Ann Teurlings, a mother of six, was born and raised in Halle, Belgium, to a traditional family and majored in arts and interior design. Thirty years ago, she sustained severe injuries from a bad car accident, which left her in chronic pain for decades. This is the story of how she recovered from the ordeal to live a healthy and productive life.
“My mom can run! She can run!” my 11-year-old daughter Ili yelled.
Ili had never seen me run. My 28-year-old daughter had never seen me run either. Not only could I not run, but I couldn’t even walk very well, and it was hard for me to keep up with the children or play with them at the playground. All my travails were due to a terrible car accident 30 years ago.
Yet in July 2016, after a life-changing experience, I was able to take part in a parade in Berlin and walked almost 9 kilometers, something unthinkable before. Two months later, I took part in another parade in Munich. After that, I was suddenly able to run, and that’s why Ili was so excited.
The Car Accident and the Suffering that Followed
At the age of 24, I was seriously injured in a collision and remained in a coma for a week. My legs were so badly injured that the doctors at the hospital thought I would need an amputation. But that was avoided thanks to a surgeon who put all the bits of my bones together with great skill and patience. While in the coma, I hovered several times between life and death, and once I even saw some stairs leading to what I knew to be Heaven.
When I came out of the coma, I felt like a 70-year-old woman, exhausted and in pain all over. Whether I lay down, sat, or moved around, the pain was always there. Sometimes I would cry just thinking about having to do such basic things as using the toilet. For a full year, I couldn’t walk without the support of crutches, and every step was very hard. Somehow, I learned to live with the constant pain, trying to transcend it by keeping my thinking on a higher level.
My experience while in the coma and the fact that both my legs were not lost left me with the conviction that there must be a self-healing mechanism in the human body, and that I would eventually recover fully. With this thinking, I refused any form of medication, and this made my life very difficult.
People around me could not understand me and thought I was strange. I gradually lost faith in people and became bitter, stubborn, and lonely. I was so stubborn that when an acquaintance tried to give me a copy of “Zhuan Falun,” the book that later changed my life, I refused to accept it and shut her out, preferring my own closed world.
30 Years of Chronic Pain Healed in Four Months
A few years ago, my daughter Ili met a girl named Lucia at school, and the two became best friends. Lucia’s mother practices Falun Gong*, an ancient spiritual Chinese meditation discipline. She heard about my story from Ili and called me. She wanted to tell me about the amazing healing power of Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa) but I didn’t want to meet with her. However, Lucia’s mom was very patient. Over a period of three years, she tried several times to introduce Falun Gong to me, but I turned her down every time.
One afternoon, Ili and I went to watch Shen Yun Performing Arts, a classical Chinese dance performance from New York. Ili was so fascinated with it that she decided to learn classical Chinese dance, so she joined a summer camp where it was being taught. I went to the camp with her and observed some interesting things that happened.
It hardly seemed possible, but before long, Ili was dancing like a real Chinese dancer, and she was also learning how to draw Chinese art. That surprised me a lot. I talked with the teacher there, who was a Falun Gong adherent, and she explained that the book Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Gong, which has teachings based on truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, is very profound.
This intrigued me, so I visited Lucia’s house one day and her mom gave me a copy of Zhuan Falun. I started reading it and right away I realized that this was exactly what I needed. I kept reading and reading. I read it again and again. By the time Lucia’s mother told me that I needed to read it more than once to understand all the profound principles, I had already read it several times.
That was just the beginning.
Four months later, all my pain was gone. I could hardly believe it. I was so surprised that 30 years of pain had vanished from just reading a book. It made me more curious about Falun Gong, so I started doing the meditation exercises as well. To my delight, I could learn the five exercises without much effort, as if I had previously practiced it.
Another amazing thing was that from what I could interpret, the stairs to Heaven I had seen when in the coma was talked about in Zhuan Falun!
I Can Run Now
Some time later, while at another summer camp in Germany with Ili, I was asked whether I would like to join a parade in Berlin. I didn’t know what the parade was about—I just thought it was something for the children, so I said yes.
Many people took part in the parade, and I discovered its purpose was to raise awareness of the ongoing brutal persecution** against Falun Gong adherents in China and also to show the beauty of the practice. This moved me to stand up for justice for these innocent people in China in the face of evil.
I tried to stay at the end of the parade in case I couldn’t keep up so that I wouldn’t disturb anyone. It turned out it was a long parade. I followed those walking in front of me, feeling my balance again, and before I knew it, a few hours had passed. I was surprised I had walked that far.
Then a man came along and said I walked too slowly and needed to move faster or I would be left behind. Right away I felt I was losing my balance and every step became more difficult. My friend encouraged me to strengthen my will. Then the man came again and asked me to walk even faster. I suddenly felt exhausted and needed to rest. I saw the parade drawing further and further away from me.
Then I suddenly thought of the teachings from Zhuan Falun and I reminded myself of the purpose of the parade. With that thought, my energy began to return, so I started to walk again and, little by little, the distance between me and the parade got shorter and finally I was able to catch up.
Then that man came for the third time and told me to move faster! But there was still 500 meters to go and every step became so heavy that I struggled to finish and needed help for the last few meters.
However, the whole experience seemed to benefit me on a deeper level. Before the parade, although the pain was gone, there was always some pressure that I felt. After the parade, the pressure was totally gone.
Soon after, Ili and I took part in another parade in Munich. In that parade, I felt very comfortable and walked to the end without any problem. Ili was walking beside me, and she was surprised that I could walk so quickly.
On our way back to the hotel after the parade, we needed to catch up with the group we were with. They were far ahead of us, so I just started running without thinking. That was when Ili yelled out, “My mom can run! She can run!” She was beyond delighted.
Seeing the changes in me, Ili also started to practice Falun Gong. She understands the teachings of Zhuan Falun very well and conducts herself based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance in her daily life.
I am filled with gratitude regarding my life-renewing experience and seeing my daughter growing up healthily. I want to share my story with people who are like the “old me” and hope that more people will benefit from this wonderful self-cultivation practice.
*Falun Gong or Falun Dafa is a cultivation practice of mind and body that teaches truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance as a way to improve health and moral character and attain spiritual wisdom.
For more information about the practice or to download “Zhuan Falun,” visit: www.falundafa.org All books, exercise music, resources, and instructions are available completely free of charge.
**To learn more about the brutal persecution of Falun Gong by the communist regime in China, visit http://faluninfo.net/