Peter: Cultivating Kindness and Compassion working on the Hotline Team
In November 2018 I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the Shen Yun hotline team. I found the team to be very professional but above all else there was a genuine respect, kindness and cooperation among team members. It took me time to adjust my cultivation to this compassionate energy field.
One by one my attachments came to the surface. On one occasion I did not turn up for my shift until someone contacted me and informed me that I was 2 hours late. My first thought was it was due to a misunderstanding but it became clear that it was because of selfishness. Because of selfishness I had not given Shen Yun top priority in my life, I should have been more attentive to the duty roster, thereby avoiding a practitioner having to wait 2 hours for me after they had finished their shift.
Our team would meet every Sunday, study the Fa, receive training and updates on how we could become more effective in ticket sales and thereby help save sentient beings. We learned from experienced hotline staff that we should try to be understanding and caring to everyone who called the hotline.
With the many open sharings and cooperation among the team, our trust grew and the compassionate energy field of the team grew stronger every week. It was like being enveloped in a golden light that guided us in our cultivation and our ability to save sentient beings.
It helped us all improve as a team to meet the challenges we would face later.
There were two occasions when Shen Yun had to be postponed to a later date. Hundreds of customers had to be contacted and their tickets reallocated. Most people were understanding but some were very upset. I found that being genuinely concerned and sympathetic towards the customer helped to dissolve any anger and some later apologised for being rude.
There were many instances where customers had to overcome challenges in order to attend Shen Yun. Several customers said after seeing the advert on TV they felt compelled to buy a ticket but needed to save or wait to be paid before they could afford it. One customer was so grateful that a seat was held until he could pay. Another wanted to see the show but the seats were all sold out. I remember saying that if he kept faith, he would get to see Shen Yun. A few days later additional seats became available and the customer called back to book a seat. He was so grateful.
In all my years of cultivation I shall treasure this special time. Being part of the hotline team has helped me to cherish fellow practitioners and realise that kindness and compassion is an effective way to clarify the truth.
Elena: How I Eliminated my Attachment to Comfort and Stopped Worrying about my Family’s Wellbeing
When I started participating in the hotline activity, I asked my coordinator to give me 3-4 hour shifts so I could perform my family and house duties without any disruptions. I always make sure, in my everyday life, that my husband, son and dog are taken good care of, that my house is clean, meals are cooked, and everything is running smooth and nicely. Generally, it’s not wrong thinking, unless you are doing it when you should be sacrificing your comfort for something that is more important.
One evening, about a month before the end of the Shen Yun UK tour, the hotline coordinator phoned me to have a chat and find out if I could increase my hours on the hotline. During our conversation it occurred to me how much she had carried on her shoulders, how huge her responsibilities had been, and how stressed she had become. To manage the Shen Yun hotline means to manage a frontline in a battle for Goodness, that’s how I understand it. Nevertheless, I wasn’t ready to fully cooperate at that point as my first thought was whether my family could endure my longer hours, whether I could allow chaos to enter my household due to lack of time. I asked my coordinator to give me time to think about it.
After I hung up, I knew something was wrong with my thinking. Master said:
“…a cultivator should also be able to make sacrifices, abandoning different attachments and desires of everyday people.”
(Zhuan Falun, Lecture Nine)
First of all, I explained the situation to my husband and my worries about not having enough time to do my routine house duties. My husband, who is not a Falun Dafa practitioner, was very understanding. He said to me: “Take as much time as you need, we will manage, don’t worry.” Immediately, I sent a text message to my coordinator and let her know that she could give me shifts with any hours and for any duration that she would need me to do. I also apologised to her for being selfish and not realising how much help she needed.
Since then I was incredibly busy, doing long shifts for a few weeks. Surprisingly, it helped me to become more in control of my life, my self-discipline improved, and I perfectly managed to keep my family happy and my house clean and tidy. Everything was under control. I felt very happy, I realised my attachments to comfort and my family’s wellbeing were so strong, and it was high time to deal with them.
My cultivation progressed during those months. There were so many little things that I discovered about myself and that had to be shed, such as selfishness, the ability to be truthful with myself, deeply hidden remains of a show off mentality, and bits of jealousy. I learnt to look within more calmly and without beating myself up, being more humble and appreciating.
I am so grateful to Master, who is looking after me and giving me opportunities again and again in order to raise my understanding of the Fa and to become a better practitioner. I am also grateful to my fellow hotline practitioners for their endless support and kindness. There is so much that I can learn from them, treating others with dignity and compassion, being humble and tolerant. Thank you all!
Damian: Learning from Making Compromises
It was my privilege to serve on the Shen Yun UK hotline during the 2018-19 tour. During the previous tour I had been able to be online for eight hour shifts and occasionally longer. It was something I felt I should and could do.
My wife did not understand my need to do something for free for so many hours a week. She is an everyday person and I have never thoroughly explained to her my deep commitment to Dafa. She understood about the persecution from the perspective of genocide. Her father is Jewish and a lot of their family died during the Holocaust in the early 1940s. Her family members are not religious Jews and many were communist supporters. When talking of belief, my wife would still say she is an atheist. She is also registered as ‘disabled’ and takes a lot of medication each day and has many mobility aids. In the past she has found the concept of karma threatening. I felt I could not explain about saving people or the healing power of Shen Yun.
My hotline shifts were fulfilling but often a great friction fell on the house when I was not on the hotline or at meetings. When I talked to my wife about working on the hotline, she said she felt abandoned. I did not feel I could give up on saving people through Shen Yun and knew what great mighty virtue it gave me.
As a compromise, last season, I offered to be the weekly meeting secretary for the UK hotline team and reduced my time on shifts. This meant I could support the team in saving people and spend more time with my wife. The rest of my commitment took the form of cultivating, sending righteous thoughts, and filling in gaps when there was only one practitioner online. This was only for a few hours at a time, though often at short notice.
Recording what went on at the meetings went quite well. Some who were absent said they felt like they had been there and those who did attend felt it was accurate. However, as the season progressed and more technical and cultivation issues came up, I found my qing showing up. I was concerned that it should be known who made the positive suggestions, whose comments had influenced decisions, who had thanked who; etc.
I also found that, during quiet times on the hotline, I was being chatty on the communication app we used. This caused disturbance for people not on the hotline who wanted to be able to react quickly to emergencies.
This lead me to consider Master’s words on the cultivation of speech at the end of Lecture Eight in Zhuan Falun. I was chatting about “that which has nothing to do with the actual work of cultivators in society” and drawing other practitioners into “senseless gossiping among cultivators in the same school of cultivation”.
I see that in future I need to be more ‘part of the action’. A new compromise might be to continue taking the meeting notes and to have a set schedule on the hotline so that I can plan things better for my wife.
I trust in Master and look forward to what He plans for me and the UK Shen Yun hotline team.
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