(Minghui.org) I would like to tell you about my experiences as an assistant and coordinator. The latest announcements from the Minghui editorial team helped me gain some insights into this.

My Wrong Understanding of Assisting

I listen well and I’m there for others. That’s something I’ve always been proud to say about myself. I’ve lately doubted whether this is really so important from a Fa point of view. I recently realized this was a human mindset.

Six years ago the assistants from Germany and German-speaking Switzerland met and discussed what “assisting” means: What are our tasks according to the Fa, and how can we encourage practitioners to do their tasks well?

I realized that my most important asset was actually listening and being there. The German word “betreuen” (assisting) means to take care of someone and make sure they have what they need.

That’s exactly what I do in the projects where I have a lead role. I sometimes hear, “When we share here we can be much more open than in other groups” or “Our weaknesses are not pointed out here” and “In this group we can openly express our thoughts.” These words always make me happy! But is this comfortable environment what Master wants for us?

When I thought about this, a passage from what Master said came to mind,

“Master has entrusted so many Dafa disciples to you, and expects you to lead them well. So it is something you must do, and it is your responsibility. If you don’t do it well, it’s directly related to your cultivation.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2013 Greater New York Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XII)

Am I guiding my fellow practitioners well, as Master expects? The answer pierced my heart: “No, not at all. You just listen, and give them a humanly safe space to express their thoughts.”

I think it is very important and essential for an assistant to listen well and be there. But that is not enough. We need to guide them well. When practitioners talk about their worries or fears, an assistant should listen with a compassionate mindset and be there for them. Sometimes, however, it’s also necessary to use stronger words so that we can walk the narrow path set out for us by the Fa. I realized that I did not do this.

Some practitioners don’t show up to help with projects for months. I can’t tell them that perhaps they should help with another project. Why can’t I say that? When I notice someone complaining too much, why can’t I stop them? We talk about our understandings and share our experiences, but I don’t guide them, instead, I go along with them or remain silent. I don’t object when I should.

The reason? I want to save face. If I listen well and give practitioners a space to speak openly, they like me. If I am not so strict, they like me. It also makes me less of a target during conflicts.

This is clearly an attachment, namely showing off.

Even if I understand my role as a coordinator is to be there for others, that’s just my ego wanting to be flattered. And that is not cultivation.

Master said,

“You would have no way to make spiritual progress if there was no strife around you or chances to work on your character. It wouldn’t be possible if everyone got along just fine.” (The Ninth Talk, Zhuan Falun)

When I realized this, I felt ashamed but did nothing to change the situation. That’s when I understood how deep this attachment actually runs in me. Looking back, I think that many things I did were done with a show-off mentality. On the surface it looked like I was cultivating diligently. I realized that, because of my attachment, the project was prevented from achieving good results, and I missed the opportunity to elevate.

Master said,

“Every single thing that makes up creation, wherever it may be in the universe, is alive and has thinking, and whatever it does, no matter the level that it exists at, is an embodiment of the Way of the universe. And so you will not be able to progress to higher levels of existence, or attainment, if they do not agree to it. Their reason would be that your character has not grown sufficiently.” (The First Talk, Zhuan Falun)

After I shared my thoughts during meetings, afterward I would ask my practitioner husband if what I’d said was okay. I was always careful not to make mistakes or say too much. I was overly concerned with the impression I made instead of looking at what was important: How I improved my xinxing and, more importantly, how others improved.

A few months ago I started to pay less attention to these superficial things and to share more directly. I expressed my concerns honestly and pointed out problems. This used to be very difficult for me. I always held back so that I wouldn’t make a mistake. I forgot what Master told us:

“I have said before that, for a Dafa disciple, it’s okay if you’ve made mistakes. Just openly and honestly admit to your mistakes and show that you’re getting back on track and want to do well, and everyone will admire you for that.” (“Fa Teaching at the 2015 West Coast Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XIII)

I was afraid of making mistakes because that in turn meant loss of face. I later understood that I had too little faith in my fellow practitioners. When they see my numerous mistakes, they will react according to the Fa, because they are also disciples of the same Master. Why was I afraid?

Master encourages us to go our own way, and my understandings of the Fa show me the way to guide my fellow practitioners well: By cultivating openly and sincerely, as our revered Master teaches us.

As I understand it, the focus of assisting should be that the assistant accompanies practitioners on their paths. I think of it like a travel guide who simultaneously ensures the safety of the travelers and also that they do not go astray and get lost in a foreign country or in the jungle. The tour guide, i.e. the assistant, does not give orders, because he is not a general—he just holds up a colorful umbrella so that everyone stays together. He always looks around to see if everyone is there and brings back the lost travelers.

Master asked us,

“What kind of coordinator would you like to be? Have you thought about that? Are you hoping that everyone will be as obedient as a flock of sheep before you? That’s what you want, not what I want. As complicated as things are, [you should figure out] how to be a good coordinator of Dafa disciples.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2015 New York Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XIII )

My current understanding is that good guidance means that an assistant ensures the safety and cohesion of fellow practitioners.

Overly Involved in Projects

In addition to how to guide practitioners well as a person in charge, I found the following sentence in the Minghui editorial“Be Responsible” important: “It’s also common for Dafa Association coordinators to be busy with projects that they are in charge of and thereby neglect the responsibilities of Dafa Association coordinators.”

From the beginning of my cultivation in 2001, I was constantly thrown in the deep end and had to blaze some trails—be it talking to politicians or the establishment of Dafa websites. Practically from the minute I began practicing, I was deeply involved in these activities, and my cultivation is very closely connected to the projects that clarify the truth. That’s why I’m often involved with sharing in those projects and neglect participating in the discussions in my local group and the groups in Germany.

Together with the other members of the German Falun Dafa Association, I am responsible for preparing our big sharing on Mondays on the Internet. That’s when all German and German-speaking practitioners in Switzerland come together to discuss our latest experiences. The sharing should be up-to-date, related to cultivation, easy to understand and, what’s more, relevant to Fa-rectification. Often there are more than 200 practitioners. It’s no easy task.

I noticed that sometimes I don’t know what is going on in the groups. In Germany there are a lot of smaller groups and we are therefore in close contact with the assistants. Because I’m busy with my projects, it’s difficult to maintain contact.

And there is already the little word “busy.” It means to focus one’s attention on one thing or person. In my case, I concentrate almost exclusively on the projects I’m involved in. However, the Minghui editorials have made me aware that this does not do justice to my responsibility for local practitioners and in Germany.

Master clearly stated:

“I would like to tell you that, since you are a coordinator, you should gather the local practitioners and bring them together on Master’s behalf so that they can improve in cultivation, and you should help Master by leading them well. That is your responsibility as a coordinator in your area.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the 2015 New York Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. XIII )

When I became aware of this Fa principle, I felt my heart become lighter. For months I kept thinking about it and worrying about why some projects I was involved in were not having the effect they should. I got the answer from the advice in the Minghui editorials: Because I neglect my real task, which Master gave us, to guide our fellow practitioners well.

Let us do our tasks better so that our Master can hear good news from us.

(Presented at the 2023 European Fa Conference)