When a New Zealand woman was a child, her father used to beat her and her three other siblings to discipline them. She seemed to receive the worst of the beatings.
“For some reason, of all the children I was the most negative and tended to stir my father up, often making the situation worse,” she wrote on Minghui.org, choosing to remain anonymous.
The mistreatment caused her to become disillusioned with life, and from the age of 10 she started to hang out with the wrong crowd. She drank alcohol, listened to heavy metal music, and often experienced suicidal thoughts. Sometimes she harmed herself.
For the next 10 years her life revolved around drugs, sex, crime, homelessness, and gang affiliation. Finally, she reached a crisis in her life and couldn’t face going on anymore.
“Life had hit a low point, so an equally troubled friend and I decided it was time to end it once and for all,” she wrote. “Late one night, we drove to the top of a cliff in a remote location.”
But, staring out from the cliff-top, her thoughts turned to her family, in particular her brother. She had a strong feeling that if she ended her life, her brother would be deeply upset.
She couldn’t go through with it.
“The night of choosing to live was not the end of my turbulent life, however,” she wrote.
“Another wake-up call had been arranged. Late one night when my brother was out partying in town, he was badly beaten by gangsters who dislocated his hip and left him unconscious on the railway tracks.”
As she thought about everything that had happened in her life, and was happening now, she wondered if it karma was real. Were the hardships they experienced some kind of payback for past wrongdoings?
She discussed it with her brother, and they both decided they needed to get their lives back on track. There had to be something more to life than this. They started a quest to try to find a new understanding of life’s purpose.
“I had never practiced meditation, but I recalled reading my mother’s spiritual books when I was young, which built a very small base in my heart for becoming a better person,” she wrote.
“From that moment on, I sought enlightenment in any and every way I could.”
She was drawn to Eastern philosophies and spent time in a Hare Krishna temple, then a Buddhist temple, and she read many spiritual books looking for the answers she desired.
Many months later, excited by her new-found knowledge, she decided to visit her brother and share it with him.
“I couldn’t wait to show him my big pile of spiritual books,” she wrote. But when she did he said, “You will never get anywhere reading those books.”
She felt a little disheartened by his comment, but then he explained why.
While she was off exploring many different religions and philosophies, her brother had picked up a leaflet at the university he was attending. It was for a Chinese self-cultivation practice called Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong.
He also met with a group of local Falun Dafa practitioners and soon learned the four simple standing exercises and the seated meditation. They also introduced him to the teachings of the practice, which explained how to be a good person by following the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance to improve one’s moral character. He soon felt like he had found the answers he’d been seeking.
So, when his sister came to visit him, he was sure she would feel a connection to Falun Dafa too.
“I decided to trust my brother, and at that moment I chose Falun Dafa. Looking back, without a doubt, that was the best decision I ever made,” she wrote.
As she studied the teachings, she came to realize that all the hardship she’d suffered as a child and young adult had given her a strong basis from which to embark on the even tougher journey of spiritual cultivation.
She saw many improvements in herself, both physically and mentally.
She was able to forgive her father for beating and abandoning her when she was young. The chronic migraines she had suffered from for many years stopped, and she didn’t have to take any more medicine.
Although she had dropped out of school and had no higher education, she built a successful career as a television director and won many awards for her work.
Over eight of her other family members also started practicing Falun Dafa after they saw how much it had improved her life.
She met another Falun Dafa practitioner who became her husband, and they had a son, who is now 9 years old.
“Today my life is stable and happy, and I am blessed with a happy and healthy family,” she wrote.
“My daily life is filled with a deep sense of spiritual fulfillment—something I knew was impossible to obtain by seeking outward as I used to do blindly. I believe my soul has been saved from a life that was almost lost.”