(Minghui.org) I am a Western practitioner from Venezuela who has practiced Falun Dafa for more than 16 years. I discovered Falun Dafa when I was a 14-year-old teenager. Back then, I had an internet friend whom I chatted with who was from the United Kingdom, and he was the one who first shared with me the link to the website of the practice (www.falundafa.org).

He told me that learning it was free. I went to the website and felt that I loved the practice. I immediately started learning the exercises and I felt great when doing them.

A bit later, I read the book Falun Gong, and it took me a couple of days to finish it. Back then it was during summer vacation, so I could dedicate entire days to reading the books. A little bit later I started reading Zhuan Falun, which I also finished in a couple of days. I could feel from the bottom of my heart that this was truly a practice that I wanted to do, and when I practiced the exercises I would feel an incredible sensation of peace. I also experienced a lot of marvelous and inexplicable things during practice.

My family members did not understand anything about qigong, because it wasn’t part of the Venezuelan culture. So for a while, every time I practiced, they would complain and ask me to stop. But I continued practicing in hiding. Gradually they started to understand that it was good for me to practice Falun Dafa, and they stopped worrying about it.

After some time, my family started noticing changes in me. I wouldn’t fight with my brother anymore, and I wouldn’t talk back to my mother when she scolded me or got angry at me. Before starting to practice Falun Dafa, my family members nicknamed me “Tiger,” because I was always willing to fight for any reason and I used to be verbally abusive. I used to cause trouble for my brother at school, because I always started fights with other students, even friends of his who were older than me, and he would have to get involved to stop me from fighting.

After practicing Falun Dafa, I stopped fighting, and my mother would say that sometimes she couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t fight with my brother when he had clearly been unfair to me, so she would feel the need to defend me. Due to my peaceful and tolerant attitude, she nicknamed me “Gandhi.”

In my country, during adolescence, kids at school would already start drinking, smoking, and having casual relationships with people of the opposite sex. In Venezuela, it is a big part of our culture to drink alcohol with family and friends. Many times I was pressured to drink at parties or in family meetings. People would insist that I drink, but I remained firm in my conviction to not drink.

At such a young age, I decided not to drink because the teachings of Falun Dafa taught me that drinking alcohol can make a person lose awareness and disorient one. Besides, I detested the smell of alcohol and I considered it an unnecessary vice. I felt that I could have a good time with my friends without having to drink. When I would accompany my friends to parties, I was able to observe the damage that consuming alcohol could do. My friends would compete to see who could drink more, and they would get drunk and end up doing risky things or would damage their health consuming too much alcohol.

Unfortunately, since I cultivated alone, soon the season for university admission tests began, and I got very busy pursuing academic success and good grades. During my time at the university, I was so obsessed with being successful that I stopped practicing. I only practiced on and off, and I didn’t study the Fa much because I felt I was too busy. As I gradually moved away from practicing Falun Dafa due to my obsession with success, I started suffering from anxiety, because I was excessively worried about my grades. Soon after, my performance at school started declining. I was so anxious that I could not even open my textbooks, and sometimes it was even hard to go to class.

When my family noticed what was happening, they asked me to please practice Falun Dafa, because they knew practicing Falun Dafa could eliminate my anxiety and bring me that internal peace that they saw in me for so long.

Once, when one of my family members got very upset, my brother said: “She (this family member) should practice Falun Dafa, so that she won’t get so stressed, stop fighting, and can have that inner peace that you have.”

One day I learned that almost all of my classmates were copying and cheating at school to get good grades. When I noticed it, I felt wronged. But I decided that, no matter how badly I did, I would not cheat like they did. Because that was against the principles I had learned from Falun Dafa about being a good person, an honest person that cultivates the truth and is kind to others.

During my last year at the university, I got the opportunity to do a very distinguished research project in a European company, and my project earned the highest grade. I also received an award for my investigation and a recommendation letter with excellent comments from my supervisor at work. He explained in the letter that I was enthusiastic and dedicated and put forth a lot of effort. I knew this could only have happened because I practiced Falun Dafa, which taught me to be honest and to work hard, arriving early and leaving late, and putting in a lot of effort.

Later on I met a woman whom I later married. She is from a much stricter and more conservative culture regarding traditional values. She told me that, even though I hadn’t been born into her culture or country, she really admired me, because she could not understand how it was possible that someone born in such a liberal culture like I was could have preserved his moral values on his own. That I could have gone against everyone that insisted or inviting me to do things like drink, smoke, cheat at school, or engage in casual relationships with women. I told her that it was only thanks to the teachings and practice of Falun Dafa that I was able to preserve my values, monitor my behavior, and remain on a righteous path without being influenced by vice and bad behaviors.

After I graduated, I started working my first job at a company in the United States. My boss had spoken very well about me to everyone in the department, because he had been impressed with my resume and was very excited for me to begin working for them. When I arrived, I noticed that my teammate, who had been working for years in that team, started to behave strangely with me. When I had questions for him, he would not answer them or would ignore me. He would try to complete my work too even though I was working on my tasks with dedication and making good progress at the standards expected of someone who had just arrived in this position. When the company hired a student as an intern to join our team, my teammate would always tell me to work with him, and every time the intern and I had a difference of opinion, he would tell me to do as the intern said, even though what he proposed could hurt the project.

Later that year, when I got my annual performance evaluation, my boss gave me a low mark, saying I was depending on the intern despite being an engineer, and that I wasn’t contributing enough to the project. I tried to explain kindly to my boss that this wasn’t true, and that it was my teammate, who was my superior and whom I had to listen to, who kept telling me to work with the intern. But my boss didn’t want to hear it, because my teammate had been working at that company for years and I had just arrived, so his word was valued above mine.

For some time, I felt greatly wronged and frustrated, because I knew I had been set up to damage my reputation. But I understood that I had to let go of that resentment and do as I learned in the principles of Falun Dafa, to not hit back when hit, to not talk back when insulted. I let it go and decided that I would continue on doing things as best as I could. I didn’t fight with my teammate nor did I cause him trouble.

After a while, I was transferred to another team. It was then when I discovered that in the United States, the workplace environment is very competitive, that a lot of people of my age use illegal drugs to dramatically improve their productivity, and thus get promoted and accumulate money more quickly. My new teammate on the new team suggested I should take a certain drug so that I could be more productive. I felt a sense of unfairness when I saw my teammates using these drugs and thus being much more productive than I, which made me look bad in front of my boss. But I decided that, no matter what the result, I would work hard and do my best without using drugs, because Falun Dafa taught me to be honest and to work with a righteous mind, without cheating and to follow the course of nature.

One of the side effects of these drugs is that it makes people very anxious. One of my teammates would get very anxious, and every time I spoke to him he would explode in anger. He would frequently treat me very badly and would humiliate me in front of my teammates and supervisors. But since Falun Dafa taught me not to fight back, I always forgave him in my heart and did not fight with him. I decided that no matter how badly I was treated, I had to be tolerant and to be like the character Han Xin that Master Li mentions in Zhuan Falun, the main book of Falun Dafa, who was greatly humiliated by someone on the street, and instead of fighting him, he endured.

When I noticed that I had been passed over for promotion and that I was the only employee on my team that had not been promoted, I felt bad. But I decided that, as Master teaches in Zhuan Falun, one’s life is predestined and that I had to continue working with dedication, without allowing these kinds of things to affect me. Even then, sometimes, I would feel frustrated and could not understand why all this had happened.

After I started working at that company, I used to spend a lot of time studying for technical job interviews. But I could not understand how, after so much preparation, I was always among the top choices, but I was not offered a job. The interview process would make me very anxious and it would affect my health because I used to sacrifice everything in order to study, and I wouldn’t eat or sleep well because I was worried about getting the job.

I then discovered that all along, I had encountered all these conflicts at my work, my school, and during the interview process, because I had not abandoned the attachment to pursuing fame and profit. I then decided to leave this attachment, and to live a normal and balanced life. I decided to live a life where my job is part of my life, just like it is to take care of my family, to clarify the truth about the persecution of Falun Dafa, to help others, and to cultivate in Falun Dafa doing the exercises and reading the book regularly.

I then felt an indescribable sense of relief. Finally my anxiety went away and never came back. Since then I live a peaceful life, without worrying about fame and profit and knowing that it is enough if I do my best effort every day and balance all my responsibilities while always putting others first. This has resulted in me having a life where I have everything I need and live comfortably.

Soon after, there was an opportunity to enter a new team in the company, and I decided to transfer because nobody else had the skills to take on that new role, and our team had to reorganize and transfer four employees, because all the projects assigned to the team had been taken from them, and they did not have enough in the budget to keep the same number of team members as before.

As soon as I started working in this new team, my coworkers immediately noticed my high performance. They were impressed with my dedication, and could not understand how someone so dedicated and with so much technical knowledge had not yet been promoted. They both asked me to please ask my new boss to promote me, because I deserved it. I decided that I wasn’t going to ask my boss to promote me as I was going to follow the natural course. Just like Master teaches in Zhuan Falun about fulfilling my responsibilities, caring for others and assuming more responsibilities if I could handle it so that I could ensure my team was successful and my teammates wouldn’t have to worry about the future of the project.

My coworkers would make positive comments about my work, saying that they were impressed that I could solve problems that other engineers with a lot of experience considered difficult and weren’t willing to solve. When I heard their comments, I understood that this was a test for me to eliminate my attachment to showing off and being complacent, so I decided to pay attention to this and keep a humble attitude. I know that only thanks to Falun Dafa have I been able to overcome all these challenges and worked honestly and with dedication every day.

When working or studying, other people need to use headphones with music or take drugs in order to focus. But because I practice Falun Dafa, I can focus naturally on my tasks and can do a good job without having to use music or drugs.

I once had to take my wife to a doctor’s appointment in a city that was three hours away by car. Unfortunately, we were running late. We were told on the phone that if we arrived more than fifteen minutes late, they would not be able to see her. As time passed, the pressure started rising and finally, when we lost our way and couldn’t find the hospital, my wife could not take the pressure any longer and exploded in anger. She started screaming and insulting me, saying lots of insults. Then she hit me in the arm with all her strength. I kept calm and told her kindly not to worry, because I would do anything I could to arrive on time.

During the whole event, I kept my composure, I did not feel anger in my heart and I concentrated on finding the hospital as fast as possible. Finally we arrived and the doctor received us. That night, my wife came crying to me, and said that she had never known someone with such a calm temperament, and that she thought it was incredible that I had not even raised my voice, or said anything mean and did not even have a mean expression on my face despite everything she had said or done.

She apologized to me. I told her not to worry, that it was not necessary, and said that thanks to Falun Dafa I was able to act this way and to be completely calm without any negative feelings towards her. If it wasn’t for Falun Dafa, I would have never reacted that way.

All these years I have cultivated on my own instead of having a group cultivation environment. Because of that my progress in cultivation has been slow. So I decided that, even though I lived in a city where there were no other practitioners nearby, that I would find a way to have a group cultivation environment. I contacted some practitioners who were in a similar situation, and we decided to meet over the internet every day to study the Fa and practice the exercises. Together, we motivate each other to study the Fa and practice and persist daily. We also share cultivation experiences.

Since I have this cultivation environment, I have noticed my progress in cultivation accelerate. My behavior has changed more and more, and I have noticed a gradual and constant progress. I don’t waste time anymore browsing the internet and I’m full of energy. My body feels very light and I feel calmness and peace. Since I have much more energy now, besides working in my job, studying the Fa, doing the exercises, sending righteous thoughts, and studying to improve my technical skills, I can also help my wife with housework and with her studies. I regret all these years of not cultivating in a group environment! I could have progressed much faster in my cultivation!

Falun Dafa has completely changed me and has brought me a lot of blessings. Thanks to Falun Dafa, I went from being an intolerant teenager with an attitude problem, and a person worried about fame and profit, to someone who is calm and kind, full of energy and peace, and who worries about others and is honest. Master, I have no words to thank you for having brought Falun Dafa to the world. Thank you, Master, for your blessings and infinite compassion!