(Extract from article shared at the Nordic Falun Dafa Conference, June 2001)
I am a Falun Dafa practitioner from Ireland. I have been practising for one month. I am 23 years old and I work as a software developer in Dublin.
Before starting Falun Dafa, I had been severely depressed for over five years. I had tried all conventional means of medical treatment. I was unable to work properly. At one stage, I had to take three months sick leave. I spent a month in the hospital. I couldn't sleep, eat properly or think clearly. The smallest task was a major struggle. I was tired, sad and angry all of the time. I would stay in bed until 2:00 or 3:00pm. I had to take sleeping tablets to get a decent amount of sleep. I never thought I would get better. I had tried yoga and other forms of meditation but could not apply myself well to them, because of my restless mind. I was always looking for external solutions to my problems.
I was first introduced to Falun Dafa in late 1998. However, I was not very determined and did not have a good understanding at the time. I did not realize the importance of xinxing (heart and mind nature). I gave up at my first tribulation.
A friend suggested I take up Qigong to help with my depression. Then I remembered the Falun Dafa classes I had attended over two years ago. It took me a couple of months to finally make the decision and effort to go. On my way to Falun Dafa practice for the first time, I was about to go home, because I was feeling very tired. But I stopped and thought about it. I changed my mind. I thought I should at least make an effort. Perhaps this was my first tribulation!
I went to a reading session two days later. While reading, I felt that my mind was opening up. Teacher Li's insight and the power of the Fa penetrated beyond the depths of my depression to give me comfort. I felt better than I had in years. This was just in a couple of hours. The benefits of Falun Dafa are incredibly rapid. It helped me more in two hours than four years of expensive treatment from psychiatry, counselling, psychology, hypnotherapy and other doctors. I was soon able to completely stop taking all medication. There was no longer any need for sleeping tablets.
Teacher Li helped me develop such a good understanding of my illness. For the first time, I understood its root cause. It all came down to my selfish thoughts and behaviour. When I began to look inside for reasons and to fundamentally change my mentality, my depression shifted instantly. Many people have seen the incredible changes in my life, and I think they believe Falun Dafa could do the same for them. I have no doubt it could. So many others, including my friends and family, have since expressed an interest to learn.
Certain things would happen to me and as soon as I would pick up Zhuan Falun to read, Teacher Li would explain them clearly.
I have now become quite involved with Falun Dafa activities. Having received so much, I wanted to give something back. I wanted to help others learn it. My first activity was to help out at the first Falun Gong press conference in Ireland, in which several practitioners told their stories of abuse and torture in China. I found their strength and determination inspiring and a testament to the power of Dafa.
With other practitioners, I soon began practising on one of the main shopping streets on weekends in Dublin to raise awareness of the persecution of Falun Dafa in China and show others exactly what Falun Dafa is. This is a source of information coming directly from practitioners themselves.
A couple of weeks previously I would have found it incredibly difficult simply to walk down the street, due to fear and lack of energy. Now I was able display myself in front of the public, talk to complete strangers with confidence in the centre of the capital city.
Recently many of the students in Dublin practised outside the Chinese Embassy to appeal for an end to the persecution in China. Even though we practised into the early hours of the morning, I still remained fresh and full of energy.
I have learned so much and have overcome a lot of fears, including what people think of me. In addition, I am much more willing to help others.
My compassion has developed incredibly. Sometimes when I see people who are suffering from serious illness, I feel tears welling up in my eyes. Before I would just feel sorry for them, now I am prepared to help them.
All of this has happened in the space of one month. If someone had told me about these things just a few weeks ago, I would simply not have believed it. Now I think nearly anything is possible. Like so many other practitioners, I feel that I have been born again and that I have started a new life in Falun Dafa.
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