If you have a purpose or a dream, large or small, it’s difficult to accomplish it unless you’re healthy. Health is the basic tool for anything you want to do, although people do the best they can in whatever condition they are in. At the foundation of your health—mental, physical, emotional, spiritual—is physical health. Although the power of the mind and heart can overcome physical limitations, when you are physically healthy, it’s easier for your mind to be clear and your emotions to be calm. You have mental and emotional space to focus on your spiritual development, and you have the energy and power to take on any task.
Lack of health, according to Asian medicine, ultimately comes from the flow of life energy in your body being blocked so that your natural healing power is prevented from working. Conditions causing most symptoms recover with time if you release blockages and restore good blood and energy circulation. Breathing and meditation help remove blockages from your body, but the best way to do it for your overall health is to move.
Moving can mean specific motions and postures, such as the ones found in meridian exercise, yoga, tai chi, and qigong. It can also mean weight training and aerobic exercises. But, it can even mean simply getting out of your seat.
It's widely known that habitually sitting for long periods of time has a negative effect on health. For example, the risk of dying from heart disease is reportedly six times higher in people who spend a lot of time sitting than in those who exercise daily. Some studies say that reducing the amount of time you spend sitting each day to less than three hours can extend your life expectancy two years.
However, it’s not just the overall amount of time you spend sitting that makes a difference to your health; it’s also the length of time you spend sitting at once. If you spend most of your time sitting, even if you exercise at a fitness center 4 to 5 times a week, you won’t get the same health benefits as when you take intermittent breaks from sitting and move your body. When you sit for hours on end, your body gets stiff and the blood, lymph, and energy in your body, even the food moving through your intestines, can’t circulate well. Your veins and lymph vessels don’t have an active force moving blood and lymph through them. They require muscle movement to push the fluid through. As a result, when you sit too much, blood and lymph can pool in the hands and legs, and then toxins aren’t flushed out, and immune cells, nutrients, and oxygen can’t get to where your body needs them.
So while going to the gym or starting an intense workout regimen is great, it’s not sufficient or sustainable for improving and maintaining your health if it’s something you’re not excited about. Instead, I suggest doing “opportunistic exercise.” Opportunistic exercise is a lifestyle approach in which you take advantage of ordinary, daily moments to do short periods of frequent exercise.
I realized the power of opportunistic exercise after I experienced physical decline in my mid-fifties. I gradually had less physical energy, muscle strength, and sharp reflexes, and I experienced depression and falling ambition. My eyesight grew worse, my gums were in bad shape, and I gained weight so that my body was heavy and my knees didn’t feel well.
That really got my attention. I heard a voice of awakening, telling me that I must change myself. The question was, how? Having to deal with a busy schedule of reading dozens of reports, meeting countless people, and giving lectures from dawn to dusk every day, I decided to start doing what I call One Minute Exercise.
For One Minute Exercise, each hour, you do one minute of moderate to vigorous exercises that can effectively work your muscles and raise your heart rate in a short period of time. You could do exercises like push-ups, squats, sit-ups, jumping jacks, jumping in place, and bear walking. It's good to set an alarm to go off every hour. Then you can do about one minute ten times a day.
I fit in these exercises wherever and whenever I can, not only once an hour. I do push-ups against the sink before washing my hands in the bathroom. I do chair push-ups when I’m sitting for a while working. Or I do bear walking, which is walking on all fours with your knees straight and your palms and feet flat.
Suddenly doing a moderate to high-intensity workout may cause muscle pain. If that happens, you should mix in gentle exercises like stretching or Belly Button Healing instead of strength training. And there's nothing that says you have to do just one minute of exercise. You can do it for five minutes or 10 minutes, or however long you’d like. When you have the time, doing several sets will double the effects.
You might wonder how effective doing short, simple exercises throughout your day could be, but, my own experience and the experience of people practicing One Minute Exercise around me have shown that these exercises really work. My body has become lighter, more agile, and more vigorous through this lifestyle. Even now, when I'm almost 70 years old, I do push-ups in a handstand against the wall every day. And, when I golf, I send the ball flying farther and more accurately than I did when I was in my forties.
Many changes will come if you do One Minute Exercise, even for just three months. You'll experience physicochemical changes in your body and emotional changes in your mind, and you'll find yourself developing a new lifestyle of moving your body no matter what. You can break free of distracting thoughts, stress, negativity, lethargy, and inertia and go right into things. Then you can make the most of the next hour by using it more productively and creatively. When you manage your physical condition, you end up managing your time, emotions, and goals—managing your life.
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.)
Today, the House of Representatives of the State of New Mexico passed a House Memorial Bill to declare February 27, 2017 Brain Education Day in the House of Representatives. The memorial bill also requested that higher education and public education departments in the state consider implementing Brain Education into professional development for teachers and into student curriculum.
Representative Linda Trujillo
The memorial bill was introduced by Representative Linda Trujillo and passed unanimously by the legislators in attendance (70-0). New Mexico is the first state to declare a Brain Education Day, although New York City declared an IBREA Brain Education Day on January 8, 2009.
Linda Trujillo and Brain Education instructors from New Mexico
Ilchi Lee's Brain Education system of personal development has been applied to schools around the United States, especially New York City, as well as South Korea, El Salvador, and Liberia. In New Mexico, a three-month pilot project introduced Brain Education to seventy Zuni Pueblo middle school students, and more than 50 teachers in the Santa Fe public school system have been trained to implement Brain Education in their classrooms.
This memorial bill can open many new opportunities for Brain Education in New Mexico in the future.
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.