My Son Recovered from Depression When I Truly Looked Inward
(Minghui.org) I have practiced Falun Dafa for more than two decades. I would like to share my recent experience of removing my stubborn attachments.
Tribulations Caused by My Attachment to Self
After I began practicing Falun Dafa in 1998, I participated in many Fa-validation projects. I am a quick learner. Although I knew Master Li give me my skills, I felt I was capable. My ego got the better of me and I gradually developed an attachment to self.
I became busier as more practitioners came to me for help. I really enjoyed the feeling of being needed and respected. It felt good to be actively doing things and to have a fulfilling life. Instead of teaching other practitioners the necessary skills, I took over many projects. This severely interfered with their ability to walk their own cultivation paths.
When I dug further, I found my attachment to self behind my excuse of helping others. I wanted to satisfy my desire for fame and vanity. I did not pursue fame or social status in ordinary society, instead I pursued the satisfaction of doing Fa-validation projects. The old forces took advantage of this loophole and I was sentenced to three years in prison due to this strong attachment.
I Fail to Look Inward
I didn't have any fear before I was persecuted—I was always cheerful. All my illnesses were resolved after I started practicing Falun Dafa, and I became upbeat and energetic. My son was kind and smart and did well in school. My relatives and colleagues all said Falun Dafa was good. Even while I was incarcerated, I was always optimistic.
Everything changed after I returned home from prison. The three years I was imprisoned really hurt my family—mostly my son. When my son was three years old, his father had an affair and divorced me, so I raised our son alone. He was immersed in Dafa since he was little and cultivated very diligently. My job and finances were good. My son and I lived a very happy life.
When I was sentenced to prison, my son had to stay with his grandparents. They were frightened and did not let him practice Falun Dafa. My son had no cultivation environment and his grades fell.
My family assumed the burden of raising my son. They were very busy but they never complained. They regularly visited me in prison and deposited money for me. They never criticized me although I knew they had grievances in their hearts.
When I returned home, my family members who had supported me before asked me to stop practicing Falun Dafa. They also told me not to contact other practitioners and to discourage my son from practicing. Facing this intense opposition from my family, my cultivation environment became strained and I no longer smiled.
My family repeatedly reminded me how much they did for me and my son while I was imprisoned for three years. I felt that I couldn’t repay them. They really helped me by taking care of my child—it was a tremendous effort. But I still didn’t want to admit that my poor cultivation status was responsible for my being persecuted. I had the attachment of arrogance and I didn’t want to owe anyone.
There is nothing wrong with practicing Falun Dafa, but I should apologize to my family sincerely for the trouble the persecution caused them. I was reluctant to apologize, so my human attachments which should have been eliminated were protected with the excuse of protecting Dafa.
After I returned home from prison, I didn’t have much time to adjust my cultivation state or look inward as my mother was hospitalized for surgery and needed my help. Two days after my mother was discharged, my friend helped me get a new job, but I had to start work immediately. (My former employer terminated my contact when I was sentenced.) I hadn’t studied the Fa systematically for over three years, so I forgot to look inward and eliminate my attachments when I encountered problems. I was not patient and my temper was very bad. I did not behave like a cultivator at all.
I felt irritated as soon as I heard any criticism. I was not respectful to my parents either. My mother often complained about me, my father’s hearing was not good, and I was not patient enough to keep repeating what I said.
At my new job I always wanted to win at everything. When my colleague made mistakes at work, I wasn't sympathetic. Instead I looked down on him and felt I would do better than him if I did the job.
My Son Becomes Depressed
Our weekly Fa study was not going well as my son and I always discussed other things after we read. My son attended a local college and he usually came home every Friday and returned to school on Sunday night. During the second semester of his first year in college, he was reluctant to go back to school on Sunday night and began waiting until Monday morning.
He later developed symptoms of depression. His voice was so low that I couldn’t hear what he was saying. He stayed in his room with the window and curtains closed and the lights off. He later decided to drop out of school and stay home. According to teachers, once students drop out of school, they very seldom return and basically say goodbye to getting a degree. After hearing this, we all felt very bad.
From an ordinary person's perspective, depression is usually related to mental problems. My son had such problems. My husband’s family threw away my son’s expensive iPad (MP3) to stop him from listening to the Fa because they were so scared. Because of this, my son resented them and refused to forgive them. In addition, my husband’s family searched his belongings behind his back. His middle school classmates said he was homosexual. He had conflicts with his college classmates, etc. He always got angry whenever he thought about these things. After a while, he couldn’t control his temper and couldn’t concentrate on his studies. In the end, he couldn’t even study the Fa. My son decided to quit school.
His symptoms soon became even worse. His main consciousness was controlled by something else. He became manic, playing video games all day long. He opened the window at midnight and shouted until he was hoarse. He talked nonsense and was ready to fight anyone.
I was very worried. I sent righteous thoughts for him and tried to enlighten him with Dafa's principles. I did everything I could, but nothing worked. I was worried and confused. I realized that this problem was very serious and I had to change this incorrect state.
I knew something had to change, but I didn't know what was wrong. Then compassionate Master enlightened me through fellow practitioners that the problem was with me. The root cause was with me. I kept trying to help my son look at his problems—I was positive I had no problems with my own cultivation. I didn’t look inward and improve my xinxing. In fact, my incorrect state was shown through my son's behavior. I finally realized that if I corrected my cultivation state, my son would recover.
My family was very worried about my son because he was so young. They didn’t want to see him ruin his life. They blamed me for everything. They reminded me that my son had been under intense pressure because I was persecuted. My son practiced Falun Dafa, so he was discriminated against by people who had been brainwashed by the CCP's (Chinese Communist Party) lies. His depression got worse and worse. Their accusations were like swords stabbing me all over.
After I was released from prison, I had the same recurring dream. I dreamed that I was still imprisoned even though my term had expired. When I reflected on this deeply, I realized that my heart had not been released from the persecution.
I needed to look inward and improve my xinxing. Since I didn’t cultivate well, I had several loopholes. I knew there must be a major one. I realized my biggest and most deeply hidden attachment was my wish to play the leading role. Behind this was my fundamental attachment of resentment. Resentment is a substance that hurts oneself and others. I strongly resented my family members who blamed me and I also resented my son, thinking he was damaging Dafa’s image and causing me endless trouble.
I also strongly resented the CCP for persecuting me. I hated the old forces that persecuted me—whoever interfered with or blamed me, I hated them. I felt humiliated and that I had lost face. My hidden resentment was so strong that it felt natural.
The Situation Improves When I Look Inward
Since I didn’t know where to start, Master arranged for my friend to help me by pointing out my problems. At first, I refused to admit that I had any issues. But I gradually accepted the truth. I identified my attachments and eliminated them. I found that long-lost feeling of cultivating like when I first started.
First, I let go of my resentment for my family and friends. They blamed me for my son’s depression. Working through this was a great opportunity for me to eliminate karma and improve my xinxing. How could I resent them? I realized this situation existed because I didn’t cultivate well in the past. Before I hated whoever criticized me and I refused to interact with them. I was especially irritated whenever anyone criticized Dafa. Instead of examining my cultivation to see why this happened, I hid behind my attachments. I even blamed my family and friends for not respecting Dafa.
I was reluctant to be grateful to them because I was arrogant. Instead, I used Dafa as a shield. My family endured a lot of hardship to take care of my son for three years while I was imprisoned. He was admitted to a great high school and a high-ranking university. I thought that was all Master’s arrangement and I did not acknowledge my family's help.
After I began looking inward, I decided to eliminate my attachment to arrogance and to look at this problem from my family members' perspective. When I sincerely thanked them, they stopped blaming me.
My friend reminded me to apologize to my son as well. In the past, I always thought it was my son’s fate to be depressed. I felt it was an ordeal to help him improve, so I always asked him to follow the principles of cultivation. I didn’t put myself in his shoes and realize that my incarceration harmed him both physically and mentally. It also made for unexpected difficulties in his cultivation, because he was only a 14-year-old junior high school student when I was sentenced.
Everyone around him tried to separate him from Dafa. Despite such a tough situation, he recited Hong Yin from memory every day. Whenever he could, he read Zhuan Falun. Protected by Master, my son made it through many difficulties. He earned the “Best Progress Award.” He was admitted to a great high school. He visited me in prison and told me he was fine. He reminded me not to write any guarantee statements renouncing Falun Dafa.
Shouldn’t I thank such a wonderful son? Shouldn’t I apologize to him for all the harm he endured because of me? In the past I always thought. “The damage was done, what’s the use of apologizing? I’m his mother, why should I apologize to him?” In fact, I still couldn’t let go of my arrogance.
After I wrote a letter of apology to my son, his condition improved but he did not fully recover. Later another friend called and asked me if I resented the Party in power. I suddenly understood that I hadn’t eliminated my attachment of resentment.
“If you, as a cultivator, only let go of things superficially while beneath the surface you are still guarding and stubbornly defending something, defending your own vital self-interest from being infringed upon by others, I would say that your cultivation is fake! If your thinking doesn’t change, you cannot advance even one step and are deceiving yourself. Only when you truly improve from within can you make real progress.” (Teachings at the First Conference in North America)
Returning to True Cultivation
I didn’t cultivate solidly for several years. I only cultivated on the surface so I didn’t really improve or eliminate attachments. Now when I send righteous thoughts, I pay attention to eliminating resentment. I feel it a lot less. Now, whenever resentment surfaces, I immediately notice it and eliminate it. I recite Master’s poem,
I've become cheerful again. Even though my cultivation state isn't great, I've made significant progress.
My son has fully recovered from depression. As I continued to improve my xinxing, my son improved. My family and friends can hardly believe it. Everything that happened is just like a dream. My son suddenly became depressed and suddenly recovered! Looking at him now, no one could tell that he was so depressed.
He returned to school without any worries. Everyone is happy. He is studying his favorite professional courses and got excellent grades in his final exam. Everything is harmonious as he is able to study the Fa and help me on some Fa validation projects.
It is just like Master told us,
“So be sure to remember this: Whenever you come across anything such as troubles, unpleasant things, or confrontations with others, you need to examine yourself and search within. You will find the reason that has kept the problem from being resolved. Previously, during the qigong craze, many people learned that a person’s own energy field could influence his or her surroundings. But actually, that’s not the case. That happens because there is a problem within you, which contradicts the essential nature of the cosmos, and so you find everything around you to be at odds with you. That’s what is at work. Everything will go smoothly if you are able to realign everything. That’s how it is.” (Teachings at the First Conference in North America)