(Minghui.org) Twenty-two years ago, in April of 1999, I began the practice of Falun Dafa. My life would be enriched and blessed in ways I never could have imagined.

Ten years before, in 1989, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. The side effects of the disease were very debilitating. Some of my symptoms included chronic fatigue, loss of hearing, fibromyalgia, neuralgia, chronic allergies, asthma, and digestive disturbances; the list went on and on.

While the physical pain was very intense, I found the mental pain to be even more difficult to endure. The mental anguish compelled me to review my life and search my soul, inquiring more deeply into the spiritual aspects of life.

The suffering was the catalyst for me to realize that if I was to improve both mentally and physically as a person, it would be through improving my heart and mind nature and my character, a connection that transcends bodily health and physical fitness.

Upon my first reading of Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Dafa, so many questions that I had about life and the meaning of my existence were answered for me. Through his amazing teachings, Mr. Li Hongzhi enabled me to seek the self-improvement necessary to live a complete life. Zhuan Falun has assisted me in living and acting upon the guiding principles of the practice: Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. In essence, to return to the core of my true self. In the process of improving my character, by continually striving to live by these principles and letting go of negative thoughts, emotions, and attachments, my mind is more at peace and the chronic side effects of Lyme disease have miraculously disappeared.

Falun Dafa has been the guiding force in my life, to self-reflect and improve as a person. Throughout the day I ask myself, “Have I been truthful? Have I been compassionate? Have I been tolerant?” Through constant study and applying the teachings, I more deeply see the selfish tendencies that had prevented me from living a complete life. Professionally, I am a flight instructor. I have been a pilot for over 40 years. In 2014, I had the opportunity to fly a historic, all-women’s transcontinental air race from California to Pennsylvania. Before the race, a local newspaper reporter interviewed me. She asked me a great question, regarding how I prepare for something like this, both mentally and physically. She suggested the more typical mediums, like running and working out. My response was: meditation, or more specifically, Falun Dafa.

In 2013, a groundbreaking study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reported the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of meditation. The study indicated that meditation has the power to overcome stress, control inflammation, and provide pain relief—at the genetic level.

Modern-day life depicts stress as a constant factor, prevalent in every aspect of our lives today.

Air racing can be a very competitive and stressful sport. In preparation for and during the course of this grueling, four-day air race spanning over 2300 nautical miles, the practice of Falun Dafa gave me abundant energy and guidance to manage stress and stay well-focused.

No matter how intense and stressful matters became at times, I always tried to remind myself of the universal principles that guide me through life: Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance. While flying as accurately and safe a race as possible, I reminded myself that my focus was not on personal gain, but how I could benefit and inspire others through my journey. Falun Dafa’s teachings remind me that when one shares something good, everyone benefits.

To quote a famous saying, “It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” For my teammate and myself, one of our goals was to inspire a group of young girls from difficult, challenging backgrounds, who were following our daily progress through our social media site. After each long day of racing, I updated them on our progress and the challenges we faced, such as difficult terrain and weather conditions. The goal was to inspire them and demonstrate that no matter how difficult life may be at times, perseverance was key.

We were also proud to be able to promote the important role that women play in aviation and the history and tradition of women’s air racing from its inception in 1929 to the current day.

I came to realize that this four-day race was like a microcosm of life in general. No matter how stressful and difficult life may be, can I always strive to live by the guiding principles of Falun Dafa? I came to see for myself that possibly achieving first place and gaining the big prizes in cash, material goods, and fame would only be superficial and not worth much, without being a good person and regarding others’ welfare first.

I was always captivated by Asian culture, and I have memories very early on of my mother informing me that the grandfather of Asian culture is China and that through the study of traditional Chinese culture, one could relate to all cultures from its foundation.

Traditionally taught just in private, I am eternally grateful to Master Li for introducing Falun Dafa in 1992 to the public.

Merely three months after I started to practice Falun Dafa, I received a phone call in July of 1999 from a relative, who knew of the amazing recovery of my health and well-being, informing me that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had banned Falun Dafa in China and launched a horrendous campaign to eradicate it.

The news shocked me. I was overwhelmed with sadness for the precious Chinese people. How could an ancient Chinese spiritual discipline consisting of moral teachings, a meditation component, and four gentle, truly unique exercises, designed and proven to promote mental and physical well-being, be viciously banned and persecuted?

In seven short years, the Chinese regime estimated that over 70-100 million people in China were actively practicing, and the benefits were openly acknowledged. The return to a traditional practice filled a long time void, enabling people to reconnect to their true culture and nature. So much of China’s cultural inheritance had been lost or destroyed over the years since 1949 by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In many ways, the CCP’s ban of the practice in China was not a total surprise to me. My mother was born in North Korea. She had witnessed first-hand the brutal and tragic effects of communism. With great difficulty and pain, she spoke of countless murders committed by the communists and the total lack of respect for the dignity of human life that defines communism, in its hunger for ultimate control and power. She always reminded me to be grateful and cherish the freedoms, liberties, and respect for human life that we must safeguard in America.

Falun Dafa is regarded as a threat to the Party’s power, in its ongoing effort to maintain control of people’s hearts and minds. Fortunately, it is practiced in over 100 countries around the world and continues to flourish.

Since 1999, I have raised awareness to call for an end to this brutal and sinister persecution in China. Until the end, I will continue to be one voice of many for the precious Chinese people. It is my plea to the Chinese people. Do not let the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda deceive you. Come to learn the truth about Falun Dafa, an amazing part of your profound, precious culture.

As I fly over majestic parts of my country, I give thanks for the freedoms and liberties that we have here in America. It is my heartfelt wish that someday the precious people of China will also experience the freedom and liberty to practice Falun Dafa openly and with dignity, free from the threat of ever being persecuted again.

Thank you, revered Master Li, and Happy Birthday!

Category: Dafa Day Perspectives