Cultivating While Working on Media Projects
(Minghui.org) Greetings esteemed Master, and fellow practitioners:
I stepped on my cultivation path in 1995, and I am now managing the contracts for the life section of The Epoch Times, the advertisement design for the classified ads, and the typesetting for the newspaper.
Learning to Cooperate
I used to be involved in socio-economic research, analysis, and prediction before I emigrated to the U.S. from China. Throughout my employment, I thought of myself as a reliable staff member, and I was very proud of that.
After joining The Epoch Times, I still used the thought processes and methods which I thought were quite successful during my past employments. I also held my own thoughts concerning different aspects of classified ads. When I discuss work-related matters, I will start out by discussing the current situation, and end by talking about the end effect of our decision making. My reasoning is that the listener only needs to listen to my opinion, choose a practical method, perfect it, and come to a final decision.
However, some of the salespeople believe that the way I speak and behave shows that I believe to be better than anyone else. It did not help that the head of the division was of the same opinion, as I did not reply to his work emails at times. I think that this is not a reasonable assumption, especially as it confused me.
From what I remember, people always thought that I was a good colleague and assistant. Then, why do my fellow practitioners have such an impression? I just wanted the best for all of us, but they did not want to accept it.
At first, I thought that we are of different character, which is a problem. The head makes quick decisions, while I mull things over for a while. Maybe if the head's thought process is fast, he does not understand someone as I who takes things slowly, and has a difficult time to follow his trail of thoughts.
Then, I realized that my way of thinking is looking at the outside, instead of looking inward. That is when I understood that I still followed the indoctrination by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Thus, I had to cultivate by eliminating this trait and be humble.
However, I have not been able to let completely go of the indoctrination by the CCP. Sometimes when I meet the chief, I get nervous and try to hide. When I speak to fellow practitioners whom I was working with, I will also be very careful in how I act. I was very troubled for not having completely let go of this attachment.
Using a metaphor – As the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra music spoke to my inner heart, I was able to let it envelop me, which helped me change.
My understanding now is that every orchestra has its own performance style. The way the conductor interprets and manages the details of the music are also different. No matter how great his performance skills may be, a musician will still need to listen to the conductor and perform the piece as one with the rest of the orchestra, according to how the conductor envisions the tone of the music. If a musician keeps following his own style during performances, he will not match the rhythm of the others, and will thus become a disrupting sound.
It is only after analyzing the disruptive force in an orchestra did I realize that I only think that I am helping others. However, that may not be what the chief needs when he considers the big picture. To put it plainly, I have practiced egoism and self-validation, and may even have brought trouble and disturbance to others.
“If, beyond being responsible to the Fa, you have no human attachments, none of your own things, and none of your personal factors mixed in, then you are sure to do that thing well.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VI)
“The more you put you 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.” (“Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VI)
I understood that I am just like a musician who is a disruptive force. If I still maintain my past style of doing things, I will become a disruptive force. It is only then that I really understood the principles of cooperating with others. I need to let go of my ego and cooperate with the chief and the sales team without any preconditions to achieve our common goal.
Thinking Positively: Tests and Tribulations Can’t Stop Us from Advancing
Recalling the cultivation experience that I had while working on the media project, the reason why we were able to overcome the tests and tribulations every day is because we listened to Master, and remembered that Dafa disciples need to “…using true principles to cultivate himself…” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI) and also made use of the gem to ‘look within’ ourselves.
A Fellow Practitioner’s Positive Thinking Helped Me Pass a Difficult Test
The three members of my family cultivate in Dafa. When I meet with tests or troubles, no matter whether I am right or wrong, none of them will agree to what they are hearing, but will ask me to look within.
I am in charge of managing the contracts for information regarding lifestyles, design for the classified advertisements, typesetting, finalize the template, and taking the newspaper for printing. Therefore I may have to face all kinds of problems. In the past, managing advertisements were very simple, but now all types of problems may occur. During the first year of working in the media, I was patient and would accede to all whatever was asked of me.
However, as the workload increased, my patience was put to the test. I faced complaints and only could see the mistakes of others. What surprised me was that I used to be a mild-tempered person, but after working on the media project with fellow practitioners, I turned into someone with a temper. However, losing my temper not only did not resolve the issues but caused division between me and my fellow practitioners. I was nervous, and worried that something might go wrong with the print templates, and that the clients’ complaints would affect the reputation of The Epoch Times. I was under great pressure, and thought on and off of transferring to another department.
A designer made a mistake at the end of 2016. Although there were also issues with the work process, and slips in the proofreading, she shouldered all the consequences. The designer’s tears of being wronged was the last straw. I saw myself being in her shoes, and was worried that I faced similar injustice. Therefore, I immediately sent an email to the head of the division and asked for a transfer to another department. I could not calm down to study the Fa. The head ignored my email and I also ignored him. However, as a cultivator I must have a problem when involved in a conflict. I realized that I should look within and improve my cultivation state. But no matter how I tried, I was unable to find a fault within myself.
During the weekend, I wanted to have a cultivation exchange with my family practitioners, and they suggested that we should study the Fa first. We studied Essentials for Further Advancement. When we read “What is Forbearance (Ren)?” my family suggested that we should study it once more.
“Forbearance is the key to improving one’s xinxing. To endure with anger, grievance, or tears is the forbearance of an everyday person who is attached to his concerns. To endure completely without anger or grievance is the forbearance of a cultivator.” (“What is Forbearance (Ren)?” Essentials for Further Advancement)
After studying Master's Fa numerous times, my mind gradually started to calm down. I felt so embarrassed that I could not even achieve the basic tolerance of a sentient being. By then, I already felt that there is nothing that needs to be shared anymore.
After calming down, I immediately found my problem. I asked myself why do I want to transfer? It is because I am afraid. What am I afraid of? I was afraid of being wronged. If it is a mistake that is caused by me, I would have admitted to it but if it is a mistake caused by others, and I have to admit to it, I would not be willing to do so. Digging further, I realized that this is because it impacts my reputation. I was afraid of hurting my reputation.
Just then, the head asked me to see him for a talk. There was no talk about ‘leaving’ or ‘staying’. It was just a short sharing. The chief said that I am not able to assume responsibility. Indeed, due to my fear of being wronged, my ability to accept responsibility is lacking sorely. When I found my problem, my energy field cleared and brightened. A Dafa practitioner in the Fa-rectification period must be able to accept responsibility.
Since then, whenever I face a conflict, but could not find the cause of the conflict immediately, I would remind myself to practice “Forbearance” and calm down. Once I calmed down, I recognized the true problem and resolved it.
There was another time when the practitioners who are closer to me talked to me and told me that my negative emotions are affecting me again -- my change in tone alerted them. Therefore, she shared her cultivation understandings with me. Master said, “…when you take a step back in a conflict, you will find the seas and the skies boundless, and it will certainly be another situation,” (Lecture Nine, Enlightenment, Zhuan Falun).
Master told us that we must “compromise”. I said, I kept compromising and there is already no more room for me to compromise. If I were to further, I will need to leave the project. She said, “You still need to compromise.” Master enlightened me through her words.
We must listen to Master and compromise without any precondition. Therefore, I will compromise. But how do I do it? Through studying the Fa continuously every day, I slowly understood how to do it. We, as cultivators, must put others before ourselves and place our ego and self-interest at the back. Therefore, I cannot keep hoping for others to change. I need to change myself.
“When you meet with a conflict, it doesn’t matter whether you are in the right. You should be asking yourself, “What on my part isn’t right in this situation? Might it really be that there is something wrong on my part?” You should all be thinking this way, with your first thought being to scrutinize yourself to try to find the problem. Whoever is not like this is not in fact a true cultivator of Dafa. It is a magical tool in our cultivation. This is a distinguishing feature of our Dafa disciples’ cultivation. Whatever it is that you encounter, the first thought should be to scrutinize yourself, and it’s called “looking within.””(“What is a Dafa Disciple,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
It is important that we cherish the hearts of practitioners. We must look more at their merits and be more understanding of them. When the capacity in my heart increased, I suddenly felt that the path was opening and there no longer appeared to be a dead end. I no longer care so much about who is right or wrong among practitioners.
When I began to change, the attachments I found gradually began to disappear, and my fellow practitioners also started to change, as all of us are improving in our cultivation states of the one body, and consequently, the old forces can no longer stop us from advancing.
A practitioner who is very skilled in computer technology developed a new system that helped ease the link between the sales, contracts management, finance and design departments – everyone can work systematically on the same platform. Since then, mistakes reduced significantly, our work efficiency improved greatly, and the conflicts among us and our stress reduced too.
Dafa Practitioners’ Positive Thinking Can Change a Sentient Being’s Thoughts
I have never felt that my salary is very low. To me, I always thought that the salary given in our media projects is the same as the market rate in American society. It is just that we volunteered to donate a portion of our salary to the media project and only retain what we need for living.
My aged parents came to New York in the spring of 2017 for a few months. Initially, they were very sad, saying that the children of their classmates, colleagues and friends all have reputable jobs overseas, bought mansions, have their own cars and do not have to worry about making ends meet. The house that we rent is old, life is just making ends meet, it is not convenient to travel and they were not satisfied with our jobs.
They felt that we were dabbling in politics, working for a tough job and that the salary is too low. As we were only able to make ends meet, my parents had to pay for all of their own expenses during their stay in the U.S. In New York, they have to use their pension to pay for the house rental, and when they buy things, they will multiply all the prices by the exchange rate of the Chinese currency, thus everything seemed to be very expensive, and they could not bear to spend so much money.
My parents mentioned many times that they want our daughter to work in a regular company, so she could earn a higher salary. This would improve the lifestyle of our family. They are worried about how are we going to live in the long term given that our salaries are so low. We told them that our media project is a regular company in American society, and we receive a regular salary. My father interjected that we have to donate a portion of our salary.
“Yes, we are an international media company,” I said. “We are comprised of newspaper, television, internet, multimedia. Presently we are the largest Chinese media outside China. The quantity of our Chinese papers’ distribution tops the list in the whole world. Our objectives are greater. In the future, we want to become the largest media in the world so we need to develop quickly. We will need funds to do so, therefore we are only taking expenses to make ends meet. In the future, as the media keeps developing, our salary will reach industry levels.” That was the end of such a discussion.
My parents had the opportunity to watch the Shen Yun performance, the Washington big parade, a large scale mass gathering, and so on. The change in them was very big. Our confidence in the media made them see hope. They said very clearly that they respect our daughter’s choice and no longer ask for her to leave the media to work in a regular company. They feel that the media project saved me when I was in trouble so we need to be grateful for that. They enjoyed their stay, and no longer worry about their daughter’s way of living.
Gaining Strength as I Advance on My Cultivation Path
Since I was young, I was soft-spoken. When people use a louder voice, I no longer participate in the conversation. If I meet someone more powerful than I, I will try to hide.
After practicing Falun Dafa, practitioners have Master’s benevolent protection. Dafa guides us on our cultivation path, and fellow practitioners will be there to help us when needed. This helped me to become stronger. When I chose to cultivate in Dafa without turning back, and gave up a job that was thought to be great by others, the people around me were all very surprised that the ‘me’ that has always been soft and would never reject anyone would become so determined after cultivating in Dafa.
Going through these more than 20 years of cultivation, I kept telling myself that I must continue on. I always thought that this is a form of righteous thoughts. However, after joining the media project, a practitioner shared her understanding with me that, “I am non-collapsible”. I immediately saw the vast difference in our cultivation states.
After hearing that practitioner’s sharing, I realized that that thought of mine is a form of passive acceptance. It is a form of accepting the old forces’ arrangement before rejecting it. I have never thought that, “I am non-collapsible”. Therefore, my cultivation path has been filled with hardship. Sometimes I will persevere, while at other times I will break down.
Since then, whenever I face a problem, I will remember what a practitioner has said – I am non-collapsible – making the problem easier to handle. However, as it is not what I have understood about myself, I have yet to cultivate. When I say, “I am non-collapsible”, I still lack the confidence and went back to “I cannot collapse and I must persevere.” Sometimes, I will try to hide from conflicts and troubles and think of transferring out of my job.
A vocalist sang in the 2017 Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra performance the song “Plum Blossoms”. As I listened to the melody and the lyrics, tears covered my face. A thick wall in front of me collapsed in an instant and my heart and mind immediately opened up to a wide panorama. Since then, I can significantly feel that my inner soul has become stronger, and there is nothing that cannot be overcome.
At that moment, I truly understood the inner meaning of why Master described Dafa practitioners as plum blossoms. We should be like the plum blossoms which are not afraid of extreme weather, but instead become more resilient in extreme weathers, therefore they blossom everywhere.
In the past, when I faced conflicts or troubles, I wanted to hide. There were so many times when I wanted to transfer to another department. Now, I really feel that I am much stronger. When I meet trouble, I will tell myself that I am a Dafa practitioner, I am as the plum blossom that Master has described. Therefore, I should not be choosy about the environment and the job, as the plum blossom grows as long as there is soil. I should stay where I'm at and seriously cultivate.
Thank you our great and benevolent Master for teaching us this rare universal Dafa. Thank you fellow practitioners in the media project for being so accommodating and helpful. They opened my mind towards the needs of others and helped me to reduce my grumbling. The capacity of my heart has become bigger and I have become more at peace and quiet. The responsibilities that I can shoulder are also increasing.
I hope that I can work with my fellow practitioners to do better in producing the Chinese language Epoch Times so that once our readers flip open the newspaper, they will feel that it is the most beautiful piece of artwork. I hope that the lifestyle information of The Epoch Times can become the lifestyle information that the New York Chinese cannot live without.
I really cherish the cultivation environment in the media project. I hope that I can be diligent in my cultivation and complete our mission to assist Master in the Fa- rectification.