My Cultivation Experiences as a SOH Program Director
(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
While attending college in China, I joined the school’s radio station and learned some broadcasting skills. I never thought that I would move overseas and use these skills to assist Master Li in Fa-rectification, reach sentient beings, and fulfill my prehistoric vows.
I joined Sound of Hope (SOH) in 2011. I did not speak English or have a driver’s license. There were few staff members for me to assist back then, so I helped with equipment. Eventually, I became a program director. Nine years later, I’m still a program director.
The program director is actually a coordinator. She maintains order and ensures that all aspects of the studio run smoothly. She is the last checkpoint for the entire broadcast process. She can spot errors in time and prevent losses, which might amplify a small oversight into a broadcasting accident.
In order for me to do a good job, my main consciousness must be very strong so that I can drive out interference. I also need to be tolerant when things don’t go well. Sometimes I didn’t do well in these areas, and I remember the bad incidents vividly.
For example, one advertisement did not meet the requirements, and our sales representatives had to explain and apologize to the client. Another time, the segments of a pre-recorded program were played in the wrong order, and the program host phoned me. I overslept that morning, and the first thing aired was the incorrect program from the day before.
When something goes wrong, I blame myself and seriously reflect on my cultivation. But oftentimes I’m at a loss, and can only look for reasons on the surface.
When my cultivation state is good I get Master’s hints. For example, I might suddenly remember to check something or get a glimpse of something and then spot a problem in time.
Being a program director is not something I am good at, but it has been my assignment for more than nine years. I have grown up with the team. Thank you, fellow practitioners!
The Last One to Leave
One requirement for the program director is that you can’t leave your post. When Fa conferences are held, the other practitioners can leave, but the program director has to stay behind to keep the station running.
In my first few years here, the veteran program director was always the one who dutifully stayed behind. I later became capable enough to take over that responsibility. When everyone left and I was there alone, I was proud of myself and happy for the other practitioners. I believed I wouldn’t be left out because everyone would be able to benefit from the experience sharing conference.
That was my heart when there was no conflict.
When I later joined the Tian Guo Marching Band, there was always a parade on Falun Dafa Day. The radio station would always broadcast the event live, so I had to choose between my roles as “Program Director” and “Drummer.” Each time I chose the former.
One year, I wanted a change because I had missed a lot and wanted to participate in the parade and experience the majestic moment. But the radio station coordinator wanted me to stay behind and edit the interviews for the live broadcast.
I later heard that another practitioner was also told to stay behind and do this. I was upset with the coordinator for keeping her from joining the parade and told him how I felt.
The coordinator tried to calm me down and convince me that doing either was validating the Fa. I began to criticize him for handling the matter unreasonably. He accepted my criticism and apologized for not being considerate.
I then suggested inviting practitioners from out of town to cover the live broadcast remotely so that local practitioners could participate in the parade. He agreed and arranged things accordingly. Everything looked perfect: the coordinator improved his xinxing, all the work was covered, and my wish was fulfilled.
On Falun Dafa Day, I was so happy to be able to play with the band. To my surprise, the snare drum team had one extra person! I immediately understood I was not supposed to be there.
We finished the parade with six drummers in five spots. My experience was not as good as I expected at all. I felt I did something wrong, and my heart was heavy.
I remembered what Master said, “Unendurable loneliness is most dangerous to humans, and it's also the greatest tribulation in practicing cultivation.” (Lecture at the First Conference in North America)
On the surface, everything seemed to have been arranged reasonably, but what was the cause of all this? It was my ego. I felt lonely at the station and wanted to participate. I rationalized it with human thoughts. It wasn’t until the stick warning of “One person extra” that I woke up.
Humans look at the arrangements on the surface, but gods look at people’s hearts. I came to understand that holding on to a post quietly is tempering a future enlightened being. Only by letting go of personal preferences and having no “I” can one do it. I’d like to share another story of setting my ego aside.
A pre-recorded broadcast was changed to live broadcast for the weekend. The host was going to report on the President’s press conference and hoped I could assist and broadcast remotely. I found it unreasonable because the host was in San Francisco and there was another program director in San Francisco. I thought they should team up and do the live broadcast from San Francisco. Why did they ask me?
As it turned out, the program director in San Francisco had already made an appointment to clarify the facts to a client. I suggested the host direct the program herself. But the host needed someone to answer the hotline. I thought to myself, “The host can answer it herself.” At any rate, I was reluctant to accept the responsibility because I had something else I wanted to do. I kept trying ideas to get both done.
I clearly saw I was protecting my personal interest. It was obvious selfishness. I was shocked and finally accepted the assignment out of obligation.
The two-hour live broadcast was very demanding but fulfilling, and a lot of people called the hotline. Listening to the host’s analysis and comments on the current events and the sincere feedback from the audience, I was very touched. My long-lost sense of mission was re-awakened.
Even though the live broadcast was done remotely, the signals were very stable and I collaborated with the host very well. When the broadcast was over, I was happy and proud to have been a part of that effort. I suddenly understood that it was Master’s arrangement, that Master had arranged for me to direct the program that day.
Recalling my reluctance that morning, I felt so ashamed. How much stress I had caused others! I immediately texted the other program director and told him everything went well and not to worry. He responded quickly, saying that the client who had refused to listen to him clarify the truth finally agreed to quit the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) and its affiliated organizations that day!
Master was giving me the best, but every time I resisted it with human thoughts. I was glad I budged that day so I could witness Master’s compassion and perfect arrangements. Thank you, Master!
Letting Go of “Reluctance”
Several things that happened recently targeted my “reluctance.” My “reluctance” appeared reasonable, but I knew I had xinxing issues. I began to explore where it came from. I knew I was willing to give up everything for others, so reluctance should not exist.
“It's just that during this persecution, during this so-called “test,” some people have gotten rid of their attachments while others have not, and some have actually increased their attachments.” (Fa Teaching Given at the 2014 San Francisco Fa Conference)
I was in that last group, those whose attachments had increased.
The program director is pivotal. In the beginning, I had the mentality of cooperating with others. I did everything I could to fulfill everyone’s needs.
Gradually, with people coming and going and the professional management team being put in place, my approach to my role started to change—from satisfying others to making demands on others, from taking care of others to giving orders to others, from consulting with others to directing others, and from having no complaints to today’s reluctance. My attachments were amplified in the process.
It was because I didn’t learn the Fa well. I came to regard doing the work as cultivation. I neglected true cultivation—examining my attitude towards others.
Speaking of attitude, a fellow practitioner’s conduct bothered me so I reprimanded her sternly. I apologized to her later on and asked how she felt. She said, “I was embarrassed. But then I told myself to remember those times you were kind to me.” When I heard that, my whole world stood still.
Someone hurt you, but you could still think about that person’s merits. At that moment, I understood the compassion of a Dafa practitioner. I sincerely wanted to change my attitude towards others.
Recently, I took on coordinating the on-the-hour joint broadcast of pandemic news across the U.S. In the beginning, I accepted the role “reluctantly,” because most of the announcers were strangers to me and were all volunteers. How could I guarantee a group of volunteers would go online to record and upload every hour every day?
I watched the platform every day. I thanked, encouraged, and praised them from the bottom of my heart. I sincerely appreciated every one of them for overcoming all kinds of difficulties to keep the platform running. It was truly remarkable!
One day, a practitioner said to me, “It’s good to work with you.” Her unexpected encouragement helped me realize that the person who made others feel relaxed was my real self, whereas the one who increased attachments while doing things was someone who should be rectified in the Fa.
Phone Calls from Our Listeners
Another job I do is answering the hotline. Over the years I have answered many phone calls from our listeners, and most of them were to say how much they loved us. Some said we were a clear spring in the Bay Area, that we were a media of conscience.
Two phone calls stood out because of their earnest comments.
During a morning news broadcast years ago, the anchor misread “BlackBerry” as “blueberry.” After the one-hour live broadcast was over, I received a phone call from a gentleman who said, “How could you call a ‘BlackBerry’ cell phone ‘blueberry?’ You said it wrong several times. I listen to your morning news every day.”
Another time a lady said, “I really like your hosts. They’re conscientious and talented, sometimes humorous, sometimes sharp, and sometimes I laugh. I really like you guys.”
Another person said, “If a host has shortcomings that have not been corrected in a month, two months, or half a year, that’s her fault. But if she still has shortcomings after a few years, that’s your fault, because you have been around her. Why didn’t you tell her honestly?” I was speechless.
I realized that our listeners are our sentient beings. Our doing good is their doing good, and their hope for salvation. When we do badly they become very anxious.
Every time I forgot that this project is about cultivation and saving people, a hotline call would remind me of who I am and why I’m here. Thank you, SOH listeners.
I haven’t felt the job itself is hard, but I get tired whenever my human thoughts surface.
A radio station was recently opened to broadcast live for four hours each morning during the pandemic. I felt great pressure in the beginning. By Friday, when the last live broadcast of the week was finally over, I was too tired to move. I kept thinking, “I’m so tired. So tired.”
I began to wonder why I was so tired and what I had accomplished. I realized I didn’t do anything, that it was the host who did all the work. Then why was I so tired?
I thought it over and realized that many “situations” had popped up in the middle of the broadcast that week, and I had complained and lost my temper. It was the negative energy I released that tired people out, not how much work there was!
In fact, this was an opportunity Master has arranged for me to expand my capacity by understanding others and improve, not a time for me to think about the pressure I was under. I cannot use my workload as an excuse to slack off in my personal cultivation.
“As you know, doing media work is for the sake of saving people, it's to clarify the truth, and it's to put a stop to the persecution. But what is its ultimate purpose? Every one of you is walking your own path of cultivation in the media. This thing that you are doing is precisely your path of cultivation. That is for certain. No matter what kind of function you have in this media, or what work has been delegated to you, that is your cultivation path. So, in order to walk this path well, you have to put your heart into personal cultivation, and you cannot slack off at any time, for ultimately you need to achieve consummation.” (“2018 New Tang Dynasty and Epoch Times Fa Conference,” Team Blue Translation)
Two days ago, someone asked me how I was able to stay with this job for ten years. I didn’t have an immediate answer. When I thought about it later, I realized it must be Master’s strengthening and my willingness to be a particle Master can use for the Fa—that’s how I’ve made it to today.
In my job, there is no raging current, no pressure like the hosts face, no trails to blaze like our salespeople do, no overtime like the editors who work behind the scenes, no unknown hard work like with other jobs.
As a program director, all I need to do is just sit there and oversee every aspect. When it’s going well, I have nothing to do except admire the clear spring water flowing by—toward sentient beings, to the world—and cleansing everything in its path!
Thank you, Master, for paving the path of validating the Fa for me. I will correct myself, fulfill my vows, and bring my sentient beings home!
Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!
(Presented at the 2020 Sound of Hope Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference)