(Minghui.org) I started to learn about Dafa when I was in third grade. I studied the Fa and did the exercises with my grandparents. When I was 12, I came to the U.S. with my mom. My dad told us that he would stay in China to earn more money for the family and would join us within two years. We later learned the real reason he wanted us to go to the U.S. was that he met another woman and planned to divorce mom. Two months after we arrived in the U.S. we learned that my dad already had another family.

As a child, it was too difficult for me to accept this, and I completely fell apart. For a very long time, I lived in my own world and had no interest in anything. I began to play online games and devoted every free moment to the virtual worlds on the Internet. I sought stability, psychological relief and comfort. Other than going to school, my mind was on games. My dad said that my face looked more and more fierce and my eyes looked ferocious. My grades at school suffered because all my focus was on games.

When I turned 13, it was confirmed that my dad was trying to deceive us in order to divorce mom. I no longer put my heart into real life. Every day, as soon as I came from school at 3 p.m., I played games until I became sleepy and then went to bed. My mom tried to talk to me many times and advised me to play less or to stop playing. I refused to listen and we constantly argued.

In fact I did realize that when I played games my emotions were very unstable. I became furious over little things that normally wouldn’t have made me angry. I later understood that those unstable emotions were not the real me.

When I turned 14, even though I still believed in Dafa, my actions were nowhere near the standard for a practitioner. Sometimes I went out to help fellow practitioners promote Shen Yun Performing Arts. I put out fliers and distributed newspapers, but that was about it. Afterwards I would go home and continue playing games. When I did the three things I had a strong complaining mentality. That year, the conflicts between my parents became more severe and I knew that their relationship was irreparable. Seeking escape and comfort, I threw myself completely into virtual games. My real life was a complete mess. My grades were bad, my family was falling apart, my English wasn’t improving so I couldn’t communicate well in the U.S. I had no friends and I had no plans for my future.

My mom was very worried so she kept asking me to stop playing games and to study the Fa more. She also encouraged me to continue studying violin and had me join the school orchestra. My mom hoped that studying the violin would help me stop playing games. But I wasn’t motivated, so other than my weekly lessons I rarely practiced at home. The other practitioners were worried about me, so they suggested that I study the Fa with fellow practitioners online. For the next year we continued to study Master Li’s (the founder) new lectures for one hour every day.

I didn't really start to enjoy playing the violin until I turned 17. Around that time I became tired of listening to popular music so I started listening to classical music. This really changed my life. As I realized my love for the violin, I noticed that the Northern Academy of the Arts was seeking new music students. I was in the 11th grade and if I decided to go, I would have to study for one more year to have a chance to go to Fei Tian Academy of the Arts. My only other option was to stay home, finish high school, go to a community college for a year or two, and then transfer to a better university.

I kept thinking about it all summer. After all it would potentially be a life-changing decision so I couldn’t take it lightly. In the end I decided to go to Northern Academy and see if I could qualify to attend Fei Tian.

I was 18 when I arrived at Northern Academy, but soon after I wanted to quit. I told myself, “I chose to come here. Isn’t this also a project for assisting Master to validate the Fa? If my grades are good it will also help the school to develop.” I stayed.

At first I was not used to all the rules. For example, we were required to wear school uniforms, which made me feel constrained. In the public schools I wore whatever I liked. Another rule was that students were not allowed to use smartphones. I felt that life would be boring.

We had group Fa studies at school. As I continued to study the Fa, I gradually understood that the dislikes I had were all due to my attachments. I must get rid of these strong attachments. I wanted to change and improve. I gave my smartphone to my mom, so there would be no way for me to use it.

The school’s very pure energy field helped me focus on my goal, which was to go to Fei Tian and play the violin. I never liked practicing before but now I realized that it was my responsibility to improve. I noticed that my younger classmates’ techniques were better than mine and this encouraged me to practice even harder. I wanted to catch up. I finally understood that this was all part of my cultivation path.

At first I only practiced for 30 minutes a day. I increased it to one hour, two hours, and then three hours a day. There's a saying that, “Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work.” From Master's teachings I understood that I needed to be able to endure hardship, to truly face myself and know what I really want to do.

For the next 18 months, I practiced hard and I improved both in my cultivation as well as my violin playing. I didn’t dare to slack off. I humbly asked others to point out where I needed to improve. I made sure that my practice didn’t become a formality. I understood that cultivation is about actually doing it. I realized that improving in any art form is just like cultivation. We can reach whatever level we aim for, because Master doesn’t place any limitations on us. What Master wants is the best artist in the world. I need to try my best.

I was rewarded for my efforts. I was accepted into a university to major in violin. It was the best encouragement for me. Since I have the ability to get into a university, then why shouldn’t I try even harder and eventually qualify for Shen Yun? My teachers told me, “Normally music study really takes time. But you've made drastic improvements in such a short amount of time. It's truly miraculous.” I knew that Master was encouraging me through my teachers’ words.

Master said,

“Elevation in that kind of realm involves combining the understanding of those skills with the Fa. It requires elevating one's understanding, a limitless upward climb. Particles that make up high-level dimensions are smaller, and the sound-field there is also composed of microcosmic material particles, so the music is more pleasing to hear and the colors are more beautiful. All such matter is composed of high-level, microcosmic particles, which can't be found by lives in low-level dimensions. The works and the skills there are more advanced and magical, and a life's elevation means the dual elevation of realm and skill, and improvement of that life's understanding in different realms. In other words, if I'm to use the concepts of people on earth to describe it, when you are able to create good things, it is because you are a good person or because you have done something good. Conversely, only when gods see that you are a good person will they grant you wisdom and allow you to create things. (Applause) Isn't human society controlled by gods?” (Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005)

From Master’s Fa I realized that my studies and ability to play the violin would only improve if I improved in my cultivation. Master has arranged everything. “Cultivation depends on one’s own efforts, while the transformation of gong is done by one’s master.” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun)

Now I really regret the time I wasted when I was younger. But I cannot be trapped in memories of the past and let this regret become a new form of attachment. It was Dafa that changed my life and gave everything I have today. Without Master’s help, studying violin without starting at a much younger age would be nearly impossible. Even though my skills are still far away from Shen Yun’s standard, but I am very confident. I will work extra hard to reach my dream of joining Shen Yun to save more sentient beings and fulfill my mission.