The Words of Ariana Shin-Sun Moon (Park – daughter of In Jin Moon)
Before the sermon we watched a video clip showing the major events of 2010
1) Ariana began by wishing everyone a happy New Year. Her family just came back from Las Vegas where they spent time with True Parents. They are doing very well.
2) She expressed how amazing this past year was and how proud we all should be, and she is, to be a Unificationist.
3) She heard that in NY there was a lot of snow -- but it was nice in Las Vegas. She expressed how happy she is to find all of us happy and healthy and well.
4) Around this time of year, the beginning of the New Year, a lot of people think about the 12 months that have passed and they look forward to the 12 months that are coming. And a lot of people are thinking about making New Year's resolutions -- you have written them down, or you may have recited them. A lot of us have our minds set on becoming better people in the coming year.
5) New Year's resolutions might be something like waking up earlier each day, or studying harder for school every day, or working on family relationships that you felt you didn't work on enough in the past year.
6) In our list of resolutions, probably a lot of you, herself included, had the resolution to get back into shape after the holidays. It's interesting that when you go to gyms at the beginning of the year they are packed. Because all these people are slaving at the exercise machines saying "I'm going to be here every day to work off the extra cheesecake I ate over the holidays." But somewhere along the line, by March, you will notice that the numbers at the gyms have dwindled immensely. This is true even though your New Year's resolution was to work out every day of the year.
7) Maybe someone had to run an unexpected errand, or was invited to a dinner party, or just decided to be lazy that day -- whatever the reason, many times in our life we make a determination to do something, when we were initially inspired and motivated, but over time that kind of determination has a tendency to wear out.
8) It's like many of our older brothers and sisters who were inspired when they first joined our movement -- and maybe they began to question over the years, and inspiration was not as strong as it used to be. For example, many of the blessed children, in the context of church activities and Sunday service, maybe they have the resolution to live better and love better. But it is not that easy to hold on to that resolution once you go out into the battlefield of the world, because your motivation and inspiration may diminish, because you kind of forget that initial inspiration that you once had.
9) Or maybe you go to a concert or a show and you see a very talented dancer, a talented musician (like those here at Lovin Life) and maybe as you are watching the performers -- you think to yourself "I wish that I could be like that." So you may resolve to practice every day of the year to acquire the skills that that person has. Many of you must have thought that a few times.
10) But when it actually comes down to practicing for long, tedious, exhausting hours, that motivation may dry up a little bit. Many of you brothers and sisters have experienced this. Ariana has experienced it. You forget the inspiration that you once felt, that drive you once felt to be as good as the performer who inspired you in the beginning.
11) We have to remember that our actions are the results of our thoughts. Everything that we do, from Ariana's experience, comes from the heart and the mind -- and then everything after that, after you've committed your mind to it, should not be too hard to do.
12) For example, if we perform a simple task like wiggling the microphone, taking a step forward, or picking up a pencil -- we already know what it means to achieve. We already have the recipe for success ingrained in us, because what we've done when we look at the pencil and decide to pick it up and then actually pick it up -- the process is, we have a desire, we convert the desire into a thought, and we convert that thought into action.
13) So everything starts in the mind. Just like New Year's resolutions, everything starts in the mind. As long as you exercise your mind there is nothing that you can't do with your body. Once you commit your mind to something there is nothing that you cannot do. Isn't that right?
14) It's a three-step process; conceive, believe, and achieve. It sounds simple but it can get pretty complicated. It is a phrase that Ariana's mother would say to her -- encouraging her to keep her motivation, to keep her inspired.
15) The point that Ariana wanted to share with us today -- is that as we make our New Year's resolution -- it's not about finding or declaring a New Year's resolution -- it's about dutifully carrying through with that resolution until the next year comes. Isn't that right?
16) Ariana wants to take this opportunity to talk about, during this time that a lot of us are thinking about how to make ourselves better, how to accomplish the things we want to accomplish -- she wants to share about entitlement. What it might mean to feel entitled to something.
17) The word entitlement comes from the Latin word which means title and the word in. It is like -- "in the title." When you are in a state of entitlement, when you feel that you are entitled to something, it's almost as if you exist within the context of a title, or you lose your identity to the concept of a title.
18) This way of thinking about entitlement is the very antithesis of living for the sake of others, because you are so focused on yourself, on what you want, on what you deserve and the certain privilege that you have over someone else. The ability to love someone else is diminished.
19) Someone might feel that they are entitled to knowledge, someone to money, and someone to power, or some of us young people feel that we are entitled to a spouse. But we have to remember that everyone in the world, in our community, we each have our own path to take and we all walk at different speeds. Isn't that right?
20) For example, you may encounter someone in your life who feels that they are more enlightened than you, or feels that they have discovered a truth that you do not have -- when we do feel like this, we have to make sure that we don't stand in the position that we have found the truth and start pointing fingers at those who we feel are un-enlightened.
21) We each have our own path to take. Just like all of us here look different and we probably all walk at different speeds. Ariana wants to encourage us to have a more understanding heart. This could be a resolution of some sort.
22) If we are constantly pointing fingers, because you want to be leaders, how about if we take a step back and think about what it means to be a leader. Because what it means to be a leader is to serve someone, to give. Not to lecture or yell at someone, but to offer yourself up to that person.
23) One thing that Ariana notices when she is with True Parents in Las Vegas (she said hello to them -- because they are listening in) immediately when her grandparents see her and her siblings, they want to feed them. In Las Vegas they were all gathered around True Parents when some members brought in lunch for them -- and then True Father told him to come close and he told them that he had caught the King Salmon which was in front of them. And True Mother began to feed each one of them with her chopsticks, from the eldest to the youngest, not just once, but several times.
24) Seeing this, Ariana is always overwhelmed by True Parents' desire to nourish others. Because, giving someone food symbolizes a selfless act of love. They were given lunch, prepared for them, and the first thing they do when they see others is to give it to them. Ariana found this to be very touching -- and she wanted to share this experience of giving with us.
25) Returning to the topic of entitlement, Ariana shared a story about a friend of hers. When her parents and her were beginning ballroom ministry -- taking it to different states other than New York, she asked a friend of hers to join her and her parents so that she would have a partner to dance with, a partner who could help teach the moves that she wanted to teach. He was a student of Harvard who belonged to the Harvard ballroom dance team. He enjoyed very much traveling with her family -- because wherever they traveled her parents would pay for all of his expenses -- airfare, hotels, meals. They treated him like a sibling of Ariana's and in return he contributed many hours to the ballroom dancing ministry.
26) But Ariana began to sense that he began to expect certain things from her family. Sometimes when he would visit at the Manhattan Center he would assume that there's a hotel room and meals prepared for him. Ariana never said anything to him, but at the end of each class she would thank him for investing in the ballroom dance ministry and tell him how much he is having impact -- and thank him from the bottom of her heart for coming all the way from Boston to New York to teach for a just a couple of hours. But, when she was sharing these words of gratitude -- what her heart most wanted was for him to respond by saying "thank your parents for hosting me and covering all my expenses and for taking me sightseeing with your family as if I were your brother." But instead, it was always along the lines of "yeah, you are welcome." It always felt somewhat lacking, although she never said anything to him about it. But she did not have the satisfaction that gratitude was being returned to her. And isn't that what we want?
27) Some time passed and she was doing the ballroom ministry on her own -- and there came the opportunity to take the ministry abroad. And so she invited another one of her friends -- she saw it as a wonderful opportunity to witness in a natural way to some of her friends. And so she invited someone else to come to help her teach dance. But, when the friend who initially helped her found out about this he called her and asked why she did not invite him. Why did this friend get to go, but not him. Immediately Ariana felt somewhat bad because she made someone feel badly, but she had not realized that, because he had the privilege to travel with all his expenses paid, -- it became something that he began to expect. It became something that he felt he was entitled to have.
28) This made Ariana think a lot about what it means to be entitled, what it means to give and to receive. When you feel entitled you feel that you, out of all people, deserve a certain privilege. You somehow feel that you are better than someone. But we cannot feel like that -- because entitlement in that sense prevents us from exercising all of our abilities to love other people. Isn't that right brothers and sisters?
29) It is interesting, because the principle of give-and-take can be seen everywhere in ballroom dancing. If the gentleman and the lady are about to dance the gentleman offers his left hand -- there is specific protocol -- and then she takes with her right hand and they form together a frame, which is how a couple holds each other when they are dancing. There are very specific rules to the frame. It maintains a level of respect for your partner, giving your partner personal space. You can't let that frame collapse or go any which way. It is a symbol of respect and stability within the dance partner relationship. There's something special about the frame.
30) If someone were to push someone, the other person would respond by moving back with the momentum of the force of that push. They would stop moving back only when the momentum of that push wore out. In ballroom dancing when you're connected in a frame, if the gentleman were to push the lady back, the lady would fall back -- but because they are connected she would pull back on him with the equal force. So the energy you put out comes right back to you. Gentleman, if you were to push your lady out very harshly or strongly, that same force will come back at you. The same with the ladies.
31) If we respect our dance partner as being equal to us, if we are aware of how they feel, then they are going to do the same thing. It is very interesting, a lot of feelings and thoughts can be communicated through how you hold your partner. If you hold your partner with respect your partner will want to hold you with respect.
32) This principle of give-and-take, of push and pull, it can be applied to daily life just as principles of daily life can be applied to ballroom dancing. If there is someone who thinks he has the right to push others around more than others, pushing all his life -- pushing and pushing. He needs to realize that, in proportion to that push a pull is going to come back and knock him off his feet.
33) In order to dance beautifully you have to have an awareness of your partner, you have to love your partner, and treat him or her as a brother or sister and as an equal. If you want to live beautifully, you can't just live by yourself and ignore everyone -- you have to have an awareness of others.
34) It is very interesting, there are a lot of intertwining principles between real life and ballroom dancing that make ballroom dancing very beautiful.
35) At the start of the New Year a lot of us have a desire to accomplish something, or we want to turn our dreams into some sort of reality. Maybe we want to help create and raise a generation of peace. May be we want to be the representative of that generation of peace. Maybe we want to be leaders, church leaders. But we have to remember what it means to be leader. It means to serve and have a heart of gratitude, to not judge, and understand that everyone walks at their own pace, and everyone comes to certain realizations at their own time.
36) One thing Ariana's grandfather says is, "One must have a mind to make people happier and console the sorrowful person in order to be a central figure." It's the idea of almost elevating someone higher than you see yourself. This idea of being happy, or making others happy, is tied closely to the idea of being happy for someone when someone is doing well. Sometimes when a good friend of ours has good fortune fall upon them and we are not doing so well ourselves, our immediate reaction is jealousy. It's a natural human instinct.
37) For Ariana what it means to live a religious life is to practice living for the sake of others and within that concept practice being happy for others when something wonderful happens to them.
38) Ariana shared a poem by Jonathan Swift -- it expresses how we might feel when someone is doing better than we are. (the title of the poem: On the Death of Dr. Swift -- below are the sections Ariana quoted)
If this perhaps your patience
Let reason and experience prove.
We all behold with envious eyes
Our equal raised above our size.
Who would not at a crowded show
Stand high himself, keep others low?
I love my friend as well as you:
But why should he obstruct my view?
Then let me have the higher post:
Suppose it but an inch at most.
Dear honest Ned is in the gout,
Lies rackt with pain, and you without:
How patiently you hear him groan!
How glad the case is not your own!
39) Jonathan Swift is addressing -- who in this world would want someone to do better than us. What it means to practice being a Unificationist, being who we are is to practice being happy for someone.
40) (the poem continues)
If in battle you should find
One whom you love of all mankind,
Had some heroic action done,
A champion kill'd, or trophy won;
Rather than thus be overtopt,
Would you not wish his laurels cropt?
Ariana described a laurel crown. It is given to you when you are honored or when you are being venerated. It is a strong symbol of honor. When something good happens to someone you're thinking, I wish that crown was mine. It is human to want that. We make mistakes. We're not perfect. This is how we go about resolving our mistakes.
To all my foes, dear Fortune, send
Thy gifts; but never to my friend:
I tamely can endure the first;
But this with envy makes me burst.
This is a very interesting way to portray the human mind. He is saying, don't give your gifts to someone who is beloved to me, but give them to my enemy because I can deal with it better. Sometimes in our lives it might be the hardest thing to see someone who we very much love happy, while we are not. Isn't that true? It's a natural thing to feel. But if you truly love that person, then you would want to make that person happy and you would want to rejoice in their happiness.
42) Ariana shared how there were many times in her life when she was jealous of her siblings and other people. It is natural to feel that way. Most of us here in this room have gone through enough to acknowledge that feeling, and to set it aside and to be happy for someone. Isn't that right?
43) Ariana shared a personal experience she had as a daughter of our senior pastor, her mother. She spent more than a year watching her mother, going from a mother, dragging her children to piano lessons through snowstorms, to someone standing at the pulpit every Sunday. She shared a passage from True Father, "The most difficult thing for a person to do is to speak in front of others. When you stand before people and speak to them everyone pays attention to you, everyone. They all listen. They all criticize and they all judge for themselves. That is why it is very difficult for anyone to speak in front of many people."
44) Ariana shared that she does not know what we are thinking right now, but at this moment she is terrified. But she wanted to share this passage and then share a personal experience. One time she was standing next to her mother when she was greeting all the brothers and sisters after Sunday service. And she remembers one sister who came to her mother and looked at her, a little fiercely in the eye, and said, "You really like it up there don't you. You look like you're having the time of your life."
45) She remembers that her mother responded by just smiling. She is a firm believer in laughing away anything that might be hurtful. Because that is the only way to prevent them from hurting you. If you take things with a light heart, all your troubles seem that much lighter. After standing next to her mother for more than a year -- she heard words of praise, words of condemnation, very painful words, called every name in the dictionary, and then she has seen her just laugh it off. If we want to be leaders in the future this is something we need to learn to do -- we have to know when to laugh it off, and when to be serious, and when we can't do anything about something we have to be able to just laugh it off when it hurts us. That will make life that much happier.
46) Ariana doesn't think there is any person out there who wants to be in a position where they are vulnerable. As True Father says, no one wants to be open to criticism and judgment. If there is, that person is not in their right mind.
47) These are things she wanted to share with us, little snippets from her family, because you are all her family, the family of Lovin Life. And she wants to close with a message -- as we go about this New Year, as we strive to be leaders in our community, as we strive to do good things, and maybe if we make a couple of mistakes along the way, we are striving to pick ourselves back up from those mistakes -- she wants us to remember to have a heart of gratitude, which is what she always strives to do. Sometimes she doesn't manage to maintain a heart of gratitude, but it's something that is always in the back of her head.
48) She wants to encourage us to send out positive energy, just like in ballroom dancing, so that whatever energy comes back to you it will be positive. She wants us to treat our brothers and sisters with respect, because in turn they will naturally treat you with respect.
49) Most of all, for her message today, she wants us to learn how to be happy for other people. Because, someone's happiness in our community should be our own, because we are one family. Our family cannot be divided into different factions or different siblings or different races. Someone's victory in our family is our own victory.
50) Please work hard at your New Year resolutions. Maybe one New Year resolution can be to keep your New Year resolutions. And have a wonderful, wonderful Sunday. Thank you very much!