Learning to Let Go of the Human Mindset
(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I would like to share about realizations I have had about righteous thoughts, and lessons I have learned from thinking too much with a human mindset.
I obtained the Fa in London in 2008, when I was 22. Before I began cultivation in Dafa I had been practicing meditation for about four years, and during that period of time I looked into different religions including Christianity and Buddhism.
I first began practicing meditation when I was around 18, and I had several experiences with my third eye, and energy fields. I read the term ‘cultivator’ for the first time. It was not until after I began practicing Falun Dafa that I understood the true significance of that experience.
Around this time, I was also promoted to my first management position, when I was 19, working in retail as an assistant manager. Although I did not always enjoy this job, the role helped give me confidence and develop tendencies and skills which I have drawn upon many times since obtaining the Fa.
I began working for Epoch Times in the UK in 2011, and had lots of opportunities to learn, look inside, and help progress English Epoch Times (EET) towards better financial stability and having a greater impact in the UK. When I look back I remember some things went well, while some things were more challenging.
One of the biggest challenges I faced was being the only western practitioner in the UK trying to work full time for EET. Of course I was not alone, and worked quite closely with the Chinese Epoch Times sales team in the Epoch Times Office.
At the beginning things went reasonably well, and in my third month EET had a breakthrough—significant financial growth.
However, challenges soon mounted. When I started working in the office I had envisioned a really harmonious environment, but the reality was more than a bit different. The environment at times was very tense, and posed unique challenges, partly because of the Party culture elements still present in some fellow practitioners.
At the time I tried my best to help the office environment and practitioners, and I discovered some long standing tribulations that had existed for almost ten years. Being the only westerner in the office, I also shared quite extensively with western practitioners in the UK, about understandings of how to help to try change the situation.
Little by little, I allowed myself to get more and more drawn into distractions that increasingly took my focus away from actually doing sales.
I often felt like I was in the middle between Westerners and Chinese, and could not understand why there was so much conflict. Some of the situations led to a feeling and sense of being in the middle of an immense cosmic battle, one I started feeling I could do nothing about.
I have realized that while many of the scenarios and situations had tangible reasons behind them, and brought to head some things which have now fundamentally changed. Ultimately I did not handle things with pure enough righteous thoughts. I allowed myself to think far too much with a human mindset, and I was caught up in what I thought was superficially right and wrong.
I would like to share a quote from Zhuan Falun Lecture Six:
“As a practitioner, if you always think that it is an illness, you are actually asking for it. If you ask for an illness, it will come inside your body. As a practitioner, your xinxing level should be high. You should not always worry that it is an illness, for this fear of illness is an attachment and it can bring you trouble just the same. In cultivation practice one needs to eliminate karma, and that is painful. How can one increase gong comfortably? How can one otherwise remove one’s attachments?”
I found my situation quite similar to this, and because I was not earnestly trying to remove my attachments and take things lightly, I created a gap where I was actually inviting the tribulations.
Because I was thinking with too much of a human mindset, in my heart I sought comfort and simplicity, and as such the environment became tense and difficult.
The process also revealed attachments to self and my ego, and how these attachments can manifest when I put myself before my responsibility of saving sentient beings.
Writing this sharing has given me the opportunity to look inside and realize that a lot of my fundamental attachments come from myself.
This attachment to myself, and how I like to do things, is deep rooted. Because I worked in management from a young age, I became quite used to doing things my way.
This can have its pros, and at different times has allowed me to help proactively in coordination roles with promoting the Fa and other projects.
The con is that I often don't realize that I have put my things ahead of others. I have found that being attached to doing things my way is actually a reflection of not truly trusting the Fa. This I have realized is a manifestation of being focused on personal, rather Fa Rectification cultivation, where saving sentient beings is key.
After I left Epoch Times in 2012, after just under one year I felt like I had failed. On the surface I appeared complimentary towards the situation and practitioners, however I was holding on to stubborn attachments and feelings of resentment.
I went through a period of time where I did not go to Fa Study as often, and stepped back from some projects. During this time, I really struggled to look within and let go of these attachments, and it caused me a lot of xinxing problems.
When Shen Yun promotions started again later that year, I felt I needed to catch up, remember my responsibilities, and start being more pro-active again. However, my mindset was not pure, and I had not learned the recent lessons I needed to learn.
As Shen Yun promotions began, at one stage I was directly or indirectly coordinating seven to eight different teams.
At the time I was working full time. I had online meetings nearly every night while trying to join the morning online Fa Study as often as I could. I felt like I never had enough time, and for a while, it was normal to only sleep around four hours per day.
This I think would have been manageable, however I never felt like I had enough time, and I got into a routine of doing only one or two exercises at a time, and was not doing enough Fa Study.
Because my routine was not strong enough, and I had not eliminated some of my notions, I had formed a gap and sensed this was being exploited. During a couple of promotions, I noticed conflicts among practitioners, and at times the environment did not feel right. I felt more pressure than I had in previous years, and started to doubt my abilities as a coordinator.
An incident also happened which weighed heavily on my heart. I failed to correctly update a spreadsheet, for a one-day event that I had organized in connection with a trade show. As a result, I arranged for a small team to go to the event on the wrong day. The mistake was found on the evening of the actual event, when finalizing all materials.
Normally I would pride myself on being very organized, and this is something that had never happened before when helping coordinate projects. I was really shocked that this could happen, and immediately realized it was my fault. I didn't know what to do. I contacted the event organizers the next day to apologize, but felt very uneasy about the situation.
Over the next week or two, I thought about this situation a lot, and realized this was my gap and loophole. I blamed myself and my cultivation state. This was again a manifestation of human thinking with a human mindset—I was unable to see this as an opportunity to strengthen my righteous thoughts and make a breakthrough.
I had reached a state where I doubted my cultivation state and my abilities as a coordinator. In early 2013, I wrote an email to the main coordinators, asking to step down from my role.
On the surface, this appeared as the right thing to do, but I later realized that it was a manifestation of my mindset and unwillingness to face the situation with righteous thoughts.
That decision led me on a path where I lost my confidence, with feelings of depression and a sense of unworthiness. These feelings led me to stop wanting to be around practitioners, and for a few months stopped practicing altogether.
This was the toughest period of my cultivation journey so far, where at times I felt really low and I slacked off with my behavior and conduct - at times quite drastically.
I never felt like I wanted to quit, however I did not feel like I had the strength, courage, or conviction to carry on. At times over the past few years, some of the processes I have been through have been very unnecessary, and I have stagnated a lot.
I would like to apologize to Master, for not grasping the opportunities provided to me as a Dafa disciple.
Master said in “Fa Teaching on World Falun Dafa Day,”
“What Master is most concerned about is that at present a number of you have become not diligent. When the persecution first began you were full of vigor, and you turned around that entire situation. But as circumstances have eased up, you have instead slackened. Cultivation… There’s a saying, and it’s one I’ve shared with you before: '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. So you should continue to be diligent. In the past, there would be sudden tests for cultivators even at the very last step. If you grew increasingly lax, you certainly wouldn’t be able to pass that test.”
Master has continually encouraged me to cultivate with the heart I once had, and I realize I must do better in recognizing these chances. Last year, after picking myself up and coming back to the UK group environment, I had the opportunity to go and work in the New York EET office for a few months. This was a great experience, in a fantastic cultivation environment which allowed me to stabilize a good routine and focus again on wholeheartedly saving sentient beings.
While in New York, the first time I joined the morning Fa Study group in the office, while sending righteous thoughts I again felt Master's great compassion and merciful encouragement towards me.
Towards the end of sending righteous thoughts, I saw a large group of practitioners in another dimension, all sitting on lotus flowers with their palms erect. After seeing this for a short while I saw another scene in the clouds. Here I saw a heavenly army, standing in the clouds with golden armor, facing off against a dark energy field.
I took this as a hint from Master, to keep going and catch up with Fa-Rectification cultivation. I know I must do better and focus on doing the three things with a purer state of being.
Writing this sharing has been very helpful, and a great opportunity to look inside. My realizations are however, limited by my level and understanding. If you have noticed anything inappropriate, please compassionately point it out.
Category: Journeys of Cultivation