Improving My Cultivation Through Dafa Projects

Shared at the 2014 European Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference
 

Since I came to Spain from Edinburgh, where I obtained the Fa in 2006, I have collaborated in many Dafa projects: the Epoch Times, clarifying the truth to politicians, the ZSR International Art Exhibition and Shen Yun, in addition to participating regularly in local activities that we organise.

Over the course of time, my cultivation and my understanding of the Fa have walked parallel to my collaboration in the different projects in which I have participated. I will never be able to thank Master enough for the uncountable opportunities that he has given me to cultivate and to detect and eliminate the human attachments that separate me from the standard of a genuine cultivator.

Recognising the attachment to competitiveness and to validating oneself
The first project in which I collaborated in an active manner was the Epoch Times. I had been studying Zhuan Falun for a year and a half by myself and without contact with the local group.

Shortly after moving to Spain, I was given the opportunity to work for the Epoch Times in the department of marketing and sales because I had certain experience and knowledge about sales. In those days I saw very clearly the path to adopt a certain action to achieve a good result, so when my idea was not adopted, I was furious and full of frustration. Now I feel very ashamed of this. At that moment I wasn’t unable to identify my problem, but it was my attachment to validating myself and competitiveness that took control of my mind and darkened my heart. I didn’t understand that the most important thing is the process, not the result, and I didn’t understand completely why I was asked to do things in a certain way.

That led me to disassociate myself from the national projects for some time and I focused on clarifying the truth in my local area, while I looked for opportunities to participate in events that enabled me to clarify the truth on a large scale. During that time, I studied the Fa a lot and I focused very intensively on my personal cultivation. Fa study helped me to understand that the concepts of success and failure that we inherit from this human society can’t be applied to Dafa. Our collaboration in projects is very closely related to our personal cultivation, and oftentimes, what seems like a negative result is not really like that.

Getting rid of the attachment of jealousy
In 2011, I was called to be a part of the coordination team for Shen Yun in Spain. At that moment we were at the stage of searching for theatres. The feeling was bittersweet: on the one hand I felt it was a great honour to be chosen to take part in the coordination of this main project, but on the other hand I was ashamed because the practitioner who had thought about me for this job was the same one with whom I had had a difference of opinion which had resulted in my leaving the Epoch Times. I was very moved by the fact that he didn’t mind our differences and was able to look at the health of the project above anything else and give me the opportunity to collaborate.

I began to participate in the European meetings about Shen Yun and the international sharings about marketing on Sonant. In these meetings, I was able to see a bad attachment I had. Sometimes, when we were listening to how the ticket selling was going in other countries, I noticed that a thought crossed my mind: “They are not so diligent after all and they are not doing so well.” I felt a kind of joy because they were not doing well! We still had not found a theatre in Spain and those thoughts emerged from the jealousy I felt because we had not been able to bring Shen Yun to Spain yet. Looking back, I realised two important things:

1. It is easy to fall into the attachment of jealousy and competitiveness from the perspective of a misunderstood concept of one-body. It’s easy to feel proud of the team that one forms in his or her city, region, or country and compete with other regions almost without being aware of it.

2. When we have a negative thought, we must stop, look at it firmly and search for its roots. The attachments that we don’t detect intervene actively in the making of decisions and determine our every word, gesture and action. How many things might I have done or said that were controlled by the attachment of jealousy? The consequences of the attachment can make us fail in our mission.

I understood now that if we put the importance of the Shen Yun project first, as well as saving sentient being first, we would feel the urgency to get Shen Yun to Spain.

Looking within through the Zhen, Shan, Ren International Art Exhibition
Almost at the same time as I started to attend the meetings for Shen Yun and thanks to help from European practitioners who were very involved in the Zhen Shan Ren International Art Exhibition, I found myself, almost without realising it, with the set of paintings in my hands waiting for a suitable place to exhibit them in Las Palmas. Everything happened very fast, so fast that I almost didn’t have time to be aware of the great responsibility that it involved and I felt fear: a fear of failing, fear of not being at the level of my fellow practitioners’ expectations, fear of losing face in front of others.

My attachment to competitiveness was still there; I had not detected it yet and it was running around at will, hidden behind every action, initiative and thought. Yet, Master with his infinite compassion arranged all that was necessary and on the first visit to search for an exhibition venue at a very busy shopping centre. We were offered an ideal place: spacious, beautiful, very busy and free of charge. The personnel of the centre were very enthusiastic about us and helped us with everything; it was an extraordinary experience. More than 5,000 people visited the exhibition in the three weeks it lasted; all practitioners collaborated unconditionally, carried out impeccable promotion and in addition the media responded very well. I felt very satisfied with myself and very proud of the local body of practitioners.

With this satisfaction in my heart I went out to look for another place to show the paintings and again everything seemed to be arranged. We were offered the second-most prestigious venue in the city, a place frequented by the high society. We had to open the exhibition in two weeks, it was just perfect!

The opening was very beautiful and touching, many people came and everything seemed to go very well. Fellow practitioners again organised everything fantastically and they all cooperated very well. Nonetheless, after the inauguration day, very few people came to see the paintings. From the 70 to 200 visits of the previous exhibition, we went down to 7, 8 or 10 people per day. We didn’t understand what was happening. I shared with several practitioners and I finally thought that the lack of humbleness and my complacency about our previous success had left a gap for the old forces and they were preventing people from coming to have the opportunity of being saved. I was devastated.

I looked within and saw that most of this devastation came from my attachment to gaining the approval of others and again the attachment to competitiveness. Actually, it was not only about the loss, it meant a lack of assistance for the exhibition. That made me feel very ashamed. I realised that it was an opportunity that Master gave to me to find that attachment. I thanked him in my heart and tried to correct that mistake with strong righteous thoughts.

On the last day of the exhibition, an elderly man who had come every day and was very nice said to me: “It’s a pity that this exhibition cannot be held in the beautiful venue at the City Hall.” I asked him: “Why do you say that?” He told me that many members of the local and regional government had visited the exhibition. Most of them were members of this venue. They had been viewing the paintings and knew about the truth of the persecution, it was only that we didn’t notice it. It seems that they were talking among themselves about this, but there were agreements signed with the Chinese government to buy a train that would cross the island and constructions at the port, along with many other interests, so they knew that this exhibition would bother the embassy.

I couldn’t believe it! I was all the time thinking that the exhibition had been a failure! I realised again that I was considering the concepts of success and failure with a very human mentality.

The exhibition was by no means a failure. On one side it had helped me to detect the attachment to recognition that I had, which was so strong that it obscured my heart and everything I did. On the other side, although not many people came to see the paintings, personalities who didn’t know about the truth of the persecution before and who we wouldn’t have been able to reach by other means came to see the exhibition. I understood that we must do what we have to do and don’t give up, keep on going always, even when we think that what we do is useless, even when we don’t understand very well why we have to do things in a certain way, we must carry on.

Firm determination
Just a few weeks after we were offered the venue for the first exhibition, there was a national Fa study in Barcelona, the second-most important city in Spain, and many practitioners attended. I shared with a local practitioner about the need to find a place for the exhibition in this city and asked her if I could stay with her a few days more so we could go together to make some visits and look for a place to exhibit the paintings.

Some time ago the coordinator of Shen Yun had asked all of us who were at that moment involved in the project to actively help with looking for a theatre, and due to the impossibility of finding a theatre in the capital, which was the priority, the search was open to other cities. Being aware of this, I shared with this practitioner and we resolved that we would dedicate a day of that week to visit the main theatres and make contacts.

After a week of splendid sun, the day we chose to visit the theatres was cloudy and quite chilly. Soon after arriving downtown it began to rain heavily, and a bump sprouted on my foot. I almost couldn’t walk so we had to shelter in a cafe. We felt that there were forces trying to dissuade us from doing what we had to do. We looked at each other, smiled and continued. The curious thing was that from that moment on, each time we went outside, it stopped raining and when we entered into places it thundered again; in fact we didn’t get wet. That day I made contact with various theatres; many of them had already been contacted in the past, and when I came back from my travels to Las Palmas, I kept in touch with one of them which seemed suitable.

The theatre met the technical requirements, but they had never hired their space to an international company so there was a little reticence to accept a company outside their programme. Negotiations were prolonged. First there weren’t dates, then there were some, but only one day, after that we were given more days. We exchanged dozens of e-mails, calls and more e-mails. Something seemed to be blocking the definitive booking of the dates.

All of this was happening parallel to the second Zhen, Shan, Ren exhibition in Las Palmas. I looked within trying to find the attachment that was allowing this interference.

We were already packing up the paintings of the exhibition when I realised that, deep inside of me, I didn’t dedicate my heart completely and unconditionally towards the purpose of Shen Yun coming to Spain, I didn’t give all I had to give, I wasn’t trusting completely. So I made a decision: I was going to move out, I was going to live in the city where the theatre was. I shared with a fellow practitioner and he told me: “But the contract is not signed yet!” And I said to him: “Precisely! It’s possible that this is what is needed to sign it: unconditional faith, total and absolute trust in that it’s going to happen, and then it will definitely happen.” Very soon after that, the situation with the dates became unblocked and the contract was signed. In October of that year, I moved to Barcelona.

One body – cooperate wholeheartedly and unconditionally
I was not alone; my attachments to acceptance and competitiveness went with me on my travels, but I had already identified them a little, and although they got in my way constantly, at least now I could see them and I was learning to treat them as something external, something foreign to me.

We began to work on the project; everything was new for everyone. Many of the practitioners who took part in the project had not even seen the show before, and almost none of the coordinators had collaborated in organising Shen Yun in other countries. What we were facing was all a challenge to us: we must fill the theatre, with mainstream society people, let people know the Shen Yun brand in the city for the first time and in addition we had to make it with a budget more reduced than usual. The theatre was small and therefore, even if we could fill the theatre, it would be difficult to make an advertising campaign that would meet the requirements for a first time.

We began the training about how to present the show and I must confess that I didn’t feel very confident that the local practitioners (who were not many) would be well enough trained on time, but they put so much effort in and worked so hard that this made my eyes fill with tears on many occasions during the examinations.

We started promotion late, almost at the end of November, but in the best way possible since we took part in a social event of great impact in the city, a preferential place and free of charge. I feel it was a great arrangement by Master who saw the heart of dedication of practitioners and showed us and paved for us the way to follow. On the day of the event, at least 50 practitioners from Spain were there. It was freezing cold that night and we were in the open air, but nobody felt cold and thousands of people had the opportunity to learn that Shen Yun, finally, would come to Spain.

From that day on, practitioners, tirelessly, cooperated with each other unconditionally, giving out flyers at the theatres, and visiting stores, companies, schools and associations.

I was coordinator of marketing, promotion and sponsorship, and although I worked very hard, I was aware that I was not at the level of the necessary standard. On some areas I had not worked enough and there was a moment when I felt so overwhelmed that I was blocked completely, I was unable to plan anything or execute any task.

Soon, practitioners from other regions came to help. I had accumulated many responsibilities, but was not able to delegate. I thought that only if I were responsible for the issue would we obtain good results. I had forgotten the most fundamental thing of all: cultivation.

My attachments to showing off and validating myself were hidden. I had found a perfect excuse: “It’s for the best of the project, everything must be perfect.” I was forgetting the fundamental thing: we are all cultivating through working on the project, we all have to mature through the responsibility, we all have to fall and stand up again to learn – the most important thing is the process, not the result.

Now, looking back I realised that the most valuable lesson I learned during the organisation of Shen Yun was possibly that one. I learned to trust Master and all fellow practitioners, who I respect now very deeply and I have learnt to look at them with the respect Dafa disciples deserve.

Now I have full confidence that when we all have a firm heart to do what we have to do, we have a common goal, the best commander that could exist, and a high xinxing, we are unbeatable, like the Black Armour Troop.

I have no fear any more. This year I have felt the power and strength of one body like never before, and I feel privileged and grateful to be part of it.

Thank you Master!
Thank you fellow practitioners!

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