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The Best Memorial Is Paying It Forward

We can express our gratitude best by serving our community and country.

Like the Memorial Day holiday coming up in the United States, many cultures have ways in which they honor people who have died or sacrificed themselves in some way for the greater good. The desire to appreciate people who have given much for the sake of others is natural—a part of our grander nature. If we look closely at ourselves, we’ll also find that the desire to work for the good of others is also innate. In Korean, this characteristic of our true selves is called Hongik.

Learn more about what it means to be Hongik ►

In addition to being grateful for the service of others, we can celebrate the spirit of holidays such as Memorial Day by paying it forward and expressing our Hongik nature in our own lives. This wider service to others—to our country and community—is the next step in the evolution of our love. On the way to having the most encompassing, unconditional love, we pass through love of self to love of family and then to love of country. Anyone can express this love in their own way, even if they do not join the military or make the ultimate sacrifice. We can find a way to make our country and community the best it can be based on our own talents and interests.

In addition to being grateful for the service of others, we can celebrate the spirit of Memorial Day by paying it forward. Click To Tweet

Yet, paying it forward doesn’t necessarily have to be a sacrifice. It can involve ways to help other people that also make us happy. Being Hongik also serves as its own reward—a reward not given to us by anyone else. Acting in a Hongik way lets us express our true nature, which expands our heart and mind.


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It may be hard to believe that we all have the capacity to be Hongik when we are bombarded by bad news. Everyday, we hear about the pain people inflict on all living creatures. Even war exemplifies this dichotomy. It reflects love of country and family while being a reason for people to kill each other.

The hurts and fears we’ve accumulated throughout our lives can shroud our Hongik nature and make it difficult to act with love. While this is one reason for the bad news we hear about, it also acts as a counter force that makes choosing our better nature even more important. By acting in Hongik ways, we are feeding the love that always exists beneath our fear and pain. It’s this love that can heal our wounds and give us hope, not only for ourselves, but for all of humanity and the earth.

So as you express gratitude for the sacrifice of your country’s protectors, why not think about ways you can show your love for your community and your country?

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