Cultivation and the Elimination of Fear
[PureInsight.org] Honourable Master, fellow cultivators, my name is Nicolas and I am a Dafa disciple from Sweden. I started my cultivation of Dafa in 2011.
In June 2011 I received a phone call from a friend telling me that, my being a lawyer; a girl needed some legal assistance. About two weeks later, the girl and I talked on the phone for about 20 minutes. I learned she was married to a guy from New Zealand, and they lived just one block away from me. We decided to meet up a couple of days later and ended up talking for about eight or nine hours. Her husband invited me to join him the next day and try Falun Gong exercises in a nearby park. I agreed. The next morning, when I was in the shower, I felt a strong force almost lifting me off the ground and I felt as if I was bathed in light. I immediately ordered a copy of Zhuan Falun and read the book in little over a week. My life changed in all ways possible and I have been a Dafa practitioner since then.
During my five years as a cultivator I have had the pleasure of working for all our media: NTD, Epoch Times and SOH Network. I have been involved in a number of international projects, including with the Dafa legal team based in Washington D.C.
I consider myself to be a very lucky person. I have been given many gifts in life and the possibility of developing a vast amount of knowledge and skill ever since I was a young boy. Looking back at my life, my mother had done everything she could to give me proper confidence in myself, and had helped me build up a rather fearless attitude towards life. In spite of all these, I have always had this gnawing feeling inside, the fear of failure. I knew this fear as a young boy and it has been with me ever since. This fear is the reason I have driven myself so hard to become successful. I wanted to be the best in everything. Never give up. Always fight no matter what the cause. In school, in sports, with music and at work I struggled and I fought.
When I attained the Fa at age 30, I finally realised what this feeling of fear was all about. I had a mission to assist our Master in Fa Rectification and to save sentient beings, the most important task. I now knew why I had spent so many years being afraid of failure. As I keep on cultivating this fear has been put to the test many times. The following are some of the challenges with fear I have encountered in my life as a cultivator.
Clarifying the truth face to face
My first test as a practitioner came after about two months. I was invited to a birthday party for a friend of mine with lots of new people. At this event I was seated across the table from a girl about my age. We started a conversation about life and halfway through it I asked her if she knew about Falun Gong and its persecution in China. As soon as I had said the words Falun Gong her eyes turned black and she looked almost furious. She said: “Those are the people that burn infants!”
It turned out that she had lived in China in 2001 when the persecution was at its worst. Even though I was a new practitioner I realised I should clarify the truth to her. I remained calm and explained to her that I was a practitioner of Falun Gong and that whatever she had seen was most likely the work of secret agents sent out by the government to defame Dafa. She looked puzzled. I looked her straight in the eyes and told her with a calm voice, “You are wrong; these acts are staged by the Chinese Communist Party to make everyone think Falun Gong isn’t good, but I am telling you, I am a practitioner. If you want to know what Falun Gong is about, you can come and try the exercises with me and see for yourself.” In that moment her eyes cleared and it seemed she was at a loss for words. After a while she looked at me and smiled and said, “Ok, I want to try the exercises with you. Let’s go this weekend.”
When I look back at this incident I know Master was there and gave me strength to help this girl learn the truth about Dafa.
The elimination of sickness karma
After having cultivated for about 6 months I had my next major tribulation. I remember sitting at work and writing on my computer when the right side of my face started to sting and burn slightly. It was a very unusual and very uncomfortable sensation. The next morning, I woke up and the whole right side of my face was paralyzed. I could not swallow properly and my right eye wouldn’t blink at all. It was hard even to speak without slurring. When I arrived at work that day everyone reacted strongly to my appearance and some of the older ladies thought that I had had a stroke. All of a sudden everyone was a doctor and kept telling me I needed to go to the hospital and get cured. Even my boss came into my room and almost threatened me that if I didn’t go to the hospital he would have to take action on behalf of my employer.
For the next two months I had to spend every day convincing new people that I was fine and that I hadn’t had a stroke. Even people that I didn’t know look quite scared when they asked me what was wrong with my face.
From the very start of this test I understood from Master’s lectures in Zhuan Falun that we as cultivators don’t get sick. Any reaction in the body is good as it is only karma being pressed out of our system. I knew this and thus when people harassed me about my health I would just smile and tell them that I know my body and everything is fine.
After about two months, the paralysis had left my face and I looked normal. I could both speak and blink again. Throughout this tribulation I maintained strong righteous thoughts and got support from some local practitioners, which allowed me to remain calm and stay brave in the face of fear. My faith in the Fa was strengthened tremendously with this tribulation.
Layers of fear being cast off
As my cultivation has progressed, it seems that tests in terms of fear have become fewer. However, when they arrive they seem to come with much more intensity than before.
Earlier 2016 I was invited to a large seminar for entrepreneurs in Stockholm. This seminar had about 100 participants from some of the major corporations in the region. As we sat down and the seminar began I learned that of one the lecturers had specialised in business with China and was going to give a lecture on this with recommendations for Swedish businesses. As I was listening to him speak I realised that this would be a great opportunity for me to clarify the truth to everyone in the audience. With just a few well put questions I could drive the discussion in the right direction. As I sat there thinking I suddenly felt a strong sense of fear building up inside. It felt like something was pushing me down into my chair, making me unable to move or speak. Quietly I watched the moment pass me by and then the seminar was over.
As soon as they closed the seminar it was time for food and there was an opportunity for us to mingle. I managed to run around the place and clarify the truth to about 10 people before we had to leave the premises. As I was walking home I felt devastated by the fact that I had given in to fear and missed the opportunity to help Master save 100 people. When I came home I sat down to do FZN and I swore there and then that from this point on I would walk towards fear and embrace it whenever it arose no matter what size it was.
Through this insight I have started to examine fear in everyday life. I have noticed how common it is to experience tiny fears that seem harmless, but when added up they can form a pattern, which would make you take the easy road instead of challenging yourself on the narrow path. As a cultivator it is very important to be mindful of this. It can mean the difference between conquering fear and letting it win.
Overcome the pain in the fifth exercise
My most continuous tribulation since I became a cultivator has been the issue of my legs and the meditation exercise. The best way to describe my legs is to imagine two concrete pillars where the joints and bones are iron poles and the muscles are the concrete around them. Ever since my first meditation I have experienced insane amounts of pain while sitting there. The first twice I meditated with my fellow practitioner from New Zeeland I sat for half an hour. The third time we meditated I experienced extreme difficulty sitting the full hour. The pain was unbearable and I wondered why the half hour seemed so long. It turned out my fellow practitioner had tricked me into sitting for a full hour.
I was in so much pain every time in meditation that I developed a fear of it. I knew it was going to be extremely hard and I had to sit for the full hour since I had already done so that once. I could sit and my body would move in all kinds of ways and even shake relentlessly from time to time. I sometimes felt like I was going to pass out from the pain. On occasion I would get a strong fever afterward and had to go to bed and sleep for a couple of hours.
After a year had passed I realised that this would not go over quickly and I would have to fight the pain many times over to prevail. My only way of making it through was to let go of the fear and tell myself every time, “This is going to hurt, but a lot of karma and bad stuff will be driven out of my body.” This would be my routine before every meditation. During times of excruciating pain, I would also recite Lunyu.
About one year ago, after four years of pains in the meditation I finally managed to put my legs in the full lotus position and today I can sit for a little over half an hour. As I have progressed into sitting in full lotus a new wave of excruciating pain has presented itself. The difference now is that I am not afraid of it anymore. I know that this is something I have to go through to reach my highest level and I know my body gets more purified each time.
I often think of Master’s words in Zhuan Falun lecture 9 where he writes, “When you are overcoming a real hardship or tribulation, you try it. When it is difficult to endure, try to endure it. When it looks impossible and is said to be impossible, give it a try and see if it is possible. If you can actually do it, you will indeed find, ‘After passing the shady willow trees, there will be bright flowers and another village ahead!’”
These words truly give me peace of mind. In moments of doubt when fear might display itself I know that as long as I am strong in the Fa I can conquer any tests and tribulations on my path.
For this great Dafa that I have obtained, I say: “Thank you Master. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Chinese translation: http://www.zhengjian.org/node/155674