(Minghui.org) Towards the end of 2019, after nine years of working full-time for a project run by practitioners in the United States, I asked for a leave. I wanted to decide whether I should continue the Green Card application process or leave the United States. I left San Francisco in January 2020 and applied for a job at a school in Switzerland to see what my chances were. I then traveled to India to help a practitioner there introduce Falun Dafa to schools and clarify the truth to locals and tourists along the way.

A few weeks after I arrived in India, schools and tourist sites began closing down. Flights were canceled, and governments, including the Swiss government, told their citizens to return to their home countries. Because I didn’t want to get stuck in India, and I was no longer permitted to enter the United States without a Green Card, I returned to Switzerland. The question of whether to return to the United States was thus answered by the COVID pandemic.

Back in Switzerland, I noticed different feelings of resentment (Groll), but I couldn’t find the root of them or remove them. When I was asked to send righteous thoughts for a practitioner who was having difficulties, my righteous thoughts were very clear and strong. In the process, I started to thoroughly examine myself. I asked myself what her situation might have to do with me. I found my self-pity and realized that this self-pity was actually the root cause behind my feelings of resentment. While sending righteous thoughts for this practitioner, I tried to dig deeper. I found the root of my self-pity. It sounds simple, but for me it was a major breakthrough in my cultivation. I realized that the root of my self-pity was the attachment to self.

Master says,

“It’s about time you woke up, isn’t it?! Let your discontentment and resentment go; it’s just an attachment.” (“A Strong and Urgent Warning”)

As I write this and recall the path I’ve traveled these past three years, I’m sitting in a quiet corner of a nearly empty restaurant looking out over the Swiss mountains. The landscape reminds me of my cultivation path: Despair and breakthrough experiences during ten days of isolation due to COVID symptoms, pain and high points during three months of intense Shen Yun promotion, as well as stress and inspiring experiences at work.

Oftentimes I sense that Master encourages me after a breakthrough by means of inspiring encounters and conversations, while at the same time pointing out my hidden shortcomings.

While looking at the high mountains above me and the toy-like buildings down in the valley where six practitioners and I distributed a lot of Falun Dafa materials in the spring of 2021, I recall my experiences and thoughts during that week. The weather alternated between snowing and freezing cold. Sometimes I wondered how many people could be saved with our materials. Sometimes I was even worried that enough people might not be saved through our efforts. Later that year I received a phone call from an elderly couple, saying that they would like to learn the exercises. I was touched and offered them to visit them and show them the exercises. They were both in their 80s. It turned out that they had a holiday apartment in the mountain village I’m looking at from the restaurant window. They found our brochure in their mailbox shortly before selling their apartment. While this was encouraging, I also realized that I shouldn’t be anxious. Instead, I must have faith in Master.

Leaving a major U.S. city to settle down in a small Swiss village in the hills was quite a shock. After some time I noticed that my thoughts were elsewhere when I distributed Falun Dafa materials. It was as if something was holding me back. Although I tried many times to figure out what it was, I wasn’t able to detect any attachment or reason. Finally I asked Master for help. I then forgot about it. One night, Master appeared in my dream. I felt I wasn’t worthy enough to see Master. In my dream, Master talked to some people individually. I don’t remember the details, yet when it was my turn, Master said, “Don’t fall into despair due to all the persecution in the whole world.” (“Verzweifle nicht, ob all der Verfolgung in der ganzen Welt.”) This “dream revealed to me the root of my blockage: despair.

Master said, “Dafa disciples are humankind's only hope for salvation.” (“To the Fa Conference of Europe”)

How can we be “...humankind’s only hope for salvation” if we are desperate? Since then I keep reminding myself how fortunate we are to be Dafa disciples and that we should be full of trust and gratitude and have faith in Master. I also felt more energetic and noticed that I was able to clarify the truth again wholeheartedly.

Soon afterwards, during another week that I distributed materials in remote Swiss mountainous areas, I felt Master was encouraging me via a group of tourists. I had just placed materials in some mailboxes when a group of tourists from Austria approached me. I started talking to one or two of the hikers and handed them flyers. Soon, nearly the whole group had crowded around me. One woman said that just some ten days before in Vienna, she saw practitioners demonstrating the Falun Dafa exercises and distributing flyers. Such comments are always so inspiring to me! They remind me that we practitioners are one body. The work done in Vienna could now be continued. Such comments from one member of a group can also have a miraculous effect on all the others. If someone of their own group validates Dafa, then immediately the others trust us. I sensed an increase of the strength of the energy field, and suddenly nearly everyone wanted a flyer. One lady even said, “Das isch jetzt an Sege!” What a blessing!

The Vaccination Dilemma

In November 2021, practitioners reasoned that every practitioner should get the COVID vaccination in order for Shen Yun to come to Switzerland. I was hesitant at first because almost everybody around me—my family, neighbors, friends, and coworkers—knew that I had decided not to get it. When we were sending righteous thoughts that night at the home of a fellow practitioner, however, I accepted the option and told Master that I would get it if I really had to.

Ten days later, Master’s new Jingwen “Wake Up” came out:

“Some practitioners have been afraid of getting infected, while others have adamantly refused to get vaccinated. In either case, you should stop and ask yourself whether you are living up to the title of “Dafa Disciple.”” (“Wake Up”)

I was shocked by Master’s stern words, yet glad that I hadn’t been absolutely against the shot anymore. Two weeks later, a Swiss Fa conference was held. I was under intense pressure at work and didn’t have a free minute to even consider traveling to the next city for a vaccination, so I was still without it.

The day after the Swiss Fa conference, I felt extremely tired. That night I had a terrible headache, which was unusual for me. I felt as if I had food poisoning. Two days later I had acute diarrhea and was so exhausted that I couldn’t even complete the second exercise. I thought: What if I die now (Was wenn ich nun sterben müsste)? I wasn’t afraid. I was just very sad about all the people I would not have been able to reach out to. That evening, I was at least able to complete the second exercise. The following day, I didn’t feel better. Instead, I started coughing. First I thought that this wasn’t unusual—after all, it’s not unusual to feel weak after several days of body purification! I started to look inside. One of my coworkers asked me if I had COVID.

The following day, I did the exercises with one of the new practitioners in my region, a physican. I had warned her that I wasn’t well, but she wasn’t worried and didn’t hesitate to do the exercises with me. She was the one who encouraged me to take a COVID test. She said I needed it in order to take a leave from work and get a certificate (that I already had COVID).

The test was positive. For some reason I felt relieved. It allowed me to stay home, and I would get a certificate without getting the vaccination. I welcomed the time of isolation as a wonderful arrangement by Master. Several days passed. Even though I sent strong righteous thoughts, the symptoms didn’t lessen. I started to worry. I looked inside more thoroughly. I was shocked by the many attachments I found. I found I thought highly of myself, was arrogant, lacked humility, and lacked gratitude. I was demanding and looked down on others. I felt Dafa was a protective shield. I was lazy and not willing to save sentient beings. I had an attachment to comfort and longed for a break. I had thoughts of hopelessness, despair, impatience, and resentment. I wanted to return to the US. Although I’m Swiss, I did not feel rooted in Switzerland. I didn’t feel that I belonged here. Instead, I felt self-pity and despair.

Eventually I again had to ask Master for help. I closed my eyes and noticed that there was a core inside me that was not touched by all these attachments. I realized that I AM NOT these attachments. I am only this pure core. The despair is not my true self.

With strong righteous thoughts and the clear understanding that I was NOT this despair, after eight days of COVID symptoms, I slowly started to improve. A practitioner recommended I not just read Master’s lectures but also listen to them. Doing this helped a lot in gradually regaining my strength and recovering from these dark and desperate days.

Re-adjusting My Cultivation

I was grateful to Master for helping me deny the old forces’ arrangements. I set new, higher standards for myself:• More sending righteous thoughts• More truth clarification• Stay alert during the sitting meditation• Eat fewer sweets• Let go of all resentments and despair• Sleep less• Let go of the attachment to reading and watching the news

Not much later, a huge parade protesting the COVID measures took place in Zurich. I felt full of energy, and, together with another practitioner, I distributed many “End the CCP (Chinese Communist Party)” flyers and tried to collect as many signatures as possible. The best experience was when I discovered one of my teacher colleagues was participating in the parade. He was as delighted to see me as I was amazed to see him. He immediately signed the petition. Once again I felt Master was encouraging me.

Helping Promote Shen Yun

Soon afterwards, the Shen Yun promotion started. My cultivation state was relatively good. I was able to go out two days a week to distribute Shen Yun brochures and talk to people in my neighborhood and at work. For example, at a teacher training workshop (Lehrerfortbildung) on geometry software, there was a retired math teacher with severe back problems who couldn’t sit comfortably or stand up straight. When her computer wouldn’t let her access the training materials online, I helped her install a different browser, and she was able to access the materials. At the end of the training, she thanked me once more and I gave her a Shen Yun flyer. Just looking at the flyer, her back straightened by about 20 percent. I was shocked. I had just witnessed the positive effect that looking at a Shen Yun flyer can have on a human being. She later found my email address from my school’s website and wrote that she’d bought a ticket for the show in Basel. I wished her the best and expressed my hope that she would let me know how she liked it. After the performance, I received her extensive, detailed, and very positive feedback. I was really happy for her and wouldn’t have been surprised if her back had straightened even more since then!

After some time, the distribution of Shen Yun materials to mailboxes turned out to be more demanding than I expected. On the second day of the two weeks of vacation I’d planned to spend distributing materials on a daily basis, I could hardly walk. Only after sending righteous thoughts for half an hour did I genuinely look inside and realize that I still hadn’t given up my attachment to sweets. I reduced my consumption of sweets and was grateful to Master that I could soon walk again with hardly any pain.

Master’s encouragement came the day the performances opened in Basel. The day before I still had two huge piles of Shen Yun flyers left. I thought it would be such a shame if they had to be disposed of, so I took one pile with me to Basel. The first evening I wasn’t on the security team. When I arrived in Basel, I sensed that the usual high energy I felt when Shen Yun was about to perform wasn’t there. I used to sense it in San Francisco as soon as Shen Yun promotion started. So I decided to give it a try and go out to distribute flyers.

Near the theater, at a restaurant selling dumplings, the waiter got very excited when I asked him if I could display some Shen Yun flyers. He started to tell me how the artists had been there the day before and that they were so nice. He then showed me a flyer with many of the artists’ signatures. All I had to do was to reinforce his excitement and encourage him to go see the performance himself.

Many places didn’t have any flyers. Miraculously, in less than an hour I was able to distribute the entire pile. Most people were very happy to take them. The other pile I distributed shortly before the Bregenz show in St. Gallen, and I was grateful to Master that I didn’t have to throw any flyers away.

My Work Environment Offers Cultivation Opportunities

Another big challenge of the past two years was my work environment. Although I was allowed to give a small Falun Dafa workshop for interested teachers at the school where I work, the challenges were piling up, one on top of the other. My attachments were exposed, such as getting upset, feeling proud of some achievements, more self-pity, and even thinking and talking badly about others. I will turn in an experience-sharing article for an upcoming Swiss Fa conference on how I cultivated myself during these daily challenges, so I won’t go into details right now.

I only want to mention how I hit the lowest point in all these challenges. I was upset and offended that the school principal hired an underqualified teacher against the will of my department head. Although I was probably right in my judgment, it was not right to be upset. One day I genuinely asked myself why I was so upset. Looking inside, I asked myself what Master wanted to point out to me. Suddenly the thought came to me: Do I qualify as a Dafa disciple if I can’t get over the fact that my school has employed an underqualified teacher? This humbling thought finally helped me let it go.

According to the principle of “...no loss, no gain,” (The Second Talk, Zhuan Falun) while my work environment is very demanding, it offers me many opportunities to reach out to people I might not necessarily be able to otherwise talk to. While dealing with everyday people, I try to keep Master’s words in mind that now many people in this world have special backgrounds and, in a sense, are cultivating.

Master said,

“So in other words, don’t underestimate this world and its people. Dafa disciples aren’t the only ones “cultivating” or working on themselves; others are doing the same, in a sense. They are being tempered as well. As people lead their lives and go about their jobs, wherever they may be, and deal with things, think about things, and act in this world, they are all making choices—in the contest between good and evil—that will impact their future. ” (“2018 Fa Teaching Given in Washington, D.C.,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XV)

A music teacher and talented jazz pianist, for example, lived in China for two years. He even climbed Mount Tai Shan. For years he has been learning Chinese. When I told him about Falun Dafa, he was somehow reserved. Yet one evening, he sincerely asked me why Falun Dafa was persecuted. So I finally had the chance to clarify the truth to him in depth. He decided to go see Shen Yun. In the end he wasn’t able to make it this year, but when he saw me the next time, he apologized that he wasn’t able to.

A German teacher I had given a flyer to was reluctant to see Shen Yun because she is a dedicated ballet dancer and doesn’t think too highly of other dance forms. However, she was willing to take some flyers to her ballet studio. Later, full of excitement, she came to my classroom to tell me that her ballet teacher had seen Shen Yun and was really impressed, not just with the entire performance but with the extremely high caliber of each individual dancer. According to my fellow teacher’s ballet teacher, each one could be a lead dancer.

With these examples of Master’s encouragement, I’d like to conclude my report, although much more could be said. As I look out of the restaurant window, the white mountain tops and the green valleys remind me of the highs and lows of these past years’ cultivation and how my experiences were “a means of tempering” me.

Please, point out anything inappropriate or not in accordance with the Fa.

Thank you, venerable Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!

(Presented at the 2022 European Fa Conference)