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Taiwan/US: John/Jane/Sharon/Yaning

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Start from the beginning...

I wasn’t sure how start this blog going so I guess the best way would be to introduce myself and explain how I came to be a Falun Gong practitioner.

I am now 32, living in London and run my own business in the creative marketing sector. I was raised in the Scottish highlands and left home when I was 17 for a short stint in India before coming to London to study graphics. I lived in London for 7 years and towards the end of that period I was in a long-term relationship with an English girl. In December 1998 I was invited to a holy Native American ceremony in the US with my father. This ceremony marked significantly the closing of a period in both my fathers and my life. During this ceremony I was to have my first genuine spiritual experience and afterwards my father would find the answer to a vital question he had asked during the ceremony - both of these experiences would lead us to Falun Gong.

Immediately after the ceremony I knew that my relationship was over, never had my intuition been so strong and within in a week I was proven correct. It was not a case of a self-fulfilling prophecy; the relationship came to an end somewhat abruptly and painfully. I was so hurt; in order to take my mind off things I left the UK to go snowboarding in New Zealand. I liked the place so much I decided to stay. During my time there I drowned my sorrows in alcohol and developed a terrible habit that nearly destroyed me as I tried to obliterate the memories of my break-up.

About a year and a half later I returned to the UK for what was supposed to be a short visit. Almost immediately on my return I was struck by how much Dad had changed. He had put on a healthy amount of weight (he lost a lot when my mum died), he was no longer smoking or drinking and seemed to have a sense of calm in him that had never existed before. It was impossible not to notice the change and I asked him what was the cause of this. He casually mentioned that he was practicing qi-gong and didn’t make much more of it than that. About a week later he said he was off to Scotland for a couple of weeks and he left a copy of Zhuan Falun (the main text) behind.

I picked it up and couldn’t put it down. It was everything I had been looking for my whole life. At this point I should explain that as a family we have all been searching for a form of spirituality for as long as I can remember. It seemed as though until this point everyone had found his or her own way apart from myself. I had tried Christianity in my early teens, Buddhism in my late teens and I narrowly escaped the clutches of Scientology in my early twenties. None of them had struck a chord; they seemed lacking, irrelevant and empty. But this book Zhuan Falun just blew a lot of my previous notions and conceptions out of the water; in other ways it confirmed a lot of what I already believed. I found it challenging but only in the most positive sense.

When my father arrived back from Scotland I asked him to show me the exercises. After 2 weeks of that he mentioned the persecution in China. I was horrified at what was happening and wanted to do something as soon as possible. A week later we were outside the Chinese Embassy 24/7 for 10 days straight. This garnered little media attention, so we decided that more needed to be done. So we went there to do the exercises every weekday at 7:45am before going to work. 7 years on and the protest outside the Chinese Embassy still goes on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

So what was supposed to be a short 6-week visit to the UK turned into 9 months and it had completely changed me as a person. I will say at this point that until I became a Falun Gong practitioner I had suffered from one form of drug addiction or another. I was a highly aggressive and deeply selfish person who found it hard to interact in a socially acceptable manner. I was regularly depressed, suffering from nightmares and hallucinations and had tried to commit suicide 3 times. I find it hard to describe how easy I found it to leave all of this behind without treating the whole thing frivolously. I gave up drinking nearly overnight – I was disappointed at the lack of drama involved, it was really no big deal I just decided I wasn’t going to drink anymore and that was that, done!

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posted by John Buchanan @ 1:42 PM   


At April 8, 2007 at 8:06 PM, Blogger sharon ^ ^ said...

that's good sharing

At April 15, 2007 at 11:46 AM, Blogger Gia said...

What an amazing story. Why do you think that Falun Gong isn't so well-known in the UK?

At April 15, 2007 at 1:54 PM, Blogger arkangel said...

Your account is admirably honest and very illuminating. Can you summarise the single most impactful aspect of Falun Gong for you?

At May 9, 2007 at 1:19 AM, Anonymous John Buchanan said...

Thanks for the comments. My apologies for my absence, I have had some unexpected tribulations taking up my time of late. Things are better now, so I will make more of an effort to be more regular.
Gia:, I don't know why Falun Gong isn't so well known in the UK. It may be perhaps that around in 1999 when the persecution started that they were few practitioners to begin with. And since the persecution has been so severe we have all been concentrating and spending most of our time on trying to end it rather than spread the practice itself. But this is just a limited view, I don't really know the real reason. Perhaps the UK population has a hard time understanding the eastern mindset - I think a lot of people just find it hard to relate to.
It's hard to single out any one aspect of Falun Gong above others. I suppose that history/time will be able to answer that better than I can right now. But if forced for answer I would say that the forbearance and therefore courage of practitioners to never stop practicing and to never stop telling the truth no matter what is surely an amazing thing.


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