Mature during Shen Yun Promotion
Greetings, fellow practitioners!
How time flies! It has been almost twenty years since the last time I shared at a Fa Conference. Even though I started cultivation at a very young age with my parents, I did not always understand what Master said in his Fa teachings. After the persecution began, my cultivation state was on and off, and I behaved more like an ordinary person. I only genuinely started to cultivate after I came to the United States. Now I would like to share some of my experiences after I came to Boston.
Maturing in Shen Yun Promotion and Understanding the Meaning of “Help Master Rectify the Fa”
I know deep inside that I am a cold person. I do not like interacting with people or being social. Even now, I cannot fully understand what people are thinking when they decide to purchase Shen Yun tickets from me. Without the power of Master or the Fa, I do not think that could happen.
When I first started to sell tickets for Shen Yun, it was difficult for me. Although I understood Shen Yun is special and the importance of saving sentient beings, I was not ready to be a salesperson. Selling tickets requires interacting with people. I was born an introvert, and sales people gave me a bad impression due to a bad experience I had. In order to sell Shen Yun tickets, not only would I need to initiate conversations with strangers, but I would also have to persuade them to become interested in seeing Shen Yun. I needed to change my personality to promote Shen Yun. Every time I think about having to become a salesperson, a profession that I almost hate, I become very hesitant. However, due to the lack of English speaking practitioners in Worcester, I did not have any choice but to go to the Mall to man the booth.
Looking back, I made many mistakes at the ticketing site. Just to name a few, I was underdressed. I spoke too fast and customers sometimes had problems following me. My fellow practitioners helped me correct these mistakes. I always felt that sales was not my thing. Although I went to the booth a lot, I barely sold any tickets. I kept thinking that I was doing my best by showing up at the booth. If ordinary people did not want to buy tickets, then there was nothing I could do about it.
Later, I failed my graduate school qualifying exam, so I needed to find a job immediately and had to face many challenges. Only then did I start to reflect on my cultivation. One time, I was reading the Fa and saw Master’s words in Essentials for Further Advancement – Learning the Fa, “When learning Dafa, intellectuals should be aware of a most prominent problem: They study Dafa in the same way that everyday people study theoretical writings, such as selecting relevant quotations from renowned people to examine their own conduct. This will hinder a cultivator’s progress.” I realized that I had not been cultivating solidly. There was no difference between the way I studied the Fa and the way I studied at school. Even when I was looking inside, it was quite superficial. During the process of job hunting, I could feel Master guiding me. Many of my shortcomings and attachments were exposed. I realized that it is okay to have weaknesses, but I need to have the courage to face them, try to improve, and change bad habits. I must restrain myself from going back to the old habits and change myself unconditionally instead of finding excuses.
Later I found a job and moved closer to Boston. I participate in the Shen Yun promotion team in Boston. Again I needed to face the challenge of being a salesperson. It was not easy to do. I would often have more righteous thoughts right after Fa study, but when I was at the booth, especially when I did not sell any tickets after a long day, I just wanted to give up. I thought to myself: I am not a good salesperson, so why do I have to push myself so hard? My cultivation status at the time was exactly what Master described in Be More Diligent, “Sometimes your lips will be saying that whatever Master wants, that’s what you will do, but, as soon as you are faced with real-life circumstances, [what you said] gets diluted without your realizing it. You always have your own opinions on things, and think that your opinions match your realities and circumstances. But that’s not true.”
Just because I have passed cultivation tests in the past does not mean I will pass the next one. I improved a lot during the job interview process, but I was motived by survival needs. At this critical moment of saving sentient beings, I was so reluctant to change. I tried to study the Fa more in the hopes that Master would enlighten me. However just like no teacher would give answers to a student during an exam, Master did not show me anything. I asked myself: So what if I do exactly what Master tells me to do, no matter whether it is becoming more social or being a salesperson. What do I have to lose? Once I made the decision, I actually came to a realization about what was standing between the Fa and me. Growing up, I only pursued things that I liked and did whatever I wanted to do. No one could ever ask me to do something that I had no interest in. Naturally, I brought this habit into cultivation. It never occurred to me to think about what Master wants. If I am helping Master rectify the Fa, of course I need to ignore my interests and do what Master wants to accomplish. How could it be the other way around?! It was my human notions blocking me from improving. No wonder I said “Help Master Rectify the Fa” a lot but could not understand the meaning behind it.
After improving in the Fa, my way of thinking was corrected and my attitude changed accordingly. When I truly wanted to become a good salesperson, my perspective of things changed as well. After attending Shen Yun sales training at Boston last year, everything about sales suddenly clicked for me. I have gone through similar trainings before, but because my heart was not in the right place, I never understood the idea of selling. I learned tremendously from the training last year. It was the first time that I realized selling Shen Yun tickets is similar to my job, which requires certain skill sets, and practice certainly makes perfect. I felt embarrassed whenever I thought about my attitude in the past. I could not even begin to think about how many sentient beings missed their opportunities to be saved because of me.
Strictly speaking, I am still not an ideal salesperson because it requires the ability to connect with people instantly. I am used to playing it cool and just want to be left alone most of the time. However, these should not be excuses for me to not improve my skills as a salesperson. I can speak English fluently and can drive to our booth independently. I am just not good at being social. As long as I keep practicing and go to the booth regularly, I believe I will meet Master’s standard eventually.
Experiencing Bad Things Turning into Good Things after a Car Accident
In February after a weekend in Vermont for Shen Yun promotion, my car hit the guardrail on my way back due to the snow and darkness at night. Thanks to Master’s arrangements, the nice driver from the towing company gave a fellow practitioner and me a ride back to Boston. On our way back, it was snowing harder, and the road conditions worsened. Just like this fellow practitioner said, I would not be able to handle the slippery road as a new driver. Were it not for the car accident, who knows what could have happened to us?
After the car accident, I was anxious. As a practitioner, I knew that everything happens for a reason. I did not think I had any big attachments that caused the accident, but I could not stop thinking about what happened, what went wrong, and whether I could have prevented the accident. As a matter of fact, before I headed back to Boston, a couple of people had already warned me about the snow and asked me to stay overnight. I was persuaded to some degree, but an email from my boss asking me to turn in an assignment the next day made me decide to drive back in the evening. I was actually confused why other people were telling me to stay overnight repeatedly.
Then I remembered I had similar confusions before. When other people try to help me or hint at me, I barely realize their intentions were to help me or communicate with me. I always thought it was none of their business and responded in an unpleasant way that made other people uncomfortable. This issue of failing to recognize other people’s intentions happened during Shen Yun promotion. I often found myself in the middle of a conversation with a customer, understanding every word they said but at the same time not knowing why they were saying it, so I had no idea how to respond. Even at work, my coworkers would say things to me that I found irrelevant.
Gradually, I realized that ordinary people’s words are mostly driven by their preferences, attachments, notions, or sentimentality of the world. When I talk to someone, my attention is always on my needs or how I feel: Is this person saying anything that interests me? Is he or she adding anything new to my knowledge? Does it help me to improve? All I could think about is me, me, and me. I could barely think about other people, nor could I notice their needs or intentions. This is why I felt lost when people talked about how they felt or hinted their needs at the Shen Yun booth. Actually, understanding ordinary people’s preferences and attachments can help us untie their knots of seeing the value of Shen Yun. Once the customers do not have any obstacles in their mind, their hearts will be moved, and they will genuinely want to see Shen Yun and buy tickets.
After I came to this realization, I knew that I should become a good listener and pay more attention to what other people need and let go of what I want. Thinking back to the car accident, I once again experienced Master’s protection and compassion. Although the car was totaled, my fellow practitioner and I were not injured at all. I did not suffer any financial damage either. The surcharge on my driving record was annulled. Because of the car accident, I was able to see through my obstacles and confusion over the years about selling Shen Yun tickets. This is just like what Master said in Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Singapore, “We only look at your heart and mind. As long as you cultivate, we can transform any problem into a good thing—bad things can be turned into good things.”
From the bottom of my heart, I thank Master for his considerations and thoughts behind the arrangement.
Understanding “No Loss, No Gain” and Learning to Endure
For the past two years, the busiest time of Shen Yun promotion fell into the busiest season at my company. The holiday shopping season is when the Shen Yun ticketing booth requires the most manpower, and something always went wrong during that time. Over the past two years, I thought I already understood the tricks of the old forces and could balance work and Shen Yun promotion well.
To my dismay, starting from February this year, my boss became unpleasant to be around. In the past, even during the busiest times, she hardly managed me or asked details about my work. In February, out of nowhere, she forced me to implement my projects using her method. Not only did my boss’s method require extra time, but it also did not adjust to the daily updates in the database, which would lead to errors in the reports. Because my boss does not manage the data, I would be the one to blame for errors and to explain why they happened. If I could use my method, not only would I not need to work overtime, but I would also not need to take responsibility for mistakes.
My company is a small start-up, and everybody gets along at work. After two years working there, I knew my boss was a reasonable person. As long as I explained the pros and cons of different methods, she never demanded me to stick to her solutions. She had just seen Shen Yun in Boston, and her feedback was great. I had no clue what triggered her change, but I did not think she was picking on me either. I could tell something was wrong because she was simply not herself.
During that time, I felt like I was having a kung fu match with my boss every day. My boss would “give me a difficult hand,” and I would take it and dissolve the punch. If it were at a different time, I might have just used her method and worked overtime, but this time, I really wanted to go to Vermont to promote Shen Yun on the weekends. I did not want to work over time. I started to look for a solution with a cultivator’s state of mind. She and I had disagreements before. Because there is no perfect method, I am usually not too attached to my own ideas. But this time, things were different. Her method was bound to fail, yet she was very stubborn. I was on the verge of bursting out in anger every day. In the meantime, when I thought of what master said in “Fa Teaching Given to the Australian Practitioners,” I know that if a Dafa Disciple has a conflict with ordinary people, it would be the Dafa Disciple’s fault. Even after composing complaint emails many times, I still did not send any out. All I could think about was how to go to Vermont on the weekends and manage the problem with my boss.
When March rolled around, the flaw in my boss’s method started showing up. I was extremely upset and stayed up late fixing her mistake. I wrote an email explaining in detail what happened and hinted that her method was not feasible. She got back to me before work hours and asked me to call her at 11 AM. She also sent me a few text messages expressing her dissatisfaction with a few details in my report. I replied to her right away and addressed her concerns. Honestly, I was expecting a difficult conversation with her at 11 AM, but she started the call by telling me to have the rest of the day off. I was so surprised that I asked her to repeat herself. My boss laughed and said again that she wanted me to have a break in the afternoon. She asked a few additional questions about my report and reminded me to have a good rest.
I put the phone down and still could not believe what had just happened. Suddenly I understood why Master tells us to endure. When I was suffering and enduring tribulations, the black substances were transformed. No loss, no gain. When the black substances were gone, the tribulations in this dimension went away. Meanwhile I felt ashamed because I did not endure willingly, but Master had already resolved the trouble for me. Master has sacrificed so much for all sentient beings. What I endured was only a tiny bit, yet I still felt at fault.
After this incident at work, my boss was no longer fussy about my work. Unfortunately, her position was terminated in April. I realize that everyone around me is a sentient being who has a predestined relationship with me. Maybe the karmic relationship between my boss and I had come to an end. She no longer needed to play any role in my life and left. Luckily for her, she has seen Shen Yun and has become connected with Dafa. Every moment is so precious because people around me may leave at any time when their karmic relationship with me is over. I should really make the best use of my time and try to save sentient beings with every opportunity.
In the path of cultivation, I know I still have many shortcomings that I need to improve. Every time I slack off, any attachment of mine can be used as an excuse by the old forces to prevent sentient beings from being saved. I need to work harder, to increase my tolerance, and to improve my ability to endure hardships.
Looking back at this short life of mine over the past two decades, every improvement that I made, no matter how little or big, was with Master’s help and compassion. I know deeply that the purpose of my life is to assist Master to save sentient beings. My path and my talents are all given by Master. Without Master, I have nothing.
Master said in Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Conference, “There is one point to make, though: As long as you keep cultivating, and this includes those who have obtained the Fa, I don’t want to leave a single person behind. I will definitely find ways to have you return to where you were created.”
At this fleeting moment, without much time left on the path of cultivation, I want to try every possible way with everything that I have to let more predestined people get to know Dafa and the truth so that they may be saved by Master.
The above is my personal sharing at my limited level since I joined the Boston cultivation group. Please kindly correct me if you find anything inappropriate.
Thank you, Master!
Thank you, fellow practitioners!
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/node/155037