(Extract from an article shared at the Nordic Falun Dafa Conference, June 2001)
My name is Roland and I am a 27-year-old Falun Dafa practitioner from Sweden. I've been practising Falun Gong for about seven months. I first encountered Falun Gong in autumn 1999. At that time I passed a park where I saw a few people practising. I thought it seemed interesting, so I asked for information. After that, I practiced a few times, at different practice sites. I had also bought the book China Falun Gong, which I found in a store. Doing the exercises was difficult and I only read a few pages of the book. After a while I didn't think about it any further.
I had a lot of problems in my family life during my early years. At a very young age, crime, drugs, and violence came into the picture. I started to practise various fighting sports, which, to a certain extent, kept me from getting into trouble.
I knew that I had gone astray in society. I had stolen from others, deceived others and harmed other people. Since I'd been so lost, I thought that maybe I could try to find a better path in life, maybe even the righteous one. Although I didn't know where the righteous path was, I just had a feeling that there was one.
I've been in and out of different prisons since I was nineteen. I could never find the meaning of life, and always tried to find peace in my heart. But after my brief encounter with Falun Gong in autumn 1999, I started to think in another way. I didn't realize that it was because of Falun Gong that my notions seemed to change.
From then on I was going to be a good person. I had always liked to try different things, so I thought, "Why not try this one too, after all, life is quite short." I tried my best to turn myself away from stealing, fighting and lying. I got rid of the things that I had stolen or bought with stolen money, which was almost everything I owned. So all of sudden, I had nothing left and no job either. I needed to get a job and earn my own living! But all the jobs I started lasted only a few days, or a few weeks, because I didn't have enough tolerance. Again I started to experience a sense of worthlessness in this environment.
Then one day, I met the practitioner who had taught me the exercises. She hugged me and I felt ashamed, because I was about to cry. I didn't know why. I had only met her once a year ago and hadn't had any contact with Falun Gong practitioners since then. I took some more information and re-read China Falun Gong, which I had not been able to finish reading a year before.
Later I began to read Zhuan Falun. After reading half the book, I went to the police and turned myself in for the wrong things I had done. The police were very surprised. Here I was turning myself in willingly, when normally they have to track down criminals.
I started to practise more and more. I read through Zhuan Falun, and went to the nine-day video lecture
Since becoming a practitioner, my health has improved remarkably. I sleep better, feel very calm and harmonious, and sometimes people I know can hardly recognize me.
I understand how important it is for the world to know about the cruelty that is going on in China. I hope everyone will do their best to help bring an end to this brutal persecution of Falun Dafa and its practitioners.
I try as often as I can to spread the truth through various activities. When I see how much the practitioners in China have sacrificed for Truth, tears fall down my cheeks. When the tears stop falling, I feel how Shan [Benevolence] has grown in my heart.
By Roland Odar, Sweden
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