Dear fellow cultivators,
In my two-part experience sharing, I would like to tell you about working in Shen Yun ticketing on the one hand, and about my cultivation process on the other hand, which is about the smooth entry into the German Epoch Times, to the decision to work full time.
Part 1: Working with Shen Yun ticketing in Germany
In my work in ticketing, I was involved in the distribution of the seat quota through the various sales systems. When the pandemic started in 2020 and we had to postpone many shows, it was a huge task in many areas.
There were many ups and downs over the months until eventually performances could take place again in 2022, during which many cultivation opportunities presented themselves. In ticketing, for example, we first had to take stock of the current state and develop a plan to keep customers informed. When creating the plan, we had to work quickly and be very flexible. In this process, my attachment to comfort was particularly evident, because we were working late into the night when I would actually much rather relax. Keeping my cool was also often challenged when plans changed, and I was able to slowly and piece by piece grind away my clinging to a plan. At that time, the following thoughts helped me a lot: "At Shen Yun, many living beings are saved. We must find the best possible solution and act genuinely so as not to push away any living being. Even though we are only the presenter and not directly from Shen Yun, we have to set very high standards so as not to cause damage to Shen Yun's image."
Even when the situation returned to normal in the autumn of 2021 and we were able to restart sales, some last-minute changes happened. For example, some theaters wanted a chessboard-style seating map, or the quota was suddenly reduced, so customers had to be rebooked. In addition, the projection technology changed, which is why there was suddenly a new blocked off area for the projector, but we started the sales with the old projector blocked off area. Many other situations required quick action, where a plan had to be worked out. We wrote emails and the hotline called customers to follow up. Sometimes, I felt resentment toward other practitioners for being late in informing me of changes and that their planning was poor. Thoughts came up like, "you could have known this earlier, why is the planning so bad that the task has to be completed today?" In these situations, I noticed that I was too attached to plans and dissatisfied when something went differently than I had planned. I realized that everything is arranged and ultimately an equally good or better effect is achieved when things go differently than I would like and therefore have to take a step back. The fact that I was informed late about changes, from my point of view, also pointed out to me that I take myself as being too important and think that I have to know about everything. I realized that holding a grudge does no good because the task has to be done either way and I asked myself whether I should do the task now with grudges in my heart and possibly make mistakes or with a benevolent heart and the thought of saving living beings.
It was only after the 2022 Shen Yun season finished that I realized that practitioners always do their best and short-term tasks cannot be avoided. In fact, I got into a situation that was the opposite, where I did my best and was accused of having a bad plan.
With my saved up vacation time, I was able to help in many Shen Yun cities with stage set-up, tear-down and box office. Especially during stage set-up with its short time frame, I realized that I had to work quickly and carefully and just do what I was told to do. At that moment I was just a tool. In Füssen, however, everything turned out differently.
At the beginning it was assumed that the stage set-up would be very easy because a lot of material kept at home could be used and therefore no company had to be booked. Unfortunately the information changed, which is why suddenly a lot had to be done and some material had to be rented. During the car journey, I was told that I would be the contact between Shen Yun and the theater on site and that I would have to take care of the rented material because there was no project manager from an external company and the practitioner who usually takes over the task could not be there. At first I was shocked, and strong doubting thoughts came up that I could never manage the task. After all, I had been just a tool before, not planning and not having a complete overview. How would I be able to take on the task? The practitioner encouraged me and together we broke the task down into its component parts. After understanding the components, I was confident that it would work out and asked Master to help me do the task well. I also thought that this is now the arranged way and I would not be given an impossible task. After all, during the stage construction of the previous few theaters, I had already gained some knowledge that I could now put to good use. We looked at the theater one day before the set-up and I planned in my head all the steps I had to do. In the meantime, it turned out that a theater employee would take care of exactly the component that I didn't know yet. After everything worked well during the set-up, my confidence in Master's arrangements was strengthened and I thought that I had indeed not been given an impossible task.
In Frankfurt, during the stage setup - one day before the show - I noticed that only 6 rows were set up in the parquet area between the stalls and the orchestra pit. But we had sold 8 rows. My heart did two things at the same time: it beat so fast that it wanted to jump out of my body and at the same time it sank very low. I tried to calm down and could hardly believe it. I verified with the stage manager that because of the orchestra pit, it was indeed only possible to set up 6 rows in the parquet instead of the 8. I sought to blame myself, "How could such a mistake happen, how did you not know?" But since I had hardly been involved at all in making arrangements with the theater and working out the floor plan, I looked to blame others and noticed how a grudge was about to build up. Immediately I became alert, eliminated it and said to myself: "Pascal, you must calm down now. Only when you are calm can a solution be found. Empty your head. It has happened now, now you have to make the best of it." A little while later I was calm again and began to think. In doing so, it struck me that it was again an arrangement of Master that I, the only one with the dual role of ticketing and stage setup, was right there, and thus the situation had already come to my attention a day before and not just a few hours before the show started. The main coordinator, ticketing, Shen Yun production manager and the theater met and together we considered how best to defuse the situation. All together, we had brainstormed several ideas and made the decision on the morning of show day that we would compress the rows slightly, allowing 7 rows to be set up instead of 6. In addition, all the rows were re-labeled and moved one back so we had to rebook the last row of the high balcony instead of the last row of the balcony. As a result, ticketing scheduled the rebooking, the hotline called the customers, to be on the safe side the barcodes of the customers to be moved were blocked and on site the new tickets were handed over with compensation if necessary. It was incredible to see how we all pulled together as one and were able to solve such a task so well in such a short time that the vast majority of customers were satisfied and the show could start on time.
Looking back, I have realized that everything is arranged. I am only a small gear in a huge mechanism and must simply do what I have to do so that the mechanism continues to function. I must not let myself be distracted by attachments and suddenly turn faster or in the opposite direction, but put aside everything human. All challenges can be resolved.
Part 2: Working full time with German Epoch Times
In May 2021, I started volunteering at The German Epoch Times as a programmer. I did this alongside my full-time job, where I am also a programmer. Over the months, I was asked from time to time if I would like to work more hours for The Epoch Times and therefore quit my ordinary job or go part-time there. I always brushed off the full-time job on the grounds that I couldn't imagine living on the big difference in pay. At the time, I accumulated a lot of overtime and vacation time at my ordinary job, so I took a lot of Fridays off to be able to work for The Epoch Times. I then always held on to the perspective that after the overtime and vacation were used up, I would go part-time and then work only 4 days; in this way, I would have every Friday and many weekends for The Epoch Times, unless it was a peak period for Shen Yun.
At that time, I didn't look deeply inside to see why I didn’t want to give up the attachment to money and whether there were other attachments. I could only think of many excuses why I needed the money and that part-time was enough.
A year later, in May 2022, the management asked me if I would like to be the head of the IT department. The IT department was very weak and needed someone in charge urgently so that The Epoch Times could grow. Immediately, my heartbeat quickened, I felt hot, and attachments came up, like: Craving for recognition, "feeling important" or thinking it's great to have power. On the other hand, I appreciated the trust that was put in me and saw the chance to gain virtue. During the conversation, I quickly tried to push away the bad thoughts. Afterwards, I looked at them one by one and made it clear with strong righteous thoughts that I didn't want that.
For about two weeks I thought about it, during which I realized what a big responsibility the position holds and whether I could really do it part-time. At that point, the IT department was still very small: two people with very little time and me. So I sat down with the following thoughts: "Pascal, who else can do it? There is no one else who can do it at the moment. Do you see the need for the job? Do you want The Epoch Times to grow?" A doubting thought also arose, "Can you manage to fill the position?"
I realized that Master had arranged the way for me, so I was able to gain a broad IT knowledge during my studies and subsequent work, and for a few years I have been technically managing a team that is now 10 people in size. Besides the technical knowledge, I have also received a few other skills from Master that are helpful for the job. That the skills are given by Master and one should not become arrogant, I learned painfully in the past. In this respect, I thanked Master and with confidence I could tell the management that I would accept the job. However, I expressed concern that it might be difficult doing it very part-time where I continued to work 32 hours for the ordinary job.
In the weeks that followed, I continued to be asked on and off by some employees if I would like to work full-time. So I started looking deeper inside. I found that money was a big factor. But along with that, it also revealed the comfort and need for security that being an official for life in my ordinary job gave me. I also found it difficult to simply say "goodbye" to the previous stage of my life. I felt uncomfortable abandoning colleagues and the project. I enjoyed the work and the colleagues were nice, it was just a great environment where I could earn money, which was a lot for me as a single person. It also made me feel important and validated that the users were happy, I was praised by colleagues and bosses, and my work at the German State was also good for Germany.
Even though I was aware of the attachments, I still didn't want to let them go and preferred to take the easy way out.
A little while later, the requirement to go to The Epoch Times in Berlin came up, so I went there for 9 days in June. I didn't have to take a vacation because I had a home office at my ordinary work and extended the "home" to Berlin. Those 9 days were the beginning of the change in my thoughts.
I quickly felt that the field was very strong. Unlike the home office where I am mostly alone, I was now surrounded by many practitioners in an office. Shortly before, a cook was hired so the very delicious and also free lunches and dinners were eaten together. In addition, Zhuan Falun was studied together in the morning before starting work and the Jingwen were studied in the evening after most people had finished work. In addition, the first four exercises were practiced together. I quickly learned to appreciate this good environment. I was much more motivated to work and was more capable than usual. Also, I began to look forward to the end of the ordinary job so that I could start working for ET. Suddenly, I realized that the ordinary job didn't seem so important to me anymore.
After those 9 days, I strongly set my mind to go to Berlin more often in order to work better for The Epoch Times. My strong righteous thoughts were heard and even occasions where I had to go to Berlin for my ordinary job appeared and I could just add the weekend before and after.
Moreover, after the 9 days in Berlin I sat down again and wanted to look deeper inside. In the end, I understood that all my concerns could be resolved and that it was just Qing (feelings). The only question left was whether I wanted to continue to hold on to the human side or break out and follow the path of a cultivator who can do Dafa work full-time and help Master save sentient beings while consummating my own world. On the subject of the security of an official's job and life, I have come to realize that this is only security from a human point of view. It is much safer to follow the way of Master, because he takes care of us and I have to have confidence.
I am embarrassed to admit that two months ago I did not want to let go of the human aspect and told the management that I would not go full-time, but would reduce my working hours to 26 hours a week so that I could work a few more hours for The Epoch Times in the evenings during the week. Because of what I had previously learned, the announcement was like a confession for me.
I didn't dare tell anyone about my realization and decision to prioritize the human side over cultivation because I was ashamed.
As the weeks went by, I noticed myself becoming more and more disconnected from my ordinary work. It seemed less and less important to me, and I would much rather work for The Epoch Times. In my free time, I also stopped thinking about ordinary work and started thinking about The Epoch Times. My sense of responsibility and affiliation with The Epoch Times were continuously strengthened.
In August, three staff members and I accepted the invitation of The English Epoch Times and flew to New York City to learn from them. Upon arrival, I immediately had the impression that the office was a bubble of calm in the middle of the chaos of Manhattan. I felt like I was entering another world. The field was very strong. The practitioners are diligent and work from morning to night. I could quickly see the gap between me and them and that they are able to remain so calm despite the heavy workload and pressure. Even when I pulled them out of work to ask if they could teach me something, they remained calm and either immediately gave me time or offered me an appointment a short time later. I still have room for improvement on this point.
Of course, there were also questions about the full-time position.
Two days after the return flight, a meeting of almost all Epoch Times employees took place. We spent a weekend together in the surroundings of Berlin in a vacation village, so that we could become one body, raise ourselves and bring the project forward. We were able to make good use of the opportunity to present what we had learned and the new plans.
On the last day I realized what a great arrangement of Master it was. As if riding on a big wave, we came back from America and picked up all the staff of The German Epoch Times. I have the impression that we are now all on the wave together, uniting our strong righteous thoughts to continue to grow and save more sentient beings.
On the way back I listened to Shen Yun music in the subway and listened within myself. In doing so, I saw how every particle of matter in me wanted to pull me in one direction. They joined a larger stream that has only one goal: Full time! I was so touched by the scene that tears came to my eyes. My pass had been broken through. I couldn't help but answer Master's call and inwardly proclaim with pride and a loud voice: Yes, I am working full-time for The Epoch Times to help Master save sentient beings and complete my own world!
During the scene, the following two statements from sharings of fellow cultivators came to mind, which I would like to share:
1. "Pascal, do you want to help The German Epoch Times grow and gain mighty virtue, or come in when ET is big and the difficult part is over?"
2. "The tasks have to be done and they will be done either way. Whether you are in or not. In retrospect, you will regret it." - Taken alone, this may sound harsh, but in the context of the conversation and taking into account the energy field of the practitioner, it was a very compassionate statement.
The Old Forces were not long in coming and planted that very evening the following thought in my mind while I was brushing my teeth, "Are you really helping Master save sentient beings with The Epoch Times and can you consummate your own world?" Immediately I became alert and knew that this was not my thought, which is why I was able to eliminate it. This incident shows me, on the one hand, that I must be alert at all times so as not to be disturbed and, on the other hand, that going full-time is the right decision; otherwise, there would be no reason to try to interfere with me.
Looking back, I know that I am not saying "goodbye" to my previous life stage and parting with it. Instead, it is a part of the arrangement that trained me to be able to perceive the duties at The Epoch Times well. I want to trust Master and his arrangements more, so I am confident that our small IT team will grow and we can accomplish our mission.
Thank you Master!
(Selected to the European Fa-conference 2022 in Warsaw)
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