Western Practitioner: Looking Inward in Light of the Paris Gala Preparation
(Shared at 2006 Europe Experience Sharing Conference)
Dear respected Teacher, fellow practitioners,
My name is Alexis. I'm a disciple from France. I profoundly wish that through this event, we can learn from each other and improve in making Europe one body during Fa-rectification. Today, I would like to share with you particularly about the New Year gala that was held in Paris last February and the attachments I discovered through it.
1. Reflecting on the Paris Gala
I was lucky to participate in this great show as a French-speaking host. After the gala, some practitioners came up to me and said that I did this job well. One even suggested that I should write an experience-sharing article, as she considered that having done a good hosting job was equivalent to having cultivated well in the process of the gala preparation.
Such positive comments made me look back more seriously on what the process of the gala preparation and my role in it really was. Through this process I realized that I had manifested an attachment in this process. The main reasons I can see today lie in "human notions" and "lack of confidence."
When the idea of holding the gala in Paris was raised in September 2005, several of us tried to find a venue. At that time, some were thinking of a 1,000-seat hall, and some were thinking of a bigger venue with a very large stage. My understanding was that we did not have the same manpower as the U.S. disciples, that the schedule was short, and therefore, we should not do things out of our capacity.
During the coordination meetings, the tone was sometimes relatively bad and intolerant, with practitioners neglecting to listen to each other and digging into a bull's horn on secondary issues. It became unbearable to me that the very scarce time available to work with the group was wasted on conflicts. I stopped participating in the meetings with the excuse that I had a lot to do on other projects. At that time, I really felt that it was right not to lose time, and to go where I could be more productive. Looking back, although it looked like a rational decision, the basis of it was just to look for a more peaceful and comfortable environment.
In December 2005, the venue decided on was the Palais des Congres, a very big hall with nearly 4,000 seats. That meant that with less than 50 days left we had to get the marketing done, find sponsors, design the artistic program and sell the tickets--a huge amount of work.
This should have been the time for me to come back and help out more, but instead of seeing the need for stronger efforts on this project, I was stuck in myself, thinking: "I told them it was not reasonable, yet they still do it and throw away such huge amounts of money." I kept a passive attitude towards the gala, just providing help here and there, from time to time, instead of shouldering more and releasing a bit of the pressure off a few local disciples. Along with that was, as an excuse, the fact that I had to travel a lot for my job.
Fundamentally, I did not see that the trend of Fa-rectification was the choice of the future, and because of this it did not have to conform to my notions and superficial human logic. I also did not see that the so-called "better efficiency" I was looking for in projects was not entirely for the purpose of saving more beings, but for my feeling more comfortable while saving people.
What is "confidence?" What is "enlightenment?" Reflecting on this process helped me realize that on some important occasions, I would still do Dafa things from the perspective of a skilled ordinary person holding on to himself and his notions, rather than from the perspective of a future enlightened being following as best as possible the trend of Fa-rectification.
2. What remains is real gold
I talked about the keyword "comfortable" earlier. This became especially visible to me in the past few years due to changes in my family and professional situation. I think this is also why I did not do well enough in the process of the gala preparation.
When I first engaged in cultivation, I was single and had no social responsibilities outside of doing my job well. I would then spend most of my time doing Dafa things, joining activities, and studying the Fa. But my circumstances changed from not having many things materially to gaining everything ordinary people long for: a happy family with children, a good professional position, etc.
Apart from the many additional things to be taken care of, this new situation made me face a fundamental cultivation issue: It can be said that everything I had done before was not under very trying circumstances since I did not have to give up many material interests while doing them. Now that I was cultivating among all these things that ordinary people pursue, now that time was very scarce once all ordinary matters were taken care of, would I still be the same or would I get influenced by the longing for some "comfortable" time?
I must say I haven't been exactly the same. Little by little, I started to hold myself to less strict requirements, compensating in Dafa work by manifesting so-called "technical abilities" in writing, speaking etc. Before long, I endured difficulties with less forbearance, had poorer enlightenment quality, felt increasingly tired, and attached more and more importance to my personal things. More importantly, I became increasingly passive towards this unprecedented Fa-rectification period.
Of course, in this state of mind, meetings with fellow disciples looked useless and in vain. Before long, I manifested behaviors that were not lofty or well-ordered. It was a situation like needing to cross a sea of swords to save the colossal firmaments we are responsible for. Rather than being audacious, I would spend some time looking around, just in case there was a shortcut somewhere.
Let's come back to the gala to make the comparison: the group that actively participated in the Paris gala--including those who had sometimes shown bad behavior--met all the difficulties with no hesitation to give the magnificent result that many of you have seen. No ordinary organization would have been able to fill such a large venue and produce such a performance in just about two months. Moreover, none of the organizers were professional; none of them had done it before. In addition, they worked on the gala preparation only after their regular work was done.
Of course, not everything was perfect and there are several things that need to be done better, but the most important lesson I have learned from them is: Never give up or slow down, no matter the difficulties, because miracles are possible!
I want to thank the organizers for giving me this occasion to reflect more seriously on my weaknesses and awaken to them. Although I have not said too many good things or given praises as such a magnificent occasion deserves, I hope this sharing can be beneficial to my fellow practitioners.
I hope to do better in getting out of the human logic that has set in our bones for thousands of years. I hope to better cherish this time of Fa-rectification, do better and fulfill our pre-historic vows to save beings unconditionally.
Warm salutations to all. Thank you, Teacher, for your merciful salvation.