(Minghui.org) I am a practitioner from a former Eastern Bloc country in Europe. When I was two years old, my parents took me to the city square for the non-violent, peaceful Velvet Revolution that ended 41 years of communist rule in Czechoslovakia.

I went to a Health Expo on April 15, 2007 and received a Falun Dafa flyer and a lotus flower from a Dafa practitioner. I did not understand the practice at the time, but at home I signed the online petition opposing the persecution in China. I then forgot all about it. Nevertheless, after nine years, every significant detail of that encounter is still clear in my mind.

Searching for the Meaning of Life

I had been searching for the meaning of life since I was thirteen. I read all the books I could get my hands on. I received a good education and traveled the mountains as an alpine skier. When I was older, I started experimenting with drugs, always searching for a way.

As I was making my way through a university computer science degree in 2008, I was spiraling downward, following the low moral standards of today’s society. I then realized that I had to first find the meaning of my existence. I quit my studies and sought out some teachers from various spiritual practices, but found that what they taught was of little relevance to me. Ultimately, none of them were able to be truly responsible to their students. I decided to go alone to the mountains and forests. My third eye opened for a time, and I often saw a golden dragon when I sat on the hill. However, I did not know what this meant at the time.

This unlocked state did not last long, however, because the dissonance between ordinary society’s commitments and expectations, and all of what I was experiencing, was very disturbing for me, and I could not handle it. My parents became worried. They took me to psychologists and insisted that I take medications, as they did not understand what was going on. Neither did I. In the hospital, I was treated with electroconvulsive therapy, which broke my mind and caused me to suffer memory loss.

I secluded myself from society after developing deep depression and various unhealthy habits. I thought that because I was not able to enlighten on my own and did not have a meaningful path, I might never be able to go back to where I once came from. This state lasted for about three years.

Taking Up Cultivation

The night after the New Year began in 2010, I had a dream in which two friends led me to a riverbank, where I practiced movements on a rock in the middle of a flowing river.

I searched the Internet for some exercises in my area and remembered Falun Dafa. I found the Internet website and learned the first exercise. I felt as if my heart became like stone, as if someone gripped and squeezed it very hard. At that moment, I realized that Falun Dafa is powerful. I read the books Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun online the following week, and felt that these teachings could put my life’s experiences into a coherent whole.

I went to a park to do the exercises with a local practitioner. It was winter. There was snow on the ground, and the sun had already set. We started to meditate, and I had a strange experience. It was as if a massive amount of karma flowed through my mind like water, and I experienced a state of complete death of consciousness. This material then manifested in front of me and became the black part of the taiji symbol in the Falun emblem. I immediately felt the strong presence of Master Li, the founder of Falun Dafa, and realized that Master will always protect his disciples. I was quite shaken, and needed time to integrate this experience into my worldview, so I did not go to the exercise site for a while, and instead studied the books at home.

I think that Master Li has rearranged the path of my life. I slowly redeveloped my enthusiasm for life, and understanding of the preciousness of human existence. I worked a little at various manual jobs as a professional gardener and drywall contractor. I learned kung-fu and hiked in the nearby mountains with friends. I also kept an interest in the technology world.

I talked about Dafa and the persecution in China with everyone I worked with, and tried to make a good impression, but after a while I realized that I should meet more with local practitioners and join the activities. This was a gradual process of returning to my true self through study and sending forth righteous thoughts. This period was also very difficult, because I constantly had to ignore a lot of interference. I realized that I would never be able to return to my true self if Master had not made the Fa teachings available, for which I cannot express my gratitude in words.

Joining Other Practitioners and Improving Myself

I started attending our study group regularly in late 2014, and went to the Chinese embassy to peacefully protest the persecution in China. Through interaction with other practitioners, group study, and practice, every aspect of my life gradually improved. I am very grateful for their kindness, insights, and moral conduct.

In 2015, I decided to again pursue my programming profession, so I found a job at a small software company and mainly did front-end web development. After six months, my productivity declined, as I came to a realization that the work was not meaningful to me, and that I should first sort out my priorities.

I quit the job and attended as many local Dafa activities as possible. We held a week-long signature drive in various cities, where I personally grew a lot and improved in my cultivation. There naturally arose an opportunity for me to move to a different city in another country. I worked on projects every day, went to appeal in front of the Chinese embassy, helped with weekly truth-clarification activities, and tried to deepen my understanding of cultivation. At this time, the relationships within my family also started to improve a lot.

I lived in a flat with other practitioners for three months. Through our interaction, I learned the importance of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in the face of life’s troubles, and about ignoring the tricks of the old forces. One roommate was part of the team hosting Shen Yun, one memorized the Fa every day, and another one rode in the Ride2Freedom project. My brother also lived with us, so I had to conduct myself as a good person and learn to be kind to everyone, whether they were practitioners or not.

The gradual changes that I went through while cultivating Falun Dafa made me more compassionate. I can now talk less, because I am no longer nervous being around other people. I abandoned my bad habits that are common in today's society, and developed a healthier and more positive outlook on life.

I can now better appreciate the beauty of traditional European, Asian, and Chinese values and culture. I also developed deeper reverence and expanded my understanding of gods, Buddhas, nature, and the universe. I have fewer questions and now know that I can find the answers I need at every step, in the book Zhuan Falun.

My mind is calmer thanks to the exercises and meditation. I can now clearly see that everyone who comes into contact with the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is a changed person. I am thankful to Master Li for everything.