Eileen Guss is a retired Elementary School Teacher. While she was raised a Catholic, she has also belonged to other denominations in the course of her life, namely the Episcopalian and Baptist Churches.
Guss’s husband is Jewish. Over time, she learned more about the Jewish faith, but was still left with lots of unanswered questions.
After reading the article “How Humankind Came To Be” by Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi, she found the article resonated more deeply with her than the other denominations that had influenced her in life.
“What really resonated with me was that I held a belief of my own in the universe, and my belief that we are all part of the bigger picture, so to speak, we are a part of this universe,” she told NTD in an interview. “And that’s what really resonated with me, because no other religious denomination talked about the universe and how we were all interconnected.”
She found that any questions she had had in life were often dismissed by the clergy, to the point where she felt chastised. Priests would sometimes disregard her curiosity and accuse her of lacking faith.
“A lot of religions are based in faith. And I get that, you know, I get that. But when you question, or you doubt, I’ve had priests tell me, ‘You’re going to go to hell, because you don’t believe.’ It’s not that I didn’t believe, it just didn’t satisfy my curiosity, my intellect,” she said.
Guss says that despite some divergences from her own beliefs, she somehow always felt deeply connected with Mr. Li’s teachings of Falun Gong. She says that no other religion or ideology she has come across inspired this feeling of connection.
“I also believe that, as he does—in creation, stasis, degeneration, and destruction—that process, you see it everywhere on this earth, and it’s part of the universe. And I believe that all things are part of the universe,” she added.
“You hear about the ‘end of times’ and ‘end of days’ and what have you. I don’t believe that’s the end. I believe it’s a rebirth,” she said.
Falun Gong is a cultivation practice based on the core tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. The practice incorporates five sets of exercises with gentle movements, including a meditation.
Falun Gong, first publicly taught in 1992, gained massive popularity in China throughout the 1990s with tens of millions of followers within a few short years. In 1999, then-Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin launched a brutal persecution of the practice that persists to this day.
Guss says she feels an inner connection to humankind, nature, as well as the universe.
“I came to it very early on,” she said. “And when I say early on, I mean, when I was maybe in my 30s. And again, I’m 68. And so this has really been my belief since then. And it just feels right for me.”
One thing that has always played an instrumental role in Guss’s life was the need to be kind and compassionate to others. This was particularly trying when her kindness wasn’t reciprocated, she said.
“I think you’re in those situations to learn, and to learn to be a good person and to learn not to do [bad] things to other people,” she told NTD.
Guss also feels that more people in the United States need to hear about the crimes of the Chinese Communist Party. She says that she hopes the message will reach more people in the future.