About a year ago, I was in South Korean speaking for the Asian association of The Million Dollar Round Table. This is a group of insurance and investment agents who meet the qualifications by earning at least a million dollars in commission. After that qualification is met, they must exemplify leadership in the areas of family, community work, health, and their own personal finances. As a sociologist, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and character of this association both here and abroad. They understood the simple principle of working and living with purpose; that when you view your life and work as your purpose, you will be successful.
With the assistance of friends from Korea and here, I wrote and sang a song in Korean. Given that I did not speak this incredibly beautiful language, their help was the equivalent of having served on my dissertation committee and guiding me through the doctoral process. The lyrics were simple, but needed to be changed for the correct meaning:
Everything is connected from future back to the past
I am all that I connect to, without you I won’t last
You are me and I am you. Together we become
Alone I am so empty, the parts they make the sum
When you cry I feel it way down in my heart
When you laugh I need it. That’s where our road must start
We are here for this reason to see Love’s will be done on Earth
To teach what we are learning
And to share each other’s worth
I was nervous about singing in front of 5,000 people in a language I had not mastered, but I was also nervous about singing this unknown song in an unknown culture. But my efforts were well rewarded. Before I was done, people were standing and applauding. I could see the tears on the faces of people who were smiling and applauding wildly.
After the event, I was literally rushed by mobs of people, each one with a wonderful show of appreciation, many with incredible stories to tell. What struck me the most however was the thing I heard over and over again, “You gave Beopjeong’s last sermon.” I had no idea what folks were talking about. I asked my friend Winston who had kindly agreed to travel with me as he had taught English in Korea and understood the cultural nuances. He had heard of the Buddhist leader Beopjeong, but like me, did not understand the message. Then someone told us that Venerable Beopjeong had died the night before, but that I had somehow channeled his last message.
I was blown away, I had no idea of this great man’s life or legacy, but I was now somehow connected to him. That afternoon, I looked for more information, asked more questions and what I found still moves me to tears.
In his last words to the monks of Gilsang Temple he said, “If you have anything left that you own, use it in activities to make a pure, fragrant society. I now need to leave behind time and space.”
As powerful as it is to be instructed to make a pure and fragrant society, I was in awe of the idea of leaving behind time and space. What did it mean?
I am always attuned to the last words of the dying. When my own mother died, she left me a most powerful gift. She said that she was packing up all of the generational baggage, the hurt and shame of her life and her mother’s life and all of the women before her and that she was taking it with her to the other side. She said that she was leaving me a clean slate. Wow!
Now, I was being instructed by a man whose name I hadn’t known before. We occupy time and space. Like time travelers we are able to move from the past to the present and into the future. I pondered this idea for many months and came to realize a very simple truth; we are spirit, mind and body. When I am present and in the moment, I am spirit, my body represents the past, because it is a reflection of what I’ve done before, my mind looks to the future even without me thinking about it. As I sit here and type my mind is onto the next thought even before I have completed the one before.
I have used this idea as a practice. In my early mornings, I reflect on the future, both near and far. What do I want to accomplish throughout the day? How would I like the next year, the next five, the next ten play out? I take the time to visualize what I would like to see happen and then I go about making it happen.
In the evening, I reflect on the day before and my past. I see how far I’ve come and what I can do better. I allow my dream work to teach me from my past, enabling me to be better in the future.
Throughout the day I am Present and in the moment. Seeing what is before me and all that is right there around me.
This morning, I looked up in a tree that has been near my kitchen window ever since I moved here, but today I really saw that tree. I saw a nest I had never seen before I noticed the beauty of the Spanish moss and the browning of a few leaves. I stood there and enjoyed that moment and it lasted longer than it did in reality.
We occupy space and time, but what do we do in it?
*How can you be more present?
*What distracts you from being right where you are?
* How can you focus your time and space more efficiently?
*Are you lingering in the past and longing for the future?
*How can you use your past as a teacher rather than a means of punishment?
Be more you more often, right now.
Bertice Berry PhDhttp://www.ayearto.com
When you have the time, please watch this incredible PBS videohttp://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/my-life-as-a-turkey/video-turkey-fight/7296/