Getting Rid of the Attachment of Showing off
(Minghui.org) I have attended funeral services for quite a few Falun Dafa practitioners recently. I found that these practitioners had one thing in common: they did many things to help people learn about Dafa, and had large responsibilities in certain projects. They did so many things, but they fell asleep when they were doing the exercises, studying the Fa, attending meetings and even when they were driving.
After attending a funeral service, I sometimes thought that I should find some time to dig deeper and examine the similar attachments that I saw in myself. But the thought would become buried under the amount of work I was involved in. One day I suddenly realized that I could not miss these opportunities forever, and must look deeper at my attachments to root them out.
How My Attachment Grew
I saw myself as having an attachment to doing things and wanting to show others that I am a capable person. If I didn't dig these attachments out and get rid of them, I knew that they would stick to me like spirit or animal possession and never let go.
It was hard to imagine how this attachment had developed and been sustained over all these years of my cultivation.
“The old forces have arranged for all Dafa disciples a set of their things...” (“Be Clearheaded”, from The Essentials of Diligent Progress, Vol III)
I examined myself using this Fa teaching, and understood that through the process of doing Dafa work, the old forces had instilled in me the desire to show off.
The old forces also shaped the way I thought and tailored the actions I took through my involvement in various things, large or small. Put simply, this was the old forces' brainwashing process, a long lasting plot of enlarging my notions of “self”. At crucial moments, the notion of wanting to validate myself was at work, stopping me from doing the three things that Teacher requires of us.
For example, when I was young, my father often praised me in front of relatives and friends. He would say that I was good and hard working. Adults smiled at me and I would respond with a big grin. I learned that when I did something that nobody else liked to do, adults would praise me.
At school, I was the teachers' assistant and often ran errands for my classmates. At work, I cooperated with my supervisor and did additional work when necessary. When people said I was a hard worker and a responsible person, I was exceptionally happy.
My supervisor often asked me to do the urgent tasks. No matter how difficult and distressing it was, I would complete it quietly without complaint. I was often rewarded with an excellent annual evaluation and would receive a larger bonus than anyone else at the end of the year.
It isn't wrong to do things diligently and responsibly, neither is it wrong to be entrusted with important tasks. What is wrong is the excessive pride that I had, which accompanies the satisfaction when compliments are given for a job well done.
This kind of wanting to please lasted for decades, and all these years reinforced the importance of showing off. Subconsciously, I thought that this was what had made me unique, therefore, I paid more attention to it. Just like the cartoon character Popeye who eats spinach to become stronger, the heart of self-recognition gave me strength, and justified my existence. Without me, nothing could be done!
If one does not practice cultivation, one would not know that an egotistic mind and a heart of self-affirmation are not good. It obstructed me from seeing the true objective in practicing cultivation.
It has been very hard to break away from this human heart that has accompanied me all these years. It would feel like I had accomplished nothing, or like something was missing if I didn't do chores and get involved in things.
Showing Off Interferes with Family Life
The more sharings I heard relating to showing off, the more I realized the danger that this attachment posed to my cultivation. For example, when it was time to send forth righteous thoughts, my brain might immediately think of wanting to do something else, like cleaning a part of the house or returning an urgent phone call.
Another example was when it was time to study the Fa, but I suddenly remembered that I forgot to remind someone about an important matter. What should I do? The more I thought about it the less I could focus on Fa study. Why not go make a phone call first to help practitioners, then come back and study the Fa?
Through the completion of tasks, the heart of showing off became very strong and even made me go extremes. I completed one thing after another because practitioners said they needed it urgently. The more time I spent on these tasks the less time I had for the household chores. Dinner time kept being pushed back further and further.
To my family, I was busier than people who had jobs outside the home. My mother-in-law, husband and son were not happy with me. It became clear to me that I have neglected my family and their feelings. I thought that I was doing the most righteous things, but in reality I had made them anxious and didn't put in any time for them.
Sending Righteous Thought to Eliminate the Attachment to Showing Off
This human heart of mine imposed in me by the old forces often interfered with me. It made me lose focus when sending forth righteous thoughts and doing the sitting meditation.
I was determined to make a clean break with it. When my main consciousness was strong, I was able to send righteous thoughts as soon as the desire to do things came out. I didn't necessarily wait until the four global sending righteous thoughts times to eliminate this interference.
This was how I sent out the thought: “Completely eliminate the attachment planted in me, from the most microscopic to the macroscopic level, layers upon layers throughout my body and my thoughts. I don't want this attachment. It interferes with me doing the three things. My Teacher Li Hongzhi doesn't acknowledge arrangements made by the old forces. Neither do I. Dafa disciples in the Fa-rectification period only follow our Teacher. I don't want it and don't accept it.”
More than ten years have passed, but now I can understand what Teacher said in Hong Yin “No Pursuit,”
“Three religions teach to cultivate without pursuitWhen the mind’s used improperly that’s with pursuitSolely seeking out good deeds is still with pursuitRemoving attachments is truly no pursuit”
I am greatly indebted to Teacher's salvation.
The above is my personal understanding. Please kindly point out anything that you consider not in accordance with the Fa.