PureInsight | September 30, 2009
Experience sharing from the 2009 Washington D.C. Fa Conference
[PureInsight.org] Hello Master, hello fellow practitioners!
Master has asked us to cooperate well, so in this sharing, I would like to describe some of my cultivation experiences in the course of learning to cooperate and work together better on the English Epoch Times. For me, it ultimately came down to two things: 1) Trusting and cherishing my fellow practitioners, and, 2) Letting go of my attachment to ordinary skills and to self-validation.
About a year ago, the English Epoch Times in New York took a step forward from running once a week to five days a week.
Shortly before this happened, I was appointed as managing editor of the U.S. edition, which basically meant I was responsible to manage staff to make sure the paper got out everyday.
In those days, I was the point person for staff. And because we'd just jumped into it, there was little time to prepare people in a systematic way. During any given time, I would be having conversations online with many people at the same time, in addition to receiving phone calls and answering in-person questions, simply to direct people about what to do or resolve the pervasive confusion.
The pressure I felt in those early days was really tremendous. I was extremely stressed, and in the evening when production work started, I also felt pain in my chest area. Our office environment was also very chaotic. I have to smile now because of how far everyone has come—now it is very calm, with people working much better as a team, and we also send forth righteous thoughts and recite Fa before we start our evening work, which has improved our environment by leaps and bounds.
I had to let go of many attachments over the course of the year.
To begin with, I had a negative attitude. Most of it stayed in my head and was not verbalized, but I would have negative and judgmental thoughts toward people who I thought had not done a very good job.
I was very judgmental, and rather than having the mentality of helping, I had this mentality of blaming others when things were not going well. I was far from looking inside. I did not realize any of this consciously at all at the time. I was like a fish in water.
The effect of those thoughts began to manifest clearly in that most nights, there were also technical problems with our paper at the printing press. They were finally traced back to me because of the way I would send over the files.
When I rectified my thinking and resolved to not have negative thoughts, the technical problem was solved and the files would be fine.
This mentality of being judgmental and of blaming had to be eliminated in layers over time, and I would receive warnings when I would veer in the wrong direction.
I suppose maybe it was because I did not check my character often enough that sometimes dramatic means had to be used on me.
Once, upon arriving home at the end of the night, I smelled gas, and it turned out that one of the stove’s two pilot lights was off and was leaking. In my cultivation, xinxing problems have sometimes been shown to me through leaks—of water, sometimes, and this time, poisonous air. It was only fitting that I was being shown the poisonous nature of my thoughts, especially toward fellow practitioners, and it was affecting our Fa-rectification work. This incident really shook me.
It also took me a while to realize these bad thoughts because of my attachment to my capabilities; I had this big loophole of not trusting most other practitioners on staff.
All my life, I was told that I was a capable person, and as an ordinary person, before I started practicing, I had already developed strong notions of superiority.
Because I had an attachment to being capable and getting things done, that was the standard I was measuring people against: whether I felt they were capable or not.
I realized I put so much value on being capable and on ordinary skills because it validated myself. There were layers of attachments to competition and jealousy buried underneath.
And because I was not trusting of others, I also had difficulty asking people for help or delegating work.
It was only when I started to change my mind—to trust others, to put less value on ordinary skills, and more value on people’s hearts to do the work—that I began to let go of my attachment, and thereafter, someone was found who could assist with the work I was doing.
One day, I was having a difficult time with a practitioner. And when complaining thoughts started to arise in my mind, I enlightened to something. I thought, “How can I have negative thoughts about this person? In lectures and talks, Master describes practitioners as ‘magnificent' and ‘remarkable’ and here I am busy hanging on to these negative thoughts!”
After eliminating my notions, I found that this other practitioner had made some remarkable breakthroughs, and I have been continually impressed by their heart and hard work since that time.
I also found that I was attached to my own way of communicating—it was an attachment to comfort, and yet another manifestation of my selfishness, to having things go “my way,” which I understand to be a characteristic of the old forces.
One day, after a particularly difficult day not being able to communicate well with a fellow practitioner whose style of communication is completely different from mine, I thought in my mind about how if this practitioner communicated more like so and so, or even like me, things would be much easier between us.
That night I had a dream. I was in a world where everyone walked in the exact same way—very slowly and mechanically. I wasn't from that world. I was a prisoner, and I didn't move the same way others did. I tried to force myself but it was constraining and very difficult. I couldn't fit the mold. It was like I was in an alien world. Later, I went by a house that had dogs. One dog after another came out, and they were all exactly the same kind of dog—some friendly Labrador or Retriever type, but something made me feel really uneasy in that they were all exactly the same.
I realized that this dream showed me what it would be like in a world where everyone was exactly the same.
I realized that I was not cherishing the rich variety among practitioners—probably representative of the different cosmoses they came from.
I also realized that sometimes our shortcomings are also sometimes just the flip side of their strengths, and that we’re all in the process of cultivating away the bad things.
Another feature of my dream was that all during the time I was in that world, I had a key in my pocket. I've sometimes been reminded to look within through hints to look in my pockets. So, I held the key to eliminating my attachments: I had to look within.
So after realizing all this, I tried to change my mind, eliminate my notions, and view fellow practitioners in a positive light. It wasn't hard once I set my heart on it, because it was clear that they were really amazing—they were working so hard, and had some great qualities that I didn't have but were really necessary for the overall success of the paper.
I'm still working on not bearing judgment at first instinct, much like a scholar with an itch to criticize theories on first glance. Master says in “Lunyu”: “What can be understood with modern human knowledge is extremely shallow and tiny; it is far from truly coming to terms with the truth of the universe.”
Instead, I should strive to “maintain a heart of compassion and kindness” (Zhuan Falun, Lecture Four).
Reflecting on my journey to put trust in and cherish my fellow practitioners, I remembered something. I came to realize that in the paper’s early days, and up to today, it was fellow practitioners’ righteous thoughts and trust in me that helped support me.
In my understanding, working well and cooperating well lies in doing well in the basics of cultivation, and in understanding and remembering why we’re here, thinking of others first, and having righteous thoughts to support others.
While writing this sharing, I could see how all my attachments were sullying the sacredness of the work I was doing in fulfilling our mission as Dafa disciples to save sentient beings, and I felt shaken by it. Fellow practitioners, it is only our attachments that are holding us back from saving more sentient beings. Let us get rid of our attachments as quickly as possible!
At the end of Lecture Nine in Zhuan Falun, Master says: “Cultivation practice itself is not difficult, and neither is upgrading one’s level itself difficult. It is because they cannot give up the human mind that they call it difficult. This is because it is very difficult to relinquish something in the face of practical gain. The benefits are right here, so how can you abandon these attachments? It is actually because of this that one will find it difficult.”