In Shen Yun’s performance in San Francisco, audience members felt touched and enlightened by the deeper aspect of the performance.
Anna Gatmon is an author, speaker, spiritual teacher, and also the founder and principal of Towards Wholeness LTD. She did not expect to see a higher element in the performance, an essential part of traditional Chinese culture.
“I was surprised and touched halfway through. I mean, I’m almost in tears,” said Gatmon.
“You saw grace, you saw beauty, I mean, these are all spiritual qualities, and you saw that in the movements, right? So in a very material way,” she said. “And the costumes, and the choices of colors, and the storytelling—it was just—and you saw humanity. You saw good and evil, you know, you saw human nature and human [nature] transcending. So it was beautiful.”
Nicole Zakheim is a documentary filmmaker who focuses on people, groups, and communities. The pieces about the persecution of the meditation group Falun Dafa in China stuck with her.
“Persistence. Persistence. When people are telling you that you are wrong when people are telling [you] that you should be quiet, you should continue to speak up, you should continue to practice what you believe in and what makes you feel good,” said Zakheim.
Many of the artists are Falun Dafa practitioners, a practice banned in China. They want the world to know about the Communist regime’s heinous crimes against humanity, so they depict pieces of faith triumphant over the Communist regime, a contrast of good and evil.
“We live in times that we can’t afford to deny what’s going on in America, in China, in Europe, in Israel, in South America, wherever we are. We have to stand up and speak the truth,” said Gatmon.
“I came here, and I watched it, and I kid you not, I feel—I’m sincere and earnest when I say—that I walked out feeling like a weight lifted, a little bit, and I want to explore it more,” said Zakheim. “Leaving this performance, I feel extremely peaceful. I feel healed to an extent. To the extent that I want to explore the practice further.”
“Spiritual practice is not something you do in a retreat center, and then you go back to your material life. It’s something you do every day, in your life,” said Gatmon. “You’ll come for the art, for the colors, for the movements, and you will leave inspired by humanity.”