Cultivation Experience from Working in the Media
(Minghui.org) Greetings, esteemed Master and fellow practitioners.
Regaining Dafa and Reconnecting with My Sacred Predestination
I obtained the Fa in mainland China in 2010. My family started cultivating as early as 1993. I was young and did not understand the meaning of cultivation. I felt that doing the exercises was too painful and thus chose not to practice. I missed this opportunity.
It took 16 years before I picked up Zhuan Falun again. Reading it, I felt that what I’d been searching for had been close to me all along. Master said, “It’s like an electrical plug—plug it in, and the electricity flows through it.” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa – Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
To look for guidance, I used to read many classical novels and history books from the East and the West. They did not change me but acted as a costume on the outside. When I finished reading Zhuan Falun, I realized that it answered all my questions. The principles of Dafa touched me deeply and awakened my true self that had been buried. I knew that Dafa could change me from within, so I began to cultivate.
Soon after, I had a dream that told me that my family and I came down from layers upon layers of the universe to the earth from above. It was like the opening scene in Shen Yun where the gods followed Master down to the earth. When I woke up from my dream, I was in awe. This was Master’ encouragement to me as a new disciple, and it deepened my belief and perseverance in cultivation.
Joining the Media Under a Compassionate Arrangement
Before leaving China, I read Master’s lecture, “Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting.” I thought it would be ideal if I could join the media full-time and make a living from it too. Looking back, this thought was pure. It did not originate from strong attachments to pursuit. After coming overseas to study, I met a practitioner around the same age as I who was involved with the Epoch Times. She was pleasant to talk to, and we were very close. She reached out to me whenever the media needed volunteers, and I gladly gave a hand.
The media coordinator got to know me well and offered to hire me full-time after I graduated. I declined due to financial difficulties. When I was about to graduate, the coordinator asked me for help with a short-term project. Since I hadn’t started my job search, I agreed without any hesitation.
The media is a Dafa practitioners’ project that needs the support of younger practitioners. After this, the coordinator again asked me to stay, and I said yes. But, this was not the end of the story, as I experienced much interference. I regretted my decision because of financial circumstances, and I was a little worried about the interpersonal relationships among the media team. I hesitated and told the coordinator that I would only stay for a few months. She told me that the company needed permanent staff and gave me one month to decide.
During that month, my mind swayed back and forth. I needed to think about the realities of making a living, but I also needed to consider my responsibility to this Dafa project. It was the last day of the month. In the morning, when I was studying the Fa, something in the Fa suddenly enlightened me and helped me make my decision. I do not recall which lecture inspired me, but I remember it was clear that Master hinted that I should stay. In the following years, the thought of whether it was a good decision to stay came up again and again, especially when I was going through xinxing tribulations.
Whenever difficulties arose, I had the urge to leave. The largest test happened last year. I did not see any hope in continuing. For the past few years, it had been hard for me to survive with the basic salary, and I constantly thought about changing to another job. Soon after, I participated in the global media conference. After Master came, I felt as if I had been through a ritual anointment after listening to His lecture.
“Each of you involved in the media are in the process of cultivating yourselves, and this work that you are doing is part of it. That is for sure. And that’s the case regardless of what role you play at the company or what work you do.” (“2018 NTD and Epoch Times Fa Conference”)
It was then that I realized that my job in the media is the cultivation path that Master arranged for me. Whenever I wavered, there were always factors that prevented me from resigning. I always thought about what I wanted to do but never enlightened to what Master needed. After all this back and forth, I knew that I would continue to remain at the Epoch Times.
Cultivating Bit by Bit in the Media
My cultivation has become one with the media project. All of the conflicts and hardships that I was faced with pointed at my xinxing. For example, one of my colleagues did not follow the standard operating procedure, which created inefficiencies for me. I had another project on hand at the time. It used up most of my energy, and this increased my stress. I did not maintain my xinxing and verbally attacked this practitioner. I raised my voice and blamed her.
Afterwards, I knew that it was my fault for being angry about this trivial matter. I left this thought at a superficial level of finding omissions and did not truly look inward. The next day, my body was sore, and I felt drained as if I had been through a fight. I realized that I had a large omission in cultivation, which caused the old forces to take advantage of me. I realized that I should look within seriously.
From the surface, I found that I was combative and not tolerant when faced with issues. Behind the combativeness, I found that it was intolerance and rejection of thoughts or behavior that disagreed with my own notions. Digging deeper, I found that standing up for my notions and beliefs was a self-defense mechanism. If I followed my own ideas, nothing would go out of control, and my work performance would be safe. If I strayed from my safety zone, then things could go wrong and affect my performance.
I was protecting myself from being chastised and blamed by others. I worked hard at my job to avoid negative comments rather than out of responsibility. My selfish side only wanted to hear positive feedback and good news. Combativeness arose to defend my selfishness and upheld my ego. Anything that went against the ego was seen as wrong, and I would disagree and resist. This mentality of not wanting to be criticized and only wanting to hear kind words were closely connected to resentment. Whenever things went against my will, I complained, and hatred and resentment surfaced.
At this point, Master further enlightened me that the xinxing tests that I had before were all rooted in combativeness and resentment. I hadn’t truly or firmly cultivated for so long, and I failed to look within whenever conflicts arose. I’d been focusing on the right or wrong, and my first thought was always about how others had wronged me. While blaming others, I asked myself to be tolerant and forgiving. This was not true cultivation, and it let my demonic side grow unconstrained. I went through many similar tests, and it accumulated until I could not take it anymore. Whenever I found anything unsatisfying, I felt angry. It was like a bomb because I did not repel my demonic side.
“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.” (“What is a Dafa Disciple,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XI)
Rereading this lecture, I enlightened that the foundation of cultivation is to look within. Whenever there’s a conflict, there must be something that needs to be improved. Cultivators do not need to argue who’s right or wrong. We need to change this superficial first thought judging who’s right or wrong.
Looking back, I realized that I had missed many cultivation opportunities. Many conflicts seemed small, and I took them lightly and cultivated only superficially. The opportunities to improve and truly cultivate slipped through under the pretense of my busy project schedules.
For a long time, I’d been stuck in the habit of completing tasks, and I felt burned out mentally and physically. This was because I was not really cultivating. After I truly looked within, I became more aware of the notions that conflicted with my own. I regularly reminded myself that this was another test. Sometimes I did really well, and Master strengthened my righteous thoughts, and the corrupt beings influencing me turned weaker and weaker. Sometimes, conflicts suddenly came up when my main consciousness was weak. The fake me made up of notions would re-appear, and the combative state would resurface. After calming down, I realized that these corrupt beings were trying to come back.
When I dug deeper, I found that the acquired notions and karma made up of a fake me had surrounded my body and formed selfishness. During specific interactions, I demonstrated selfishness through thinking that all of my ideas were correct and justified. I saw others as inferior. I saw myself as the more experienced individual who should be listened to. These corrupt beings were formed a long time ago, and I could not eliminate them all at once; it was not that as soon as I found the substance, it would disappear. I still had to change my behavior. I needed to pay attention to every small conflict and continually send forth righteous thoughts to negate them. Thus, when I did not do well, I wasn’t upset; rather, I tried to do better next time. I realized that this was all a part of cultivation.
Getting Rid of the Attachment to Validating Myself
In my first two years of joining the media, I did not know how to cultivate, and I was stuck in performing tasks. I wanted to do my job well and apply what I had learned in school. I did things based on my preference and enthusiasm instead of settling down and doing the work steadily. Gradually, I found that my results were often contrary to expectations.
For some reason, the tasks considered easy in ordinary society were really difficult to do in our team. I saw various levels of interference, both internal and external. Internally, I found that even though I was doing my job in a responsible manner, it was for the purpose of proving my self-worth. I realized that I’d had this attachment for a long time and tried to get rid of it, but I’d only scratched the surface.
Sometimes, I came up with selfish excuses for the attachment so that it would not be eliminated. For example, I saw myself as taking ownership of my work and putting my heart into the project. However, half of my heart was actually validating myself. If this project succeeded, it would be partially attributable to my work. I enjoyed thinking about this because it weighed on the value of my existence. When the project didn’t go smoothly, I got upset and unhappy. I felt that my effort was in vain.
I did things while holding on to the attachment to results, the attachment to performing well, and the attachment to fame. I tried to dig deeper to uncover the root of such strong attachments. These attachments grew and had been accumulating since I was born. Since childhood, I had good grades in school and was always granted scholarships.
In ordinary society, I was a diligent and hardworking individual. This allowed my fake self to grow, and it kept telling me that I was capable and really amounted to something. Influenced by the CCP mentality for many years, I was combative and only wanted to accept positive feedback. This competition to be in the right is also selfish.
I also had a strong attachment to making achievements in the media. Step by step during my cultivation, the instances that Master arranged made me realize that selfishness was really so tiny. Without Dafa, I would be nothing at all and would not be able to achieve anything. Once, I was doing the second exercise at home when Master showed me the deeper meaning behind “You put in the effort and your teacher will handle the rest.” (The First Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I could not stop crying because I previously did not know my own place. Master did everything, and my achievement was really nothing. At that moment, I truly felt that I was wrong and kept apologizing to Master, telling him that I knew I was wrong. This year, when I went to New York to attend the Fa conference, Master’s teaching again enlightened me:
“...I’d like to ask Master, when is the younger generation of Dafa disciples going to follow in our footsteps and take on the responsibilities at Minghui.org the way we did back in the day?
Master: It seems that young people tend to have ambitions in life that are unrealistically high, so they might have a hard time settling down with what they do.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2019 New York Fa Conference”)
The words “ambitions in life that are unrealistically high” spoke to my heart. It was clearly talking about me, and Master enlightened me that I needed to improve.
“But this is cultivation, and if practitioners were really aware of [Minghui’s value] they would be vying to participate in it. But the majestic virtue involved isn’t something people can see. It isn’t visible to anyone, and the efforts of the practitioners involved aren’t something others know about.” (“2018 Fa Teaching Given in Washington, D.C.”)
I enlightened that letting go of self is what I should do when involved in a media project. When I truly felt humble, I found that the resentment I had held for a very long time toward other practitioners was reduced to almost nothing, and Master removed the bad substances. In getting rid of these attachments to self-validation and seeking fame, Master showed me how to see things from the perspective of Fa-rectification, and I was no longer beholden to personal cultivation.
During Fa-rectification cultivation, each of our thoughts would determine whether countless sentient beings could be saved. If we failed to view these attachments from the perspective of Fa-rectification, then we would be stuck in the trap set by the old forces, go in circles, and struggle in personal cultivation. We must ground our cultivation, focus on our daily thoughts, and remove the fake self. We should firmly believe that the attachments are not ourselves. No matter what acquired notions or thoughts the old forces impose on us, we should not accept any of them. Whenever I held on to this thought and used my firm righteous thought to negate it, Master helped me to get rid of the bad substances, and I could feel the attachment gradually weaken.
Cultivating every thought is rooted in keeping up with Fa study and exercises. Since the beginning of last year, I’ve been doing the exercises in the mornings at the office with two other practitioners. This process was a continual fight against the attachments to comfort and laziness. Slowly, I felt the benefit of exercising and studying the Fa as a group, and only when I experienced it on my own did I know its wonders.
At the beginning of this year, the media went through some restructuring. The practitioners responsible for back-end support silently did a lot of things to create an environment for more people to participate in morning exercises, including providing breakfast. The practitioners who participated in this encouraged one another, and it created an environment where we compared and encourage each other in cultivation. I felt that I was really fortunate to be part of this accessible Fa-study and exercise environment.
I would like to thank the practitioners who gave selflessly, and I thank Master for his merciful arrangements and salvation. In the limited time left in cultivation, I would like to truly cultivate firmly and sturdily while doing the three things, and cherish the prolonged time that Master gave to us through bearing indescribable pain. The loose environment abroad seems relaxed, but it’s not simple, and everything is arranged for the purpose of saving sentient beings.
I would like to thank Master for his merciful salvation!
(Presented at the 2019 Canada Fa Conference)