PureInsight | June 17, 2009
Experience Sharing from the 2009 Canada Fa Conference
[PureInsight.org] Greetings Revered Master. Greetings fellow practitioners.
It is a great honor to be here with you all today and an even greater honor to have this opportunity to partake in this experience sharing conference.
I am a newer practitioner. I obtained the Fa three years ago. Being a newer practitioner, I do get the strong sense that time is very limited. Of course, this can very easily become an attachment, but I believe that it also encourages me to see every moment as precious and to not waste a single moment or opportunity. That said, unfortunately, I cannot say that I have not missed some very precious moments and significant opportunities to cultivate myself, but I believe that they are relatively few, and I also understand that this is simply the state of cultivation for human beings in this realm.
To quote Master, “Yes, you are cultivating in [this realm of] illusion, so sometimes you manifest a state wherein you slack off, sometimes you are interfered with, and sometimes you seem very much like ordinary people. Of course, these, too, are manifestations of the states that you go through during the process of cultivation. If it weren't that way, it would not be cultivation, and it wouldn't be human beings cultivating—it would be gods doing so. Of course, there is no such thing as a god cultivating,” “Teaching the Fa in the City of Los Angeles 2006.”
An area where I think I have been particularly strong and consistent is my time management and with doing the three things. I think that I waste very little time doing non-productive things. I have always been quite a busy person and have been known to be a pretty hard worker from a young age. I think that this has enabled me to catch up and dive into the fast paced current of Fa rectification and fulfill my roles, which have changed often depending on my maturity, the environment, as well as what I felt the greatest needs were at the time. I am also one of the lucky ones who is not attached to sleep. From my youth, the only reason I wanted to go to bed was so that I could wake up in the morning. Sleep always seemed like a waste of time when there was so much to be done. This has been very advantageous to me since becoming a practitioner, since I am eager to get up after sleeping only 4-5 hours and even less if the situation requires it. And I actually feel good doing so. The first thing on my mind when I wake up is to study the Fa. I find that this is the best time for me since my mind is the clearest and it is the quietest time of day for me. This also ensures that I don't get tied up with other things to the point that Fa study ends up barely getting squeezed in in a crunch or left out all together.
That said, I have been able to clearly see the changes in my cultivation state over the years. When I first started practicing, I would wake up excited to get to study the Fa—I truly felt like the most fortunate being and just could not wait to learn and hear more. At that time when I met with veteran practitioners who were struggling with Fa study, I could not understand them at all. In my mind, we were the luckiest beings in the cosmos to get to study this Fa—what could be the problem? How can you not do everything in your power to make time to study the Fa? You are so fortunate to study this Fa!! It was the same with doing the exercises. When I first started cultivating in Dafa, it was absolutely ludicrous to think of going a day without doing the exercises.
Now I get up to study every day and do 1-2 hours of exercises as often as possible because I know that this is the best thing for me to do and that it is essential for me to complete these wonderful tasks because it will better enable me to cultivate myself and save sentient beings. The excitement is now gone and is replaced with rationality, something which can be very motivating in itself, but it definitely takes a little more discipline and personal drive than the latter where I was quite literally propelled out of bed under any circumstances to study the Fa—no thoughts or discipline were required. It is my understanding that these are a couple of the many states of cultivation that we will go through and that it is our benevolent Master who at the beginning gives us this massive surge so that we can create a very solid base from which to cultivate ourselves from in the future. I have noticed that my state is constantly changing and that I always need to adjust in order to keep up and continue to improve.
I also relate this to how Master describes the state of cultivation as though we are climbing a ladder, which is a constant uphill climb. This is a great analogy for me and really enables me to know whether I am in a state of improvement or have gotten too comfortable. In the beginning things were very easy—basically, we were being raised up by Master. After that is when real cultivation begins. My understanding is that we should never really be comfortable—if we are, are we actually climbing up that ladder? Is climbing a ladder ever comfortable or relaxed unless we decide to stop and hang out at a certain step for a while? I think that if we get to a point where we are very relaxed, then I think there is a risk of our cultivation becoming stagnant and our improvement coming to a halt. My general rule for myself is that I am not allowed to refuse any work or projects that come my way unless they directly conflict with projects or work that I already have, in which case I need to make a choice as to which project I could contribute better to in Fa rectification. My understanding is that Master knows exactly what we can handle at all times and everything that comes our way is woven together with opportunities to cultivate and improve ourselves. If we continually pass these opportunities up because we don't think we can do it, or are afraid to do it, or too lazy to do it, how are we going to raise ourselves up?
From the start of my cultivation, Master has only laid in front of me projects and jobs I was more than capable of handling, and as I mature the projects and jobs become more involved and complex based on my growth in cultivation. But had I passed up any of those opportunities in the past, would I be where I am today, doing what I am doing and doing what Master wants me to do? The only real wish I need to fulfill is that of our Master's. When I think about it, I don't think I even have any specific desires in this regard. I certainly have long time wishes in my heart, but as far as the job I do and the role I play in Fa rectification, the only job and role I want is the one Master has groomed me for throughout the millennia. My understanding is that we should think carefully and look inside before we refuse opportunities or we may not be going according to Master's arrangements. Are we afraid, lazy, or attached to comfort? Are we attached to the things we are already doing and don't want to give those up? Sometimes it is that we really are already at our capacity and doing the best things we can do, but I am certain this is not always the case. If Master has put something in your path, thinks you can do it, and then you decide to do it, you will do it.
I obtained the Fa in Whitehorse, Yukon where about 20,000 people live. There was only one practitioner there at the time who was rather quiet and one other person who was reading and doing the exercises but not actually cultivating himself. He is the one who introduced me to the Fa. For a whole year after I obtained the Fa, I didn't know how to cultivate myself or have any knowledge of the persecution or Fa rectification. Then by Master's grace, the practitioner who is now my husband showed up for a summer work term. He encouraged me to read the book more, so I did and the transformation occurred. My menstrual cycle, which I had not had for nearly two years, returned. The bowel troubles that had plagued me for seven years dramatically improved and all of my bad habits fell away. I also realized that the man who had come to help me better understand the Fa was actually predestined to be my husband in this lifetime. But most importantly, I had the answers to all of the questions I had always been asking and I understood the true meaning of this life. Of course, I told everyone I knew about the greatness of Dafa and the incredible things it had done for me and one of my friends even started to read and do the exercises regularly along with me.
At this time, I was still in the self-cultivation state. I knew a little about the persecution, but didn't understand its true significance. I started reading all of Master's extra lectures, and 5 months later I moved out of that remote northern town to live in a city with my future husband where I could better fulfill my role in Fa rectification.
On my way to Victoria BC, where my husband was, I stopped in the little gas and oil town where my sister was living. My week-long stay turned into two weeks, so I naturally felt as though I should take this chance to spread the Fa. I got the authorization from a few schools and community centers to use their spaces for my introductions and went about making and posting posters and flyers and covered the town with the beauty of Dafa. It was actually very amazing to see this little blue-collar town suddenly covered with all of these beautiful posters of people sitting in meditation. I had a lot of money to spend at the time, so I was able to do everything in color. It really caught a lot of people's eyes. I contacted the local newspaper and they did a great story on the beauty of Dafa and everything unfolded very naturally. The first info session held was the most successful. Five to seven women showed up and they all showed a keen interest in Dafa. They all bought books and I gave them all the lectures and exercises on DVD, and then they all exchanged numbers and basically the first Dafa group was formed in Fort St. John, BC. I am not sure what the status of the group is today, since I did a very poor job of keeping in touch, but I know that they all knew the goodness of Dafa, and I feel as though it was Master who was there throughout guiding and encouraging me all along the way.
When I arrived in Victoria, my future husband had arranged for me to move into an apartment with another practitioner. I got there late at night, and the next morning she invited me to join her and another practitioner to do the exercises downtown where they set up posters and a petition so people could learn more about the persecution. At first, I still didn't realize the significance of this act and because I was used to reading in the mornings and doing the exercises in the evening, after a few days of going to this practice site, I considered not going anymore. But then my enlightened/knowing side woke up, and I realized that this was actually a great opportunity to clarify the truth to people. From then on I was wholeheartedly committed and showed up every morning. I feel as though Master was arranging absolutely everything according to what I needed at the time and that it was only up to me to follow through with the arrangements he had made for me. No thinking, just enlightening.
Shortly after that, I went to my first Fahui in Los Angeles. It was an amazing experience. This is where my next mission to fulfill in the Fa rectification surfaced. I went to an Epoch Times meeting with my future husband because this is the project he works on. At first, I was thinking, maybe I won't go, what's the point as I’m not a writer; I should just go study the Fa. But I went and lo-and-behold within a few minutes of talking, they mentioned their great need for people to sell advertising for the paper. So, with a pure heart and few notions in my mind, I perked up and I excitedly thought I could sell ads for the Epoch Times—a piece of cake; it's the best newspaper in the world. Who wouldn't want to buy and ad in our paper?!
So I signed up for the training and spoke directly with the coordinator to make sure he got in touch with me. When I signed up, there was also a little box they asked you to check if you were interested to help with a project called Gadget Tech weekly. At the time, I had no idea what it was but I signed up anyway because, like I said, I can't say no to an opportunity.
When I got back to Victoria, the coordinator contacted me right away. He was going to start training a group to do sales, but he also needed me to help out with this Gadget Tech project, which didn't have many people working on it yet. So, of course I jumped on board. It took him a while to decide which was the best role for me since this was a new project all together—but no matter what he offered me, whether I thought I could do it or not, or was afraid to do it or not, I said, “Yes, OK. I'll do it.”
Eventually it ended up that I got the best job for me at the time. As I said, I had just been living in the north for the past 3½ years, where I had no power or running water and basically only used a computer for the most essential tasks required of me at the hospital where I worked. These tasks were very few. I had actually been quite opposed to technology for some time, thinking it was actually limiting our human potential. That said, after I started studying the Fa more and met my future husband, it made me realize that I can get all of Master's lectures online, and I can read about the persecution and other practitioner's sharings online. I had become a regular reader of Clearwisdom.net when my future husband left the north before me and I was temporarily alone there before going to Victoria. Clearwisdom was my connection to other practitioners, and it was truly amazing how it helped me lift my cultivation standard for myself. So, I had already begun to realize how technology could assist Dafa practitioners.
On a quick side note, I still read a lot of Clearwisdom, usually when I am eating. I find this is the best use of my time. Amazingly, I always find the exact sharing that I need at the exact stage of my cultivation, and I have found this to be the case since the beginning of my cultivation. It's as if the website has been tailored just for me, as if it grows and changes with me—it’s really amazing. When I first started practicing and reading Clearwisdom, it seemed there were a lot of articles about how to study and do the exercises better, about how to better follow the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance. Now when I read, the sharings speak of higher understandings and the enlightenment practitioners have gained though working on Dafa projects and how to do them better. It really is amazing, but then not surprising when we really come to accept that we truly are being looked after by our great Master every single step of the way.
To get back to my point about Gadget Tech and the most perfect job for me at that time. Gadget Tech is a weekly column in the Epoch Times about new technology. Besides articles, the project also needed people to contact tech companies about their products and advertising. I was asked to do research and contact different companies and distributors to have them send us info and samples of their products so we could review them in the paper. All this information had to be carefully documented and recorded in an online database. I had very little computer experience prior to this, so it was a big jump for me to sharpen my skills since it was all computer work and research and spread sheets and online databases. I had to learn a lot about computers that actually seemed really scary in the beginning. This was an opportunity for me to let go of a lot of fear, and I gained a good understanding of how to work this fantastically useful machine, which is so important to practitioners during this very special time of Fa rectification.
Three months later, my future husband and I went to Calgary for a month to help sell tickets for the Spectacular. By this time we were already engaged but did not live together. I was still naive to Master's grand mission, so couldn't quite grasp the significance of Master's show. I thought I would only be passing through since I thought I should hurry up to get home and get a paying job. But after staying a week and talking with other practitioner's about the show as well as realizing that my fiancé and I were actually needed there, we ended up staying a month until the show was through, another opportunity I will forever be grateful for.
I think the greatest understanding I came to during this time was the power of Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts (SFRT). Because I had a car, no work and speak English, I was kind of the errand girl doing any odd job like postering or making deliveries.
There were a number of times when I would have to be somewhere at very specific times and then suddenly the traffic would close in on me. But with strong righteous thoughts, it’s as though Master turned back the tide and then suddenly there was a clear path to my destination. One day I had problem after problem trying to get some urgent printing done. When I went to pick up the printing again that evening, the print guy said that they still couldn't get it to work, and then suddenly he said, “Well there is one more thing I can try,” and he turned around and right away I thought this is my chance, and I started to SFRT to clear away the evil interfering with our show, and shortly afterward he came back with the necessary prints in hand. It is my understanding that there is nothing that we are doing that is ordinary and that Master has arranged for all of these projects to succeed. If they don't, it is because of our own shortcoming or it is direct interference. When it comes to the projects for saving sentient beings, we must use the abilities provided to us by our Master, otherwise why would he have given them to us? It is also a test of our faith and enlightenment.
Another job I had was driving another practitioner around and accompanying her to visits to get sponsorship for the show.
At the same performance, with less than a week before the programs were to be printed, one of the coordinators realized that we didn't have enough ads, so this very righteous practitioner said, “Let’s go and get some.” In my mind, I was thinking, “Oh, it's too short notice; no one is going to want to buy ads etc, etc.” So, on the first day we went out, this other practitioner did most of the talking. By the end of the day, we hadn't gotten a single bite and she asked me, “Are you sending righteous thoughts?” At first I said, “Um yeah...I think so, I was sending positive vibes.” But when I really looked inside, I realized I hadn't been at all, actually quite the opposite. So I adjusted my thoughts and came to the understanding that anyone who associates themselves with the show and Dafa is guaranteeing themselves a bright future. So the next day when we went out, we had the same arrangement where she did most of the talking and I sent forth righteous thoughts, and it was an entirely different day. As I was sending righteous thoughts and actually directing my thoughts and words to communicate with the clients knowing side, I could see their knowing side wake up and become alert. That day, all but one client we visited bought an ad, and actually he wanted to buy the ad but it was his boss's decision and he wasn’t there. That day we made $8000. It was truly amazing.
When we left the show in Calgary, we went to my hometown of Winnipeg, where I had only planned to stay for the summer but quickly realized that I was supposed to stay there even longer. The previous year had been an exceptionally difficult one for the small group of practitioners there, and they really needed the support of other practitioners to help revitalize the environment. With that in mind, I decided to stay the year. My fiancé also joined me a few months later and we got married in Winnipeg a few months later, according to our original plan. We hadn't planned to stay there for any period of time, but in the end, it all worked out for the best.
That spring was the year the Human Rights Torch Relay came through, which was a great opportunity for a small city like Winnipeg, with few practitioners to host a big event that could help us expose the persecution and tell more people about the greatness of Dafa.
Because there was only a handful of practitioners and because of the nature of the event, we decided it would be a good idea to get as much help from other local human rights or affected groups as possible. We did a lot of networking and got a good body of people to help out. One of the things I worked at a lot was going around to all those local human rights groups, introducing our event and also going to their events to build friendships with them. We made several presentations at local human rights groups and even a high school. We also found eight very talented local bands to perform in our day-long concert. The promotion was great. All the major media reported on us, including newspaper, TV and radio. Because I can speak French, I even did a French radio interview. We got the full support of both the municipal and provincial governments.
The biggest lesson I learned through this process was the importance of harmonizing with the whole body. When we were having our Canada-wide planning meeting, everyone was selecting dates. We selected early on and it was fine but then it turned out that other cities that were further east of us, where the torch was starting, needed to hold their event after the date we had selected. Had we moved our date up, it would have put the tour in a chronological order from east to west, but because the other coordinator in Winnipeg was going to be out of town that week, I didn't want to change our date because I didn't think I could manage it on my own. I realized shortly after refusing that we should go with the rest of the Canadian body of practitioners but because we already had commitments from some speakers for the original date we didn't change. Sadly, on the day of our rally it was a sunny but very cold and windy day. We had spoken to hundreds if not thousands of people who were in support of the rally and its cause and even more who were going to come to the concert. The rally had about 150 people turn out, mostly Darfur and Tibetan supporters but the concert didn't draw the large crowd we were hoping for because of the cool weather.
My understanding of this occurrence is that it is essential that we harmonize with the whole body. We may have wants or fears or understandings of our own but as soon as we go against the current created by Master, we are going against the massive, all powerful and knowing tide of Fa rectification. This will only create troubles for ourselves. We need to let go of ourselves and know that whatever is best for the main body is what is the best for everybody and every sentient being in the cosmos because this was arranged by Master. If we try to follow our own path, we will be not enjoy the full benefit of Master's perfect arrangement.
As you can see, my path involves a good bit of traveling, which doesn't surprise me in the least since I have always wanted to travel in my life and find a husband with whom I can do it. Amazingly, and oh so compassionately, our Master definitely takes our wants and wishes into consideration when making arrangements for us. Master has told us, “Only what a person wants or what he wants to do counts,” Lectures in the United States 1997. At my level, I understood this as a reminder that we need to be clear in our hearts about our goals and aspirations. In my understanding, this is why we do not have to pursue anything. If it is in our hearts and it can benefit the Fa rectification, Master will surely see it and make arrangements accordingly. When I look back on my life, I can honestly say that there is not a single significant want or wish that I have had that has not come true. It may not be exactly as I imagined it, but it is definitely what I wanted. Then again, maybe Master arranged for me to have such wishes according to the vows I made in history.
I believe that such a wish is why I am now living in Toronto. I wanted to cultivate in this very active and righteous city, partially because they have a great Epoch Times sales team that I could work with.
So now, 2 years later, I have been relocated to a place where I am able to work on Epoch Times sales. It certainly feels like it has been a long time coming, but I knew that eventually the time would come. Perhaps, I needed a lot of preparation and cultivation in order for me to be able to work alongside the very successful Toronto sales team!
All of that said, the last very valuable lesson I have learned throughout these few years, but especially in the last year, is that too much work can also be interference. When I arrived, I wasn't sure how things were going to unfold. I knew my mission was to help out with Epoch Times sales, but I still needed to make some money while I was learning to do sales. My husband is a full time reporter for the Epoch Times but we are not able to pay him yet. Because I am a nurse, it is easy for me to find good paying work. So, I went about looking for a job. I thought perhaps I would work for a few months full-time in a hospital or nursing home, but then I decided that what I needed was to find a job that I could work evenings and weekends so I could work full-time days at the Epoch Times office.
I sent out a number of resumes and didn't get a single interview. I found this odd since I have a very diverse and impressive resume by nursing standards and nurses are in high demand. On the last day of my sending out resumes, I got a call from my husband who said to check out the front of the Chinese Epoch Times because there was an ad for a nursing job on the front page. I went upstairs to grab one since the house we live in is one of the main newspaper drop spots. I read the ad and was very impressed. It was the best of all the nursing jobs I could have asked for; it fit all of my criteria and then some. I applied on Friday, got called on Monday, and was hired on Thursday. I now work full-time hours in the evening and full-time days at the Epoch Times office doing sales. It really couldn't be more perfect.
That said, I have to say that I did experience a significant amount of interference when I started my new job. For a period of time, I barely had time for anything else, including Fa study. I could not understand how a job that I strongly felt Master wanted me to have could cause me so much interference. One day, I read a Clearwisdom sharing about a practitioner who had a similar experience, using his righteous thoughts to clear away the interference. My whole life, I have had a very strong attachment to work and doing things—I never felt like I did quite enough, but that is absolutely no reason to persecute me! I also realized that I had an attachment to this job, as it was my “dream” nursing job. So, I started sending forth righteous thoughts, especially while I was on my way to work. The entire situation changed. Work became much calmer and much less frantic. Suddenly, I was able to visit all of my clients within a reasonable amount of time, SFRT at the scheduled times, and not have a lot of work carry over into the next day. The most interesting thing was that it wasn't as though my workload decreased; I mean, there were definitely a few less unplanned incidents to deal with, but even more so, it felt like I had gained time. Before that, I always felt hectic and I couldn't figure out where my time was going—it was as if it was being stolen from me by the evil. Once the evil was eliminated, it was all mine again.
I also have the understanding that when we hold divine thoughts in our minds, suddenly we are functioning within another realm. When we believe that we can do it all and should do it all, I believe that we surely will do it all. For example, if I go to bed and know I have to get up in 4 hours and I think before I go to bed that I am going to feel terrible after only having slept 4 hours, I will surely feel terrible upon waking, whereas, if I think I am going to feel refreshed and energetic in the morning, that too will occur. It is my understanding that these are human notions that must be eliminated, and only when we have divine thoughts can we exist within a divine realm.
I think that this understanding that too much work is also interference, relates to Dafa work as well. It is my understanding that Master has arranged all of our paths perfectly in order for us to reach consummation—that means that he has definitely allotted enough time for Fa study, exercises and SFRT. If we are not able to study the Fa everyday with a calm mind and do the exercises at least some of the time, then it is my understanding that we are not on the path arranged by Master. How could we be? Even if we are bogged down with Dafa work, if we are not studying the Fa, isn't it all for nothing? That said, I don't think this means we necessarily have to do less work, Dafa work or other, but perhaps we are having precious time taken away from us for one reason or another, and we need to reclaim it.
When looking back at my few years of cultivation, I have a better understanding of Master's words from Zhuan Falun, “It is impossible to be able to do it all at once, so we can make it gradually. If you could make it today, you would now be a Buddha. Cultivation practice takes time, but you should not slack off.” I still have many, many attachments to get rid of—actually it is my belief that I still have layers of pretty well all of the attachments mentioned in Zhuan Falun and it is a constant process of eliminating them all bit by bit. I am climbing the ladder home, one step at a time.
In closing, I encourage you all to clear away any interference keeping you from fulfilling your sacred missions. If you are not able to complete the three things every day, it is my understanding that you are not on the path arranged by Master. If you insist on doing the three things to the fullest each day, you also let Master and the evil see your heart and what you want and that you are not willing to settle for anything less than completion. As Master says in Zhuan Falun, “The cultivation is up to you, Gong is up to the master.” You cannot control your circumstance, but if you just have that wish you'll surely do well.