(Minghui.org) Falun Dafa practitioners in Colombia held the sixth Falun Dafa Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference at the Hotel Diez Categoría in Medellín, Colombia’s second largest city, on November 12, 2023. Practitioners from different cities in Colombia, Venezuela, Aruba, Spain and the Netherlands attended the conference.

Twenty-nine practitioners talked about how they overcame obstacles in their lives, eliminated human attachments and improved their moral character by abiding by Dafa’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

A practitioner talks about her cultivation experiences.


Overcoming Marijuana Addiction

Jaime Rincón from Medellín, recounted the difficult process as he overcame his marijuana addiction. He was finally able to leave his addiction behind after he began practicing Falun Dafa.

Jaime was introduced to Falun Dafa more than 20 years ago, however, due to his strong addiction, he was not able to genuinely start practicing until three and a half years ago. He decided to quit marijuana once and for all.

He was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome, a disease that causes involuntary twitches, when he was a child. To counteract the symptoms, he was prescribed expensive medication. He began to use marijuana because it was cheaper and produced the same effect as the expensive medication. He became heavily addicted to it.

“I tried to give up smoking marijuana but I always relapsed,” said Jaime. He stopped using marijuana for 10 months while he was in Australia but resumed his habit when he found a supplier.

“I could work,” he said. “However, I felt as if my life was on automatic. I did not have the lucidity to realise how I was getting off track. By this time, I was smoking up to eight times a day and I felt lost.”

He became depressed and lost hope in life. He read Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Dafa, when he was sober and realised the severity of drugs and how it damaged his life.

He stayed home during the COVID pandemic in 2020 and read the Falun Dafa lecture series and practiced the exercises. Jaime also participated in a local online cultivation experience sharing conference and told his acquaintances about the persecution of Falun Dafa in China.

Jaime was determined to quit using marijuana on May 13, which also happens to be World Falun Dafa Day. He understood that the root of the problem was not the substance itself but that his heart would not let it go. He was able to quit the use of marijuana quickly and regained his self-esteem. He actively supported an online radio station project, VCS radio, led by practitioners from Colombia. Since then, he has been actively participating in other projects and has improved personally and spiritually.

Looking back at his recovery process, Jaime said, “I’ve had tests when people offered me marijuana. I did not use it, and I’ll never use it again.”


Walking Out Of Extreme Depression

Sonia Montañez from Medellín began practicing Falun Dafa in 2019. She spoke about several painful situations she faced in the past year and how she struggled with mental health.

Since childhood, she had episodes of intense depression and even had suicidal thoughts. Because she was Catholic, these thoughts were viewed as a great sin. She knew to suppress the bad thoughts but they never truly went away. She always hid her condition and refused to talk about it even when her husband pointed it out.

She had a major relapse that lasted two weeks in March 2023. Her depression had never lasted so long before. The urge to end her life seemed to always be in her mind. She knew it was not right to have suicidal thoughts because she had already begun practicing Falun Dafa.

Everything took a bigger toll on her when her 12-year-old nephew committed suicide. Sonia sought support from another practitioner and studied the Falun Dafa books to overcome the loss.

She understood that the idea of taking one’s own life was an attachment to “self” and a way people use to escape their suffering in life. She needed to let go of everything of the past and dedicate herself wholeheartedly to cultivation. Her uncontrollable thoughts began to subside after she understood this.


A Young Man’s Cultivation Journey

Alejandro Uran from Medellín shared that he started practicing Falun Dafa when he was 16 years old in 2015. He was a typical teenager who rebelled against his family and picked up many bad habits from his friends. Even though his family is Catholic, he drifted away.

He developed an interest in Eastern culture and started to explore Buddhism and Hinduism when he was 15 years old. He saw Falun Dafa practitioners practicing the exercises at a park one day and decided to join them. “The exercise music and atmosphere were very good. I felt quite good while I meditated,” Uran said.

He read the book Falun Gong and practiced the exercises often. He understood that he needed to stay away from his old friends and change his bad behavior.

He suffered from rhinitis and migraine headaches from a young age. A miracle happened when he started to practice the exercises and study the Fa every day. His ailments were gone and he no longer lived the life he once lived.


Practitioners Share Insights From the Conference

Katherin Londoño from Medellín began practicing Falun Dafa seven months ago. This was the first experience sharing conference she’d attended. She said it was very enriching, and “Practitioners’ sharing was a great help to me.”

Katherin Londoño

Ariadna Vanessa Rocha Sierra from Colombia worked in the Netherlands for 10 years. She returned to participate in the conference. Although she first learned about Falun Dafa in Colombia 15 years ago, she began practicing three years ago in the Netherlands.

“I was deeply moved by the experience sharing about depression because that is the tribulation that I am currently going through,” she said. “The culture in the Netherlands is very different from that of Colombia’s. The practitioner who talked about this helped me identify each aspect I need to improve on.”

Ariadna Vanessa Rocha Sierra

Sergio Gustavo Escobar Arango from Medellín started to practice Falun Dafa in 2004. He said practitioners’ sharing helped him identify his own shortcomings.

Sergio Gustavo Escobar Arango