A lot has changed since I attained enlightenment on Moak Mountain. My body, which used to be young, is aging, and my hair has turned white. There is something, however, that hasn't changed even once in the past 35 years. That's my dream to awaken 100 million Earth Citizens. This is the dream that I've lived for every day.
Along the way, I've achieved many things and learned a lot about making your dreams come true. I'd like to share some of those insights with you. For this brand new year, here is my prescription for achieving your dreams.
First, you need a dream that you feel is your destiny. Your dream doesn't need to be something you've done before, or that you have any knowledge or experience about. It only needs to be something you feel has to come true no matter what, and that you are willing to take responsibility for making happen.
Then, once you discover that dream, the first thing you need to do is pray for it. Put your mind and intention there. Then go one step further to make it more concrete. Imagine that the dream has come true and visualize how it could happen and make plans for it.
Once you have a plan, put it into action. But don't think too much before you take action. Don't worry about every small detail or about all the things that could go wrong or whether you're ready or not. You don't really know any of that before you try. Instead, think while you're acting. There's a big difference between the thoughts you have before you start something and the ones you have while you're doing it. When you think as you act, your thoughts become sincere, positive, and productive. Thoughts entertained without any action are delusion. They're thoughts that have no value. You need to have thoughts that have direction and goals. In order to do that, you have to act.
While you're working hard on your dream, however, it's easy to lose your original pure intention and passion. You can become stuck in everyday habits, maintenance, and formalities. If your pure intent disappears, your creativity disappears as well as your will to solve the problems that will inevitably arise. If you feel your work has become drudgery, go back to your original intention and reason for doing it. Make yourself clear about what you're doing and why. Regain your conviction in your dream and your responsibility for it. When you're really serious about it, that's when you can take risks and be creative. Energy will start to move in the direction of your dream, and good things will start to happen.
Even though you work diligently, however, sometimes that's not enough to achieve a big dream. Although it seems like you're working as hard as you can, if you expand your consciousness, you can do even twice as much as before. In the empty space you create in your consciousness, you can make new plans and do new work. You are more than capable of accomplishing anything as long as you think positively.
When you expand your consciousness, you'll realize that dreams are rarely accomplished alone. You need to find companions who share your dream and will work to achieve it together. When you have a dream, the like-minded people around you who plan and work for your dream together are immensely precious. And the feeling is indescribable when you meet someone who didn't have a dream, and you are able to give them one that gives them hope, passion, and joy.
Ultimately, however, if you encounter a problem, you need to be able to find the cause and solution without passing the blame onto anyone else. If you change first, then everything around you will change. It doesn't work the other way around. You can't wait for other people to change first before you do what you need to do to overcome your obstacles.
While you have ultimate responsibility, you also need to know how to say, "Help me," when you need it, not only from your vision partners, but from mentors who can give you advice and encouragement. Instead of only thinking and agonizing about your dream by yourself, keep looking for and talking to people. Then you can find help. Always be open to learning whatever you can.
Spiritual help is also important. With your pure intent and action, the energy of the universe will move to help you. When you connect your true nature with its source, the universal consciousness, it's like you've created a lifeline to your dream's fulfillment. Strengthening that connection is like putting on a life jacket that will keep you afloat no matter what challenges you may face.
If you hold onto that lifeline and take action every day, you can't help but change. Your thoughts and actions will align to what they need to be to accomplish your dream. Rather than only doing things according to your own preconceptions or thoughts, keep yourself open to guidance that comes your way, and be willing to take risks and do what really needs to get done. Keep going and your dream will become a reality.
The latest tour group to come to our Mago Holiday Park is actually made of middle school and high school students from South Korea who participate in a program to develop their character. One of the program prerequisites is to walk on their hands, which they learn through a 12-step process.
I had a chance to talk to this group of bright youth today, so I asked them to demonstrate their handstand walking. It mustn't have been easy to learn to do. Handstand walking requires a lot of practice to develop your strength and balance, as well as the willingness to get up again and again when you inevitably fall, even while knowing you're likely to fall again. Going through the process of learning how to walk on your hands makes you healthy and confident. It's a means of mastering your body and mind. When you walk on your hands, it's not just about muscle strength. It's a mental exercise. You have to employ focus and balance.
These young kids were all able to walk on their hands because they set it as a goal . . . a dream. Having achieved this goal, they were able to understand when I talked to them about the importance of having a dream—but not just any dream. I reminded them that what they choose to do with their lives will determine the future of the planet. They are the generation that has to save the earth—that's how important they are. In fact, we are all that important.
This dream can appear daunting. Faced with it, we may feel that it's impossible to do. Rather than restricting our dream to what's possible in our current circumstances and saying we can't do it, I told the students to start with what they can do . . . and just do it.
I showed them how that's what I did to open the Mago Holiday Park that they were now experiencing. I couldn't do much to make visitors comfortable or help them experience the natural beauty in the beginning, because most of the things I wanted to do required a permit. Rather than not doing anything and simply waiting for the permits, however, I figured out what I could do right away, such as setting up a tent, building decks, making swings, and planting trees. I've even begun to plant hwangchil trees on the land here, which is a tree that has many natural healing properties.
These young Earth Citizens were ready to shoulder the dream of steering humanity and the earth toward a brighter future, thanks to the mental and physical toughness they've developed through their program.
What is your dream? Are you ready to begin? Do you realize how important you are?
A fish that lives in a river cannot survive in the ocean. It would need a completely different constitution.
And yet, that's where we're headed. The consciousness and energy of the planet, which has so far been like a river, is changing to that of an ocean. Likewise, the conscious beings on this planet, the human beings, need to change our constitution to match that of the ocean. We need to change our small minds, which think first and foremost of our personal interests, to larger minds—public minds that think of the interests of everyone. This larger mind is the mind of an Earth Citizen.
This transition cannot be made all at once; it takes time. However, we can start now. In fact, we need to start now and practice every day. How we live each and every day is important.
As we make our way to the ocean, at first, because the ocean is salty, we won’t be able to breathe in it, and we'll feel like we can’t live there. It will feel like it doesn't suit us at all. This feeling is the impetus to change. If we expand our consciousness to the greatness of the ocean, we will develop the capacity to breathe in it. Then we will be able to see beyond what we could see before.
To expand our consciousness this way, we need to stay positive. In order to do that, we must purify any negative energy, thoughts, or emotions with meditation and mind-body exercises such as bowing meditation and Brain Wave Vibration.
We also need to speak and act in a positive way every day. Instead of spreading dark and heavy energy to those around us, we can be considerate of others. Even if we don’t feel great, we can compliment people, smile at them, and say positive words every day. Through this, we will change from the inside out.
Last Sunday morning, I went for a walk over land that is very precious to me. This wide expanse of earth on the North Island of New Zealand is where I hope to fulfill my dream of building an Earth Village. That day was hazy and overcast; I felt an occasional drizzle. As I looked at the land, my eyes saw the forest of pines, many wild hwangchil trees, and various fruit trees. But my mind's eye saw even more. I saw over 100 cabins, each representing a different country, where Earth Citizens train and live and work in harmony with each other and with the land. I saw a place where universal principles are practiced and embodied, and where a new culture of earth management, in which the earth as a whole is considered in all decisions, flourishes.
For this dream, I started teaching mind-body exercises in a park thirty-five years ago, trying to find a way to allow people to experience the spirit of Earth Citizenship. I developed Brain Education, which I made into an academic discipline, and built many for-profits and non-profits, published many books, and traveled around the world to speak to many people. Each of these efforts was a step toward my dream.
I could not have progressed through each step without careful checking to make sure the actions I was taking were producing the results I wanted. It wasn't enough to make a plan and put in a lot of effort. Without checking, I could have easily acted blindly and habitually, using a lot of strength with little results. I needed to check the results ceaselessly and learn from both my successes and failures. Through checking I was able to grow and really take action to achieve what I wanted.
Human beings are the only animals who are capable of having a dream and vision, and of dedicating their lives to a cause greater than themselves. It's the nature of our brains. I recommend finding your dream and achieving it through comprehensive checking. If you have trouble checking yourself, try to find someone who is willing to check for you.
Checking and being checked can feel unpleasant and burdensome. It requires facing the truth of a situation and being willing to change what you're doing. It also involves having other people see your challenges and failures, and it means being willing to grow. However, new actions are always the result of checking. And if you don't take action, you can never achieve what you want.
I believe in the power of the dreams that people cherish in their hearts. A great and beautiful dream makes a person great and beautiful. Just as individuals have dreams and corporations have dreams, a country must have a dream and humankind also has to have a dream. Dreams turn wandering into adventure, change apathy into passion, and bring separated hearts together as one.
It has been 16 years since all of the Earth Humans ushered in the new millennium with fire in their hearts. The world we’re living in, however, is growing increasingly distant from hope and happiness. With problems that include military disputes over national borders, economic turmoil, and environmental issues that grow more serious with each passing day, there is deepening conflict and anxiety, and it is difficult to find new hope and vision.
No country can be seen taking on a genuine leadership role in this era. There is not a true model nation that shows, through the practice of its government and the lives of its citizens, how humankind should move forward. Though there are superpowers, there is not a true leading nation that regards as its business the peace and happiness of the earth and humankind as a whole, and gives this its concerted effort and consideration. They’re simply too busy negotiating and fighting just to be even a little better off than other countries; there is no country that dreams a great dream for the sake of humanity.
Where can we find new hope? Who will direct humankind toward a new dream and vision? What I’m suggesting now, is that the United States and the American citizens—we the People—rise to the occasion and fulfill this role and responsibility that humankind so desperately and urgently needs. And I propose that such a dream must be cherished and shared by at least 100 million Earth Citizens.
It’s hard to become the hope for humankind in this era right now with economic power or the power of national defense alone. If America truly intends to inspire and set the example for humankind, we must have a philosophy and vision, and we have to show it concretely through the aspect of our daily lives as we make actual contributions to the earth and humankind.
People don’t want to be the only ones to have a nice life, they have the desire to look after and help others as they make everyone happy. In my native country of Korea, we refer to this mindset as “Hongik.” I believe that the diverse traditions and cultures of humanity are infused with this spirit of Hongik.
The fastest way to bring about real change to the earth is for every member of humankind to recover the true human spirit that lives in their heart. America was established on a foundation of creativity and a pioneering spirit, as well as the values of freedom, justice, and equality. The US has the greatest global influence politically, economically, culturally, and environmentally, and as such, we have the responsibility to accept that we must be the center of the Earth Citizen Movement. Just as America has been at the forefront of the development of material civilization thus far, it is now time for us to support the pioneering and creation of a harmonious and peaceful new spiritual civilization.
On a foundation of true human spirit, America must now rise up with the great dream of unfolding a new future for the earth together. This dream must go beyond the level of protecting the national interests of the US alone to developing a great spirit and movement that inspires people to feel limitless responsibility for the earth and humankind. Rather than regarding ourselves as a member of only one country, we must think of ourselves as Earth Citizens who practice true love for the earth and love for humankind; that is the Earth Citizen Movement that must spread.
The Earth Citizen Movement awakens the true human spirit in all people. It’s a movement for recovering natural healing power to create one’s own health and happiness and to live a life of actualizing the beautiful and noble qualities that human beings possess. It’s a movement that promotes finding one’s dream and value, and pursuing harmony and the actualization of internal value over competition and external growth, in order to create a healthy and sustainable earth. This kind of movement must take place through individuals, families, schools, workplaces, and all areas of society. There must be 100 million people who have the Earth Citizen spirit by the year 2020 in order for human civilization to be able to make the shift from destruction to hope at the crossroads where we stand.
I spent my youth lost and wandering until I found the value of my life 35 years ago. That’s when I had the enlightenment that my true value lies in living the life of a Hongik human. Since then, I have given deep consideration to how I could deliver the spirit of the Hongik human to many people. The fastest way is education, and although it occurred to me that a school would be needed in order to educate, I didn’t have any kind of foundation at the time. I had neither money, nor knowledge, social status, or people to work with me. I didn’t even have any certifications that would qualify me for the governmental recognition that was necessary for establishing a school.
So what I did was to go out to the park early in the morning and start meeting people, and I started leading free classes at the park, which I could do without official acknowledgment from the government. The training that I provided at that time was developed and established as a mind-body training method called Dahnhak, and five years later, the first Dahnhak Center came to be. After that, Dahnhak went through a process of being developed into a science and into a field of study and evolved into Brain Education, and a university and graduate university were developed for the purpose of cultivating Earth Citizen leaders.
About 20 years ago, I began activities in the US to share the Hongik spirit with the whole world. I have also been engaged in diverse international work in conjunction with the UN through the International Brain Education Association (IBREA). I still remember vividly how full my heart was and the tremendous sense of mission I felt when I offered the “Prayer of Peace” at the UN Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders in the year 2000 as I concluded my prayer with “Hongik Ingan, Ehwa Segye,” or "widely benefitting human, harmonious world."
With the idea of creating a school that centered education on character and Hongik, after ten years of preparation, four years ago, I founded the Benjamin School for Character Education. The name of this school hails from one of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin. He was an exemplary figure who set the completion of his character as the objective of his life and practiced Hongik throughout his lifetime.
The Benjamin School for Character Education does not have five elements—a school building, teachers, textbooks, homework, or tests. What this gap-year school of alternative education has instead is a mentor group composed of 500 people from every field and all walks of life. One of the essential components of the school curriculum involves having the students designate a project with which to challenge themselves during the course of the year, something that they wanted to try no matter what, and completing that project. Through this process, students who used to be timid recover their self-confidence and sense of self-worth, squaring their shoulders as they do so; students who could only think of themselves grow into Hongik humans who are thoughtful and take care of others. Every time I see the children changing like this, I feel that there really is hope for humankind.
The Benjamin School for Character Education started out in the beginning with a single student and had an enrollment of 27 students the next year, followed by 487 students the year after that. This year, we expect the admission of 1000 students for the third term. Although at first, there were many people who looked with doubt at this school that doesn’t even have tests or homework, now, the Benjamin School for Character Education has won the active support of many students and their parents, as well as educators.
An increase in the number of people who have true human spirit is the way to prepare new hope for humankind. Spirit does not end as spirit. When spirit gathers, energy forms and matter forms. In the same way, when the minds and hearts of those who are sincerely concerned for the future of the earth and of humankind come together, we can make truly great accomplishments.
Every school on earth must cultivate Earth Citizens, every family must raise Earth Citizens, and the goal of every workplace, social group, discipline, country, and the UN must be to strive toward recovering the beauty of the earth’s natural environment, reviving human character, and establishing human peace. If a great and beautiful revolution of consciousness that would develop Earth Citizens, who go beyond their individual and selfish consciousness to be helpful to human beings and the world, could arise in a huge way in the year 2016, it would be a miracle and a joy that would long be remembered throughout human history.
I hope with all my heart that many people will participate in this historic effort to create human peace. I hope that five years from now, in the year 2020, we can look on together as a new Earth Village is born through the power of 100 million Earth Citizens.
The message I always get whenever I listen to the divinity inside of me is that we need to be responsible for the future of the earth. That's what I call being an Earth Citizen. To start this work, I have started on a smaller scale with myself. Firmly centered in the knowledge that I am a part of nature, and that as such, I have divine capacity to create, I take charge of the health of my own body. Then I also help manage the health of my family, and then the future of my country. Finally, I extend my awareness and responsibility to the whole earth.
I hope that you feel that you also have divinity within and create yourself and your life. And then when your awareness grows, the divinity inside of you will say that you also have to be responsible for the future of the earth. That's what I want to share with everyone, all humankind, all throughout the world.
Because religions or nations are not going to take responsibility for the future of humanity. Because individuals are losing their dreams. And countries need to have dreams too. Everybody needs a dream that we can all share together. We need to have a dream that every country can participate in together. We need that great dream that all religions and organizations can have together.
I'd like to share with you the meaning of Kamsahapnida. Typically, when a Korean person says, "Kamsahapnida," we simply think it means, "Thank you." But actually, there is a deeper meaning. What it actually means is that you are saying to another person, "You are divine; you are like God. I see the divine in you." When you're thankful to another person or when someone is thankful to you, it means that to them, you are divine. Through this expression of gratitude and respect to another human being, you are expressing your divinity.
In the year 2000, I offered the Prayer of Peace at a summit of spiritual leaders at the United Nations. At that time, so many people had expectations about peace in the new millennium. Since then, I've thought very deeply about how we can create peace for humankind. How can we transcend culture and nationality and spread that spirit? What I came up with as the answer to that over the past 15 years is the Earth Citizen Movement. The Earth Citizen Movement seeks to spread the mindset and lifestyle of an Earth Citizen. This begins with Kamsahapnida: I see the divine in you. What if this kind of mentality became dominant throughout the whole world?
You probably say, "Thank you," casually several times a day. Besides being good for the recipient, this is good for you as well. People who say, "Kamsahapnida," a lot are more likely to become happy and successful. People who don't say thank you that much, however, have a lot less happiness. And, it's easier to get along with others when you are happy.
For some of us, though, it's hard to just say, "Thank you," and "I love you," that much. Why is that? Often, it's because we feel angry, sad, or lonely. These emotions hide gratitude and happiness. So, in order to be really good at saying thank you and I love you, there are two things you need to choose. Choosing these two things will change your destiny. The first is to apologize to the people you need to apologize to. The second is to ask for forgiveness. After you say, "I'm sorry," and "Please forgive me," then you can say, "Thank you," and "I love you."
There may be times when it hurts your pride to apologize, so you don't say sorry when you should. A lot of times, people will reduce or shrink their "I'm sorries" to others. But, if you hold your apology in really tight, is it comfortable or uncomfortable? It's really uncomfortable! Because what happens then is that your energy is not connected, and it doesn't circulate. When you hold your apology tight, your energy, your mind, and your body is tight as well. So, if you really want to have a life that's filled with gratitude and love, it takes courage. You have to be brave and say, "I'm sorry."
But, sometimes, there's the kind of sorry where you're forcing yourself to apologize. You are not completely sincere about your apology. Then, it's really hard for the other person to accept. If you just say, "I'm sorry," and then move right on to, "Thank you," then something feels missing. That's just the way our brain works. So, after you say, "I'm sorry," there has to be a clear expression of, "Please forgive me." When you only say, "I'm sorry," if the other person feels really blocked about it, then they will likely have a little doubt about your sincerity. That's why you have to say, "I'm so sorry," and follow it with, "Please forgive me." That's what humility is. There's nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. It's because people have trouble with that that so many families are dysfunctional or relationships fall apart. But when you practice, "I'm sorry," and "Please forgive me," it makes your heart and chest so much lighter, and then you can really say from your heart, "Thank you." And then you can also say, "I love you."
These four phrases, which are also a part of Self-Identity Ho'oponopono, are the basics for being an Earth Citizen. I hope at least 100 million people can live an Earth Citizen lifestyle in which they put gratitude, humility, harmony, oneness, and love before pride or anger. Being an Earth Citizen takes courage, but it is the courage of remembering that you, and me, and all of us, have divinity inside.
At the inauguration of the World Earth Citizen Alliance (WECA) and the launch of my new Korean book, Earth Management: Finding Answers in Hongik, in Seoul yesterday, I addressed the audience, which had gathered from seventeen different countries. I would like to share with you the essence of the message I gave that evening.
For the past week, international attention has been on the battle of Go between artificial intelligence AlphaGo and human Sedol Lee. Many people expected Sedol to be victorious; they hoped he would be the one to win. The result was that Sedol Lee lost, 4 to 1, leaving the world in shock.
However, AI experts naturally expected AlphaGo to win from the beginning. People cannot run faster than cars or see farther than telescopes, and in the same way, they cannot defeat a system of artificial intelligence that stores and calculates vast quantities of information to come up with the optimal decision.
While this Go match proved how amazing AlphaGo is, the fact is, what made AlphaGo is human beings and natural intelligence. It’s not the artificial intelligence system AlphaGo that’s amazing, but humans, which made AlphaGo, that are amazing.
How human intelligence uses artificial intelligence can determine whether we make happy results or not. I believe it has to do with choice and effort. The future will be determined by human consciousness. Are we just going to leave our future to science and material civilization? Although they are amazing, humankind created those things. When we realize that and remember that, we can take ownership of our future. I believe it's time for us to have that kind of realization.
What’s important is the level of consciousness of the human beings who are utilizing the artificial intelligence. However, humankind’s level of consciousness is still tied up in the era of geocentric theory. For a long time, humanity believed that the sun revolves around the earth, and it wasn’t until the 16th century that we realized that the earth rotates on its axis as it revolves around the sun. Even after heliocentric theory was introduced, it took a long time for people to catch up. I think human consciousness still fails to keep up with heliocentric theory.
The speed of the earth’s rotation is 500 meters per second, and the speed of its revolution, which is even faster, is 33 kilometers per second, which is 30 times the speed of a bullet. We are on that bullet right now. Even though we're moving that fast, we can hardly tell that we're moving at that speed. Although the earth is rotating and moving around the sun, our consciousness cannot perceive it. We are standing in place and see the sun rise in the morning and set at night.
Rather than being amazed by that which is artificial and material, we need to think of our value as we exist on the earth. The fact is that the earth that we're living on is rotating around its axis and revolving around the sun at these tremendous speeds, and at the same time, human beings are moving toward death. In that case, what meaning and value are we going to live today?
Even the sun, which is at the center of the earth’s orbit/revolution, has its own rotation as it revolves in a spiraling vortex around the galaxy. To revolve in orbit around the center as you rotate on your own axis, ceaselessly, diligently, and quickly, follows the laws of the universe and the laws of nature. I think human beings should also live like and have the values of nature.
However, the laws of rotation and revolution are not being followed by human society. Capitalism emphasizes only rotation, pushing selfishness/greed and unbridled competition to extremes. In the end, personal egotism, national egotism, corporate egotism, and religious egotism have run rampant, resulting in the loss of humanity and the destruction of the earth’s environment. There was a time when communism stressed “revolution” (collectively revolving around a center), but the suppression of rotation brought about self-destruction.
Human consciousness must now perform rotation and revolution simultaneously. What matters is what we set as the center for us to revolve around. Human society must not revolve around a center consisting of national power, heritage, religion, or ideology. There is no value more important to humanity than the earth on which we stand and depend for our lives. We must revolve around the earth, with the earth as our center. In the same way that the earth rotates on its axis as it revolves around the sun, human beings must also revolve with the earth at the center as they rotate on their own axis.
It’s natural and it’s human to live like the earth.
Instead of greed for money, power, and fame, living as we rotate and revolve with love for the earth and humanity is precisely what makes an Earth Citizen. In this era, there is no greater enlightenment than this. Humans who live like the earth are Earth Citizens, and running the world according to the laws of rotation and revolution is what we call Earth Management.
With all my sincere heart, I hope that the Earth Citizen Movement and the new book today can give hope to people. Seventeen countries around the world have gathered for this launch of the World Earth Citizen Alliance. We have promised to spread the Earth Citizen Movement to 100 countries, and we want to make 100 million Earth Citizens by the year 2020. Our course is now set.
I think it's possible. It's possible because we're in the age of information in which we are all connected. What matters is speed. In order to save the earth and humankind from the abyss of loss of humanity and the cliff of destruction of the earth’s environment, speed is of the essence. We need speed like the movement of the earth and the sun. I promise to begin an era of Earth Management in the year 2020. I hope we can do it together.
March 17, 2016 heralded a milestone in the Earth Citizen Movement spearheaded by Ilchi Lee. Korean dignitaries and representatives from sixteen other countries gathered at the Plaza Hotel in Seoul, South Korea to inaugurate the World Earth Citizen Movement Alliance and welcome Ilchi Lee's new Korean book, which he co-authored with Harvard PhD Emanuel Pastreich, associate professor at Kyung Hee University and director of The Asia Institute in Seoul. The book, called Earth Management: Finding Answers in Hongik, underscored the theme of the night, which was that by making the well-being of the earth the central value around which our decisions and actions revolve, we can change human consciousness. By doing so, we can see and manage humankind's problems from a wider, global scale, rather than competing for power and resources. Ilchi Lee calls this Earth Management. People who engage in Earth Management and have this wider consciousness are Earth Citizens.
The three-hour, evening event consisted of a conference, book launch, dinner, and special lecture in the hotel's Grand Ballroom Annex. It was attended by approximately 470 people, including former South Korean Secretary of Labor Sangsoo Lee, Sekyoon Jeong and Jangshil Kim of the South Korean National Assembly, Professor Emeritus Jeongil Yoon of Seoul University, Chairman of the Korean Olympic Committee Jeonghaeng Kim, co-author Prof. Emanuel Pastreich, Asian Institute President Hyeongryul Kim, and others from various fields.
Prior to the dinner, videos were shown explaining the history of the Earth Citizen Movement Alliance.
Mr. Hwang, head of the Korean chapter of the Alliance, also went over how the alliance had arrived at this occasion. Then, representatives of the seventeen countries forming this new global partnership, including the US, China, Japan, Russia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Belgium, the UK, and Qatar, read the Earth Citizens Declaration in their native language.
Next, a speech was given by Prof. Emanuel Pastreich in which he said that he believes Earth Management offers hope for solving our economic and environmental problems.
Then, a video was shown with a special message from Ilchi Lee about the Earth Citizen dream. It included the Prayer of Peace that Ilchi Lee read at the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders in 2000.
Ilchi Lee gave his own congratulatory speech after the video.
Following Ilchi Lee's speech, Prof. Jeongil Yoon, professor emeritus at Seoul University, also spoke and explained the contents of the new book in detail.
After the speeches, students from the Benjamin School for Character Education, which Ilchi Lee founded in 2014 and which grows future Earth Citizen leaders, gave a qigong and handstand walking performance.
They declared that their dreams are not impossible, but, "I'm Possible!"
The alliance also stated their goal to expand the movement to at least 100 countries this year and to 100 million Earth Citizens by 2020.
The dinner followed, and then Ilchi Lee gave a special address to the Earth Citizen leaders who had come from around the world.
This event was broadcast live online in Korean at www.changetv.kr.
There is a song in Spanish that I often play when I lecture. I discovered it one time when I went to visit Mexico for a speaking engagement. The song is bittersweet and touched my heart. It's called "Yo vengo a ofrecer mi corazón (I've Come to Offer You My Heart)" by Fito Páez, and I'd like to share it with you today. The one I usually play is sung by Francis Cabrel and Mercedes Sosa.
I learned that there's a story behind this song, one that has been repeated in similar forms throughout human history. It's being repeated today. It's the story of conquest. In this case, it's the story of Spain's conquest over what we now call Mexico.
The military leader in charge of taking Mexico, Hernán Cortés, dominated the native people and eliminated their indigenous culture completely by going into a city and killing most of the people there, from the very old to the very young. They looted the riches, burned the buildings down, and raped the women. From a grandmother, to the mother, to the daughter—they all were raped, sometimes by the same person. Many of them were left pregnant. For the children of those women, the enemy of their mother was their father.
It was through this kind of horrific campaign that the character and identity of Mexico was completely eradicated. That's the kind of history of war that we have. In these circumstances, people lose their hopes and dreams. The most important thing for a human being is human respect. It's your value and hope. When a person loses their value, their sense of self-worth, then they cannot have hope.
But having that value, finding value in yourself, is not about knowledge, evaluations, or ideologies. It's something special. Just because you have money or power, doesn't mean you have that sense of self-worth and value. Of course, your position in society is given to you by society. But that original or inherent human value, that's not given to you by society. That original or fundamental value, that divine value, that's what I refer to as character. But at some point, we started living in a world where people had lost touch with that character.
There was a great poet in Mexico that came to be after that incident. To the people of Mexico that had lost their trust, who were so disappointed in the country and in the government, this poet really wanted to give their heart to the people. That's how this song came to be. The poet said, "You have no sin. So don't stay stuck in despair. Hope is something that you make. Happiness is also something that you make for yourself. Don't wait for somebody else to hand you your value. Stand up. Stand up and awaken. I also stood."
When I went to Mexico and heard this song, I felt so many things, because I could hear the heart and soul of the person who sang this song. I felt, that's the value that we really need to live for. To give hope to those who have no hope, and to share happiness with those who don't have happiness. And the fact that those are things that you make. You can make those things for yourself, no matter what your environment is like. Even for myself, in situations of the deepest despair, I was able to find hope.
Once again, in Belgium today and Istanbul last Saturday, people are facing situations in which human life was not valued. This value that is common to all of us was put aside for more superficial differences in belief. Rather than anger, despair, or fear, once again, we can all choose hope.
On March 29, 2016, at the Ilchi Art Hall in Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea, the International Research Association for Brain Education (IRABE) held an association launch and Brain Education Future Forum with the participation of about 300 people from the educational world and association members.
The forum sought a new direction for education. In particular, it was planned as a place for a discussion that would explore the present and future of Brain Education, which is attracting attention as an alternative/solution for education in the future. Its topic of focus was “Earth Management, Brain Education, the Future of Education.”
By exploring the principles and methods of the Brain Education method Ilchi Lee created for developing human beings’ infinite potential, the International Research Association for Brain Education hopes to contribute to making individuals and society form a healthier, happier, and more peaceful world.
This forum was jointly hosted by the Korea Institute of Brain Science (KIBS), the Brain Trainers Association, the International Brain Education Association (IBREA), and the Global Cyber University, and organized by the International Research Association for Brain Education and the International Graduate University of Brain Education.
Association Chairman Ilchi Lee gave his keynote speech about “Earth Management, Brain Education, and the Future of Education.” Lee said, “Through the recent contest between Lee Sedol and AlphaGo, the fourth industrial revolution that is being led by artificial intelligence is becoming a big issue,” and that, “Ultimately, artificial intelligence is a product that was made by the creativity of the human brain, and what requires the biggest change through artificial intelligence is education.”
Furthermore, Lee said, “The current education that’s based on rote memorization can no longer keep up with artificial intelligence, and what can be an alternative/solution is Brain Education, which develops natural human intelligence, character, and creativity, which are innately found only in humans,” and that, “All you need to do is develop the infinite potential of the brain, which every human being has. The way to utilize your brain—activating the Brain Operating System (BOS)—is the essence of Brain Education (is what’s at the heart of Brain Education). Just as what has produced the human civilization of today is the infinite creativity of the brain, the key to solving the crisis facing humankind is also in our brains.”
“The future Brain Education strives for as a technology for peace is the birth and solidarity of 100 million Earth Citizens who set the 'earth’ and ‘peace’ as core values for their brain. The International Research Association for Brain Education will walk this path with full confidence and conviction that it can bring significant changes to human consciousness and civilization, with the hope that you will join this path together.”
Dave Beal from the US Brain Education Association spoke on the topic of “Brain Education improves the quality of education in the US.” He said, “The introduction of Brain Education in US public schools is increasing every day,” and that, “According to the results of a Brain Education pilot project that was conducted for 180 at-risk students for 8 weeks in District 7 in the Bronx, New York, Brain Education reduced students’ behavioral issues and peer relationship problems by over 50%, and emotional struggles by about 75%. It also reduced students’ ADHD issues and increased prosocial behavior.”
On this day, congratulatory messages were sent for the International Research Association for Brain Education Launch and Brain Education Future Forum from notable figures of the academic world, including Educational Superintendent of the City of Sefaoul Heuiyeon Jo, Educational Superintendent of the City of Daegu Dongki Woo, Educational Superintendent of south Chungcheong province Jicheol Kim, Educational Superintendent of north Chungcheong province Byeongwoo Kim, Educational Superintendent of south Kyungsang province Jonghoon Bak, Educational Superintendent of north Kyungsang province Yeongwoo Yi, and Seoul University President Nagin Seong.
The International Research Association for Brain Education is conducting international Brain Education research according to age group and industry. The research results will be shared through symposiums, conferences, forums, and academic publications, and international interaction will take place through the international Brain Education network. An academic journal is being published regularly twice a year.
In this time of increasing divisiveness and natural disasters, many people are left wondering what the meaning of it all is. They may feel hopeless and wonder what they could possibly do to make a difference. I think, at this point, we need to think about true human value. What is true human value? What are we and our actions worth? What distinguishes human beings from other animals or from intelligent robots? Where can we find our true value?
One thing that separates human beings from robots is that humans have emotions. It's thought that robots may someday have emotions too. However, the experts say that when it comes to emotional maturity, even when they have emotions, robots will have a long way to go to become like humans.
Animals already have emotions. So what makes human beings different? Unlike animals or robots, human beings have sensibilities. Emotions and sensibilities may seem similar, but they are totally different. Emotions are your own ability to feel things, but sensibilities are a keen awareness and ability to sense, not just the way you feel, but the way others feel. It's essentially a form of empathy and compassion; you can also call it emotional maturity. Sensibilities are emotions with discernment, perceptiveness, awareness, and insight.
Human beings have the ability to be aware of their emotions, how they affect others, and how other people's emotions affect them. We can also sense the difference between our emotions and our true selves. Sensibilities are also your ability to communicate what you're feeling to others. For example, if you feel grateful, then you can make other people feel grateful as well.
Emotions alone are more self-centered. They can consume your senses. When you're in a rage, it's really hard to get out of that frame of mind. You are completely immersed in the emotion of rage. Then it's hard to read how another person is feeling. But when it comes to sensibilities, you can look past the emotion and maintain your capacity for empathy.
Getting stuck in your own emotions and finding it hard to empathize with the people around you is a warning light that you've lost your sensibilities. What happens then is that you tend to blame everybody else around you for the challenges you face. You lose gratitude in your heart, and you just get angry. But if you're sensible of other people's emotions, then when another person is in pain, you feel their pain as if it were your own. If you can feel another person's pain, then you wouldn't be able to hurt them. When you're swimming in your emotions, that's hard to do.
To turn down your emotions and regain your sensibilities, meditations such as energy ball visualization make it easy. Tap your fingertips together and then shake your hands vigorously for a minute or two to stimulate them. Then, with your back straight, hold your palms in front of your chest, facing each other, a few inches apart. Keep your arms away from your body. Imagine a golden energy ball between your palms. Inhale and pull your palms apart, seeing the energy ball grow. As you exhale, shrink the energy ball by bringing your palms closer together. Repeat this motion, expanding and contracting your energy ball as you feel the sensations in your hands. The sensations you feel are manifestations of energy in your hands.
When you try to feel the energy ball, it's hard to think, I'm really pissed off with that guy; I can't stand her; or what's wrong with that person? While you're focusing on energy, your brain waves change into the frequency of empathy and compassion--sensibilities. With meditations such as this one, you can just shake off your emotions and go from your emotional intelligence, or just being emotional, to having emotional maturity or having sensibilties.
The shift from emotional intelligence to empathic intelligence is so easy once you experience it. Until we try it, when we're submerged in your emotions, it may not seem so easy to let them go. Just like learning to drive or swim, we need to do it and practice it before we can get the hang of it. Then, it's easy. Knowledge does not have strength, but practice and training gives us strength and power. With practice, we can maintain our empathy and emotional maturity.
The reason we need to have sensibilties as we live our everyday lives is because that's when we can go beyond our emotions, and that's when we have the power to control our emotions. We can then make better decisions, not only for ourselves, but for our society and the planet as well.
There's so much information available nowadays that people lose touch with their own importance and value, and that's why they don't work on their own self-development. They don't grow and use their sensibilities. But, now is the time to empathize with each other, to have compassion for one another, and to acknowledge and recognize each person's value. So instead of letting ourselves be controlled by our emotions and letting our environment determine our emotions, we can be sensible of our environment. Then we will have the power to design our environment the way we want it to be.
That power or authority, doesn't come from heaven or the earth. It comes from the people. That means each individual person, every single person really matters. It's only when enough people understand and honor their value as caretakers of themselves, the people around them, and the earth, that we will begin to make a difference and effect real change.
Recently, Korea remembered the 2nd anniversary of the Sewol Ferry incident and Japan and Ecuador experienced earthquakes that rocked the entire country into chaos. My heart aches when I think about the many souls that I am helplessly missing out on being able to help. This also makes my mind feel a sense of urgency.
These incidents must never happen again, and my mind earnestly believes that the way to make up for those countless souls we have lost so unfortunately is Earth Management through Hongik. This means each of us needs to live in harmony as one with each other, take care of one another, and take care of the earth.
To do Hongik, you must first do Hongik to yourself. Achieving a goal you set for yourself is the biggest Hongik you can do for yourself. If you have a clear goal, it will guide you in what you really need. It will pull you out of your past history as you focus on what you want to be in the present and what you want to create in the future.
Doing hongik through your goal requires that you erase old, useless information and negative emotions. Live in this moment, and use your entire brain for achieving your goal. Do meditation and other mind-body training to keep you focused and aligned with what you want.
When we love ourselves enough to do Hongik, we become truly valuable to ourselves and to the world. We can make a difference.
Ilchi Lee attended the the 66th United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI)/Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Conference in South Korea that was held in Gyeongju from May 30 to June 1, 2016. This year's theme, “Education for Global Citizenship: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together,” went along perfectly with Ilchi Lee's work in alternative education and his Earth Citizen Movement. Lee spoke on the effects of Global Citizen Education with a foundation of Brain Education and his latest method, Belly Button Healing.
One of the conference chairs, Scott Carlin, Associate Professor of Geography at Long Island University in New York, said, "through new collaborations, innovative pedagogies and a culture of global citizenship we can build healthier, more resilient Earth communities.” With each person he met, Ilchi Lee shared that health and happiness are humanities greatest values. The key to manifesting these values lies in the belly button he said.
Many UN Ambassadors and city mayors were in attendance, including the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon. Ilchi Lee was able to meet the Secretary General once again.
In his enthusiasm for Belly Button Healing, he introduced the concept to everyone he met.
To learn more about Belly Button Healing, you can visit BellyButtonHealing.com.
There's a certain spot in New Zealand called Three Kings Island that's really hard to get to. It takes about 16 hours by boat. I went there once, and we arrived around 3 am. I looked up at the sky, and I was so surprised. I've been in so many places in the world, and I've never seen stars like that. It was like all the stars were falling out of the sky. As I saw those stars, I wrote a poem. I would like to share that poem with you.
Did you see the stars in the sky?
Do you feel the stars?
In the shining stars, there your dream is.
In the shining stars, there is hope.
In the shining stars, there is our song.
The stars whisper to you endlessly,
We are one, and
We are family and friends existing
In the same time and space.
They whisper to us, let us share love with one another,
let's share in this vision
Let's stay strong, hold your head up,
And look at me, I love you.
Open your heart wide and take in everything with your breath.
Breathe with the stars and breathe with nature.
Just as the stars always shine in the sky,
Your soul will also shine together.
We are Earth Citizens, Earth Citizens, Earth Citizens.
Let's become stars on earth, all together,
let us become hope and let us become dreams.
Everywhere I go nowadays, I tell each person I meet about Belly Button Healing. It's an amazing and natural method of self-care that I have been percolating over the past 30 years. It stemmed from my interest in natural healing; my study of abdominal breathing, postures, and correcting spinal alignment; and trials on myself when I did not feel well. Belly Button Healing has effects on the physical body, emotions, mind, and spirit.
The belly button is a point of connection. It started as the spot where the umbilical cord connecting us to our mothers entered our body. Through it, we can nurture ourselves, just as our mothers did before we were born. Through blood vessels, ligaments, nerves, and fascia, the belly button is also connected to the organs in our abdomen, our brains, and ultimately, to the rest of our bodies.
As a major energy point that sits over an energy center, the belly button connects to the body's whole energy system. Stimulating it accumulates warm energy in the energy center, which can open all of the meridians when enough is gathered. Stimulating it also helps us concentrate on our bodies. A warm core and internal awareness lowers our brain waves into a meditative state, offering greater connection to ourselves. This deepened sense of connection expands to include other people, to whom we are connected in a long line of mothers, back to the first one. It also encompasses Mother Earth.
I have great hope for Belly Button Healing, because people can feel marked effects in a short amount of time. This can give them confidence in themselves and their power of self-healing. It can bring them clarity and stronger empathy and compassion.
With the simple act of pressing and massaging the belly button three times a day, I hope millions of people become empowered to create health, happiness, and peace in their own lives and on the earth.
Watch how you do one Belly Button Healing technique:
The belly button represents the beginning of our life, the entry point from which everything we needed to survive and grow in our mother's womb came. Once we're born, I've discovered, it's also a point through which health of body, emotions, mind, and spirit can originate.
By stimulating the navel, you pump the nutrients, toxins, waste, lymph, and blood gathered in your abdomen, causing them to pass through more easily, which helps your systems stay clear and flowing. It also warms your abdomen, which increases immune function, and relaxes muscles and fascia, which calms you and helps you breathe more deeply, sending more oxygen to your body and brain.
Your gut, behind your belly button, produces over ninety percent of the serotonin in your body and about fifty percent of the dopamine. These are two hormones that are responsible for keeping you satisfied and happy, among other things. Problems in the gut are linked to problems in the brain, such as depression, Alzheimer's, autism, and ADHD, due to a close link between the brain and the nervous system in charge of the gut. This system, called the enteric nervous system, is often called the second brain, or gut brain, because of its extensiveness and semi-autonomy from the brain in the head. A healthy gut is important for a happy mood and a healthy brain.
Whether you're stressed, having trouble with digestion, or have problems in your four major joints, because everything is connected to the belly button, I think that practicing Belly button Healing, along with abdominal breathing and Brain Education, can promote health in your body naturally.
The important thing to remember when doing Belly Button Healing is that it’s not just about using the right technique—it is about having the right mind. You must never get greedy or apply too much pressure. Focus on your belly button and abdomen as you do it, and notice the sensations in your body. That will tell you just the right amount of pressure you need to use.
The method is not as effective if you're just passing time and not paying attention to your body. By listening to your body as you stimulate it, you'll know where you have pain, feel warm or cold, the length and depth of your breath, how relaxed you are, and how well your blood and energy are circulating. With this deeper awareness, you'll also see the changes that result from Belly Button Healing, and gain insight into how to care for your body.
Belly Button Healing is even more effective if you do it with love, gratitude, and a sincere desire to heal. This mindset will further activate your body and brain's mechanisms to heal themselves and attract healing energy to you that will spread throughout your body. You can experience life energy, along with deep stability and peace, as you are connected with the Source of life.
If you share Belly Button Healing with this sincerity, you'll also be sharing this healing energy. Then a new culture will spread around you, and you will have a Healing Life, Healing Family, Healing Society, Healing Nation, and Healing Earth.
First, you should confirm whether or not you are tense. It's best to do Belly Button Healing when you're sitting or lying down, although you can diagnose your abdominal condition better if you lie down. Pressing the belly button does not produce much stimulation while standing because the abdominal and back muscles are flexed. It's like how getting punched in the gut hurts less if it happens when your abdomen is flexed. If you feel a lot of pain even when you're standing or sitting, you have a problem with your health.
Once you are lying down and relaxed, press your belly button gently with your middle finger or thumb. Do this with clean hands, and press over your clothing or a light towel. At first, press lightly, and try to feel whether or not it hurts. Pain means that you have tension. Pressing lightly is like cooking on low heat. If you feel pain from slight pressure, you are likely to have tense intestines, problems with digestion, little enthusiasm, and/or be impatient.
If you don't feel pain, push a little more forcefully, on medium heat. Many people say they hurt at this time. People who don't feel pain, even though they press a little forcefully, are healthy. You should never do this on high heat. If you press really forcefully, it will hurt no matter how healthy you may be.
It's important to determine how hard you should press to get a feeling of slight pain. Once you discover this, in addition to pressing downward, press in and toward different directions around your belly button, as if your finger is pressing from the center of a wheel along its spokes.
Wherever you encounter pain, keep pressing gently for several seconds, and then take your hand away. Repeat this for about one minute. If you do that, the pain will gradually decrease. Keep doing Belly Button Healing until you sense that the pain felt at first has subsided.
When you have finished, rub around your belly button clockwise with the palm of your hand, soothing your belly. Spend a minute or two breathing naturally while keep your focused attention on your belly button.
There are also other Belly Button Healing techniques, all of which become more effective when you perform them with Healing Life, a Belly Button Healing wand I designed from a fallen branch of a hwangchil tree in New Zealand.
(Don’t do Belly Button Healing if you are pregnant, have had abdominal surgery and has not yet healed, have intestinal disorders, or have injuries near your navel. It is not recommended for children under seven years of age. Press lightly if have high blood pressure, heart disease, or hardening of the arteries.)
Belly Button Healing is a powerful way to revitalize your health while experiencing your deep inner nature. The love and connection that can arise from Belly Button Healing will change your relationship with yourself and with other people. This is a pure love that wishes all beings and the earth are happier and healthier. Looking at the bigger picture, I believe that this is the secret for healing our suffering world. When people with such hearts come together, they will be able to heal society and the Earth.
While doing deep Belly Button Breathing, I had an incredibly great realization concerning life. I got the feeling that I was receiving a supply of life energy through my umbilical cord long ago in my mother's womb. Instead of feeling like I was a separate organism, I got a sense of stability and unity, of being connected with my mother through my belly button.
For me, my belly button is not simply a trace of my birth, but a precious seal and mark, reminding me of my connection with the Source of life, a docking point that I can always use to connect with the Source of life if I bring it to mind.
Every time I feel my belly button, I feel such significance and such gratitude that I have a navel. I'm grateful to be alive, I'm grateful that I'm connected with the incredible life force of the universe, and I have nothing but overwhelming gratitude that I receive the blessings of that life energy.
We all grew on a supply of nutrients received in our mother's womb through our umbilical cord, and then we're born into this world. If we each go back along the line of our umbilical cord, we find that we are ultimately brothers and sisters born of the same primal mother. Though our skin colors may be different, as we look at the certification mark, the seal that is our belly button, we should remember that we are a spiritual family that has come from the same Source of life.
I've been spending the summer in New Zealand, forwarding the development of meditation centers here and giving lectures to people who come for the meditation tours we've set up. In the past couple of months, 554 people from around the world have participated in the tours, and another 300 are expected in August. As the groups pass through the twelve stops of the tour, I can see how each person clears away their thoughts and emotions and rediscovers their spirit. This doesn't happen through their intentions or any artificial power; amid the power of nature, their thoughts stop automatically. Freed of these, then, people easily commune with nature and become one with it. By doing so, they feel that they are a part of nature and return to their own original and pure nature.
The state of being free from thoughts and emotions is a zero state. Zeroing your mind is like zeroing a scale. It's only when you're at zero that you can get an accurate measurement of yourself and the way things are. Then you are able to see clearly what your values are, what should be the central value of your life, and what you must live for in order to give your life meaning. Everything is plain when you see it in a zero-point state. In that state, you’re free.
Instead of remaining free at the zero point, though, most people dress themselves in never-ending packaging. They take off one package only to put on another one. People really love being classified and belonging in their own way. We form or join cliques, organizations, countries, and even religions to build an identity around ourselves. Within this packaging, however, we are completely trapped.
So if you want to be free and achieve what you want, you have to check yourself to see whether you’ve been zeroed. What you want to do will be difficult without staying at zero point, because you can easily lose your direction. Away from the zero point, when you can’t see beyond society’s constructs or the packaging of your ego to your pure nature within, you only have a limited view. You are stuck within the limits of the material world and what can be achieved there.
The native New Zealanders, the Maori, like the Native Americans and the ancient Koreans, believe that nature, the sky and the earth, are our parents. They created us, and we have some of their creative power. People realize this when they are at the zero point and can see the interconnectedness of everything. They respect and care about nature, and act in harmony with it. By being in harmony with nature at the zero point, you have access to the creative power of nature—the power of your spirit. Then the limits of the material world can no longer bind you, and you can achieve the desires of your inner nature, desires that are always at peace with nature overall.
Over 200 youth from South Korea, China, Japan, and the United States gathered at the Honor's Haven Resort & Spa in Ellenville, New York for the 11th Annual International Brain HSP Olympiad on Tuesday, August 2, 2016. The HSP Olympiad was founded and run by the Korea Institute of Brain Science (KIBS), which includes research into Heightened Sensory Perception (HSP) among its many projects. The Olympiad challenges students to awaken and strengthen their HSP. They compete in events such as Brain Window—being able to distinguish different colors and "read" different letters and words based solely on feeling the energy of the objects with their palms and not by seeing them with their eyes. Ilchi Lee founded KIBS and designed the Brain Education methods that allow people to develop their HSP in order to help people use the full potential of their brains to create the greatest version of themselves and the world around them.
Dave Beal, Program Director and Head National Trainer of Brain Power Wellness, acted as the emcee for the events and the final award ceremony.
The team from each country gave a dance performance for the award ceremony.
The grand prize for the Olympiad was given to Sangmin Lee from South Korea.
The US team received a special award for Team Perseverance.
The same participants remained at Honor's Haven to attend the Earth Citizen Youth Leadership Camp two days later on August 4, 2016. This camp was organized by KIBS in partnership with the Earth Citizens Organization (ECO) and the Benjamin School for Character Education.
The theme of the camp was "From the Belly Button to the Earth." It reflects the intimate connection Ilchi Lee discovered can be made to yourself, other people, and the earth through the belly button, an important acupoint in Eastern medicine. The camp also explored what it means to be an Earth Citizen, who is someone who makes the viability of the earth and harmony among its inhabitants their central priority. Feeling a close connection to the earth and its inhabitants is an important first step to living as an Earth Citizen.
The participants first got to know each other with Brain Education games such as 3-6-0 and the Name Game. Then came sessions that highlighted current Earth Citizen activities around the world.
The first session was given by Dave Beal, who presented how Brain Education has been empowering students and building positive environments in New York City public schools. Mané Andreasyan, a New York City high school teacher who leads an Earth Citizen program at her school, talked about the program and led the kids in some of the activities.
Next, the participants were divided into groups and given three questions. Each one shared their answers with their group and sang a song. The questions were:
Afterward, everyone danced freely while focusing on their belly button. This "belly button dancing" is a warm-up exercise for Belly Button Healing, a natural health modality developed by Ilchi Lee to take advantage of the large influence that the navel and the area underneath and around it, especially the gut, has on our physical, mental, and emotional health. By sharing Belly Button Healing, people around the world, young and old, can build bridges and revitalize their health, their communities, and the earth on which we live.
Students at the Benjamin School for Character Education have already begun to share Belly Button Healing and the Healing Life tool developed for it with people around the world. Their activities were presented by the students and principal of the original branch of the school, which is located in South Korea. So far Healing Life has been shared with people in ten countries by Benjamin School students. Their goal is 120 countries in all.
The Earth Citizen leadership courses taught in the United States and the activities of the leaders who go through them were next shown by ECO representative Steve Kim. The Earth Citizen activities in Japan were given by a student at the Benjamin School in Japan.
Finally, to further the Earth Citizen Movement with the help of Belly Button Healing, the International Youth Belly Button Healing Club was created at the camp. This club will build a community of youth leaders who know their intrinsic value, believe in themselves and the power of their brains, and actively work for the welfare of humanity and the earth. The key to all this will be Belly Button Healing and the Healing Life tool.
Through the 11th Annual International Brain HSP Olympiad and Earth Citizen Leadership Camp, young Earth Citizens from four countries came together to form one club for the sake health, happiness, and peace for all.
Ilchi Lee will add another book to the list of one's he's authored with Earth Management: A Dialogue on Ancient Korean Wisdom and Its Lessons for a New Earth. What's different about this book, which will be released officially by publisher Best Life Media on September 20, 2016, is that it contains a dialogue between Lee and Dr. Emanuel Pastreich, an associate professor at the College of International Studies at Kyung Hee University who has trained at Harvard University and Yale University.
Dr. Pastreich's specialty is classic Asian culture, and through his studies, he has noted the traditional Korean concept of Hongik. Meaning to benefit others, the whole, as well as yourself, Hongik is proposed by the two authors as an answer to the world's problems of war, economic disparity, imbalanced food distribution, and global warming—problems that cause both authors concern.
By delving into the original philosophical traditions of Korea, Ilchi Lee and Emanuel Pastreich seek to give readers hope that the world's problems are not insurmountable. To overcome them, they say, however, each person's consciousness and choices are very important. Changing the tragic trajectory humanity is currently on can only come from the work of individuals, not from nations and institutions. Culture, values, and lifestyles much change first before Earth's issues can be managed.
People ready for change, who like books like Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth, or who just want to learn something new and unique will be able to get the book next month in either paperback or ebook format from major booksellers online and offline.
Every morning when I wake up, I know that each and every day is given to me by heaven. It's granted as a favor.
In the Northland of New Zealand, where I have been giving meditation tours, I experience in greater thoroughness that today is not subject to me, but has been permitted me by nature.
Because I know that there is no guarantee that I will be alive tomorrow—no, even in just an hour from now—I live my day in a way in which I am not ashamed before heaven and the people who trust me, support me, and learn from me.
For me, that means doing all I can to achieve my dream of a harmonious world in which people live in peace and the earth's resources are managed for the good of all. Wherever I go, I share this dream with the people I meet, and I share the means I've devised to achieve it. My latest methods are the New Zealand meditation tours, the Earth Village I am building here, and Belly Button Healing and the tool I made for it, the Healing Life. I believe these methods will help many people recover their health and their empathy toward others and the earth. This empowerment and awareness are essential for people to follow their conscience and work together for the good of each other and the planet.
Pursuing this dream, I've encountered many challenges, but also experienced many instances of inspiration and encouragement. A few days ago, I dreamt that I kept going over a huge mountain, again and again. In the beginning, the divine spirit of the mountain said to me, "Nobody has tried to climb up here, and also it's a mountain you couldn't climb even if you wanted to. Only those permitted by heaven can climb it. You cannot be assured of anything." Then, it asked, "Even so, will you still climb it?" I replied, "I will climb it," and the spirit opened the path for me. After that, I went up the mountain. The path going up could not be described with words. I hardly know how I climbed, going up on all fours, going up and up. I was lost and struggling for a long time until, finally, I made my way past the summit. That was when I felt, So this is what a huge mountain is like, and when I had come back down from the mountain, I found myself saying automatically, "Divine spirit, thank you. Thank you for allowing it. Thank you," and I offered three full bows before I woke from my sleep. After this dream, I felt confident that I would achieve my goals if I just kept moving toward them.
Dreams such as these also come to me sometimes when I need to make an important decision. I had one before I decided to buy property to use for the New Zealand tours, for training in Brain Education, and for an Earth Village. A massive samjoko (three-legged crow), a traditional Korean spiritual symbol, came down from the sky. It was bigger than the roof of a building, and it landed on the property I was deciding to buy. This dream also gave me confidence to move forward.
From the dreams in my sleep and working on my dreams when I'm awake, I've learned that what feels like a huge mountain is actually an obstacle of our own making. We ourselves are the ones who build up huge mountains and then break them down several times a day. The huge mountains are not outside of us; they're inside. This is the suspicion, wariness, fear, and defeat we've created inside of us toward the world.
Just as in my recent dream, the way to break those things down is by moving forward. You need to take action and get out and just do it.
Rather than through passive deliberation and thought, it is through ceaseless movement that you realize that the great mountain you've made is an illusion. Energy will gather as you move, so that instead of a great mountain of obstacles, you'll build great masses of creative energy. When you've accumulated enough energy, your dreams will explode into being.
Every morning, I start right away. I send LifeParticles to everyone working on the same dream as I watch the sunrise, and I take a picture of the sun coming up. Then, I write down how I will use this precious day, managing my schedule in thirty-minute increments. At the end of the day, before I go to sleep, I check whether I've truly used my day to the fullest and give myself a closing report with a score for how I've lived. Then, I fall asleep with my Healing Life, cradling my dream in my heart.
What dreams and values make your own heart soar? For what are you willing to climb mountains?
When I recently spent a month in New Zealand, I discovered that the natives of New Zealand have a secret of enlightenment. They have a special greeting they use when they meet someone and want to become close to them—they rub noses with the other person and breathe together. They call this a hongi. This greeting is an expression that means, “I trust you,” and, “I love you.” Breathing together is sharing energy with each other. It says to each other, “You and I are one.”
Not just anyone touches noses and breathes together, however. They do that when they are in a family-like relationship in which they can trust each other. Leaders and dignitaries also greet each other with a hongi as a sign of trust.
HRH King Juan Carlos of Spain (L) shares a traditional Maori greeting of a hongi with Maori elder Gerrard Albert (R) during a visit to New Zealand on June 23, 2009 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
In Korea, we usually eat together if we want to become close to each other. The relationship of those who eat together is a good, mutually trusting one. Of course, there are situations in which this is done as a matter of strategy, but it’s an expression of goodwill regardless.
The way the natives of New Zealand get to know each other seems more honest and intimate. Although you could eat a meal with someone you don’t much like, it wouldn’t be easy to rub noses with them and breathe the same breath.
The greeting is also very economical. Eating food costs money, but it doesn’t take money to breathe.
I think it is a very good method for expressing emotion. In that sense, their culture is ahead. You advance one step further, though, if you know that we are all connected with each other through breath. Then you know that we breathe together even though we don’t touch noses. That is enlightenment.
National boundaries were created by people. The atmosphere, though, turns around the whole planet. Even though we live breathing with our noses stuck up in the same sky, we’ve had much pain and sadness in a history of failing to trust and love each other and of seeking to possess and control each other. That is an uncivilized culture far behind that of the New Zealand natives. No matter how much science has developed, and even though we have airplanes and cell phones, such a culture is uncivilized.
All humans are pursuing happiness and peace, but humanity has not yet created such a culture. I think this means that we are failing to use our minds well, and that we’re failing to make good use of our brains. It makes us somehow inadequate and not whole. That’s why we have not created universal happiness and peace.
I do the work I do with the intent of trying to perfect the things that are inadequate and imperfect. But I truly cannot do this work alone. It’s not enough to have some power, not enough to have some military force, not enough to have money, and not enough to have the power of science. Having a big country isn’t enough, and having a large population isn’t enough either.
What’s important is that it requires an enlightened mind. That’s why we all have to use our minds well. And the whole must change. Human consciousness must change.
Many people do nothing more than worry, and the planet continues to sicken. They are focusing on acquiring more power, on acquiring more money, and on satisfying their own desires. Well-educated people are this way, too, and all institutions are failing to break out of this mold. It’s because of the boundaries created by the inward perspective of religions, nations, and other institutions. Imagine if, instead, we could all figuratively rub noses and breathe together.
First, it takes hope. Those who have a lot of hope can, sooner or later, bring those flowers of hope into full bloom and create a world of happiness and peace. Such a world will never come, though, to those who think it impossible. Why? Because such a world is not created by fists, and it is not created by money. Such a world is created only by the mind. By mind, I don’t mean the accumulation of knowledge; I’m referring to an enlightened consciousness.
TV and other mass media play an important role. If you take a look at the different kinds of information coming out of the TV these days, you’ll see that so much of it is strange and unrelated to enlightenment. My heart really aches to witness it.
It’s not that we don’t have things. We have a growing body of knowledge and amazing communication technology. But we aren’t using them well. We have minds, but fail to use them. We have good things, but fail to use those things for the cause of human peace and happiness.
The most important thing we need to use well is mind. Mind is where everything is first created and where it all starts. Do you have a mind of happiness and peace? Do you have hope in your mind?
To enter a state of mind that creates happiness and peace, you must know energy, and you must know the soul. And then you need to express it in your life. Then your mind becomes brighter and clearer. It becomes a mind of light. A few people becoming brighter and clearer though, won’t make this happen; everyone must become brighter.
I wrote this poem after the tragic events in the United States on September 11, 2001. On the fifteenth anniversary, I'd like to share it with you once again.
America, your name speaks of greatness
Golden flower of the age, brightly shining
Great are your deeds and your achievements
Proud in your pioneering spirit
World's greatest might, wealth and pride;
Greater even than the giants of the past
With freedom and promise of equality and peace
Welcoming people of all colors and creeds
To infinite opportunity
For infinite creation;
A dark shadow casts a pall upon this blessed land
Explosive tragedy aimed at your heart
Anger and fear
Sadness and despair
Felt by everyone, shared by all;
America, I beseech you
Use your strength, immeasurable and infinite
To turn this tragedy to opportunity
For your strength lies in justice and truth
In the hearts of all Americans;
Great soul of America
Awaken to the true meaning of your existence
And build a bridge upon which humanity may cross
Into a new age of eternal peace
Of a spiritual civilization;
Just as you have done in times past
You shall break through the darkness
Reborn as a golden flower in the garden of a new age
Of a spiritual civilization
To lead the world;
Leading nations and people alike
Through tragedy turned to opportunity
For America is great unto herself
Ilchi Lee gives a congratulatory address for the ECO Learning Center Grand Opening.
As founder of the Earth Citizens Organization (ECO) and Earth Citizen Movement, Ilchi Lee gave a congratulatory speech at the grand opening of the ECO Learning Center in Cottonwood, AZ yesterday, September 20, 2016. Representatives from the City of Cottonwood and the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce—County Supervisor Chip Davis, Cottonwood City Manager Doug Bartosh, and Marketing Director of the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce Michelle Masters—also gave their congratulations in person, and Arizona State Senator Silvia Allen sent a message, because she was out of town. The honored guests expressed their appreciation that ECO built a facility and program in Cottonwood that will attract visitors from around the world and that promotes sustainability and natural health.
Ribbon Cutton Ceremony
During the opening ceremony, which ended with a ribbon cutting, Steve Kim, executive director of ECO, revealed their plans to bring different groups to the center to learn sustainable living and to work with communities around the world.
Executive Director Steve Kim talks about ECO's past and future.
Students who attend the center's regular yoga and qigong classes treated the guests to a special qigong performance.
Special qigong performance by the ECO Learning Center's members.
The site of the new learning center used to be an old bar and restaurant, remembered fondly by the community and left fallow for many years. The building abuts the Verde River, a welcome body of water in the high desert environment of Cottonwood. The river was part of what attracted him, Ilchi Lee said, when he bought the property almost twenty years ago, looking forward to a time when he could develop it into a place where people from all over the world could discover their true value, uncover their dreams, and learn how to live mindfully and sustainably. In his address, Lee abandoned his notes and expressed his heartfelt gladness that his dream for the area was beginning to come to fruition.
The colorful outside and inside of the ECO Learning Center.
The ECO Learning Center was made possible by donations from individuals around the world, and a grant from Microsoft as part of their UpgradeYourWorld Campaign. The new facilities include classrooms, a dining hall, offices, and a sustainable farm with an organic greenhouse. The curriculum of its training programs encompasses organic farming, sustainable construction (building tiny houses), leadership development, mindfulness practices, and natural health methods such as Ilchi Lee's Belly Button Healing.
ECO Learning Center donors and volunteers.
ECO was founded in 2013 by Ilchi Lee. Since then, it has been training leaders and organizing community events to help people "live mindfully and get healthier naturally." ECO's goal is to have 100 million people identify themselves as Earth Citizens by 2020. They believe that when this 1 percent of the population recognizes that the planet on which we depend is the central value on which we should base our decisions, our world will inevitably change.
The green tea with gold flecks congratulatory cake tells everyone to LIVE ECO.
To make this change, ECO is encouraging all Earth Citizens to LIVE ECO:
So far 66,252 Earth Citizens have joined ECO. Many of them are also working in their communities teaching the Brain Education practice Ilchi Lee developed, planting trees, cleaning roads, and hosting Earth Citizen Walks.
Those interested in joining the Earth Citizen Movement and calling themselves an Earth Citizen can go to www.earthcitizens.org.
The Ilchibae Kookhak Qigong Competition was held as part of the 4th International Kookhak Qigong Festival on October 1, 2016 in the city of Daegu, South Korea, which supported the event. Ilchi Lee, who founded Kookhak Qigong, gave a congratulatory speech to all of the 4,350 contestants and audience members who gathered.
People came together from several countries, including Korea, Japan, China, Qatar, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, in support of the festival's theme of generating the Hongik spirit and unity among Earth Citizens with Belly Button Healing and Kookhak Qigong. Many of the performances featured the tool Ilchi Lee developed for Belly Button Healing, called Healing Life, which Lee says helps to accumulate and circulate qi in the body.
"A lot of [people] shared that it was inspiring to see people [from] around the world all cheering with one mind for the same cause. It was truly an inspiring event that made us see that there are no boundaries in the world and that we are all connected," said Linda Suh, who attended the event.
Accompanying Linda were sixty-seven other people from the United States, which submitted two teams to the contest. One of the U.S. teams won a bronze award among the teams from foreign countries, while the other received and Ilhwa award. Ian Martin, who participated in one of the teams, said, "The United States traditional qigong team brought Korean groups who viewed them to tears."
A team from the UK won the gold among foreign groups, and a Japan team won the silver award. Qatar and China groups also received Ilhwa awards, which served as an honorable mention. Another set of awards were given to qigong teams from different regions of South Korea.
Kookhak Qigong is organized by the Kookhak Qigong Association, which became an official member organization of the Korean Olympic Committee in January 2016. The association gained recognition in Korea for its impact on the health of South Korean citizens through its community classes. Kookhak Qigong is also taught in approximately 10,000 parks in many countries throughout the world. Through these classes, Kookhak Qigong hopes not only to improve people's health, but also awaken in everyone the Hongik spirit of benefitting all people.
Oftentimes, an ocean raging with rough waves and storms makes us afraid and uncomfortable. However, from the viewpoint of the Tao, these are all part of a natural process of change and purification. A silent ocean without waves or storms is a dead ocean without any life.
A person who knows the Tao does not fear the waves and storms of the ocean. Flow with the Great Wave of Life created by nature, and burn each and every moment of your life for the value and dream that you believe in. Use all circumstances as an opportunity to awaken, choose, and act.
I suggest actualizing a lifestyle that benefits everyone, including the earth, by circulating positivity and hope. You can do it if you view the world with the eyes of Tao. Then, the energy of change that is sweeping many corners of the globe can become the soil for your dreams.
I dream of a world filled with love for humanity and love for the earth. In my dream, human beings practice Earth Management. We look at the whole earth and manage its resources in a sustainable way that allows all people and other creatures to live healthfully and happily in harmony with nature. This dream can only be achieved through each and every moment of each and every person's life whose consciousness is awake. These people are the hope of the earth and the hope of humanity.
To awaken people's body, mind, and conscience, open their Tao eyes, and empower them to live with positivity and hope, I developed Brain Education, and more recently, Belly Button Healing and its Healing Life wand. Belly Button Healing uses the powerful acupressure point of the belly button to activate and circulate your body's internal energy, maximizing its natural healing ability while clearing any negative emotions and brightening your spirit.
Then, centered in the Tao, with sparking eyes of light and a healthy body of activated internal energy, you can heal your family and community. This world needs this now more than ever.
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.
For two days, starting January 27, 2017, over one thousand people from ten countries will gather in Kerikeri, New Zealand for the first Earth Citizen Festival. Hosted by the Earth Citizens Organization (ECO), the International Brain Education Organization (IBREA), and Meditation Tour LTD, this festival celebrates the Earth Citizen spirit described by Ilchi Lee and aims to unite people beyond all boundaries and forward a new culture of health, happiness, and peace for all.
This free event for global friendship and world peace consists of three parts:
Part 1: Opening Celebration - Kia Ora Night
Friday, January 27, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, Kerikeri Domain
Enjoy performances by a Maori cultural group, world-class b-boy dancers, and local singers and bands, as well as martial arts demonstrations, a raffle, and food from many countries.
Part 2: Main Event - Earth Citizens Come Together
Saturday, January 28, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, Turner Centre
Understand what it means to be an Earth Citizen, and why Earth Citizens hold the key to a future of true and lasting happiness.
Part 3: Symposium - The Brain, Earth Citizens, and Our Global Future
Saturday, January 28, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Turner Centre
Join international experts and get inspired as they discuss the importance of the brain, gut health, and natural wellness for creating an Earth Citizen lifestyle.
The symposium speakers include:
Ilchi Lee: Founder of Earth Citizen Organization and President of University of Brain Education, South Korea
Dave Beal: Program Director at Brain Power Wellness, USA
Dr. Dohyung Kang: Department of Neuropsychiatry at Seoul National University Hospital, South Korea
Dr. Reed Tuckson: Managing Director at Tuckson Health Connections, USA
Dr. Lily George: Senior Research Officer at the Office of AVC Maori & Pasifika, Massey University, New Zealand
Dr. Emeran Mayer: Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Physiology and Psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Ilchi Lee says an Earth Citizen is someone who recognizes that they are a resident and steward of the planet earth and who puts that identity above any other, whether it is ethnic, cultural, national, or religious. Their values and actions are based on caring for the earth as a whole. The Earth Citizen Festival plans to take Earth Citizenship to the next level.
The latest event of the Earth Citizen Movement that Ilchi Lee initiated took place last weekend in Kerikeri, New Zealand, where approximately 1000 people from 11 countries gathered to explore and celebrate Earth Citizen values and lifestyles.
The 1st Annual Earth Citizen Peace Festival spanned January 27th and 28th, 2017. The first day, called Kia Ora Night, opened the event with performances and food outside at the Kerikeri Domain.
Food vendors at Kia Ora Night
At the end of the lineup of dancers, musical performances, and martial art demonstrations from around the world, the audience danced together to traditional Korean drumming. The theme of the night was Kia Ora, a New Zealand greeting in the Maori language that means "be well." From the messages of each group to the practicing of Ilchi Lee's Belly Button Healing method, all of the elements of the evening came together to share health and happiness for everyone in harmony with the earth.
Body & Brain Yoga instructors and practitioners from the United States performing a hula dance
Samulnori, traditional Korean drumming
Local Kerikeri dance group
Martial arts demonstration team
South Korean b-boys breakdancing
Students of the Benjamin School for Character Education dancing with the Healing Life wand Ilchi Lee invented
Dancing to Korean drumming at the end of Kia Ora Night
Kia Ora Night emcees
The next morning was the main event, Earth Citizens Come Together, which started with cultural performances from a New Zealand native Maori group, b-boy dancers from South Korea, and traditional Korean drummers. Ilchi Lee was the keynote speaker, and he was preceded by a congratulatory address by the Deputy Mayor of the Far North District Council in that area, as well as congratulatory messages from politicians and VIPs from South Korea and the United States. The event ended with a recitation of the Earth Citizen Declaration by representatives from ten countries.
Song and dance from Maori cultural performance group.
Deputy Mayor of the Far North District Council speaks about how much she cares about the earth
Ilchi Lee gives a keynote speech.
Representatives of ten countries recite the Earth Citizen Declaration
The festival concluded with a symposium on The Brain, Earth Citizenship, and Our Global Future, in which experts from the United States, South Korea, and New Zealand demonstrated how Ilchi Lee's Brain Education methods and other holistic modalities have helped youth become confident, discover their dreams, and begin to heal from intergenerational trauma. They also showed how human beings, other life forms, and the earth are interconnected at the microscopic level, and how important it is for everyone to work together for the health and happiness of all.
Symposium speakers from left to right: Dave Beal, Dr. Lily George, Ilchi Lee, Dr. Emeran Mayer, Dr. Juhun Yeon, Naok Kim, and Dr. Reed Tuckson.
Members of the Body & Brain Yoga center in Auckland, New Zealand sing a Maori song
Many in attendance were overwhelmed by the amount of love that was poured into the event. One local New Zealander said the main thing he took away from it was, "Being more aware of yourself, being more positive, and spreading that positivity." A Body & Brain Yoga instructor from Miami, Florida, Franchesca Bisonó, said, "I feel a lot of motivation to keep contributing to make this movement happen."
The Earth Citizen Peace Festival was followed up on Sunday, January 29th by the groundbreaking ceremony of the Earth Village that Ilchi Lee is developing near Kerikeri. The Earth Village will become the main global training center for an Earth Citizen lifestyle and the hub of the Earth Citizen Movement.
Two non-profits involved in the Earth Citizen Movement hosted the festival, the Earth Citizens Organization (ECO) and the International Brain Education Organization (IBREA), along with Meditation Tours Ltd., which runs meditation tours in New Zealand based on the energy principles that Ilchi Lee teaches. They plan to make it an annual event that grows in size and scope.