Eye for the Future Magazine (Toronto, Canada)
August /September 2001
I grew up in a hot blooded, short tempered, southern Italian family. I learned to fight with my brothers at a young age. Mention spirituality to me and I laughed in your face. They all had the answer. The quick cure to all of life's troubles are available for everyone, as long as you can afford it. It's all about money! I had all the toys. I had all the girls. I had everything except happiness and peace and as the years went by my anger and confusion grew.
I looked at other people and realized I wasn't alone. This was life! It sucks and then you die! Just make the best of it! I hid behind this theory until fear and confusion attacked my life. I didn't know where it came from. Fear was the first thing I felt as soon as I woke up, and the last thing I felt as I went to bed. It attacked me all day and it haunted me for years. I couldn't stop it.
I decided to call my mom for support. I knew my mom practiced this new technique and I saw fantastic changes in her attitude towards life. She smiled more. Her personality became light and happy. I told her how I felt. How I was so confused and tired of my vicious circle of negative thoughts. My mom smiled and said very simply, "Come try Falun Dafa."
My Mom told me Falun Dafa is a pure system of "Cultivation and Practice" to improve body, mind and spirit. Falun Dafa is rooted in ancient Chinese culture and integrates physical well being with ethical behavior.
The "practice" of Falun Dafa consists of 5 sets of beautiful, peaceful and powerful exercises that purify, refresh and align body energy. The first standing exercise took me through a series of slow stretch and sudden release movements that was geared to unblock and widen all energy channels and pulses in my body. In the second exercise I held my arms in 4 wheel-embracing postures for extended periods of time. This exercise circulated energy and opened passages. In the third exercise up and down hand strokes scanned my body to exchange my energy with universal energy to purify and refresh energy paths. In the fourth exercise my hands followed energy paths all around my body to fully expand all channels and increase circulation. All four beautiful and elegant exercises were peaceful and easy to learn.
The sitting exercise followed. No mind intent was involved. No visualization or breathing exercises. I was told, "Do not go into any state of trance. You must know where you are at all times. You hear everything, you feel everything but nothing moves your heart." The goal is to strengthen the main consciousness. The energy I felt was profound and powerful.
I started to study the theory of Falun Dafa found in the main book called Zhuan Falun. I realized the "cultivation" part of Falun Dafa is the most important part. All ancient, pure spiritual practices in the past stressed that in order to enlighten to truth and to fundamentally heal your body you must first purify your heart and raise your mind nature and moral quality. You must work hard to "cultivate" your mind instead of looking outside for answers. Falun Dafa teaches individuals to take responsibility to live life within the universal characteristic of Zhen Shan Ren, Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance. Falun Dafa teaches Zhen Shan Ren is the governing characteristic of every molecule in the universe. When you assimilate to the intrinsic characteristic of the universe you will move toward your fundamental nature and become kinder and more peaceful.
This theory made so much sense. I decided I was going to live by these guidelines.
The next day I visited my brother. 5 minutes later he said something that pushed my buttons. I flew into a rage. I yelled and screamed. I left and slammed the door behind me. I boiled all the way home. I walked into my living room. The book Zhuan Falun laid on the coffee table. I sat stunned. "I understand the principle, why can't I do it, why do I slip back into my old negative and abusive patterns?"
Falun Dafa taught me that it's easy to want to live within the characteristic of Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance. However, if you don't know the inner connotation behind Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance at different levels, you will not be able to truly practice Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance in your daily life.
In the book the analogy of a bottle filled with dirty things is sealed and thrown into the water. It sinks to the bottom. When dirt start to seep out of the bottle it rises a little. When more dirt seeps out it rises again. I realized my mind was filled with dirt. My life was built on selfishness and egotism. All my life all I cared about was myself. I judged and criticized everyone that didn't live up to my expectations. I looked at people as objects for my own needs. I figured if everyone changed just a little my life would be so good!
In Zhuan Falun it states, "You should always maintain a heart of compassion and kindness towards others and think of others before doing anything." I realized my life is the sum of all my own thoughts and actions, good and bad and I am responsible for every situation I find myself in. Wow what a concept, I am responsible for my own life!
As I studied more I realized Zhuan Falun guided me to think of others first, to take trials and tribulations lightly and to live with Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance. I learned that true spirituality is hard work. It is 100% up to me to cultivate my mind and heart to become a good person. There is no short cut.
Falun Dafa has brought back to society the importance of cultivating virtue and morality to help human beings heal themselves and enlighten to their own wisdom.
Since it's introduction into China in 1992, the practical and powerful philosophy of Falun Dafa attracted an estimated 70 million people across China in only eight short years. I feel its no coincidence that Falun Dafa has spread across the world faster than any other spiritual teaching in history. An estimated 100 million people now enjoy the practice of Falun Dafa in over 40 countries around the world.
Falun Dafa teaches Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance. There is no worship or rituals. It is a universal, voluntary teaching that anyone can practice wherever and whenever they want. What moved my heart most was no one ever asked me for money. All classes are absolutely free, always!
Two years have since passed and everyday I practice the exercises and study Zhuan Falun and everyday I gain new wisdom and new power to make better choices in my life. I only have to look back to see how far I've come. I hang up the phone after a friendly conversation with my brother. I look out my window and smile. Our relationship is different now. I have learned that relationship is the most important part of life. When I relate to my world with selflessness and kindness others also become kind. It's all cause and effect. I have also learned that we only get one chance to treat others with kindness and goodness. Once the opportunity passes its gone forever.
As I study further I find the levels in Zhuan Falun are boundless. In two short years I have found my true purpose for being human. It's far beyond any career move or understanding I ever had. Falun Dafa has offered me a path back to my fundamental nature. All I have to do is walk it.
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