My Personal Experience Story
Beverly Clark, Utah, USA
I have been studying Falun Dafa for a little over a year now, and am very thankful for it. I had been searching for some missing truths for many years and I believe that at last I have found the books and a Teacher to help me. In Master Li's books and conference speeches, right away I found dozens of answers, which ring true to me, on subjects that I had been searching for, but had not been able to find before that.
I had read about and looked for answers in various Western religions, Eastern religions, ancient religions, and modern religions. I had taken classes in meditation, yoga, Taichi, and acupressure. I had read books on Qigong, breathing, Feng Shui, NLP and probably hundreds of New Age books. It was beautifully interesting to study so many different spiritual ideas, cultural ideas, and thought systems from so many different parts of the globe. I developed a tremendous respect and admiration for numerous traditions and cultures and their values and incredible insights.
However, I had not found what I was looking for, or the answers to my specific questions that made sense. No matter how long or where I searched, no matter how high my hopes periodically rose and then fell, in the end, I still felt something lacking. My conclusion was that as much truth as I was looking and practically begging for, because of my particular life circumstances, was probably not on the earth at this time. There just seemed to be parts of the truth here and there. I thought that it was unfortunate, but I figured that God must have a reason. It was nothing to resent, rather, it was something that I just had to accept and still try to be as good of a person as I could anyway.
The only possibility I felt left, for the truth being on the earth, was that I had read that there were some genuine masters in the mountains of Asia, but that it was basically impossible for an American or anyone else to contact, let alone study with them even if they traveled over there and searched for years.
I had made an attempt to piece together my own thought system from what seemed to me like the most likely truths from everything that I had studied. Because of my searching I did feel that I had more insights and a broadened way of looking at what I felt was true to me; however, I also had a lot more confusion and questions than I had when I began. Did I feel any closer to my spiritual goals? I felt that I, quite likely, would have been intrinsically better off not searching at all, but instead, using all of that "search" time to simply try to become more Christ-like through sticking with the ideas of my religion of birth, which is Mormonism. To me, the main objective of Mormonism is to help and encourage its members to be more like Jesus Christ. A high percentage of the people I respect most and know personally are Mormons. Should I just go back to Mormonism? I had done my spiritual search for the answers to my questions and admitted defeat.
My friend that had introduced me to her New Age church 12 years ago had become disillusioned with New Age ideas about the same time that I had. She had gone back to the religion of her birth--Catholicism. I didn't know what to do, so I figured that I would just allow life to come and I would see. I still really wanted answers to my questions.
I saw a newspaper article in May 1999 that I skimmed over, about how if people don't call yoga, Taichi or aerobics cults, why would they call Falun Dafa a cult? I saw another newspaper article in June 1999 about Falun Dafa and the estimate of 100 million people becoming practitioners since it was first introduced to the public in 1992. To me 100 million people in 7 years is beyond my ability to conceptualize. After the years of studying I did, I had a profound respect and admiration for the Asian's rich spiritual heritage, so if that many Chinese citizens were interested in Falun Dafa, that quickly, I would look into it. Yes, I was tired of fruitless searches, and yes, I had finally accepted the sad likelihood that as much truth as I wanted was simply not on the earth. But if 100 million people from a nation with such a respected spiritual heritage embraced a thought system in a mere seven years, it was my guess that it was something extraordinarily good.
Through the years I had gotten faster at finding "misconceptions" that were not acceptable to me, as I was getting to know myself better from introspection and searching my soul and intellectually questioning the validity of pretty much every belief or concept that I had ever had as far as I could and then walking away to go on to the next book that I felt had hope. I figured that it would not take me very long to figure out if Falun Gong was something that I was interested in or not. I could walk away from it as one more disappointment, too.
The newspaper article mentioned some books. I called the library to ask if they had the books Zhuan Falun and China Falun Gong. Yes, they did and they would hold them for me. I found that I could hardly bear to put them down. All I wanted to do was read and read. This had happened to me before though. I was tired of getting my hopes dashed to pieces with new thought systems, so I tried not to get my hopes up too high, or even high at all. But I knew that I was very happy with most of what I was reading. I sort of figured out parts of the exercises from China Falun Gong and from the Internet.
On July 24, 1999, I had the pleasure to meet a Salt Lake, Falun Dafa practitioner in person, and I feel that my life has been blessed from getting to know this fine person, along with other practitioners.
I feel very lucky to have Falun Gong in my life. With as much disappointing searching for the truth as I had done, I have no problem whatsoever with the statement in Zhuan Falun, on page 101, "At the moment, I am the only person in the world, who is teaching orthodox Law in public. I have done something nobody did in the past and opened such a large door in the Dharma-ending time. In fact, it is an opportunity that does not occur in a thousand years or ten thousand years."
As Master Li states, "these human beings are actually lost in a maze." I identified with that statement. I had tried to find my way out of the confusion and lack of answers and had not been able to.
I would say that Master Li was referring to people like me on page 1 of Zhuan Falun. In particular, many of our practitioners who study one practice today and another tomorrow have already messed up their own bodies. Their cultivation is doomed to fail. While others practice the cultivation way on the main street, these people are on the winding sideways. If they practice the one way, the other will interfere with it. If they practice the other way, this practice will interfere with it. Everything is interfering with them, and they could no longer succeed in cultivation practice."
It is lucky for me that Master Li then said, "We shall straighten out all these matters and make sure that you are able to practice cultivation later by preserving the good part while removing the bad part. However, you must be here to genuinely study this Dafa, the Great Law."
And then on page 9, "The more low-level Qigong lessons you have taken and the more you have absorbed from them, the more harm they will do to you. Your bodies will have already been messed up."
I like the idea of going back to only one cultivation way. I seem to remember a peace from childhood when I only had one "cultivation way." Of course, when my life reached a point that Mormonism didn't hold enough of the answers that I felt I needed help with, my expanded searching began.
On page 100 of Zhuan Falun, Master Li said, "If you step on two boats at the same time and cultivate both this and that, you cannot attain anything." Though to me stepping on many boats at the same time was interesting and educational and wonderful in many ways, it also was disappointing and empty in other ways to me, and I didn't seem to be getting anywhere with it.
By this time Falun Gong is so dear to me. I am truly thankful to have acceptable answers to so many questions. I have no intention of walking away from Falun Dafa, but, instead, look forward to with high hopes for more and more discrepancies in my thinking to be cleared away as I continue to reread Zhuan Falun.