My Cultivation Experiences Promoting Shen Yun to Higher-end American Society
Greetings Master! Greetings fellow practitioners!
We held Shen Yun shows in our city both last winter and this summer. In the beginning I was involved mainly in doing media advertisements, but in order to open up the situation more quickly, I focused more on promoting Shen Yun to the higher-end American society. One way of promoting Shen Yun in higher-end society is to advertise in the mainstream media. But it is also important to be directly involved in their associations and their circles, so we can clarify the truth to them face-to-face and directly introduce Shen Yun to them in a way that they can easily accept.
We increased the tickets prices for the July shows. This was mainly for bringing in higher-end society and having a more high-class audience see our shows. We advertised quite a lot in the mainstream media, but our ticket sales didn't go as fast as we hoped. Why? Many practitioners who were selling tickets in malls got feedback. Apparently, many people had seen our advertisements before, but they had not bought tickets. How could we make a breakthrough to the higher-end society in such a short time? As the show dates were quickly approaching, my heart felt very heavy. I felt a constant pressure, and I became short of breath. I was getting so worried that some of my hair turned white. It is Dafa disciples' responsibility to accomplish what Master wants to accomplish. We have to open up this higher-end society. This is what the Fa has asked us to do. We have to make it happen, and it will happen. It doesn't matter whether we feel we are capable or not capable. We just have to do it, and we have to do it well.
Another practitioner and I began to look for major associations, including lawyers, real estate agents, and so on, as well as various groups in the art circles. We made appointments or sometimes went to their conferences or their offices to introduce Shen Yun. If they were in meetings, we asked if they could give us a short time to speak to them. If they agreed, we would give them a short introduction and also give them the Shen Yun promotion brochure. We went to some high-class clubs and directly talked with the CEOs or managers, played the DVDs for them and showed them pictures from the Shen Yun album. We treated each of them as an individual that we must save. We didn't look at their position and didn't expect too much from them. We only hoped to save them. The reason they held their position was probably so they could have this chance to be saved. One of the managers of a high-class club was almost moved to tears after she saw our photos and the several-minute DVD introduction. She said it was so wonderful. She sent out an email to all the club members introducing Shen Yun to them. She also organized a party and invited us to introduce Shen Yun. She said she would put Shen Yun in their monthly news as well as on their website.
In the last week before the shows, the chairman of a very large club called me because a director of a subdivision of his club heard our introductions and recommended it to him. It was a good opportunity. I immediately adjusted my mind, "All I am doing is letting you know the truth. I don't care who you are, but I am trying to save you as a person." I introduced Shen Yun to him and it went very well and he was very interested. He said he would immediately put our news on their website. There were over 3,000 members in his club and they were all very wealthy. He told me at the end of our conversation, "Just wait, you are going to see the effects in a couple of days." In the higher-end western society, great importance is attached to personal relationships and trust among people. So once someone from their circle agrees on something, especially if one of the higher-ups recommends it, or if it gets published on the group website, then the rest of group will be very receptive to it.
I feel that if we don't have notions in our minds and don't think too much about whether we are capable or not, but simply treat everyone as someone we need to save, then we will naturally be confident when dealing with them. The Fa's power will also reflect it. Once one person understands how great Shen Yun is, he or she will usually take the initiative to introduce it in his or her group or club. Also, as long as someone can sit down to listen to us, he or she will usually be very interested. After considering these aspects, we realized that the wealthy people and people from high society indeed have more blessings than other people. They have more interest in classical music and dance. Once they realize how good our show is, they will come to see it.
I work full time, so I don't have a lot of spare time. Nonetheless, communicating and meeting with these people took a lot time. At first I was hoping that more practitioners would join this effort, especially those with better English skills. But after I shared quite a bit with fellow practitioners and made many phone calls, I found it was hard to find practitioners who would focus on this area. I later realized that I should not have thoughts of waiting and depending on others. I should just do as much as I can. If I do things right, Master will help me. I tried to make arrangements to meet people during my lunchtime. Usually another practitioner drove to my company to pick me up and we went together, but sometimes we went separately. I have discovered that almost every time I went out to meet people, the result was very good. When I made phone calls, it was also very easy to find the people I was looking for. The success rate was very high. One time I made a phone call to a society of lawyers with about 10,000 people, to make an appointment with the director. They transferred my phone call to their public relations manager. I said, "Have you seen Shen Yun?" I was just about to give my normal introduction. She said, "You are talking about Shen Yun? I did see it and it was great! Last December a friend of mine invited me, and I hadn't imagined that it would be so wonderful." She said she would definitely help promote Shen Yun. Indeed, people from that society bought tickets. Several days before the show, she said she sent out another email to remind the members one more time. I came to realize that this was Master's careful arrangement. As time was running out, I believed that if we could do things right and have strong righteous thoughts, then we would still be able to have a good result. Two weeks before the shows a director from a big company said to me, "Your promotion went very well and it was widely received everywhere." She said she held positions in several other organizations and our show information was spreading in those organizations. Someone else also told me that our news was published on the website of a high-class singles' club.
Two years ago I met the public relations person from a performing group and he gave me many good ideas. Unfortunately, we lost contact with him. About ten days before the show, I found a way to get in touch with him, and we went to dinner. At dinner we talked about our shows, and I suggested that maybe he could help us in this last minute. He was very willing to do it. He took out his cell phone and called the organizations that he knew and asked them to send out news about Shen Yun. In several minutes, he was able to speak with three organizations, and each helped us to reach thousands of people. His efficiency really shocked me. He keeps in touch with several dozen organizations, and many of the tickets of his performing company were sold in this manner. His company holds seven or eight shows in my city every year as well as several shows in other cities, but the public relations are handled only by him and another person. He told me the dinner we had was his first meal of the day because he was so busy. His phone never stopped ringing throughout the dinner. After we finished eating, we were leaving, and we got separated. He found an opportunity and was introducing his company's product to people at another table. This showed us how even an everyday person can be very dedicated to what they do. So how could we, as Dafa disciples, not be as dedicated to the great task of promoting Shen Yun and saving people? I used to think that I spent my time very efficiently, but that day I saw my gap. It made me feel pretty embarrassed when I realized that my efficiency was not even as good as an everyday person. Because the fact is that we are not promoting an ordinary show. It is Master's Fa rectification and saving people, and what we are doing is with the help of Master and all the positive divine beings in the universe. Thus, whether there are a lot or not so many Dafa disciples in each region, we should be able to successfully hold Shen Yun performances.
During this process, it was very difficult for me as I tried to blend into the higher-end society, and get in touch with and be friends with the people in this circle. In the beginning I really lacked confidence. I had no experience, my English wasn't superb, there was a cultural barrier, and I didn't know these people's interests. It seemed like a mountain that was difficult for me to climb.
One time I went to a party in the arts community. It was a totally unfamiliar world. Most of the people seemed to immediately get involved with each other and became friends quickly, even if it was the first time they had met. But few of them wanted to talk to me. They were all trying to talk to those whom they thought were important. I only knew two or three people there, and I felt very uncomfortable and really wanted to leave. But I told myself, "I can't miss this opportunity. There are so many people here that are from the arts community and I must stay. I must stick with it. No matter what, I will just try to talk with as many people as I can." As I was telling myself that, indeed, some people began to take the initiative to talk with me. Gradually I met several important people. Someone then said to me, "The guy over there who is surrounded by a lot people is the executive chairman of an arts society. He is responsible for deciding the amount of funding given to different arts groups in the city." I thought, "I must get to know him and let him know that Shen Yun is coming here." I quietly sent forth righteous thoughts. At the same time, I tried to let him see me and know that I wanted to talk with him. After he finished talking with those people, I walked over and thanked him for his organization's support of Shen Yun in the past. I then gave him the brochure for this year's Shen Yun shows. We chatted a little, and he said he felt bad for not being able to attend the show this year because he would be out of the town at the time. Later, when we tried to apply for funding again, during the reviewing process, he had a lot of good words for us and gave us tremendous support. Therefore we smoothly received sponsorship funding. It was a great joint effort from several practitioners. After that party, I gained more confidence and also had a better understanding of the importance for us to have access to the higher-end society.
Many people got to know Shen Yun as a high-class show through our media advertisements and direct mail. But why did we sell so few tickets? It was because many of these people are held up by the factors of the old forces that don't want them to be saved. Thus we as Dafa disciples are effectively eliminating this interference when we personally talk with these people and clarify the truth to them. The old forces don't dare to obstruct us when we are trying to save people. Though the people we are able to get in touch with are very limited, if our minds of saving people are pure, then, "When disciples have ample righteous thoughts Master has the power to turn back the tide." ("The Master-Disciple Bond," from Hong Yin II) So the effect will be magnified. At the same time, this process is an opportunity provided by Master for us to quickly improve and establish ourselves as Dafa disciples.
In the process of clarifying the truth to higher-end society, I found many of my attachments, including some that were hidden deeply within. Only when I eliminated them and continued to improve was I better able to do these tasks. I will take my lack of confidence as one example. Three years ago I went to work for my present employer. Before that I worked in a quiet IT environment. In this company however, I was assigned to do analysis in the marketing department. I found that everyone around me was very talkative. They talked even more than average Americans, and all spoke very well. Every day they would talk to each other and tell jokes. Since I could not understand them completely and also didn't know everything about the manner and tone of the English language, I was always afraid that I would say something wrong, which could lead to misunderstandings. I was thus afraid to join their conversations. But I also had to be polite, so I could do nothing but just listen to them quietly. I suffered quite a bit.
On the surface it was a language and cultural barrier, and I could not make a breakthrough. But it was actually my own issue. I looked within, and found a deeply hidden self-protective mentality and the attachment of vanity. I was afraid to face my shortcomings, and thus I could not open my heart. Digging even deeper, I found that I was too self-centered, and thus could not always focus on others, and think and look at issues from their perspectives. Therefore, I could not have a deeper relationship with others. In fact it was basically selfishness that was blocking me. If I could realize all the time that every being I meet has walked through thousands of years of reincarnations, finally to be born during this time, if I could understand at all times that they were arranged again and again to meet Dafa disciples, who are only a very small subset of all beings, and come across the opportunity to be saved; if I truly could understand these things, would I still not be able to let go of myself, meet them head-on and try to save them? In trying to let go of myself, I started by changing my outfits. I tried to dress a little better and learn some make-up skills. I changed my habit of neglecting little things and paid more attention to my manner, so I would be more acceptable in this higher-end society. At the same time, I discovered that due to the compassionate field of Dafa disciples, when everyday people were hanging out with us, they would feel more comfortable and feel that we are very trust-worthy. Although we are very different from them, we are here to save them, which is what they have been waiting for hundreds and thousands of years. When we introduced Shen Yun to them, deep in their minds, they understood it, and their knowing sides were actually eager for it.
Although I still can't completely blend into their circles, the more I try, the more I think it is worth doing, and the more confident I become. I am now very happy when I meet them and tell them about Shen Yun. I also realized that in the past three years, with the type of environment that my company has provided for me, I have learned a lot without even knowing it. I then began to understand that all along the way, Master has been preparing me to do the things that I am supposed to do today in Fa-rectification. Everything is already there for me. It is just a matter of whether I could make the breakthroughs with my righteous thoughts, cultivate myself well, and do the things that I am supposed to do.
It is also important to try to keep in touch with the people we meet and eventually become good friends with them. I found that when I was able to reach the people that I got to know, they were all able to help us tremendously. Some helped introduce more people to us, and some provided us valuable information and promotional advice. Two years ago I met a CEO from a theater and we went out for a meal. This time I just made a phone call to her and she was very willing to help and introduced us to a very good PR company. Another person was the director of an arts society, and a practitioner invited me to eat with them. At the time we didn't feel that his database would help us that much and didn't pay much attention. This year, however, we found his database project could provide us the addresses for people who might be very interested in seeing our shows. Actually, everything we do has a cause and has been carefully arranged.
It was a challenge however, for me to establish and keep a personal relationship with everyday people. It required a lot of time--and more importantly--patience. It required me to more carefully observe others and care for others. If we only go for the short-term effect, then later we will probably end up spending more time and energy. If we can keep in touch with these people, then we are laying the groundwork for our next year's shows. Actually, this is also testing me to see whether I attach too much importance to things I do and whether or not I have enough space in my heart.
We once had an exhibition booth to promote Shen Yun. Soon after we set it up, a western lady came by and watched the introduction. She told us that she received our mail and felt that it was very good, so she bought tickets. Today it just happened that she saw us again. After she watched the video introduction for several minutes, she was moved to tears. I knew that she must have a strong predestined relationship. Several days later, I thought that maybe she could help us promote Shen Yun in her circles. So I called her and she was very happy to introduce me to a dozen organizations. Later she also arranged for me to have lunch with the people whom she thought may help us. After seeing the show, she wrote an email to me and said it was so beautiful that she cried twice. She said Shen Yun brought her the scenes that she could only have seen in heaven, and would never be able to see on earth. In order to further our relationship, I invited her to have lunch with us.
We are actually just beginning to introduce Shen Yun to the higher-end society through various methods, and we currently have only a few relationships with those who are in the real higher-end society. But during this process, we are improving. In this process of saving those people who have predestined relationships, we are becoming more and more mature, and we are becoming more and more familiar with how to do things, and how to do things well.
I thank Master for giving me this opportunity to participate in promoting Shen Yun, and I thank Master for His benevolent salvation. As a Dafa disciple, it was my vow to accomplish what Master wants accomplished and assist Master in Fa rectification.