[Selected Submission] Salvation from a Life of Hopelessness without Belief in the Divine
(Minghui.org) On the 20th Anniversary of Falun Dafa's introduction to the public, I would like to share my experiences concerning two major themes in my life and how Falun Dafa influenced me.
First I would like to introduce myself: I'm 52 years old, divorced, and the single mother of a 19-year-old son and a 24-year-old daughter. I became aware of Falun Dafa in 1998.
Ever since my childhood I have had a deep faith in God and compassion for all beings. It pained my heart when people were sick or grieving, or had to endure suffering. I tried to help as much as I could. I can remember pictures of a guardian angel that hung above the bed. I often had good thoughts and a sense of security as they accompanied me to sleep. The Sunday visit to attend Mass was an integral part of my childhood. I often communicated with God and the angels. When I went to confession, which I held as something sacred, I felt righted, encouraged, and adopted as a child of God. I drew on the divine commandments to guide and to live my life.
Conflict between faith and the connection to the divine and the modern zeitgeist
As I grew older I became more conflicted. There was a conflict between what the Christian faith said was right and wrong and what was acceptable in society. Particularly notable was that there was religious instruction in schools, but at the same time, Darwin's theory of evolution based on scientific knowledge taught that man descended from apes. This was incompatible with the creation story from the Christian tradition, which was the foundation of faith. Human children were a creation of God. The meaning of life was to be pious and depart the earthly existence as a soul to the heavenly worlds. And if a person had committed a lot of misconduct and wrongdoings they would descend to Purgatory or Hell where they would do penance. They would pay their debts but then again ascend to the heavenly realms. This belief resulted in a clear understanding of how to act in the here and now. A person had a sense of the consequences of their actions and how this related to a life beyond the physical.
Under the influence of modern science and Darwinian theory, the belief in God faded more and more into the realm of fantasy, myths and fairy tales. Religious festivals, which I had originally seen as sacred, were turned into family and community celebrations, gatherings which became degraded. The inner essence faded and the external reality became more and more recognized. I would ask myself, “Where are those who still believe in God and follow the commandments?” They became known as conservatives and labeled as the "the old school," and were laughed at. Church became more and more of a charity. But inside I asked myself, how do people behave today that expresses their belief in God?
In the wake of the current "modern" movement and loss of morale
It was particularly difficult for me as I was maturing as a woman. I found that I had the desire to find a husband and wanted to stay with this person for the rest of my life. But when my then fiancé – and future husband—flirted with other women, I experienced a painful feeling and inner suffering. I did not see that this was due to my lack of self-esteem. Where was the dignity between a man and a woman?
Today I can say that I did not have a good understanding of the relationships between men and women. What I understood inside of myself did not correspond to what was going on in society. I thought that there was something wrong with me. I didn't really get lonely and enjoyed being alone, so I told myself that there is nothing I could do about it. However, I still had doubts.
It turned out that my inner longings helped me to become conscious. I had lost track of who I was and was unfaithful to my husband. I have had to live with this debt. I could not live with myself or a guilty conscience and told my husband about what I had done. The marriage broke up and I lived in disgrace. I was an outcast in the village where I lived and ignored by my family. My anger and revenge toward my husband did not justify my reasons for adultery. The following is a saying from my father: "You do not need to tell me what he did (your husband). YOU are wrong and you should look at yourself."
I found his words hard-hearted at the time. I was disgraced, while people who are in power do the same thing and are still acknowledged by the world. The world really did not make sense to me. Of course, I knew the Bible said it was a sin to commit adultery. But why do we recall our faith after such things occur? Yet, in daily life, we do other things according to the so-called modern movement.
Everything was escalating and in 1989 and my "old" way of life was broken. It was the same year the Berlin wall fell. This was a year of change.
Miraculously, during the hardest times, when so many people turned away from me, I held onto my faith. The entire time I felt protected and sensed there was a power watching over me. During this time I began to study Christian writings. I got involved with angel-meditations and other spiritual paths. Yet, I was still searching because I knew there must be something else. In 1992, I began a study of psychology. The scientific approaches were interesting and gave me practical help with opportunities in everyday life. But the science of psychology did not include the spiritual dimensions. The spiritual levels could not be captured with psychological explanations.
To know Falun Dafa – to regain the divine connection
I learned about Falun Dafa in 1998. After I read the book Zhuan Falun, I begun to study it. I could not put it down. It was amazing; my whole life passed before my eyes. I suddenly understood the deeper connections of many events in my life and was able to reconcile them. I was deeply moved by these impressions and had a deep sense of gratitude.
In simple and clear words Master Li's Falun Dafa was a systematic, coherent, and comprehensive teaching based on the universal principles: Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. I had again found a belief in the divine, that followed a natural course based on principles of the Fa. One must align with Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance and look inward to refine one's own being. This teaching was recovered and brought out to the public and is contrary to the modern views of society. The Divine does not consist merely of the myths and legends from ancient times. It is reasonable and logical, and the true reality.
Regaining dignity as a woman and in society
The study of Dafa helped me regain my dignity as a woman. The emptiness and loneliness of eroticism that had engulfed me were behind me. Such behavior was not my true, pure, and noble nature. It stands in contrast to the cosmic principles. The union of man and woman in marriage is something dignified. It helps to define and preserve society. Men and women must have dignity and respect for each other and treat each other with kindness. The "satisfaction" of erotic feelings, especially with partners other than husband and wife, is not the intended interactions between men and women. Thus one creates tribulations for oneself and others, even if it is not intentional. People commit crimes through ignorance, but ignorance does not mean innocence; one still needs to pay back what he owes. My understanding is that the sexual liberation and so-called permissive society basically creates suffering. The unfortunate thing is that people suffer the "consequences" and the cause is not really known and so people cannot find a way out of their suffering. The cosmic principles remain constant no matter how evolved human society becomes.
As my life changed, family members and other people would come to me to ask where I found the strength to rise above my difficulties. They would tell me that I was a good mother and that my life seemed to be going so well. My aunt said, "Your life seemed as if it had hit bottom, but you have worked so hard. We all admire you and we respect you very much," Those were moments when I said with humility, that I'm studying Falun Dafa and owe my life to Teacher Li, who pulled me up from the depths.
My experience is hopeful: Everything bad can be turned into something good if we align ourselves with Falun Dafa. When we look inward and improve ourselves things change on the outside. With the wisdom of Falun Dafa, I now understand the message from my father: "You do not need to tell me what he did (your husband). YOU are wrong and you should look at yourself." Yes, now I did.
That's the wonderful thing about Falun Dafa and Teacher Li Hongzhi: he has taught us the teachings of Falun Dafa and never tires of encouraging us over and over again. The Fa principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance guide my inner life and help me to discern what is right from what is false. It provides guidance for a bright future and support and balance in the here and now.
I appreciate all the wonderful things that have come to me from practicing Falun Gong. I offer my deepest gratitude to our revered Master (Teacher), Mr. Li Hongzhi.
From the Call for Submissions to Commemorate the Twentieth Anniversary of Falun Dafa’s Introduction