(Minghui.org) I recently stayed in a fellow practitioner’s home. When we meditated the following morning, the other practitioner pointed out that I was half-asleep. I was surprised because I thought I concentrated well and never fell asleep.

When I got home, I recorded myself meditating. Playing the video back showed the practitioner was right. When I meditated, it looked like I was asleep. I realized this must have gone on for a long time. My legs used to hurt when I meditated, which prevented me from dozing off. I could clearly count how many sections of music had been played. As the pain gradually went away, I slowly lost awareness of the music progressing. I thought I was concentrating! This reflected a serious problem in my cultivation state. I knew it was time to improve!

I also had problems focusing when I read the Fa. My mouth was saying the words but my mind drifted off to issues in my life and work. I studied the teachings as if completing a task.

Thinking back, I realized I also had issues when I clarified the truth. I didn’t really care if the listeners accepted what I said. I thought, “I’ve told them the facts—it’s up to them if they accept it or not.” I didn’t try to touch their hearts. I simply did it as a chore I needed to get done.

Given my cultivation state, my doing the exercises was no different from my doing ordinary people’s exercises. My body was aging. My hair turned gray and I lost a lot of hair on the top of my head. My eyesight was getting worse and I had trouble reading fine print. If I continued to ignore my cultivation state, my appearance might confuse the ordinary people I clarified the truth to.

Master said:

“And I’d like to add, when someone wants to cultivate, it’s no walk in the park. I’ve said that it’s a serious thing, and on top of that, it’s higher than ordinary people, and it’s tougher to do than anything ordinary people do. Isn’t it a higher thing? So it demands more of you than anything of ordinary people.” (The Third Talk, Zhuan Falun)

I realized if I didn’t improve my xinxing or follow Dafa’s requirement to improve myself, I wouldn’t see the deeper meanings behind the teachings. Was I truly cultivating?

My parents were also Falun Dafa practitioners. Even though they did study the Fa, did the exercises, and clarified the truth, they did not eliminate their human notions. Our relatives didn’t understand why we continued to practice Falun Dafa after seeing the persecution I was subjected to. When my parents had illness symptoms, they tried sending righteous thoughts but it didn’t work. They lost confidence in cultivation, sought medical care, and passed away. I felt very bad that they weren't able to let go of their attachments. 

My cultivation state alerted me that my failure to improve myself according to Dafa could lead to terrible consequences.

Cultivation is like paddling upstream. If we're not improving and advancing, we are moving backward. Doing the things other cultivators do doesn't mean I’m a genuine cultivator. There is a huge difference! A non-cultivator can also read the Fa to enrich his knowledge, but he'll still behave like an ordinary person. However, a cultivator studies the Fa to keep his behavior in line with the Fa. Any non-cultivator can copy the movements and do them as a physical exercise, but when someone who is truly cultivating does the exercises, they are reinforced by Buddhas and changes happen in other dimensions.

Non-cultivators don’t usually have the courage to clarify the truth, but if a cultivator does it as if finishing a job, it won’t be very effective. Putting one’s heart into it requires thoughtfully considering how to do it well. When difficulties arise, one needs to look inward and make improvements according to the Fa. It’s a process of cultivation. It’s only when we put our hearts into clarifying the truth that gods can help us and it will be effective.

Failing to put one’s heart into truth-clarification means that we're mindlessly doing a task. When difficulties arise, one may quit or try to solve the problem with human notions. Gods won’t help such a person accomplish anything.

It’s not easy to put our hearts into cultivation because we must measure every thought with the Fa instead of human notions. However, it’s the only way to progress in cultivation. In order to be responsible for our own cultivation, we have to truly put effort into it. Otherwise we are wasting this precious opportunity to cultivate and save people, something we vowed to do eons ago.

I hope my experience will alert fellow practitioners who have similar problems.