North American: Returning to Cultivation Practice
(Minghui.org) My grandmother introduced me to Falun Dafa in 1997. I was in primary school, so I did not truly understand what cultivation practice was. Mother often read the teachings to me before I went to bed, and I knew Falun Dafa was great. Falun Dafa was planted in my heart like a seed.
I gradually moved away from Dafa after the Chinese communist regime began to persecute it. I became attached to leading an ordinary person’s life as I grew older. I focused on my studies and never truly became a practitioner.
After graduating from university in China, I went to the U.S. for further studies. I met a Falun Dafa practitioner promoting Shen Yun in a shopping mall. We chatted and I told her that I used to practice. I had conflicting views with her and developed negative thoughts. I was also worried, lazy and scared. All these stopped me from taking up cultivation practice again.
I settled into life in America after leaving school. I pursued a better life. Three years ago, I was recruited by a large company known for having a huge workload and brutal company culture. Relationships with co-workers were tense, superiors often treated subordinates with disrespect, internal competition was rife and the pressure was immense. Employees voluntarily work overtime to earn promotions and avoid being eliminated.
After I began working for this company, I learned how to compete with others, often thinking of ways to keep my manager happy and prove myself. I became worried and anxious because there seemed to be no future in my department. I slowly developed health problems due to the constant stress. My stomach became increasingly uncomfortable. Often after eating, my stomach was bloated, painful and I had hiccups. Some nights the stomach pain was so intense that it woke me up. My neck and back became stiffer, and I frequently felt aches and discomfort. Even though my physical health and the intense work pressure were impacting my mental health, I gritted my teeth and hung on due to the company’s reputation and high salary.
Falun Dafa Offers Hope
I was young and never experienced any major health issues, so I never thought I would be affected by stress. I became more and more unhappy at work. I began to think about Falun Dafa, recalling how wonderful and noble it was. I began to search for and read Master Li’s teachings on the Internet.
One day, I suddenly recalled Master’s words,
“An everyday person cannot see this point and always believes that he should do exactly what he is able to. Therefore, he competes and fights all his life with a badly wounded heart. He might feel very bitter and tired, always finding things unfair. Being unable to eat or sleep well, he feels sad and disappointed. When he gets older, he will end up in poor health and all kinds of illnesses will surface.” (Lecture Seven, Zhuan Falun)
I realized that I had dropped to the level of an ordinary person fighting for personal gain. The cause of all my miseries was my attachment to things in the human world.
I resolved to study the Fa and return to cultivation. I wanted to stop pursuing reputation and money. I searched for other positions in my current workplace and at the same time applied for jobs in other firms. Soon after, I received an offer from another company. The salary was nearly half of what I was currently getting, but I had a chance to learn new skills. Furthermore, there was less competition and bureaucracy compared to my previous workplace.
I agonized over whether I should give up my high-paying job and switch to an unknown company. In the end, I understood that every step is arranged by Master. I knew I should not be attached to my job, money or fame. I gladly accepted the new job and let go of many attachments. My heart was at peace and my stomach pains lessened.
As I continued to study Master's teachings, I had a strong desire to step out and do things to validate the Fa. Finally last year, through the Minghui website, I found the contact person for the local Falun Dafa association and started to take part in group activities.
In the past, I was not consistent in doing the exercises. Every time I did the second set of exercises, because my spine was stiff, when I lifted my arms, my shoulder and back hurt terribly. Because my body shook, my movements were not up to par. I also kept having hiccups. When I did the sitting meditation, I could only sit for around 40 minutes as my back hurt.
I was determined to practice cultivation solidly and do better in the exercises as well as study the Fa more frequently. Gradually, my shoulders and back stopped hurting when I did the second exercise. I could stand straighter, and my body stopped shaking. I could finally do the sitting meditation for an hour. My back felt better, and the pain was not so unbearable. I knew Master was encouraging me.
My heart felt at ease and pure when I participated in group exercises or activities to raise awareness of the persecution of Falun Dafa in China. I feared that my body would shake when I did the exercises in public, but it never happened. I knew I didn’t have to worry.
Sometimes it rained when we held activities outdoors. Once, I was doing the exercises with a group of practitioners while another group of practitioners held banners and gave out brochures. The rain hit my face, but I did not feel cold at all. Instead, the atmosphere felt sacred. I was moved to see practitioners next to me stand without moving. The rain soon stopped and the sky cleared up.
I know there is room for improvement as I have only just returned to cultivation. I am grateful to Master for not giving up on me. I will cherish this opportunity, do the three things well, and keep up with Master in Fa-rectification.
These are just my personal understandings. Please kindly point out if there is anything inappropriate.