It seems as if the Earth is taking a deep breath right now. The water and air have become cleaner; animals are roaming in places once filled with human beings. Mother Nature is cleansing herself to start fresh.
During this time of reduced activity and isolation, I’ve been taking a deep breath as well, meditating and exercising to refresh my body, mind, and spirit. I’m cleansing myself to start fresh.
These activities fortify my physical power, heart power, and brain power—the abilities I need to participate in the changes currently taking place. Looking around, I see the existing systems throughout the world shifting due to society’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Weaknesses are being exposed in the face of this new big threat. We’re gaining new insight into ourselves and society, and we have new motivation and will to do something about it. I’m feeling that a new value is coming down to this world.
In what way do you want society to change? What new systems do you want in place? On what values do you want to base these systems?
I have long been a proponent of the values of nature—of living in harmony with the natural world and with the everlasting divine nature that exists within us all. These are what I call absolute values. They are values without which we would not exist. How could human beings exist without clean air or water or without the Earth itself? And what meaning would our bodies have if we didn’t have a soul or spirit?
I would sum up these values in the Korean word Hongik. Literally translating to “widely benefitting,” being Hongik means having a conscience and moral character. “Conscience” is the ultimate human value. It encompasses love, compassion, and consideration for others. This compass points to living conscientiously and seeking the common good over pursuing only our own interests.
When we look deep inside ourselves with breathing and meditation, we find a sense that others and myself, and nature and myself, are interconnected. This sense comes from our soul and divinity, the source of our conscience.
Having this sense lets us apply the Hongik value of our conscience to our lives. When enough people do this, Hongik can become common sense and be applied to economics, justice, and government for the elevation of life and society. This mindset is the way to help society evolve now. Shaping society with the value of Hongik would open up a new era, a spiritual civilization in which all people are conscientious. In such a world, everyone receives love and respect. They live abundantly yet sustainably without straining the Earth.
Working together with people around the world to create such a society is what I call Earth Management. This work is not only for politicians and other leaders; it’s open to anyone. In a democratic society, especially one in crisis, all of us can have a hand in shaping the future. Each of our everyday words and actions can alter the world in which we live.
Through the values we manifest in each moment, we can all be stars in the drama of this world, a source of brightness and hope. This is our chance. We can be the leaders of the changes happening around us, or we can sit on the sidelines. The best moment has come. It’s time to love ourselves passionately and create a strong foundation of health and happiness, hopes and dreams, while everything is rapidly changing.