(Minghui.org) After I resigned from my job in England last year, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work full-time as a salesperson for the Epoch Times. Although I had heard that doing sales for our media was difficult, I thought that I could handle it. I was a business development manager at a well-known shipping company in England. Whenever a marketing savvy person had to meet with a customers in local Dafa projects, I volunteered. Therefore, I felt that I was an experienced sales person.

After arriving in the Bay Area, I immediately joined the sales team. I got up at 2:45 a.m. and went to work, where I sent righteous thoughts, studied the Fa, and did the exercises before I began to work. I tried my best on my cultivation path, and let go of human attachments.

Facing Relentless Tribulations

No matter how hard I tried, I did not secure a single sales contract after working six months on the job, and was at my wits end. Therefore, before going to bed one night, I said to Master, “Master, please hint in my dreams. Please tell me where I went wrong, and I swear I will correct myself!” I had no dream that night.

My emotions got the best of me. When I heard that a fellow practitioner who had just joined the sales team, after making just a few phone calls, secured a very good sales contract, I broke into tears. I drove somewhere quiet, cried my heart out and felt like the biggest fool in the world.

After seven month at this job, I still had not secured a sales contract. In addition, I had developed some health problems. It took me half an hour to get dressed in the morning. My hands hurt so much that I could not open the lid of my cup.

I sent even more righteous thoughts and looked within. Although I could not figure out my problem, I was certain that nothing would ever stop me from doing Dafa work. I continued getting up early every morning and going to work. I constantly recited Master's poem:

“Every form of travail has he weathered,Countless the fiends trampled under his feet”(“The Awakened One” from Hong Yin)

I was now involved with the promotion of Shen Yun, and often hosted a booth in a mall. When I concentrated on Shen Yun, I did not feel any pain.

The practitioners around me sent righteous thoughts, shared their cultivation thoughts, and helped me survive in my daily life. Their selflessness helped me maintain righteous thoughts during the hardest time of my life. I came to realize that the reason I was not doing sales well was that I had not cultivated well.

Believing in Master and Believing in the Fa

A fellow practitioner said that whenever she felt she lacked certain skills, she asked Master to strengthen her. This was a wake-up call. As a very self-assured person, I tried to learn about every new job, and then use my knowledge to do the job. This was a “good habit” I had employed as an everyday person. This habit brought much success for me in everyday people's work. I had gradually formed the notion that this method was the only way to guarantee success. It dawned on me that I was using the “success model” from my everyday people's life in my Dafa work. I believed in my own skills and never thought I needed Master.

For example, as I was making marketing calls to phone numbers I found in an English magazine, I saw an advertisement from a small Chinese company. I called them without much thought, and they told me that they would not advertise with our group, but did ask for our advertising packages, which I emailed to them, but did not follow up.

A new salesperson on our team successfully signed a contract with that company two weeks later, and they even agreed to pay three months in advance. That evening, I called that salesperson and asked how she got the deal done.

She said that on the way to her appointment with that company, she got stuck in traffic. When she realized that she was going to be late, she sent righteous thoughts nonstop, and asked Master to strengthen her. When she arrived at the company, she talked to the customer for 20 minutes, did not sit down, and the other party signed the deal.

She cried on the way back to her car, and I wondered why she cried, as she had gotten the contract. She said, “Because I was so moved. Everything was done by Master!”

I saw the pure heart of this practitioner, and realized that even though I had gained a lot of knowledge, I had merely validated my own abilities, not my belief in Master and the Fa.

Gaining Naturally Without Pursuit

It was essential for me to always make a plan and then insist on following the plan. I therefore was extremely busy. Ironically, despite having good plans, I could not get any clients to sign an advertising contract with us.

A practitioner who sat next to me in the office asked, “Do you know why Master arranged for me to sit right next to you?”

She continued, “Because you and I are so different. Master wants us to learn from each other. Perhaps you noticed that it looked quite easy for me to get contracts, and that I usually get appointments after just a couple of phone calls.”

“What you may not know is that when I was asked to be a host, I became a host. When I was asked to be in charge of money collection, I did money collection. Whenever Dafa projects needed me to do something, I would do it. I consequently gained these things naturally without pursuing them.”

"Master gave me everything," she added in the end.

Breakthrough Achieved

This practitioner's words really woke me up. As I looked inward, I saw a huge gap between that practitioner and myself. I considered everything that took my attention away from my sales work as interference. Because of this, I almost never chatted with other practitioners. This must have made me look as if I was better than others, as some practitioners feared talking to me, thinking they would disturb me. I was attached to myself and put my own priorities too high above those of others.

Master said:

“The more you put yourself first or mix in [factors of] self, the less mighty-virtue you have, and that's why it is less likely that you succeed at things or do them well. Dafa's things should be the most sacred, and that's why the less you have of your own notions and involve your own factors, the better you can handle them and the more likely you are to succeed.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students”)

Because I paid so much attention to the goals I wanted to reach, everything I did was based on human attachments. I forgot what it was like to be natural and relaxed. I did not have the peacefulness and calm that cultivators should feel. This is why many other practitioners felt that I was a very nervous person.

Master told us to “follow along effortlessly” (“Zhuan Falun”), and that day, I finally had an enlightenment.

Fundamental Changes

There is a chart in my office on which everyone puts a mark by their names after they do the exercises. I looked at the chart, and saw all the tick marks under my name. I felt sad. I asked myself, “Do you think you cultivated well so long as you marked the chart? Did you really study the Fa and do the exercises with a pure heart?” This is when I realized that I had only cultivated on the surface.

After I gained this new insight, I could not finish the exercises because I had a broadcasting commitment. I then had some urgent work to take care of that night. I usually completed the exercises in the evening. Was this because I felt bad that I did not have a completed mark on the chart? I decided to skip the rest of of the exercises, and finish my work. The next day, I put a big cross sign on the exercise chart. I felt relaxed, as I understood that cultivation is for myself and not for showing off to others.

I had so many attachments that I wondered if I really had cultivated during the past dozen years, and I wallowed in self-blame and was sad.

I went out for a Shen Yun promotion and was hungry, so I took an apple from a basket of apples that a friend had given me. Those apples looked very good on the surface as they were large and dark red, yet most of them were rotten on the inside. I said to Master, “Master, I know that I have cultivated badly. I realize that you are telling me that I should be the same on the outside as on the inside. If that is what you would like to tell me, then let this apple be rotten inside”

I cut the apple in half and it did not appear to be rotten. I cut it one more time and saw that it was only partially bad.

I understood that Master was telling me not to blame myself. It was only a small part that I did not cultivate as well as I could have, and I should not be so negative regarding my cultivation state just because a small part was not done well. I felt as if I was in an empty state for the rest of day.

During the next three months, I underwent a fundamental change on the inside. I was gradually relieved of the extreme pain I was feeling because I had not obtained any signed contracts. From the surface inward, I was not as tense as before. Practitioners around me told me that I had become calmer.

There was a breakthrough in my sales. I signed not one, not two, but four sales contracts after I trying for 11 months. I could not believe it! I truly understood that the success was given by Master. In the past, I had used all of my human knowledge, abilities, and effort. I wanted to prove myself, but I was left empty-handed. Now, just because my xinxing had improved, Master had rewarded me with so much!

After a very smooth meeting with a client, I saw the sunshine outside as I stepped out of the building. I felt a sudden rush of gratitude towards Master in my heart. Even though I cannot say when it all started, I noticed that I was now thinking of Master all the time. I feel that this should be a basic realization for a cultivator, but it had taken me more than a decade to grasp.

“If you don’t cultivate yourself, how are you to help me rectify the Fa? How am I to make use of you?” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa - Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference”)

Whenever I read this quote, I think: The only way I can repay Master is to cultivate myself to such a selfless extent that Master can then make use of me freely.