Lessons Learned in the Process of Promoting the Shen Yun Performance
(Clearwidsom.net) I was lucky enough to attend the promotion activities in Springfield, the state capital of Illinois, in February 2010. In the five months of our promotional activities, I had lots of different thoughts. Thinking back, every step as we moved forward was made possible only with Teacher's help and fellow practitioners' cooperation.
Everything was Teacher's arrangement
It was Shen Yun's premier show in Springfield. No one had any prior experience with promoting Shen Yun and we were deficient in funding and resources. Springfield has only one practitioner. Practitioners in neighboring cities had to drive an hour to an hour and a half to get to Springfield in order to help. In the whole process, we truly felt that Teacher had arranged everything for us.
In late October, we held a Fa-promotion activity at the local library. Afterwards we decided to go to the main shopping mall to see if we could do something, since we were planning to sell tickets there. No one had made an appointment, but we thought we'd try our luck. If Teacher wanted us to talk with the mall manager, then we would be able to see him.
While other practitioners stayed in the hall sending forth righteous thoughts, two of us managed to see the manager. We told her our purpose and showed her the Shen Yun DVD. She was excited and asked us how she could help. We told her that we wanted to promote the Shen Yun show in the mall and that we needed her help since we were short of funds, and the $3,000 a month rent was too high. She said, "Give me a week and I will think of some creative idea to help you."
When we met with her again a week later, she took us to the hall on the second floor, pointed at a store front and said, "You can set up the big screen TV and flyer on this wall, and use the room to store your materials. This is a good location--the food court is right across, and traffic is heavy. I will only charge you $600 for three months." I deeply felt that this was all arranged by Teacher. Ordinary people have a knowing side. Perhaps she had been waiting for many of her past lives so that she could establish this relationship with practitioners today.
Working as one-body
Everyone actively cooperated from the very beginning. One practitioner moved to Springfield to help with the coordination and dealing with the media. At the Shen Yun meeting every week, the coordinator would tell everyone about the coming week's plan and ask everyone to send forth righteous thoughts. Sometimes we arranged for elderly practitioners to send forth righteous thoughts. Whenever we had an appointment with someone, we would arrange to have other practitioners sending forth righteous thoughts outside.
When all of us lay down our human notions and actively cooperate with each other, then everything will follow Teacher's arrangements. We did not spend a penny on the newspaper ad, but our ads were very effective. The practitioner who looked for sponsorships only met with the clients one time and was able to get their checks. Those who were responsible for selling tickets were always at their posts. Elderly practitioners sent forth righteous thoughts and gave support. Everyone did his or her part and cooperated with everyone else. Practitioners from Chicago drove six hours to Springfield almost every week in the two months leading up to the show. Some practitioners took days off and stayed to help. Posters were put up in major shops three or four times. The shop managers became acquainted with the practitioners who went there to put up the posters and told them, "Your promotion is done well. Your ads can be seen everywhere."
On the day of the show, the manager of the performance center said that it was the most attended pure-culture show since 1981 when the performance center opened. About a thousand people attended the show; a rare occurrence in the past 29 years.
Trust Teacher, trust Dafa, and maintain a pure heart to help promote Shen Yun
I feel those of us who are fortunate enough to help promote Shen Yun are given a good opportunity by Teacher to establish our mighty virtue. If everyone of us who participates can give up his or her own human notions and unconditionally cooperate with fellow practitioners while maintaining a pure heart to save sentient beings, then it does not matter whether the person who sells the tickets can speak fluent English or not. The end result will always be good and those sentient beings who have predestined relationships will buy tickets no matter what. Teacher's Fashen will also keep bringing them to our ticket booths.
When selling tickets, every practitioner would first tell the customer what part of the show impressed him or her most. When their view differed from mine, sometimes I would feel a bit uncomfortable. When these human attachments interfered with me, I could usually correct myself immediately and continued to keep my pure heart and cooperate with the other practitioner. When practitioners were helping customers, I often silently sent forth righteous thoughts on the side. The customer would quickly buy the tickets. I truly felt the effect of the righteous thoughts when practitioners were helping each other.
Constantly looking inward and correcting oneself while eliminating the old forces' interferences
We all are still cultivators and still have unidentified human notions and attachments. This is the excuse the old forces use to interfere with us. I had a new appreciation after participating in the promotional efforts for Shen Yun. Teacher said:
"Each of you assumes responsibility for a large expanse in this world and represents a certain segment of sentient beings. I often tell you to cultivate inward and to search within yourselves when problems arise." ("Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting")
In the past when I was faced with conflicts, I would look inward, too, but it was very superficial and limited to the realm of individual cultivation. I only looked to see if I had some attachment that needed to be gotten rid of and did not arrive at any more meaningful enlightenment. In doing Shen Yun promotion, I gradually enlightened that looking inward is not only for individual elevation but also involves all sentient beings in all the cosmoses related to oneself. Manifesting in the ordinary people's environment, one will find that it will change with one's xinxing. In addition, looking inward and correcting ourselves immediately also deprives the old forces of any excuse to interfere with our helping Teaching to rectify the Fa.
In mid-November, two weeks before Thanksgiving, we decided that we wanted to open up another ticket venue in a city 40 miles from Springfield. I made an appointment, and three of us went. Two of us went into the meeting, while the third, an elderly practitioner, sent forth righteous thoughts in the hall. We showed the DVD to the manager and he was very impressed. He told us that he had majored in history and really liked the introduction to Shen Yun that we showed him. When we told him that we wanted to promote Shen Yun during the Thanksgiving Holiday in his mall but only limited funding, he said he understood and would think of ways to help us. He decided that he would let us pay for the month from Thanksgiving to Christmas, but let us sell tickets there for three months. Everything appeared to have gone well, and I thanked Teacher in my mind for his help. On our way home, I cautioned fellow practitioners that things were not final until the contract was signed. We also wrote a thank-you note to the manager as usual.
To our surprise, the next day, we received an email from the manager, rescinding everything he had promised us. The one month rent had turned into three months. I thought, "It must be something wrong with my xinxing." I looked inward and asked myself, "Was I too engrossed? I was sure I was not. Then did I try to validate myself? No, I didn't." I was bewildered and called a fellow practitioner to ask her to point out my deficiencies. One of her sentences awoke me. She said, "I thought it peculiar that you said the other day that it did not count until the contract was signed." It dawned on me that I had asked for it myself.
"You're a practitioner, so if you always think it's a health problem you're actually asking for it--you are asking for that problem, and now it's able to set in. To be a practitioner your character has to be high. Don't always be afraid that it's a health problem. Fearing that it's a health problem is an attachment in itself, and it can bring you trouble just the same." (Zhuan Falun)
Finding my attachment, I settled down. Everything is up to Teacher's arrangement. There is no reason for the old forces to interfere. We wrote another polite letter to the manager and insisted on the rent we had agreed upon. When we met with him the last weekend before Thanksgiving, he said, "The contract is ready for you to sign." Everything was as we had agreed.
Every city needs to find its own path
In doing the Shen Yun promotion, we enlightened that every city needs to find its own path according to its individual situation. Learning from other people's experiences is helpful, but the final result will not be very good if one only knows how to copy others.
Once in a dream, I suddenly could not find my shoes. There were hundreds of pairs of shoes in front of me, but I was clear in my mind that they all belong to others. I rushed to put one pair on, but they were way too large, and as I tried to go forward, I could only move very slowly and was afraid I was going to fall.
In another dream, I and another five or six practitioners were climbing a very tall mountain and got lost halfway. I thought, "Let's not worry about it--our goal was the summit." So we continued on. Then we found another paved road. A window opened to us, and we joined forces with the rest of the practitioners after the window. When I woke up, I was embarrassed that my ability to enlighten was so poor, that I was not being diligent in my cultivation, and that I had to rely on Teacher's hints all the time.
One needs to maintain a calm mind when facing with difficulties
When we met with difficulties in promoting Shen Yun or selling tickets, other than certain special situations, a large part of the problems were due to our human notions in dealing with the business of saving sentient beings. Our ticket booth was on the second floor of the mall, with a TV set on the wall, and was equipped with a small table. After the holiday, there were a few days that we did not sell any tickets due to the reduction in shoppers. Practitioners began to have all sorts of thoughts. Some worried; some wanted to do something, feeling that our booth was not formal enough and the shoppers on the first floor would not visit the second floor, and we might need to rent another, more formal booth on the first floor, etc. One day the mall added more booths on the second floor, and more shoppers came, but we still did not sell any tickets. Through studying the Fa and sharing experiences, we realized that we had too many human attachments. So we corrected ourselves and maintained a calm and stable mind. The next day, tickets began to sell. Actually, the ticket booth is similar to our practice site--as long as we keep our presence, Teacher's Fashen will bring predestined people to us. Later on, we learned that the number of tickets sold was not directly related to the traffic in the mall.
The more difficult the situation is, the closer the turning point
When we were unable to sell as many tickets as we wanted to, it meant that we had not met Teacher and Dafa's expectations. In the process we may have tried all ordinary people's means and still it did not work, then there was only one thing we could do. We had to elevate ourselves in the Fa. We need to improve ourselves to the level that Teacher and Dafa want of us, so that the old forces cannot use the excuse that we still have human attachments to hamper Teacher's Fa-rectification. In the final stages of selling tickets, we made it a point to study Dafa every day together and share our understandings. Once we did, tickets sales steadily improved.
In this process, Teacher inspired me once in a dream that ordinary people's society's rules are opposite rules. When it is most difficult, everything will turn out better as long as we steadfastly believe in Teacher and Dafa. I truly felt that Teacher was near me all the time. In the process, whether I was at the ticket booth, the Fa-study site, my home, or in a moving car, I often saw spinning Faluns around me. I felt that I was immersed in Teacher's boundless benevolence. The joy that emanated from the deepest part of my life was indescribable.
Thank you, Teacher. Thank you, everyone.