Dear Master, dear fellow practitioners,
I am a French national established in the United Kingdom for 25 years and that’s where I obtained the Fa. I started practising Falun Gong at precisely this time of year in 2009, but became a disciple only in 2011.
Most of my adult life has been spent job-hunting rather than actually employed, and all the jobs I ever got were short-term --except one, and from that one I was made redundant in early 2009 as a result of the world economic crash. I therefore have lived for a long time on state benefits. This I was always grateful for, and I always thought of it as the kindness of the State. Of course it came with conditions and restrictions, which I found entirely natural to comply with. However one of them was being forbidden from travelling abroad, no matter for how long. So for example, going to Scotland for a week or two would have been considered ok, but not to France for a couple of days –despite the distance being very similar and most jobs being advertised and applied for on the Internet. This meant I would never have been able to visit my family for years, which seemed unreasonable –and my mum would never have understood or accepted it! So I always arranged to travel for very short periods in between two appointments at the Jobcentre without saying anything, so as to try and satisfy everybody.
For the 2 years of the CCP virus pandemic, this trick became unnecessary since travelling was forbidden for everybody. But last year it became imperative that I went over to France: not only had my family not seen me for 3 years, but there was a big family gathering planned that summer which I very much wanted to attend, and various personal items I needed to sort urgently. I also assumed there were, among these various circles, people I needed to save –and as the opportunities to meet up had become few and far between, I had to seize this one!
First I had to wait until all restrictions were lifted, since I had not taken the vaccine. When this green light was finally given, I thought about how I was to manage getting out of the country. I had reached a point where I no longer wanted to slink out like a robber as I’d done before, as it did not feel entirely truthful –even if justified— and I wanted my celestial record to be absolutely pure. The only way to achieve that was to find a job, because naturally then the DWP’s demands would no longer apply. But despite my efforts, I was still stuck time and time again in a state of non-employment. After I became a practitioner, I had assumed this situation was simply my cultivation path, an ongoing tribulation arranged for me to shed my karma. But sometime early in the year, another practitioner recommended reading a sharing on Minghui called “Negating Old Force Arrangements: Tests we should not accept” (written in 2021).
This told of a practitioner undergoing a negative state every time she started to read Fa, and like me, assumed that this was part of her path to pay off karma. But Master would never have arranged something which prevented someone from studying the Law He Himself gave us –right?--, since he always pushes us to read and read more! This became evident to that practitioner when her mother –also a disciple—joined her and immediately eliminated that situation by sending righteous thoughts.
I am going to quote the same words that she picked up from the 2004 Chicago Conference: “When you encounter ordeals during your cultivation, you have got to cultivate yourself and look at yourself--that doesn’t mean acknowledging the ordeals arranged by the old forces and trying to do well amidst the ordeals they’ve arranged, that’s not the case. We negate even the very emergence of the old forces and everything that they’ve arranged; we don’t even acknowledge their existence. We’re fundamentally negating all of their things, and all of, and only, the things you do while negating and getting rid of them is mighty-virtue. It’s not that you’re cultivating amidst the ordeals they created. Rather, you are to walk your own path well while not acknowledging them, not even acknowledging the elimination of their ordeals’ manifestations.”
This gave me a serious Aha! moment, and I thought: well, is it normal for me to go over and over again through the exact same ordeal of not working? No!! The normal way divinely arranged for a human being is to have a job and be paid for it, and live with dignity off the proceeds of that work while contributing to society. Therefore it must be interference… Even if the situation was originally correct, the Old Forces must have enlarged it so as to make it impossible for me to get over it. I was struck by the way the deity involved was on the one hand described as “very beautiful” –which to me evokes the seduction of bad notions and habits which we often fall into--, and also that she was instantly fearful when she was discovered, and disappeared from the scene.
So I decided from that point on to include an intention about my employment situation in relation to Master’s arrangements for me and my travel to France when sending Righteous Thoughts. Well, guess what? A little more than 2 weeks before I was due to leave England, I received a call asking me to start a temp job as soon as possible; the job was fairly local, the pay decent, the employer did not care about my previous employment history, only that I was able to give an urgent hand to clear a backlog of work, and was perfectly willing to let me go away a whole week at the start of this new job –which is totally unusual, and had worried me. So everything suddenly aligned perfectly –which could only mean Master had authorised and approved of it! Yet I had not even been very diligent about targeting my righteous thoughts toward it, I’d remembered to do it only on and off. This indicated that, like in the case above, the mere fact of realising the interference had caused the old force factors to vanish.
Interference was still at play though, for during the course of my short assignment, the unexpected intervention of a new manager caused me to be suddenly suspended. But at that point it no longer mattered: it had achieved what it needed to in freeing me long enough from the shackles of reporting to the Jobcentre to undertake the planned journey with a clear conscience –and even allowed me to stay longer than what I had originally planned. At the same time that article has inspired me to see through Old Forces’ tricks and confusion in any given areas since!
My family relationships had always been quite fraught with tensions, in particular with two persons: my mother and one of my sisters. Nothing I did ever seemed to satisfy them and I permanently felt crushed. After a few years of reading the Fa, I thought they must be beings from those high dimensions who will not consider being saved by you unless you reached their level. I had no idea what their dimension’s standards were, only that their demands in this human world were mostly unachievable and unreasonable. So I left it at that for many years, not trying any particular action with them, just continuing with my life and cultivation in England, taking part in as many Dafa activities as I could and simply keeping in touch with my family every now and then.
In early 2020, I got a breakthrough with my mum, succeeding in bringing her over to watch Shen Yun in London just before lockdowns started all over Europe. So I thought that was her ‘sorted’. However something totally unexpected happened: at the same time as my mum was with me: out of the blue my sister sent us all an email stating that from that moment on she wanted to be “a better daughter/mother/sister/colleague” –which I translated as “I am going to cultivate”. This was extraordinary, and while I have no idea what brought her to such a point, it made perfect sense to me that it should coincide with my mother’s attending Shen Yun because I had thought for a long time that my mum was the true head of my family, and that having her see it would likely open up channels for the rest of my relatives to get saved too.
And indeed, our relationship slowly got better –we did not become best friends overnight, but her emails contained less aggression, which allowed us to begin actually dialoguing instead of my having to constantly defend myself, and to cooperate on some common issues. She even surprised me by asking questions about Shen Yun –which I had only mentioned once and very briefly in the past. That of course was why it had been unsuccessful, and I had later realised that in doing so I had in fact shifted the burden of saving my family onto Shen Yun instead of taking the responsibility myself… She had apparently not known that our mother had recently been to see it, and I interpreted her questioning as her telling me that she was now ready to be saved.
When the time came to prepare my trip to France, she made a few Skype calls to help in practical ways, which greatly alleviated a lot of my concerns as well as allowed us to precisely orchestrate how we would carry out a heavy conjoined task we had of collecting and sorting belongings from a storage place. This felt truly positive (she had never taken such an initiative before) and I started to trust her more and more. When my train arrived in the station where she was to pick me up, I waited in front of the carriage doors waiting to disembark and was stunned to see a hand immediately grab my luggage as soon as they opened. I had not yet seen her, and the carriage had stopped exactly in front of where she had been standing, and we fell into each other’s arms like never before in our lives!! She also shared with me that she had arrived just in time despite obstacles and had found a much coveted parking spot in the shade AND close to the station door… This of course could all only be Master’s doing, therefore I instantly knew it must mean that this trip was to be a major xinxing test, and someone important was to be saved.
Over the following few days, we worked collaboratively very hard and in gruelling conditions. Her character was still very overbearing and judgemental, as well as being affected by fatigue, so we still had a number of conflicts –during which I tried to not fight back. But she also shared some thoughts and life experiences. I found very few opportunities during that time to do my exercises and could only read Fa late at night or sometimes on transport. She also occasionally saw me reading or holding my phone when sending Righteous Thoughts, so even without knowing specifically what I was doing, she was witnessing and absorbing Dafa…
Once we had completed our work, we returned to join our mother, other sister and one of my nieces and had a day of rest together before we were due to travel again for the larger family gathering. To my great surprise, they had prepared a celebration for my birthday (which had occurred a few days prior), and as I had reached a milestone, my sister presented me with an album of photos from my entire life so far. This touched me a lot, as it demonstrated not only that she had thought of it –therefore of me—well in advance, but had put in a lot of effort into it, even enrolling the help of her daughter!
And the surprises did not stop there! During the time with our larger family, she was also the one who organised a viewing of various photos to give us all a trip down memory lane celebrating our family, plus a public card giving for three cousins who shared birthdays in the same summer period and had reached the same milestone that year. At the end of the weekend, she confided how pleased she was to have been able to complete together with me the massive sorting and clearing task I mentioned earlier despite the altercations between us, and sought my agreement on it –which I was happy to give. All of those events clearly told me I had finally passed the test, and that this sister was now probably saved.
(Submitted to the European Fa-conference 2023 in Paris)
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