Suicide and drug and alcohol misuse. These are some of the biggest headaches of parents and modern-day governments. Experts even point out the three as major contributing factors for the drop in U.S. life expectancy in 2015 and 2016.
But some have found a way to battle these problems with ancient wisdom. Among them is Michael Maamari.
Maamari said he quit drinking and smoking marijuana after he started practicing Falun Dafa, a traditional meditation practice originating from China.
Though he is relatively new to the practice, starting last December, Maamari already felt changes not only in his physical well-being, but also mentally and spiritually. “It just completely changed my life,” he said.
Maamari said before learning the practice, he was haunted by an enormous amount of stress. “I used to drink a lot, and I swear a lot,” he said, “I had such a strong pursuit for fame and money. I was… like overly ambitious. I didn’t care how I got there, I just want to get there, regardless of the process of who I hurt.”
Maamari said he learned about the practice from a friend who gave him a book that has the main spiritual teachings of Falun Dafa, called Zhuan Falun. “It just seems so random. But now I see that there is no coincidence,” he said.
Maamari said the book helps him see through many ambitions he used to hold onto tightly and realize why he needs to forsake desires and attachments.
“I start to look within a lot more deeply,” he said, “I’m just so much happier just being where I am in life right now, and not having to pursue all these things that I thought was important before, specifically with money,”
“Now it’s just… none of them seems that important,” he said, “I’m a lot more calm. I had no stress, virtually no stress compared to before.”
“It Filled My Heart.”
When Joseph Gigliotti first received the book Zhuan Falun in college, “I went home, I stayed up all night. And it blew me away. It’s something I’ve been searching for my whole life laid right before me,” he said.
The 27-year-old said when he was a teenager, he suffered from severe depression and anxiety for many years “to the point where I consider taking my life a couple of times.”
He said Falun Dafa has provided him with direction and guidance. “Especially when you don’t know what the right decision is, you can always call back to truth, compassion, and tolerance.”
The three principles are the focus of cultivation in Falun Dafa.
“When I took up the practice, it really… filled my heart,” he said, “I didn’t realize my heart was so empty before.”
Now, Gigliotti is a chiropractor and has his own business. He said his new mindset really makes a difference in the office. “Before I even give an adjustment to someone’s spine,” he said, “or to the nerve system, you can already see there is a shift in their mindset and their heart. They feel calm in the office.”
“I think the energy you carry with you had a big impact on the environment and the people around you,” he said.