Thoughts on the Anniversary of "4-25": From Scientific Studies to Falun Gong Cultivation (Part 2)
4. Breaking Through My Notion of Being Atheist
I had not begun to practice Falun Gong, yet I knew instinctively that it was a high-level qigong practice. Later, I understood that my holding back really was due to my deep-rooted atheist's point of view. It was such an interesting difference when I look back on it now. On one hand, I genuinely accepted the Taoist idea that believes in the existence of higher beings. On the other hand, I grew up in an environment that advocates an atheist's viewpoint. Furthermore, after studying physics for many years, my subconscious was affected by the atheist thoughts. I ridiculed those who believed in Gods and thought they were foolish. I debated regularly with many believers while I was writing my doctoral thesis. Dealing with the question of whether there are higher beings, my mind was mainly guided by science. My quest for Taoist Schools, qigong, and supernormal abilities were all based on science. So, after all I was still a persistent science oriented atheist.
However, something happened to me, which changed everything.
In reading Taoist books, I learned that a Taoist master searches for his disciples, instead of disciples searching for the master. Since I knew of no way to find a good master and there was no hope that a master would ever find me, I felt deeply saddened. Busy daily life and schedules gradually replaced this sad feeling. However, my understanding of qigong reinforced my belief that qigong is good for the health. So, I usually meditated for 15 -- 30 minutes in my living room before I went to sleep.
One night during my meditation in June 1999, I felt suddenly that there were countless eyes gazing at me and they were getting closer and closer. I was deeply frightened. This situation lasted for several days. One night, I could not stand the frightening feeling any longer and I suddenly screamed mentally for Mr. Li Hongzhi. I asked for his help, and I had no idea why. In the middle of my scream for help, a huge current of energy erupted from the top of my head and my scalp felt a momentary sharp pain. Meanwhile, I heard a sound behind me as if someone was turning on the light. All my fear vanished immediately, a warm feeling enveloped me. I felt very relaxed and comfortable. All this happened at the same time when I was screaming for Teacher Li.
I sensed that the light was on even though my eyes were closed. After about 20 to 30 seconds, I thought of checking whether the light really was on. I opened my eyes, and sure enough, the light was on. Since my family had gone to bed already, there was no doubt in my mind that a miracle had just happened: An invisible energy had turned the light on at the moment when I heard the sound. Theories of modern physics can't explain what had happened to me. After reflecting deeply upon this, I came to the conclusion that there really existed the supernatural dimension and God. The thick and hard shell from being an atheist within me had finally broken open. I was deeply shocked and yet quite pleased.
From that moment on, my entire being knew that I wanted to practice Falun Gong.
Because of my years of pursuing knowledge through science, the Tao School, qigong, and supernormal abilities, I had no mental block at all when I started to practice Falun Gong. My original conclusion about Falun Gong was validated immediately. It was a high-level cultivation method. For example, I still remember vividly, when I first practiced the second set of exercises (Falun Standing Stance), the phenomena of the "Great Heavenly Circuit" was formed within me, and there was a strong energy current going through my right hand's lung meridian (one of the twelve meridians). People who are familiar with qigong practice know that qigong practice requires a hundred days to build a foundation and a thousand days to form Gong. For the "Great Heavenly Circuit" to be formed in a traditional practice takes one thousand days, or several years. So, after my first practice, I experienced what Zhuan Falun has talked about, that the starting point of Falun Gong is very high.
During the period around July 20, 1999, when I began to practice Falun Gong, I felt a strong energy surging throughout my body. I was extremely energetic and seldom got tired or sleepy. One time while helping friends to move, I didn't feel tired, even though my entire body was soaking wet from sweating. Soon after I started practicing, my stomach returned to normal. The hay fever I had after I came to the U.S. quickly disappeared too. Gradually, I experienced other phenomena mentioned in Zhuan Falun. For example, after just a few months of cultivation, I experienced the historical secret of secrets known among those who practice cultivation as the -- "The Placement of the Mysterious Pass." I was in awe by the profound intricacy of Falun Gong.
From my personal experience I recognized that in order to truly understand "cultivation", one has to cultivate oneself inside. It is extremely difficult to conceive "cultivation" merely by reading books or pondering about it.
5. Understanding Supernormal Abilities
As mentioned above, I had read much of the research done about supernormal abilities during my graduate studies. I kept an open mind and a scientific approach in dealing with more controversial topics. After several years of practicing Falun Gong, besides getting healthy and enjoying tremendous mental and physical changes, I reached a deeper understanding about nature, the universe, time-space, and life. I have also gained a deeper understanding of supernormal abilities.
During my years of practicing Falun Gong, I have experienced many phenomena, which belong to the "supernatural" or were classified as "unusual abilities." Over the last few years, many Falun Gong practitioners have experienced various unusual phenomena, which cannot be explained by modern science.
I believe that the biggest obstacle for many people (especially those with a scientific background) to really accurately comprehend Falun Gong has to do with supernormal abilities. From the academic research point of view, there are two main controversial factors regarding supernormal abilities: one is that modern science cannot explain these phenomena, and two is the question of repeatability.
With respect to the first factor there is really no problem. Viewing from history, modern science has progressively developed over time. Thus, it cannot explain every phenomenon at once, and scientific theories were based on a large amount of experimental data. Thus current scientific theories cannot predict future developments in science. If it could, then science would need no further development and could stay at current level. Take physics for example. The phenomenon of high temperature superconductivity cannot be explained based on existing theories. Similarly, the theory of low temperature superconductivity cannot predict the phenomenon of high temperature superconductivity. Thus, when the contemporary scientific theories cannot explain a certain phenomenon, it is not sufficient to deny the phenomenon. We can only say that science needs further development. Take a simple example: contemporary science cannot explain the nature of life. We cannot say that life does not exist simply because science can't explain it, because we know that life will continue on generation after generation.
To those who are really concerned about explaining the science of the human body and supernormal abilities, repeatability becomes the crux of debate.
The problem with repeatability exists in many fields. It's not unique in the science of the human body (or supernormal abilities). Astronomy is another example. We are unable to carry out repetitive experiments to collect experimental data on the gigantic celestial body and planets. To overcome this difficulty, scientists collect data based on long-term observation and then use the data to do analyses. That is to say that they collect a large amount of data and analyze it as a substitute for repetitive experimentation.
Medical research has encountered a similar problem. For example, when a pharmaceutical company carries out research, development, and tests to determine the effectiveness of a new drug, it is very difficult to produce re-recurring reactions from each patient. To determine the effectiveness of a new drug, researchers divide persons to be tested into several independent control groups. They then carry out long-term observation, data collection and statistical analyses for each control group. Based on the data of each control group, they then use statistical analyses for the whole group to determine the effectiveness of a new drug: Is this effective? What is the degree of effectiveness? The researchers use large amount of data and apply the method of meta-statistics (2) to overcome the difficulty of doing repetitive experiments.
It's not hard to see that the use of the meta-statistics method to determine the effectiveness of a drug may not be effective at all, or not effective for a particular patient, or even not effective for a particular control group of patients. In some sense, the use of meta-statistics is for analyzing the effectiveness for a large group of patients, but it cannot determine the effectiveness of the drug for any one particular patient.
In general, the repeatability of research dealing with the science of life is poor. Drug research as discussed above is one example. Supernormal abilities, which are closely related to life, are no exception. Supernormal abilities have many factors involved, and are often not repeatable in experimentation. To overcome the difficulty of repeatability, the meta-statistics method can be applied to the research of supernormal abilities. From a scientific point of view, even if one case can be substantiated regarding supernormal abilities, it is not enough to "prove" one's theory.
Dr. Dean Radin (3) of the United States applied the following method to study supernormal abilities for the US government. He worked with several well-known research organizations to observe and research supernormal abilities. He and his co-workers have gathered together a vast number of observations (including data from controlled group studies) for a period of over 100 years. Applying the meta-statistics method to the vast number of cases, they came up with a convincing conclusion: supernormal abilities exist. This subject is beyond the scope of this paper. Also, due to limited space, we will not go into further details. The results of their systematic study have already been published. Interested readers can reference their publications. (3)
The reason for these examples is to explain that the question of repeatability in dealing with supernormal abilities can be resolved with a certain methodology and effectively applied in scientific research communities. Once we recognize this point, people will discover that supernormal abilities are not that mysterious and that it's not difficult to do research to confirm their existence.
Science is constantly evolving. When a new phenomenon first appears, debate is a normal part of the process. In dealing with phenomena such as supernormal abilities, we should treat them with a scientific spirit and attitude. The essence of contemporary science is experimental in nature. Its foundation is built on experimentation, and shouldn't be interfered in by political influence.
As to a theoretical explanation for supernormal abilities, we purport that it is in essence a conceptual problem. Once we break through the current narrow and rigid mentality, we will find that understanding supernormal abilities is easy.
6. Altering the Conventional Mind-Set and Exploring the Intricacies of Life and the Universe
From the history of scientific development, we learned that significant discoveries of science always came through drastic changes in the prevailing mind-sets, such as: theories of Quantum Physics or Relativity. Contemporary science is on the eve of immense change. The conventional concept of time and space needs to change; exploring the existence of other space-time dimensions will be a crucial factor for this new revolution of science. I won't discuss this subject since it is outside the scope of this article.
I noticed that people with a background like me usually have a limited understanding of qigong. The notions we have developed also obstruct our ability to recognize Falun Gong properly. This was especially true after Jiang Zemin began persecuting Falun Gong. Many people with rigid mentalities could not accept the outcomes of scientific research in recent years (such as the recognition of other dimensions by physics). They use science as a facade, and apply a narrow viewpoint, out-dated knowledge and subjective imagination to deceive themselves and others. They are the political hitters for Jiang's regime in the scientific arena. They are not only causing tremendous damage to Falun Gong but also causing great mental disturbance and obstructing many who search for the truth of life and the universe.
Because of the April 25 appeal (1) I started to understand Falun Gong, and finally stepped on the path of cultivation. My experience of the past few years has allowed me to realize that Falun Gong is a scientific path that allows one to investigate the intricacy of the human body, life and the universe. I have immensely benefited from taking this path.
(1) To understand the "4.25 Event," please read the following web links:
On the Fifth Anniversary of the "April 25 Appeal" -- Remembering April 25, 1999 (Part 1): http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2004/4/26/47425.html
On the Fifth Anniversary of the "April 25 Appeal" -- Remembering April 25, 1999 (Part 2): http://www.minghui.ca/mh/articles/2004/4/23/72944.html
On the Fifth Anniversary of the "April 25 Appeal" -- Remembering April 25, 1999 (Part 3): http://www.minghui.org/mh/articles/2004/4/24/72945.html
(2) Meta-Statistics: Also called meta-analysis (the analysis of analyses). It is a group synthesis method; it is generally being used in the fields of sociology and medicine, etc.
(3) Dean Radin, Ph.D., The conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena (1997), San Francisco: Harper Edge.