Honourable Master, dear practitioners.
My name is Sonja and I come from Montenegro. I have practised Falun Dafa for two and a half years now.
Last year, I decided to continue my studies. I was aware that I had a difficult period ahead of me, since I knew I had to devote time to studying and going to classes, devote time to studying the Fa and practising the exercises, going to work, attending my foreign language classes, doing household chores etc. However, I decided to take it all on board, and I had strong determination.
Master said: “You say that you must be firm and sure-footed. With this determination, if you can indeed be firmly resolute at that point, you will naturally do well because your xinxing will have already improved.” (Zhuan Falun)
My job is not too demanding and I have a lot of free time during office hours. I would often practise the exercises at work, when there was nothing else to do and when I was alone in the office.
When my university classes started, things became more difficult. All of a sudden, I was no longer alone in the office, and even when I had some time to be alone – it would be for a very short period of time.
I realised that it was time for me to remove the attachment to sleeping too long, and the notion that my body needs 8 to 9 hours of sleep to function normally.
I began waking up at 5 am, and would exercise and study the Fa. There were times when I felt very tired and sleepy, but as a cultivator, I realised that was only a form of interference, so I intensified my Fa study.
Then, even the amount of work increased in the office. I realised that I needed to pass the test. I started working conscientiously.
Master said: “Everyone has a job and must do it well.” (Zhuan Falun)
While I was studying for my exams I found myself not being able to understand the theory, because I usually dealt mainly with numbers, and I was quite good at that. Slowly I started panicking, but I then realised that it was time for me to study the Fa more.
As soon as I would study more Fa, things would be resolved very easily in all other areas. Before, it used to take me 20 days to learn something that I am now able to learn in only half the time.
Also, all of a sudden, all my friends started calling me to go out more. At the beginning I would refuse saying I was too busy. Very soon I realised that type of behaviour was not good and that nothing happens by accident in cultivation, so there must be a reason for their calls.
When my friends called, I asked them who would be going out, and they started mentioning some new names in our circle of friends. These were people I had not met before, and I realised that this was a chance for me to tell them about Falun Dafa. In this way, I tried to keep doing all the three things required of Dafa practitioners.
I started feeling tired after a while. As a cultivator, I realised that this was the state of an ordinary human being. I focused on my cultivation state and realised that I was not focusing enough during Fa study. After I fixed that, things improved.
Master said: “When a tribulation comes in cultivation, if you still treat yourself as an everyday person, I would say that your xinxing at that moment has dropped to the level of everyday people.” (Zhuan Falun)
I often encountered xinxing tests during my university exams. When a professor would ask me if I wanted to try again for a higher grade, at that time I would feel that I was being tested on my attachment to wanting high grades.
Based on my human notions, I expected exams to be easier if I had completed my seminar work really well, but things were completely different in reality. I realised that I was attached to my human notions and expectations.
A professor once mimicked my body language, after she asked me if I was happy with my grade. My body language suggested that I was not happy, even though it was a relatively high grade. After she mimicked my body language, I realised that I had to work on that aspect of my behaviour as well.
I attended group Fa study regularly, and at that time there was even a suggestion to introduce one more day of group Fa study. I felt reluctant to attend initially. There would be times when our Fa study would be extended to late in to the night, and I had to readjust my routine. I would get up early – sometimes around 4am – to do the exercises, study Fa, revise for my university and then make my way out.
Different thoughts appeared in my mind - even that I should attend to all other things first, and then study the Fa later. However, I learned to reject those thoughts and put Dafa first.
Master said in Zhuan Falun: “Lao Zi once made this statement, “When a wise person hears the Tao, this person will practice it diligently.” When a wise person learns of the Tao, he thinks, “Finally I’ve obtained a righteous cultivation method. Why wait and not start practicing today?” The complicated environment, in my view, is instead a good thing. The more complicated it is, the greater the individuals it will produce. If one can elevate oneself above and beyond it, one’s cultivation will be the most solid.”
Going to see Shen Yun
I had a thought about taking my family members to see Shen Yun, and that meant we needed to travel to any of the European host countries which we could organise tickets and accommodation for.
Master says in Zhuan Falun: “Doing good deeds produces the white substance, as the white substance is obtained through enduring hardships, suffering miseries, or doing good deeds.”
However, for a certain period of time it was difficult for me to get things organised. Airplane tickets were very expensive, and it was difficult to find affordable accommodation. I searched information from all the host cities, but everything was expensive.
The cost was high overall, but what made it more difficult was that I was the only person paying for all expenses involved. Generally, I am very rational when it comes to spending money, but this time I had to be stricter with myself. I would get a sense of discomfort and pain in my lungs at the very thought of organising everything for our trip.
One day I was looking for flights and accommodation, and had a vision that the pain in my chest was black matter which was getting denser by the minute. My understanding was that it was karma pressing down on me. I looked within because I was in a lot pain at that point, and realised it was an alarm for me.
I stopped all the things I was doing, and just watched the pain. All of this was happening while I was at work and it lasted for a long time. In the meantime, my colleague joined me at the office, and I was making sure he didn’t notice anything. I continued looking within and realised that I have a big attachment to my family. After all, I was taking all 11 of them to see Shen Yun, wishing not to omit a single person.
Then, all kinds of thoughts appeared – why did I decide to take them all at this point in time, I am very busy, there are so many things to do, I don’t like flying – all of these were the same ideas which were very often expressed by my family members as well. I was full of human notions, fuelled by all of my previous experiences with them. But, after realising all this, the black matter started moving away from my lungs, and the pain subsided.
Master said: “This is because we have seen that when their legs are in pain, the black substance is attacking their legs. The black substance is karma and can be eliminated through suffering; it can then be transformed into de. Once the pain is felt, karma begins to be eliminated. The more karma that comes, the more pain one’s legs will feel. Therefore, the pain in the legs does not arise without a reason.” (Zhuan Falun)
So, I kept looking for tickets for Shen Yun for all of my family members. All of a sudden, everything cleared up - I found affordable tickets to Rome, good accommodation in the centre, and tickets to watch the show.
A month before our departure, my brother made up with his girlfriend. In the meantime, all the tickets for Shen Yun had sold out. I decided to invite his girlfriend to come with us, and give my ticket to her, so that she could see the show. I made a decision not to tell the rest of my family members that I would not be seeing the show myself.
I tried to obtain one more ticket, but I was not successful, so I accepted that as a fact. However, a few days before our departure, I checked the Shen Yun website and saw that they added a matinee show on the same day! I was so happy and realised that it was all a result of Master’s arrangements.
My family’s reaction to the show was beautiful. My father is usually superstitious, and he doesn’t like travelling with the whole family all at once. However, he accepted the trip to Rome, and while we were there, everything went smoothly.
Master said: “By improving your xinxing and assimilating to the characteristic of the universe in your cultivation among everyday people, the characteristic of the universe will no longer restrict you; you are then allowed to move up.” (Zhuan Falun)
For a fairly long period in my cultivation I was experiencing a situation that I did not know how to fix. There was a certain sense of coldness and distance in me, something that was difficult to really define, but something was there. I could also clearly see this coldness and distance in others as well.
Master has taught us in the Fa that whatever we observe in others is something we should look for within ourselves. I had no idea what to do about this state, but I knew that it was not a good state for a cultivator to have. This state lasted for a long time, and I was still none the wiser.
One day, I was driving back home from work when I had a car accident. The car behind me was driving very fast, and the driver didn’t notice that I had stopped because there was a row of cars that had stopped in front of me. The car behind hit me, and started a chain reaction.
At the moment of impact, I left my physical body, and I saw my head moving violently back and forth. When I came to, I heard that my car was revving, as my foot was still on the accelerator. I quickly left the car, and thought to myself: “Good, a piece of karma is now gone.” There was a sense of joy inside of me.
Master said: “We have many disciples who’ve encountered some dangerous incidents during the course of their cultivation—car accidents, falling from high places, and many other incidents. Afterwards, our students felt happy—it sure is worth being happy about. Of course, as I’ve explained in the Fa, this is equal to paying for a huge amount of karma generated in the past, and can even equal having repaid a life. If that life has really been paid for, your name is crossed out from hell because you’ve already paid for that life.
Actually, don’t think that nothing happened to you after being hit—a you, made up of karma, really died. What’s more, that body had thoughts, a heart, and limbs that were made up of your bad karma; it died in the accident, and it was composed entirely of karma. We’ve done such a tremendous good thing for you, and have removed such a huge amount of karma and paid for lives with it—no one else does this. We do this only because you’re able to practice cultivation. When you realize this you will have no way to thank me." (Teaching the Fa at a New York meeting, from Teaching the Fa in the United States, 1997)”
My car was damaged significantly at both ends, but the cars behind and in front of me had only minor dents or scratches. The lady in the car in front of me said that she barely felt the impact.
All of a sudden, I started experiencing sharp pain in my neck. I rejected it and thought that everything would be ok because I am a cultivator. The driver of the car that hit me kept looking at me. She saw I was not feeling 100%, but she didn’t say a word to me. The lady from the front car kept telling me that I should go to the hospital, and she, and the others around me kept telling me that I should ask for compensation for the injuries – but I didn’t do that.
When the police came, all I could think about was how cold and distant the lady who hit me was. I kept seeing myself in her behaviour and in the policeman’s behaviour as well. Nobody showed any concern for me, they were distant and just routinely doing their job.
After the police interviewed me, I walked home, as I lived fairly close by. Walking was difficult because my whole body was in pain. I did the exercises when I got home, and later that day I studied the Fa with other practitioners, even though I could not really focus.
The next day I felt nauseous. I had pain in my back and arms, and it was difficult even to hold my head up straight. My colleagues were telling me that I should go to the doctor, even though I had been trying to hide all my symptoms from them.
The next day it was even worse. It was difficult to get out of bed, so I decided to spend the entire day just studying the Fa. The following day I was completely healthy.
I thought a lot about the behaviour of the driver who hit my car. I couldn’t understand why she had behaved the way she did, but then a local practitioner shared her understanding with me, and I realised that I had a wrong understanding of Shan.
I used to think that Shan is something that happens naturally in cultivation, but the sentence that practitioner said was: “Master tells us to cultivate Shan.” At that point I enlightened to the meaning, or the process behind cultivating Shan, and I had a vision of a shell which was surrounding my body slowly disintegrating.
After that experience, my communication with other people has improved a lot. Also, I no longer observe cold or reserved behaviour in others.
Thank you, Master!
Thank you, fellow practitioners!
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