A Canadian reader, Jan, introduces a new spiritual practice, Falun Gong, to our ongoing series. He’s been a practitioner for 16 years and “came into my spiritual path in a most unexpected way”:
I grew up as a Catholic, though really only in the most basic sense of the word. Early on I tried to be a proper Catholic, was an altar boy, but I met with what I saw as sufficient hypocrisy in the church (no need for details here) that I proudly declared myself an agnostic in my teens. I came to see religion as a tool for powerful people to subjugate the masses.
I decided that science would be enough as a worldview, a paradigm. I dabbled in Daoist Tai Chi a bit, but purely for purposes of relaxation.
I studied to become a biologist, with particular interest in ecology, evolution, and conservation. I imagined myself becoming a professor. Things were going well. I was blessed with generous research scholarships. I made excellent contacts in my areas of interest, established great collaborations, found ideal field sites. What really interested me was non-Darwinian models of evolution. For my doctoral studies, I did field research in Madagascar to study apparent hybridization between different species of lemur.
Returning from the field, I began to feel weak, depressed, and after some time, my ability to do simple things progressively degenerated. Working with micro lab tools became progressively more laborious and difficult. I thought I was overworked, but no amount of sleep would help.
One day, running to catch a street light, my legs stopped working properly, and I barely made it to the other side. I checked myself into the university hospital.