The Secret of the Common Base

Reverend Hyung Jin Nim’s Sermon, Headquarter Church, Chungpadong, Seoul , March 1, 2008

So, in our relationships we can see that there’s a vertical common base that needs to be formed in order for that relationship (to) have a purpose. And I would say (that) in the horizontal realm a common base also needs to be formed. It is so essential that in our relationships the horizontal realm is not taken for granted. Father says here in another quotation, that the vertical alone is not enough—that the horizontal must also be able to be substantiated. And so, how do we practically begin to substantiate that horizontal common base? I would say, (through) very simple things like: Practicing gratitude to each other. Practicing an openness, a receptivity, to the other.

Hyung Jin Nim’s Welcome Message
I’d like to share with you a passage from page 1242 of the Cheon Song Gyeong and it says, “The Blessed Families, the nations stem from you. That is why blessed members should think about the universe during every waking moment. You have received the Blessing so that you can share blessings with others.” I really want to get our minds wrapped around that today.

Really, when we live the blessed life, when we are able to move in that
upward blessed trend, then

really, one of the keys (for this) is being
able to become a greater blessing to this world, to become a greater
blessing to those around us and those who are in our spheres of
influence or relationships, really becoming an empowering source, a
real blessing for those people around us.

One of the things that was lost during the Fall, (is) really to take
our own stance as people who are blessed, who are blessings to this
world. Really, each day, we pray that we may rise higher in all these
elements, all these dimensions: in wisdom, strength, and in patience
and ability to overcome obstacles. We pray that everyday our blessings
may shine brighter and brighter, that people around us may become
empowered and that they may become strengthened. And really from the
power of one—each one of you—the whole network, an exponential network
can grow. And really the world can start to become brighter. People’s
lives can become changed.

It doesn’t start with everybody at once; it starts with just ourselves
and the people around us and what kind of blessing we are to them. We
want to encourage us to have that viewpoint today. Great to have you
all here today—welcome brothers and sisters.

When we start looking at ourselves from God’s perspective and viewing
ourselves with that true nature, (then) we start seeing ourselves with
great value and cosmic value, unique value. Then we also know and can
realize how much of a contribution that can be towards others. And
really, that is one of the keys to be able to build ourselves up and –
at the same time – to let that strengthening self, that blessed
self—that is becoming more blessed and victorious— (to let this self)
allow others and inspire others to do the same. We really want to
encourage you, brothers and sisters, that every time you come to
service, we see ourselves with the correct viewpoint, that we see
ourselves with the eyes of God and we really take dominion over that
position.

Video of Sermon

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Yeon Ah Nim’s Message:


Yesterday we came back from Japan. Once every month we go to Japan and spend a little time with our Japanese membership. This time in Japan, we met Sun Jin Nim’s family. Actually, they just came back from Hawaii where True Parents are now. One day True Father slept about an hour because of jet lag; and he had to wake up for Hoon Dok Hae. It was five minutes before Hoon Dok Hae, but True Father was really tired.

But as soon as he walked out the door, he made his back straight and stood strong and faced members. He never had permission to be “human” in front of members, because he knew that in order to carry this movement, he has to be a firm leader. But sometimes we get to see a glimpse of his humanity when he does his special move dance, or when he sings beautiful songs with True Mother. I think that’s really inspiring to see.

I think it is important to realize that we are human, too. So, it is okay sometimes to feel weak or tired. Even though we have ups and downs in our lives, the important thing is that we keep moving in an upward direction, I believe. Brothers and sisters, thank you so much for coming this evening. Thank you so much. We love you so much and we believe in you. AJU!!!

On the receiving aspect, I do believe that it is important that we remain receptive; that we remain open to learn and to grow. That is one of the things that keeps couples back—they’re not receptive to the other to continue to grow. But if we truly are to give and to receive, then it is important to be able to give gratitude, and at the same time, to receive the things that we need to learn to become better, to become more whole.

Hyung Jin Nim’s Interesting Story:


I heard about something interesting. It was a story about a very avid golf lover and he had the opportunity to have an audience with the Pope. So one day, during the audience day, he went up and met the Pope and shook his hand and said, “Your holiness, I have a question that I need to ask you.” The Pope said, “Please, what is your question.” And he said, “I love golf so much. I’m wondering whether in heaven there are golf courses or not.” The Pope said, “Well, actually I don’t know the answer to that. But I’ll ask God and I’ll come back to you. Let’s meet again tomorrow.”

And so he waited a day. He was so anxious; he was really (wondering), “What’s the answer gonna be?” And so, the next day, he had the audience with the Pope. The Pope came to him and said, “I have a little bit of good news and a little bit of bad news. (Laughter) The good news is: In Heaven, there are beautiful golf courses. They are forever eternally green, manicured perfectly, and you can play all you want. The bad news is: You’re teeing off (opening the game) tomorrow.”

Hyung Jin Nim’s Main Sermon:


Today, I’d like to talk to you about what I call “The Secret of the Common Base.” When we look at the Principle, in Chapter one, section 2:2, we see the Chapter on Give and Take Action and Universal Prime Energy. And here, we see the quote, “Through the agency of universal prime energy, the subject and object elements of every entity form a common base and enter into give and receive interaction. This interaction, in turn, generates all the forces the entity needs for existence, multiplication and action.”

In our lives, it is so important to learn how to create common bases. Notice the pattern here in the system: it is first a common base that needs to be formed in order for “give and take” to occur. In our lives, it is important that we foster these common bases in our relationships that will generate all the forces that are necessary to allow that relationship to exist, to multiply in a positive trend and to act in a constant positive motion. This, of course, does not mean that there will not be ups and downs in our relationships, in these ideal relationships and bonds that we are creating.

But if we have ups and downs and we’re staying on the same level, that’s not what we are talking about in the blessed life. We’re talking about that despite the ups and downs that we may have, the general trajectory (direction) of the trend is going upward. So, even though we have ups and downs, it’s sort of like this (he gestures upward)—as opposed to something down or something that remains flat (stagnant). The blessed life we’re talking about is constantly being able to move in an upward trend – of course there are ups and downs – but to continue to strengthen in our relationships so that they move, they exist, multiply and act in a positive trend.

Let’s take a look at this. In the (book) “Unity of North and South”, page 415, Father asks the question, “What do we need before power can exist? You need a reciprocal foundation. There needs to be a base of common purpose so that subject and object, plus and minus, can engage in give-and-take action. Therefore, the phenomenon of power or action can be generated only within the domain of the common purpose of power.” And if our relationships are truly to be powerful, truly to be divinely inspired, then it is so important that we create the strong common bases that the Principle teaches us to do.

Too many people focus on the give-and-take action and try to substantiate there (make it work), without taking the first step of first understanding the common base.

When we look at this basic model, we see that in order for “give and take” to occur, there has to be a common base. And I would simply describe it like this: “The common base we can see in two different ways: a vertical common base and a sort of horizontal common base.” And when we are talking about it in our own relationships, practically speaking, how is it that we start substantiating common bases?

Well, our vertical common base would be, “What is it that we have in common? What do those subjects and objects have in common together that connects them to a higher purpose?” Of course, that would be God in our Principle model, God’s purpose. And when we look at the ideal of creation, it really is to bring joy, to be that entity that is bringing joy to others, that is filled with joy and returns it to God. So, when we are creating our relationships, when we want to create strong subject and object relationships—this is between spouses, parents and children—it is so important to begin with our vertical common base. That would be, “What is our purpose? What is it that we are doing together? Is it simply a social group (in) that we are moving together? Or is there a higher calling? Is there a higher purpose? Is there something that is beyond the daily activities of our lives? Is there something that is greater than that?” And that spiritual purpose, that divine purpose, is what we should also incorporate into our relationships.

One of the things— if we simply put it —is that in a vertical common base, between husband and wife, (we need ) to start creating and really get into the exercise of discussing what it is we are doing together. “Are we simply out to enjoy our relationship together?” Studies show that people (who are) only seeking self-satisfaction or life-satisfaction are less soft (less successful) in the long run than people who also search for self-happiness but also include others in that picture as well, who also help others to achieve happiness or life-satisfaction, etc.

So, in our relationships we can see that there’s a vertical common base that needs to be formed in order for that relationship (to) have a purpose. And I would say (that) in the horizontal realm a common base also needs to be formed. It is so essential that in our relationships the horizontal realm is not taken for granted. Father says here in another quotation, that the vertical alone is not enough—that the horizontal must also be able to be substantiated. And so, how do we practically begin to substantiate that horizontal common base? I would say, (through) very simple things like: Practicing gratitude to each other. Practicing an openness, a receptivity, to the other.

In that give-and-take relationship that we see in the model of the Principle, the subject and object gives and takes, receives together. So, in the giving, we can give gratitude, and in the receiving, we can be open to what the other person is teaching us. We can always be open to learning, to improving, our lives.

Practically speaking, when we talk about the vertical or horizontal common base, it is so important that we get this down on paper even. Most corporations do it—all corporations do it. All entities that exist in groups, that are really running at its optimum level in this modern world—they write down their purpose. They write down their statement of purpose.

And even in our own lives it’s very important to get together with the people that we love, the people who are included in our subject and object relationship. (It is very important) to get together and really start writing down, delineating clearly, a purpose that includes both, the vertical and horizontal common bases, that we’ve been talking about. It could be something just as simple as, “The purpose of our marriage is to have joy,” just like the purpose of creation is to have joy – God also wanted joy. It (the purpose) could be, “To give joy to God and True Parents and to others.” It could be, “To be thankful for each other and to be open and willing to constantly grow.” It could be as simple as that. But something that defines, something that gives us a means through which we can reframe our own relationship.

Once we have a (common) mission, our give and receive can flow better—it can be directed more clearly. It is not something where people are guessing or trying to guess what the relationship is about. “What exactly is the purpose for it?” One spouse may feel it’s for happiness; the other spouse may feel it’s for being an inspiration to others. Well, we have to be able to solidify those into a common purpose and a mission that we can both agree on and both move forward on.

Studies obviously show that couples, particularly couples who engage in such a simple thing as talking about a purpose, “What is our purpose?” – I’m not talking about only something like “increasing your finances.” That is definitely a purpose, or other things like, “Moving ahead in your professional careers.” – but (I am) also, adding the other dimension, the spiritual dimension (is necessary): “What are our lives supposed to mean for this world? What kind of legacy will we leave for our children?” Those things also must be included in order for our purpose to be full and to be God-given.

When God first asked True Parents to join Him in His purpose, True Father was first hesitant. We know the story; he actually rejected God three times. He said, “I can’t do it. Why ask me? I can’t do this role.” But True Father was asked; he finally did agree and when he met True Mother, they had a very common purpose—a very simply stated purpose. They were to be the True Parents of humankind.

It is a very simple purpose. But I’ve seen—personally—that because they have a common purpose, a common identity and a common direction, it has always been their source of strength. Whenever as human beings they go through ups and downs, they are able to always return to their responsibility, to their purpose—attending their children or trying to be compassionate towards the world, etc.

I think it is important to realize that we are human, too. So, it is okay sometimes to feel weak or tired. Even though we have ups and downs in our lives, the important thing is that we keep moving in an upward direction, I believe

Every obstacle becomes an opportunity to grow, every challenge becomes a catalyst for more give and receive and insight into God’s heart. And really when we are talking about the horizontal give-and-take action, when we look at that, we see in the Principle model, that this thing is moving; it’s not staying still like this picture. It is constantly in motion, it cannot remain still. If it remains still, it becomes stagnant. It becomes just like water. It becomes stagnant and it becomes unhealthy. It must constantly be moving, and that circle, in the middle, should be rotating. Everything should be in motion.

And it is the same thing when we are talking about that horizontal common base in our relationships. I believe that one of the keys to having a great relationship with our spouse is learning the practice of gratitude.

A study has been shown: they had four different types of groups. One group was to think optimistically three times a day. One group was to think to build up their self-esteem three times a day, that is, to say positive things towards themselves three times a day. One group was to say negative things about their day: “I hated the rain.” “I hated this and that.” “I hate that person.” They were supposed to say negative things. And one group was supposed to just write three things that they are grateful for—and that was the exercise.

Now, usually we may believe that optimistic thinking, self-esteem building, will create the most positive trend in satisfaction in life. What the study showed is that those do create levels of increase at times, but can, many times, lead to either a simple flat line or even sometimes a negative trend. Maybe the relationship is not that good, or maybe they’re eating something and it is not really that great, but they are saying in their minds, “I’m gonna think optimistically and I’m gonna believe that this tastes fantastic.” But maybe it doesn’t, right? So, it actually builds up frustration.

And, of course, they found that the people who think pessimistically, three times per day, whether it be, “I hate the rain” or “Why am I like this?” or, “I’m inadequate;” these kinds of things, of course, as you can expect, their general satisfaction with their lives goes down very fast.

But it’s very interesting that the people who did this study were very surprised to find that the people who kept a simple gratitude journal – three things that they remembered throughout the day that they felt grateful for – they exhibited the highest sustained levels of happiness and life satisfaction that were sustainable, that were continual (permanent).

And let’s remember that gratitude is not indebtedness. It is not because you are indebted to somebody that you’re grateful. I am talking about something more simple—something more simple, like the fact that I can breathe. What we’re doing is: we are focusing on an external circumstance that we internally feel thankful for or warm towards. So my wife speaks to me in a very nice voice, even though she is upset. So I’m grateful for that. Okay? (Laughter) Things like that—you see what I mean?

Various things—it can also be thoughts, internal and external feelings—but most of the time, what they were focusing on were external circumstances, “I am thankful that I have legs to walk.” “I am thankful that I have a table to eat on,” external circumstances,not necessarily objects, but external circumstances that they could express a feeling of thanks for. And they found that this simple practice of remaining thankful for the things that we have, beats (is more effective then) optimistic thinking, it beat self-esteem; and, of course, it beats pessimistic thinking.

In our horizontal common base, I believe one of the most powerful tools is that of “giving gratitude.” And it doesn’t have to be always verbal. You can also many times keep it in your heart—remind yourself of the greatness of your spouse. Focus on the things that bring you joy, that bring you thankfulness.

On the receiving aspect, I do believe that it is important that we remain receptive; that we remain open to learn and to grow. That is one of the things that keeps couples back—they’re not receptive to the other to continue to grow. But if we truly are to give and to receive, then it is important to be able to give gratitude, and at the same time, to receive the things that we need to learn to become better, to become more whole.

Let’s not think of our spouse’s differences as things that create division, but let us think of them as things that actually make us more whole, that complete us—things that will allow us to expand our perspective.

I was speaking to a man who was complaining about his wife a little bit. He was saying to me, “You know what? My wife, I don’t know. I come back home. I work a hard day. I come back home. She has dinner ready. Then she has to tell me, “Your son did this today. What are you gonna do about that, huh? Your mother told me this, your mother was yelling at me today, you know, and the Taekwondo teacher said this and your sister called me on the phone and she told me this and that.” And the man was going insane. He literally said, “Honey, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what my boy said. I can’t control my mother. I don’t know the Taekwondo teacher (HJN laughing).” He was literally going out of his mind.

Because I have good relationships with my sisters I have learned one thing—and I know what is a generalization, and I don’t like to make generalizations – but one thing that I have learned that has helped me in my own marriage is that when your wife is sharing her “situations” with you. Men, you don’t need to solve every single one of them. One of the things that men try to do – because we are so used to problem solving, because our jobs or work relationships or even our other relationships with men are used to solving issues. If somebody shares an issue with me then as a man, I’m gonna try to help him solve that problem – but one of the things that I realized – and it really gives me peace in my heart – is that when my wife wants to share with me, I just listen. No need to solve the problems. No need to say, “Well, you know I’m gonna tell that Taekwondo teacher straight tomorrow. I’m gonna tell my mum not to do that. I’m gonna tell my sister…I’m gonna set her straight on the phone tonight.” No, she doesn’t need you to do that—you don’t need to do that. But, all you need to do is simply be there to listen, to be there to be able to understand and empathize. No problem solving necessary.

Of course, there are times when problem solving is necessary. If your wife really needs that, it is important for her to tell you, “Honey, I need a problem solving. I need this problem solved, okay?” But aside from those things, what I realized is that many many times we get into the habit of trying to solve our sister’s, our wife’s, our mother’s, and our daughter’s problems when they just want to share with us.

It’s very interesting because there are some psychologists that say that women actually use speech to build relationships and that men use speech or language to communicate fact. So, there are two very different modes of communication. One is to communicate fact—the other is to build relationships. “Oh, how was that event yesterday, Honey?” The young daughter will say, “Oh, it was fantastic. I can’t believe what that other girl was wearing—she was wearing that kind of thing—I don’t know how she got away with that. Mom, it was so fantastic. You know that other guy, he was with…and I can’t believe it.” And she’ll go on and they’ll have a great time for an hour.

And then, the same event, the mother will ask the son, “How was it, son?” “Good.” “How was it, son?” “Yeah, it was okay.” Communicating fact—not necessarily building relationship—communicating fact.

It is very interesting because studies have shown that women use twenty thousand communication signs per day. That is: speech; that is: gestures; that is: facial postures—many different things that they use to communicate and build relationships. On the opposite side of that, men only use seven thousand communication signs per day on average. So, the issue here is that you have to use up seven thousand for men and twenty thousand for women per day. So men, you have to understand: If your wife has been at home, and maybe she has not talked to her sister today, so when she comes home, maybe she has used ten thousand communication signs. When you come home, she needs to now share with you ten thousand more. Be understanding of that, be empathetic of that. It is very important that we are able to open our hearts to be receptive to the giving and receiving because we learn, we improve as brothers, we improve as fathers, and we improve as sons when we learn how to do that.

And that is the power of these relationships that Father has taught us. He has always taught us of the 3 great kingships, the 4 great realms of heart. When we improve in any one of these we improve in all 4. When we improve as husbands listenening to our wives, we can improve as sons listening to our mothers, we can improve as fathers listening to our daughters when they need help, when they need somebody to listen.

Really, when we live the blessed life, when we are able to move in that upward blessed trend, then really, one of the keys (for this) is being able to become a greater blessing to this world, to become a greater blessing to those around us and those who are in our spheres of influence or relationships, really becoming an empowering source, a real blessing for those people around us.

So it is important to be able to incorporate this into our lives, to be able to really give thanks, and also to receive, to be receptive on these horizontal relationships.

With our children, let’s make sure that we are connecting them to God’s purpose. Let’s make sure that they know that they, too, have a right to feel joy in their lives, that God wishes for them to be happy in their lives, but not only stop there, but to be able to expand that sphere of happiness, that sphere of blessing, that we talk about all the time, to be able to extend it continually, continually to so many around them and in their lives.

If you have created a spousal mission statement, if you created a common sense of purpose together then it is important to include your kids in that. Show them what you’ve made. You show the statement that you’ve written. Let them comment on it. Let them participate in making a family mission statement. Let them participate in that activity. Help them understand, let us help them understand that horizontal giving and receiving, the giving of gratitude and the receiving, the receptiveness, that we need to be able to learn from our relationships, to grow in our relationships.

One of the things that we like to do with our kids is: Everyday they have to do a couple of things to be able to play video games. They love this D and D game; they play with their uncle. D and D is like knights and war—this kind of thing. And so, they are very eager to play it. So, we have a couple of things that they have to accomplish prior to (before) playing the game. They can play it for an hour per day, if they’ve done their things. So they come home. We ask them. They say “I wanna play game now.” And then, now they’re ready. “Mommy, I wanna play a game.” “Okay, let’s first see the list. Did you guys finish homework?” “Yes, I finished.” “Did you clean your desk?” “Yes, I finished.” “Did you clean your room?” “Yes, I did that.”

And now, there are two exercises that I really believe are the real key. The other things are the things they have to do, things they have to do for school or put their effort in— being tidy for others, in their environment, etc.—those are the things that we have to do, but the two other practices, I believe, are exactly what we are talking about today: Creating a common base in our purpose, creating a common base in our vertical purpose and in our horizontal purpose.

The vertical purpose exercise that we have them do is, “What was your act of kindness for today?” They have to do one act of kindness per day for somebody. They have to be a blessing to somebody. They have to be able to give joy in some small way – it doesn’t have to be huge – to any person that they have come across in that path.

The next exercise would be the horizontal: “What can you be thankful for in your relationships today?” Those two exercises we do with them everyday before they’re ready to play games. And so, yesterday, for example, one of my boys said, “I helped my auntie carry the supermarket bags.” Okay, that was the vertical that was giving another person joy. That was being able to help them—okay?!—an act of kindness. “And so, what were you grateful for that day?” And he said to me, “I’m grateful for the fact that I have hands to carry the shopping bags.” And that’s great, that’s fantastic, because we can start there, we can always start there. Any place, to begin with a sense of thankfulness for anything is the right step.

It’s a great exercise we’ve been doing with our kids. It is such an excellent way to tie them to a spiritual purpose—to tie them beyond their responsibilities, their mundane school responsibilities and to tie them to a greater purpose—a greater purpose that is actively oriented to changing people in their lives, helping people in their lives. Small ways—that’s fine—small things are excellent.

You all know the saying, “The Super Bowls are won in the details.” Right?! The small details are really what make life worth living. And it’s in this small way, as well, that they remember what it is that they were grateful for in their relationships that day. It could be something as simple as: Having the fact that you have hands to help your auntie bringing supermarket bags home.

So what can we learn today? Really, the principle perspective teaches us a great insight. It says that in order to substantiate powerful relationships, we need to first have common bases. Without the common base we cannot give and receive, we cannot interact, we cannot create the forces necessary for existence, multiplication and action.

In our relationships, it is important that we substantiate that common base, that we form that common base. That common base consists of vertical common bases: “Let’s find purpose with each other (common purpose). Let’s find meaning with each other, what we’re doing together—we’re not just floating around. We have a purpose together. We have something that is beyond ourselves—something that is great and leaves a legacy in this world.”

And also in our horizontal common base, let,s give thanks to each other—let’s be in the habit of being in thanksgiving. Everybody loves “turkey time;” well, we have got to have “turkey time” everyday, in our hearts at least—where we’re being thankful for people who are with us, around us. And also in the same way, (it is important) that we are receiving, we’re learning to be receptive to those people around us, so we can learn, we can grow, we can continue to get more wise, more strong, have more victory, illumination and peace.

If we learn to use this simple secret of the common base, I believe that we will have more victory, more illumination and more peace in our relationships and we will live that blessed life that True Parents have blessed us to live.

Brothers and sisters, can you receive this today?
Thank you so much!

Before we end we always like to give everybody, particularly in other nations, the chance to reconnect, to become children of True Parents once again.

Let’s join in a brief prayer:

True Parents, thank You for this day that You have blessed upon us. Please come into our midst, into each one of our families here who are gathering with us; and let us become the palace of Your joy, of Your love, of Your peace and of Your lineage. We thank You. We know that You are always with us, and at this moment, we want to confess and repent for any things that we have done wrong. We pray that we may continue to grow and be blessings to those around us—that we also may live that truly blessed life that You have blessed us to live.
Thank You, and we pray these things in our name. Aju!

Brothers and sisters, if we pray this simple prayer, I do believe that True Parents are in our lives. And if we keep them enthroned in the heart of glory that we have, that gloryful heart that we have, we will find for ourselves more victory, more illumination and more peace than we can ever imagine.
Thank you so much

Transcribed by: Cathy Quebral

Edited by: Rev. Susan Herrman

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