On a clear, bright, and warm spring day in April, my father went into eternal life. He embarked on his journey with a smile on his face, looking so serene and peaceful. His soul came here to New Zealand and stayed with me. He came to me with great love, in order to meet with his son.
Father was always more than a father to me. He was a spiritual teacher who taught me the great spirit of Hongik, and he was a friend and companion with whom I could always share deep conversations about the path for humankind.
As I've traveled down my path, I didn’t have a friend to whom I could spill out my heart, and I've always found myself surrounded by many people who wanted to gain strength and courage and hope from me. That’s why I hoped that my father would stay by my side for a long time and be someone I could depend on. Perhaps because he knew how I felt, even after letting my mother depart first, my father stayed behind and lived on his own for another eight years to stay with me and be by my side. That’s how I received tremendous love from my father, and I was able to share that love unreservedly with everyone.
Throughout the 94 years of his lifetime, my father lived an upright life of benevolence and humility as a good father, a good teacher, and a good neighbor, and he lived a life of sharing and giving back. Father was my model of honesty, diligence, responsibility, faith, and courtesy.
When I couldn’t adjust to life at school from an early age, even when our relatives and neighbors expressed their worry about me, my father would always boost my spirits by saying that I was a late bloomer. That’s why I was able to live my whole life without losing hope in myself. Even after graduating from high school, when I couldn’t get focused and failed the college entrance exams three years in a row, he took me to my grandmother’s grave and begged for forgiveness with tears in his eyes, saying that he was at fault for all of my wrongdoing because he hadn’t done a good job of bringing up his son. That’s when I seriously repented for the first time, thinking, “I’ve really messed up big time!”
So then I woke up and got my act together, and as I cleaned up the garbage under the bridge and planted a pumpkin patch from the trash, I discovered the value of my existence for the first time. After that, as I had developed confidence in myself, I opened a taekwondo studio and worked as an instructor, and I wanted to study as well.
Father provided support without ever questioning what I wanted, and he even retired early and gave me half of the retirement pay he received. Through that incident, I felt a tremendous sense of responsibility not only with regard to myself, but toward my family and toward the faith that my father had in me. That’s how Father taught me honesty, diligence, responsibility, faith, and courtesy. As I walked this path for myself, my people, and humankind over the past 37 years, every time I faced the innumerable trials and tribulations, it was that teaching that lent me the great strength I needed to keep going.
Father loved the people, and he loved all people with a virtuous and benevolent heart, and his love and blessings are still with me and with all of you.
Don’t live a habitual life, trained to the familiar and comfortable. Through intense self-examination and ceaseless self-challenge, create change, and adjust your track toward growth and completion.
If you live life habitually, without intense self-examination and reflection, you cannot make proper use of the time and space that have been given to you, and you cannot say that you have genuinely lived your life. The status quo is a state of self-negation, a state from which your dreams and your genuine spirit have vanished.
Walking in place for a long time is harder and less interesting than walking normally. Only if you go forward do your environment, space, and the people you meet change; only then do you gain a new fascination for life, learning, and inspiration. Only if you go forward can you move in a direction you desire.
Though you live but a day, but an hour, you should live for the dreams, values, and spirit you have chosen.
(Based on my book, Calligraphic Meditation for Everyday Happiness.)
Life is something you create. I create the future and I make my life what it is.
Those words come out of my experience. I really threw myself into the things I decided to do, and if I felt that something was right, I made my own judgments as I kept moving forward.
Now, as I get closer to my seventieth birthday in a few years and I hear scientists saying that human bodies have the potential to last for 120 years, I’ve realized that there is so much more that I want to do. So I’ve decided to live to 120 years old. Thinking that I have another 60 years to live has changed my perspective on how to live my life today. I’ve decided that I have to speak English, and I’m reading the English version of my book, Belly Button Healing, every day. I feel very youthful, and it’s like I’m in my thirties and forties.
It’s important to change your whole thought process like this—to tell yourself, “I’m going to live to 120.” If you choose and integrate it, everything will become different. If you just change your preconceptions one time, the rest is very easy. It’s ultimately about caring and focusing.
In making a strategy for living until 120 years old, I realized that you need to change from living in a defensive mode to living in an offensive mode. Being in a defensive mode means being attached and trying to keep something, but being in an offensive mode means aggressively challenging yourself, embracing everything, and staying open.
To go on the offense in your life, eliminate the time you spend contemplating. If you have time for contemplation, increase your physical power. Physical power is life. Physical power is the strength by which you can keep your life of your own accord.
Besides physical power, you also have heart power. Heart power speaks of conscience, character, and integrity. It’s the innate character of humaneness that makes you discover your value.
Beyond heart power, you have brain power. That’s creativity and the capacity for application. It’s not intellectual knowledge, but the ability to assess your surrounding environment and situation and utilize them.
To make it to 120, pour all of your energy into increasing these three types of power, and then use time and space most effectively for your dreams and goals.
It starts with heart power though, in which you experience and understand the value of your existence. Your heart power has to come alive in order for you to improve your physical power and brain power.
You can increase your physical power, heart power, and brain power by changing your everyday-life attitude and your words. Here are three specific ways you can do that.
Smile so much you get cramps in your face. If you have trouble smiling, you’ll inevitably get cramps. Every time that happens, tell yourself, “This is vibration indicating that my destiny is changing,” and change. Practice smiling at least ten times a day, and practice smiling at everyone.
Second, every morning, plant your feet on the floor, place your hands on your lower abdomen, and bow forty-five degrees from your waist as you say brightly, “Bangapseumnida.”
Bangapseumnida is a Korean greeting that means, “I recognize the divinity within you,” similar to “namaste.” Just do 100 repetitions. This exercises your lower back and constitutes smiling practice, and as your belly button energy point (Shingwol) folds and opens, energy will automatically accumulate in your body. When that happens, your face will change, your attitude when you speak will change, and your energy will change. You’ll change into someone that anyone would want to get closer to and connect with.
Third, do a physical exercise for one minute at least once every hour.
Set your alarm to ring once every hour, at which time, do one of these exercises for one minute: Belly Button Healing, push-ups, sit-ups, running in place, or squats. Then, ten times a day, you’ll be investing one minute for a total of ten minutes a day spent increasing your physical power. After a while, you’ll feel your vital power increasing in your body.
As you grow your power, then, you can increase the speed at which you accomplish your goals. This is necessary to get all the way to the end of your journey. For example, if you’re always losing in a fight, in order to go into it with your mind made up that you’re going to win, you need speed. You don’t have to be fast to get hit, but in order to go on the offensive and attack to defeat your opponent, you need to have more than twice the speed. That’s when you can use your skills, and that’s also when you need great strength. That strength comes from mental power.
If you want to jump up from the status quo in your life and live 120 years, you have to shift from a defensive position to an offensive position now. You have to defend when it’s time to play defense, but if you’re on defense and an opportunity comes up, then you have to attack. Attacking doesn’t mean hurting others; it’s taking fast action and risks for your goal. Even if there’s just a 5 percent opportunity, you have to be proactive and attack. You save up your strength, and then if there’s even just a 5 percent possibility, you have to push and move forward. That’s the real new world. Opportunity is knocking right now.
Even if you’re worn out and exhausted, if you have a reason why you have to live, if you have hopes and dreams, then your hidden power comes to the surface. Feeling tired does not need to keep you from attacking when the opportunity arises. Whether or not you’re sure something will work, try it first. If it doesn’t work, find another way that’ll work, and use that last 5 percent of strength that you have left to give it everything you’ve got to try again. When you use that strength, that’s when you help yourself, Heaven helps you, and everyone and everything around you comes to your aid; and because of that, that’s when your miraculous strength is meant to come out.
Grow your vital power. And become the master of your life. Become the master of your body and become the master of your mind. When that happens, you will open the door to an exciting new sixty years of your life.
The person who has been my most special friend and mentor is none other than my father.
When I was young, when I didn't have friends because my thoughts and concerns were so different from that of others, he was my only friend, and when I couldn't adjust to school life, he told me, "You're a late-bloomer," and instilled confidence in me with love and encouragement.
He also gave me "tough love," pushing me off the cliff to encourage me to fly, as he did when he retired from being an educator after I had failed the college entrance exams two years in a row, saying, "Since you're the man of the house now, you need to lead this family forward from now on." This truly shocked me and made me see what I was doing with my life in a new light.
My father was the first to teach me about Korea's ancient spiritual roots—about the ChunBuKyung and the Hongik spirit—which I teach to others today. As I built and developed the Institute of Korean Cultural Studies (Kookhakwon), the University of Brain Education, and the Global Cyber University, he even gave me advice on the direction and angles of the buildings as a scholar with profound knowledge of geographic feng shui. He's always encouraged my work and the people who work along with me.
This year, he is ninety-five years old. I'm away from him, working in New Zealand while he lives in South Korea. I had a video call with my father to greet him for the new year, and I suddenly realized how much time has passed. I saw that his vigor has depleted, and now my father needs support in order to be able to walk. Seeing my father like that makes me think a lot about life.
Because he has grown hard of hearing and his energy has become weak, he couldn't say much, but I when I told him, "Father, I wish you many blessings in the new year. Be healthy this year, too, and eat well, and please pray for us so that your son's work goes smoothly and turns out well," he responded by saying, "Of course, I'm always praying for you. Be healthy and have a good trip; I'll see you when you get back," and held up two fingers in a "V" for victory.
When I heard my father's words, I felt my heart squeeze, and I felt a sting in the tip of my nose, and a jolt of electricity buzzed through my body. I could feel my father's sincere prayer deep in my heart. I felt, "Alright. Even Father is longing with all his heart for the dream of a happy, healthy, and peaceful world I pursue, so I have to fulfill this mission no matter what if I'm to fully honor him."
I'm sharing my father's words with you, and the loving energy that they transmit, because I hope it encourages and enables you to live your own grandest dreams.
And, just as my father has been my earthly root and he first showed me my spiritual roots, I want to show you, through Brain Education, how to find your own internal root in the never-ending Source of life, the Tao, the One that is written of in the ChunBuKyung.
With the first Earth Citizen Festival coming up in less than three weeks, my team in New Zealand and I are facing various obstacles as we prepare for the more than one thousand people who are expected to attend this two-day event. The festival will celebrate and add fuel to our ongoing Earth Citizen Movement, which aims to have one hundred million people adopt Earth Citizen values and an Earth Citizen lifestyle by 2020.
As part of our preparations, we are working intensively on constructing an Earth Village in Kerikeri, which will be the education hub of this global initiative. There's a lot to be done, and even seemingly small details are important, such as building stairs on a steep slope to make it easier for people to walk up.
However, one of our current challenges is that in New Zealand, most people are on holiday until January 15th, so we don't have enough manpower during this critical time. Rather than worrying about that, I'm working hard, helping with the construction. Dreaming of all of the people who are coming from ten different countries gives me energy that I've thrown into action, and things are starting to happen.
While some people might think, we can't do it because we don't have people; it won't work because something's missing, I know that if you have the mind to do it, there's always a way to achieve your goal. All you have to do is start right away with what you can do.
I'm not the only one who thinks this way. People who have achieved success in the world and grown themselves started with whatever action they could take toward their dream, without being swayed by the negative information of those around them.
Negative thinking wastes time and paralyzes you. Rather than judging with my thoughts, I think as I act. Once you start moving, your inertia and worries will subside—your energy will change—and a solution will come to you.
If you make up your mind to do it, you can get it done. That's how the stairs we're building now are almost finished.