(Minghui.org) I grew up under the influence of the Communist Party culture so I knew very little about traditional Chinese culture. As a result, I had trouble expressing myself properly. Thanks to my husband and my daughter, who both are Falun Dafa practitioners, I learned how to communicate with compassion and kindness.
In the past, when I shared my understandings with my daughter while she was going through tribulations, she would say, “You’re preaching to the choir! I don’t find what you say helpful.”
When I pointed out her shortcomings, she said, “I just don’t want to listen to you.” When she asked me to help her by sending forth righteous thoughts, I did it immediately. But she complained afterwards, “I don’t feel it’s working.” When she pointed out my shortcomings, I admitted, “I was in the wrong.” But she said I was insincere.
Every time, we parted in discord. In the end, we simply couldn’t communicate. She said, “We don’t speak the same language. You don’t understand me, and I don’t understand you. Let’s not exchange understandings from now on.”
What’s worse, she once pointed her finger at me and said, “Can you hold off doing things until I agree?” I was aggrieved and even wept. I thought, “Why is this test so hard to pass?” I hadn’t cried since the persecution started on July 20, 1999, but I couldn’t help crying in frustration now. My daughter didn’t take pity on me and change—instead she criticized me even harder.
However, when my husband talked with her things were completely different. She was very receptive. She told me, “See the difference in how Dad talks and how you talk?” I said, “Your Dad said the same thing I did!” I still didn’t understand what the problem was.
I asked my husband, “You heard what I said to her. Did you understand what I was trying to say?” He said, “Yes, I did.” I asked, “Then why didn’t she understand me?” He replied, “You often accuse me, but I simply stay quiet. Does your tone work on her?”
I was shocked. I thought I spoke in a kind and moderate tone—why couldn’t I treat my family this way? I either accused them or ordered them around. I never realized I often spoke in an accusatory manner.
I felt so bad that I did poorly in this regard after practicing cultivation for so long! I knew I must look inward. How can I communicate with my daughter? I thought about what caused my problem, and I resolved to study the Fa carefully and learn how to talk with people in a way that was in line with traditional Chinese culture.
Master Li said,
“...Women are strong and smartImpetuous, sharp-tongued, and dominating...”(“Yin and Yang Reversed,” Hong Yin III)
Wasn’t this talking about me? I deeply reflected on myself: As a schoolteacher, I developed a habit of being in charge. I insisted that the students listen to me. When they did not comply, I often used harsh language which left them speechless. I even took pride in how capable I was with words. At home, I always insisted I was right, and no one was allowed to challenge me. I would be very upset if anyone in the family said something not in line with my opinion.
During my 30-year high school reunion, my classmates said I had a compelling personality, which I didn’t see at all.
“Because of practicing cultivation among everyday people, a lot of our practitioners cannot release many of their attachments. Many attachments have already become second nature, and these people themselves cannot detect them.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun)
It is evident that the Chinese Communist Party culture brainwashing that says it is “great, glorious, and correct” had taken hold of me. In addition to my lacking traditional etiquette, I was not aware of how I behaved.
“... your tone of voice, your kindheartedness, and your reasoning can change a person’s heart…” (“Clearheadedness,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
I reflected on myself in the light of the Fa's principles, “I can reason well, but how can I do it with kindness?” Instead, my tone was commanding, imposing, and arrogant—there was no kindness in the way I spoke.
“... one’s speech is dictated by one’s thinking.” (Lecture Eight, Zhuan Falun)
“You should always be benevolent and kind to others, and consider others when doing anything. Whenever you encounter a problem, you should first consider whether others can put up with this matter or if it will hurt anyone. In doing so, there will not be any problems.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
I studied the Fa repeatedly, but I couldn’t seem to remember this passage. In fact, it wasn’t that I didn’t remember it, but that I didn’t place others first. I placed myself above others instead—I quoted what Master said and used it to demand that others do what I wanted them to do.
The reason people didn’t accept me was because what I said was driven by my attachments. I failed to speak properly.
I sincerely apologized to my daughter, “Please tell me how to talk!” She said, “You could say something like this, ‘What can I do to help you?’ ‘Let’s talk about it ...’ etc. instead of telling me, ’You should do this or that.’”
Recently, the same thing happened again. My daughter didn’t brush her teeth before she went to bed. I woke her up, but she was very annoyed, “I’m not going to brush my teeth tonight!” I said, “You must do it.” After a while, I woke her up again. I repeatedly told her to get up, but she refused to brush her teeth. She said, “These are my teeth. I won’t brush them. Don’t force others to do what they don’t want to do.”
I was upset and thought, “I am doing this for your own good, why are you so disobedient?” I expected my husband to back me up, but he said, “You’re too attached and have too much sentiment.” I was speechless and felt sad. I thought, “My intention is good, why do you blame me and not her? What did I do wrong?”
I calmed down and reminded myself that I’m a practitioner. My family (fellow practitioners) pointed out my problem, so I should reflect on myself. While thinking about the situation, I realized the same problem happened repeatedly these last two years, and ended the same way each time. This means that my problem was not solved at all. In other words, I did not identify my attachment so it continued to be exposed.
I carefully examined myself: on the surface, there was nothing wrong with what I said, so why did others have resentment? I realized, first, I spoke with a commanding tone; second, I had no kindness; third, I did not take my daughter’s viewpoint into consideration—instead I was self-centered.
Looking further inward, the reason I felt upset and aggrieved was that I believed what I said was right, so much so that I felt it unjust in my heart if others didn’t agree with me. I failed to consider myself as a practitioner, but instead was caught up in the right and wrong of things. How could I find my attachments like this and remove them?!
Looking further inward, on the surface, my base point was for my daughter’s good, but, in fact, I was being selfish and pursuing my personal interest. My daughter was undergoing expensive orthodontic treatments, and she had to wear retainers at least 20 hours a day. If she failed to wear them to bed, the next set may not fit her and I would have to spend more money to have new ones made.
I immediately realized self interest was driving my speech even though I did not mention it specifically. My attachment was keeping my daughter from accepting me. As soon as I understood what the problem was, I immediately felt lighthearted.
In fact, the set of retainers for that night was going to be replaced and thrown away anyway, and it made no difference whether she wore them or not. Master arranged the incident to expose my attachment. If I didn’t look inside thoroughly, I might run into more troubles in the future. In the end, my daughter’s behavior was helping me remove my attachment.
Through this experience of looking inside, I finally learned how to communicate with others and to take everything I encounter as an opportunity to cultivate my speech and say things without hurting their feelings. I learned to be sincere and kind. I reminded myself that my daughter is a mirror for me to see my shortcomings. My family now gets along well.
This concludes my understanding. Please kindly point out anything improper.
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