Some Avenues of Communication

A Practitioner from San Diego

PureInsight | October 21, 2006

[] (San Diego Fahui 2006)

Introduction: Beginnings

My name is Beth.  I now live in San Diego where I was born and
lived the first 18 years of my life, but most of the last five have
been spent in Los Angeles.  I first heard of Falun Gong my
freshman year of college in fall of 2001, when one of my classmates
went to Tiananmen Square with 34 other practitioners from around the
world.  That event is now depicted in one of the paintings that
appeared in the Zhen-Shan-Ren art exhibit.

I did not really learn what Falun Gong is until 2004, at the beginning
of my senior year, after the swing club booth (of which I was
secretary) was placed next to the Falun Gong club table at the club
fair at my university.  After several hours of shyness, I signed
up for the email list, saying I didn't think I'd have much time for
it.  I almost missed the workshop they held, but just made it to
learn the exercises.  The practitioner who taught me the exercises
was a bit surprised when I showed up at 5:45 the next morning (a
Monday) to do them again.  He soon after encouraged me to read China Falun Gong and then Zhuan Falun so I would understand the principles behind the practice.

That fall was the fall the Epoch Times came out in English, and all
three established practitioners at my university were involved. 
One of them was a French minor, and I was a French major, so she took
the initiative to create a translation team with me.  This way, I
was able to start contributing to the paper and see how she edited the
translations to create good articles.  This served as a basis for
the articles I began writing later.

Part I: Moving

I recently moved from Los Angeles to San Diego.  I had been
working on EET in LA as a writer and distributor, and wanted to
continue to help in San Diego.  I particularly knew this was
important because although there is quite a bit of collaboration
between the two editions, and because San Diego is often in need of
material for the local page, which is not covered by Reuters.  So
even if original content is not always available in large quantities,
there are not as many options to supplement.  The recent departure
of our local editor has made it even more imperative that those of us
who remain contribute to maintain our own edition.

One obstacle to my involvement was the fact that I have moved back in
with my parents, and since I began learning about Falun Gong, I have
not talked to them about it extensively.  I continue to be
hesitant to do so.  My mom noticed particularly that I was much
more relaxed when I came back for winter break my senior year, a few
months after I started doing the exercises and reading.  She had
also taken qigong classes in the past, and knew that it could have a
positive effect on physical and mental health.  Since I had been
significantly stressed and anxious much of my sophomore and junior
years, I think she was happy that I had found something that could help
me deal with it.

Both my parents, however, were I think a little surprised when I
decided to go to the Washington DC conference the July after I
graduated.  I believe they thought it a waste of money for only
one weekend, and were worried about my safety flying to the east coast
in a post-9-11 atmosphere.  This did not stop me from going this
past year as well, although I do not think my parents' views had

I have been even more hesitant to speak to them about the Epoch
Times.  While I have become more used to once again living with
people who worry about me and need to know something about my
whereabouts in order to live cooperatively in the same house, I have
only mentioned once any direct involvement I have had in the
paper.  I particularly remarked at this time that my mom asked me
about the paper and where I had heard about it, so I said it was an
international paper that had been originally founded, at least from
what I understood, by practitioners, and that it was through Falun Gong
that I had found out about it.

My dad, on the other hand, seemed to want to tell me about the paper,
not knowing I had already started writing relatively regularly by the
time I first realized his familiarity with it eight months prior. 
He had seen it in nearby stores, and had become worried about its
strong editorial position against the CCP.  He also made the leap
that perhaps it was run by Falun Gong and/or practitioners.  As he
seemed to want to inform me, I only acknowledged his thoughts and did
not add any comments of my own.  Especially since his view of
Falun Gong seems to be one of some suspicion, I did not want to jump
ahead and leave him with an even worse impression by clarifying a
suspected connection that he would probably interpret as something
negative anyway.  Especially with him, I do not feel comfortable
pushing to talk too much about Falun Dafa, and trust that as I continue
looking into Dafa, the right opportunities will come.  This is not
to say that I don't need to be more confident and clear to myself about
what Dafa means to me, and not be afraid to speak about it, because I
think I do.

Part II: Interlude - Communication, clarity, and confidence

I, like many people, sometimes find it difficult speaking to people -
or especially in front of people.  During the 2005-2006 school
year, I began in a teaching program, but could not break the barrier I
felt between myself and my students.  I felt frustrated that I
lacked the motivation I needed to break the barrier, but could not sum
up what it needed to find the motivation.  Not wanting to hurt my
students any more with an attachment I could not find the will to break
down and let go of by trying to teach them, I took leave from and then
left the program.

Nonetheless, I knew I needed to find the confidence required to speak
to the people around me and maintain myself, my beliefs, my ability to
help others, and my ability do well without acquiescing to my fears -
or more specifically, to my apparent inability and lack of confidence
in expressing myself orally in front of an audience, which is certainly
not required only of teachers.  I started attending a
Toastmaster's club to give myself an opportunity to break through this
block, realizing also that it could serve as an opportunity to
eventually clarify the truth.

To me, it seemed to take some time to get better at speaking to the
crowd, although there seems to be a significant difference between now
and a year ago when I began.  Now, the attachment I am most aware
of is my slightly-too-common over eagerness to speak when I find I
actually have thoughts on the issue at hand, which stems from a
frustratingly strong self-centeredness.  Ironically (although not
surprisingly), when I have mentioned this issue to non-practitioners I
am close to, they sometimes do not believe me!  Other times, they
tell me that perhaps I need or deserve to be a little selfish from time
to time so as not to drive myself crazy.  I take this as an
indication that perhaps I should not talk to them too much about it for
the time being and find a way to start eradicating this issue.

Clarifying the truth also took some time. Although I wanted to give my
second speech on Falun Dafa, I could not organize my thoughts
sufficiently until my seventh speech some six months later. 
Despite requesting twice the standard speech time, it was the only
speech for which I ran overtime, and the only speech for which I had to
wrap up without mentioning all the specifics I wanted to cover.  I
think this was an indication that although I could be hesitant to
speak, once I started to speak, I could actually have quite a bit to

I also found it was good to have the chance to practice talking about
it.  One of the other members fortunately pointed out an important
detail I had forgotten to clarify - the use of the srivatsa symbol in
the Falun symbol, which was on my Powerpoint.  I felt a bit stupid
for not realizing my omission before, especially since this is
addressed in Zhuan Falun,
but very glad that I had been assigned the closing thought for the
meeting and had not realized or prepared ahead of time.  I took
the opportunity to clarify a little about the use of the srivatsa
symbol, and thank the member for pointing it out.

Now that I have started to talk to others about Falun Dafa, I hope I will gradually be able to talk to my family about it.

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