Stop Validating Myself
(Minghui.org) Last weekend I was in a march protesting the Chinese regime's forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and ran into a shop owner. He asked me a lot of questions. As I explained to him what was taking place in China with the persecution of Falun Gong, I realized that he wasn’t interested in listening to what I had to say. He simply wanted to express his opinions.
Looking back on this episode, if this man could be quiet and listen to what I had to say instead of feeling good about his opinions, he would have gotten a lot out of the conversation. The feeling of self-righteousness and the urge to express himself stood between him and the truth.
I suddenly saw myself in this man. Perhaps Master arranged for me to meet him so that I could see what stood between me and improving in cultivation. It was a “me” filled with untouchable and unchangeable notions. As I tried to eliminate this “me” with righteous thoughts, I saw the face of Aobai, a decorated general who squashed everyone in his path, and no one dared to stand up to him. His eyes shone with arrogance. I was in shock. As I thought deeper, I saw myself criticizing and reprimanding others when things didn't go my way. I saw the me who never showed respect to the elderly and my superiors.
As much as I realized my problem, I didn't quite know what to do to eliminate it. It gradually slipped out of my mind. Recently it got my attention again because I kept making mistakes at work, and had no choice but to admit to my problems. The troubled part of me seemed to get smaller, and I became more humble. But I remained stubborn.
I went by a sales meeting and overheard a discussion between colleagues. I didn't think they understood the issue and went into the meeting room, explaining to them what the problems were. Afterward a practitioner asked me, “What kind of person would go into another department’s meeting and interrupt it with a speech? This is the second time you've done it.”
In another meeting I criticized coworkers without any reservation. Later a practitioner told me that the way I talked to others was as if I was “the president of all presidents,” and that I was full of myself. The practitioner suggested that I take my eyes off of others and instead use them to examine myself carefully.
His words helped me see another me and understand why I had such an inflated ego. When I look at myself, I see the goodness in me: I had good intentions and wanted the best for everyone. When I look at others, I see their shortcomings and mistakes. A true practitioner should take the initiative to see if his methods are flawed and try to find the goodness in others, including their intentions.
While I was struggling with my arrogance, almost everything that could go wrong did. A practitioner commented that I wasn't focused during Fa studying sessions. My car broke down. I couldn't find my rhythm while I practiced drumming in the Tian Guo Marching Band; I just wanted to get it over with instead of perfecting my technique. I couldn't make an effective commercial or tell a story that moved people. I didn't have the patience to let others finish expressing their opinions. I was feeling impetuous in everything I did and didn't want to do it well. This was the me who refused to change, and wanted others to change to accommodate what I wanted.
I started to talk less, comment less, and express less of my opinions. What happened was, when I kept my mouth shut, nothing went wrong. Instead, more people had a chance to participate and the events went more smoothly.
Master says in Zhuan Falun,
“My fashen can also directly install Falun for a cultivator, but we do not encourage one’s attachment. When you teach a person the exercises, he may say, “Oh, I have Falun now.” You think it was you who installed it, but that’s not the case. The reason I am telling you this is so you will not develop this attachment. It is all done by my fashen. This is how our Falun Dafa cultivators should spread the practice.”
I used to think that the person Master talked about in this passage was silly. How could he ever think that he could give someone a Falun? Nevertheless I found out that more often than not, I attributed the success to myself. For example, “Someone's changed because I said this to him,” or, “something worked out well because I have always insisted on doing such-and-such.”
I was often impatient with other practitioners because I deemed his job as my own and felt that if I ignored it, no one else would get the job done.
The fact is that Master is on top of everything. What really changes a life is the Fa, and I am just fortunate to be a part of it.