PureInsight | September 11, 2013
Dear fellow practitioners,
My name is Marisol. I am a practitioner from Spain. I know I'm not very good at writing, but this effort is part of my cultivation, so today I would like to share with you my cultivation experience with the Zhen Shan Ren art exhibition in Spain.
Overcoming the Fear of not Doing Well
When I was asked to attend Zhen Shan Ren meetings in Europe, I also understood that this was an opportunity to improve in my cultivation. However, I remember that while we were talking about it, there was a part of me that still did not want to accept the great commitment and challenge. I never liked attending meetings where I needed to talk, even less so in another language. Also, I felt that my level of English was insufficient, and I’m not good at computers. So that part of me was anticipating all the difficulties that I would encounter.
Fortunately, another part of me remembered Master's words in the ninth lecture of Zhuan Falun, “‘When it’s difficult to endure, you can endure it. When it’s impossible to do, you can do it. ’ In fact, that is how it is. Why don’t you give it a try when you return home. When you are overcoming a real hardship or tribulation, you try it. When it is difficult to endure, try to endure it. When it looks impossible and is said to be impossible, give it a try and see if it is possible. If you can actually do it, you will indeed find: ‘After passing the shady willow trees, there will be bright flowers and another village ahead! ’”
Thus, I was encouraged and accepted the challenge, albeit with quite a restless heart.
At first I had trouble attending meetings, and I didn’t like them very much either. I felt very insecure, and realized the concerns of not understanding well and not doing well. It took me some time to realize that I needed to look within and see that my shyness was also an attachment, and that behind such a concern about not doing well, there was still a greater attachment: fear. I've never actually been a fearful person, but this was more subtle and profound: The fear of ego on display.
Then I also understood why I had needed throughout life to do things in a perfect way. That was an unconscious way of trying to avoid criticism. Many times, however good it looked for others; it was not enough for me. I always demanded more and although on the surface trying to do better seems like a good thing, in actuality, I think looking good also manifests selfishness and vanity.
It took me some time to get to these conclusions because I felt bad. I was not only lacking knowledge, but also discovering more attachments. How was I going to be able to do well, then? But when I started to have doubts, Master helped to remind me that the whole way of cultivation is to remove attachments and looking inside is the key to recognizing them. Then identifying these hidden attachments is a good thing, because to recognize them is how you weaken them, and is the beginning of letting them go. I also noticed that recognizing them strengthens my faith and confidence in being more determined to do the things that I have to do.
Attending Euroart meetings was very important for me. Some countries already had some experience and were able to help. I also had the opportunity to ask questions and get to know the requirements, as well as receive a little guidance on how to start.
I understood that we don’t have to be very skilled, or have great knowledge about how to do this or that. We just need to do it wholeheartedly and with the mindset of a cultivator.
So although sometimes we think that we cannot do it, we can try. If we work hard, get rid of the thoughts of an ordinary person, and trust Master and our fellow practitioners, the projects will progress.
Eliminating Interference with Strong Righteous Thoughts
All projects are to save sentient beings, so we meet with a lot of interference. However, I think they are also a great opportunity Master gives us to improve our cultivation together because when we are determined and projects begin to go forward, we encounter many obstacles, distractions, conflicts, and tests.
I remember a period of time when I needed more time to work on the project. It was precisely during this time that things started happening around me. Various relatives and friends came to spend a few days with us. They had wanted to come and visit for ten years and, suddenly all of them came around one after the other. Suddenly, we had a logistical problem in the house that required significant financial resources and concerns.
At the same time my son, who has a very stable life, suddenly stopped working and became unexpectedly separated from his wife.
One day I heard a neighbor say something totally unfair about my husband. Although it was not important it moved my heart. Another time, a practitioner accused me of cancelling a meeting that I did not even know was due. That also moved my heart.
A few days later I got a call from a fellow practitioner accusing me of something similar and of lying. I felt a profound and deep pain in my chest and at that very moment I realized what it was and an immense calm inside me followed. I recognized the strong notion and attachment to the concept of justice I had, yet had never seen it as an attachment to let go of before.
One night while sleeping, I suddenly woke up trembling with cold as well as a very unsettling feeling. I got up to drink something hot and immersed my feet in almost boiling water, but my body still did not counteract. The thought that came to me was that I was about to die. For a moment I was scared, but I thought of Master and the Fa and said to myself: it is ok if I have to go.
But almost immediately another very strong thought came denying this. It cannot be! We are striving to work on a project that would help save many sentient beings, and it is progressing well. At this point this would affect my teammates and the project. I thought the old forces were trying to interfere.
The only thought I had in my mind was that cooperating, working and acting together as one body to assist Master in rectifying the Fa is our mission. So while my body was still shivering with cold, I went back to bed very determined and with very strong righteous thoughts that the old forces were not going to achieve their goal. Gradually the shaking of my body started to decrease until I fell asleep. From that moment on everything flowed smoothly.
Working with other practitioners has been more important for my cultivation than I thought. I think it has helped us all (personally it did for me) to temper ourselves. That process of tempering has been crucial in learning how to tackle tribulations.
Cultivating Ren and Shan
I've also noticed something that for a long time I have been trying to change. Sometimes I shared with fellow practitioners about how difficult it was at times to apply tolerance and benevolence to my husband; I suddenly saw myself competing for the last word with him and raising my voice.
This worried me, because despite all the effort I put into controlling myself, I still failed to remember what Teacher says in the ninth lecture of Zhuan Falun:
“What is a "heart of great forbearance?" As a practitioner, the first thing you should be able to do is to not fight back when you are beaten or sworn at—you must be tolerant. Otherwise, what kind of practitioner will you be? Someone says: "It’s really hard to be tolerant, and I’ve got a bad temper." If your temper is not good, you should change it, for a practitioner must be tolerant.”
Now, it is not the case that these things do not ever happen to me anymore. However, I’ve noticed a change and now these kinds of situations do not move my heart and I treat them with more Shan and Ren. Tempering myself gives me more room to look inside before acting.
Cooperating together for so long has also helped us to get to know each other a bit better and be able to share more. I also think it has helped us to value and respect each other as practitioners. We each have our own understandings and act according to these. Therefore it is important not to keep any negative thoughts in my heart or blame others.
Sometimes even though I understand that the level of involvement of each practitioner is a personal decision, I found myself having negative thoughts about a fellow practitioner who was complaining, such as “How can he complain when he is doing so little?” I cannot afford to have such negative thoughts. It is not good for the project or me. It's something we shared about. We need to pay close attention to our thoughts.
The Power of Zhen, Shan, Ren Exhibition
The first 22 days of the exhibition were extraordinary. Besides daily experiences with people, the feeling that we got after being around the paintings was very profound. I think every one of us felt that way, and the visitors did as well. Many of them commented on how peaceful the atmosphere in the room was.
Upon entering, everyone spoke quietly, including many children who came. The mood was one of deep respect and even meditation. Some came out crying uncontrollably and asked the same question as in the name of one of the paintings, “Why?”
People came from different levels and professions; many painters, educators, health workers, theologians, etc. And they all were very moved - not only by the story that most of them did not know about and were surprised to find out about, but also because of the very high artistic level of the paintings.
When there were no visitors, practitioners took the opportunity to read and share in order to maintain the same atmosphere of tranquility, avoiding talking about things that were not related to our cultivation or the Exhibition. Although there were no visitors, we kept speaking in a low tone, so as to not break the field of harmony and peace created by the paintings.
I think it's good that when we are at the exhibition we remain focused. We can study, watch and learn about the paintings, or share in order to sustain the pure field that benefits both the visitors and us. Some of us experienced that the more time we spent in the room, instead of feeling tired, we felt better and better.
At the first venue in Barcelona, the organizers were very pleased with the large affluence of people visiting the exhibition. It was very good for them, because many of the visitors did not know the place before and it was the most visited exhibition they ever held.
The same thing happened at the second venue. Many people came to see the exhibition and both the shop owners from around the venue as well as the director were also very happy that we were there. Thus, they left the door open for us to return in the future.
The Art of Zhen Shan Ren clarifies the truth in a way that goes directly to people’s hearts. There is really no need for us to explain much; we just give sentient beings a chance to see the paintings. So I encourage all practitioners to get involved in the project and help exhibit the paintings for as long as possible so that more people can be saved.
I want to thank all my fellow practitioners for their contributions and efforts in making this possible. For me it is a great privilege to work on this project, and I deeply appreciate this opportunity.
I'd like to finish my sharing with one of the comments from the visitor's book:
“The most beautiful artistic expression that I have seen in my life.”
Thank you very much for bringing such a divine Exhibition.”
Thank you Master
Thanks to fellow practitioners.
(Speech at 2013 European Falun Dafa Experience-Sharing Conference in Copenhagen)