Chapter 251 Remember Always to Love Yourself

Two things that I keep which constantly help me throughout the day, weeks, and months are two little “journal” books that I have kept up.  One is a “grateful” journal that I find enriches my love and kindness and peace and equanimity.  I write all that I have to be grateful for every day:  My health, my family, my being able to live in a free country like our great nation, the United States of America, my mental acuity, my creativity, etc.  Another journal I keep is a little green notebook where I write in all the things that are lovable about myself.  I take care to not be pretentious here, as humility is one of the greatest virtues.

But taking time to realize all the good that I have done makes me know inside that I am a lovable and kind person that can both give and receive love.  I recall not long ago in the winter where there were two elderly ladies walking around who obviously couldn’t remember where they parked their car.  It was a cold Chicago winter and the winds were blowing ice.  I immediately pulled over and had them come inside the warmth of my car.  Then, I drove around aisle by aisle until we found their car.  They were so grateful.  There was another time where when I was at church a young lady could not pass the state driving test for a driver’s license.  She was from Korea and did not seem to know how to properly drive.  Without hesitation, I gave her free lessons from my car and we went over all the important elements in order to pass the Illinois Driver’s License test.  She finally passed and was so thankful.  Another time, when I saw a lady that had forgotten her merchandise at the store (one bag), I ran out to the parking lot and located her and gave her back her property.  Once recently at a McDonald’s, there was a guy in front of me that ordered but forgot his money at home.  I paid for his meal, and he was really happy.

All of us have done similar things:  acts of kindness and goodness.  I know as a Catholic that while doing good or giving money, “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” Jesus asserts, “so that your alms may be done in secret” (Mt 6,3-4).  I am taking care not to boast here but rather to have everyone remember their acts of kindness and goodness. All of us have sinned greatly but also have done much good in our lives.

The problem is that most of us focus repeatedly on all that we have failed in.  That is, in my opinion, equally as bad as boasting of our good actions.  We are so hard on ourselves and others.  There was a saying that I scarcely recall that said, “Be kind to everyone, you have no idea what they are going through”.  Emerson wrote that “most of the problems we have is that we are standing in our own shadows”.

An unknown person said, “Don’t wait for people to be friendly. Show them how.” There is also a saying, “No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted”.  I read this on the site TinyBuddha @ tinybuddha.com/blog/25-ways-to-be-good-for-someone-else-be-the-positivity-you-want-to-feel/.  Take stock of all the good that you have done.  Don’t show necessarily all the good you have done to others, but keep them for yourself.  I keep the green little notebook journal to myself, and whenever I have self doubts, I read them and realize that I am a beacon of love and kindness, and I deserve to be loved and to love in kind.

I don’t mean for you to go about boasting of all your actions, but rather to never forget that you are a good and loving being, in spite of all your past transgressions.  God and the Universe loves you, and needs you to share your gifts with everyone else.  The proof of this is that you are here, living, breathing, interacting with the world.  Also, the keeping of the “grateful journal” reminds you of all that you have, lest you be left in want.  The grateful journal keeps my feet planted firmly on the earth, and keeps me from feeling  jealousy, but rather appreciation of all that I have.  Doing this is immensely helpful to my own tranquility.

Our brains often work against us, and it is our duty and responsibility from keeping it in check.  We so frequently have those “gotcha, ouch” moments where we remember doing things we are ashamed to admit from years back.  They come back to us all the time, even when we are dreaming.  That fact often sets off a negative spiral in our thoughts, and we become depressed as a result.  So begin those two journals.  You have so much to be happy and be grateful for.

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About youngkim3000

I grew up in 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. 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 saving 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 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 actually a gift for me to discover myself. Simply put, those words in those books saved my life. I was taking so many drugs 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. I realized that my mind was busy creating negative thoughts. 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. It is only through CONSCIOUS INTERVENTION that you can make your mind change course from 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 an ability to control my thoughts, I consciously redirected the thoughts to positive uplifting notions. I noted that I had built such a large ego that the collapse of it dragged me down in 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 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. I realized that if I 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. 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 what I can 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 not grasp for anything and everything that is valued by Society. 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. While 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). 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 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. My life had turned into a constant "replay" of the past, the anxiety of the uncertain future...and my destroyed ego. Because of my belief that my thoughts were the ultimate truth, I suffered so deeply... but needlessly. Once I changed the direction of my thoughts, everything changed. The way I looked at my own life changed. I realized that LIFE is not a long emergency where the one with the most toys at the end wins. I realized LIFE is something to be lived fully, and joyfully...not some series of problems to be solved. Once I realized these insights, I realized that I was the creation of my own depression. Although a devout Catholic, I am also deeply moved by the ideals of Buddhism. About Karma and "Dependent Arising"...both of which are also in the Bible (Galations 6, Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked, a person always reaps what they sow). And I was...for the better part of my life, a runaway train into disaster that I was blind to...that I had planted the seeds onto. Putting money, fame, accolades, trophies, and so forth as the ultimate end to my goals sowed the seeds of psychological calamity when the inevitable tides of change occurs in every life. A person who extols those superficial qualities dooms himself/herself to disaster. The only variable is "time". Would it take a long time to find yourself in a train wreck or a short time? It doesn't matter. What matters is how soon can you realize the truth of existence and your place in it...and rise above what Society tries to focus you to believe. Society always makes you compare yourself to others, Society never leaves you alone to just be yourself. You have to exert effort and unlearn what Society has poisoned you with. I am now doing various "work" (not holding down any soul sucking corporate job), teaching, making money through various income sources like buying items at rummage sales and reselling them through Craigslist, asking neighbors and doing work they need, trading stock options when my financial tools indicate that there is a good trade. I am not focused on any "ladder to climb" or any "prestigious career"...and I am so much happier and at peace. I'd rather be "waterboarded" that go back to Corporate America. I have also a solid equanimity, and i am OK with whatever happens, and thus accept what God and the Universe wish for me. I wish to share my newly found wisdom and hope that my story and my interpretation of my newly found contentment can benefit others and I also wish to hear similar stories of awakening. God Bless, thanks for reading my "profile" and leave me your stories of awakening. Outside somewhere is a field where all of us are the same, I cannot wait to see you there...Namaste...
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2 Responses to Chapter 251 Remember Always to Love Yourself

  1. ellie49 says:

    May you have much success with your blog and, also, your meditative practice!

    All the best to you,
    Ellie

    • youngkim3000 says:

      Thank Ellie, I really feel the need to share myself through my blog. I love reading other people’s inspirational stories too. When you have held certain expectations in your heart so hard and they are not met, it hurts so much (when you are not awakened). But after I surrendered to “what is” and not what just what I wanted from life, I gained so much peace. As I wrote before, knowing that life is not just one long emergency is critical. It is so shocking something even for me to see how Society appears to cherish the superficial. So much suffering! I just read how Jesse Jackson, Jr. feel into depression and needed medical attention (he is getting a leave of absence from his job) because he really wanted to be the Mayor of Chicago or a U.S. Senator (according to his mother). He was not content to just be a U.S. Congressman. And I just stumbled upon an article about a German Billionaire who after losing so much money in the recent financial crisis, committed suicide because now he was a mere “millionaire”! Letting go is so important but difficult to those who have not yet awakened. I was dragged kicking and screaming into the fires of reality, but emerged as a softer more peaceful person. It affects everything I do now, and how I see people. I used to think others were an opponent or a problem. Now, I realize I am a brother or sister to them, and that all of us are one.

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