Greetings Teacher. Greetings fellow practitioners. I’m a practitioner from Belgium and I would like to share with you some of my experiences during the preparation of the Divine Performing Art shows. Through these experiences I obtained some understandings about personal cultivation and about ‘working together unconditionally’.
Last year when the preparation of the 2008 DPA performances started in Belgium, I understood that the success of the show would depend on our ability to work on this project as one body. Many aspects of the project seemed to be well arranged and prepared even before we got started. My understanding was that this is a project guided by Teacher and Teacher had already prepared many elements of this project, including everything necessary for the project to succeed. Since it’s a project directly guided by Teacher, there wouldn’t even be any interference or disturbance directly aimed at the project itself – that would not be allowed and not possible.
However, something that could be interfered with was the cooperation among practitioners and the overall cultivation state of the practitioners. Since Teacher guides the project and the necessary ingredients for success are already there, the requirements for our cultivation status became all the stricter. Then what was there for us to do? If we would not reach the requirements laid out for our personal and group cultivation that would leave gaps for interference. If interference were to come, it would be aimed at the gaps in our cultivation status and it would try to exploit these gaps and try to make them bigger.
Indeed, during the whole project this has proven to be our most difficult issue: being able or not to work together as one body. We have had some successes and some failures on this subject. Many aspects came to the surface during the project: name and fame, wanting to have things this way or that way, being attached to personal opinions and even competition and jealousy played a role. I believe that all the elements that came to the surface and were not swiftly and correctly cultivated away, have indeed been exploited by the old forces and have been made to look bigger and more disturbing than what they really are. This has made the tensions among practitioners worse than what the real issues actually are. This has caused our group quite some conflicts and delays. In the end we managed to overcome some of them, but not all. The result of the show was good, but in terms of numbers of tickets sold and financial outcome, we can’t say it was a big success – the show was break-even. Half/half – we didn’t fail but we didn’t manage to completely reach the requirement either.
Last year we didn’t completely overcome all the shortcomings and this has already been manifested again this year. The situation is different, but some of the problems are still not fundamentally resolved. At the same time I think that the requirement for the practitioners working on the 2009 DPA show is higher than last year. ‘Working together unconditionally’. I believe that we will need to attain this requirement if we want the performances to be a success in Belgium, Europe and the rest of the world.
A few months ago, around the time when we started the preparation of the 2009 performances, I was reading ‘Falun Gong’. In the question and answer part Teacher explained how all our illnesses are removed. If we observe the discomfort that comes later in our cultivation process, we will experience that it is different from before. I thought that, since mind and body are the same, maybe this is also true for our notions and attachments. After reading ‘Zhuan Falun’ and Teacher’s other writings, aren’t the roots of the wrong notions and attachments in our mind removed? Aren’t the roots of our wrong notions and attachments already removed because we have had the chance to learn what is truly upright? And when we still experience difficulties to let go of certain notions or attachments, can that be similar to the karmic field that remains after an illness has been removed? When observing notions and attachments more closely, that’s exactly the impression I had. The root of the notion or attachment is already gone and replaced by true principles. What remains is a field related to the notion or attachment – a black substance that needs to be transformed and that is utilised to help me understand things and improve. It’s not that I’m still lost in those attachments and concepts; it’s that this field is still there and that it gives me a possibility to enlighten while transforming the black substance.
During the days after having read this passage, I discovered more of it’s meaning: all the difficulties I face are actually ongoing transformations of the black substance. It’s an environment that allows me to work on my xinxing and enlightenment. Similar to training the body, going through this difficulty allows me to ‘train of the heart and the mind’. The intense conflicts we had one year earlier in preparing the 2008 performances are also such transformations. All difficulties can be over very quickly as soon as this black substance is completely transformed. The difficulty is temporary and is directly related to this transformation. It is not that I am fundamentally and inherently like this or like that and it is not that a situation or a person or another practitioner is fundamentally and inherently like this or like that – it is all a temporary manifestation during a transformation process.
Later that week, when driving towards a meeting for the coordinators of the 2009 shows in Belgium, I noticed that I was quite restless about attending that meeting. While going there I was expecting several difficulties and tough situations, because in my mind this person is always like this or that person is always like that and I was expecting him or her to behave in one or another negative way towards me. I remembered what I had understood earlier and it helped me to regain a more calm and compassionate attitude. In addition, I came to realize that those other practitioners are also going through such a process of transformation and also for them this process is difficult. All of us are going through similar transformation processes. Inherently, a living being is in line with the universe and its principles, but in this world the being needs to transform the black substance. I started to see the whole world in this way – the whole world is inherently in line with the principles of the cosmos and all the difficulties in this world are caused by the transformation of the black substance – except for the interference caused by those beings who have nothing left of the characteristic of truth-compassion-tolerance.
That night, before the meeting, we were reading in ‘Zhuan Falun’ about how the beings at high levels created this world in order to give those who developed more selfish thoughts one last opportunity to return. After developing those selfish thoughts during social relations and interactions, these beings had dropped and in this world they were given a chance to return. I saw a parallel with the requirement for our ‘working together unconditionally’ during the preparation of the DPA performances. Only if we can get rid of the selfish thoughts, if we can get rid of this fundamental issue in personal cultivation, will we be able to attain ‘working together as one body’ and ‘working together unconditionally’. Later that evening during the meeting I saw how at some point people started to stress their own point of view and their personal opinions. At that moment the meeting became much less efficient and the level of our work came down. That seemed to be very similar to the beings that are being lowered in level and stay at this human level to learn about going back to the origin.
All of this was showing me even more the importance of ‘working together unconditionally’. It certainly has many aspects and layers of meaning. At this moment my personal understanding about ‘working together unconditionally’ is being able to keep a big and compassionate heart towards each other at all times. When I notice that I have negative feelings or thoughts about a practitioner, I try to remind myself that the tension or difficulty between us is a process of transformation of the black substance. Remembering this helps me to keep an open and compassionate heart towards the person or the situation. The fundamental nature of all things and beings and practitioners is to be in line with the characteristics of the cosmos. No matter which differences of opinion we face or which difficulties we have among each other, those are all processes of transformation and not fundamental things. This understanding has helped me to remove many negative ideas and concepts from my mind, thus allowing me to come closer to ‘working together unconditionally’ and to be less attached to my personal opinion – my personal opinion is only one opinion that plays a role in this whole process.
Currently we still face some of the consequences of the conflicts we had last year. One of the consequences is that among practitioners there is a lot of talking about other practitioners in a negative way. One day after hearing a practitioner say negative things about another practitioner I wondered why this had happened, why I had heard all of this. I realized that it showed me something that I had been doing over the past years of cultivation and I saw how it was not in line with my new understanding about ‘working together unconditionally’. Not only should I pay attention to ‘not having negative thoughts about others’, but also to ‘not saying negative things about others’. Ever since, I try to be mindful about this and to not talk negatively about other practitioners or to not talk negatively about other people or things in a general sense. How can I work together unconditionally with practitioners about whom I say negative things? How can I work together unconditionally with the universe’s characteristics if I go against this universe by saying negative things about certain elements of it? How can my mind be in line with truth-compassion-tolerance if I have negative ideas about beings that belong to truth-compassion-tolerance?
My current understanding about ‘working together unconditionally’ implies that we are able to have a compassionate attitude towards each other at all times. Not only on the surface, but also in what we say and in the thoughts we have. Doing so can sometimes present a challenge for our cultivation, but that’s in and of itself a good thing – it’s an opportunity to ‘rise above’, to ‘train’ our xinxing and to enlighten to certain principles. If we can manage to achieve the status of ‘working together unconditionally’ I believe we will have come much closer to ‘unconditionally being a part of the new cosmos’ without having personal elements that separate us from the cosmos’s principles.
If any of this understanding is incorrect, please point it out to me. Thank you Teacher, thank you fellow practitioners.
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