Enlightening To “Matter and Spirit Are the Same”
(Minghui.org) I recently experienced low-grade fever on two occasions, accompanied by chest tightness, dizziness, and headaches. The back pain turned into pain all over my body. My sleep was affected, and I kept having negative thoughts. When I read the Fa, it felt like a wall was blocking me from truly internalizing it. There were issues at home, at work, and financially. I was worried and distracted.
One night after sending forth righteous thoughts, I suddenly thought, “What is cultivation?” My mind became empty. My husband walked into the room and saw me in a daze. He asked what I was thinking, and I told him. Because it was late we chatted briefly. The next morning while doing the exercises, I remembered Master’s Fa:
“Just by elevating your realm of thought ever so slightly, the bad things in your body will have been purged to some degree. You also must go through some painful things and experience a bit of adversity in order to eliminate some of your karma. And by doing so, your level of attainment will rise somewhat, for the qualities of the universe will no longer be holding you back as before.” (The First Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I wondered why I remembered this passage. Did I need to change my thinking? Even though I had passed several sickness karma tribulations, I still had the thought that my own xinxing and karma caused them. I still only had a vague understanding of cultivation during the Fa-rectification, and the relationship between the old forces and Fa-rectification. But what happened next gave me a new understanding.
My husband walked in and said, “Yesterday you were wondering what cultivation is. I think cultivation is about letting go of self...” I thought, yes, I know we should let go of self. But if I don’t realize it, how can I let it go?
Time for a Change
The next day I overheard my husband talking with a friend. He said if one always puts oneself so high and doesn’t listen, how can one communicate with others? I was shocked. Although they were not talking about me, I felt that Master was speaking to me. What happened next caused me to change.
One day after finishing an online class, my husband asked, “Is the boy (referring to the student I was teaching) Taiwanese? He must be very caring, as the way he speaks is very considerate.” I replied casually, “Yes he is, but he doesn't speak concisely.” I later realized that my husband and I had very different impressions. Different notions produce different effects. Soon after, the student’s mother wrote to the school saying it would be better if my teaching style could be adjusted. Whether her request was valid or not, I didn’t think it was accidental, so I adjusted by adding some extracurricular themes and interactions.
I then began examining the source of my thoughts. I found that I was often anxious and I liked being efficient. I am jealous of others and I subconsciously look down on others when they do not conform to my ideas. I disrespect and don't consider others enough. After realizing this, I started to pay attention to my thoughts. I tried to rectify my thoughts as much as possible, and restrain resentment, irritability, etc. I also started to adjust my behavior to be as humble and friendly as possible.
But as I looked inward more, I found subtle problems in my thinking, such as rebellious negative thoughts, depressed thinking, stubborn notions of being content with the status quo and not wanting to change, and the habitual thinking of judging things with feelings and perceptions. Digging further, I found that when I didn’t measure everything with the Fa, my thoughts were almost the same as before I began practicing, and conformed to the old universe.
“Such beings are not outright evil, however, since it’s simply that they embody the traits of the previous universe. They have been known as dark forces. They don’t pose a threat to regular people and certainly wouldn’t harm them; the issue is simply that they hold fast to the old ways of doing things.” (The Fifth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
“Aging, sickness, and death are also kinds of dark beings, though they exist in order to uphold the nature of the universe.” (The Fifth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I realized that thought-formed me was also in a layer of space, and existed simultaneously in the same place. If the characteristics of the old universe remain unchanged, our body will go through degeneration and destruction. In the midst of tribulations, in the pain of sickness karma, under pressure, during tribulations, or entangled in emotion, conflicts, and all the situations of ordinary society, where does human thinking come from?
Few people can recognize where their thinking comes from in this complex environment and these complex feelings. It is difficult to find their true self and true nature in the midst of human emotions and perceptions, which are reinforced by the old cosmic beings. This may be why people just go with the flow.
Dafa breaks all illusions. If practitioners' thoughts are not based on the Fa, then unrighteous thoughts, human attachments, and notions may invite negative things to insert themselves. These bad factors will separate us from the Fa. The more the bad factors accumulate, the harder it is to find one's true self, and the further away we stray from the Fa.
“It really is hard to clean out those notions and bad things that you have formed while leading your daily life, and you need to change those habitual things that have formed. You have already formed a way of thinking such as that, and so you have to look into your manner of thinking and correct things there if you want to avoid more problems. You might be wondering, “But haven’t I already cleaned those things out?” Indeed, when you send righteous thoughts the field does become bright and clear. However, the moment you get up, what’s in your head is in fact human thinking, and when you think about something or do something, you quickly lapse and go back to where you started from, and that thing [you cleared out] is there again. And further yet, if your mind and thoughts aren’t even steady when you send righteous thoughts, you will be clearing out and eradicating bad things over here while at the same time producing them over there. Cultivation is about reforming yourself, and things are indeed as I’ve described.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. X)
Getting Back on Track
What happened next made me realize that it's not enough to simply recognize this. I had to realize the higher level of Fa in order to come out of it. In order to be able to realize it, we must first change our human thinking.
One day when chatting with my husband, we came back to the topic of what cultivation is. I said that cultivation is the process of eliminating attachments. He said that cultivation is to achieve consummation. When I heard this, I said to Master in my heart, “I want to reach consummation.” Afterwards I realized that this was not accidental because I had never before thought much about achieving consummation. I felt it was time for me to change and improve my xinxing.
“Scientists have found that there are physical properties to the thoughts that take place in the brain. So this means that thoughts materially exist, yet at the same time they are certainly mental phenomena. This would suggest, then, that the two are actually the same.” (The First Talk, Zhuan Falun)
“And so you will not be able to progress to higher levels of existence, or attainment, if they do not agree to it. Their reason would be that your character has not grown sufficiently. There is a standard for each level of existence, and you must meet it—by ridding yourself of bad thoughts and intentions and whatever is unclean in you—if you are to go there.” (The First Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I wondered how much I understood and how much I believed over the years. I realized that I believed more in my own feelings and in so-called reality. When I was among everyday people, I put the Fa aside. Consummation seemed too far away. I started to think about how to walk on the path to consummation and how to reach high levels of the requirements for practitioners. Of course, each practitioner has different understandings from reading the Fa.
I now understand that there is no direct relationship between the magnitude of a practitioner's difficulties and suffering, and whether or not he or she can break the old arrangements and the persecution. The key is that some practitioners have misplaced the relationship between themselves and beings from the old cosmos. The relationship is of saving and being saved, not carrying out the persecution and being persecuted. If we understand this relationship incorrectly, we may place ourselves in the position of being persecuted. If practitioners do not strictly manage our thoughts, and let human thinking persist for a long time, it may attract negative beings to separate us from the Fa, and we will be taking the path arranged by the old forces. This tribulation is caused by not being diligent and following high standards.
“Because it’s not genuine practice unless someone strives to develop his or her character as we’ve taught, and does so in earnest. If you just do those exercises without working on your character, there won’t be powerful energy to strengthen everything, and it won’t amount to spiritual practice. So we can’t consider you a student of Falun Dafa in that case.” (The Third Talk, Zhuan Falun)
After I realized this, both the environment and my physical condition changed, and the problems suddenly passed. My back no longer hurt, the low-grade fever and other phenomena disappeared, and I can now stay focused during Fa study. Before I wrote this article this morning I did the sitting meditation. A huge body suddenly appeared in front of me sitting in the lotus position. The solemn sense of sacredness is still with me as I write.
I then saw a very beautiful scene. Looking down from high, serene and tranquil, with birds chirping and flowers blossoming, the gentle sunlight shone through the lush branches and leaves of the forest and illuminated the green grass. I seemed to be in another dimension, but I knew that I was meditating. I felt peace and harmony. It was a wonderful experience.
When I read the Fa, I achieved a state I had never experienced before. After I opened the book there was a white light. As I read a line, the light moved to that line. And in the process of reading, the Fa entered my heart, and the Fa principles kept manifesting...
Words can’t express my gratitude to Master as I write this! Thank you Master for your salvation! I just realized this little bit, and the manifestation of Dafa has allowed me to comprehend such a wonderful realm.