A Practitioner in Sweden: From Trying to Be a Good Person to Becoming a Cultivator
(Minghui.org) Honorable Master and respected fellow cultivators, I would like to share my experiences of moving from trying to be a good person to becoming a cultivator. It has taken me many years and a somewhat long detour to realize the difference between the two on a deeper level.
I grew up in an academic family, where tradition and good education dominated. For a long time, I thought I did well in cultivation since I knew how to behave well and thought at least my behavior wasn't too bad. I was very active in the cultivation community and thought I was a diligent practitioner. However, it was difficult for me to understand the difference between actual cultivation and being a person who behaved well.
Since the foundation for my practice had loopholes, after a few years I had difficulties in my cultivation, and as a result I started to slack off. I lost confidence, stopped attending Fa-study, and became more and more like an ordinary person.
Many times I tried to return to cultivation and participate in projects to save people, but every time I failed to keep it up for more than a short period of time. The feeling of guilt at not doing what a Dafa disciple should do was like a grey, sticky substance that made it even more difficult for me to take steps in the right direction. All this caused my confidence to drop even further, and I felt that I was in a hopeless situation.
I later realized that my thinking was “digging into a bull’s horn,” since I always tried to figure out how I could become better, how I could improve, how I, how I, how I… My focus was always on myself. The thought of saving others felt distant since I couldn’t even handle myself correctly.
After several years I finally reached a turning point. Some incidents involving the issue of saving sentient beings worked like a stick wake-up on my mind, and suddenly the thought of actually saving sentient beings hit me like a cannonball. I cried out loud, “I want to save people! I only want to save people!”
At that moment my heart--and everything about my cultivation--changed completely. I realized that up to that point, the foundation for my cultivation had been selfish. This had all along worked as a giant loophole, preventing me from keeping up in genuine cultivation for so long.
Now I thought, “It is for others, not for me.” This shift in my mind changed everything. The feeling of hopelessness disappeared. I saw that Master hadn’t given up on me after all this time, and my gratitude to Master and His immense compassion is beyond description.
I could now more clearly see the relationship between my cultivation and the mission to save sentient beings. Master says:
“What is a “Dafa disciple”? Whom Master teaches are precisely you, these disciples of Dafa. You are being cleansed, being tempered to maturity, and made ready to save sentient beings.” (“Fa Teaching on World Falun Dafa Day 2014”)
My way of cultivating changed. Since my greatest wish and motivation was to have the ability to really save people, I became much more interested in truly advancing in cultivation.
Before when a tribulation came, I would think, “Oh, please, just let me pull through so that I can relax on the other side. I hope it will end soon.”
When I made it through, I felt relieved and figured that I had, hopefully, gotten rid of some attachments in the process. But I wasn’t really sure what attachments, if any, might have left me or been weakened.
Now when a tribulation arises, the process is something like this: First, some emotions arise and I feel uncomfortable in some way or other. But then I separate my mind from the tangible manifestation of the tribulation and start to look within. Many times I then see that my patience is lacking. Then I ask myself why my patience is lacking. “Well, this person or that person did so and so.” “All right, but why is my patience lacking?” I ask myself again.
Or: “This is terrible! I am a cultivator and the thing I want most in this world is to let go of attachments. That has a higher priority than being afraid of this terrible thing right now.” “But, it is truly terrible!”
My uncultivated side says. “Yes, I know. However, as a cultivator, I want to cultivate and raise my xinxing. Right now that is more important than anything else.”
After some inner dialogue, and sometimes a pretty long and far-fetched analysis of causes beyond causes, many times I return to the conclusion that the basis for my lack of patience is one of the following: reputation, jealousy, fear of suffering, or fear of failing.
Now I have identified the attachment. And since my first priority is to be a cultivator on my path to divinity and on a mission to save all lives, and since I am Master’s disciple and have all the universe’s righteous forces backing me up, I choose to position myself above the attachment in my mind. When I can really, truly, and from my heart, think this way, in that moment my body becomes soft and I can smile again. After that I return to the tangible manifestation of the tribulation and handle it according to my new, higher xinxing level.
This way, cultivation goes fast, and I can’t even compare it to how I was facing challenges before. Finally, I can feel gratitude, happiness, and curiosity when tribulations arise, and I no longer fear them like before. Instead I’m interested in finding out what attachment Master wants me to work on right now, and I thank him for giving me the chance.
I'll give an example of how I now handle a tribulation. Some time ago my daughter got a tick bite. Since I had children, I always feared that they would catch some terrible illness with lasting injuries. When in we were in Thailand, I spent a lot of time keeping my children away from mosquitoes, and in Sweden I was always afraid they’d get bitten by ticks. The root of this fear was from my own childhood, as my parents were very particular about protecting us from ticks and later advocated strongly for vaccination against the tick-borne disease TBE.
So my daughter got a tick bite and I made a note in my calendar to keep an eye on possible symptoms. Exactly one week later the school called and said my daughter didn’t feel well and had a terrible headache. I was paralyzed with fear, since headaches are a symptom of TBE, and my daughter hardly ever had headaches.
The following days of this tribulation were like I was on a roller-coaster, thrown between extreme fear and righteous thoughts. Finally, I reached a point where I could ask myself what I feared so much. I had many thoughts, like feeling ashamed of not being able to protect my child, fear that others would think I was strange to not have her vaccinated, that life would turn out differently, fear of seeing my child suffer, fear of not being able to handle the psychological pain, fear of feeling bad, etc. A whole mountain of fears. But since I knew that fear was not the fundamental attachment, I asked myself what was the fundamental attachment that caused all these fears. I saw it was the attachment to reputation.
After finding the attachment to reputation, I thought that now I would put all my effort into letting go of it, since that was the most important thing to continually raising my xinxing and thereby being able to better carry out my mission to save people.
This has the highest priority in my life, and in my whole existence. With this thought from a calm heart, it was easy to let go of the attachment and all the fears fell off my body. I felt that, whatever happened, whatever I faced, everything is perfect, since I am in the Fa. My daughter soon recovered without any complications.
To Identify, Understand, and Eliminate Communist Elements
For some time now, and with the help of the immense power of Fa-rectification, I started to see through the arrangements of communism in our society and in people in general. I realized, quite appalled, that I myself also harbored many of these elements and I could see them in arrangements almost everywhere in my surroundings. I understood that these elements must be eliminated completely in the Fa-rectification process.
I discovered that I had compromised with the communist elements when I hadn’t dared to stand up for my faith in society, many times for fear of losing my reputation. I also compromised with the evil when I tried to play along with people’s notions to not scare them away. This was an impeding force, which made me and my ability to save people weaker.
After these insights, I decided to stop compromising with the evil and instead I would confidently and proudly validate my faith and belief. Not only has this led to me feeling whole and proud, but also to people in my surroundings being able to accept Dafa on a deeper level.
These insights have also changed the situation in my family. Like many Swedish women, I have always been taught to “stand up for my rights,” demand this and that, and not accept “unfairness.” That is to say, I grew up with the feminist movement’s message ringing in my ears since childhood. Since starting to practice I thought I wasn’t that influenced by feminism, but during this year, I’ve realized that wasn’t the case.
My husband and I have been married since 2004. Early on he'd tried to tell me things that I didn’t understand, I truly didn’t understand what he was talking about. To sum it up, he tried to hint at my shortcomings in my role as a woman and a wife. Daily life mostly went well, but at some points every year we would find ourselves at a dead end, when things had accumulated for a while. These conflicts always stopped, however, with me feeling sorry for myself and my husband having to take a step back. That was until this spring, when I finally got it.
This time, just when I felt I couldn’t take the criticism any longer and was about to have a breakdown, I instead collected myself and thought, “What is he really trying to say? What is wrong with me?” And then – boom – I saw it! My shortcomings as a woman and a wife were based on the feminist elements I had been indoctrinated with. Since then our family situation has improved greatly.
Thank you for letting me share with you. If you see any shortcomings in my understandings, I’m happy to listen.
Thank you, fellow practitioners.Thank you, Master.
(Presented at the 2018 European Fa Conference)