This is the third stage of self-discovery. First, in the readiness stage, you made the commitment to change your life; second, in the energizing stage, you began the process of purifying and increasing your energy to ensure that you would create pure and true forms in your life; and now, in this third stage of life examination, you define and prioritize your specific goals so that you have a clear target on your individual path. You take a hard look at your present priorities. As you look at your life you’ll be asking, “What is the meaning of what I’ve created as my life?” Or, “Have I been true to myself? Am I where I want to be? Do I know who I am? Am I being who I am, or am I being who somebody else wants me to be?”
Only by looking closely at where you are can you evaluate the quality of your environment, motives, beliefs and attitudes. You can’t change anything until you identify precisely what needs to be changed. The conditions in your environment and the quality of your thinking have brought you to where you are now. Do you like where you are? If not, where did you compromise or sell out along the way? How did you get off the track? And why? What forces did you respond to instead of listening to the quiet truthful knowing of your Silent Master consciousness? Only by looking honestly at where you are now can you form a good plan to go somewhere else. A careful evaluation will help you see where you detoured, help you determine where you want to go now and plan how you will get there. That is, you will acquire new motives, ideas, and attitudes that will foster a new self-concept and most likely a new environment. As you look at your life, do not underestimate the power of the environment (job, relationships, family, etc.) you are presently in. To what extent is your environment speaking to you more loudly than your own inner desires? Is your environment promoting the awareness of your strengths or is it smothering you? You cannot assume everyone you know, whether a perceived friend or foe, wants you to change in the ways you want to change.
This is how Love energizes you. It gives you inner joy, enthusiasm and awareness that helps you carry out the work of meeting your goals.
Would you be surprised to know that you may be wasting your energy, spending it on things that undermine and sabotage your goals and desires? You may have habits that weaken the quality of your energy on a regular basis. Your energy is a creative tool! It must not be wasted.
When I teach my students to break bricks with their bare feet or hands, I’m teaching them to control and direct their energy in a positive way. Jung SuWon training does not teach only martial arts movements. Since body and mind are one, this physical training helps students contact their own spiritual energy. There is always a balance between the two. You can’t have a pure body without a pure mind, and vice versa. You may develop your mind but if you don’t take care of or develop your body it will have an effect on you. When your body gets hurt, doesn’t that cloud your thoughts? Likewise, if you only pay attention to developing your physical body and neglect your mental training you will be unable to deal with life situations. Body and mind must always work together.
Your whole being – physical, mental and emotional – is an expression of energy. To create, transform, or reshape your life, then, your energy must be pure and free. And as you purify your energy, you move into the next stage of examining the content of your life.
Certainly, one of the goals of self-discovery is to be able to enjoy this natural energy of Love and share it with everyone. You may wonder why we often feel such a lack of energy if we are indeed one with the Life Force behind the whole universe. The answer is that our own negative thoughts, attitudes, and emotions act like filters to keep this mighty river of energy down to a trickling stream. One purpose of the Jung SuWon training I teach is to purify this filter – to purify your thinking and feeling – so that energy flows more freely and powerfully.
For example, one of the black belt instructors in my school told me how his teaching changed when he began to approach it with this natural Love. Before he began to feel his spiritual energy increasing, his teaching consisted of making sure the students did every move correctly or learned at the proper rate. This is part of being a good teacher, of course. But when he began to feel more of the natural Love within him, his teaching went beyond this physical instruction. He listened and responded with more awareness and sensitivity to everyone’s special needs and unique feelings. He not only desired to see the students learn the correct moves, but desired to help them defeat their weaknesses and shine with self-confidence and self-esteem. He cared about every step of their growth with as much enthusiasm as his own growth. In short, he began loving the students as well as teaching them, and it made his job more joyous and fulfilling than he’d ever known.
The readiness stage is like getting a clean sheet of paper ready to write on. Obviously you don’t want to write on paper that’s already marked up. You are ready to move further on your self-discovery path when you’re open for development, like the clean sheet of paper. You are then prepared for the next stage: energizing.
This stage involves getting your energy under control – purifying it, increasing it, and directing it toward goals and activities that promote your growth and development rather than self-destructive or limited ends. Because you are unique, it is important not to compare yourself with others or have unrealistic expectations for what you want to accomplish. There is already within you a quiet recognition of the goals that are appropriate for you. An unrealistic goal will make you feel “pushed” or anxious, whereas a realistic goal will bring a sense of excitement and eager anticipation.
What is energy? I want to show you that energy is an expression of the Life Force of the whole universe. And you and this Life Force are one! Being at one with the Life Force of the universe, you are energy. And the sun, wind, water, and all of nature is also energy. When you cannot find this energy within yourself, often you can go into nature to feel and connect with the Life Force. This Life Force – this energy – is Love in action. When you start feeling this natural Love within you, It will change how you see and respond to the whole world. You will start feeling a warmth, buoyancy, and enthusiasm that flows out of you as naturally as breathing.
When you are really ready to become new and cast off the old, and when you have accepted that you will necessarily change and are prepared to do so, you’re going to have to actually do something about it. We’ve already discussed how good intentions alone are not sufficient to bring about change. You’ll have to take action. One way or another you’ll have to set a plan in motion. In Chapter Six, we will look at numerous actions you can take to reach your goals. At this readiness stage, however, the important thing is the willingness to take action. And perhaps the very first action you take on your journey is to begin the self-discovery stage of energizing.
I also say–have a large empty cup! Let your cup be ready to hold many new things. If we focus only on looking for a pearl, we miss the diamond at our feet. It’s good to have a specific goal, but also be willing to receive all kinds of new ideas, new feelings, and new visions. The only way we can ever truly learn something is if we are totally open and receptive. The greatest obstacles to our learning are our own doubts, suspicions, and self-imposed limited judgments.
Having a large empty cup means you are willing to fill it with anything and everything good, not just one thing. You may start on a self-discovery journey to lose weight, for instance. But if you limit yourself to just that, you may not let your spiritual growth open other avenues for you. In the process of losing weight, for instance, you may develop interests that remind you how much you like reading. What may have begun as a journey to lose weight could end up being a journey to become the librarian you were meant to be, and had always wanted to be.
This requires having an open mind. You may have to say, “I don’t know all that I am to be, but I know what I am not, and I desire to be rid of my old self. I am willing to try something new.”
I call this openness forming an empty cup. This means you are willing to regard your body and your life as an empty vessel ready to be filled with the new. The Bible expresses this idea in this way:
No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins. (Mark 2:21-22).
These words tell us that transforming your life does not mean patching up or fixing the old. It means starting over. It means getting a new vessel to hold a new you. You need a new mind and a new body to create a new life. Sometimes in my classes I actually bring a full cup of water to class and show my students what happens when you try to pour new water into a full cup. The full cup simply overflows and cannot hold anything new.