I would like to share about my experiences over the last few months in truth clarifying work, and the wonderful cultivation opportunities that Master has provided me.
I am involved in a documentary film project that has steadily been growing over the last couple of years. Predominantly, it has just been myself and another working on it, and has thus required much dedication and perseverance.
When I first became involved in this project, a lot of fear and doubt inhibited me from dedicating my whole heart to it. I was unsure whether it was the right thing to do, as it was not a project that many practitioners were involved with. This uncertainty came from a need for endorsement by other practitioners, and from Master. “Is this the right thing to do? What if it isn't? Will I have wasted all my time and efforts, and perhaps affected my own cultivation?” This uncertainty and doubt from me was reflected and manifested in another practitioner warning me against the project, questioning the righteousness of the project, and doubting the other practitioner. With this doubt in the back of my mind, I would often find it difficult to work on my own or the other practitioner, and to take the initiative to get something done. This did not stem from an inability to do the work or to take initiative, but came from a deeper fear of doing so. A fear within initiative. This fear stemmed from a fundamental doubt in myself.
In deepening my cultivation, I became aware that I had a great fear of the Fa rectification and what would happen to me in it. This in turn was built upon a sense of a lack of self worth, of not being worthy enough; a fear of having not done well enough in my cultivation. Every mistake I made would feel like a great burden on me, and weighed me down to the point of making it difficult to cultivate and work on the project.
In wanting to try and overcome this self doubt, and through not realising it existed, I sought external solutions and became overzealous in wanting to try and get involved with as many truth clarifying projects as possible. I was driven by this idea that if I don't help as much as possible, I might fall short. This resulted in most of that help and effort being short lived, due to placing even more burden on myself, and with my heart not being fully behind it. This also impacted on my work with the film project, in that less time was spent on it, and meant opportunities were missed. This in turn placed greater burden on the other practitioner.
Within this fear, I was also concerned with what other practitioners thought of me. A lot of the work for the film is 'behind the scenes', and as such I would worry in case other practitioners felt I was not doing any truth clarifying work. There was a notion of worry that I was not good enough, and not as good as other practitioners, who within the notions in my mind were doing so much more than I was. These notions worked negatively to create and drive a feeling of separation from myself and other practitioners, to separate me from the one body. This again drove me to try to take part in activities, in order to 'show my face'.
My doing truth clarifying work was thus not righteous, as it was born from a fear for self. It was of self, and not from what I now understand as Zhen Shan Ren. It was doing what was expected of me during Fa-rectification, but not for the right reason. As my cultivation deepened, I began to realise all this within me. The doubt in self made me doubt others, and not have trust in others. This was reflected most severely in not having unconditional trust in Master, and thus led to a fear of Fa-rectification. I had always held a notion that before the film project was complete, and the film was ready for release, I wanted to contact Master to ask if it was okay to go ahead with it. I chuckle now at all this, as I did not then consider the fact that He had created the conditions for this project, and had guided us through it at every moment. As a balance was brought back into my heart with Fa study, there was a realisation that much of my support for other projects can take the form of righteous thoughts. If my heart is true and righteous in wanting everything that Dafa disciples do to go well, then even if I am not physically able to help but can send strong righteous thoughts, it may be better than trying to help but with an impure heart.
The self doubt that existed created a lack of self worth, and a feeling of inability that greatly inhibited my work. This notion was often accompanied by another extreme of mind; that of an overinflated ego. This ego would try to hold onto itself and make itself feel better, after being knocked from a lack of self worth, by telling itself that it was really good, or even the best at doing everything. This would often lead to looking down upon others, and of a constant critical mindset that would always be looking for others' faults. When other practitioners or non-practitioners made mistakes or behaved in ways that I felt were not in accordance with my understanding of the Fa, I would have notions of looking down upon them. These notions again worked to separate me from the one body that I should be a part of. On one occasion on the film project, when the practitioner was trying to work with a software package to transfer files between hard drives, the software was not working and he showed frustration. Notions arose in my mind that I felt he wasn't looking inwards and I began to look down on him. I saw then that in fact it was I that was not looking inward by judging him with my unrighteous mindset, and was in turn creating this obstacle in our work and causing the software to not work.
I had fallen into a mindset of using the Fa to judge others, and not for cultivating myself. In my place of work, this had a massive impact on my friendships and working relationships with others. I would feel very angry, frustrated and upset at those people around me, and would sometimes barely talk to them. They were non-practitioners, but I expected them to cultivate, rather than cultivating myself. This stopped me from being able to save them, and grew to a feeling of hatred towards them and to wider society.
This also had an impact on my truth clarifying work with the film project, in that I felt very weighted with a sense of despair and unfairness. I became angry because I felt I saw so much wrongdoing in society, and this burdened me when seeing such atrocities happening in the persecution, but yet many people were still not acting. I expected them to live up to the standard of the Fa; not with compassion in wanting them to position themselves, but from frustration in all the hard work it created for me because they didn't do so. I failed to see the great responsibility and opportunity that Master has given us in the Fa-rectification.
As my cultivation deepened through Fa study, Master turned my outlook around. I began to truly understand what it meant to cultivate. I realised how unconditional Master's compassion is, in that no matter what mistakes we make, and we will make them, his compassion is boundless. I realised how much my compassion to others fell short, and began to understand what Master spoke of in Zhuan Falun with the words “Zhen Shan Ren is the sole criterion to discern good and bad people”. This tendency of notions to judge others with my understanding of the Fa, and feel frustrated with others if they did not live up to what I expected of them, or if they made my life difficult, was wrong. Instead, I realised that I must truly cultivate myself according to Zhen Shan Ren, and by providing every sentient being unconditionally with opportunities to learn the truth, I could give them a chance to make a choice in their own heart, and position themselves. In other words, it is not up to me to use Zhen Shan Ren to discern if they are good or bad people. I should just unconditionally want to save them, no matter how they treat me, and then Zhen Shan Ren will discern their position.
In cultivating through the other extreme of self doubt, I realised how much my compassion fell short towards myself. In not valuing myself, I was not valuing being a Dafa practitioner. As such, I was not truly valuing a part of the Fa, nor the sentient beings that I meant to save. Far from being modest and humble, this was actually very selfish.
My understanding of Master's Fa has allowed me to see how every person and event around us is a true reflection of what is going on in our minds. Every sentence spoken by a work colleague. Every wrongdoing in society. Every difficulty occurring in practitioners' truth clarifying work. As I have come to understand, every single thing in the world around us and in the wider universe is a reflection of our mindset, and as such provides us with an opportunity to look inwards and cultivate. This sense of the boundlessness of the Fa has provided me with a much deeper sense of just how interconnected we are with the universe around us, and how much our righteousness and state of mind effects everything. With this has come a much deeper sense of solemnity and responsibility, and also a feeling of oneness with other practitioners and the truth clarifying work that each and every one of us does. In this comes a deeper sense that everything exists for the Fa, and for our cultivation and saving of sentient beings.
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