(Minghui.org) I am the only practitioner in my region of Western Australia. I help to proofread the Epoch Times. Shortly before a deadline one day, I was expecting an assignment but hadn’t heard from anyone, so I went into the messaging app that we use and found that it had logged me out and I hadn’t noticed. I quickly logged back in and saw that the final two pages were ready for proofing and people had sent messages wondering where I had gone. I apologized for my absence and quickly got everything done with the help of another practitioner who had to proofread one of the pages for me because I now didn’t have time.

Afterward I felt really, really bad because I had always had a very strong desire to be reliable, and it felt like a crushing blow to my self-worth when I failed in this regard.

Later that night, after I finished studying online with another practitioner, I told her what had happened. She recognized the type of attachment and called it “fame.” I immediately knew she was right, although I hadn’t recognized it as fame until she said it. Wanting to be reliable is a good thing, but the deeper motivation in my case was bad. It was all about reputation and fame.

A bit later that night, I was lying in bed feeling agitated, so I turned my attention inward and started looking for my attachment to fame as deeply as I could. Right away I felt myself go so deep that it felt like I was in a stone dungeon at the very lowest level of a castle. It was the “bottom of the barrel.”

When I was down there, I could see my deepest notions relating to fame. They appeared as statements; I could see the words. They were materializing in front of me in slow motion. I watched about five statements appear and could see clearly that each one of them was false. So, I was standing there, watching them and thinking, “That’s not true. That’s a lie. That’s not true either. Nope, that’s also a lie.” All of these notions were part of my false self, and none of them were true.

Suddenly the words disappeared and I was aware of Master’s presence, though I couldn’t see him. First, I had the thought that I needed to prostrate myself, but then I understood that I didn’t need to kowtow physically; it was enough that my mind was full of respect and gratitude. I fell asleep after this.

Later that night, I dreamed that there was a place in my mind where there was a small corrugated shaped wall that was limestone in color. A snake had hidden itself up against the wall by matching its body shape to the S curves and matching its skin to the color of the wall. When that place was in shadow, no one could possibly spot the snake. But in my dream, light suddenly flooded that place, and the snake was forced to leave because it was exposed and could no longer hide there.

When I woke up, I could recall the dream but couldn’t remember the slow-motion words. My understanding is that this “forgetting” happens when a part of me has been fully cultivated and gets separated.

A Fundamental Attachment

I think fame was a fundamental attachment for me. Growing up in a regional town with a small population, one can feel a little bit famous quite easily. My dad was a lawyer, my surname was unique, and I had three siblings, so I was often recognized. People would say, “Oh, your dad’s that lawyer” or, “Oh, you’re so-and-so’s sister.”

So, there were some postnatally acquired notions of fame. But I also think I probably came into this life with a pre-existing attachment to fame. In one of my earliest memories as a toddler, I climbed up on my mother’s dresser so I could stare at myself in her three-wing mirror. It was fun because I could get my face to repeat many times as far as I could see. But I also remember thinking my face was symmetrical and would be useful for my pursuits. What a strange thing for a toddler to think!

I remember on one of my report cards, a primary school teacher wrote something like, “So-and-so [me] thinks she is special and should be treated differently from the other kids.” It’s true–I have always had this hidden notion that I’m somehow special and I have craved that feeling I get when I’m treated as special by someone. But I have also felt concerned and skeptical when someone treats me like I’m special. I think my false self and my true self have both been reacting to that experience, with my false self embracing it and craving it, and my true self trying to warn me of its danger.

Also, I have had a chronic daydreaming habit since early childhood. Most of the daydreams are about being interviewed on TV because I’m famous. 

Master said that each one of us could have been the billionaires and the elite of the world. Deep down, whenever I read that piece of Fa, I felt like he was referring to me and that I had been destined for fame. But I’m extremely glad it didn’t happen because I know without a doubt that I would not have handled it well and I would have lost de (virtue) and incurred large amounts of karma.

I understand the dream of the snake leaving hopefully means that I have now largely broken through the attachment to fame and Master has eliminated the creature that was aligned with that attachment. I haven’t noticed any significant change to my surface being in the human dimension, but I understand that there have been big changes in microscopic realms.

These are my understandings at my limited level.

Category: Improving Oneself