A VERY interesting readers’ post I’d like to share…

A reader’s question:

Hi Kim, I have a challenging one for you. Something I was reading in a book by Bertrand Russell. He said (I’m paraphrasing) that if you find a great wish to convince someone of something, a passion, then probably you are not completely convinced of it yourself. I think this is one genius observation by Russell. I know I do that. I’m trying to see if the person I am trying convince is myself.

You know, there is this difference between superficial knowledge and deeply integrated knowledge. Knowledge you have in your brain and knowledge you live with every cell of your body. Sometimes when we ‘know’ something, for instance I know that perhaps it would be better for me not to judge others, that that is not the best I can do. But I still do it. Why? Because my knowledge is only superficial. Real knowledge is when it becomes part of you and then the desire to convince anyone is gone. I feel that this ‘real’ knowledge is not something that I have ever been able to figure out myself with my small limited brain. Whenever I had a taste of this, whenever a shift in me happened that actually made a difference to my being, I felt it was given to me as a gift. A gift from God.

I wanted to share this with you; please tell me what you make of it.


My Attempt to Answer this difficult question:

Actually, I was thinking the exact same thing this morning.  Our minds are in cognitive “synergy”.   That is why I have not posted in a couple of days.  I have not felt so much equanimity and peace, in part because I know a few people in Colorado, and one of my friends Jeff, although he was not injured in the weekend attacks, felt unsafe now.  What about my own equanimity and peace if he were hurt.  I may drive up to Colorado and go hunting for Mr. Holmes.  I do NOT fancy myself any sort of guru “with all the answers”.  I struggle with it every single day.  Sometimes, I read back on my posts and think I should just delete the entire ‘book’ because I often do not think this way.    I really want to make this type of equanimity and peace a part of me ALL THE TIME, but I agree with Mr. Russell that perhaps I am not completely convinced of it myself.  Truly wise people like Laotse were known for their complete SILENCE about their feelings, and their lack of need to convince anyone of it. 

They did not hold “motivational workshops” at their local convention center.  And we constantly read about many “gurus” getting themselves into trouble with the law…too many times I cannot count.  And many of these “wise” thinkers, and I can include Christian clergy members too, are constantly found to “have sinned”

After all, I think I can still respond with Equanimity and Peace if someone hurts my own feelings by saying something racist if I am sitting alone at a cafe.  But what if someone hurts my own mother at a traffic light by stealing her car?  At that moment, I do no think that such equanimity and peace that I speak of can easily be achieved by myself…although I would try.

That is why I often agree with ascetics (living with the fewest possessions) and those ascetics with no children or family.  A person can often deal with peace and equanimity if they are alone in the world, but if someone they love is being self destructive…or in serious financial trouble, then it gets so hard to continue feeling enlightened.

I like your nicely cynical stance on this.  It had me examine myself for a good thirty minutes…

For example, in many of my posts I advocate avoiding watching violence on the media, but I am very guilty of such viewing in my own free time.  That is why most people who are really enlightened often do not live anywhere near society (like a monk or nun), and prefer secluded environments.  If you are an enlightened person, and someone is paying rock n roll music REALLY loudly in your apartment building…or their dogs are barking all night (and you have a college examination in the morning)…or the plumbing is messed up and sewage water is backing up onto your floor, then how will you maintain equanimity and peace?  You can still do it, but I agree with you it will be so tough.

So I agree with you on that part.  Sometimes, the most vocal we are about a situation reveals the parts we are weakest in…


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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