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Stay in the Rhythm

Do you feel a sense of discord or disconnect in your life? It’s easy to lose touch with your inner groove. If you look at it closely, however, that groove is more than just a spring in your step or something we call happiness. It’s part of the great rhythm that is the vital force behind all life. I call this rhythm “yulyeo.”

In Korean musical language, “yul” and “yeo” are terms used to describe certain types of melodic lines. Put together, they mean the fundamental tone of creation and the source of universal harmony. It is a language before language; and it is light, sound, and vibration. Yulyeo is the echo of the big bang, the traces of the Creator’s first exhalation, and the source of “grand unification.” But even combining all of these things, it is not possible to describe yulyeo properly.

Yulyeo pulses as the essence of the vital power in all living things. It is the same energy that makes the human heart beat, the Earth turn, the sun shine, the flowers bloom, and the birds sing. All of creation existing in the universe follows yulyeo, which is the natural order of everything, and displays yulyeo’s vital power to the fullest.

We have been born into this world through yulyeo, and we live in the world through yulyeo. Your heart beats without resting and your cells breathe regularly through yulyeo. Life “plays” on a field of yulyeo. What maximizes yulyeo are dancing and singing. If you sing from your soul, your connection to all life, yulyeo becomes music, and if you compose beautiful words from your soul, yulyeo becomes poetry and art. An ideal world is one in which yulyeo lives and moves vigorously and vibrantly. It is a world of harmony.

The knowledge that you have accumulated so far, on the contrary, impedes the world of yulyeo. In dancing that involves only a mechanical shaking of the body or dryly following certain steps, you cannot look for or find the vital power that flows forth from within. There is no soul in singing simply at the top of your lungs. Because superficial knowledge, arts, and play put an opaque shell around the essence of life, we tend to split the world up into pieces when we look at it. By failing to see the bigger picture, by missing the essence behind the cover, and fixing our eyes only on the little details, we lose yulyeo, the higher order of all creation in the universe.

However, yulyeo has not disappeared. From the beginning of creation until now and continuing eternally into the future, yulyeo will exist as the rhythm of the universe. It’s just that our sense of yulyeo is closed—making us distant from nature and other people. Just like Truth, Yulyeo is neither visible nor tangible. That’s why people think it is extremely difficult to grasp. The only way to know yulyeo is to feel it; it must be experienced directly.

To feel yulyeo you need to cast off all thoughts and preconceptions and throw yourself into its rhythm. Yulyeo is a world that cannot be entered while in the possession of thoughts, especially idle or ill-intentioned thoughts, jealously, or desire for control and security. When you let go of your thoughts and focus deeply, a single strain of the yulyeo that pervades the universe in layers starts to come to you and makes you say, “Ah!” Then you suddenly feel a brilliant flash of profound insight abruptly split your head, or sometimes your whole body, and you shiver from it.

Yulyeo bursts forth from a place where there are no boundaries or conventions. If you stay inside a mold, your true strength starts to dissipate and your power diminishes and you only pretend to put on a show. You feel anxious for no reason and you lose confidence.

It’s easier to experience yulyeo through your body. Move your body to its own inner beat. As you follow its rhythm, your mind will gradually empty and your emotions will become quiet. The flow of yulyeo, the song of your soul, will become stronger and stronger until it fills you and streams out of you in all directions. When you grasp yulyeo through firsthand experience with your own body, you feel that you have merged into one with the universe. It is Che Yool Che Deuk Ooh Ah Il Che (體律體得 宇我一體): “Through grasping through experience with the body, the universe and I become one body.”

The world with which we are constantly colliding is always new. Memory and experience do not particularly serve us. In fact, they actually become constructs and ruts that hinder us from seeing things in a new way and taking on new challenges. Every day, we meet a new world and new people. If we stay in touch with yulyeo, we can always feel we are in the right place at the right time and we can address all that we meet.

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