(Minghui.org) Lately, I have been working at home full time due to the coronavirus pandemic. Having more free time on my hands, I have taken the opportunity to reflect on my cultivation, as Master has told us: 

“Pause for a moment of self-reflection,and increase your righteous thoughtsThoroughly analyze your shortcomings,and progress with renewed diligence.” ("Rational and Awake," Hong Yin IITranslation Version A)

Breakthrough When Doing the Exercises

Until recently, I have never thought about breaking through the one-hour limit in my meditation and wheel-holding exercise times. But to counter the serious sickness karma I was experiencing at the time, I decided it was time to make a breakthrough. 

During my first attempt, I persevered for 90 minutes in the sitting meditation. The pain started to set in at about the 40-minute mark and by the 70-minute mark, the pain-induced spasm shot through my body. When I got to about 80 minutes, I broke out in laughter, which was followed by tears. 

Pain doesn’t normally make me cry, but I was crying. When it was over, although I was numb from the waist down, I could feel that a substance that was substantial in size had been removed by Master. I think my emotional swing was a result of seeing Master adjusting my body in other dimensions. 

I realize I have more work to do as my mind is not truly tranquil. It’s worth mentioning the experiences I went through during this period.

Pain was not the main issue: I could not sit in meditation for longer than one hour before, because I never thought about breaking through that time limit. I unconsciously uncrossed my legs whenever I was interfered with by my thought karma or other unfavorable factors. As a solution, during my meditation I consciously cleared out everything in my mind that would make me uncross my legs prematurely. I let my main consciousness decide as to how long I should sit. That way, I was able to extend my sitting time considerably. 

Interference comes in many guises: The first time I broke through the 90 minute mark, I thought that during the last few minutes my legs were about to break. At another time, I thought “Why do you want to meditate and suffer?” I was nonplussed and thought to myself: Who are you? That was the first time, in my years of cultivation, that I really felt the effect of thought karma. Before that, I sometimes knew my thoughts were not quite right, but only picked up on the manifestation of thought karma for the first time.

Interference came in another guise about a week after I made the big breakthrough. Little unimportant matters began to disrupt my exercise time. It took me a few days of sending righteous thoughts to overcome them. I am working hard at the moment to set up a routine of getting up before 3 a.m. I cannot always make it, but I find it a lot easier if, before going to bed, I clear all factors that stop me from getting up as planned. I have tried getting up at 3 a.m., but with the daily meditation time capped to one hour, I constantly felt tired during the day and could not do much of anything unless I took a nap. I don’t have that problem now that I am meditating daily for two hours. 

Discovering the Underlying Causes

Starting from about 10 years ago, my eyes always felt tired, especially after I had been in the sun. My eyes felt dry after I stayed out in the glaring sun for a few hours, usually followed by chest pain, and fogging up of the brain. That made a huge negative impact on me every time it occurred – I could not get up early the next day, which in turn caused a number disruptions to my normal day. I spend long hours in front of a computer screen doing both my day job and work for Dafa projects, so it’s perfectly justifiable that I could suffer from abnormally dry eyes. But as a cultivator, I should have known better. I sensed that it was an abnormal condition, but have never treated it as a target for elimination by sending forth righteous thoughts. Naturally, there had been little improvements in my eye condition.

Master said:

“At present, whenever Dafa disciples have abnormal and persistent interference while they validate the Fa, then it must be the work of the dark minions. When you eliminate them, be sure to dissolve them completely.” (“Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Western U.S. Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. V)

It’s normal that an ordinary person would feel tired after sun exposure, but my strong adverse reaction is completely abnormal. This fits in with Master’s description of “abnormal and persistent interference.” Since then, I specifically targeted this “work of the dark minions” for elimination every day when sending righteous thoughts. My eye condition has much improved since then. Now I only feel slightly tired after I have been in the sun. My faith in Dafa has also been strengthened as a result.

I enlightened to what was behind my eye condition. The ordinary cause and effect of the eye condition was entrenched in my mind. I had this notion that there was nothing I could do, my eyes were susceptible to glaring light and made me tired as a result because I did not look after my eyes. I accepted the abnormal eye condition and in effect treated myself as an ordinary person. My notion made it possible for the dark minions to use it as an excuse to interfere.

To a cultivator, having tired eyes has nothing to do with sun exposure. Once I was clear on that, I discarded completely the normal cause and effect line of thinking and attributed it to the old forces’ and its dark minions’ interference. 

I have now developed an automatic response. Whenever my eyes feel tired or my chest hurts, regardless of how I feel, I will immediately send forth a righteous thought: “Disintegrate and eliminate the dark minions, and dispel any incorrect notions. At the same time, I will refrain from assessing the situation with human thoughts. That tactic really works for me, and now I seldom react so adversely to sun exposure, and even if I do on occasion, I eliminate it quite quickly.

Something else I have enlightened to. I used to want to go to bed early when I was bothered by my eye condition. I was treating it as something that happened to ordinary people and therefore could only think of what an ordinary person would do to recover. I failed to recognize the interference for what it was. Now, that I am clear on that, I make every attempt to overcome this kind of interference as quickly as possible by putting more time into Dafa exercises.

I have made a huge improvement, but according to my wife – also a practitioner – I was too complacent and only reacted when the interference actually took place. 

Addiction to Personal Accomplishment

I am quite accomplished academically and have a habit of wanting to continually advance my knowledge. I got very excited when I succeeded in learning something new or acquiring some new skills. I was so driven to learn or to solve a problem that I would work long hours without rest. I thought my ethic of hard work and professionalism were a laudable pursuit and never considered them an attachment.

While I was memorizing the Fa one day, it occurred to me that I enjoyed the excitement of gaining new knowledge or overcoming a new challenge so I pursued it relentlessly. When something caught my interest, everything else, important or not was forgotten, not to mention the much-needed rest. 

Master said: 

“I’d like to give you my take on what people normally refer to as “addiction.” In the medical sciences it’s believed that addiction occurs when the part of the nervous system associated with addictive behaviors is stimulated and develops to a sufficient degree. But that’s not it. What’s happening, then? Over time, that addictive substance accumulates, and forms inside of your body an identical version of you that comes to control you. Because it is composed of strong attachment, and has your appearance, it has an equally strong desire to control you; it was formed out of strong desires, after all.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2019 New York Fa Conference”)

I had an addiction, not as bad as a drug addiction, but just as serious. My addiction to personal accomplishment was behind my relentless pursuit of knowledge. It gave the old forces an excuse to interfere and worsened my eye condition. This gap in my cultivation also allowed the dark minions to play havoc with my health. Now that I am clear about my addiction, I am taking steps to resist the temptation and eliminate the attachment.