I was introduced to Falun Dafa six years ago, at a quite mature age, the beginning of my 50’s and in a period when many changes occurred in my life. I had always been searching for methods of self-cultivation and inner wisdom. In Falun Dafa I found the great, but simple way of cultivation.
I am a visual artist and an art educator by profession. Through the six years of my cultivation I‘ve realized the importance of beauty in art and life, the harmony in nature, and I‘ve strived inside myself to leave behind different contemporary notions, trends, philosophical concepts and abstract ideas, which lead the art scene of today and disfigure the higher meaning of art. Through my cultivation, they became senseless to my mind and to my awareness of Dafa. Studying the Fa more often helped me to clear my mind and to see the world with a purer eye and without any mental intention.
The human figure has been always a predominant element present in my paintings’ composition, mostly of childhood age. Now this element has become even more important. I try to illustrate the preciousness of humankind and its divine origins. In many of my paintings it's as if people find their own paradise and live in coexistence and harmony with nature. My artwork helps me to talk and introduce Falun Dafa to people more easily through the image narrative. My cultivation helps me to achieve light, beauty and serenity in my artwork as far as my level and understanding of the Fa permits.
For many years, I have worked with children as an art teacher. Many times I found myself feeling annoyed with the kids‘ behaviour and I shouted at them. One day, at the very beginning of my cultivation I was annoyed with a child. The moment I started talking with anger I felt the rotation of a Falun in my lower abdomen. It was a strange, new experience in my body and a strong reminder that I am a Falun Dafa practitioner and I have to temper my behaviour. Since then, whenever I start getting annoyed with children in my class or with anyone else in daily life, I try to look within and send righteous thoughts. This helps me vastly to improve my behaviour and to create a purer energy field around me.
At the same time it has been very clear, that since the beginning of my cultivation, Master has been helping me release attachments, ambitions and pride that used to oppress me for many years and that didn’t help me to search for my true self.
Three months ago I experienced an injury in my left shoulder. This happened because of my ambitious pursuit to work on a rather large stretched canvas, in order to submit a painting for an art exhibition. Despite my fatigue from the past months of intensive work, I didn’t listen to my body to slow my pace down, and I insisted on doing it.
The injury occurred the moment I extended my arms to lift and move the painting. Though my mind said: ‘Find some other way to do it’, I didn’t pay attention. After an hour I couldn’t raise nor move my arm in any direction. It hurt a lot.
For years I was against taking medicine and when I became a practitioner, this idea was even more explicit to me. However, the pain in my shoulder was so severe that I decided to use natural essential oils to calm down the pain, which was getting more severe through the night.
Now, I had to slow down and look within. Once again, I realized the lack of compassion I had several times when people I know suffer from an illness or injury. I thought I was acting with empathy, but deep inside I had a feeling of pride of being a healthy practitioner.
The first days of working out my injury were difficult, because moving was extremely painful. I tried to cope with my everyday activities in a slower rhythm. I studied the Fa with more concentration and did the exercises as far as I could. I felt strongly the necessity to share my new tribulation experience with my fellow practitioners. Their immediate response and compassionate support soothed my pain and encouraged me.
In less than a week, while sleeping at night and comforting my injured arm between soft pillows, I had a very real sensation that somebody walked into my house and entered my bedroom. I couldn’t open my eyes… While in stillness, I felt another arm lying in contact next to my injured arm… It lifted my arm up, turned it around 360 degrees, let it rest back on the pillows and then the person left the room. I froze for a few minutes, waiting until the sound of the footsteps subsided. I felt the energy of calmness and serenity overlaying my body and then I opened my eyes… Nobody was there, but I was deeply convinced in my heart, that Master had been there! My eyes were tearful and I felt gratitude for Master’s benevolence.
Two days after the incident, we had Fa study at my house. In my country, Cyprus, there are not many practitioners and we live in different towns on the island. So we don’t have the chance to meet altogether for Fa study regularly. That afternoon we had the chance after Fa study to talk and share a lot of our recent experiences and understandings about different matters concerning our cultivation and that was really joyful. I also had the chance to share my latest experience with my fellow practitioners, though being a bit reserved as the incident was a very new and extraordinary experience for me. Then I let it go, in order not to develop any attachment… Now I share it with you!
In the days to follow, my shoulder was getting better and better. First I could lift my arm half way up and in five days I could easily lift my arm all the way up, practise the exercises and participate in Hong Fa.
My understanding, from my own cultivation level, is that everything is given to us by Master for cultivation and truth clarification. If we don’t take care to treasure all these tools, don't direct our mind to think upright thoughts and instead let our pride stop us from cherishing the fundamentals of the Fa, then we slack off in cultivation and give way to the old forces to disturb us.
Benevolent Master is there for us. He was there for me to remind me once again about the importance and preciousness of being a Dafa practitioner.
I would like to finish my sharing with an excerpt from Master’s recent lecture in Washington D.C.:
“But I am just saying that, as a cultivator, you should not slack off. You've traveled the hardest path, you've come through the most difficult period of time. Walk well your own path—it's really easy to say and really hard to do. No matter how hard it is, however, you've come for this undertaking. No matter how hard it is, your life was created for this undertaking. None of the Dafa disciples are governed by the Three Realms. On the day you made a vow to practice cultivation, your name was taken off the list in hell.”
Thank you benevolent Master! Thank you fellow practitioners! Please correct me if I said something inappropriate.
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