Wellness-The Better You
"Wellness - The Better You" is a new course in college. It provides practical strategies for developing a healthy lifestyle. "Wellness" is the integrated and dynamic level of functioning oriented toward maximizing potential dependent upon self-responsibility. Finally, I found concepts in the West that are similar to ancient Chinese cultivation (Qigong). "Wellness" is described as an ever-changing process of growth toward an elevated state of superb well-being. In Falun Dafa, the eventual state is a person who has become enlightened through cultivation practice. 'Let me tell everyone that since we are of the great cultivation way in the Buddha's School, we will certainly practice cultivation of Buddhahood. Then in the Taoist School one will practice cultivation of Tao to attain the Tao. Let me tell everyone that the term "Buddha" is not a superstition. It is a word from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language. When it was introduced to China, it was called "Fo Tuo". There were also people who translated it as "Fu Tu". As the word was passed around, our Chinese people left out one character and called it "Fo". What does it mean when it is translated into Chinese? It is the enlightened person' (Zhuan Falun, Lecture 1).
From my own understanding and experience from practicing Falun Dafa (Falun Gong), I realize Falun Dafa provides clear guidance for a high-level wellness way of life and an integrated balance including the seven dimensions discussed in "Wellness."
1. Physical Dimension
The physical dimension deals with the functional operation of the body. Falun Dafa is a genuine practice of both mind and body. It has five sets of exercises for cultivating the body, and the Gong (high-energy matter) is stored
in every cell of the body in the extremely microscopic state. The "Globe And Mail" reported that Ms. Mitchell, the former TVO announcer, credits Falun Dafa for curing everything that ailed her: kidney stones, breast cancer, vaginal infections, a herniated disc, constipation, fallen arches. Practitioners not only get rid of illness, but also increase muscular strength, endurance and flexibility. Many elder practitioners look younger than their age. Falun Dafa can help practitioners stop smoking, drinking and other bad habits. After practicing the exercises, I feel refreshed, energetic and easily get a high quality sleep. The five sets of exercises are easy to learn and good for all ages. The practice has no concern for time, location, or direction. It is flexible and suits the busy lifestyle of modern people. If you just do five sets of exercises without improving your mind nature (cultivate your mind according to the highest characteristic of the universe - Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance) it won't work. Falun Dafa explains the relationship between taking medicine and curing illnesses. So a practitioner should know their limitations and emphasize medical self-care instead of 'sickness care.'
2. Intellectual Dimension
The intellectual dimension involves the use of the mind. Falun Dafa teaches a very broad range of knowledge, from prehistoric culture to the current computer science and from molecules to the universe. 'It is so immense that it does
not have the exterior and it is so tiny that it does not have the interior.' Falun Dafa shows me a boundless world, so I do not stop being curious and learning. We might not realize that it is not the things we don't know, but the things we do know that stop us from learning more. That is why a child learns new things easier than an adult does. Falun Dafa talks about how a camera taking pictures relates to our eyes stabilizing things. How does the third eye work? The images are delivered to the pineal body in our brains. So practitioners won't be fooled by the surface of things. They can think critically, analyze, and evaluate for themselves. Maintaining an active mind contributes to total well-being.
3. Emotional Dimension
The ability to maintain emotional stability within some mid-range between the highs and the lows is essential. Falun Dafa asks practitioners 'to keep yourself under control unlike an ordinary person who will make things worse, you should always maintain a mind of benevolence and a peaceful state of mind. When you suddenly run into any problem, you will then be able to deal with it properly. When you often maintain a mind of benevolence and compassion, you will have time or room to slow down and think upon meeting with a problem all in a sudden. If you always think about competing for something with others, I would say that you would be guaranteed to start a fight with others once there is a problem.' Falun Dafa also talks about how to handle jealousy, show-off mentality, the competitive mentality and the attachment of complacency, etc.. Emotional wellness includes three areas: awareness, acceptance, and management. Emotional awareness involves feelings of losses or gains. Then, how to handle happiness and sadness. Falun Dafa gives different values to losses and gains unlike some others - 'those who survive the world without direction and with poor enlightenment quality live for money and die for power, being joyful or anxious over petty gains. They compete bitterly against each other, thus accruing karma throughout their lives.' Since practicing Falun Dafa, I can find inner peace even when facing the loss of my favorite thing or the gain of my interest. So, it is much easier to manage emotions - less desires less stress.
4. Social Dimension
Social wellness involves the ability to get along with others, as well as to appreciate the uniqueness of others. Falun Dafa mentions that a 'practitioner should demand himself with a higher standard and should not return the same when being hit or insulted.' One can be fair and just toward others even when others treat them unfairly. The social dimension of wellness also includes concern for humanity as a whole. Good friends, close family ties, community involvement, and trusting relationships go hand in hand with high-level wellness. Some people can be nice and help each other because they have sentimentality. That is limited to the people they know. But Falun Dafa replaces that sentimentality with benevolence, which is something of a higher order. It gives love to all human beings. The reason a Falun Dafa practitioner can achieve social wellness is because he knows of the existence of two substances. 'The white substance - De (virtues) will be attained through doing good deeds while the black substance - karma,
will be procured by committing wrong deeds.' De (virtues) presents higher level wellness in some way. Believing in predestined relationships and tolerance help one stay calm when encountering very tough situations with others.
5. Spiritual Dimension
Some people look at Falun Dafa as a spiritual movement. Several books by Li Hongzhi, the movement's founder are shelved under 'New Age and Occult' in bookstores like 'Chapters.' The spiritual dimension involves the development of the inner self and one's soul. Spiritual wellness involves experiencing life and reflecting on the
experience in order to discover a personal meaning and purpose in life. Falun Dafa tells practitioners where they come from, why they are here and what life is about. Human beings fell here from a holy, pure, and incomparably splendid world. But, 'The lives in this dimension are different from those of all other dimensions in the universe. The lives in this dimension cannot see the lives in other dimensions as well as the truth of the universe. Thus, these human beings are, in fact, as good as lost in maze. In order to cure illnesses or eliminate tribulations and karma, these people must practice cultivation to return to their original true selves.' 'One should return to his original true self, and that is the genuine purpose of being a person' (Zhuan Falun, Lecture 1). Otherwise, as ordinary people, nobody can be free from aging, sickness and death. There is a traditional Chinese saying: 'A person will be paid what he did, good or bad; no exceptions.' Falun Dafa says: 'This characteristic of Zhen-Shan-Ren is the criterion of the universe, which determines the good and the bad.' Zhen means true, truthfulness and honesty; Shan means benevolence, kindness, compassion and charity; Ren means endurance, forbearance, tolerance and forgiveness. 'If you want to return to the original true self and succeed in cultivation practice, you must follow such a standard. As a human being, if you can follow this universe's characteristic of Zhen-Shan-Ren you are a good person. A person who goes against this characteristic is genuinely a bad person' (Zhuan Falun, Lecture 1). So I ask myself to try to do everything following Zhen-Shan-Ren.
6. Environmental Dimension
The environmental dimension of wellness deals with the preservation of natural resources and the protection of plant and animal wildlife. 'For practitioners, we have set strict requirements that they cannot kill lives.' 'In addition to human beings and animals, plants are also lives. Any matter can show its life in other dimensions' (Zhuan Falun, Lecture 8). As a Falun Dafa practitioner, one will not waste things, even a piece of paper. One practitioner told me, he feels guilty when he throws away a white piece of paper that is not completely used.
7. Occupational Dimension
The occupational dimension involves deriving personal satisfaction from your vocation. Much of our life will be spent at work. Therefore, it is important that our chosen career provides the internal and external rewards we value. The value may be different from person to person. But what value is righteous? I realize that it is very hard for a new graduate to find a job, because most companies want experienced workers. But where will the experienced
workers come from if nobody wanted to train them? I cannot blame the companies since I find people today admiring those who can jump from one job to another to get more satisfaction (usually more pay). So who would like to spend time and money to train a person who will work for somebody else? Falun Dafa tells me the work place is a kind of cultivation environment. 'All professions of the human society should exist. It is the human mind
that is indecent, not the occupations that people have. There is a saying in old days that 'Nine out of ten merchants are fraudulent.' That is a statement made by ordinary people. I would say that it is an issue of the human mind. As long as your mind is right and you trade fairly, you deserve to earn more money. No loss, no gain. The gain is earned through labor' (Zhuan Falun). Occupational wellness also involves maintaining a satisfying balance between work time and leisure time. As a Falun Dafa practitioner, one will read Master Li's book and practice the 5 sets of exercises no matter how busy they are.
I found Falun Dafa on the internet and started to practice in 1998. There is a practice group in my area. We practice together every weekend. On long weekends or holidays, we sometimes go to Toronto to join a big group study there. Practitioners offer very good support and encouragement. I was shocked when the Chinese government banned Falun Dafa in 1999. But the more the Chinese government said about Falun Dafa, the more I found what they said not true. But some of my Chinese friends did not understand me, even some of my relatives in China did not understand me because they trust their government like I used to. Moreover, they could lose everything (job, apartment, the right to go to school, etc.) if they do not agree with the Communist Party's ideas. When I saw pictures or read articles about what the police do to the Falun Dafa practitioners in China, especially the female practitioners who are the same age as me, I could hardly control my temper, my tears fell and my heart was broken. Sometimes, I think about giving up, just because I don't want my feelings hurt anymore. But looking back at history, no government lasts forever. I should be responsible for myself. I am convinced I have found the best way to wellness in my life. I cannot go with the crowd or merely react to what seems to happen. I will try telling the truth about Falun Dafa to the world and stop the evil.
Zhuan Falun is Master Li Hongzhi's main opus