The following passages are excerpted from the book The Art of Harmony by Sang H. Kim
Mountains and valleys,
Rocks and streams,
Birch and pine,
Birds and sky,
Short and long twigs,
Strong and soft winds,
Straight and twisted rivers,
Are perfect neighbors.
They are the strokes of life.
Without them, we are a stranger
On a lone desert
Painting an empty canvas.
No stroke, no sky.
* * *
When I was a teenager, my father used to pile up junk in the backyard. They were tons of copper wires, giant wooden wheels, a house- sized pile of electric poles, and strange looking giant plastic dishes. I asked him what they were for and he replied that they were left over from his work. I wanted a place to play, so I asked him to clean them up, but he told me to wait. So I waited more than ten years.
In the 1960s, there was serious economic and political turmoil in Korea. We didn’t have fuel in the winter to heat our house. When his five boys were sleepless in the cold, my father went out with an ax in the middle of the night and chopped the electric poles to make a fire.
Then, one day my father got in a serious motorcycle accident. My mother didn’t have money, so she sold some of the copper wire. There was a great boom in heavy industry in the country so we got more than enough money to pay my father’s hospital bills. Later on, the strange looking plastic dishes were exchanged for college tuition for my brothers and I. The five of us are pretty well educated thanks to the dishes.
Now, my father has passed away, leaving the junk in the deepest corner of my memories. I dearly cherish that junk along with memories of my disciplinarian father who created treasure out of junk for his sons. Until they were gone, I never realized their value.
Who are you?
What are you here for?
Who is your teacher?
What do you want?
What makes you who you are?
How can you be sure who you are?
Are you really the way you are?
Are you real?
What are you?
What do you have to do to be yourself?
What do you believe?
What is your hope?
What do you fear?
Whom do you know?
Are they strangers?
If not, who are they?
Who are you when you are with them?
Who are you now?
Are you insider or outsider?
Where are you from?
Are you happy?
Who taught you that?
Who you are is how you are is what you are is where you are from.
Time does not fly.
It drops into the abyss.
* * *
Time is timeless. There was not a time when there was not a time.
Time may belong to eternity, but it is a sub-concept to eternity. Eternity is the measurement of permanence whereas time is the measurement of movement. Thus we separate time into three tenses: past, present and future. It is not, however, totally logical to regard time as a thing that can be split into three segments because the division immediately destroys the understanding of time and can generate false images of time in us.
Time is like a circle that begins at one point and ends at the same point; the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning. It is constantly bearing forth a new beginning. When “now” ends here right now, a new “now” starts immediately. A beginning, in that sense, is an ending itself which is the beginning of a new beginning. If this is the case, time does not move. It is always right here.
The past and the future are only present at present. You are the maker of time and the slayer of time.
Meet the Enemy
An enemy is one who is committed to destroying you,
Who looks for any potential opening to get in,
Who hits you first from behind then from the front.
The best way to know the opponent:
Meet him head on,
Confirm his strength,
Exploit his weakness,
Topple him in surprise.
* * *
The worst enemy is the most intimate: the one who steals your inner thoughts, betrays you, doubts you, saps your strength and focus. As long as you can defeat him firmly, you can destroy all other enemies.
He is you.
Eye of the Hurricane
In perfect stillness is perfect action;
In absolute action is hidden stillness.
Action is a visible labor; stillness invisible.
Action is effect; stillness cause.
Action travels; stillness stays in time.
Action is a deed; stillness a reference point.
Action creates meaning; stillness reason.
Action discovers; stillness reveals.
Action justifies; stillness unravels.
Action uncovers weakness; stillness virtue.
Action is journey; stillness origin.
Stillness is the sand; action the footprints.
Stillness is eternal; action finite.
Stillness frees; action limits.
Stillness bears time; action devours.
Stillness keeps us wondering; action keeps us busy.
Action stirs; stillness does the work.