I started this blog to share with the world how I am attempting to regain a sense of peace, equanimity (evenness of mind under pressure), and happiness after a series of crushing disappointments I experienced in my own life. I feel like sharing my own story and also hearing about other stories that may or may not be similar to mine.

I think where you start is “dropping your life story”, your ego that is attached to that life story, dropping all of Society’s “compare and contrast” games, then reassessing your life by NOT comparing yourself with others but rather focusing on who you really are (That is where I started). Too many times, we think we ARE our thoughts about our pasts. We cling onto them and replay those negative thoughts day after day, and doing so takes a tremendous toll of suffering… and leaves notable scarring.

Starting from that realization, I believe we need to deliberately change or at least make a serious attempt to refocus our thoughts (thoughts are things and have energy) into positive ones and then make physical changes in our lives from our relationships, our home, our clothes, and our jobs, and our possessions, to slowly climb the tree of equanimity, peace, bliss, happiness, and enlightenment.  I think shedding all the things that Society holds us and impresses upon us must be identified and erased (like cherishing material possessions and chasing eternal youth).

I used to think life was ONE LONG EMERGENCY.  I still believe life can seriously give hardship.  I still “feel” just as I always did.  If I was in a war refuge camp with you eating soup made of tree bark and we had hungry crying children around us…that IS a problem.  I don’t think just anything and everything painful can be “wiped away” so easily after a 30 minute meditation, or a weekend retreat in nature, or some book on quotes that does magical things, but I think we can institute choices that can make our lives easier.

Life can be a difficult battlefield of problems, but I think we have some control over the degree of suffering we subject ourselves to.  Once you realize that, you can really learn to live simply and calmly and rediscover the magic you first probably saw in your youth.

I grew up in Fairfax, Virginia and went to a top tier high school, being so ambitious and wanting fame and fortune like the next kid. I received good grades and then I went off to the University of Chicago where I majored in Psychology and Economics. After a brief but successful “Wall Street” career, I realized that I was not happy and left thinking that a career in the medical field would satisfy me.

Then, I did some post Bac work at Northwestern and UIC, and then ended up at UIC Medical School…and then to hospital work.  The problem was I was not happy there either! The structure, the repetition, and lack of being able to be free and spontaneously creative really knocked me down. Having to be subject to constant subjective evaluations sucked my soul dry. As I sought another chapter in my life, then came the financial collapse of 2008-9 which destroyed the “nest egg” and seven figure savings that I had worked so hard to build after college–which I so “identified with”.

I was so depressed at the loss of career and the loss of money that I fell into a deep self pity and a deep seated depression. For weeks on end, I could not even get out of bed. I went to many doctors who could not really help me. I took so much anti-depressant medication and also self medicated with alcohol to dull my mind. One day though, I went to the public library in Niles, IL, and picked up some books on “Self-Help”. I figured what do I have to lose? I was already so depressed I could barely get through a day.

I picked up books by Wayne Dyer (Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life), Deepak Chopra, Louis Hay, Ram Dass, Osho, and Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth), The Dalai Lama, and revisited my faith in Catholicism. I devoured so many books to unearth just why I was suffering so much. I learned so much about myself and realized that my deep suffering was directly proportional to my attachments onto this world, and the suffering was actually a gift for me to discover myself.

Simply put, the words in all those books saved my life. I was taking so many drugs, I was suicidal, and my physical health was in serious jeopardy. I realized that I could not live with myself any longer, and I needed to be free. I realized…that it was my own thoughts that were making me so depressed, as was my own “life story” that I replayed over and over to myself and anyone who would listen to me.

I realized that my mind was busy creating negative thoughts on “autopilot”. Thoughts are “things” and expand. I understood that you do not “normally” choose your thoughts. Just like the digestion of a meal, the mind automatically creates all kinds of thoughts whether you like it or not. Just like you do not “choose” to breathe with your lungs or “choose” to make urine from your kidneys, you “normally” do not “choose” your own thoughts. They just happen, just like digestion. And if you had a bad experience, your mind recreates the negative thoughts without your conscious consent but you are forced to relive them endless times per day.  If you let this happen automatically, you are creating a serious headache in your own mind.  You may catch a glimpse of it within a nightmare you have had in the past week, but it is there.

It is only through conscious intervention that you can make your mind change course from automatically recycling negative thoughts. This is just like your breathing. You breathe automatically, but you CAN choose to influence your breathing, you can hold your breath if you are going to dive deep in the water, or you can consciously “slow down” your breath if you are relaxing in meditation and prayer.

Once I realized I did in fact have “some” ability to control my own thoughts, I consciously redirected the thoughts to positive uplifting notions. I noted that I had built such a large ego over the years that the collapse of it dragged me down in a catastrophic fashion. A big ego is different from self esteem. Both were destroyed, but I learned to regain self esteem through positive affirmations and knowing that the negative thoughts are not reality.  I believe having a positive self esteem is important, a big ego…not so much.

I was choosing definitively to live in the past via my repetitive thoughts. I was also choosing to live in an uncertain future that I painted with dreadful possibilities.  However, if I chose to live in the “now”, the present moment, I really did not have any reason to be depressed at all. I discovered I really only live in the “now”…the past and future are fictions and no more than thoughts I created. It is akin to a motorboat on the water on a lake. The “wake” that the boat produces is the past, my vision of the future is the lake waters I see in front of me, but I really only exist ON the boat in the present moment. I was living my life only on the “wake” created many meters before. Soon, my self-pity slowly subsided as I learned to accept “what is” and reduce my grasping for anything and everything that is valued by Society.  I also stopped feeling that God, or the Universe, “owed” me and was supposed to make me happy.

I concurred that it was my own “expectations” not realized that were causing such waves of discontent. Once I dropped my self imposed sad “life story”, my yesterdays, I came to my senses that there was no need to feel upset at all. That realization hit me like “a ton of bricks” and quickly lifted me out of the well, like a rope thrown down the dark walls of the deep well. I would like to share that it was only that single moment of enlightenment, a “satori” event that forever changed my life, but that was not so. It was a gradual climb out of the abyss (over about a year).

I realized that my mind was like a superhighway of blazing thoughts that went through my mind over and over based on the recent past. When my “life story” was going great, I believed in those thoughts, and my ego grew such that I became arrogant and sometimes unkind. Then when my “life story” changed for the worse, I similarly believed in those new negative thoughts with the same passion (which hurt me so deeply throughout my waking hours…and sleeping hours).

I noted to myself that this was why I craved so many “tranquilizers” and medicines that would halt my thoughts. I realized that I was drowning in my negative thoughts and that I was CHOOSING to believe in them. But I learned through intentional focusing on positive affirmations, meditation and prayer, I did not need any more drugs to “halt” my mind from stabbing me to death.

Through the filter of society’s measure I had evaluated my own life, unable to fully realize that it was all a fiction that my mind had created. I was completely unable to live in the present before this profound awakening.  I’d like to spend the rest of my life living in the present, not fantasizing to be some famous or rich or influential person…which is what Society puts on a pedestal for all of us to aspire to.  I also endeavor to unlearn all that Society planted into me, notions like “only the young are beautiful”, “you have to be #1”, and so on.  I want to live life fully without grasping and clutching.  Instead, I wish to live this one life I have joyful and laughing…cherishing every day, every hour, every minute…every second.  Thanks for reading, God Bless Us!  Please email me with your story of awakening too.  I just want to love you back and share our newfound peace and equanimity.

12 Responses to Welcome!

  1. Michael C. says:

    An excellent Truthful account of awakening… thank you.

  2. youngkim3000 says:

    Thanks for reading Michael C. It is always so wonderful to meet a kindred spirit like yours!

  3. nick says:

    hello man. I’m happy for you. you went through a lot of highs and lows to finally arrive home. I am happy to have found osho in my life too. I need to go through extreme experiences as you did to & find my own way home.

  4. arpad says:

    Normally i do not like testimonials because they are so full of self delusion or pushing some sort of belief system. But this one was different. You have done a wonderful job in such a short space to share your story of turning towards light.

  5. Jolynne says:

    Thanks for sharing your life’s journey. May you continue to grow stronger in spirit and may those around you be touched by your experiences.

  6. Becky says:

    “you are not alone in your loneliness.” great post. i love that line.

  7. Gene says:

    Young, I am glad that you are doing this blog. As you discuss, the process of pruning negative/false thoughts/habits and cultivating positive/truthful ones is a continual one.

  8. butnowfound says:

    Insightful article…It adds light to my own wisdom of inner awakening (continuous, and especially noticeable-intense since 2004.)

  9. Young Kim says:

    Hey Chris!

    Sorry, didn’t have access to email long enough to return your email. Let’s see if we can get into the bottom of this. I repaired my email, so if you reply again, I should be able to reply back to you quickly. Also, I work two jobs, and I have been working day and night, lol, so I didn’t get a chance to revive my email account til tonight! For me, working extra jobs, night and day, keeps the boredom away (Hey I rhymed…I must be a closet poet, and I didn’t even know it, lol)

    [You said] I don’t know if it is a depression or cyclothymia, but I have this feeling inside me from childhood. I am 34. It’s kind of laziness, which sometimes turns into fear that something’s wrong if i’m not active, and this fear quickly turns into some nervous activity, to prove myself that i am doing something. This means that i’ve never had any activity that i really loved, enjoyed, and could tell that this is my talent, life’s purpose etc. This whole feeling, is almost like a rock in my head, like some living entity.

    [My reply] I can relate to the phenomena that it seems like “a rock in my head, like some living entity”. If you have had this feeling since childhood, then you have this “personality ‘foible’ that you will probably have to address all your life (but that is not a bad thing) I think I can certainly understand. Just as you can imagine, it is probably your lack of inspiration that makes you feel “lazy”. It is not “true laziness”, but I think a slight sickness of the soul. It is really hard right? Because you cannot “force” yourself to become inspired. Some people get inspired by a traumatic event, like a near death experience, where they, after seeing the tunnel of light and their deceased relatives and their life review, get divine instruction on what to do with their lives. We can only wish we can be so divinely inspired! (but not intentionally seeking out a death wish). I think you seem like a genuine kind person, you give off that vibration. I always tell people that to become inspired, you must find activities that “help others”. Maybe you can volunteer at different places based on your interests, like a homeless shelter, an alcohol/drug rehab facility, a hospital with cancer patients, and so on until you feel that “light of passion” that makes you inspired to do your life’s work! I recently volunteered a lot for the American Red Cross. Volunteering your time, even just a few hours a week, can be so inspiring, and soul shaking, and a cure for anyone’s boredom. Try it out! You can find things on Craigslist for easy ideas.

    [You said] To make the picture full I’ll answer your questions and add some details about me:

    I’m 34.
    I’m master of geology.
    I’ve never worked in my proffesion which i like very much and i was good in it.
    I work now with music. I’m a DJ and master of ceremony, playing mostly on weddings. So it is a work with a lot of people, performing etc. I stareted this job by coincidence . I like music, supposedly I’m very good at my work, but it is not my passion, I’m not spending time listen to music, or thinking about wedding games which makes me also nervous. But i earn money, and it is a good job, I have plenty of time during week.
    I have my own flat after my parents (they died 6 years ago)
    I have a car.
    I’m healthy, and have no reasons to think about my look badly.
    I played guitar. I played a band with one recorded album.
    Some people describe me as a renaissance man, I can do a lot things which I’ve never learnt.
    I have finished electronic high school also.

    [My reply] It seems like you have a lot going on in your life, and I think the reason you are unsettled is because you become bored rather easily, based on how you wrote and how you speak, and the energy that you give off based on what I have read. I think your job as a DJ seems like a good temporary fit, but you need to take a new inventory to figure out a new direction. If you are not living and breathing music after your work, then you must start seeking elsewhere to place your God given talents. And I am so sorry to hear about your parents! Having a positive feeling about your appearance is a good thing, as those who feel “ugly” are FAR more prone to depression. And you seem, as am I, a true renaissance man. As I mentioned, people like you and me become bored rather easily, and we need constant new sources of stimulation… OR something that arises passion inside us. Good going on finishing your high school!

    [You said] I have few friends, not so many. I have a girlfriend. Her brother and about 3 friends whom I meet sometimes. I don’t think I isolate myself, but I’m a type of introvertic as I think (working on stage!). Yes, I know that feeling of rising energy when meeting one of my older friends. It gives me positive view and I’m more happy.

    I don’t drink, smoke marijuana or take any drugs. When I was in my teen age was a time when I drank more often, but after few years the need for alcohol just disapeared with some friends also.

    I don’t know what you mean by meditating, but the subject of nonduality, reality and searching was my primary subject since I was 15. After long years I “met” Tolle, Mooji, Adyashanti. Gangaji etc… So I don’t meditate in any special form, but try to live as they talk. Presence, here and now etc. But after few years, sentence you wrote, seems to describe my state very accurately:

    ” It is like if you are on a boat with a sail, and there is no wind, and no destination that you are choosing to go. Then, quite obviously, you will be utter stationary and bored.”

    As you can see, the picture of me, looking through “normal” people’s eyes is really fine. I have o job. A lot of time. Few people around. No addictions. Place to live. Car. And a lot of spiritual knowledge 🙂
    And as i seat on my couch everyday, I feel this guilt for nonactivity, for doing not exectly what I love. I also hate to clean my flat 🙂 And as i look on this mess around me it paralizes me.

    [My reply] Just your bringing up the fact that you have “few friends” and how you “light up” when you see old acquaintances makes me think you need new, fresh faces and people to meet right now. Do you go to a church? That is a SUPER way to meet new people who share the same faith as you do. What about logging on and going to people you meet on “meetup.com” (it is NOT a dating site)? Also, if you volunteer your time for a charity you believe in, that will invite new friends with similar interests into your life. I agree that the state of being you described does paint a picture of someone who seems “beached on a shore”. Without some inspiration and passion, you will find it hard to find energy to do even the simple things, like cleaning up your room. Boredom and listlessness IS a “living entity”, and for you, please take my advise on three fronts: the meetup.com idea and the volunteering idea and the church/religious place idea, especially if you don’t have kids to take up your time. Feeling paralyzed is a solid symptom and consequence of boredom…

    As a last idea, please consider a job change. There is nothing as soul-sucking as working at a job you are not filled with passion about. As Thoreau wrote, “I can think of nothing so wasteful as a man who works just to make a living” (or something like that). Even if your DJ gigs made you six figures a year, I can tell you would not be happy…

    Let me know what you think,

    Love, your brother, Young

  10. Brenda says:

    Hi Young! Sorry it took me so long..I lost that slip of paper and just stumbled upon it today. I read through a couple of your pieces. Inspiring… hope you are well.
    Brenda (customer at Costco)

  11. To have choice is an act of consciousness. We do not have choice until we consciously see we have two different paths to take. And at that point only, can we make a decision which is also a conscious act. We think we are choosing and making decisions every day but we are actually being pushed and pulled from pillar to post based on the emotional triggers of the moment. To see choice and decide from that place is a leap in consciousness.

    So, now instead of thinking negative thoughts one goes to positive thoughts, two extremes of the same spectrum. Instead of being drowned by negative thoughts one is now being drowned by positive thoughts. Well, we think it is better to expend energy on positive thoughts than in negative thoughts. Each one taking equal amounts of energy.

    It takes conscious effort and conscious suffering to awaken and move toward the transcendent state beyond duality.

  12. ananya32 says:

    I could relate to this so well. Have been through similar sufferings- mental blockages, unknown apprehensions, anxieties, depression and such. Hats off to you, it definitely take guts to share your story with the world. I feel supportive reading this post.

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