Thursday, November 1, 2012

Asian Korean Spirituality

Asian Christians  can develop their spirituality from two sources: the natural, found in Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism; the other, the supernatural source, the teachings of Jesus from revelation. This would give those writing about spiritual subjects in the East, it would seem, an advantage over those in the West.

On the spiritual page of the Catholic Times, the columnist dipping into his Korean heritage gives us some helpful ideas on what a healthy spirituality should include. He tells us if we want to rid ourselves of  our worries, depression, feelings of futility, and self-demeaning thoughts, he will give us the solution free of charge, and easily accomplished by a very simple one-time event that solves everything: openness, opening ourselves to the mystery of formation, opening ourselves to God.

Life is full of different happenings, some good and some not so good, the bad seemingly more present than the good. However, in all these cases, if we are open to God, the problems will be solved. How? To see, speak, think correctly, with God at the center of our life, says the columnist, then our thoughts will change, bringing an enormous change in our lives. When this is not the case, we are limited by the self-centered, prideful life we have created. To undo this, we have to be open to do what God wants of us.

Those who have a self-centered and egotistical disposition will find it difficult to change, for they see everything as competition. Jesus gave us his personal example of what it means to be open to God.

Many try to solve the problems they face with the head, but it doesn't work. They try to reduce the 108 anxieties (The Buddhist understanding of the worries that afflict us) to 106 or 100, but the 108 continue to plague us, our desires continue to grow, and the meaning of life continues to elude us.

Some want to go with the flow, to enjoy life, earn money and enjoy the company of those close to them,  but all this is merely a search for a mirage, says the columnist, ultimately bringing us a feeling of emptiness; we remain hungry and thirsty. St. Theresa saw attention as the keyword in growth in spirituality. Attention to what God wants, not what I want. God gives us the inspiration for the search and the joy that comes.

With our bodies and the small space we occupy, filling this space is not difficult, but we need to be open to everything that happens in the larger space that surrounds us, which means being open to God, and open to all those small miracles of life that happen when we open ourselves enough to see them.

God made us so reformation is always possible, in order to continue to grow. This is a great mystery and we should open ourselves to that mystery. It will change our bodies, our minds and our hearts. We will come to see the world differently, a world much better than the one we created with our limited perceptions.

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