts exhibit in Cleveland.
I had never planned an event like this, but did my best to coordinate matters while working and fulfilling my family responsibilities. Thanks to Master’s arrangements, and many efforts from practitioners in Cleveland and Columbus, we were able to hold a successful exhibition in Cleveland.
The Zhen Shan Ren exhibition is very unique. It provides an opportunity to clarify the truth about Dafa and the persecution face to face and on a very deep level. Before entering the exhibit, virtually all visitors watched the 10 minute documentary – The Persecution of Falun Gong. Many were shocked by the film and I thought it really helped their understanding of the paintings in the exhibition hall.
Viewers were very curious about the stories and concepts behind the paintings. In many cases, their knowing sides awakened, and they feel the beauty, solemnity, and high artistic ideal conveyed by the paintings and their quality, which cannot be compared with modern art. Many who saw the exhibition were not aware of the persecution of Falun Gong in China, and were horrified by the crimes committed against Falun Gong practitioners there. I was very grateful to have a chance to contribute to this truth clarification effort.
I hope I will be able to contribute to future efforts to exhibit the Zhen Shan Ren paintings, and to increase my participation in the Shen Yun efforts. I hope more of my colleagues will be able to see Shen Yun and the art exhibit in the future. Dafa has completely changed the way I see and value the arts.
Cultivating at Home
In the last few years, I faced agonizing cultivation tests in my family environment. My relationship with my husband perhaps presents some of my most challenging cultivation opportunities. He does not practice Falun Dafa, but he is kind and fortunately very supportive of my practice, and watches the kids every Sunday while I go to group practice.
My husband is also an instant barometer of whether I have passed cultivation tests in regards to him. Whenever I say something to him with even the slightest hint of criticism, resentment, discontent, frustration, or being upset, he instantly picks up on it and gets very upset. He is right every time in this regard, always aware of whenever I do have a tinge of those things in my speech and therefore the attachments that go along with that. Very often, my xinxing tests with my husband remind me that I need to cultivate my speech and not speak in a way that causes any kind of discord with others. I also need to heed Master’s call to treat my husband, and all sentient beings with the utmost compassion.
Unfortunately, my husband has been battling a serious eating disorder and depression for a very long time. In 2017 he entered a recovery program for the eating disorder, but his improvement after he was discharged from the program has been very slow. When he made progress with the eating disorder the depression got worse and vise versa. To make matters worse, while my husband was in the program, as we learned about the eating disorder and its genetic connection. In 2017, my daughter, who was six years old at the time, was diagnosed with the same eating disorder. My daughter rejected pretty much all food and refused to eat. She then started throwing up all her meager intake. My daughter was also particularly oppositional to me, and her eating disorder behaviors were worse when I tried to feed her. We took her to psychologists, and even to an eating disorder clinic in another state, but her behavior worsened.
During this time, I was mired in an agonizing test of sentiment and emotion. I regret to say I did not handle matters well, and again was on the verge of collapse. I still had to fulfill my obligations at work and during that time did not do well keeping up with Fa study and the exercises. At the time, it seemed like nothing I did had an effect on my daughter’s condition and just seemed to make it worse.
In this period, when both my husband and my daughter were suffering so much, and I could not seem to turn things around, I needed to etch Master’s words in teachings about the agonizing tests of sentimentality into my heart.
“...a person absolutely cannot change others’ lives. You can’t even control your own life, let alone the lives of others. No matter how hard a person tries, he’s merely walking down the path of his own existence.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Europe”)
“Do you know how much karma they have, and how they are supposed to go through their lives? Is that something you can control for others? You can’t. ” (“Teaching the Fa and Answering Questions in Guangzhou,” The Law of Zhuan Falun Explained)
Despite my surface understanding of the Fa, I was not acting in accordance with the Fa and hoped the agonizing situation with my daughter and my husband’s psychological conditions would change. I also wanted to control every aspect of their recovery, despite my husband’s resentment of being constantly badgered over his condition, whether he ate enough food, and despite others in my family being better equipped to assist with my daughter’s recovery. I needed to let go of the attachments to guilt, control, fear, resentment, negativity, sentimentality, and emotion – all of which were exposed, often simultaneously to overwhelming effect, by this multi-year tribulation.
I was also overwhelmed by emotion and guilt over my daughter’s situation and my husband. At one point not long ago, I even thought I would not be able to go on cultivating. I was doing so poorly, that my husband told me I was the one who needed to see a therapist, and that I was hindering his recovery, and my parents told me they were worried about me more than my daughter. He also told me I was not compassionate, and treated him poorly by ignoring him, being cold, angry and resentful, and only focusing on his difficulties with the disease.
After studying Master’s teachings and reading many inspiring practitioner sharings on the Minghui website, I enlightened that I was focusing exclusively on my husband’s shortcomings, and not crediting his strengths, including kindness, loyalty, caring about others, support of my practice, and efforts to deal gracefully with his own suffering.
I was very ashamed. Then, I came across Master’s following passage in the “Fa Lecture during the 2003 Lantern Festival,” which explained what seemed to be happening to me, and the prolonged tribulations I was facing:
“You've treated emotion as a test, and that's because you haven't let it go, so you constantly have to pass it. (Audience laughs) But I'm not forcing you all to let it go today, I'm just pointing this out to you clearly. I'm not saying you can do it right away. When I tell you what's going on, you should just study the Fa more. When the righteous thoughts get stronger and stronger, when you truly have compassion toward sentient beings, then there won't be any more emotion to trouble you, and none of your family members that you have an issue of emotion with will again say that you're heartless towards them, and there won't be any more conflicts because of the issue of emotion. You can talk all you want about it, but it still comes down to you needing to improve. (“Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference”)
“I can sense the state of your thinking-- 'It's hard, really hard.' But didn't you wait those thousands of years just for today?! Could your future Consummation compare with this little bit that you're enduring today?!” (“Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conferenc"e)
I was not passing the test and the test kept getting larger. I realized that I needed to become much more diligent, find more time to study the Fa, start to be consistent about sending righteous thoughts, and make a greater effort to save sentient beings, and clarify the truth, as I try to cultivate away my numerous attachments. I needed to pay more attention to my husband, and support him as a person not just defined by a disease, and to dissolve the resentment that prevented me from treating him with warmth and compassion as befitting of a cultivator.
Although my daughter has gotten somewhat better, I resolved to do better in cultivation so I will be able to face the big tests when they come and be worthy of the title of Dafa disciple.
“Those who make it back, however, will find that the worst of their suffering here was in fact the most valuable. Practicing by relying on faith while in this confusing place is extremely trying, yet it is also what makes a swift return to heaven possible.” (The Third Talk, Zhuan Falun)
Lately, I have been trying to spend my free time studying the Fa and doing the exercises. I need to do much better in regards to making time to study the Fa and start incorporating sending righteous thoughts into my daily routine.
I hope I can diligently cultivate, do the three things well, meet the standard for a cultivator, and someday return to where I came from. Thank you Master for giving me this precious opportunity to enter Dafa.
Category: Journeys of Cultivation