Getting Rid of My Attachment to Showing Off
(Minghui.org) The mentality of showing off is an attachment that is not easy to detect because it is often intertwined with a mentality of zealotry. People are prone to think they are outstanding or are superior to others when they enjoy doing something, have abilities or qualifications in some area, or look better than others. What’s more, one often fails to recognize the mentality of showing off when it leads to positive emotions, like making one feel happy and excited when others see how good they are.
I Discovered My Attachment after a Fall
About five or six years ago, I ran into a friend I used to play volleyball with. We hadn’t seen each other for years. He said he was a member of a university volleyball club and asked me to join the club. I agreed to join, but I didn't attend any of their activities since I was too busy with the three things that a practitioner is supposed to do. After a while, he invited me to an activity through WeChat, so I went.
When I arrived, I saw there were both professional and amateur volleyball players in the club. Those who used to play professionally played really well. I was the setter when we practiced spiking the ball. The younger professional players were very excited about smashing the ball, and they thought I was great as a setter. They said they hadn't smashed the ball like that in a long time. They said it was really cool. They all rushed to be on my team when we divided into teams. The game was wonderful. Of course, my team won because there wasn't a good setter on the other team. The spiker can’t do well without a good setter.
After the game, I didn't go back to the club for a long time, and the young people in the club were eager for me to play with them. They often invited me to play; sometimes I went, and sometimes I didn't. When several large companies organized a competition for amateur volleyball players, the club invited me to participate, so I did. After a few games, our team won first place. That was when I became attached to playing volleyball. I always wanted to make time to play at least once a week. At that time, I knew I had an attachment, but I couldn’t help it.
I completely changed that thinking when something happened the day before I was to attend a game. That day, I bought groceries on my way home from work. The basket on my electric bicycle was full of groceries, and I didn’t have space for a piece of tofu I’d bought, so I hung it on the handlebar. But after a while, I noticed the tofu bag had a hole in it and was leaking. I was afraid the hole would get bigger and the tofu would fall out, so I held the tofu in one hand and the handlebar of the bike with the other.
Up ahead was a bus stop with a lot of people waiting, and I braked as I approached. But I lost my balance, the tofu flew out of my hand, and I fell to the ground. I felt my jaw hit the ground first, and then my mind went blank. I couldn't move, but my consciousness was clear. I thought to myself, “I am a cultivator; I am fine and I will be fine.” I stayed motionless for about 15 seconds, then stood up.
About a dozen people at the bus stop were quietly watching me. I saw that one of my shoes had come off and landed about 50 feet away. I put on my shoe, pushed the bike up, and picked up the scattered groceries. Then I rode home.
After I got home, I checked my bike and found no damage had been done. But my pants were torn, my knee had turned blue, a piece of skin had been scratched off my lower jaw, and my jaw was continuing to swell. I thought, “I cannot go to play volleyball tomorrow with a swollen jaw.”
I calmed down and thought about it that evening: “It’s all because of the tofu. It would be fine if I hadn’t bought the tofu, or if the bag didn’t have a hole in it.” While I was thinking of the word “hole,” I suddenly realized that there might be a loophole in my xinxing. Nothing is accidental in cultivation. It must have happened because I had attachments, but I didn’t realize it. This fall served as a wake-up call.
Then I thought about going to playing volleyball the next day, which might have been the reason I fell. Bit by bit, I looked further inward and found my desire to show off and the attachment of zealotry. Master said:
“The desire to show off plus the attachment of zealotry are most easily exploited by the demonic part of your mind.” (“Definitive Conclusion,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
At that time, I really felt the demonic part was so big that I could no longer control it. I recalled what had just happened: “My falling means that I can no longer move forward; the shoe falling off means I’m on a wrong path.” When I thought about it, I completely understood that this accident came from my attachment. After I realized this, I stopped going to the club. What was interesting was that, after that, no one ever invited me back.
A Hidden Mentality of Showing Off in My Daily Life
I had a lump on the left side of my neck for a while. Although it did not hurt or itch, it shouldn’t have been there. I didn’t admit it. I often sent righteous thoughts to clean it up, but it didn't shrink. On the contrary, it grew larger. This showed that I had a xinxing problem and there must be some attachments that I hadn't discovered yet. Whether it was caused by karma or by a debt I owed, it was all related to my xinxing. The old forces persecuted and interfered with me through the loopholes in my xinxing. If I had no loopholes, no one could interfere with me. So it was important to find and get rid of my attachments as soon as possible. Thereafter, I deliberately watched what I was thinking to detect if any wrong thoughts popped up.
When my mother passed by as I was sending forth righteous thoughts, I thought to myself, “See how good my posture is.” As soon as this thought popped up, I noticed it and immediately grabbed it. It was the attachment of showing off again. I knew I had these kinds of thoughts before but didn’t recognize them for what they were at the time. That time I was determined to get hold of it and eliminate it. I didn’t want it anymore. I knew it must be cleaned out. I recalled what Master said: “...whose exercise movements look better also like to show off.” (Lecture Six, Zhuan Falun) I knew that was exactly my situation.
Since paying attention to each of my thoughts, I discovered a desire to show off that I hadn't noticed before. For example, when I went out for a walk, I thought to myself, “I have a good physique,” “I walk lightly,” “I look younger than my age,” and so on.
At home one day, I wrapped the metal legs of a chair with cloth so that it wouldn’t make noise when I moved it. I thought it was a great idea, so I immediately wanted to call my family over to show them how smart I was. But I soon realized that this idea was wrong, so I didn’t call them. Then I laughed at my mentality of showing off; I even wanted to show off for such a small thing.
In short, showing off doesn’t align with Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. It is an attachment that has to be gotten rid of. Even people with supernormal abilities can lose their power when they speak with a mentality of showing off. As a practitioner, we should eliminate it. We can achieve tranquility only when we get rid of showing off, as well as other attachments like fame, gain, and sentimentality.