(Clearwisdom.net) I am a practitioner from Italy. My name is Diego Manca and I am 52 years old.

About two years ago I had the fortune to become familiar with Falun Dafa and since then my quality of life has changed tremendously. At that time, I was having a hard time. I was fifty, and I had just lost my job and began searching for a new one. At home my wife and I didn't understand each other. She is my partner and a good mother of our daughter. However, we quarrelled every day and I was very upset.

One day, a friend of mine came to visit me because she needed to send an email with my computer. She is a Tai Chi and Yoga teacher and she asked me if I heard something about Falun Gong. I answered that I had read about it in the newspapers (it was September 1999) but I did not exactly know what it was. So I searched on the internet for related information and I found many links. Being curious, I started to download the book FALUN GONG to read it, then I was really anxious to read other practitioners' experiences. I was really shocked because everything was for free: the teachings, the books, the videos, and the music. I honestly could not believe it and I thought that it was a trick to make money. However, reading hundreds of practitioners' experiences, little by little, I became convinced that Falun Dafa must be something really worthwhile. What I was interested in was not the fact that as a practitioner I could have some particular power or the third eye opened or fly during the day, but the fact of putting the three principles of "Truth, Compassion and Forbearance" in action in daily life. From this I believed I would become a better person and improve my quality of life and of the people who surrounded me.

From then on I started putting into practice the first principle, Truth, in the sense that I did not want to lie any more. I thought it would be easy, but it wasn't at all. I used to tell lies to myself and to others, now I was gradually aware of them. I am learning to tell the truth. I noticed that by just applying these principles in my life I have more energy: I think that all that energy I used to construct the castles of my lies can be saved and I could feel the joy of liberating this kind of energy.

I understand the second principle, SHAN, as being lovely, kind and compassionate to the people I see every day, in my family, in the work, in the bus, etc. I think I was always a kind person, but now it is different: I think that we are as human beings, one entity, kind to ourselves when we are kind to others. I hope that this thought was not too selfish...

I notice that behaving in this way - not lying, being kind, being tolerant and having patience, trying to behave in a noble way -- my life has become more beautiful and full of joy. Many people around me regard Falun Gong as a very good thing. I had never tried to convince them of how good our cultivation is. All I did was prove it by my actions. Of course it is very very difficult. Many times, in the family and at work, I am still not able to behave exactly as a true practitioner, but I am learning and improving.

I firmly believed that it is very important how we behave in everyday life, because the people around us maybe know that we are Falun Dafa practitioners and if they see that our behaviour cannot reach the standards of Falun Dafa, or if we go to an extreme, then we are damaging Dafa.

In ZHUAN FALUN (Chapter 8 - Attachment of Zealotry), Master said, "The majority of people in our school will practice cultivation in ordinary human society, so you should not distance yourself from ordinary human society and you must practice cultivation with a clear mind. The relationships among one another should remain normal. Of course, you have a very high xinxing level and an upright mind. You will upgrade your own xinxing and your own level; you do not commit wrongdoing and only do good deeds--these are only such a manifestation. Some people conduct themselves as though they are either mentally abnormal or they have seen enough of this secular world. They say things that others cannot comprehend. Others will say: 'How come a person who learns Falun Dafa becomes like this? It seems he has a mental problem.' Actually, it is not so. He is simply too excited and so appears to be irrational without common sense. Think about it, everyone: Your acting like this is also wrong, and you have gone to the other extreme--again it is an attachment. You should give it up and practice cultivation while living normally like everyone else among everyday people. If while among everyday people others consider you infatuated, they will not deal with you and will keep a distance from you. Nobody will provide you with opportunities to improve xinxing, and neither treat you as a normal person--I would say that this is not right! Therefore, everyone must be sure to pay attention to this issue and conduct himself or herself well."

The Master said also in the article "An Announcement," (July 20, 2000): "It is definitely not wrong to explain the facts of our situation to the Chinese government in a peaceful manner. As cultivators, however, we should absolutely not adopt any over-zealous approach or speech. Over the past year, you have clarified the truth and appealed to people in the world and governments with a heart of kindness. You have done this in a quite righteous manner. I am happy for the disciples (great living beings) who have cultivated with Dafa. I also hope that in the future while clarifying the truth and appealing to the government they will not in any way neglect the importance of studying the Fa, because all of them need to progress towards Consummation. I am paying close attention to everything the students are doing and the state of their cultivation. I hope that all of you handle things even better."

My job appears now to be a very fertile environment for upgrading my xinxing. It is at work that I learned to be a good cultivator and do a good job simultaneously. My work and my family changed, I think that they all prefer me as a cultivator to the ordinary person of the past. When I first started practicing, my wife was very unhappy with my practice. However, now she changed her mind when she saw my transformation.

I had kept carving out time from my daily life to devote to my practice, but I know it is not enough. Last year, I tried my best to contact journalists, media, politicians and other people who might be able to help us to spread the Fa and to tell the Truth to many more people. Once a week, I taught the exercises to those who wanted to learn. I tried my best to spread the word on Dafa. But, as I said before, I know it is far from enough. I always find new excuses to indulge myself, for example, I did not do the exercises, did not read the book, did not study the Fa every day, and I kept telling myself that other things are more important. Now I know I was lying to myself and that I must reorganize my life better, find the time to study and improve my xinxing.

I am a practitioner and I treat all my problems as tests that Master gave me to improve myself and become a better person.

Before becoming a Dafa practitioner, I spent more then 20 years searching for the truth. Looking for answers among recreational drugs, eastern and western metaphysics, I tried many methods and spiritual ways. When I read that Master says of sticking with one cultivation way, I was relieved. I had tried so many ways and never gotten out of elementary school. Now, I feel I am finally in the University.

I quit drinking and smoking, as well as other drugs. Now I feel more relaxed than ever.

Probably because of the way I was brought up and my strong desire for personal interest, I could not see anything in the cultivation. Whether in the waking state or the dream state, I had never seen Falun, nothing at all. The same is true with my celestial eye. I trust not so much what I see with my other two eyes. I do not care. I have started a journey and have found that at the beginning of my journey my biggest obstacle is myself. I will make it though, through persistent practice and special attention to my xinxing.

I am very grateful for what I have received from Falun Dafa. If this is the highest level that I reach in my cultivation (I am sure it is not), I would find it the most worthwhile endeavour in my life. It has made me a better person, given me a righteous path to follow and a way to make sense of the circumstances that surround me, and a more civilized way to react. More civilized than in the past when I would usually, with my ordinary mentality, react with hurt or frustration, or more likely, anger.

I want to keep practicing more diligently until I reach perfection in my cultivation.

Until now all the problems that I have come across through my cultivation were answered through reading the book ZHUAN FALUN and Master's articles. I also believe that the problems I will meet later on can also be answered in this way.

I want to add one last thing. I think that as practitioners we must use our wisdom to tell the truth to the people and spread Dafa. I am a writer and I think that if I can touch the heart of the people in my writings, it is because the reader can find "Truth, Compassion and Forbearance" among the lines. This will help to validate Dafa.

I hope that in the future more people can obtain the Fa and return to their original true selves.