Building your Spiritual Strength

Feb 21, 2009, HQ Church, Seoul Korea

Whenever we go, wherever we go, we can be training our spiritual victorious mind, we can train our thoughts. Every time we doubt, everytime we have doubts in our talents, our ability, in our future, in our children, or in our families etc., every time we do that, it is an opportunity to train. It’s a bell of mindfulness (it reminds us), “It’s time to train. I can get stronger through this right now.”

Welcoming remarks

Yeon Ah Nim:

Good afternoon, brothers and sisters! It’s great to see you all. It’s always our honor to have you here, to pray together and worship together. We are always welcoming you to the sanctuary, and for those who are joining us via internet, we are also welcoming you as well. Welcome brothers and welcome sisters.

HyungJin Nim:

Welcome Brothers and Sisters! Today I’d like to share from Cheon Song Gyeong, page 1472. Father speaks: “The life we are leading on earth is not for our own sakes. We are living for the sake of God’s love. For that purpose we are in a continuous state of action and existence. How splendid that is. Those who lead such a life can never be brought to ruin. Hardship, tears and misery would not make us miserable, bitter or sad, because we would be enduring them all for the love of God. You should understand this principle.”

You know, brothers and sisters, this is so important in our own lives, especially in 2009. We’re definitely going to meet some obstacles, we’re going to meet some challenges, but you know, it’s so important to keep that in perspective. Father says that we’re doing this all for God’s love. We’re doing this so that we will return all things that are glorious to Him as well. It’s so important that when we do meet those obstacles and challenges, that we know that we’re going to get through this, that 2009 is not our last year on the earth. It’s going to be one of the years that we’re going to get through. It’s going to have victory in it, when we overcome those hardships that Father is talking about. That makes us stronger every time we do it.

So, brothers and sisters, it’s always so important to come in with that victorious mind, that victorious perspective. So when we go out, we become more than conquerors. We want to always begin with (remembering that) the way we look at things always shapes the way things happen. Whatever our situation, whatever level we may be at this point, we’re not through with ourselves yet. It’s not over yet. We have a lot of growing to do; we have a lot of new experiences to experience. We have a lot of new dreams that are going to be fulfilled. We’re in a process of growth. We’re in a process of life, and that life is blossoming, it’s occurring, it’s happening before our very eyes.

Brothers and sisters, welcome 2009 again. If you’re not already here, but I think you are. This year we’re going to have a great year. There may be those kinds of tribulations, but we’re going to turn those turbulences into victories. I do believe it. If you believe it, let’s give it up for God and True Parents. Welcome once again!

Yeon Ah Nim:

This Monday, True Father invited about 80 Headquarter members to Cheon Jeong Goon to have lunch together. It was a very exceptional invitation from Father, so everyone was very happy, and a little bit surprised at the same time, but they were very happy to go there. After everyone had lunch, we followed the regular schedule, True Father’s speech and Hoon Dok Hae, and True Father was merciful that day, and we “only” did five hours of Hoon Dok Hae. I was a little bit tired but I felt a little bit bad for Pastor Michael, who did not understand everything that day. (To Pastor Michael: Were you OK that day? Michael: Yes.) That day Father did five hours of Hoon Dok Hae in the morning, so he did a total of ten hours of Hoon Dok Hae. I still don’t know where his spiritual endurance comes from, but one thing that is certain is that we were totally powerless in front of Father’s endurance.

On the way back home we were talking about our experience. Some people said it was their first time to see Father that close, so they were grateful that Father let them have such an opportunity in their life. Other people said they were so happy to see Father eating very well even though he had suffered a recent cold. To me it’s always amazing that no matter how long Father does Hoon Do kHae, at the end of the day I always say thank you to Father that he wants to be with us, that he always loves us and that he always cares about us. Aju!

Whatever the seasons, and however our lives are changing and evolving, let us always know that God and True Parents are there with us. They’re protecting us; they’re giving us courage and victory in every path, in every endeavor that we make. Let’s take this time to gather our hearts in prayer:

Hyung Jin Nim’s Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for this day that You have blessed upon us. Thank You so much for allowing us to be here in this sanctuary together. Father, we pray that You may be with each of the families here today, and all of the families who are joining us via internet all over the world. We know that over 10,000 families are visiting over the internet from across the world. Father, we pray that today You may have your blessings and Your abundance shower down upon them. Father, we pray that You may be with them in their personal lives, in their career work, in their artistic endeavors, in whatever You have called them to do.

Father we pray that we may be honest with ourselves and know that in the end it is not because of our own talent but because of Your mercy, because of Your grace, that we are able to truly live a victorious life. Father, thank You so much for giving us that strength today; we pray that You may fill us up today, that You will give us more courage to go forth in 2009 and reap more harvest; that we may go forth and bring more victory to our families, to our work environment and into all the different areas of our life.

Father, be with us this year. We know that there will be some storms and tribulations, but, Father, we are not afraid. Father, we know that You are with us, and we know that we will make it through, just as we did in the past. Father, thank You so much for gathering us here today. We pray that all the glory and joy may be unto You this day, and that You may see Your children, that You may see your world and truly be at peace and in joy. We pray once again all together as one, as central blessed families. Aju!

Today I’d like to ask you all to pray for one young sister. She’s in high school, and she was in a car accident. Her name is Po Yoon.

Thank you brothers and sisters. You know, there are times in our lives and certain occurrences that we can’t explain, and certain events and circumstances that happen even to good people. Sometimes during those times it’s so difficult to sort out what’s happening, and so impossible to understand. I remember when Young Jin Hyung passed away, our family was totally in confusion, but God worked a miracle through that.

All of us started seeing life differently; we started asking more important questions. We started trying to value each other more, and through that, ten years later when I look at our own family, I see we’ve matured tremendously. We’ve really gotten to a level that we never even imagined in the past.

It’s the same in our own lives when we have some circumstances – and they do happen – difficulties and events, even when some loved one that we know and love so well, who is so good and really an exemple in many ways, even when all of a sudden that kind of good person passes away, it’s always so difficult to come to grips with that. But God is asking us to have the power to know that even though we can’t understand everything, that’s OK. God is asking us to have the power and the will to go forward and make more victory in our lives. And when we do that we honor that person who is passing (into spirit world), who is kind of sacrificing themselves so that we may become enlightened, so that we may look at our lives in a different way. Many times that’s a gift that we don’t deserve. It’s a gift that many times comes in moments of deep despair and tragedy, but I really do believe, I’ve experienced it myself, that there were invisible hands at work.

Thank you for praying for Po Yoon and her family. We know that they are strong and that they are going to get through this. 2009 is of course going to have obstacles that we all will face, but it’s important to remember that life has to move forward and that it’s so important not to fall into despair, and to always have hope in our lives. When we do that, we start inspiring other people. When we have hope, everything is possible.

If you are ready to overcome in 2009, give it up for God and True Parents! Give it up! Thank you so much. I am ready for 2009 after that song!

Interesting story by Hyung Jin Nim:

You know, we always like to start with something a little interesting. I heard a story about a big Thanksgiving Day. A certain family received a thanksgiving card with a beautiful painting of a pilgrim family on their way to church. Grandma showed the card to her small grandchild and said, “The pilgrim children liked to go to church. They liked to go to church with their mothers and fathers.” The grandson looked up at Grandma and said, “Are you sure about that, Grandma? Why is the daddy carrying a rifle?”

Main sermon by Hyung Jin Nim:

Brothers and sisters, today I want to talk to you about “Building Your Spiritual Strength”. You know, in order to live the Blessed life we have to know how to build our spiritual strength. Real spiritual strength comes from the small challenges and small victories that we accumulate, whether we realise it or not. Every day, by the thoughts that we have or the words or actions that we participate in, we are either creating small victories or small losses. These small victories or losses accumulate. They aggregate and then they become eventually big victories or eventually big losses. Being aware of the importance of having the small victories and increasing their frequency is one of the keys to building your spiritual strength and living the Blessed life.

Let’s take a look at these scriptures today. Today we are going to look at Mark 10:27. Let’s look at Christianity today, “With men it is impossible but not with God, for all things are possible with God”. We are talking about God’s power here.

Let’s look at Confucianism, the Book of Songs, Ode 254, “Revere the anger of Heaven and presume not to drive about at your pleasure. Great Heaven is intelligent, clear-seeing and is with you in your wanderings.” Notice, it is there, it is ever-present. Heaven also understands what we are doing.

Let’s take a look at the Koran today: “Unto God belongs the sovereignty of the Heavens and Earth and all that is therein, and it is He who has power over all things.” Once again we see that. We understand that in life it is so important to accumulate spiritual strength and power. At the same time we need to understand that God really is the one giving us that strength.

Let’s take a look at Father’s Earthly Life and Spirit World, Volume 1, “Once you realise the original spiritual strength, your mind and body become one naturally. Unless a revolution occurs from the root, and unless we discover the origin that can correct everything from the bottom of the root, there is no reason to seek the ideal.” Again, we are talking about the original spiritual strength that we have to get down to, stemming from God.

There is a process called muscle hypotrophy. That is a very fancy word to just say muscle growth. When you weight train and when you build muscle, essentially you are tearing your muscles. You are ripping them; you are damaging your muscle tissue. The day after you work out, after you have a strenuous workout, you are going to feel very sore. You are sore because the muscles have what is scientifically known as micro trauma or micro damage. If you continue to work out, you will continue to damage your muscles and you will actually get weaker. You will get atrophy which means lose muscle mass. As you let your muscles rest and you eat protein, your muscles use a process called protein synthesis and it overcompensates. This makes the muscle bigger and stronger to reduce the risk of repeat damage. When you work out again at a higher level of intensity and difficulty, you actually tear the muscles again. You rip them; you give them trauma; you give them damage. Then they rebuild, they get bigger and stronger, and so they don’t get damaged again. That is how actual muscle growth happens.

It is the same in our lives, spiritually, with our spiritual muscles. Every day we are training our spiritual muscles. Every time you have a negative thought about yourself like “I am not attractive, I am incapable, I am not intelligent,” whenever you say these kinds of things you are tearing your muscles.

If you continue to do this without rebuilding your muscles spiritually, you will atrophy the muscle and the muscle will actually become weaker and weaker and these thoughts and these things will overpower you.

Every time you defeat these negative thoughts or these negative words that people may have put into you, by turning it around into faithful words like, “God has given me infinite creativity. I am made in His image. God believes in me, that’s why He created me. That’s why I am here. God blessed me. I am here to live my blessed promise. I am here to live the blessed life,” every time we do that, you see, what we are doing? We are rebuilding those tears, rebuilding that trauma. Whenever we do that, our spiritual muscles are growing stronger and then that is reducing the risk of repeat damage in the future. The more we train our spiritual muscles, the more they get stronger. They become more fit and it becomes harder for those opposed to us, or archangels, to defeat or steal our enthusiasm for life, steal our belief in our own potential etc.

In the martial arts world there is a saying that goes, “I do not fear the thousands of attacks you have practiced once, but I do fear the one attack you have practiced a thousand times.” What that means is that basically the one attack has accumulated so much victory; it has accumulated so much practice in the dojo, in the sparring or practice. When you end up battling a real master of martial arts, they can get you with one move, the same move, in a thousand different ways.

Some of you have practiced Kendo here, or Kondo; that is the art of the Samurai swords you practice with the bamboo sticks. If you have ever duelled a Kendo master, they finish you with the same strike almost every single time; every single time they can finish you with the overhead strike on your head. They can literally go through a whole room of people defeating each one with the exact same finish move.

And it is like that in life. See, once you develop a very victorious strong mind then that one mindset, that one basic move, can help you overcome a room full of opponents, circumstances, situations that would on another day bring you down. But just like that Kendo master, you can defeat all those circumstances even in one day. The more you train it, the more you train that move, that victorious mind, it gets stronger, it builds, it becomes harder to beat, it becomes harder to overcome. That one victorious mind can fight defeat. It can overcome fear or failure or doubt or overworrying (too much worries) or feelings of indecision or despair. Training ourselves every time we come up to service and listening to words of faith, being around people who are victorious in their minds, we start receiving that power, we start building our own strength, we start sharpening that move, so to speak.

One psychologist from Harvard, Dr. Gilbert, spoke about the evolutionary advantages of different species. He gave an example of monkeys that have simple tool-making skills. They can use a stick to put down an ant hole and then the ants crawl on to the stick and then the monkeys can eat the ants from that stick. That would be seen as an evolutionary advantage over other species that cannot do that. He went on to ask the question then, “What is it that humans have as the advantage over other species?” Many people have debated this. What is our advantage, in the end, over other species? Certainly it is not our physical attributes. We do not have nasty sharp teeth or razor claws. We do not have the kind of body mass like elephants or mammoths or whatever. Many have proposed that the human species has this advantage – the advantage of consciousness, or the ability for example to wield fire as some say, or the ability to create weapons. (They say) that this is our advantage over animals, in evolutionary terms.

But Dr. Gilbert made a very stunning and interesting statement and conclusion about what he thinks is actually our own advantage over animals. He said, “Our great advantage over animals is our ability to worry about the future”! He actually said that our advantage over animals is the ability to worry about the future! Some of you are doing that very well, by the way! He was saying that because human beings can worry about the future, and that is why they started creating weapons for example to protect themselves from a big lion that was going to come and eat them; or use the fire in a way that was going to warm them; or build a house that was going to protect from a storm that may happen in two weeks or a month; or maybe create laws that govern us, when we are talking about nations, so that there is not utter chaos. We can worry about the future, and he is saying that that is actually our biggest evolutionary advantage. But then he goes on to say something else. That is not all. The ability to think about the future, to worry about the future (is the first point), but then, this is the next point: to try to come up with a solution so that there is not a negative result. That is the closing part of that statement. That is the real key to our advantage.

If you have ever said, “I don’t see how it’s going to get any better. That child will never change. What if I fail? What if I don’t succeed? What if my marriage breaks?”, if you have ever said any of these things, worrying about the future, you are using your evolutionary advantage but let’s realise, you are not using it fully. Remember, our ability to worry is one part of that advantage, the other is problem solving so that a negative result does not occur.

People worry all the time. This is not a special skill that only some people have. Almost everybody has this ability to worry a lot, and a lot of people do it.

But having faith in your future is a skill, seen from this perspective. Having faith does not mean that you don’t worry. You do worry even though you have faith, but it means you don’t get stuck in the over worrying mind. You don’t get trapped in there. With faith in your ability, with faith in your future, faith in your family, you are changing the thoughts of worry into thoughts of hope. You are changing the feelings of possible defeat into feelings of possible victory. You are motivating yourself to use your creativity and overcoming power to make a good outcome.

Of course we know that we can’t always do it by ourselves. There are so many people that help us in our life, and God of course organizes and orchestrates the rest, but doing this portion is our five percent responsibility. When we do that, that helps God and the people around us to help support us do the other ninety five percent.

You know, when I was in high school, I was so crazy about martial arts training. I loved Bruce Lee. I loved Bruce Lee in high school. You should have seen me! I had the Bruce Lee hair and everything. Because I devoted all my energy to training, I didn’t do so well in school. But Young Hyung helped me. He began to help me in college with school studies, and one of the things that Young Hyung recognized about my study habits was one slight problem. And that problem was that I never did my homework!! That would be a slight problem!

He said, “OK, we have to start with that problem. We have to fix that problem.” He told me, “Look. Doing well in school is very simple. You just perfect your homework. See it as training. It is training. Your homework is like training. And try to write down everything that the teacher says in school. That’s training. Do that. That’s like Bruce Lee in the beginning when he enters the dragon. When he is fighting in the front, he is training. You have got to imagine yourself at school like that, OK? That is what you are doing.” And, you know, he explained to me “Look. It’s like martial arts training. Homework is like practice for the big day, when you battle your opponent, your test. You are battling like Chuck Norris in Return of the Dragon at the end. It’s your big test. That’s your opponent, OK?”

As soon as he explained it like that, I said “Oh, that’s so fun. Studying has never been that much fun in my life.” I started to understand. He started changing my view of studying. Studying, too, was also practice, and by perfecting homework practice I was perfecting my skills. He was explaining to me, “When you do this, you are getting stronger. Your muscles are getting stronger. You are getting stronger mentally so when you get to the test day, you are going to be very strong for your opponent.”

I also expressed this another way when we started ministry. I did not have the spiritual strength in the beginning to be confident in whom I was, and to openly tell people what I did. I didn’t have the confidence to go around and say, “Hey, I’m a Unificationist minister, how are you, etc.” I went through all the different thoughts, “Well, Father said we are not really a religion so I guess that would not really make me a Unificationist minister, etc. And in the perfect world there is no real need for religion, so I guess there is no real need to call myself a Unification minister when people ask me. I can maybe call myself a Peace Ambassador or something.”

But I realised that this kind of thinking was actually very harmful, very doubly harmful. It was harmful because it was not being honest about the fact that we are a very authentic and deep, spiritual, religious tradition. It was damaging to the fact that every time I said that, I was undercutting True Parents, every single member who sacrificed for the movement, everything we stand for, believe in, everything we have faith in, and undermined every current member who is fighting the good fight of faith and trying to share his faith.

I realised, number two, because we are not in the perfect world we do need faith to help us build strong spiritual muscles as well, so we can be victorious and blessed in our life. And so with practice I became stronger. I became spiritually stronger, more confident about who I was, and more proud about what I represented, an authentic and deep spiritual tradition.

Because when I looked at it from a scholarly perspective, there is no religion that has succeeded this much during the founder’s lifetime. And now I am very comfortable. I comfortably tell people. I told the lady at the pizza store, “Yeh, I am a Unification minister. How are you doing?” And if somebody asks me I answer, “Oh yes, I am a Unification minister.” I tell very easily now. I feel that I have built my spiritual muscles enough so that I can explain that naturally.

This week we went to pay our respects to Cardinal Kim. He was a cardinal here in Korea, very respected. A hundred thousand Catholic devotees came out to actually visit his casket in the Myeong Dong cathedral here in Seoul. We actually contacted them the day after he passed away. I just requested, “I really would like to pay my respects to Cardinal Kim. Is that possible?” We just did it in faith. We did it in faith. We did not believe that they were going to let us in because our theological positions are very different, and the Catholic tradition does not necessarily recognise us as a religious theological tradition.

But it was very gracious. They allowed and granted us permission to come. We went on Tuesday evening and there were thousands of people, they were in line in Myeong Dong, wrapping around the whole block. There were thousands of people waiting. They very, very graciously escorted us to the VIP area and we signed our names. We signed not as Peace Ambassadors; we signed as Unification Church representatives, Hyung Jin Moon and Yeon Ah Lee. They gave us this ribbon and they escorted us up to the cathedral and they took us actually right in front of the glass casket. It was a huge honor for us, a huge honor. We felt so moved at that moment. We felt so moved, and so we gave a full bow to the cardinal, to pay respect to such a beloved spiritual leader here in Korea.

I looked at myself and I realised, “Wow, this is quite a good victory for myself.” I said, “I feel I come to the next level.” I felt very comfortable representing our tradition. They had us on the big screen and everyone knew who we were etc. But we wanted to show reverence. We did not come there arrogant. We did not come there trying to boast. We came there in humility and reverence and thankfulness. When we went up there, we could hear people saying in the back, “That’s Moon’s boy” and things like that.

When we went up to shake the bishop’s hand and introduce ourselves as Unification ministers, son of Rev. Moon and things like that, we could sense that he was not exactly elated to see us but we were so grateful that they allowed us to participate in that ceremony. Every morning for months and months we prayed outside that cathedral actually, in front of the statue of Mother Mary. We prayed to Jesus and Mother Mary, and I really do believe those small acts of faith start building those spiritual muscles, building that kind of strength.

So when we went there, even though we came representing the church, even though we came and everybody knew who were – and there were people talking and we could hear them saying these kinds of things – we were still confident and still dignified and kept a smile on our face, and thanked them with graciousness and bowed in reverence and humility. It was a wonderful thing. We really understood that we can develop and cultivate our spiritual strength.

True Father in prison also trained himself to never fear anything. When he was in prison, he prayed a prayer of gratitude. We talk about that very often. Every breath he took, he almost did it like this meditation practice that we do. Every second he could be conscious, every time he was alive, he was praying that prayer. Whenever he worried, doubted or had moments of disbelief like, “The providence is over, it’s done, the execution time is in two weeks, its over,” whenever he was thinking like this, he always prayed that prayer, “Don’t fear, I am going to be thankful. It’s going to happen.”

After the experience of torture, war, death, famine etc. he was ready for any future challenge or battle. Through those experiences, all those different things that he encountered, war, death, bombs, concentration camps and torture, all that kind of things made him have that this incredibly victorious, undefeatable spirit of mind. He has this incredible spirit that cannot be overcome. It is so powerful that even at the age of ninety years old, he continues to fight every single day. He continues to declare who he is, he is very open about who he is. He never tries to hide it. He is very open about who he is. He proclaims who he is, his responsibility etc. When we see that, we see that he has accumulated a very strong spiritual strength and that he comes across with this kind of confidence, and that the many, many tribulations in his life have accumulated into that kind of victorious mind.

Brothers and sisters, what can we learn today? Learning to have and accumulate small victories in our thought life, in our mind life, this leads to having big victories in our real life. This leads to building our spiritual strength in day-to-day practice.

Whenever we go, wherever we go, we can be training our spiritual victorious mind, we can train our thoughts. Every time we doubt, everytime we have doubts in our talents, our ability, in our future, in our children, or in our families etc., every time we do that, it is an opportunity to train. It’s a bell of mindfulness (it reminds us), “It’s time to train. I can get stronger through this right now.”

When we turn those defeat thoughts into victorious thoughts, then we are getting stronger. Just like that muscle growth, we are growing that strength, that spiritual strength. Then when we do encounter obstacles, when we do encounter tribulations and challenge, we are stronger, we are more fit, we are ready to overcome it, and I do believe that if we go forth in 2009 with that kind of victorious strength, I do believe we will find ourselves with more victory, more illumination, and more peace, and we will live that blessed life that True Parents have blessed us to live. If you receive it, let us give it up for God and True Parents.

Final Prayer by Hyung Jin Nim:

Heavenly Father, thank You for this day that You have blessed upon us. We thank You for the opportunity to be here in Seoul, Korea, in the Fatherland, here in this historic sanctuary where True Father ministered. We pray that You can bless this holy place, that You may bless the people here who are Your children, the children that You have waited for thousands and thousands of years! Let us know that we are the ones that You have waited for. Let us know that we are the ones who are going to bring ou joy and lift You up on high, so that You can see the world and be glad to see us.

We thank you so much. We know that this is a great year. We know that 2009 never comes again, it only comes once. We pray that in this year we will become wiser, we become stronger in our faith, we become more victorious in our thoughts, in our speech, in our actions, and we become more blessed in everything that we do. Father, be with us this time. We pray that you may be with each and every one of the family members here today. Father, give us the strength to build our spiritual power and strength. Not so that we can boast, but so that we may serve and be blessings to this world. Thank You so much for giving us this awesome opportunity of life. We know it only comes once and we are offering our greatest gratitude to You this day. In an everlasting love we pray with thanks. Aju!

Transcribed by: Prof. Robin Debacker/Mrs. Jacinta Moreau

Edited by: Rev. Bruno Klotz

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: