(Minghui.org) I am a female practitioner in my mid-thirties. I am Caucasian, and I currently live in a Western country, but I was born in a former socialist republic in Europe. My pursuit of higher education, work, and travels took me to many places around the world, and I like to consider myself a citizen of the world.

I was introduced to Falun Dafa 11 years ago, also by a Westerner. All of the basic principles of Falun Dafa resonated with me when she was telling me about the practice. First of all, I wished to learn the exercises and, while I was doing them, I felt a strong rotation in my arms and different feelings that I read about in the book later on. What an experience that was! I did not have any prior knowledge about things that practitioners may experience while practicing, and when I read about those things in the book, it was clear to me that I could not have imagined them, especially not so specifically!

That experience was my first boost to continue reading Zhuan Falun--it was a little push forward.

To be perfectly honest, many of the things mentioned in the book I found a little difficult to understand on the surface level at first, but my instinct told me to keep reading and not overanalyze or judge before I finished. I just felt so peaceful reading the book and looking at the photo of the author, Mr. Li Hongzhi, I felt deep respect. My gut feeling overall was: “This is something really good!”

I'd suffered from migraines for many years, but after I practiced Falun Dafa for a few months, my friend asked me why I no longer complained about migraines. Only then did I realize that I was no longer getting them. How easy it is for us human beings to take things for granted when everything runs smoothly! I was very grateful.

I naturally lost the desire to drink alcohol, and my friends and colleagues found this odd at social gatherings at first. The truth is, I genuinely had no need for any substance to make me feel good. Being a practitioner gave me such a wholesome feeling of goodness that I did not want to cloud it with any substances. When others saw I was not struggling or faking this feeling, they naturally just stopped forcing it on me.

Many of my former problems, including depression, were very much relieved by practicing. The practice is a process of examining yourself, teaching yourself how to do good while aligning with principles that are good for the soul, the mind, and the people around you. I had practiced and read about a few different spiritual paths before, but Zhuan Falun was absolutely the most comprehensive and straightforward book for me. It was so natural to become a practitioner. This was something that belonged to the whole world, and in no way did I feel it was something just for the Chinese.

My work and travels have led me to interact with many Chinese people over the past few years. I was very surprised that many of them held such a negative attitude towards something I found to be the most advanced philosophy of life and which gave me such wisdom and peace of mind.

I noticed that many Chinese I talked to were surprised that I was well educated, had a good job, and traveled the world—and that I was happy to socialize and openly communicate. They had this vision of Falun Dafa practitioners being somehow “not right in the head,” poor, and “not with the times.”

Actually, the more I cultivated my character, the more productive I was at work, and even my financial situation improved considerably. I wondered to myself, “Why are they so determined to see Falun Dafa practitioners in a bad light, when the reality is just the opposite?”

I teach postgraduate students how to think critically and do extensive research, so I did my own extensive research about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its policy of persecution against Falun Gong. When there are such diametrically opposing views on such a big issue that concerns millions of people, doing comprehensive research just makes sense.

After doing my research and forming my opinions, I asked many Chinese people I encountered to clarify to me exactly why they held a negative attitude towards Dafa. None of them ever gave me a succinct answer backed up by their own ideas. None.

All I have ever heard were repetitions of the information I knew had been presented to them by the CCP media or things colored by Marxist ideology. But that ideology is just one of the many out there in human history. Why is there this fear of doing further research? Is that truly being well informed?

Many of the Chinese I speak to are surprised when I tell them that so many of us Westerners are so impressed by Falun Dafa, that it is precisely because of Falun Dafa that we are interested in China, and that many of us even study Chinese. Again, sometimes they do not believe me. I wonder what is stopping them?

Of course, many of them are intrigued by our conversations and continue to do their own investigations. What a great thing! As a Westerner, an educated individual whose personal belief is that education is of utmost importance, I would like to encourage both people in China and around the world to educate themselves about Falun Dafa.

Don’t take my word for it, or anyone else’s. Nobody can force anyone into believing anything anyway. Genuinely give yourself time to read, try not to debate about what you are reading while you are reading it. Give yourself the time to finish the book, inform yourself on past events from more viewpoints, look at the available evidence, seek out a practitioner for an open conversation, and educate yourself.

I have a feeling that many people are worried that, if they get deeply involved in the topic they think they will “have to become” a practitioner. There are no memberships, fees, or lists of names in Falun Dafa. Educate yourself on what is deemed by many the greatest spiritual movement of our times, find out about the persecution in China, seek out documentary films about the topic, and see where your research takes you.

My experiences over the past 11 years of cultivating Falun Dafa have been thought-provoking, character building, and highly productive on my path of becoming a responsible, productive member of society and, of course, of my family.

This world needs truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. I am sure everyone can agree on that. Maybe World Falun Dafa Day 2018 can be a good starting point for open-minded research—for all of us.

Let’s keep this conversation going.

Happy World Falun Dafa Day, everyone!

(Submission to “Celebrate World Falun Dafa Day” 2018 on the Minghui website)