A Cultivation Practice of Looking Within

A Western Practitioner

PureInsight | January 23, 2006

[PureInsight.org] From time to time, I have had difficulty with seeing my own attachments in a manner that I could then let them go. I often know they exist, but I could only recognize them superficially, and could not locate their root causes. Sometimes I just could not recognize them at all even when they were making me miserable.

In the European Lecture from Frankfurt, Teacher states, "Whenever you encounter problems you should each look inward to search for the cause within, regardless of whether you're to blame or not. Remember my words: Regardless of whether the problem is your fault or not, you should look inside yourself, and you will find a problem. If the matter has absolutely nothing to do with you or doesn't involve any
of the attachments you should break, then that thing would rarely happen to you. If you didn't have an attachment the problem wouldn't have come about. I have to be responsible for your cultivation. Any problem that happens to you, around you, or among you is most likely related to you, and there is something for you to get rid of. No matter whether it's your fault or not, when my Law Bodies are having you remove your attachment, they don't care whether it's your fault or another person's. As long as you have an attachment, they will try everything to have you run into problems and have you recognize the attachment that makes you fall short."

Lately, when I notice attachments in others I look inward very carefully to uncover these attachments in myself. Even other people's stories have helped me recognize attachments in myself. For example, a practitioner told me about a situation she experienced in school as a child and the corresponding behavior she developed due to the situation. I immediately identified a very strong attachment to reputation. By being able to identify it in this manner I was then able to see that attachment in myself. It was a very big attachment for me that presented itself in all types of situations. Due to this attachment of my changing appearance over time, I almost did not attend my 30th high school reunion and would have lost the opportunity to validate Falun Dafa and clarify the truth about the persecution in China to friends from long ago friends that I would otherwise not see. When I look back it seems silly to have not wanted to go to the reunion because I am now 40 pounds heavier with amazing grey-colored haired, radiant skin and a vibrant healthy body verses being skinny with brown hair, a grayish and sickly looking complexion, and a weak and ill body in the past.

I then began to see the attachment to reputation more readily in others, and this had a surprising effect on me. Eventually, this awareness allowed me to be tolerant, and not moved in situations when this attachment manifests. Meanwhile, my compassion has grown as I see better that everyone is truly suffering.

If practitioners can reflect my issues back to me, so can others. At work, a person's extreme attachment to control makes the work situation incredibly miserable for everyone. I have examined this issue of control in my own behavior many, many times. However, for the last three years, I was often just consumed by the misery of the work situation rather than seeing that there were other levels of control within me that needed to be eliminated. You can guess what I saw in my own behavior the next couple of weeks with this realization.

The attachment to control was so imbedded that it had a significant impact on how I interacted and reacted to others at work, and with family, friends and other practitioners.
It caused me to judge others constantly. Thus, I was intolerant and lacked compassion. This attachment had many faces of expression in me, such as shyness or passiveness, or being too assertive, rude, impatient, insecure or haughty. This awareness allowed me to profoundly change my behavior. I began to naturally be more attentive to others when they spoke. I often could stop myself from judging them. I became a better listener in most cases and did not feel the need to give my opinion on all matters being discussed in order to correct them. I began to stop interpreting everyone with my misplaced thoughts. Thinking of others first was then a more natural by- product too. My changing behavior is being reflected back in a very positive manner from those around me.

At the Florida Conference on December 29, 2001, Teacher said: "You must have a lot of questions. I think that through studying the Fa you'll be able to resolve all of them. Many specific questions and problems can be resolved as long as you study the Fa. Also, you need to pay attention to one issue: you are Dafa disciples, so you should always look within whenever you run into problems--it's guaranteed that many of the problems are your problems, whether you want to look at yourself or not, or whether you think of them or not. In the future, when you see the truth, you'll realize that everything had a reason."

I came to realize that my ability to look within hinged mostly with understanding the Fa that comes from diligently and daily reading Zhuan Falun. It is my understanding that there are other issues of control that I am eliminating within me, particularly the deeply rooted set of notions that I have to do things right, be the good girl, and so on. I came to understand over this holiday season that if I am too hard on myself because I did not pass a test or understand what I am up against, then in all of my self judgment and criticism, I miss the opportunity to really look within and find the root cause of my problems. How could I examine it clearly with that type of thinking going on in my head? It is practically impossible to look within as that is the ultimate in admitting "I didn't do it correctly." Without the understanding that comes from looking within and Fa study how can attachments, notions, emotions, or desires be eliminated? Anything less is but a superfluous understanding of the situation. Regardless of my ups and downs, I am a Dafa Disciple and Teacher has given Dafa Disciples the tool to move beyond these types of states. It is called cultivation practice.

The latest lectures are allowing me to see my weaknesses in another light and to forge ahead with re-examining my notions and working harder to let them go. Teacher states, in "The Closer to the End, the More Diligent You Should Be" (October 8, 2005), "But in reality, what human society takes to be truths are, from the perspective of the cosmos, inversions of truth; when humans go through hardship and suffer it is so that they may pay off karma and thereby have happiness in the future. A cultivator thus needs to cultivate by correct and upright truths. Going through hardship and suffering is an outstanding opportunity to remove karma, be cleansed of sin, purify the body, elevate your plane of thought, and rise in level-it's an extraordinarily good thing. This is a correct and upright Fa-truth. But as cultivation is lived out, when the suffering bears down on you and conflicts come up that hit upon the deepest part of you-and especially when it rattles the rigid notions you have-the test is really hard to pass. It can even be to the point that you know full well it's a test but still can't let go of your attachments. What's more, Dafa disciples are cultivating in this "real" world that brims with temptation, so it becomes even more difficult-and even more important-to change those notions. That is why I often tell you to study the Fa a lot as you cultivate and why I periodically publish articles meant to point out common problems, continuously correcting the direction of things."

I want to conclude with Teacher's ever present compassion and wisdom that is further assisting me to move ahead when times are difficult: "Dafa disciples' cultivation is done among ordinary people, and this is something never done before in history. If you each travel well your respective paths there are bound to be difficulties, and going forward to meet those difficulties head-on is for the sake of validating Dafa, saving all beings, doing away with the old forces' arrangements, and countering the persecution. The cultivation done in the past never had these things, and Dafa disciples are the pioneers. That is why in cultivation sometimes you will do well, and sometimes you won't know what to do. When you encounter difficulties, sit down and study the Fa some more, and as long as you are righteous in thought and action, there will be no barrier that you can't pass through.

"Your conduct has confirmed that the path Dafa disciples have taken is right, and moreover, that you have traveled it extremely well. With the progress of Fa-rectification everything will change for the better, and Dafa disciples will mature even more fully. I know that the difficulties you face will be resolved with the progression of Fa-rectification and with your maturation and diligent efforts. I hope that you will do even better, for Dafa disciples are the hope of all beings." (From: A Reply to the Dafa Disciples of Peru, December 17, 2005).

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