(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings! Revered Master and fellow practitioners!
I'm a practitioner from the Washington DC Metropolitan area. I began practicing Falun Dafa in 1997 in Beijing and was deeply impressed with this practice's deep philosophy and the wisdom it imparted. Although, in my mind, my enlightenment quality was poor, Master didn't give up on me and again and again arranged opportunities for me to let go of my attachments. I would like to share with you how I improved while being part of the sales team at a Chinese language newspaper.
Before I became a sales representative for the paper, I had been involved in other truth clarification projects. However after I became part of the sales team, I discovered many attachments I was not aware of before. A Chinese business proprietor called and wanted to place an advisement in the Chinese New Year's edition of the paper. This was less than one month after I joined the sales team. How marvelous! I faxed him the contract at once. While waiting for his signature, I felt nervous and was worried about him changing his mind. This was a reflection of my still holding incorrect thoughts and worrying about worldly gains and losses. Once I identified it, I felt ashamed for not having given up such an attachment, even though I was a veteran practitioner. It took me a long time to eliminate these thoughts. For a practitioner, nothing happens by chance and if one has an attachment, something will happen to expose it.
I realized that I needed to eliminate many attachments and fulfill my vows while selling advertisements. This was one of the reasons why I joined the paper. Sure enough, within a short time, I noticed some fundamental attachments, including the mentality of showing off, of getting overly happy, and jealousy. When I signed a contract, especially when it had been quite an effort, I felt very happy. When I didn't have a client for quite some time, I felt somehow disappointed and feared that others looked down on me. On the surface I was happy when others were successful in their jobs, but inside I felt rather upset and ill at ease. For a long time, I was very sad when I discovered that I still had so many attachments. I really wanted to let go of them, but had failed to do so. I often asked myself what I could do. I couldn't resign from my job because then I wouldn't be walking on the cultivation path Master designed for me. What a painful dilemma! I looked for articles related to these attachments on the Minghui website Chinese version of Clearwisdom). These articles encouraged me to get rid of my bad thoughts. I'm grateful to the practitioners who maintain the Minghui website for providing such a resource. I just kept thinking about Master's words, "The Fa can break all attachments" (Essentials for Further Advancement II, "Drive out Interference"). This showed me that I should look for the answers in Master's writings. Finally, I decided to memorize all the paragraphs regarding these attachments.
After I recited the Fa, I recovered my peace of mind. Now it is easier to control myself, even if I still hold these thoughts sometimes. But, I'm still bothered by the question, "Why do I have so many bad thoughts?" One day as I studied the section "Your Main Consciousness Should Predominate" in Zhuan Falun:
"People have to think in leading their lives. Because one is lost among everyday people, one will often develop in one's mind thoughts for fame, benefits, lust, anger, etc. Gradually, these thoughts become the powerful thought karma."
I suddenly understood. Although I did not commit bad deeds before I became a practitioner, I was obsessed with different wants and wishes. I didn't watch my thoughts and after I practiced Falun Dafa, I often still held the desires of an everyday person. Thus, I had to dig out the source of these attachments, as Master has taught us in Zhuan Falun, Your main consciousness should predominate:
"Most people, however, can remove and resist it with very strong thoughts from themselves (a strong Main Consciousness)."
This was an important milestone on my ten-year cultivation path. I was worried about my poor enlightenment.
Although I studied Master's teachings regarding Forbearance, "Forbearance is the key to improving one's Xinxing"("What is Forbearance" in Essentials for Further Advancements), forbearance is not easy to achieve. Sometime I kept myself apart from others, so I would not be hurt. However, as a sales person, you have no choice but to face potentially embarrassing situations head on. Once I arrived on time to meet with a customer but he made me wait for four hours and was disrespectful. His staff quietly said to me, "You are a tolerant person." I had no complaints and regarded this as a cultivation opportunity. Another client whom I had known for two years bad-mouthed our paper and refused to have business dealings with us. Two years later, I decided to give him a call and wondered if he would insult me again. I struggled mentally. But then I remembered an everyday saying: "A little impatience spoils great plans". I also recalled the story of Han Xin's forbearance despite being deeply insulted. I picked up the phone and called him. Finally, he placed an ad in our paper and we have since become friends. Some people agreed to advertise with us, but I didn't hear from them for a few days or several months. In fact, they tried my patience and I had to endure it. Today, I no longer find it difficult to be tolerant. When frictions develop between me and other practitioners, I choose to forbear. If others wrong me, I realize that Master is giving me the opportunity to become more broad-minded. When I look back, I realize that I didn't lose anything but was instead given the opportunity to improve my xinxing.
Breaking Through Self -Imposed Restraints in the Process of Selling Ads
Practitioners around me know that I am scared of driving on a highway. When my husband made fun of me, I retorted, citing examples of young local practitioners who couldn't drive to cover up my cowardice. In fact, I was afraid of being involved in a car accident and imagined how dreadful a car accident could be. Yes, as a practitioner, I knew I shouldn't be afraid. One practitioner told me not to worry about it and let nature take its course. But I turned a deaf ear to her advice. Once I had to collect money from a client who lived a long way from my home. Because I was scared of driving, I took the metro first and then asked a practitioner to pick me up. It took three hours of traveling to and fro and the practitioner had to spend at least two hours accompanying me. I tried to overcome my fear but it was very difficult. One day, I had to collect money from a client again. As I was pondering over what to do, I suddenly felt very ashamed. How could I continue to take up another practitioner's precious time? I must overcome this attachment. I decided to drive to collect the money. I thought to myself: "Surely Master sees my determination in overcoming this attachment and will make things work out." However my GPS didn't work when I was merging onto the freeway. I was a little nervous at first but quickly forced myself to calm down. I had to face the situation. I thought, the evil is trying to make me give up. How can I give up now? This is simply an opportunity to break through my self-imposed restraint. I calmed down and arrived at the client's place without a problem. I thought I would be excited at finally overcoming my fear but I was unusually peaceful, as if nothing had happened.
Cultivating as a Sales Manager
In April last year I became a sales manager at the newspaper office in Washington DC. Before that, I always did as I pleased and secretly thought to myself that I decided how much work I wanted to do, and thus I was often complacent. I did not observe some of the company policies, thinking that we could bend the rules since, after all, everyone is a practitioner. However, as a manager, I had to change my habits. At weekly meetings, I didn't have much to say about sales matters as there was only me and the supervisor selling ads at that time. Despite the help of another practitioner familiar with sales, I still had nothing to say at the meeting. I benefited a lot from the experience sharings by the supervisor on how she started the business with only a few employees and the difficulties they overcame. They often worked long hours with only a little rest. I sighed because I realized that we are walking on the path other practitioners have paved. Gradually, I began to set higher standards for myself after observing these diligent, energetic and persevering practitioners. To our delight, since May this year, we started to make enough sales to cover our major costs. Before that, we were always in debt and several times, the printers had threatened to terminate our contract.
Recently another practitioner joined our sales team. I was worried about how to train the newcomer because I had not trained anyone before. I attended the Toronto conference in May this year as well as a two-hour group meeting. What I heard most frequently was "let go of our egos". I realized that I failed to lead the sales team well because I didn't foster an environment where cooperation and coordination was practiced. Every day I just focused on my job and ignored her needs. I decided to build up a strong team after I returned from the meeting. Meanwhile, our new sales representative had progressed quickly in her role and began to develop her own project. She did an entire page of small advertisements. There was nothing I could add when she discussed her idea with her supervisor. For several days I felt uncomfortable. Then I suddenly realized that I should let go of my ego and support her project whole-heartedly. I successfully signed a one-year contract for a small advertisement that she had planned to target even though it was a Sunday.
Now we have learned to work as a team and cooperate well with each other. An invisible force pushes every team member to move forward quickly. The new sales person is no longer afraid of meeting clients on her own and has become a valuable employee. Another staff member in charge of finances signed several contracts with the American government. A sales person who used to be hesitant because of her fear, clinched small advertising deals. Recently, our supervisor hit a deer and her car was in bad shape, but she still continued to drive. When shopping for a mechanic, she successfully solicited several car mechanic advertisements. Thus, bad things can be turned into good things. We encouraged each other and the more we worked, the more energetic we became. Previously I used to have an attachment. I was worried about falling behind others because of my poor comprehension and ability. I lacked confidence in myself. My fears very quickly disappeared as we encouraged one another and improved together. Compared to the team spirit shown by practitioners, one's personal achievements and cultivation appear to be very insignificant. When we let go of our ego and cooperate with everyone on what Master wants us to do, then everything else will follow.
Discovering my Attachment to Seeking Comfort and Inability to Endure Great Hardships
For a long time, our sales team lagged behind others. We tried to improve by learning from other practitioners. Even though practitioners who are sales professionals shared with us various techniques, in the end we found that the best way to improve is to study the Fa daily as a group.
I never really brought up the idea of starting a group Fa study to our sales team because of my attachment to seeking comfort. Based on our daily schedule, I knew the best time to study the Fa together is early in the morning on the Internet. But I am not a morning person and used to go back to sleep after sending righteous thoughts. I thought that I wouldn't be awake enough to read the Fa in the morning when I'm feeling sleepy. So I usually just read by myself after I got up. Otherwise I would start working on my tasks later and use the time to do some reading. However, I felt that something was wrong, but I was reluctant to break through it. Several times, I wanted to raise the idea with fellow practitioners but was held back by my attachment to seeking comfort. I knew that once we started a morning Fa study session it wouldn't be for just one day. In March, our sales still hadn't improved and we had a new sales representative. I was certain that we had to study the Fa as a group to improve our sales. Finally, I brought up the idea of starting a group Fa study and announced that we would begin within a couple of days. One of the team members, a morning person, immediately supported the idea. At the beginning we encountered some interference, such as Internet problems, or I couldn't get up and so on, but we were determined to study the Fa in the morning. We decided to make phone calls to wake up whoever did not join in when it was time to begin reading the Fa. Soon, we found that it was excellent to study the Fa together, even if sales results didn't improve immediately. We realized that we became more organized and more professional. For many years, I would feel drowsy sometimes when reading the Fa. My sleepiness in the morning was difficult to overcome. This problem gradually disappeared. Now, I can get up, even after going to bed at 2 or 3 a.m. I know in my heart that we couldn't have accomplished this without cooperation and great teamwork.
Most practitioners in DC think that I can endure hardships. Recently, we had a lot of sales activity driven by the enthusiasm of the new sales person I mentioned earlier on. We worked from early in the morning till late at night. We had to make phone calls and meet with customers during the day and at night. We had to design the advertisements and sometimes we worked until 2 or 3 a.m. I was very pleased that we were finally making great progress in sales. But, my inability to forbear hardships began to surface. The first time I worked till very late hours, I thought to myself humorously I was about to become a "superman." But after a while I started to think that this was too difficult. I barely had any time for my family. Fortunately, they are all practitioners and understood my situation. Once, I said to the new sales person in a joking manner that we needed to take a break. It must have been my attachment to seeking comfort that was speaking. The next week our sales dropped drastically.
My attachment had become an obstacle to the development of the office in Washington DC. In the past, when I compared myself to the other two "supermen" in our sales team, I always comforted myself by saying "do my best, don't force myself" as an excuse for not being diligent. Now I had to face reality. For the paper to grow, we have to constantly improve and surpass ourselves. That is the responsibility and honor of being a practitioner in the Fa rectification period.
Being Strict with Oneself and Not Being Complacent
Two years ago, I especially loved to watch Korean drama serials. I often watched them all night long and ended up with sore eyes the next day. Every time I finished watching a serial, I would go through the process of eliminating karma lasting several months. My husband criticized me, but I didn't care and thought that the problems I was experiencing had nothing to do with watching the serials. I was certain that it was because I was too tired from promoting the Shen Yun performances. This year I decided to stop watching the Korean shows as I was very busy with my sales job at the newspaper. So far I haven't had any karma elimination. However recently after meeting a client, I unexpectedly had the opportunity to watch a drama. I continued to watch as I had nothing else to do. When I woke up the next morning, my hands and lips were swollen. When I tried to read the Fa on the Internet, I was itching all over my body. What happened? After I studied the Fa, I looked within myself and realized that it was the result of watching the drama series the day before. I deeply regretted not being strict with myself. I also realized that the deeper your involvement in Dafa projects, the stricter you should be with yourself because Master is truly strengthening us at that time. Master has already designed a path for us to improve ourselves but if we add anything impure, it will jeopardize this arrangement. Once I realized this, my lips and hands turned back to normal.
Right now, the situation at the newspaper in DC has changed a lot due to cosmic changes. Our sales revenue was very high in April and it was the same in May too. We hoped to maintain the same results, but in June, our sales revenue actually doubled. None of us knew how to deal with this reality, especially me.
The progress of Fa rectification had pushed us forward so quickly yet I was not mentally prepared. I shared my thoughts with fellow practitioners. They told me solemnly that if I could not handle a small success like this, how can I handle greater things in the future? Actually, all of us knew that this achievement came about because we coordinated very well and respected each other's hard work. This kind of accelerated breakthrough is definitely a sign of a cosmic change. At least it shows that Fa rectification is moving forward at a rapid pace and as long as we coordinate well, such changes will continue to take place. It is a fundamental change beyond our imagination. This also means that Master has higher expectations of us and we cannot stop at our previous pace. We must move forward in big strides. We must continuously expand our capacity amidst the immense force of Fa rectification and be prepared to make greater breakthroughs at any time.
I have the best job in the world. I realized this soon after I started working as a sales person for the newspaper. My work and cultivation have merged together. Often, in the process of selling ads, I have the opportunity to tell others the facts about Falun Gong, especially to those from China. We always need to clarify the truth and do so in greater detail. This is also a part of cultivation. Every single thought I have are opportunities for me to improve myself. The more I do, the more attachments and insufficiencies in my cultivation I discover. I will continue to be diligent and hope that I will walk more steadily in my cultivation path as a sales person, thereby meeting Master's requirements.
Thank you for listening! If there is anything inappropriate, please kindly point it out.