My Search for the Truth
I am a Falun Dafa practitioner. Maybe you?ve heard about the persecution of Falun Dafa (or Falun Gong) practitioners in China. Over the past five years, many people have been committed to mental institutions, tortured, detained, imprisoned, and even killed, simply for refusing to give up this practice. Unfortunately, most Americans don?t know about this situation, or they?ve been given a negative impression, and so the persecution goes on. My intention is to give my impression of Falun Dafa, and hopefully, bring an awareness of this situation to the people of this country--a country that was founded on the basis of religious and spiritual freedom. All of my life, I have been searching for answers to all of life?s most fundamental questions: Why am I here? What is the purpose of life? Why do bad things happen to good people? Who is God? Why does He allow all of this? As a child and again as a teenager, I searched for the answers in Christianity, and even though I sensed wisdom and truth in the teachings of Jesus--being honest, loving thy neighbor, turning the other cheek--there seemed to be something missing. Maybe something got lost in the translation. I didn?t have a problem with not understanding everything about God?s actions--I mean He is God after all, and so how can I expect to understand Him? However, I did feel that I had some legitimate questions about justice. For instance, why do really bad things happen to seemingly good people? Why are babies born with deformities? How could this person?s life of ninety years be equal to that person?s life of 25 years? If all you have to do to go to heaven is believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, then what kind of a place would heaven be? I mean, I know a lot of people who believe that, and I?m not really sure that heaven would be better than earth if that were the case. Also, what happens to people who have never been exposed to Christianity or believe in some other god or religion? Obviously, I had a lot of questions that could not be answered within the framework of contemporary Christian religions. Consequently, I gave up the search--at least for the time being. When I was twenty-three years old, I became ill. Over the next few years, I became unable to work, and I was eventually diagnosed with lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and vasculitis. I had problems with every joint in my body; I couldn?t stand, sit, or use my hands for any length of time; I had no stamina and slept for about twelve hours every day; I often had acute pain that came and went for apparently no reason and chronic pain that could last for hours; I often could not get comfortable enough to go to sleep; because of the amount and kind of medication that I took, I developed a lot of digestive problems; and I often ran a low-grade fever for days, and sometimes, weeks at a time. Over the last two years, the vasculitis had become quite bad. I would often break out in large hives all over my body, and would get large spontaneous ?bruises? on my legs and arms that were not the result of any trauma and which took an unusual length of time to heal. I knew that this could not go on indefinitely, and so I had come to accept the fact that the length of my life was severely limited. I thought that I would just try to live what was left of my life the best that I could, but I still longed for the answers to those age-old questions. Even though I believed I would receive the answers when I died, I decided that I would ask for them while I still lived. So, one day, I imagined myself crying out to the universe for help. I remembered reading in a book that if you ever have a question, you should go to the library. Even if they don?t have the answer, they can probably help you find it or where to go to get it. So, I went to the library to look for the answer. In the foyer, there is a bulletin board with flyers, announcements, etc., and shelves beneath. I looked all over the bulletin board, all over the shelves, and on the bottom shelf, underneath something else, there was a brochure: a bright blue brochure with oriental characters on it. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the answer. It was a Falun Dafa pamphlet, and inside was a contact name and number. That was February 6th of 2000. I started practicing Falun Dafa within days. Within weeks, I was able to stop taking all of my medication, I became free of my illnesses, and I was eventually able to go back to work. These things were really just fringe benefits to me--after all, I was just looking for answers, not healing--but I became well just the same! The practice of Falun Dafa is very simple. It consists of five exercises--four standing, and one sitting meditation--and a set of three principles, which we believe to be the nature of the universe: Zhen (True), Shan (Good), and Ren (Endure). The exercises are gentle and relaxing, as well as energizing. The practice of implementing the principles?to be True, Good, and Endure--is simple, and yet amazingly powerful. You may notice that they are the same basic principles that Jesus taught, as well. At the very base level, Falun Dafa is learning how to be a better person in every aspect of life: at home, at work, and socially. At a higher level, the goal is the same as other practices: wisdom and enlightenment. Falun Dafa is not a religion: we don?t worship any particular God, although we do recognize the existence of great enlightened beings throughout history such as Jesus, Sakyamuni, Lao Zi, Amitabha, etc.; we don?t have temples; we don?t have any type of administration; we don?t have any rituals; there are no requirements; there is no membership; and we absolutely do not involve ourselves with money. If you want to learn about Falun Dafa, any practitioner can and will teach you the exercises for free, all the books can be downloaded from the internet for free, and we do not even accept donations. It?s a pace-yourself kind of course--you practice when you want to, how often you want to, and for how long you want to. It is completely up to you whether you practice or not. Falun Dafa may very well be the largest spiritual movement in the history of the world. Right now, there are an estimated 100 million practitioners world-wide, with practitioners in over 50 countries, including the United States and China. All we want is to be good people and be able to practice our beliefs--our cultivation--without persecution. Speaking of those answers: I did find them, as well. I also found a peace of mind and a sense of being that I never could have imagined. My goal is still to live my life the best that I can, but I also want to share what I have found with others who may be able to benefit as well. I would also like to inform those who believe that we all have a basic human right to practice our beliefs without being persecuted about the situation for millions of Falun Dafa practitioners in China. For more information, please see the following websites: Faluninfo.net (for information about the persecution/to sign an electronic appeal)Falundafa.org (for information about the practice itself)
Path to Healing
Some wounds are embedded so deeply that no amount of professional expertise can cure, much less heal. A famous Yale surgeon says that as a surgeon, he cuts into the body, but he can not order the wound to heal. Ultimately, it is through our efforts that healing can occur.The path to healing is a personal choice. It is a path where you choose to piece together the fragmentsand make it" whole" again. It paves the way to self-discovery, to open the door to your inner selfand experience inner harmony. And ultimately, come tomeet the child within that has longed for your love ,care and attention. The child within that is forgotten,pushed to the background, lurks in the shadows, but patiently waits to be acknowledged.WHAT NEEDS HEALING?Childhood trauma:The imprints of childhood experience is a powerfulforce. An expectant mother who lives through a stressful situation during pregnancy share the burden with the unborn child. Years ago,domestic matters were never discussed openly, especially issues about abuse, violence,neglect , abandonment and other related matters. Today, society is more aware of the potential or actual existence of abuse and violence in the home. Tragic that the innermost and safest sanctuary societydepends upon can be the most dangerous.These are issues that take its toll on the young victims. They growup with wounds, carry them around like a heavy load on their shoulders.Some never get over their trauma,it turns up at the most unexpected moment to haunt them;yet, there are those who are lucky enough to confrontit and use it to propel themselves to a healthier mind,body and spirit, successful relationships and life itself.When love is a venom:How many hearts have known pain all in the name of love. It invades lives from all walks of life, social status, add to that race or creed.No one wants to suffer pain, but it does happen. Healing a broken heart, picking upthe pieces of broken hopes and dreams, suffer the betrayal ,endure shattered self-image, re-live the haunting nightmares, the violation of one?s innermost being,soul and spirit...it can take a lifetime to heal.The most traumatic of all is the violation that comes from those who are supposed to provide a nurturing environment to those who are entrusted to their care.All in the guise of love.GriefThe loss of a loved one can be most devastating. Sometimes one did not have a chance to bid their last farewell. It was all too sudden.Or one passes away after a lingering illness, with the relief that the suffering is over comes the grief of the loss. At one point and time in one?s life, grief is a reality.GuiltWrong turns, wrong choices, wrong decisions-we all take wrong turns, make wrong decisions and choices.This is a human trait, even the saintliest of the saints has experienced this. We stumble, we fall, but many of us manage to get up and get on with life.The losses incurred at times may be life-threatening, or at the costof financial comfort and security or worst, relationshipsare threatened, lost ,sadly but innocently or unconsciously someone else has to bear consequences and the sacrifice.Wearing guilt on your sleeves, in your heart, in your beinginvites negative vibrations and digs you deeper into the mire.Take a look at those sad eyes,the window of the soul ,and you?ll know. However,this is not a dead-end!Unfulfilled dreams and hopesLive your dream,ride on the wings of hope- this willnot always work out. One day you wake up and realize your dream never materialized and now you languish over the many years you spent trying to pursue that dream! All this while, time, opportunities and life passed you by .Hope can lead to disappointment- realize this. When all hopes are dashed , what have you got?PATH TO HEALING:Healing is a complex matter. Who has never felt the pains of suffering, be it physical, mental, emotional, material and spiritualEven our dear Mother Earth is in desperate need of healing from the abuse inflicted upon her through man?s recklessness,negligence and lack of respect.There are avenues open to healing. One may choose to spend time with a professional, seek comfort from related groups,from family, but always, healing has to startwith oneself, from within that deep well of strength .It takes determination to face up to your dilemma,but, ultimately,it is most rewarding to regain your personalpower, self-confidence, learn to love yourself and enjoythat inner peace and calm.It is important to acknowledgethe pain, to recognize the cause, to be able to integrate the fragmented pieces and be willing to take it to the next step to be "whole"again.Then, you will be able to share love and peace with the world once again.Healing extends beyond the physical state- when the painis so deep, the spirit, the soul also bear the pain. It comes in hauntingly in the dark of the night , it fills a once loving heart with venom, it could ravage a once healthy mind and body. Beneath a once beautiful and graceful soul is the mask of vengeance.Venom for venom.BLOCKS TO HEALINGSometimes, the path to healing is full of potholes. Indeed, the path is covered with blocks, where healingcan not be accomplished,it's almost out of reach.Impediments on the path:denial, apathy, self-absorption and self-indulgence,addiction, putting up walls and barriers, busy-bee syndrome, compartmentalizing, isolation,withdrawal from society, cynicism, loss of faith, trust and compassion,self-pity, poor ?me syndrome, anger, fear of gettinghurt again, martyr complex, neurosis or psychosis, aggressive/ oppressive behaviour, confrontational attitudeguilt complex, resignation, loss of motivation.Sometimes, we hurt those we love most deeply, likewise, we bear the pain they cause. Time is a great healer, but don't take the painfully slow route and miss out on what the world holds for you.Let life flow for you and with you.E N D .
Sacred Space, Sacred Time
We all need space, we all need time to ourselves.In Exodus3:15- Word of God:When the Lord saw that Moses was coming closer, he called him from the middle of the bush and said:
The Final Chapter
Several months ago, I read an article about a 22 year old, successful young lady who died a premature death in a plane crash. The more I read this article, the heavier my heart became because she died in the midst of her formative years. Equally tear-jerking was the fact that she died before completing a book that she was writing -- before completing her final chapter. Right now, your book is being written -- and you are the author. Every moment that passes, every day that appears and vanishes, your pages are being written. Every word you speak, every action you take -- shapes page after page in your book of life. How you live and how you treat others also shape the pages of your book -- from cover to cover. In retrospect, perhaps the beginning of your book may not have been written well, because of mistakes, or unwise decisions -- but you can finish a bestseller. You can finish a bestseller, because you are the starring character and you, by your present and future actions, control how the final chapters of your book will read. You can finish as the winner by doing the things that you love and not taking your life, or others for granted. Start a new chapter today -- a chapter that will give you and others a delight to read. Enjoy who you are and what you do. Keep writing and live life to the fullest. How does your book read thus far -- and -- what will your FINAL chapter say? Copyright 2002 by Audrina Jones Bunton. REPRINTING THIS ARTICLE: Permission is granted to reproduce or distribute this article only in its entirety and provided copyright is acknowledged. You can find other articles to choose from at http://www.purposefully-living.com/mailing%20list.htm
Why Sit Here Until I Die?
The bible tells a story about four men who sat at the entrance of the city's gate dying with leprosy, an incurable disease which causes terribly visible swelling and sores on the skin, only then to eat inward to the bones. Because of this contagious and incurable disease, these lepers sat outside of the city because they were not permitted to live within the city. These men were faced with a fatal disease, were outcasts, and were starving because of a feminine in the land. Such a hopeless life and no perceived future, would make the average person throw in the towel and just give up on life -- but not these men.
Seven Soul-Nurturing Suggestions for Busy Women
Looking for some ways to feed your soul in the midst of all you do? Try one or more of these great ideas!
Ten Soul-Tending Principles for Women
Feeling restless? Is part of you calling out for change, though you don't yet know what that looks like, or what you most need?
Spirituality at Work Because You Cant Leave Home Without You
Several years ago after I presented a workshop entitled ?Spirituality at Work: Because You Can?t Leave Home Without You?? I got a phone call from someone who saw the program booklet. She was very interested in the topic and wanted to know how to ?get it? at her company. She went on to ask, ?How can I implement spirituality in our organization?? My response was simple. ?You can?t. Spirituality isn?t something you implement; it?s something you are.?
From Spiritual Cry Baby to Bold Seeker of Truth
Ever notice how people dread discussing the truth about life? Their fear usually comes out as, ?I never talk about that? or ?Some things we?re not supposed to know.? They quickly cut off any probing of who they are and why they?re here. How strange that people who are brave in everyday affairs tend to cringe and cower when asked to think about the reasons and powers behind their existence! Yet, what could be more urgent than to face your own reality? Humanity?s spiritual jitters often stem from centuries of reliance on designated spokesmen who are said to be anointed or divinely appointed, or inspired, or trained in theology and who we are not allowed to question. Adding to our plight are society?s cruel traditions of rewarding mass conformity and mocking original thinkers. This is a new day. Everyone has the right to know the secrets of the universe. Best of all is the stunning news that every person is capable of knowing the most awesome truths and the most loving principles. That includes you. To make the leap from spiritual cry baby to bold seeker of truth requires self examination. In quiet moments you must ask yourself what you really believe. Be willing to tolerate question marks in your search till you find answers that are perfect for you even if it takes years and years. Plunge your mind into the finest ideas ever put on paper. Or spoken to you directly or through various communication media .Or overheard in conversations among strangers. Make it your business to become familiar with the noblest thoughts of any age, any writer or speaker and any culture. No finer hobby could be found than to gather the wisdom of the world around you. There are tons of literature just waiting to be tapped?philosophy, religion, psychology, self-growth, self-realization, higher awareness, to name just a few. Wisdom comes in many flavors, so to speak?poetry, essays, scriptures, drama, comedy, satire. Start with short sayings and work your way up if you can?t tackle the big stuff yet. Test all spiritual concepts to see if they work for you. Let?s say you?ve heard of something called the Inner Kingdom. Find out all you can about it, but more importantly make up your mind that if such a glorious kingdom exists, you intend to find it and claim it as your own. Sure, this is scary. Of course, you?ll be tempted to give up along the way. You may have to keep on crying to get through it all. Be a tough critic of all you find no matter the glowing reputation or fame of the speaker. Be prepared to discover that popular ideas are wrong more often than right. Teach yourself to know the difference between myth and proof. Inch along, with tiny tasks and timid steps. Finally, turn your search into success. You don?t want to be a self-help junkie reading your life away and never lifting your own heart and soul. After investigation comes a time of grace, when you rise above books and arguments. You respect all worthy ideas, learned or lowly, and see how uneducated words of insight ascend to the same literary heaven with equal standing as the thoughts and teachings of spiritual celebrities. You make peace with conflicting scholars, scientists and saviors. Standing atop the knowledge of the ages you add your own voice to the crowd with new words that are your contribution to the eternal quest. What?s the payoff? Is it worth all the trouble? After all to succeed means you probably have to spend long periods of time alone to ponder the great issues of life. You have to deal with destiny one-on-one with nobody to hold your hand or go in your place. Truth is the payoff and that may or may not pay the bills or eliminate your worries. Truth is its own fantastic reward. You will know that when you find it. Don?t be surprised if you shout, ?Hallelujah.?
Soulstretch: Raising the Bar on Nobility and Nicety
In the make-believe world, too, fiction and films are filled with flawed characters fighting their way to selfish goals. Pick up any book on how to write novels and short stories and you see the word ?conflict? in bold.
Animal Spirits: Power Animals and Guides
We shamans are a strange breed.....often we tend to isolate ourselves from those around us. However, this does not mean we don't have relationships..........in fact we often have too many to handle at any one time. You see, we are connecting to many levels of reality and inter-relating with all of them at the very same time. So while we are in a group of people....we are also talking to the spirit world and often the animal guides all at once. It's a difficult balancing act..to say the least. Often we must decide which is the most important communication at that point in time. Sometimes the animal spirit guides are giving us very critical data, so we choose to stay focused on that for the moment.
Beyond Normal - The Liquid Level Of Consciousness
I am not enlightened, and yet, I am no longer "normal." Since you are reading this, I suspect you probably feel the same. Somewhere between the normal, Solid level of consciousness and the transparent, Ethereal level of enlightenment, lies a very fluid, Liquid level of awareness.
One of the most difficult barriers to overcome on the path to spiritual growth is extracting yourself from the tenacious grip of the Ego Story. Unsuspectingly, many people are mesmerized and possessed by this mental illusion. Possessed like some demon possesses a poor, hapless soul. They are ignorant of their ignorance. They do not realize they are separate. They believe that they are the Story.
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