My Experience Coordinating Our Trip to New York
(Minghui.org) Several hundred Taiwanese practitioners went to the New York Fa Conference this past May. I was appointed to be the leader of one of the groups, and my task was to coordinate our travel, accommodations, and activities in New York.
Things did not go smoothly, and I was presented with many opportunities to better understand the Fa. Here, I would like to share some of my thoughts.
I made a lot of preparations before the trip. Since I'm an engineer I'm usually good at organizing things. With other practitioners' help, I made very detailed plans for the trip, including our itineraries, suggestions for what to bring, what to wear, and so on. I was hoping that everyone would stick to the plan.
However, I could not plan for everything and many things went awry. The ensuing chaos wasted our time. Some practitioners did not like my arrangements and complained. Faced with their blame and criticism, I cried.
When I calmed down and opened Zhuan Falun, I saw this paragraph:
“At an ordinary level, people easily take qigong to be directly related to physical exercises. Of course, at a low level, qigong and physical exercises are the same with respect to attaining a healthy body. Yet its specific exercise methods and adopted means differ greatly from those of physical exercises.”
I realized that we can do things by approaching them either as everyday people or as cultivators. On the surface, an everyday person's method may seem to be the most obvious solution but it may not be the way to handle things as a cultivator should.
The lead coordinators made a few suggestions and asked us team leaders to pass them on. But the coordinators only stated the goals, how to achieve them was up to us. We could either choose an everyday person's approach, or we could choose to behave as practitioners.
I'd like to tell you what happened with our hotel room arrangement. To save money, we tried to place four people of the same gender in each room. But this meant that husbands and wives had to stay in different rooms.
Most practitioners were satisfied with our arrangements, but a few refused to go along with them, so we had to book extra rooms and some had to pay a little more. I thought, “I shouldn't get upset. As long as the others are willing to pay a little more, it's fine.”
When the lead coordinators heard that some of our group's rooms were not full, they filled them with people from other groups, and all 15 rooms were filled.
When I look back I see that, no matter how detailed our plans were, no matter how much thought we put into them, the arrangements were out of our hands. What we really needed to do was just stay calm and keep our thoughts righteous. Master was in charge and everything had already been arranged perfectly.
I thought: “Isn't this a test to see if I can accept criticism? Who says that everybody has to listen to me? Is this the only way to reach our goal? Can I accept the fact that I am not as capable as I think I am? Can I accept that perhaps other people don't think that I'm as capable as I think I am? Isn't cultivation about placing others first?”
The second story is about the character-formation. Before the trip, I told everyone to wear summer clothes. However, it was cold and rainy in New York. A few practitioners from the other group didn't wear summer clothes, and some wore raincoats. They were fine, but members of my group were cold and wet. When I noticed this, I thought, “The leaders of the other group were considerate, but I was not.”
Before the trip I was told by the organizers that the character-formation requires the same color clothing. The yellow raincoats may be different colors, and they looked bad in the previous years' photos.
However, we knew that the weather was going to be cold and rainy in New York before we left Taiwan. The organizers did not say that we could not wear heavier clothes under our summer T-shirts. They also did not say that we could not wear raincoats before and after the formation.
The leaders of the other group thought about this, but I didn't. They were truly considerate of others. Only when we have real compassion can we see beyond the surface level to our true requirements.
Before the trip, many coordinators emphasized that we should not worry too much, because we are following Master's arrangements. My plans were based on my own notions, so they were not perfect. Only Master's plans are perfect. Master is watching over us and protecting us. If we can conduct ourselves based on the Fa and put down our attachments, we can work well together. The Fa gives us wisdom to fulfill what Master wants us to do.
I had different tests every day during the trip to New York. I was given many opportunities to see my attachments and how well or badly I had cultivated. There are no minor things in cultivation. I realized that people at different levels will do things differently, and the outcomes will be different.
I now have a better understanding of Master's teaching:
“You probably remember something I've said to you often: a Dafa disciple should consider others first in everything he does. Whenever something happens or whenever a situation comes about, even if it's a minor thing, my first thought is of others, for it's already become natural for me--I just think of others first. If all of you can do this, there won't be any of that stubborn arguing in your validating the Fa; if you really have a solid foundation like this and are able to calm yourselves, consider others, and examine yourselves when anything happens, I think you'll be able to handle a lot of things well.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston)