Esteemed Master and Dear Fellow Practitioners:
I want to share with you my life with my small daughter Gloria, whose upbringing has had a significant effect on my cultivation.
Since the day she was born, she was instrumental in helping me understand myself and I’m positive that she will continue to help me on my path. All those who are parents understand exactly what I’m talking about. No one can walk away from problems that arise during child rearing. One could ignore it, and continue to clash with the child or with oneself. Or, one decides, as the Fa (law and principles in the Buddha School) clearly points out, to look within for the causes of such incidents. I have witnessed many times that a change within affects the environment around me, that is, turning harmonious.
At the beginning of motherhood, I wanted to be a perfect mother to Gloria. I wanted to read in her eyes all her wants and needs. I felt that this would result in a happy childhood for my daughter. Yet, the result was just the opposite. Gloria was a winging little child and I could not do anything right. Rarely could I see that Gloria was an individual who most likely was born into this family so she could cultivate. I missed completely that Gloria had taking over my life and that my life revolved around hers. This continued until I was at my wits end. I no longer wanted to be around the child and called for help. Something had to give.
A friend opened my eyes. By catering to her, I had put a burden on my child. She knows nothing about life and only wants security, a role model, someone who teaches her right and wrong, and good from bad. It suddenly hit me that I needed to take over and teach her through my actions. I looked at myself and found someone I did not like or cared for. I finally understood the reason for Gloria’s constant unhappiness and stressed out behaviour. I suddenly saw myself within her, mirroring my restlessness and confusion back to me.
I again asked myself, as I had done so often in the past, “Who am I? What do I want? Where am I heading? What do I want to teach her by example? I finally decided that I wanted to be a mother she could look up to and who was her security blanket. At the same time I knew that I had to recognise what is important in my life. I finally understood that I wasn’t a bad mother if she was unhappy, because I could not pick her up at that moment. I had to be able to get dressed or undressed, eat or whatever I was doing at the moment, without jumping every time she fussed. I used to always suffer a guilty consciousness, saw much as criticism and could not understand that Gloria had to learn about life’s little miseries on her own. I want to teach her everything that Falun Gong teaches us, tolerance and forbearance. How else could she learn it, if not through us? She was old enough to cope with life’s little frustrations and ready to learn to respect other people’s needs.
The next morning, after a good nights sleep and a changed outlook, Gloria had changed too. She no longer fussed when I put her on the floor when making my breakfast. This had never happened before. I felt such a relief. Such change continued. I was able to accept more and more Gloria as an independent individual whose path had been pre-determined and that I was a part of her life. I am learning to let go more and more.
Another practitioner shared with me her thoughts about this situation, “This is exactly how Master helps us along on our cultivation path. He will not always eliminate the difficulties we encounter. This is exactly how I should be with Gloria.”
I gained more confidence, which in turn affected my daily life. Yet, I was not yet ready to illustrate cultivation to her through my own life. I was able to do some of the exercises while she played contently on the floor. But, I was not yet able to let go of everyday persons thoughts.
I realised that I still lacked a deep understanding of the Fa. I could not grasp the urgency during this time period. I found it more important to read some books, watch a movie and worry about my life as an ordinary person. The most pressing issue on my mind was the topic “Parenting,” and how others messed things up as parents.
Furthermore, I was scarred to death to let go of life. I could not figure out how to break away from “comfort.” Just thinking about all the things I had to accomplish as a cultivator scarred the living daylights out of me. The work in front of me was like the scaling of a big mountain. I instinctively understood that if I were more diligent studying the Fa, everything would fall into place. It was clear that being immersed into the Fa, would allow me to return to Falun Gong work, and I, without doubt, would no longer be anxious and hold the thought of having to compromise too much.
Once I had broken down my block to reading, it didn’t take long for me to get bored. My thoughts were wandering all over the place and I really didn’t care one way or another. It did not take long to put the book aside. I couldn’t hold righteous thoughts for more than half-a-minute. I just could not figure out what was interfering with me and what was responsible for my lack of gaining a better understanding.
It did not take long for me to gain a better understanding of what was ailing me. As a matter of fact, the turning point was an argument with my father and naturally it had to do with Gloria. I did not agree with how he handled Gloria; I was on edge; he was a stubborn person and I had many more complaints. The argument did not turn on the surface the way I wanted it to go. But, in hindsight, it was a blessing in disguise. He helped me recognise many hidden attachments.
My father let me see that I had a way about me that made me rather insulting when dealing with people. I only could see what they did wrong and told them rather rudely. Most of the time it was about things I thought to be unimportant. I did not realise how these remarks affected other people and how they took it personally. Again, it had been most of the time about Gloria. For example, I wanted to keep her away from stormy encounters, because she is rather shy and scares easily, especially when someone approaches her quickly. Yet, I was not considerate at all about others feelings, especially if I desired or wanted something. I generally was anything else but compassionate. It hurt me deeply once I had to admit to this attachment. I just could not believe that I had treated others like this.
Once my father had, after our discussion and argument, left for home and we were again at peace with each other, I thought deeply about this. Suddenly my eyes opened up and I gained insight into my problems. I saw in me the person I had been before I started on my cultivation path. At that time I was a “narrow minded social rebel.” I believed that I knew more than anyone else about life. I was above ordinary humans lacklustre daily lives. I was certain that I had let go of this during my cultivation and that I had made peace with society. As a matter of fact, when someone asked me about Falun Gong, I always mentioned the letting go of this attitude as my greatest benefit from practising Falun Gong.
I had to admit that I still held the same attitude, and that the only thing had changed that I had calmed down more and lived a more sedate life. I thought that I fitted in with society now. Yet, deep inside me I still thought I knew better and forced my beliefs on others, with the excuse that I was helping them. I was sure that I only saw the positive in people. I realised that I just mouthed the positive, but still held all the prejudices I held before cultivating. I saw people as being stupid, wandering around in a daze and totally oblivious to the reason for living. I was under the impression that only I could do things right. I must admit, I had understood what is right, but still lacked the ability to also live that way. On the other hand, I demanded that others lived by my rules. Now, I understand why I could not for the life of me feel compassion for all people. I finally understood why it bothered me when fellow practitioners were know-it-alls and why it affected me the way it did.
I asked myself, “What do I need to let go of? How will I be able to treat others differently? How can I feel true respect for them?” At that time it came to me that Master had already talked about this, but that I had not understood the deeper meaning of Master’s words. I felt at that moment that Master was helping me to achieve a true change in thoughts. Suddenly, I understood with all the fibres of my being the true meaning of Fa-Rectification, my missions and why all sentient beings have come to earth at this time.
Every human, regardless if it is my father, my neighbour, or the strangers I meet in the streets, is a high-level being, responsible for a large universe, his own realm and his sentient beings. If I treat him without compassion, I treat his realm without compassion. The human being lives in a haze and is unable to recognise who he is and where does he comes from. Master told us what is behind the surface of today’s human beings. I’m obligated to treat this human respectfully, especially if he/she is unable to wake up to the truth, because I know of his/her true origins. I finally understood my mission. I represent Falun Gong. It is my mission to give people the chance to know and hear about Falun Dafa. I can’t teach or try to convince them, but must show them through example. I should not just distribute flyers and collect signatures, but must hold myself to the standards of a Falun Gong practitioner at all times. I must listen and speak from within Falun Gong. This is the fundamental responsibility in doing the three things Master asked us to do. Only by doing these three things can we progress on our cultivation path.
Finally I could make progress. This was a painful process. I had to recognise my shortcomings and eliminate them. It was all worthwhile. It was by no means easy to discover my egoistic tendencies, to let go of them and to break through the barrier. This process allowed me to discover many new understandings. Therefore, I’m now certain that I have taken a significant step towards my origin. This process opened a much wider horizon for me.
I realigned my priorities, was able to read again without interference, could send forth righteous thoughts and could stay much longer focused. Now I understood why I have to do what I have to do. Automatically I got busier with Fa-Rectification work. Fellow practitioners ask me to help with or to take on various tasks. What a relieve being able to accept these tasks joyfully, because now I understand their importance. Earlier I always felt if I was burdened when someone asked me to help out and constantly looked for excuses. If I took on a task, I used to do them with the attitude of an everyday person.
Today I see us all as one body, which has come together for completing the most important task. I wish that all of us can advance more swiftly, let go of all human attachments, so we close all the gaps that could be taken advantage of, and complete through a coordinated effort the task assigned to us.
I want to thank our esteemed Master and my fellow practitioners for their help and most importantly for their thoughtfulness.
Original article date: Monday, April 4th 2005
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