Heart to Heart

My dear fellow martial artists and friends,

2011 has been a very unusual year so far for sure.  We read reports of thousands of birds falling from the sky, dead, for no reason, millions of fish washing up ashore, also with no apparent reason.  We hear about earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear disasters.  We see shifting weather patterns and either heat waves, or torrential rains destroying crops and lands.  We read about record high temperatures sending countless people to emergency rooms and to their graves.  Diseases seem to appear out of nowhere and the entire world seems to be going upside down.
What can we do?  What should we do?

Well, we know that we cannot tell the earth to stop having quakes.  It is not likely we can tell the rain to stop coming down, or the heat to give way to milder temperatures. 

But what we can do is work on our readiness, preparedness, and most of all, our attitude.
We are, after all, what our self-image allows us to become.  How so?

You are the artist in your life.  Like a painter creating a picture on canvas with paint, you are an artist creating your life in this world with your own God-given energy.  Think of it as a treasure hunt within yourself.  Our self-image determines what we will or won’t allow in our life.  If we want to make changes in our life, or if we want to improve our life, our self-image will have to change or improve first!  So we must understand how the image of ourselves forms in order to know how to change it.
When we wake up in the morning most of us are soon looking in the bathroom mirror to size up our physical state.  We ask what we need to do to look right for the day, whether it’s shaving or putting on makeup.  How often, though, do we wake up and look into the mental mirror of ourselves to size up our consciousness?  Where’s my life going?  Who am I really? Am I being true to myself?

Most of us have to struggle to stay in touch with our authentic desires and feelings.  Anyone who is participating in the mainstream of worldly activities today is constantly barraged with aggressive images and ideas from the media and workplace telling us who we should be.  Parents, family and friends all have opinions of who we should be.  We should have hair like this, clothes like that, this kind of car, that kind of food, this kind of social status in order to have that kind of life.  And sure enough, most of us do end up forming some kind of image of ourselves, and this self-image then dictates what we feel we can accomplish, what we become motivated to achieve, what we define as success, and most importantly, what we will actually do with our lives.

Whether what we have formed is an authentic self-image, whether this image brings us the highest sense of satisfaction and wellbeing is the great question!  If your self-image right now is out of sync with the love in your deepest being, your Silent Master consciousness, then you will inevitably at some time find yourself asking, “What happened to me?”  And the question may be asked with a certain amount of sadness, regret, bitterness and even loss.

Let’s find out now how we get so out of touch with our real self, the consequences we suffer as a result, and what we need to do to get back to the natural love within us, the love which guides us into genuine happiness and peace. Again, much of what we gain or lose in love hinges on our self-image.  We can’t rise any higher or sink any lower than how we see ourselves.  Our self-image must include the understanding that we can be a full expression of God’s love, or we simply won’t try to transform ourselves.

Say I will, not I want!

Get ready to put a stamp on your life, a stamp made with your own unique one of a kind being.  Your stamp!  It’s very important to understand that acting is different from wanting.  Sometimes after we identify what we’re trying to create in our life, we get stuck at the level of wanting it.  As long as you want something, you are affirming with your mind and feelings that you don’t have it – and so what manifests is that you don’t have it.  So you must be sure to move from a state of wanting to a state of faith.  There is a subtle difference here but it is a very significant difference.

Wanting something without an action plan to bring it about leaves you feeling powerless as your desire fails to manifest.  On the other hand, if you seek to create rather than simply acquire, you realize your own power.  Imagine trying to build a house without a blueprint.  You could probably do it eventually, but it might not turn out the way you want.  Undoubtedly there would be many things you would need to change and fix along the way.  A blueprint helps to focus on precisely what you want to bring about, and keeps you on track to a desirable manifestation.  Life is no different.  Planning is the first stage of creating.

Find out where in your life you are still saying, “I want”’ then recognize you need to do something about it by saying, “I will.”  Are you saying “I really want to lose 20 pounds…..I really want to have a good relationship….I really want to find a better job…”   If so, those statements will have to become I will lose 20 pounds, I WILL find a good relationship, and I WILL find a better job.  You can be sure that when you are really saying I WILL with your mind and emotions, you will discover the right actions to take to bring them about.  Then you will soon find yourself saying “I AM losing 20 pounds!”  Who is stopping you? Who?  Isn’t it true no one can stop you?

For example, let me share with you how I turned my “I wants” into “I will” and then made it happen.  When I was 23 years old, in Korea, my Master told me to go to the United States, and that is what I wanted to do.  All I had was the desire, but I knew it was a genuine desire.  Something in my heart was telling me that this was the path that would fulfill me.  Although I didn’t know what I would do to get started in the United States, I generally knew I wanted to teach my martial art.  I had no leads or information at this time to guide me, but I had already learned that love was “contagious,” that others would “catch it” if I had it.  I had the faith that this love within me would give me the energy, glow, and magnetism to attract everything I needed.  So right there, my first “I want” became “I will,”  and I left for the United States even though I had no knowledge of what I would actually do when I got there.
After I arrived, I took a couple of jobs to provide enough money to at least eat while I worked on my real goals.  I worked as a janitor at night cleaning toilets at Howard and Johnsons’ hotel, and I pumped gas on weekends.  Possibly you would think that I hated being a janitor.  Not so.  I was singing every night as I turned every toilet into the most sparkling one you could imagine!  In the country where I came from, I had to do just as much work, and on top of that, I was hated, beaten, and not paid.  Here, I was a respectable employee getting paid for my work. I was celebrating all the time, more happy than I had ever been!  This gave me the time to focus on bringing about my real objective.  Furthermore, I knew that all this was just “stage one,” something temporary until I achieved my real goal.

Something to keep in mind when you reach the point of approaching your goal is that it’s good to limit your choices somewhat.  There were many things I could have done to try to get that first teaching job, but I made the decision not to dilute my focus.  Instead of pursuing many different opportunities, I made the choice to select one option, and pursue that solely.

It was this.  There was a high school nearby, and I felt that would be an ideal place to get started teaching. After all, it had students ready to learn and facilities to hold the classes.  I decided I wanted to make this happen, so again, I said I WILL go to the school and bring this about.  Notice that now I was taking an action.  I had moved beyond saying I want to teach my martial art.

Every day I would go to the school and sit in front of the principal’s office.  Sometimes people spoke to me, sometimes not.  Often I would be reading a book, always working on my English skills.  Day after day passed sitting in front of the office, until finally, one month later, someone opened the door and asked, “What do you want?”

“I want to teach,” I said.  “What?” they wanted to know.  I answered, “Karate.”  They thought karate was something violent, but I explained enthusiastically that this martial art was about teaching patience and concentration and self-discipline.  Perhaps I was able to convey my “heart” feelings in spite of all my bad English, because they did say “come back in a week.”

I was thrilled.  I didn’t come back in a week.  I came back the next day, and every day until the week was up!  Finally they called me in.  Their concern was that I was going to be teaching kids skills that could produce violent and disruptive effects.  “We don’t want kids breaking pencils and knee caps,” they said.  I wasn’t about to give up.  “Breaking pencils?”  I said.  “No, breaking habits!  Breaking barriers!”  Then they responded that they didn’t have a budget.  When I figured out what “budget” meant, I quickly said, “Oh no.  No, I don’t want money…just a chance!”  I was already making enough money from the other two jobs, so I knew I could wait to be paid for this one.

I think they figured out by then that I probably wasn’t going to go away no matter what.  I wasn’t going to take no for an answer.  “Okay,” they said.  “One semester.”  That was all I wanted to hear!  That was my start which I have built upon ever since!

The point I am making here is that I took all the responsibility to identify what I wanted, then chose one or more actions, then used patience to continue the action without giving up, and then changed the minds that were skeptical of my desire.  No one did these things for me.  Each of us has to assume this kind of total responsibility for persevering in our actions until the end.

Someone asked me, ‘How did you have the patience to sit there for 30 days?”  I said, “Because it was necessary.”  That’s just the way it is. When you consult a road map for a journey, it doesn’t tell you there is an accident here or a detour there.  It doesn’t tell you there will be green lights here and red lights there.  Some aspects of your journey will not be spelled out in advance.  This means you need to be patient and adaptable.

When you really have the desire to change your self-image and change your life, you may have to fly in the face of some of your own most engrained beliefs.  When you return to love, the real genuine, original love within you – the source of who you are – things will get stirred up.  It may be uncomfortable.  Things you are familiar and comfortable with may have to go.  New, untried, untested things will come into your life.  You won’t have any more excuses.  You will be taking responsibility.  But all the while, you will be becoming a true and powerful manifestation of your original self, love.

My dear readers, you have that same power in you!  We all do! 

The power is in you, it is your personal choice what you do in your life!
With much love, from my heart to yours,

Great Grandmaster Dr. Tae Yun Kim


OCT. 04. 2011. TaeKwonDoTimes.