Seventy-nine Years and then Dafa
[PureInsight.org] My name is Ronald Franklin and I live in Gothenburg, Sweden. I obtained Dafa two years ago, in the same month that I turned 80.
My inner search started when I was 48 and consisted of different therapies, all with a certain amount of spiritual content. They brought me to ashrams in India in the eighties. About fifteen years ago I came into contact with Tibetan Buddhism and also spent a year in a Buddhist monastery. I have never regretted any of this; they were all steps on the way.
From childhood Christian faith in my late teens I became a fervent atheist, then an agnostic before in time starting out on the therapy-grounded spiritual path that finally brought me home to Dafa.
What I see now is that those earlier steps, although helping me to progress and giving me insights, didn´t touch the core issue which is scrutinizing your own actions from the viewpoint of taking total responsibility for them and not regarding yourself in any way as a victim. Easier said than done.
Of course, during the thirty-some years before cultivation of Dafa I regarded myself as being very responsible by doing the therapies, but most of them were centered on looking back at what had happened earlier in life, which opened up feelings of having been ill-treated, i.e. a victim. That is what I see now, looking through the eyes of cultivation.
The big difference today is that within cultivation the tribulations (almost daily, I´d say) force one to look at what is happening in the immediate now, and if you try to hide from the consequences of your actions – mainly by seeing yourself as a victim – there will be another tribulation around the corner.
I am very grateful for these opportunities to scrutinize myself and accept responsibility as a way to raise Xinxing; to move from an everyday person to a disciple of Dafa.
I have looked at myself as a truth-sayer and been quite proud of it, also self-righteous. I can see now that I had Truth placed in a nice box all by itself. There was no understanding that truth is part of a trinity – Zhen, Shan, Ren – and that it must be woven into compassion and forbearance in order to function in a helpful way; otherwise it is a very, very harsh ruler.
So, truth had been a guiding-star for me – not compassion and forbearance. Therefore, I have a lot of work ahead of me and this is just the beginning. Saying this, in my heart, I am praying to Master for help.
I would like to say something about my first important encounters with Falun Dafa.
A couple of weeks after my birthday on August I was sitting at an outdoor café with a friend when suddenly a smiling lady approached our table holding some flyers that I recognized. We had a very pleasant conversation. She told us about Falun Gong and that the following day the exercises would be practiced in a park nearby. The next morning, I was certain that I would turn up at the practice site and I was rather surprised that there was no discussion going on in my head about it. I was going to be there – period!
The standing exercises attracted me at once, while the sitting meditation seemed to be way beyond my physical capacity. When, after several months, I finally sat down on the ground it was only with lightly crossed legs. Now I am working on the simple lotus position.
I soon started to phase out my medicines and said goodbye to one of the last after about a year at one of our practice sites. The day before I had taken the first dosage of a blood-pressure medication that I had rather unwillingly let myself be talked into taking by my doctor. One hour before going to the Falun Gong exercise I took dosage number two (only half of what was prescribed). Well into the second movement everything suddenly turned white around me – was I going to faint? I had to sit down and kind friends gathered around me.
"It´s the blood-pressure medicine", I said in a loud voice. Someone who had supported me a lot whispered to me: "Remember, you´re the one who decides if you take a medicine, not the doctor”.
This incident turned out to be the end of my medication odyssey and I can only say that my health is steadily improving.
Letting go of attachment
I think thought karma is the area where I have been influenced the most.
When I heard that Shen Yun was coming to Stockholm in 2015 my first reaction was: "Gee!, it´s so far away". (This said about a four-hour journey by train). So I was thinking in a way that might be expected from everyday people of my age, although I recognize this "immobility virus" as a longtime companion.
Is it an attachment from my childhood, where during a long period every change of place meant a change for the worse? And on top of that a new attachment: that, at my age, it should be hard work to move around and nice to just stay put? Yes. But with a little stimulus, support and prompting from fellow practitioners, I overcame that sluggishness.
I got to Stockholm and could enjoy the enormous experience that is Shen Yun. And then, when Shen Yun came to Europe this year, inertia was no longer the problem. I flew to Hamburg in April for a new powerful artistic experience and found out my attachments.
An attachment starts to dissolve
At the hotel in Hamburg I got a room that awakened an emotional and thought-pattern that has followed me through life. The thought was: "I can´t stand this noise, this din".
The room was on the ground-floor with the window so high up that you couldn´t reach it. The window was open and the sounds and noise from the street turned into a continuous din. At the reception desk I asked for a change of room and an altercation started between me and the receptionist. Evidently there was no other room. Surely the frustration in our voices was noticed. At once a veteran practitioner turned up and arranged for me to have her and her husband’s room and they got mine. This happened so rapidly that I didn´t follow. "Now I´ve made a mess of things", I thought, "It´s really embarrassing that they have to give up their room to solve my problem".
My new room was several flights higher up and had a third extra bed. I lay down on it to get some rest before the performance, determined to leave the room as untouched as possible and get my friends to take it back.
Now a strange thing happened. While I was resting on the bed a voice within me said: "Sit down on the floor and meditate". I did so and then something that wasn´t possible in my understanding happened. My right leg sank completely to the floor and - without any pain at all - for the first time I could sit in the simple lotus position; and that for a full ten minutes!
As for the rest, it wasn´t possible to get my friends to take back their nice room. I was just met with a quiet smile. The comfort and silence that was so important to me was a mere trifle for them.
The tribulation was not without humour
After a while I realized the truth of what is said in Zhuan Falun about taking a step back and seeing how a completely new understanding is revealed.
If I had only taken it easy from the beginning the room I was first given would have been totally without disturbing sounds. My friends had managed to close the highly placed window and when I visited I noticed that it was nice and quiet. That was not the case in my fine room several flights up. One of the windows there was loose and couldn´t be properly shut.
For all that, my relation to noise hadn´t been worked through yet. That wouldn´t happen until I reached New York where I flew in May this year to hear our Master personally for the first time.
Goodbye to the attachment
After an uneasy first night at the hotel in New York I asked to have my room changed because of the noise both from the street and the ventilation system. I had a look at a second room and noted that it was better than the first one, but still......
The long-suffering receptionist now gave me the key to a room on the 17th floor. I lost my breath at the stunning view from the window: the Manhattan skyline in all its splendor.
I rushed down to the lobby - "Yes!, Yes!, I´ll take the room".
Once back in the room I was met by the noise from the fan- or ventilation system in the bathroom louder than the din in my first room. How could this be? How had I managed not to notice it the first time? Had the view overwhelmed me to such a degree that my ears had been stopped up?
I now had no other choice but to give up. Noise could no longer be given the chance to disturb me in this really devastating way. It was check-mate and game over for my efforts to protect myself from the effects of noise. The relief in giving up was great.
Nowadays my relation to noise is very different. A life-long torment has been reduced to something relatively irrelevant.
If I start to relapse into my old pattern I am reminded of the hotel room in New York and can take a step back and calm down.
I am extremely grateful towards Master for everything that has been given to me during these two years and I am very grateful to my fellow practitioners in Sweden who have given me so much support.
Thank you, Master!
Thank you, fellow practitioners!
Chinese version: http://www.zhengjian.org/node/155675