Welcome to 2012! It always amazes me; each year, how fast time goes by, and how fast each New Year keeps coming!
So many people are asking me what I believe will happen this year. Everyone has been hearing about the Mayan calendar, and how it ends on December of this year. To this I only say, pray to Almighty God, and thank Him for the good life I’ve had. Pray for his forgiveness and for His guidance, and all will work out for the best. Be ready and prepared for all kinds of natural and manmade disasters. Guard your health. Stay strong!
At the beginning of a new year, more than at any other time, I think about all the young people in the world, our children, and what they are going through. So much has changed during my life time! We have to take responsibility for our children, and give them the best opportunity we can to help them develop a self-image that enables them to know their real self. Children do have an innate awareness of the goodness within them, in spite of all the current pressures in their environment which impact the development of their self-image. More than ever, our children are exposed to forces which encourage them to become more engaged with sensory enticements of the outside world instead of the genuine pleasures of their real self. The popular music of today, music videos, movies, video games, and the headsets perpetually glued to their heads, all serve to keep them somewhat hypnotically focused on the world outside of them. Yet I have seen that they still respond to – and resonate with – true ideas about themselves. It’s up to us, their adult leaders, to stimulate them with these ideas and provide them with some attention and guidance.
For instance, recently the parents of one of my 10-year old students talked to me about their son’s obsession with violent video games. There were times when he could spend 7 – 8 hours at a time focused on these games. They were very concerned about what this could be doing to his mental and physical health, and instinctively felt that they needed to put a stop to it. I agree. The problem was that he was not in their direct sight 24 hours a day. Simply removing physical access to the games from the home wouldn’t necessarily stop the behavior when he was away from home. They knew that they had to find some way to make him not want to do it. Unfortunately, nothing they had said or done up to this point had convinced him to give them the games. They asked me to talk to him.
When I met with him I tried a simpler, much less coercive approach. It went something like this:
“Do you think you might get married when you grow up?
Do you think you might have a son someday?
“So tell me,” I said, “if you have a son 10 years old like you, do you think you would let him play these video games?”
Here, he stopped, tilted his head and thought about it for a good while.
“Because it’s all about killing and blood and all that.”
“I am shocked. Really ? I wonder then, is it okay if you play?”
“No. Not really.”
“How many hours do you play?”
“What? That’s a lot. I wonder… is there something you should do instead, something else you could do?”
“Mmmmm…my guitar maybe.”
“You play guitar? Could you do that instead?”
“What do you want to do about these games then?”
“I won’t play them anymore.”
“I think that’s really good. But…how will I know you are not going to play them anymore?”
“I will bring them to you.”
“You will? That’s very good!”
The parents were shocked. I am sure they were thinking that turning their son around can’t possibly be that simple. And maybe it isn’t all the time, but this time, this boy did bring me his games. Two days later, he also suggested that maybe he should give me all his violent comic books as well!
What I did here is simply convert negative energy back into love energy. Images of violence and destruction are made of the same energy with which we form images of love and peace. I didn’t have to dwell on how “bad” these images were; the boy already knew that and had decided that wasn’t a reason to give up the games. But, diverting his use of energy to a more positive use of the same energy, such as his guitar, stimulated his innate recognition that this was “better “than the violence of the games. He already knew that too. My role was guiding him into that recognition and choice, not forcing him.
Children respond to our expectations. But sometimes parents feel that the only way their expectations can be communicated is with tight controls. These parents certainly found out that wasn’t working with their son. Just as we can’t eat for our children, or rest and sleep for them, we can’ create their self-government for them. They learn to govern themselves by being set free to a certain extent. Nurturing good principles is different from trying to control. And then we parents have to provide the guidance that invites and welcomes the use of their free-will in making good decisions. When parents cansucceed in doing this, they are really being outstanding parents – the best!
I would like to encourage all of us, to be like wild daisies growing in the field. We are connected to all the love in the universe and it wants to shine through us here now, because it is already everywhere, behind every appearance. The flavors of love in this world are virtually endless because everything is made with the energy of Love. Love is behind every spring, every breeze, the music of the birds and violins, and even behind ice cream and cake! We simply must open up more to really knowing this, so that as we go through our days, we feel we are walking in a field of love, and that we will experience love everywhere we go.
The daisies don’t expect anything less than the complete fulfillment of everything they need there on the hillside, which is their field of love. The daisies don’t question how they are growing, or if they are growing. They just blossom into beautiful entities that reach naturally and spontaneously for the sky. They bend and flex in the wind, not knowing what each day will bring, but simply remaining true to what they are. That is their beauty and their protection. They need nothing more than their identity, because it supplies them with all the direction they need to take energy from the sun and food from the soil in order to live each day to the fullest.
Let us also always remember that love is with us no matter where we are in our life, whether we are in a place of light or in a place of darkness. There was one beautiful moment in my life where I realized this fully, that love was present even in the darkness.
It was yet another night when my father was drunk and beating me. In a rage, he ordered me out of the house to go buy him more alcohol to drink. I felt so alone and vulnerable, and with no one to protect me from this violence. So as I was out alone in the darkness, I happened to notice that the moon was shining. It was then that I saw one of the most marvelous things I had ever seen: flowers blooming only at night in the moonlight! They are called moon flowers. All my fear at that moment turned to wonder. What a gift that was for me, to feel all my hurt turn into such a beautiful feeling of admiration and appreciation of something so beautiful.
Like the moon flowers, the love of our Silent Master is blooming even now in whatever darkness we have around us. Love is always right here right now within our awareness, ready for us to turn to it, recognize it, and fill our life with it!
So as we welcome this New Year of 2012, as we welcome this New Era, let us always remember, the power is in us, it is our personal choice what we do in our lives!
With much love, from my heart to yours,
Great Grandmaster Dr. Tae Yun Kim
HE CAN DO, SHE CAN DO, WHY NOT ME!