My Understanding of Sickness Karma
(Minghui.org) I would like to share some of my understandings of sickness karma as it relates to neck and back pain. I am a chiropractor who practices in Canada. I take care of people with all sorts of ailments, from minor aches and pains to more severe neurologic conditions. One of the things I have struggled with since taking up cultivation is the issue of back and neck pain. As a chiropractor by trade, I would like to share some of my perspectives.
I went to chiropractic college five years ago. At that time, I had not yet been introduced to Falun Dafa. I was very enthusiastic about chiropractic and was also getting chiropractic care regularly to correct the alignment of my spine and ensure an optimally functioning nervous system to stay healthy. At that time I felt very good and very healthy. My spine felt very limber, it was no longer stiff or cracking, I had no pain, and I felt very healthy.
When I was introduced to Dafa, I was at the time eagerly searching for a cultivation path to return to my true self. When I found Dafa, I shed tears of gratitude. I knew I had found the true way. I was also hit with a major dilemma right away. As I read Zhuan Falun, it became clear to me that I had to eliminate karma, and the idea of continuing to receive chiropractic care was at odds with this fact and at odds with the Fa. As I grappled with this dilemma, I was still seeing a doctor nearby. Suddenly, what had helped me feel so healthy and pain-free was no longer effective. I had severe lower back pain that nothing could relieve.
I came to enlighten that this was Master Li (the founder) helping me eliminate karma and trying to enlighten me on this principle. I made the hard decision to discontinue chiropractic adjustments. I had many fears regarding my spine and health and the pain I would have to bear going forward. I was also terrified of the social consequences of discontinuing. What would my family think? What would my colleagues think? What would my employee think? Ultimately, I discovered, it didn’t matter what they thought, and they didn’t need to know for that matter. What matters at the end of the day is if I can meet Master Li's requirements and if I can do my part to save sentient beings.
Flash forward. I do not seek out chiropractic adjustments for myself, other than the odd time for training purposes. When people ask me who takes care of my spine, I mention that we have meetings with local chiropractors and we adjust each other there. This is true, because I will sometimes give adjustments at these meetings and sometimes allow someone to check my spine for training purposes.
I have been humbled many times at these meetings when others have checked my spine for issues. I have had some of the best chiropractors check my spine and if I maintain my righteous thinking in that moment, they tell me that my spine is fine and not in need of any adjustments. This continued for months and months, where at one point I did not get an adjustment for almost a year. Consider that ordinary people cannot go a week without needing an adjustment in most cases. Every time I was told I was “good” by the doctor, I thanked Master for taking care of me and I appreciated the fact that what I was feeling is, in fact, karma, and not a physical issue. The pain I feel is a deception and not truly physical.
These instances have strengthened my righteous thinking. Even the times when I got an adjustment at these meetings, it did nothing to change how I felt, or not for long at least, because it is karma, at deeper levels, that is the true cause of my discomfort. It requires endurance and changing my thinking on a fundamental level, as opposed to seeking treatment from the outside.
I feel the discomfort of stiffness, cracking, and pain in my neck and mid-back on a daily basis. Some fellow practitioners have reached out to me and shared that they struggle with back issues and sometimes wonder if there is something simple they could do to correct or alleviate this.
My understanding, and something that I have to remind myself of frequently, is that these things are for us to cultivate through. The discomfort and pain in our spine would not be there if there wasn’t a spiritual karmic reason. We are in the process of tempering ourselves and elevating our xinxing. I know that the care I can offer to others in the office can help them live a more comfortable human life, but that is not what we are after. We know our mission and we have Master and the Fa! There are some practitioners who have struggled with back pain for many years, even decades. I understand it can be discouraging and hard to bear at times, but you can certainly do it.
It may be a necessary step that we have to go through, depending on the karma and attachments we have, to elevate ourselves. I often catch myself thinking about my spine and body in human ways and forget to acknowledge and fully embrace the Fa’s perspective. I also catch myself with the fear of spinal degeneration and bad curves developing in my back. Another cultivation opportunity! I often catch myself trying to alleviate the discomfort by manually cracking my back. Another opportunity to take the high road with a practitioner's understanding.
When I am cultivating well and doing the three things well, I can easily catch these things and replace the fears and concerns with a rational understanding from the Fa. I understand that it is a battle, a “tug of war” between my human thinking and a practitioner's thinking. I also understand that I have fears and notions related to my spine that I have not yet fully cultivated away. There are many layers to it in my situation. I remind myself that I do not cultivate for the sake of achieving ease in my body or a more comfortable bodily state, as that would be cultivating in vain. The challenge is that many sharing reports on the Minghui website are about how others have had miraculous recoveries in their health through the power of Dafa cultivation. But even if a practitioner still has bodily discomfort, he or she must still cultivate, and be unmoved by it.
The five years of spinal discomfort has been a blessing to my cultivation. I have tempered my will, exposed many fears and deep-rooted unhealthy notions, and through this process, deepened my understandings. If I have pain and discomfort until the very last step in my cultivation, then that is what is necessary to reach completion, as arranged by Master. Master has said that cultivation of gong is not sipping tea. He has told us on numerous occasions, and in countless different ways, that cultivation would entail the suffering of hardship, and this includes bodily hardship.
Just like the waves of pain that are felt in the legs while meditating, there will be days and weeks where bodily discomfort is strong, and other times where it is weak and not too hard to handle. I have found that it simply comes down to where you place your thinking. At what realm does your mind and your thinking dwell? This, for me, plays a big part in how I manage these bodily issues. Do I treat them as an everyday person, and apply the advice and health principles that I give to my patients, to myself? Or do I strengthen my will and faith in Master and his plan for me. It's not always easy, but it is what allows us to peel off the layers of humanness.
There have been times that have further validated that it is karma elimination. One time, on my way home from a long winter night of work, I was running along the side of my apartment to join my wife at dinner. I slipped on the icy pavement and hit my head very hard on the pavement. I gashed my face open. My first thought was, “Oops, I fell. I am okay. Thank you, Master.” I went upstairs and ate dinner. My wife insisted we go to the hospital to get stitches, so we did this. I refused the anesthesia when they gave me stitches, which was very painful.
For the next three days, I had severe concussion symptoms. My brain hurt, and every muscle and joint in my body was terribly painful. I maintained strong righteous thoughts, negated the influence of the old forces in my mind, and insisted that it was all karma elimination. I watched Master’s lectures and did the exercises to the best of my ability. What could have lasted several weeks only lasted three days. On the fourth day, I was back at work feeling good. This is the power of Dafa, rooting ourselves in the Fa, and having faith in Master.
Another time, I cut my finger open very deeply. The ligaments and nerves were exposed. I went to the hospital to have it stitched up. The doctor was annoyed that I would not agree to anesthesia, and I am pretty sure, in his frustration, he put the stitches in more aggressively. I repeated in my mind Master’s poems to help me endure the pain.
The miracle in this situation was that after the stitches, the cut healed very quickly, and the pain subsided faster than previous wounds I have had. I understood this was a necessary karmic retribution I had to go through, and because I endured the pain of the stitches, I had paid most of what was required at the beginning, and so the remaining healing process was essentially pain-free. This helped me better understand karma elimination. By refusing the anesthesia and enduring the pain head-on, the karma was effectively knocked down. Although the pain was bad, it was not as bad as my fear was trying to tell me it would be.
Another factor in all of this is the role played by the old forces. They are keeping a close eye on us, waiting to catch any omission we may have. An omission can be such a small thing in our minds, but like adding heat to popcorn, it can get out of our control quickly, as one notion allows more notions to follow. When this happens, our original notion becomes more deeply embedded and we believe it more deeply. All of this might be subconscious or treated as a normal way of thinking in day to day life.
In the case of spinal and back discomfort, for me it manifests as trying to stretch out tight areas of my spine, or trying to be conscious of my posture for fear of bad curves. It might even manifest as me being concerned that I misaligned my vertebrae with the way I slept the night before. These are very ordinary ways of thinking for an everyday person, but the moment the old forces catch us thinking this way, they jump on it and provide us with more reason to believe these notions. My back will start hurting more and become an unbreakable loop of soreness. I will have trouble getting comfortable, and on and on. At some point, I acknowledge that the old forces are manipulating me, and that I need to strengthen my righteous thoughts and believe in Master and the Fa. Righteous thinking is the key that opens this door. But righteous thinking is only strong and effective when the three things are done well.
I have had trouble since taking up cultivation five years ago staying consistent and diligent. It is something I wished I had managed better since the beginning. I put emphasis on daily Fa-study, but oftentimes neglect sending righteous thoughts and doing the exercises. When doing the exercises, I sometimes opted for the less challenging ones. This is something perhaps many practitioners can relate to. I recently made up my mind to make a change, and be the diligent practitioner Master knows we can be. It is also apparent how fast the cosmic events are unfolding and how near we are to the Fa-rectification of the human world.
I coordinated with two other practitioners nearby, and we now do the exercises and read almost every morning. If we miss a morning, we make up for it on our own time. This group effort has been tremendously beneficial for all of us. When we have extra time in the evening, we also read Master’s supplementary lectures together. My wife, who has been supportive of Dafa but does not practice, has been joining us more and more in the mornings to read the Fa. This is a big step forward and I believe Master is encouraging her to take up cultivation. She also believes Master is offering salvation. It has been a great blessing and I am eternally grateful to Master and all he has sacrificed for us.
As the time nears the end, I hope that we can all be ever more diligent, strengthen our righteous thoughts, and engage in more truth-clarification projects to awaken humanity.
Category: Improving Oneself