As A Peace Loving Global Citizen – Ch 1.7
Talking About the Universe With the Insects
Spending time in the forest cleanses the mind. The sound of leaves rustling in the wind, the sound of the wind blowing through the reeds, the sound of frogs croaking in the ponds: All you can hear are the sounds of nature; no extraneous thoughts enter the mind. If you empty your mind and receive nature into your entire being, there is no separation between you and nature. Nature comes into you, and you become completely one with nature. In the moment that the boundary between you and nature disappears, you feel a profound sense of joy. Then nature becomes you, and you become nature.
I have always treasured such experiences in my life. Even now, I close my eyes and enter a state in which I am one with nature. Some refer to this as anātman, or “not-self,” but to me it is more than that, because While in that state, I listen to the sounds that nature hands to me—the sounds of the pine trees, the sounds of the bugs—and we become friends. I could go to a village and know, without meeting anyone, the disposition of the minds of the people living there. I would go into the meadow of the village and spend the night there, then listen to what the crops in the fields would tell me. I could see whether the crops were sad or happy and that would tell me the kind of people who lived there.
The reason I could be in jail in South Korea and the United States, and even North Korea, and not feel lonely and isolated is that even in jail I could hear the sound of the wind blowing and talk to the bugs that were there with me.
You may ask, “What do you talk about with bugs?” Even the smallest grain of sand contains the principles of the world, and even a speck of dust floating in the air contains the harmony of the universe. Everything around us was given birth through a combination of forces so complex we cannot even imagine it. These forces are closely related to each other. Nothing in the universe was conceived outside the heart of God. The movement of just one leaf holds within it the breathing of the universe.
From childhood, I have had a gift of being able to resonate with the sounds of nature as I roam around the hills and meadows. Nature creates a single harmony and produces a sound that is magnificent and beautiful. No one tries to show off and no one is ignored; there is just a supreme harmony. Whenever I found myself in difficulty, nature comforted me; whenever I collapsed in despair, it raised me back up. Children these days are raised in urban areas and don’t have opportunities to become familiar with nature, but developing sensitivity to nature is actually more important than developing our knowledge. What is the purpose of providing a university education to a child who cannot feel nature in his bosom and whose sensitivities are dull? The person separated from nature can gather book knowledge here and there and then easily become an individualistic person who worships material goods.
We need to feel the difference between the sound of spring rain falling like a soft whisper and that of the autumn rain falling with pops and crackles. It is only the person who enjoys resonance with nature who can be said to have a true character. A dandelion blooming by the side of the road is more precious than all the gold in the world. We need to have a heart that knows how to love nature and love people. Anyone who cannot love nature or love people is not capable of loving God. Everything in creation embodies God at the level of symbol, and human beings are substantial beings created in the image of God. Only a person who can love nature can love God.
I did not spend all my time roaming the hills and meadows and playing. I also worked hard helping my older brother run the farm. On a farm there are many tasks that must be done during a particular season. The rice paddies and fields need to be plowed. Rice seedlings need to be transplanted, and weeds need to be pulled. When one is pulling weeds, the most difficult task is to weed a field of millet. After the seeds are planted, the furrows need to be weeded at least three times, and this is backbreaking work. When we were finished, we couldn’t straighten our backs for awhile. Sweet potatoes don’t taste very good if they are planted in clay. They need to be planted in a mixture of one-third clay and two-thirds sand if they are going to produce the best-tasting sweet potatoes. For corn, human excrement was the best fertilizer, so I would take my hands and break up all the solid excrement into small pieces. By helping out on the farm, I learned what was needed to make beans grow well, what kind of soil was best for soybeans, and what soil was best for red beans. I am a farmer’s farmer.
Pyong-an Province was among the first places in Korea to accept Christian culture, so farmland was already arranged in straight lines in the 1930s and 1940s. To transplant rice seedlings, we would take a pole with twelve equally spaced markings to indicate where the rows would go and lay it across the width of the paddy. Then two people would move along the pole, each planting six rows of seedlings. Later, when I came to the southern part of Korea, I saw that they would put a string across the paddy and have dozens of people splashing around in there. It seemed like a very inefficient way of doing it. I would spread my legs to twice the width of my shoulders so I could plant the seedlings more quickly. During the rice-planting season, I was able to earn enough money to at least cover my own tuition.
“Whenever I found myself in difficulty, nature comforted me; whenever I collapsed in despair, it raised me back up.”
- Have you experienced something similar? What about nature do you think gave TF the experience of peace and strength he described in this chapter?
“We need to have a heart that knows how to love nature and love people. Anyone who cannot love nature or love people is not capable of loving God.”
- How is loving nature and people connected to loving God as our Parent?
- What sort of effort do you think True Father made to have these mystical types of experiences with nature that he described in the first two paragraphs? How could we overcome the effects of an urban lifestyle that often dull our sensitivity to God in nature?
This week we invite you to schedule a time to stop everything and go to the nearest quiet spot alone outside in nature, free of any distractions. Re-read the first two paragraphs and spend some quiet time in reflection/meditation and prayer – thinking about the things in your life you want to let go of, so that God’s love can fill you. You can even enhance your experience by walking barefoot in the soil or lying down in a pile of crunchy leaves, etc.