(Clearwisdom.net) [The following article appears in the book Hearts and Minds Uplifted--The Power of Falun Dafa, first published by the Clearwisdom editors in 2006. The many short stories in this book were written by people of all ages, from many countries, and from all walks of life. They are all very personal and unique, and yet they share a common theme: the tremendous spiritual growth that comes from practicing Falun Gong. For more information or to order Hearts and Minds Uplifted, please see: http://www.mhbooks.org/mhbooks/index.php?target=products&product_id=29937&sl=EN ]

At the young age of seven I started reading books about everything I could about the universe and our solar system. I read the Bible through and through and felt close to God, and I knew deep within that I must become a better person. At eight years old I stepped forward in church and received Baptism. Still I felt there was something more, something I needed to do, but what it was exactly, I did not know.

As I grew up, my family split apart, and eventually my parents divorced. I fell away from Christianity and started going along with mainstream society and materialism. I am from eastern Kentucky and have only a ninth grade education due to a rebellious and angry temperament. I always blamed my parents for all my downfalls and tribulations. I tumbled and lost myself in self-pity and negative associations. My teenage years were chaotic at best, but inside I still had a little divine nature left.

At 20 I joined an ancient mystical society and through its teaching learned many things about the world and felt better grounded. I belonged to this mystical society for many years, but it did not keep me from sliding down even further, and it never emphasized virtue or how to be a better person. While still clinging to it for protection, I continued my search to find the truth, but everywhere I looked it was not there. Once I felt drawn toward learning something about eastern thought and read a book on Zen Buddhism. As I read, I came to a part that talked about meditating and sitting in silence and enlightening on your own. I remember my frustration with what I read and thinking, "Enlighten to what?" I put the book down and sadly never picked up any other books of eastern thought again because I figured that I could not understand them.

By the age of 28 I was developing severe allergies and chronic bronchitis, which led me to the hospital, sometimes three times a year, with pneumonia. I was still a member of the secret order, the ancient mystical society I spoke of earlier, yet my life had become deplorable. I was depressed and lost. I gave up on finding the way and plunged full force into the big dye vat of society.

By this time I had three children. My family life was very strained. I was not an ideal mother. I always lost my temper and always thought of myself first before anyone else. If anyone wronged me, I would surely wrong them much worse to get back at them. I had many enemies. I had an affair to get back at my husband's having an affair, and our marriage never fully recovered.

My mother had lived in Saudi Arabia for many years and never knew her grandchildren. She moved back to the US in 1998. She moved to Texas and asked me to move there with her. It took two years for me to agree because my relationship with my mother had always been rocky in the past.

We moved in with my mother in July of 2000. My husband and I thought we were leaving our problems behind. We got good jobs working in the telecommunications industry. By September we moved out and got our own place. Then suddenly everyone was laid off and we lost our jobs. We moved back in with my mother. Terrible fights started between my husband and me and this made things with my mother very bad. I was still involved with the secret order in Texas and would travel to Austin once a month to attend a meeting.

I became very close to the regional monitor of the group. I was looking to him to maybe answer some of the questions I had as to the truth of why was I here, but he just wanted to have a physical relationship. I totally lost faith in the order and quit. Something inside of me was waking up. I suddenly had a strange desire to learn Chinese. I started thinking about cultivation practices that I had heard about. I knew that affairs were wrong, and I wanted to be moral. I wanted to go to China and find a master to guide me! Where was I going to find one? I couldn't just leave my family and go away. I went to the highest hill in Canyon Lake and just sat there and spoke to whoever was there to possibly listen to my plea. It was a silent prayer to the universe for a way to cultivate back. Little did I know that someone was listening.

A few days later my husband, my mother, and I all got into a big argument that resulted in her throwing us all out. We had nowhere to go but to a homeless shelter. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. My husband found another job, and while he was gone from the shelter to work, the children and I would walk to the local public library. We had access to a VCR and I owned a computer but had no Internet access. We would borrow videos and books and CDs. On my second visit to the library, I came across a video entitled The True Story of Falun Gong. I had never heard of Falun Gong, but for some unknown reason, I borrowed it and felt an urgency to watch it.

I can remember putting it into the recorder and pressing "Play" and seeing the Falun symbol and hearing the music. It dumbfounded me. I was speechless and could think of nothing else but watching the story. In that single instant I knew I had found what I had been searching for all of my life. I went back to the library the next day to use their computer and look up www.falundafa.org. I downloaded each exercise onto a disk, took it back to the shelter, put it into my computer, practiced the movements, and read the book.

Searching the www.falundafa.org website, I found a group practice site in my area and went there for the first time and met several practitioners. I finally purchased a copy of Zhuan Falun and went home and read it all in one day.

My husband and I started looking at houses so that we could move out of the shelter. One evening we went to look at a house. We stopped by a gas station to fill up our car and get something to drink. As I was coming out of the store and was walking toward the car, a girl I never met before walked up to me and asked me to open my hand. She seemed harmless, so I obliged and she put a huge bug into my hand. I screamed and she started to laugh. The bug flew up into the air and landed on the sidewalk. I picked it up as she went into the store. I looked at it and realized it was one of those fake, trick bugs, and this made me furious. I got into the car, waiting for my husband to get back in with the kids, and I was thinking to myself, "I must forbear. Isn't this the kind of thing Master Li talks about in the book?" I was still so angry. How dare that girl do that to me? I yelled at her as we drove away and I failed my first big test. I felt very bad afterward.

A week later we moved into that house and I continued to go to group practice and study the teachings of Falun Gong. Every day after I came home from the practice, I would sleep for a long time and have loose stools. My body was being cleansed. I coughed up stuff out of my lungs, but I noticed I no longer needed my rescue inhaler and I bravely quit taking the antihistamine medication for a day to see what would happen. I had taken it for ten years and could not breathe well without it. I also had a nebulizer because sometimes I had to have a deep treatment for my lungs. I went off of it and, to my surprise, I didn't need it anymore! I quit taking everything. My allergies all went away. I am still practicing to this day. Falun Dafa totally changed my life, and I am a different person now. I can hardly believe the person I used to be. I owe my good health and all the positive things in my life to Falun Dafa.