I want to share with you some of my cultivation experiences during the promotion of Shen Yun in 2018.
The promotion of Shen Yun was a good opportunity for my cultivation. I really felt Master was there and arranged everything so that I could mature and improve myself in cultivation through the promotion of Shen Yun, and to save all the Italian sentient beings like Master had entrusted us to.
I was very fortunate in my cultivation to have a special living environment. I changed my job and learned that Shen Yun was to come to Rome about a year ago. I needed to find a house close to my new work place, and another practitioner also needed to relocate. For this reason, through acquaintances, we were fortunate to find a good house to share. The house was large and suitable for a large family to live in, but for two people, it was too big. However, considering what we required, we decided to live there.
A few months later, we learned that Shen Yun was to perform in the Rome Opera House for the first time, so our house gradually became the main place to prepare for the promotion of Shen Yun. I finally understood the real purpose of us renting this house. Master had arranged everything.
During that period, I experienced a challenging cultivation process. My cultivation state was not very good. Laziness and desires prevented me from improving and had already formed a major obstacle for me. I felt discouraged and thought that I could not overcome these difficulties. However, it was time to prepare for Shen Yun. It was necessary for Shen Yun perform in the Italian opera house, in the capital, and it was also the first city on the European tour. We had a very important task, and felt that we had to be very responsible.
The project coordinator asked some practitioners, including myself, to do the necessary preparations for Shen Yun’s arrival, so we decided to meet as much as possible. Gradually we met every day to strengthen our Fa study and to send forth righteous thoughts. We studied the Fa for an hour and then sent forth righteous thoughts for another hour.
Given my state of cultivation, it was difficult to maintain this rhythm. Studying the Fa was not a problem, but sending forth righteous thoughts for an hour was a challenge for me. At the beginning I could only send righteous thoughts for half an hour. The whole process was very useful though, and gradually I felt I was getting more and more pure, as my dimensional field was being cleansed. But some deep obstacles remained, and I still could not send righteous thoughts for a whole hour.
One day, we studied “Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference” where Master said:
“Of course, we don't acknowledge any of the things that the old forces arranged--I as your master don't acknowledge them, and Dafa disciples of course don't acknowledge them either. (Applause) But after all, they did do what they wanted to do, so there's all the more reason for Dafa disciples to do even better and cultivate themselves well in the course of saving all beings. When you encounter ordeals during your cultivation, you have got to cultivate yourself and look at yourself--that doesn't mean acknowledging the ordeals arranged by the old forces and trying to do well amidst the ordeals they've arranged, that's not the case. We negate even the very emergence of the old forces and everything that they've arranged; we don't even acknowledge their existence. We're fundamentally negating all of their things, and all of, and only, the things you do while negating and getting rid of them is mighty-virtue. It's not that you're cultivating amidst the ordeals they created. Rather, you are to walk your own path well while not acknowledging them, not even acknowledging the elimination of their ordeals' manifestations. (Applause) So looking at it from this angle, what we need to do is completely negate the old forces. Dafa disciples and I don't even acknowledge the manifestations of their last-ditch efforts.”
I was keenly aware all those tribulations were caused by the old forces' tight grip of my thoughts and causing interference. This passage of the Fa deeply touched me.
Afterwards, when I began to send forth righteous thoughts, I was determined to do an hour to get rid of those interferences. At the end of the first half hour of cleansing, a scene appeared in front of me: I saw a huge mountain range, like the grey mountains of the Alps, with hard rocks and no vegetation. Suddenly, the mountain range exploded one after another and shattered into thousands of pieces, just like watching a movie. The old forces had instilled many misconceptions that had plagued me from childhood to today, but now I was cleared of some of their arrangements.
When I was in the position with the palm erect, my back felt heavy and I tilted forward slightly. After time elapsed, I felt a mass of black karma, the size of a basketball pressed against my abdomen, and then suddenly it came out of my body with a lot of power. At that instant, I immediately felt relaxed, my back was straight, my thoughts were completely blank and light, and I continued to send forth righteous thoughts. From then on, I was able to send righteous thoughts for an hour.
Master allowed me to see my thoughts, the plans of the old forces, and eventually liberated me from those substances. This was an important moment. Since then, my cultivation greatly improved, so I could work hard to keep up with other practitioners in the tasks entrusted to us.
A few months later, the contract was finally signed, and Shen Yun would officially come to Rome. In order to promote Shen Yun, the main coordinator and other practitioners moved in to our home during this period. How lucky this was. I still felt so moved. How much compassion Master had for us, and provided us with such a cultivation environment!
Gradually, the local Fa study was temporarily moved to my home during the promotion period, so even if I stayed at home, I was in a cultivation environment. What incredible fortune!
In the morning we got up and sent forth righteous thoughts, then we did the exercises and studied the Fa. After that, I went to work. When I came back, I always saw different people. After I had dinner, I studied the Fa, and then began to concentrate on working for Shen Yun. The practitioners who came to our home gave me a lot of advice to help me improve, and I was very grateful to them.
For the first time in that year, there were three cities in Italy that Shen Yun was to perform. The marketing responsibility was significant, and the pressure was quite enormous. This was the first time we put on enough shows to save 10,000 people. With everyone's help and in this special cultivation environment, I was able to overcome difficulties.
Removing Attachments to Lust and Desire
The encouragement from this cultivation environment and the responsibilities I felt gave me a strong resolve to completely abandon lust and desires that had long plagued my cultivation. I was very diligent in this regard, looking within at each of my own thoughts and ideas. Although I encountered several resistances at the beginning, I didn't think along with it. Even in the workplace, these topics that my colleagues often talked about were greatly reduced.
In this process, I was subjected to two very strong tests.
I was very tired and sleepy before going to bed one night. Suddenly, many lust and desire thoughts started to come to me. I felt I was poisoned, numb and dizzy, as if my body had completely lost control. I really couldn’t resist it. In the chaos, one righteous thought emerged: “I must resolutely abandon this thing. I can't give in. I don't want these things. I am here to save people.” I had this thought in my mind, and started to send forth righteous thoughts. My mental and physical state then returned to normal.
The second time was a very obvious interference. Less than two weeks before the show, all the practitioners involved in the promotional activities gathered at my home to study the Fa and send forth righteous thoughts, which was a really powerful environment! Suddenly, the coordinator announced that Rome would add another show on the same day. We were extremely excited, even though there was less than two weeks to the show. We were very confident and believed we would succeed. So suddenly we had to sell a lot more tickets in a short period of time, and we had to do all the preparations for the arrival of Shen Yun, which was really not easy!
A few days later, when everything was confirmed, the ticket sales were very busy. We always worked late into the night, but I was very happy and didn't feel tired. However, one night there was an interference of lust and desire, like the last time: numbness, dizziness, all kinds of thoughts suddenly appeared in my mind. I really couldn’t resist it. This time they were really fierce and much stronger than the last time. When I was busy on Facebook, there were a lot of provocative and tempting images that popped up, and they really wanted to drag me down.
In those few minutes, I insisted on grinding my teeth. I tried to resist them with all my strength, reminding myself of the last test and I thought: “I don't want this thing. I don't admit this interference. I know you have to drag me down so I cannot save sentient beings. You want to ruin me, but I don't accept it. You must disappear.”
With this clear thinking, I began to send forth righteous thoughts. Suddenly I felt I was freed from a huge burden. I felt something ingrained in me had forever disappeared. I felt a powerful energy like never before. At that moment, I knew I had completely put down my attachment to lust and desire from my heart!
When it’s Impossible to Do, You Can Do it
A week or so before the show started, I was asked to take on security work due to some changes in arrangements. This was a new task for me. I had to prepare for this within a week, and I still had to arrange ticket sales of the other two cities. I felt a lot of pressure.
The Shen Yun company arrived the night before the show. Since there were not many cars available, I had to direct the company's drivers and technicians, and travelled back and forth with them from the coach parking lot, hotel and theatre many times. This continued from the arrival of the troupe in the afternoon until around 3:00am. All of these places were about 20 -30 minutes apart in journey time.
I was exhausted. By the time I sent the last practitioner back to the hotel, I felt that I couldn't drive any more. Every time I stopped at the red light, I squeezed a few seconds to shut my eyes and then woke up. I felt I had reached my limit.
When I was driving, a practitioner who was working backstage asked me if I could pick him up in the morning. I really felt that I couldn't do it because I had to prepare the performers’ badges and signs for their use the next day in the theatre, so I refused. The practitioner understood this and said that he would solve his issue himself, and I felt relieved. When I arrived at the hotel though, I met the technical director of the Shen Yun company. She asked if I could take her to the theatre from the hotel at 6:45 in the morning. I reluctantly accepted.
When I got home, I was exhausted. It was already 3:00 am. After finishing sending righteous thoughts at 6 o'clock, I still had to go out again to fetch the technical director. But I also needed to prepare the badges and signs! I really didn't know what to do! It seemed this was still not good enough.
To add to this, I couldn't find a parking space when I got home. I spent more than half an hour and eventually found a place about 500 metres away from my home. I still had to walk up a big hill on return. I was really tired, irritable and exhausted. I wanted to cry. I couldn't stand it any more! At that moment, I felt the adversity of what a cultivator must face, and I wondered why all these things happened to me and why I had to bear all these heavy responsibilities.
At the time, a thought flashed through my mind: “This was a way towards improvement. It was a compulsory opportunity to eliminate karma. Normally it would be impossible to endure, thus this was a rare opportunity.”
At this point, I felt a warm current run through me and Master's strong compassion truly eliminate much of my karma and lift me up. I suddenly felt that I was sober, with high spirits, full of energy, and happiness that emerged from the depths of my heart. That single thought made me completely change my state and I no longer felt tired, just like I had slept for a whole night.
When I got home, I calmed down and patiently prepared everything I needed. I worked until 5:30 in the morning. I didn't feel that I needed to go to sleep. I simply sat on the sofa and meditated for half an hour before sending righteous thoughts. Then, I had a quick wash and went out, to drive the technical director from the hotel to the theatre.
There were two performances on that day, and I stayed in the theatre all day to take charge of the security work and coordinate with my fellow practitioners.
Finally, when the full production came to an end, like the previous day, I took people back and forth, from the parking lot to the hotel, and to the theatre. There really was much to do, but I went about the day with righteous thoughts. I did not stop to rest even for a moment or to relax. I continued to do what I needed to do, even though I arrived home at 3:00am the following morning. I was still in good shape, and now that everything was over, Shen Yun performance was extremely successful with all shows sold out.
When I got up, I was energetic and didn't feel tired. At night, when I was having dinner, two practitioners who were working in the media were stuck in Rome and couldn’t get home. At the time, we didn't think much about it. The coordinator asked me to go to the airport to pick up the practitioners. My human heart began to stir. I had picked up so many people in the past two days. I really did so much, and did not feel like driving again, and now I couldn’t even finish my dinner. I felt that I couldn’t bear much more, and asked myself why it was like this.
In the car I discussed with a practitioner why it was that the media practitioners did not make it out on time. It was assumed that they probably had not finished the interview reports, because there were many high-level mainstream people who watched Shen Yun, so the interview reports were deemed a very important task. In addition, Rome was the first stop of the European tour that year, and those interview reports would greatly enhance the promotion of Shen Yun for the rest of the European shows. Therefore, with all the work it meant that they did not manage to leave on time.
I thought “Master asked me to get these practitioners back to complete their reports.” I felt that I was appointed to the task, so I concluded, “Well, Master, you wanted me to do this, so I will happily do it.”
At the same time, I felt Master was doing Guanding to me. I felt overjoyed with tears running down my face, and felt the strong energy. All the tiredness and disturbed heart disappeared. Master had continued to give me more opportunities to eliminate my karma. I was really moved by Master's compassion.
On those stressful days, I had seen the many specific ways a righteous mind can completely change the situation, enabling me to do things that were simply impossible to accomplish under normal circumstances. I had to overcome my psychological and physical limitations, to withstand the constant adversity, to get rid of the human heart, to maintain strong mindfulness, and to feel that Master was there with me at every step of the way.
Promoting Shen Yun presented an excellent opportunity to fulfil our vows, and it enabled us to make rapid progress in cultivation. I really appreciated Master for giving me this huge opportunity.
Thank you Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!
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