After suffering several devastating accidents, Becky James often struggled to get out of bed every day. For six years, she was in pain all over her body and at times found it difficult to take care of herself. Then, at age 40, a ray of hope was literally delivered to her doorstep and set her on a path to full recovery.
It was another one of those nights with no hope in sight. In the darkness, I felt lost. My body throbbed and my head ached and felt about to split open. I put my arms up towards the heavens and stared helplessly at my bedroom ceiling. I cried silently, desperately, “Please, please, give me some energy!”
It had been almost six years since the car accident that almost took my life. I had lost control of my vehicle on the highway in 2005 aged 34. After nearly colliding with a van and running into a camper, I spun round three times on two wheels and struck a barrier on the side of the road.
Right after the accident, I felt lucky to find no obvious injuries on my body. But my luck was short-lived. I had trouble controlling my balance two weeks later, and it got worse every day.
I ended up having to give up my beloved teaching job. I was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, a disorder of an unknown cause that is similar to chronic fatigue syndrome. Information I was given about this informed me that people who suffer from this disease might experience organ deterioration and premature death. Worst of all, there is no cure.
From then on, like a prisoner, I spent nearly my entire existence confined to my home, sometimes barely able to get out of bed. At times I was so weak that I was unable to endure any sound or light or talk with others for more than five minutes. The memory meltdown that came with it made things worse. I lost the ability to completely take care of myself.
I was fortunate to have been born into a traditional family in Leeds, England, and had loving friends and relatives. During this most shattering period of my life, I relied on my husband, parents, and in-laws to look after me when the condition was at its worst. Except for them, and a few friends I largely lost contact with people in my life.
But that was only the latest in a series of devastating incidents I had suffered in my life.
When I was 17, I was severely hurt in a car crash. It led to serious problems with my pelvis, and a twisted sacrum. As a result, I would sometimes lose feeling in my legs and be unable to walk. I would feel unbearable pain when raising my left leg. I tried many different kinds of painkillers and treatments, but none helped. Neither could surgery provide any relief. I was told I’d have to deal with my condition for the rest of my life.
Then, at age 25, I had a terrible accident while jet skiing in Malaysia. I ended up on the traction bed for a week in a hospital in Singapore, where I lived at the time. The problems from the previous car crash, especially my spinal injury, were triggered again.
Although blessed with a carefree childhood, rewarding jobs, and a happy marriage, these accidents were like overbearing shadows following me wherever I went and impossible to shake off. I took good care of myself in an effort to stay strong and did daily yoga and swimming.
‘You need to learn compassion’
After the accident in 2005, I was left exhausted and nearly devoid of hope that I would ever recover. In despair, I could only pray for some energy.
In 2009, my father and husband took me to France in an effort to help my recovery, as we camped in nature. One day an English man camped besides us. I will never forget him. As we sat under the stars one night, he told me that he lived in Canada with his Chinese girlfriend and that she practiced Falun Gong –had I ever heard of it? He said it may help my condition as it was like yoga and good for coordination and concentration. I wrote it down in my diary, and forgot about it. But, unknowing to me, things were already about to change.
On that night in 2010, I pleaded for help in the darkness, with my arms over my head. Then suddenly, as I lowered my arms, a massively bright beam of light came down through my body from my head to my feet. I was a totally shocked, and a little afraid, but for an unexplained reason, I knew I would be all right and that it was something good.
A few months later, whilst arguing with my husband in the car, I suddenly sensed a sentence floating into my mind. “You need to learn compassion,” it said. I immediately said to my husband, “Sorry. It’s my fault. I need to learn compassion.” My husband was surprised and said, “You never talk like that. What does that mean?” I replied, “I don’t know.”
A couple of days later, I was standing by the kitchen window in pain, when I saw a woman pass by and leave something at the front door. I went out and picked up the pamphlet that she had left.
A picture of a woman doing meditation caught my attention. Then I saw the three words, “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance.” The word “Compassion” instantly resonated with me. I thought, “Wow, that’s it. I have to learn compassion.” I called the contact number on the flyer right away, and my mother-in-law and I went to the free seminar offered two days later.
Finding What I Needed
It was a seminar to introduce Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, a traditional Chinese practice for improving the mind and body. It includes four sets of slow-moving standing exercises and a sitting meditation, along with teachings that emphasize improving one’s character to become more truthful, kind, and tolerant.
While learning the third exercise, a standing exercise to purify the body by taking in and expelling energy, I followed the instructor as she repeated the motion of putting her arms up in the air and then bringing them down. The energy was so strong, it immediately reminded me of that night when I experienced the light beam coming down through my body.
After learning the exercises, the participants took turns to read “Zhuan Falun,” the main book of Falun Gong. It so happened that, on my turn to read, my paragraph was about the idea of predestined relationships. I had a strong feeling that is hard to explain. But one thing was clear—I had found what I needed.
At home, I spent two days reading the book and felt so happy because it finally answered my questions about life and the world around me. When I read the book the second time, I felt a door open, letting me understand more about my life. I searched for my old diary from France in 2009 and was surprised to see what I’d written down and forgotten!
I continued to read and was amazed by the profundity of the book. It made me determined to practice Falun Gong.
Before long, I started to see significant improvements to my health. The asthma I had suffered from since childhood no longer occurred. Then my energy came back. Although my muscles were still not flexible, they felt stronger.
The most incredible change was in my spine. One day in late 2011, while doing the sitting meditation, I felt as if there was a hot knife against my spine. I was a bit frightened but somehow knew that I could have trust and faith in this ancient practice.
Then I felt almost as if my spine was being adjusted. It popped and I sensed my pelvis go back into its correct position. Miraculously, after some 20 years of suffering, my back and spine problems were healed in an instant!
Gradually, all of my health problems disappeared and my body fully recovered. It took a while for my mental state of mind to recover too and this came about reading Zhuan Falun daily. I became less anxious and afraid. Instead of needing my family members to take care of me, I was able to start looking after them whenever they needed me.
Practicing Falun Gong enabled me to regain a normal life free of the injuries and health problems that had plagued me for decades. Its principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance also helped me to become a better person, now able to enjoy a happy, peaceful life again with everyone around me.