(Minghui.org) I’m a software engineer who works in the San Francisco Bay Area. I wanted to tell you a bit about my background. 

Immigrating to the U.S. 

I’m from a very small village in northern India, and my family moved to the U.S. in 2007. From an early age, my parents emphasized the importance of education. I was not allowed to hang out with friends and play—school came before everything. I was a very diligent and hardworking student. My parents decided to immigrate to the United States to provide us with a better life. 

Our new country presented many opportunities but also challenges. My parents had a hard time finding employment. My mother, who had never worked in her life, was suddenly required to get a 9-to-5 job. In India, she had trouble being in the car for more than 15 minutes without getting car sick but now she had to drive herself to work. Despite the challenges, my parents worked harder and harder, and took on whatever jobs they could find to provide for the family. The difficulties for my siblings and I were also quite immense. I spoke very little English and had no friends. However, seeing my parents struggle every day gave me the strength to continue. I would stay after school or even spend my lunch time to get extra help. An assignment that should have taken only 30 minutes, I spent many hours on so I could do an excellent job. Through perseverance I wasn't just able to survive in school but thrive. Starting as a kid who spoke no English in the 8th grade, after 5 years, I graduated high school with the second highest grades in my class of over 500 students. I was also accepted into the University of California Davis where I went on to study Computer Science. 

Challenges at University

Moving to college was quite a significant step for me, even greater than moving to America. It was the first time I lived away from my parents. It was my first encounter with myself and my own emotions. I quickly learned that excelling in school was not enough. I had to learn how to cook, manage my time and more importantly, manage my mind without my parents' help. It was my first experience of being in an empty room all by myself. While there were many social events in which I occasionally participated in and I made many friends, I often found myself very lonely afterwards. As soon as those friends were gone, I would again be left with a sense of emptiness. To get through it, I would just say to myself “forget the sadness and laziness and finish your work,” just like my mom would say. At that point, I thought, maybe it was because I didn’t have any money. I reminded myself that when I found a good job after college, all of this confusion and sadness would go away. The educational values that my parents instilled in me helped me get through the hard days and I was able to get a degree in Computer Science and land a very good job in Silicon Valley. 

High-Pay Job Doesn’t Bring Joy

Getting a job brought many benefits. I was able to finally help my parents and repay them for all their efforts. I could buy any fancy clothes that I wanted, drive a nice car etc. – all the things I thought would bring joy to my life. But I was again wrong. The sadness and emptiness was still there. 

In fact, it became worse with a repetitive 9-to-5 job. I found myself quite absent minded at work, or when I was with family and friends. Some days were very difficult and I had trouble getting out of bed in the morning. Carrying such a mental burden, I would often spend my evenings watching social media videos of monks and yogis sharing their experiences about spirituality and meditation. These individuals had literally nothing but they were so happy and fulfilled. I had so much yet I felt like an empty shell. The only reason I continued to work there was because my high paying job allowed me to help my family. 

In one video, a computer engineer talked about how he went to China and decided to stay there and become a monk. He talked about the inner happiness that he discovered through meditation and how it was beyond anything he ever felt with money or owning expensive things. His story resonated with me so much that I contemplated doing the same thing. But having a wonderful family that cared deeply about me, it was not possible for me to do such a thing. If I went to China I didn’t know where I would go. Which place was the best or which guru was the best? After all I only had one life. Would I even get anything there? I would risk losing my job and everything else that I worked so hard for. 

Turning Point

In 2019, I started working at a new job and I met a Falun Dafa practitioner. He was also an engineer but worked on a different team. Although we didn’t interact at first, I observed his demeanor for many weeks. 

He did similar engineering work as me but was somehow always so calm and collected. He wasn’t an older man but a young person in his 30’s. I would sometimes need 3 cups of coffee to get through my day but I never saw him drink coffee. I noticed he occasionally had tea but I never saw him stressed and rushing to the kitchen for coffee like the rest of the office. 

One day during our lunch break I asked him, “What is it that makes you like this? How are you able to sit in front of a computer all day and still manage to keep yourself together?” He shared with me that he did meditation and it was called Falun Dafa. He mentioned that the practice was very good and that millions of people began practicing it within a few years after it was introduced. 

The Falun Dafa practitioner spoke with such kindness and wisdom that my heart trusted every word he said. He offered to teach me the exercises and said they were very easy to learn. We began doing the exercises for 15 minutes before eating lunch. 

The first time I did the exercises, I indeed felt very refreshed. The immediate benefit was that my appetite improved. Sitting in a chair all day with my thoughts racing, I had no appetite. I would often have to force myself to eat. My improved appetite alone was enough for me to continue learning the exercises. The exercises were gentle and I didn’t feel tired when I went back to work. In fact, every time I did them, I felt that the rest of my day improved. In a short time, I was able to learn all 5 exercises and I felt confident to do them on my own. 

My original intention was just to learn the exercises but seeing how beneficial they were I couldn’t help but wanting to learn more. So I asked the practitioner what more there was. He mentioned that Falun Dafa is not just a practice for the body but also for the mind. He also said that the mind plays a greater role when it comes to health and wellness and that the body follows the mind. He suggested that I read the main book of Falun Dafa, Zhuan Falun, to get an even deeper understanding. 

Finding the Cultivation Way that Doesn’t Require Going into Mountains or Temples

I bought a hardcover copy Zhuan Falun. After reading it, I felt a huge sense of relief and felt that many of my questions and confusions were cleared up. I was able to have a better understanding of what spiritual development was all about. It wasn’t about going to the mountains and leaving everything behind but about improving one’s mind-nature and becoming a good person. I didn’t need to leave anything. I could improve spiritually by doing an excellent job at work, being a good family man, a true friend and a good person. 

Bringing Falun Dafa’s teachings of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance to my daily life brought significant changes in my wellbeing. I learned to take many of the conflicts at work and normal life lightly and approach them with kindness and tolerance. Instead of thinking negative thoughts about anyone that bothered me, I would say to myself, “Maybe he didn’t get enough sleep or is dealing with a difficult situation at home. I shouldn’t take this personally. Instead I should be nice to him.” Not keeping that seed of negativity in my mind and eliminating it right away ensured that I didn’t go into a spiral of negative thinking and ultimately ruin my own health. 

My mind and body felt lighter and lighter the more I studied and followed the teachings and did the exercises regularly. My focus at work improved significantly as I learned that it’s not virtuous of me to give only half of my effort when I was being paid so much. I must truly do my work with absolute diligence. 

Experiencing the Importance and Wonder of Fa Study

I also began helping the local Epoch Times office once a week by delivering newspapers to local stores. It allowed me to take a break from my computer work and to contribute to a Dafa project. It’s also been a great opportunity for me to read the teachings of Falun Dafa in person with other practitioners and learn from them. One of the things that I learned was the importance of reading the Fa every day. 

I’ve viewed Dafa as very precious since the first time I picked up Zhuan Falun but I would only read once a week or every other week. However, seeing the other practitioners study the Fa multiple times, I was inspired to do the same. 

Initially, I wondered what benefit could be gained through reading the same content every day, but as I started doing it myself I began to see the reasoning behind it. The more I studied the Fa regularly, the more it was solidified into my consciousness and strengthened my willpower. Reading once a week was also beneficial but I would often find my thinking becoming clouded with other notions as the week progressed and my compassion and tolerance fell short. Although I did a good job of controlling my anger on the surface or not saying anything bad, I often let those thoughts boil on the inside. 

Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa, said, 

“To endure with anger, grievance, or tears is the forbearance of an everyday person who is attached to his concerns. To endure completely without anger or grievance is the forbearance of a cultivator.” (“What is Forbearance (Ren)?” Essentials For Further Advancement)

Studying the Fa every day gives me the strength to forbear like a cultivator. 

I also started listening to the recordings of Master’s lectures while driving instead of listening to mainstream music. I didn’t think music was that much of a problem but after giving it a deeper thought I noticed that it was pulling me away from the Fa. I also had a strong attachment to exercising in the gym. It’s been a hobby of mine for many years and was a place for me to process my emotions after a long day of work. However, it’s quite time consuming and tiring and would often become the reason for me not having enough time for Fa study or exercise. I would practice the Dafa exercises only on the weekends and most other days spend 2-3 hours in the gym. However, reading more and realizing how precious the Fa is and how its beauty is beyond my imagination, I’ve been able to let this attachment go with a happy heart. 

These past few weeks I’ve been exercising almost every day. I feel a lot of sensations at my forehead and the top of my head while exercising and also felt something rotating in my lower abdomen when I put my hands over each other after Exercises 2 and 4. One challenge I’ve been having is crossing my legs in the lotus position. Due to exercising with weights for many years, I have bulky legs and have some tightness in my hips. However, I realize that it’s my own karma and I’m working hard to overcome this challenge by practicing every day. I hope to overcome this obstacle soon and reach a more tranquil state. 

I want to close by my expressing my gratitude to Master for his benevolence and guiding us to the Way. I also want to thank all the practitioners who are always willing to listen, read together and help each other out. 

Chinese version available

Category: Beginning Cultivation