Maturing in Cultivation During Media Work
(Minghui.org) Greetings Master, and fellow practitioners:
I have been involved in Falun Dafa media work for over 10 years since I moved to Toronto in 2018.
Learning to be a Diligent Newspaper Employee
The media team was planning to put more effort into the English Epoch Times, and make it more influential at the beginning of 2018. I was encouraged and urged by some practitioners in Ottawa to come to Toronto for a media open house and interview.
At that time, I didn’t think that I was qualified to work for the English Epoch Times, plus I was still going through some physical tribulations. Therefore, I was not very interested in going to this event. In the end, I went with the attitude of just finishing a task. After I returned to Ottawa I continued to do the layout for special editions and working on Shen Yun reporting. When I had time, I protested at the Chinese Embassy for a few hours.
I didn’t expect that the Toronto Epoch Times would offer me the job, and I never was that interested in living in a big city, because of a lot of notions. I thought that working for a daily newspaper like Toronto ET would require a good cultivation state and professional skills. I was sure I couldn’t reach their standard. And the pressure to meet the publishing deadline every day was also very scary. Besides, Toronto is a big city with crowds everywhere and lots of traffic. I was afraid I would get lost all the time. Yet, I moved to Toronto in early May 2018. My mind was filled with worries, followed by all kinds of xinxing tests due to human attachments and notions.
The first test was about sentimentality. When I was working for weekly papers, I was by myself most of the time. I did work with other practitioners using the internet. After I moved to Toronto I noticed many practitioners working together on projects to help Master and the Fa-rectification. Besides, there were a lot of group studies and sharing. I was so excited and filled with zealotry. It felt as if I no longer had to fight alone.
Zealotry, showing off and the attachment of relying on others all came to the surface. Since the work for a daily paper is more complicated than a weekly paper, I started to develop the attachment of relying on fellow practitioners, thinking that I’d make fewer mistakes now that fellow practitioners were watching over my work. However, contrary to my expectations, I was making more and more mistakes, and the mistakes were more and more stupid. I felt that I was not capable of doing anything. I started to wonder whether I could remain with the media project. Maybe I should focus on improving my skill set. Master said, “...the appearance stems from the mind.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. X)
Then, management told me that they needed to cut some manpower to save resources and increase the efficiency of different positions. Since I was on probation I might be one of those who would be let go.
Soon the Epoch Times office in another city asked me to join them. With the time difference I found it difficult. I was moved by this request and couldn’t focus on my job. Looking inward, I found that I was showing off because I had a good cultivation environment when I was chatting with some practitioners from other regions. I even had a dangerous thought that Master arranged this good cultivation environment for me because I cultivated well.
Then, I stopped chatting with practitioners casually, but held strong human attachments and thoughts. I started to treat cultivation of speech more seriously, and thought before I said something. Sometime later, I found that I had less desire to express myself and I had less unrighteous thoughts. I realized that if I wanted to treasure Master’s arrangement for this new cultivation environment, just improving skills is not enough; I also had to make a breakthrough in my cultivation. Soon I was told that I could stay on as a permanent full-time employee. Later, whenever I made a mistake, I would try to recall what was going through my mind when making mistakes in the past.
Cultivate With the Heart You Once Had
I read Minghui sharing articles from practitioners in mainland China. Many elderly practitioners had never touched computers, but with their determination to set up truth clarification material production sites and guidance and protection from Master, they were able to run their own production sites throughout China. At that time, we had a simple mind. We took sending righteous thought seriously. Whenever we encountered difficulties we’d ask for Master’s help. Even though we had very limited manpower, we were able to have the weekly paper published without disruption.
“Cultivate with the heart you once had, and success is certain.” ( Enthusiastic applause) The reason many people didn’t succeed in their cultivation was because they weren’t able to make it through over the long haul. They might have felt lonely or bored, or they might have become so familiar with something or have grown so accustomed to something that they didn’t want to do it anymore. Anything can cause a person to become lax.” (“Fa Teaching on World Falun Dafa Day”)
I realized that I had slacked off, while growing a strong attachment to doing work. I didn’t cultivate through the issues in the work, and forgot that the project was also my cultivation path. I’d argue or fight about who was right or wrong with strong human attachments. My gratitude for Dafa’s salvation was gradually fading. I no longer had the sacred feeling of assisting Master in Fa-rectification.
For the past three years, I’ve participated in the backstage support for reporting on dozens of Shen Yun shows each year. In this process, when I heard the pure gratitude to Dafa from the audience, I often was moved to tears, but at the same time, I would feel very sad and worried since I didn’t have such gratitude. How come I didn’t have the gratitude for Dafa.
Master gave me a completely new life and all of the best things, that I can never repay. I vowed to cultivate out the purest heart to show my gratitude toward Master. I tried to avoid working full time for the media project, with the wrong notion that working in the media project would make me lack righteous thoughts. In fact, I was looking outside, and didn’t treat the media work as my cultivation path.
Making a Breakthrough
I also realized the attachment of trying to turn over my responsibilities to others, as well as expecting others to cultivate for me. When I was working for the weekly paper, I got very used to getting ready-made content or pages from the head office or other daily papers, I took that for granted. If I couldn’t get what I needed, I would complain.
Now, I finally realized how bad those thoughts were. Not only that, sometimes when practitioners were more capable than I, I would think he or she should do it. There was also ego and jealousy shown in these thoughts. The process from not having the necessary skills to learning and to becoming mature is itself a cultivation process. But I tried to turn these cultivation opportunities over to other practitioners, and brought troubles to those already very busy. Master taught us that Dafa disciples should think of others all the time, even when going through hardships. But, I had been stubbornly holding on to my ego and selfishness for a long time, trying to make things easier for myself, so it was hard for me to breakthrough.
“If you, as a cultivator, only part with things superficially while deep down inside you still stick to something or cling to your own vital interests that you don’t allow to be undermined, I’d say to you that your cultivation is fake! If your own thinking doesn’t change, you cannot advance even one step and are deceiving yourself. Only when you truly improve from within can you make real progress.” (Lecture at the First Conference in North America)
Thinking back, I always thought that I should just do what I am supposed to do and wouldn’t care what others say about me. When other practitioners pointed out my attachments to fame and showing off, I did not quite agree. Once we were trying to reorganize the office. Other practitioners came to help. Another practitioner in charge said to me something like “you are very capable.” I thought she was just being polite. Then, the image when fellow practitioners pointed out my attachment to fame and showing off occurred in my mind. I finally started to be alert.
I remembered many times when some practitioners said they had done so much work and how hard they were working, I would answer “oh you are doing great.” But, in my heart I was actually feeling annoyed, thinking, “You are showing off how much work you have done. You are doing project work pursuing a good reputation.” I realized at that moment this mindset included a lot of attachments, such as attachment to fame, showing off, competitiveness, and validating myself instead of Dafa.
Reflecting on myself, when I was talking to some practitioners, I would talk a lot about how much I have done. It’s a mentality of showing off. It looked like I actually wanted to say, “I have done a lot, I have cultivated a lot,” and deep down I want people to see I am really cultivating, or I did my part, and the rest is not my fault. I couldn’t let go in my heart, but instead was always trying to keep some attachment.
“Yet whenever you run into a conflict, you always push it off to the others and find weaknesses and shortcomings in others. Your doing that is not right. You could cause the work for Dafa to suffer a loss and cause Dafa to suffer a loss. You haven’t realized that you are all using Dafa and Dafa work to excuse your own shortcomings or hide your own attachments.” (Teaching the Fa at the Western U.S. Fa Conference)
Letting Go of CCP Indoctrination
Master has emphasized many times that practitioners from mainland China need to let go of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) indoctrination. I came overseas when I was relatively young. Some older practitioners sometimes say that I did not suffer too much under the CCP indoctrination. I used to feel good about it, thinking it’s good to come out of China at a young age.
However, every time I went to help with some Dafa projects in other cities, I would meet practitioners from Taiwan or Hong Kong who would point out that I was still rather attached to the CCP indoctrination when we talked. I took their advice and tried not to talk that way, but I still didn’t understand why that was CCP indoctrination.
I realized that I was born in that kind of CCP environment. From home to school, that environment surrounded me. How could I not have assumed the CCP indoctrination? After I read and listened to the special series from Epoch Times “The Ultimate Goal of Communism” and “How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World”, I finally started to realize how the CCP indoctrination is shown in my behavior and mindset, so that I can get rid of it.
For example, when a sales rep in the office asked me whether I had called his client to update their ad, my answer would be “I did but they never answered my call.” I made it sound like I made many phone calls, but in fact, I only made one or two calls. Now I realize that I didn’t follow the principle “Truthfulness,” and I have the attachment to “saving face.” I wanted to look busy and have done a lot of work. When I looked deeper inside, I found it had to do with the CCP indoctrination. It looks very much like the CCP who always exaggerates about how great and glorious and righteous it is, using all kinds of over-exaggerating phrases.
For a period of time I felt very disturbed by the CCP indoctrination persisting in my surrounding environment, my negative thoughts were getting stronger and stronger. I thought it was my ego, negative way of thinking and thought karma that I should let go of in the beginning, but later I also found that these were strengthened by the CCP indoctrination. Under communism, there’s always criticizing and fighting. This kind of mindset made me always want to criticize others, thinking this or that practitioner is not following the Fa teachings. I thought that I was always right because I looked within. I resented those people whose notions didn’t match mine.
With such a communist mindset, people are unable to see others’ advantages, but in traditional culture or even normal western culture, people would have positive thoughts and recognize the good and kind nature of humans instead of always criticizing, and people can really respect each other. But given the communist indoctrination, not only can I not see others’ good nature, but also think that I understand things better than others, or I am the right one, and also force what I think is good or right onto others. And with the communist mindset, there’s always a sneaky desire to compete, complain and look for excuses. These mindsets can all become barriers in coordination and projects.
“You are cultivators and should know your shortcomings. This is more than just the issue of affecting the image of our nationality. You carry with you the responsibility of saving all lives in the whole world, which is even more significant, so you must change your own thinking and conduct.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2019 New York Fa Conference”)
Only when we cultivate ourselves well, can we coordinate better in doing Dafa projects.
Treasure the Cultivation Environment
For a long time, I had been wondering whether my path is in doing a media project, because, unlike other practitioners, I don’t tend to carry out a job through to the end. Because of the lack of manpower, I have done different jobs, but none of them has reached the professional level. Although many fellow practitioners encourage me by saying, “you can do anything,” I am not confident. One day, a fellow practitioner who also worked in the media with many different jobs shared her experience that really touched me. She said that no matter what she does, she just tries to coordinate with the group to complete the mission of saving people.
Master said, “No matter what kind of function you have in this media, or what work has been delegated to you, that is your cultivation path.” (“2018 New Tang Dynasty and Epoch Times Fa Conference”) I finally assured myself that my path or my role in the media is also like that. No matter what I do, I have to try my best to coordinate with fellow practitioners to finish the production of the newspaper and spread the truth to save people.
I didn’t feel completely settled after moving to the west, until I realized that I didn’t cultivate thoroughly through a lot of xinxing tests. Instead, I had an attachment to avoiding those tests. Last year after I moved to Toronto, my husband was supposed to join me a few months later. That was the original plan. But the plan suddenly changed as he was moving to the States for a project. So, I had another excuse not to cultivate through those tests or tribulations, thinking that I would be going to the States to one day.
Then, I realized that if I went to the United States, I would lose this cultivation environment. At least there wouldn’t be a morning group exercise and study every morning that I could join. I also carefully reflected on what I really wanted. We gave up the relatively comfortable and relaxed way of life in the west, but had not completely settled down until recently. All I really wanted was a good cultivation environment and a stable cultivation state.
Master has already made the best arrangement for me, but I didn’t appreciate it. For a while, I couldn’t get up for the morning group exercise that early every day, and I slept past the time quite often. On weekends, I still also woke up late and didn’t look within, using all kinds of excuses when I came across xinxing test. If I really went to the United States, I wouldn’t have this cultivation environment. When I realized this, I tried not to miss the morning group practice and study, and was afraid that I would lose this environment one day. A fellow practitioner also reminded me that Master said: “Examine each and every deed, Accomplishing is cultivating.”(“Solid Cultivation,” Hong Yin) So I really have to cultivate in a more down to earth manner through these xinxing tribulations to make any progress in cultivation.
My husband came back from the United States and joined me in Toronto not long after I settled my mind. We no longer have the financial pressure of living apart. Finally, we can have a stable environment in our cultivation.
With the encouragement of many practitioners, I started to memorize the Fa. Although progress is very slow, I truly experience how wonderful it is to immerse myself into the Fa and actively cultivate. I enlightened to a lot of deeper Fa principles and meanings, and things I didn’t even realize I didn’t understand. When I fill my mind with more Fa, I feel fewer and fewer negative factors. I know that I still have a lot of human attachments and desires, and there will be many challenges in the media project to save more and more people. However, I will treasure Master’s arrangements, trying my best to have a breakthrough in my cultivation.
(Presented at the 2019 Canada Fa Conference)