I practice Falun Dafa meditation because it is important to me to be grounded and calm, so that I can be a more compassionate and kind person.
As you may have experienced, it often isn't easy to make positive changes in your life.
Emotions, and all sorts of unconscious needs, often get in the way, and cause us to do things we wish we hadn't.
Of course, I still do things I regret, but with Falun Dafa I have a way to improve myself for next time.
It is a gradual process, but if one genuinely practices Falun Dafa, I believe it is possible for anyone to change their habits for the better.
This is my story:
So Many Troubling Questions
When I was 21 years old, I took a break from my university physics studies and travelled to Central America with a friend.
I had never been out of North America before, and the trip changed the course of my life in a profound way.
It made me more self-aware, and made me want to learn more about myself. You could call it a transformation of the heart, even if I didn't exactly know it at the time.
What traveling through local villages in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua for 2 months, I was repeatedly struck by the authenticity of the people.
They were open, kind, and compassionate. I observed their strong family values and (mostly) Christian faith. They worked hard during the day, but after work the families were together.
There was no fear in people's eyes. They lacked selfishness, despite owning few material possessions. They lived simply, yet they appeared happy and content.
I thought to myself that people weren’t like this in Canada, and I wondered why?
After returning home, I began to feel disillusioned with my schooling, and with life in general. I concluded that people did not know how to make the right choices. It looked like people made choices for their own self interests, no matter how much it harmed others, or the environment.
I concluded that there was nothing I could personally do to make the world a better place, so I dropped out of school. I felt hurt and anxious.
Somehow I knew that I should look inside myself for the answers. I wanted to understand why I felt such suffering. I wanted to understand what it had to do with me. I started to search for answers.
Another thing that made a big impression on me on the trip was the food.
We would basically eat what was available locally. That meant bananas, oranges, other tropical fruits, coconuts, corn, eggs, tomatoes, and fish.
I recall being so aware of the imported items we bought, like cream cookies, soda, and peanut butter. I loved the fact that our food was mostly local, and the limited diet felt liberating.
It just so happened that one of the first things I discovered in my search for self discovery was the healing power of cooking with whole foods.
Once I started eating better, I felt I was getting closer to the truth I was looking for, but I was still looking.
A few years later I learned Falun Dafa meditation and my mind and heart became settled.
Discovering Falun Dafa
It probably wasn't an accident that I learned about Falun Dafa at a vegetarian restaurant.
The practice of meditation and gentle exercises was advertised on a handwritten poster pinned on a community billboard. "Falun Dafa practice," it said, was "free to learn." I went to the location, which was at a community center.
There were just a few people there. Some knew the five simple exercises, and some were still learning them.
I understood that everything about the practice is freely available online, and anyone can help others learn, as long as they follow exactly what is taught.
In addition to the meditation, there are four standing exercises, which are known as Qi gong exercises.
To practice Falun Dafa exercises, you stand in one position, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Each exercise serves a purpose, such as purifying the body, or opening up all your energy channels. The exercises work on a level that is deeper than the physical body. You are not out of breath when you practice. Instead, you feel energized.
Energized is exactly how I felt after trying the exercises the first time. I had the feeling that it was beneficial for me, so I went back each week.
Later, I learned that Falun Dafa also includes a teaching, the essence of which is learning how to live according to the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance.
Falun Dafa Is Profound!
The founder of Falun Dafa, Mr. Li Hongzhi, introduced the practice to the public in China in 1992. However, Falun Dafa was not created in 1992.
Falun Dafa has been passed down from teacher to student since antiquity, and has been introduced publicly only at this time. Before his book was published, Mr. Li Hongzhi used to teach students in China in the form of a 9-day lecture series.
The 9-day lecture is available in video format, and one way to learn Falun Dafa is to watch a lecture a day, for nine days. Soon after learning the exercises, I joined a series to watch. What you see for the duration of the videos is Mr. Li Hongzhi, sitting at a table, lecturing.
On the first day, after listening, I suddenly understood how profound Falun Dafa is.
Unlike everything I had encountered before that day, I had no doubts about the teacher’s intent (which is to help people to be good and return to their true selves), nor about the content being entirely good.
I sensed that there was so much to gain by learning Falun Dafa, and now I can say 18 years later that I was right, and I know why I practice Falun Dafa.
Why I Practice Falun Dafa
One of the first things I experienced, and one of the biggest benefits for me, is that I now understand how to live, and also how I can help others.
I have learned to speak and act in a manner that is true to myself, and I know that I can be a positive influence on others. For some reason this is important to me.
Before learning, I never imagined that something like Falun Dafa could exist. I also never imagined that I would practice something like this, and especially stick with it for this long. I didn’t think I was "that kind of person."
Hmmm ... what is that kind of person?
Actually, there are people practicing Falun Dafa from nearly every country in the world, and the teaching is translated into dozens of languages.
Everyone I have met is so different, and from every walk of life. Each practitioner has their own understanding, and expresses it differently, which is the best thing!
Everything in Falun Dafa is volunteer and expressed from the heart. There are no membership lists, no buildings, no money, or donations in Falun Dafa.
Courage And Adversity
The history of Falun Dafa is really incredible. There are millions of practitioners all over the world, and each person has their own stories to tell.
Unfortunately, in 1999, the Chinese regime “cracked down” on Falun Gong out of fear that too many people were practicing, and that Falun Gong posed a threat to the government.
Despite there being no evidence of a threat, then leader Jiang Zemin issued an ominous order that Falun Gong must be “eliminated.”
He put in place a gestapo-like organization to oversee the persecution. From that moment, nearly 100 million practitioners in China were faced with a choice: Give up the practice, or become a political target of the Communist regime.
Millions stuck with their faith and lost everything, including jobs, schooling, opportunities, homes, money, support of family and friends.
Even worse, there are over 4,000 deaths documented due to torture, and at least 63,000 accounts of torture.
Hundreds of thousands of practitioners have been detained in labor camps or prisons. And this is only what can be confirmed. The Falun Dafa Information Center estimates the true numbers to be much, much, higher.
All along, the goal of the regime has been to force practitioners to sign statements renouncing their beliefs in Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance.
If a practitioner signs, he or she would be free of persecution.
Some signed, but countless practitioners didn’t. In fact, tens of thousands of practitioners were persecuted because they persisted in putting the principles into practice.
The regime wished to keep their irrational violence hidden, but the practitioners would not allow it.
To me this is absolutely amazing.
Would you speak out to say something as simple as "Falun Dafa is Good" if it meant you risked torture?
Would you risk pleading with your torturers to stop what they are doing for their own sake?
The compassion and strength of so many practitioners is almost mind boggling.
Until today, I have personally known or seen thousands of peaceful and determined practitioners.
It is these people, as well as my own heart, that convinces me that what I believe is truly good, and worth cherishing under any circumstance.
I also went to China in 2001, and I have my own stories to tell. I will let you know when I post it. (In the meantime, if you want to know more About Me, see the link.
I invite you to learn more about the practice at falundafa.org
To learn more about the persecution from an official Falun Gong source, visit faluninfo.net
To learn more about the practice, and the persecution, from the practitioners themselves, visit en.minghui.org
For a six-minute introduction to Falun Dafa, see the first video.
To see a grand parade of Falun Dafa practitioners in Manhattan recently, watch the second video.
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