When Mateusz Filipkowski was a boy in Poland, he believed in the existence of a wonderful realm, transcending all the pain and suffering of the world. He looked for the spiritual power that would lead him to that place, without success.
Eventually, Mateusz became a hoodlum on the streets, addicted to alcohol and drugs, until a book permanently altered his life’s trajectory.
Now, this young man is happy, healthy, and has a good job. What happened?
A Troubled Youth
Mateusz was always a big fan of sports, good at running and martial arts, especially Muay Thai.
He grew up with his younger brother and father in a neighborhood where one’s dignity is defined and protected by one’s fists. His father told him to always get revenge when insulted.
In Mateusz’s mind, fighting was not for fun, but to protect himself or the weak. He rarely missed a brawl on his street.
Mateusz hated the smell of cigarettes and alcohol, but was surrounded by them – in his house and throughout the neighborhood – as almost everyone in the community used them for releasing stress. Gradually, he became addicted to them too, although deep in his heart, he still hated them.
Looking for Another World
Underneath the surface of his often violent life, nonetheless, Mateusz was on a spiritual quest. He read a lot of books on metaphysics, including books on oriental meditation and martial arts. At the same time, he also took hallucinogenic drugs.
But those books didn’t answer his questions. He pondered: What is the meaning of life? Why do human beings live on this planet? Do lives on other planets also suffer pain and injustice? What is the purpose of meditation and cultivation? Why are the bad people in power?…
Mateusz tried his best to find the answers, the pursuit of which became the most important thing in his life. He kept a diary of his dreams, his experiences in meditation, experiences of his soul leaving his body, and his feelings after experimenting with all kinds of drugs.
Mateusz also searched for books on cultivation on the Internet. One day, on an online bookstore, he saw a blue-covered book among hundreds of books, which drew his immediate attention. One of the reviews said: “This book can fundamentally change one’s mind, and help people to quit all kinds of addictions. It can change one’s body from deep inside, and uplift the cultivators to the realm of consummation.”
“Isn’t this what I have been looking for?” thought Mateusz, and ordered the book right away. This book was Zhuan Falun.
However, he gave up after reading the preface, “I don’t deserve this book,” he thought, “because my body is too polluted, full of alcohol and drugs.”
From Now On, I Will Cultivate
Mateusz kept trying all kinds of things in his quest to explore the spiritual world. He studied some supernormal phenomena, and wished to make contact with lives at higher levels who might give him guidance in this chaotic world.
Meanwhile, he took more and more hallucinogenic drugs. The doses kept increasing, causing his family and friends to worry about him. He felt lonely, because nobody understood him.
One night, Mateusz took 10 times the usual dose of drugs. “I woke up at midnight, and started to cry out in desperation. I was so sad and I didn’t want to live in this world anymore.”
The copy of Zhuan Falun was sitting there on the bookshelf, seemingly covered with a gentle and warm halo.
“All of sudden, I felt surrounded by immense compassion, a compassion that can melt steel. Hope rose in my heart,” Mateusz recalled.
“I recognized my bad behaviors – the drinking, smoking, and using drugs. I knew that if I wanted to cultivate, I had to get rid of them. From deep my heart, I had a wish: ‘From now on, I will cultivate, and go back to my true self.’”
The next day, Mateusz announced to his family, “I will change. I will quit drugs, and be a good son.” At the time, he was 19.
Becoming a Good Person and Living a Normal Life
Mateusz read Zhuan Falun again and again. “This book teaches people how to be a good person, and an even better person. It teaches a cultivator how to improve him or herself to a higher level in everyday life without becoming a monk or a nun, and eventually guides one to become a great enlightened being.”
Later, he joined a local exercise site in Poland, and learned from fellow practitioners’ experiences about incorporating Falun gong’s teaching of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in his daily life.
Mateusz moved out of his parents’ house in Gliwice, to Warsaw. “I wanted to be responsible for my own life, and not be a burden on my parents.”
He taught himself English, and became a customs worker at an airport. “In my work I encounter all kinds of people. I am happy to help them, and treat everyone kindly,” said Mateusz.
Cultivating Falun Gong completely changed the way Mateusz handles conflicts.
He shared, “All the conflicts are opportunities for us to pay back our karma and improve ourselves. For example, Some time ago, my supervisor was mad at me for no reason. She yelled at me in anger. At that moment, I reminded myself to keep calm. I said to her, peacefully and with a smile, that I understood her. She changed her attitude immediately, and was no longer angry. I believe that I just paid back some debts I owed her from my previous life.”
“Falun Gong teaches me to be a truly good person, and an even better person. It gives me the criteria to measure everything with. I hope that I will become more compassionate and more peaceful through cultivation. I can sense the power of compassion throughout my eight years of cultivation, and I will strive to do even better.”