I Learned to Let Go of Myself
(Clearwisdom.net) After I began practicing Falun Gong, I learned that practitioners should "forbear" and be tolerant of others. I very much wanted to cultivate compassion and the kind of peacefulness Master talked about, but I felt as though I was confined in a small space, too tight to even turn around in, let alone be able to tolerate others. Although my forbearance was not everyday people's endurance with tears, it also was not without anger or grievance. I was avoiding problems and suppressing my feelings rather than "forbearing." I was like an ostrich that hid its head in the sand as soon as the wind picked up. When the storm passed, it lifts its head up and pretends that nothing is wrong. Instead of expanding, my heart has been getting narrower. In some respects, I began practicing Falun Gong in order to avoid all the chaos in the human world and reach a peaceful place.
I recently had a disagreement with a practitioner about our collaboration. There was no confrontation, and on the surface it may even have been "peaceful." However, my heart was not expanding, it was getting narrower. This time I made up my mind to face the issue and find my problem.
First, I clarified to myself that the problem in our collaboration was due to my actions. As I did this, many of my old notions attacked me, telling me, "There is nothing wrong with you. Her requests were ridiculous. Why doesn't she do anything? Isn't she trying to cause trouble?" Such anger and grievance rushed through my head, and instead of trying to suppress them, I wrote them down on paper. I read it a few times and realized this was a sign of my lack of endurance. I asked myself, "If I can't even handle such a small setback, how can I ever reach the state to 'not fight back when you are beaten or sworn at?'" Our fellow practitioners have shortcomings, and collaboration takes forbearance. If everyone can reach the state of gods and Buddhas, what is there to forbear? We can only practice forbearance when we refrain from fighting and competing despite others' shortcomings.
This was the first time in my life that I understood why people should be tolerant of others and why cultivators need to practice forbearance.
The next question was how to achieve forbearance. My old notions started interfering with my mind again. The notions told me, "Forbearing means giving in. The approach she wanted clearly did not make sense. But if you don't follow her, she will be unhappy and will not cooperate. If you follow her, on the other hand, you are complying with her requests without logic or reason." I decided to go against the old notions. I told myself, "It's not important if her plan is perfect. The most important thing is that our minds are righteous and we can let go of ourselves and cooperate well. If we can do this, then miracles will happen." Actually, when I truly followed her line of thought, I surprisingly found that her approach worked. From another perspective, her suggestion was quite good.
Why did I initially think her ideas were impossible, or even wonder how she came up with them? Looking inward, I found that if we followed her suggestion, I would have to work harder or even change certain habits or rearrange my schedule.
That was the core of the problem. The main reason why we didn't cooperate well was because I was attached to my own ideas. It wasn't that my approach was any better, but that it conformed to my ways of thinking. On the other hand, her ideas were not illogical. They simply didn't conform to my ways of thinking. In retrospect, be it on Dafa projects or ordinary people's matters, whenever others proposed something, I immediately gauged it with my notions. Of course others didn't always have the same ideas as I did, so I would put forth my opinion and there would be disagreements. In the past, I thought it represented my intelligence, but I now realize that I was just fooling myself. On Fa-validation projects, I knew that we had to cooperate well, so I tried not to cause conflicts. But my attachment was still there. No matter how I acted in front of people, I always felt uncomfortable inside. Even though I had been a cultivator for several years, in certain respects I was still like a beginner.
In "Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia," Master talked about how the Great Enlightened Beings in the heavens coordinate and discuss with each other. He said:
"So what's their state of mind? It's tolerance, an extremely immense tolerance, being able to accept other beings, and being able to truly think from other beings' perspectives. This is something a lot of you haven't achieved yet in your cultivation, but you're gradually catching on and achieving it. When another God proposes an idea, they aren't eager to reject it, and they aren't eager to express their own ideas and they don't believe that their own ideas are good. Instead, they look at what the end result of the other God's proposed approach will be. The paths are different--everyone's path is different--and the truths that beings validate and enlighten to in the Fa are different, too, but the results might very well be the same. That's why they look at the results, and if the result of a God's idea can achieve the goal, if it can truly achieve it, then all of them will go along with it. That's how Gods think. Also, if there's something lacking in it they'll unconditionally and quietly supplement it to make things more complete and perfect. That's how they handle things."
I have read this passage so many times, yet did not understand "tolerance" until now. At the same time, I learned what it meant to "let go of myself." Looking back, I had never truly given up "self." Sometimes I wasn't brave enough to do so, and other times I didn't want to. In the former cases, I didn't have enough faith in Master and in the Fa. In the latter cases, my attachment to comfort was too strong.
Having realized the situation, I would like to sincerely apologize to the fellow practitioners whom I have hurt in the past. I would also like to apologize to Master. I thank Master for his compassionate enlightenment. I will definitely do better in the future, let go of myself, cooperate well with fellow practitioners, validate the Fa well on the last leg of the journey, and fulfill my vows.