Overcoming the fear of public speaking

and joining the Shen Yun presentation team

克服当众讲话胆怯心理 加入神韵演讲团

A. Nilsen

 

Greetings Master, greetings fellow Dafa practitioners.

尊敬的師父好!各位同修好!

 

According to studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. People fear public speaking more than death...from a cultivation standpoint, maybe this qualifies as a test of life and death?

常人的研究表明,人最怕公共演讲,害怕程度甚过死亡。对于修炼者来说,这是否也可视为生死考验呢?

 

I grew up with different social fears, which have stuck with me right into adulthood. I remember at a certain age, I was nervous even when visiting the post office. I would memorize what to say beforehand, hoping I wouldn’t stutter when the time came to approach the counter.

我从小到大怕心很重。小时候我甚至怕去邮局,我要事先想好背下來怎麼說,避免一到櫃檯前紧张起来结结巴巴。这种社交恐惧伴随我成长,直至成年。

 

During cultivation this issue has become apparent especially when studying the Fa in a group, so sometimes I would avoid group studies because of it. If there was a project meeting I would study the Fa at home and then arrive after the group study was over. This fear kept me from studying the Fa with a clear mind. It was also self-centered and not respectful of the Fa.

自从修炼后,這種怕心在集体学法時表現很明顯,有事我會因此逃避参加集体学法。如果有项目的话,我就先在家学法,等学法结束后再出现在会议现场。恐惧使我不能清醒的在大組学法,这也是太自我和不敬法的表现。

 

It seems to me that attachments appear in irrational and strange ways. The more this became an issue the more I would get attached to the problem itself. In other words it occupied my mind and kept me from having a proper understanding of Master’s format – the group study environment.

我已经意识到這些執著已經表現的很不理性了。恐惧和逃避的倾向越严重时,我對這個問題本身的執著也越大。從另一方面講,這種執著已經佔據了我的身心,阻碍我正確的理解师父要求的集体学法环境的意義。

 

One day I was planning to avoid group study as usual, but somehow I ended up right in the middle of it, without a way out, but I later realized that it was Master helping me, teaching me that I could overcome this fear and elevate above it.

一次我象以往那样想逃避集体学法,但在自己意识到之前,我已经到了集体学法会场,想临阵逃脱也不方便了。后来我意识到这是师父在帮我,让我知道恐惧是可以克服的。

 

When it came my turn to read, the nervousness would reach its peak, then I suddenly thought; “start reading, don’t think about anything else, just read and don’t stop” so I kept reading and reading until the paragraph was complete. Afterwards I felt happy and more confident. I had broken through this attachment with perseverance.

快轮到我读时是我最紧张的时候,我突然意识到:啥也别想,快读,所以一口气把那一段读完。此后我很高兴,也变得更自信了,我知道自己在突破这一执著。

 

After reflection, maybe Master tempered me in this area, so that when the time came, I would be able to let go of the attachment of fear and become a Shen Yun Presenter, to save sentient beings and assist Master in the Fa rectification. To put it a little more simply I could never have imagined standing up in front of a group to present Shen Yun or even give a sharing at a Fahui in front of all of you.

师父在我愿意去掉执著心后加持我,使我最终去掉怕心,當時機來臨,成为推广神韵的演讲人,救度眾生、助師正法。否则,我不可能站在台上做神韵说明会,更不可能在法会這麼多同修面前交流。

 

After moving to Sydney from Melbourne in June last year, knowing the importance of Shen Yun, I started to join the training. The level one evaluation was on the agenda and that seemed pretty scary at first. Standing up in front of judges to talk about Shen Yun in a formal setting really wasn’t something I was ready for.

自去年6月从墨尔本搬到悉尼后,因為意識到神韻很重要,我参加了神韵培训。首先要参加第一阶段的考试,我开始很害怕,站在考官们面前被点评实在不是我愿意做的事。

 

Although I knew it was important I started avoiding even the thought of doing it. But thanks to my wife I was in for a surprise. She did mention a couple of times that the main coordinator had told her that it was time to prepare for the evaluation but I didn’t quite register and saw it as something I most likely would try to avoid.

虽然我知道考试的重要性,但我不自觉的在回避。幸亏太太帮助我做安排。她几次说项目协调人提醒她该参加考试了,但我仍在回避。

 

One day she came to me and said, “We’re doing the evaluation this weekend”. I immediately thought; “What?! I haven’t agreed to that! I’m not ready!” I was a bit upset, because I didn’t have the time to prepare, and if I was going to do this I wanted to do it well.

一天太太直接告诉我:这个周末我們就参加考试。我的第一反应是:什么,我没同意过呀,还没准备好呢?!我开始坐立不安起来,因为我几乎没什么时间准备了。而如果去考试的话,我希望自己能做好。

 

Not having enough time to prepare felt unfair and poorly planned. I reluctantly agreed to it. After all I knew it was the right thing to do. So, Saturday morning came and we we’re getting ready to head out the door. As I was getting ready, out of the blue my wife started to point out some shortcomings in me and instead of taking it like a cultivator I became upset again. It led to a string of emotional reactions such as sadness, anger, helplessness and unfairness, to name a few. I felt I wasn’t a good cultivator and I didn’t even measure up to the standards of an ordinary person.

我并不情愿参加考试,但好在知道是该参加考试的时候了。周六临出门参加考试时,我感觉自己准备得差不多了。但太太开始挑剔我起来,我一下子又开始变得不安。悲伤、愤怒、感觉无助和不公的情绪一下子把我淹没了,我感觉自己不仅不是个好的修炼人,甚至连个常人都不如。

 

I thought I might as well just stop cultivating, because looking back I felt I had done extremely poorly. I felt I couldn’t manage to do anything well so why go and do this evaluation? It was a big tribulation for me. The pressure was just too great. All I wanted to do was to fall on the bed and try to sleep my pain away. I even thought about crying as an option, although I never really cry.

我觉得自己不配修炼。既然自己什麼都做不好,还参加考试干什么呢?这种情绪使我无法自拔,我真想躺倒床上闭上眼睡觉,使自己暂时能逃避这种痛苦。虽然我从不哭泣,但我真想大哭一场来缓解这种种负面情绪带我的压力。

 

But after some thought, I became more rational and I realized that it was a type of interference that I had to eliminate. To go through the evaluation is a righteous thing to do. If I don’t do this, do I meet the standard? As I walked around in our apartment not knowing whether I should be getting ready or just lie down, a fierce battle went on inside my head.

但少许思考后,我变得理性起来,我知道这是一种干扰,是我要克服的。我应该去参加考试。不参加的话,怎么知道自己合格没有。我在房间里踱步,思想裡激烈的斗争着,考虑自己是去考试还是蜷在家里。

 

My human side wanted relief by just giving up and staying home. In any case I could just do the evaluation later on when I was better prepared right? On the other hand I felt a light shining through and a voice saying. “This is possible to do! Let go of the pain and everything and just go forth and complete this.”

人的一面拽着我选择放弃考试呆在家里,理由是:等准备充分时再考虑吧。我的另一面则鼓励我:啥也别多想,去做吧!

 

It reminds me of the last part of Zhuan Falun: “When you are overcoming a real hardship or tribulation, you try it. When it is difficult to endure, try to endure it. When it looks impossible and is said to be impossible, give it a try and see if it is possible.

 

这使我想起《转法轮》中师父的话:“在真正的劫难当中或过关当中,你试一试,难忍,你忍一忍;看着不行,说难行,那么你就试一试看到底行不行。”

 

Some of the resentment started to disappear and the encouragement from my wife was getting easier to accept. So without too much thinking and doing I maneuvered my body out of the apartment and into the car. I couldn’t feel my body as it was numb from the suffering; it felt like steering an old damaged ship across rough seas.

想到师父的话后,一些负面情绪开始消失,太太的劝说也变得容易接受。所以没再太多思考,我跟着太太走出家门,直奔考场。因为太过忧虑身体已经麻木,就象在波涛汹涌的大海上驾驶着一艘老损的破船。

 

On the way in the car we started to run through the script and memorize each part. I really hadn’t had much time to prepare but as I was doing this it became easier and easier to let go. Quickly I decided in my mind. “OK, time to let all of this go. Just focus on this script now, you can do it”.

在去考场的路上,我和太太一起又过了一遍复习的资料,确保都记在脑子里。我真没太多时间准备了,但当我做的时候,我感觉一切都变得容易了。我迅速决定:别犹豫了,专注在考试资料上,你能行的!”

 

I really felt these righteous manifestations came from beyond me. I think that because I was able to put the Fa first despite the suffering, Master gave me the power to keep going. We kept running through the script over and over until we arrived. I was quite nervous when I entered the room but when my time came it all went well and I passed the test. It felt like such a triumph! I passed!

我觉得自己的正念变得强大。我想是自己那一刻将法放在超越我个人感受的更重要的位置,所以师父加持和鼓励我。在去考场的一路上我们不停的复习,但当我跨进考场时,我仍很紧张。好在考的还不错,我顺利通过了考试!真是一个巨大的成功。

 

As preparations for Shen Yun moved on it became apparent that there was a need for Shen Yun presenters. In the beginning I thought, “although it would be amazing to be able to present Shen Yun to a group of people there’s no way I would dare to do that”.

顺理成章,下一步考试就是参加第二阶段神韵演讲的考试。一开始我想:能做神韵演讲当然是好,但我确实不敢做。

 

Even if I made it to the podium I wouldn’t be able to utter as much as a sound”. But during one of the trainings I suddenly realized; “There’s hardly anyone doing this task and there doesn’t seem to be that many practitioners that speak fluent English. Am I just going to sit here and not do anything because of this same fear of public speaking that has always tried to stop me from doing what is a being’s birthright; to speak out?”

即使我有勇气站在讲台上,我也发不出声来。但在一次培训中我一下子明白了:不是人人能做,能说流利英语的修炼人也并不多。难到因为惧怕公众演讲,我就只是沉默的坐着吗?这种执著心总是在试图阻止我发挥与身俱来的能力:在公众面前发言。

 

Suddenly it wasn’t just a personal choice anymore. It was about whether I wanted to help my fellow practitioners that obviously needed help. I didn’t say anything that day but thought about it a lot in the following days. I started thinking that this was actually something doable if I could just let go of my fear. And what was this fear anyway? I have always felt that this passage from essentials for Further Advancement has accompanied me in crucial times: “If you are not afraid, the factor that would make you afraid will cease to exist.” (“Eliminate Your Last Attachment(s)”Essentials for Further Advancement II)

我突然明白这不再仅仅是个人的选择,这决定于自己是否想去帮助显而易见需要帮助的同修。虽然当时我没说什么,但接下来几天我一直在反思。我开始想如果自己想去掉怕心的话,自己就能做。师父在《精进要旨二》中《去掉最后的执著》一篇中写道“你们已经知道相生相克的法理,没有了怕,也就不存在叫你怕的因素了。”


Some weeks went by and my confidence started to weaken again. Although I was asked to present and had said yes, I didn’t actively step forward enough. Weeks went by and nothing happened. I started thinking that they probably had enough presenters and that I wasn’t needed. More weeks went by and nothing happened. The part of me that wanted to avoid this challenge grew stronger and stronger to the point where when I realized that it probably wouldn’t happen for this year’s Shen Yun, I was relieved. So I didn’t become a presenter last year.

但几周过去后,自己开始泄气了。虽然我承诺做演讲,但我没有积极主动的去做。我开始想:或许现在做演讲的学员已经够了,我没有必要再去做了。时间在自己的摇摆中飞逝,懈怠的一面变得日益强大,使自己选择放弃。这就是为什么去年我没有成为一名能做神韵推广的演讲者。

 

I was meant to do it but my xing xing wasn’t cultivated to the point required so I missed that opportunity or didn’t follow Master’s arrangement in this regard. After this year’s Shen Yun performances in Sydney it was time to start promoting again. I had earlier had the thought that if I was asked again this time around I would say yes. My intuition was right and I was asked again. This time I was determined to follow through with my actions and not let it be another year with only talking but no “walking”. Indeed my human side tried to stop me and because of a work trip I had to do interstate the level 2 evaluation that I was meant to take got delayed again and again. Once again my human side had thoughts of wanting to leave it all behind, but I wanted to follow Master’s path.

我分析是自己心性不到位造成的,使我没有跟上师父的安排,错失了助师正法的良机。今年神韵推广开始了。我在想如果问到我是否愿意去做的话,我会说“是”。果然协调人由问到我了,我马上答应,并付诸行动。但人的一面仍处处阻挠我,自己在常人中的工作需要去外地出差,这使得演讲考试一拖再拖。但这次我清晰的知道,自己要跟上助师正法的步伐。

 

About this time, I started to memorize Zhuan Falun again. I had memorized Zhuan Falun on and off for years. I remember my first experience of memorizing Lunyu. All the hindering notions that came up when trying to memorize the first sentence were mind-blowing. Especially the thought that this would take forever so what was the point of continuing? Instantly ten thousand reasons for why I should stop would manifest.

与此同时,我开始背《转法轮》。这些年来,我一直断断续续在背。记得第一次背《论语》的第一句话时,各种人的观念冒出来阻挠自己。我背来背去记不住,那要继续背吗?一旦有这个念头,千百个放弃的理由马上就跳出来。

 

But suddenly one thought emerged and I believe that because of this thought I am still able to memorize today. It was: “I am sitting here with the book and the words are in front of me. Even if I can remember only one sentence today, then maybe I can remember another one tomorrow. The Fa will not only enter my mind but be inscribed in my heart.

但好在自己尚存一念:就算今天只能记住一句法,明天也许可以记住另一句。法将不仅仅在我的脑海了,而是铭刻在我的心里。

 

Wherever I go with or without Zhuan Falun I am still able to read the Fa!” I completely overwhelmed myself by completing memorizing the first paragraph in one go. I was very encouraged and kept going. The feeling of sitting cross-legged with my eyes closed and a quiet mind and to feel every word passing through my heart was solemn. It was my first experience of pure joy. I felt true happiness from the bottom of my heart. It was liberating! A few times I reached a state where I felt that my body was completely immersed and aligned with the Buddha Fa’s light.

这样有没有把《转法轮》带在身上自己都可以学法。结果第一次我就记住了一整段,使我备受鼓舞,信心大增。打坐闭上眼睛,感觉内心的宁静,背下来的法逐字在心里掠过的感觉使我倍感殊胜。这是我第一次感觉那种源于内心的喜悦,使我如此释怀。此后数次,我打坐入定,感觉身心溶于法中。

 

I kept memorizing until completing Lecture One. Then new circumstances came into my life, things changed and I wasn’t able to stay diligent and keep up. Since then I have memorized on and off. My understanding is that this is not ideal. I should have kept going. But on the other hand I haven’t used that as an excuse to not pick it up again later.

我一直坚持背完了《转法轮》第一讲。这时生活环境有变化,使自己不能精进。教训是自己应该一直坚持背下去。

 

So when I picked it up again this time it helped me become more determined to do the presentation and when the coordinator approached me to schedule the level 2 evaluations I agreed to do it within 2 weeks. I increased my studies of the materials and listened to the training more. I spent a whole day studying the materials 2 days before the evaluation and when the day came I felt prepared. I passed the exam.

这使得我决定做神韵演讲时更坚定,知道自己要一鼓作气做好。所以当协调人问我何时参加演讲考试时,我决定2周时间内搞定。我努力学习培训材料,听培训录音。在考试的前一天,我化了一整天的时间复习。这使得我准备充分,第二天顺利通过了考试。

 

Then the time came and I was asked to fill in my available times in the presentation schedule. There was one in 3 weeks and that distance made it feel quite doable. I would have sufficient time to practice and get ready. But as always time went fast and those 3 weeks went by in a flash and suddenly the day arrived.

机会来了,3周后有一个神韵演讲,协调人问我能不能做。我觉得3周的准备时间够了,但不知不觉时光飞逝,那一天很快就到了。

 

I was a little bit tense the day before but I had faith that Master would arrange everything for me and everything would go well. I kept my mind righteous while running through the presentation in my mind on the way there. When I eventually got there the room had about 40 people.

那天我还是有点紧张,但我坚信师父都安排好了,只要自己去做,一切都会好的。去说明会的路上,我保持正念,在脑中一遍遍复习演讲的内容。约有40人参加了演讲会

 

Soon after the president of the club announced the speaker and as energy rushed through my body I walked up and grabbed the microphone. This was the first time I’d ever done this and it went well. The people thanked me afterwards and some even asked more about Falun Gong since the presentation mentions the persecution.

当主持人介绍我要做神韵演讲,我走上台接过麦克风时,我感觉能量贯通了我的全身。这是我第一次做,但做的非常好,听众后来感谢我。因为主持人提到法轮功受到迫害,有些人甚至过来问我什么是法轮功。

 

Since the first presentation I have done about ten now and have another ten ahead of me before Christmas. One of the most amazing things about it is to stand there and validate the divinely imparted Chinese culture, clarify the truth about the CCP’s evilness, Falun Gong and then the beauty of Shen Yun. It has given me a deeper appreciation of these things and the audience is often very moved and inspired with many warm comments and invitations from audience members for me to speak to other groups.

到现在为止,我已经做了大约10个说明会了,在圣诞节前大约还排了10个说明会。最棒的是我能站在台上向听众介绍中国传统的神传文化,揭露中共邪党的邪恶,阐述法轮功和神韵的美好。听众常给我很好的反馈,甚至邀请我去给另一个团体做说明会。

 

After looking back and writing this sharing I’ve realized that although I’ve often felt inferior and unworthy of Master’s compassionate care, Master has always been there arranging things for me and invisibly and compassionately helping me break through and achieve new goals in saving sentient beings.

回过头来看这段修炼经历并写下自己的体会,我深深感受到师父对我的慈悲呵护和对我修炼道路的细致安排,同时也感觉不够精进,愧对师尊的慈悲苦度。

 

Here I would like to wholeheartedly embrace Master’s saving grace with boundless gratitude. Thank you Master for letting me be your Fa rectification period Dafa disciple. I will keep up until the end!

 

藉此机会感谢师尊的无量慈悲,感谢师尊让我成为正法时期的大法徒。我唯有精进,一修到底。

 

Thank you everyone; thank you Master.

感谢师尊,感谢诸位同修。

 

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