The Words of In Jin Moon from 2009
Good morning, brothers and sisters. Welcome to Lovin’ Life Ministry on this beautiful Sunday morning. I’m delighted to see all of you once again. I hope you had a great week. I’m sure all of you have heard some of the breaking news in the last week of the passing of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. These two people were truly icons of American pop culture, media, and entertainment. When I think about Michael Jackson, I think about what an incredible genius and talent he was, truly a gift from God. From the tender age of five years old, he was thrust upon the stage together with the fabulous Jackson Five, his siblings. He gave so much joy and happiness to a lot of us here.
I know that a lot of the young entertainers in my industry were truly inspired by his example, and I know that the Thriller album, which sold millions and millions, inspired not only some of the big singers and songwriters in the industry but also continually the up-and-coming young artists and fresh new talent of this new generation.
When I see his life, I can relate to him a little. He was a public person. That is one facet of his life that we in the audience know about. But we also know that wherever there’s a public side, there’s the private side as well. Watching this great talent go through the journey of his life, coming to a realization of who he is and what he wants to be, going through the process of self-discovery that we all know is not an easy one, we saw how he transformed himself many times and became what he thought he needed to be at that point.
This sense of dissatisfaction at who you are, always wanting to be better, always trying to make improvements in yourself is something that every public person goes through. I’m no different; I was born to a very public family. I was thrust upon the stage from the moment I was born, and I’ve been watched ever since I was a little girl. Here I am at what I like to think of as the ripe old age of forty-something, and I’m still being watched and looked upon with a great deal of curiosity. I’m sure I fall short of many people’s expectations, but hopefully I’m doing a good enough job to maybe not be the inspiration but just the reminder behind the inspiration.
Truly all of us, having divinity within us, have a secret key to our own happiness and well-being, and empowerment that I am only reminding you of. Of course, in the 1980s I was a great fan of Michael Jackson, too. In the late 1970s, when Farrah Fawcett was the face of the gorgeous American blonde, I myself tried out her hairstyle, maybe not to the effect that I wanted, but I tried, as well as a lot of young ladies in the audience.
These people have almost become part of our family, part of our life experience. Even though we don’t know them, we feel like we do know them and that they’ve become part of our lives. When I look at Michael Jackson now that I’m a little older and have worn out my Thriller album from the 1980s, I come to look at him from a mother’s point of view. I see his own pain, his struggle, and his desperation to find who he is.
We know, as fans of Michael Jackson or as his critics, what he was. We know that he was the King of Pop. We know that he was a fabulous dancer. We know that he did a lot of good work trying to help children. But we also know that he was known for the scandals and child molestation issues, was in and out of court battles, was severely in debt, $500 million; he was just in the process of remaking himself and looking forward to the world tour he was planning.
Here was Michael Jackson, a fabulous success at what he was in terms of his career as a singer and entertainer. Many of us in this room are fabulous at what we are -- meaning in our chosen area of expertise or profession. I’m sure some of you are fabulous lawyers and others are incredible doctors. I know some of you are intuitive psychiatrists. And I know that some of you are incredible entertainers and artists yourselves. We just witnessed a great performance by the band here.
The world teaches us to think in terms of what we need to be, what we can be, and what we are as human beings. But many times the world and our parents have forgotten to teach us about who we are as individuals. Many people can be fabulous lawyers and doctors, and yet they could still be troubled, puzzled, and conflicted about who they really are.
The wonderful thing about True Parents, and the wonderful thing about coming to know God, our Heavenly Parent, is that we realize one awesome, incredible fact. Who are we? We are our Heavenly Parent’s children. We are our Heavenly Parent’s sons or daughters. That’s a profound and important starting point because when you know yourself, when you know who you are, then your life and your line to your destiny become very clear.
A great ancient Stoic philosopher named Epictetus said, “Know first who you are.” That’s the starting point to becoming a great man or a great woman. When we revel in the fact that first and foremost we are God’s sons and daughters, we realize that we have an incredible opportunity and ability to commune with our Lord, to commune with our Father and Mother in such a way that we can experience and actualize this incredible thing called true love: Love that is not fickle, love that is not temperamental, love that is not forever changing. This is true love, meaning the eternal love of God that is absolute, unique, and unchanging. This is something that we can enjoy eternally, not just for this brief moment in time.
When I heard on the news that Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett passed away, huge icons in our pop, media, and cultural world, I asked myself if Michael Jackson knew who he was. Maybe if he truly knew who he was, he might not have suffered as much as he did in trying to figure out, “What am I? Am I black or white? Am I supposed to look this way or that way? Am I supposed to be more like this or more like that?”
If you know who you are, then you become comfortable in your own skin. You become a very sound and grounded person because you know you’re not supposed to be something else. You know that you’re a good person. You know that, as a child of God, you want to live your life fulfilling the three blessings that God has given us -- to be fruitful, multiply, and have dominion over creation -- to reach for the things that are beyond ourselves. We as human beings have a duty, an obligation, and an incredible blessing and privilege to live lives in which we can become the perfect embodiments of this quality called true love. Therefore, we become absolute sons or daughters, become unchanging, unwavering sons or daughters, and therefore become eternal sons or daughters, truly celebrating life each and every day.
Here at the Manhattan Center we call our ministry Lovin’ Life because it’s a constant reminder that we are incredibly blessed to be given this opportunity to really leave our imprint, our signature upon the world, and to do it with a joyful, grateful heart, with a spirit of sharing, cooperation, and love.
Each human being is like God’s signature. Each and every one of us has been hand-crafted and signed by God. My father always told the children in the family, “Not only are you sons and daughters of God, but God has given you very special names.” My name in Korean means march of virtue. In an Oriental family, we often share a common Chinese character. So the second generation in my family, my siblings and I, all share the character Jin, meaning march of. My eldest sister’s name is Ye Jin, Ye meaning honor. And my older brother’s name was Hyo Jin, Hyo meaning filial piety. So my elder sister’s name is march of honor and nobility; my older brother’s name means march of filial piety. My name happens to be march of virtue. My younger brother Heung Jin’s name means march to arise or to ascend, and Un Jin means march of grace. Her name means beautiful, elegant grace. And so on.
My father always stressed to us, “You have to fulfill your destiny.” When God gives you a name through your parents, he is giving you his signature. It will be your signature upon the world, and it is up to you as a divine being how you want that signature to look. As a divine son or daughter, you have a magical thing called creativity. Through your own individual creativity expressed in an art form, perhaps in music, you’re going to leave memorable recordings of your work. Or if you’re a painter, you’re going become someone like Picasso, Kandinsky, Rembrandt, or Monet, and leave your signature to the world so that people can really share how incredible you are.
My father said that all of us as human beings have this gift, which is almost lying dormant. So it is our duty to practice applying the arts of true love by living a joyful life, a sacrificial life, living a life thinking about others more than ourselves every day. It means always leaving the room better than how you found it. These are the little lessons that my parents have taught us over the years. That’s something I carry with me all the time.
Usually when I get up in the morning, there’s a time during my meditation when I remember all the names of my siblings, and I wish them well. I remind myself of my name, and remind myself to march forward in virtue, to live a good life, and in such a way make every day worthwhile. Each day becomes a step closer to heaven and closer to God, our Heavenly Parent.
When I think about the question of who I am, especially who I am as God’s daughter, I’m often reminded of a fabulous Korean folk tale that is told over and over again. But the interesting thing about this folk tale is that it’s true. I’ve told this story in many different settings because it has such a profound meaning, with different layers and different metaphors that can be analyzed over and over again, depending on what issue I’d like to talk about. When we’re thinking about who we are, this is an incredibly profound tale.
This is a story about a king long ago who had a beautiful daughter. She brought much joy to the king and queen. She was such a precious child in that the little things made her cry, like the beauty of the sunrise, the beauty of a raindrop. She was a very sensitive and artistic soul, and as she got older the king realized that when she started to cry, she would not stop until she literally cried herself to sleep.
Perhaps the king had late-night talks with his queen about how they were going to get their daughter to stop crying. “Should we give her candy?” Maybe the queen said, “If you give her candy every time she cries, she might think that it’s a good thing to cry, that she’s being rewarded for crying, and maybe she’ll cry more. But worse than that, maybe she’ll come to rely on that candy as understanding it to mean comfort. Then maybe she’ll be a very big princess in the future. So maybe we should not give her candy.”
Or maybe the queen thought, “Should we give her something soft to hold and carry around?” Maybe the queen tried and hoped it could be the princess’ security teddy bear. But the story goes that anything the queen tried was not successful.
Finally the king decided that his last resort was to scare his daughter: “If you don’t stop crying, I’m going to marry you off to the village idiot,” (whose name was Pa-bo Undol, meaning the idiot Undol). So every time the princess cried, the king threatened her, “If you don’t stop crying, I’m going to marry you to the village idiot.” To his absolute amazement, she stopped! So whenever she started crying, the king spoke these words, “If you don’t stop crying, I’m going to marry you to the village idiot.”
After years passed, the beautiful princess reached the tender age of 16. The king thought, it’s time to find her a wonderful husband. The king searched high and low and found an awesome young man that he thought was fitting for a princess -- a highly educated man from a prominent family, well mannered and well cultured.
The king said, “My dear princess, I would like you to marry this man whom I have chosen for you.” Then the princess looked at her father with puzzled eyes and said, “Father, what are you talking about? I am already betrothed to somebody. How can you marry me to another man?” The king asked, “What are you talking about? Have you gone in the night and secretly married some scoundrel?” She said, “No, Father. Don’t you realize that you always promised to marry me off to the village idiot? I cannot marry this other man.” There was a bit of an altercation between the king and his daughter, and the princess said, “No, you’ve told me my whole life that the village idiot is going to be my husband.”
I’m sure at this time the king was thinking, “Holy cow! I really should have been careful of what I said. I never knew my daughter would take it literally.”
To the parents in the room it’s a good lesson in realizing the power of our words upon our children, whether they are in the form of love and grace or in the form of threat. The princess said, “No, father, you’ve already married me to the village idiot, so I will go and find my husband.”
Of course, the king was brokenhearted, but she took her belongings and went. Being a princess who grew up in a palace, she was an extremely educated woman and well versed in the esoteric martial arts. She was like a ninja. She knew how to jump through hoops and fly above the rooftops. She knew how to shoot an arrow smack into the target. She knew how to drive a horse and to have it become a means of whatever she wanted to do. She was almost like a superhero, but she gave all that up because she wanted to live up to the words that her father threatened her with: “You’re going to marry the village idiot.”
The king didn’t realize that his words of threat would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m sure the king was brokenhearted when the daughter finally left the palace. But she was confident in knowing who she was, that she was the daughter of God and the daughter of the country of Korea before she was the daughter of the king. She knew that, even maybe unbeknownst to the king, her Heavenly Parent had a special role for her to play. So she left the palace with an incredible amount of confidence and pride that she was going to find the village idiot and turn him into an incredible husband.
She left the palace and searched different parts of town and finally came upon Pa-bo Undol’s house. You really could not call it a house. It was more like a mud hut, where he lived with his mother. When the princess knocked on the gate, the mother came out to greet her. The mother was so overtaken by the beauty of the young princess that she thought she was seeing a ghost, so she cried out, “Be gone, you witch. What are you trying to do to me?” She feared some apparition had come to tempt her, so she tried to chase her away.
The princess said, “No, I am a princess, and I was promised to your son many years ago. Now that I’m 16 years old, I’m here to marry your son and become his bride, so you are my mother-in-law.” She gave a big bow.
The mother was flabbergasted and wondered, how could this be? She kept looking around, thinking that it had to be a trick. But she looked and looked, and the beautiful princess just stood there with the respect and honor that one would give to a mother-in-law. The mother-in-law was won over and invited the princess into the household. Thus began the married life of the princess and the village idiot.
Many years went by, and the king started hearing about a man who did incredible things for his community and his people, an erudite scholar who knew the art of calligraphy, who knew the Chinese characters like the back of his hand. He would write poetry that almost floated down the stream, it was so beautiful to behold and listen to. And at the same time he was an incredible warrior. He could out shoot anybody. If Robin Hood’s arrow would hit the target, the village idiot’s arrow would then split Robin Hood’s arrow in two. He could ride a horse like no one else. He knew how to command the troops with his charisma, but more than that, with his spirit because he knew that he was the son of God.
The thing about this story is that before meeting the princess, Pa-bo Undol was the village idiot. He was poor. Maybe he had huge pimples on his face; maybe he was dirty, so people spat on him and kicked him around like a dirty dog and treated him like a worthless human being. But the princess, knowing who she was as God’s daughter, immediately saw the village idiot not as an idiot but as God’s son. So she cleaned him up. Maybe she ordered medication for his pimples. Maybe she got him some fabulous aroma therapy so he smelled wonderful; maybe she bought an Armani cologne or a version from that era, maybe something made of bamboo shoots and early morning dew, to make him smell wonderful.
But more important than that, she knew he had a divinity that was lying dormant, waiting for the hand of love to comfort and take care of it and nurture it. She believed, knowing that he was a son of God, that he could be a great son of not just God but of his community and of his country, as well as a great husband to her. It was through this incredible love and learning who he was that Pa-bo Undol became one of Korea’s greatest generals and scholars.
His story is told over and over throughout the centuries because it’s a true story. There was a stubborn 16-year-old princess hundreds of years ago who believed in herself, who believed in the power of love, and who believed that her husband was not a village idiot but rather a gift from God. With her own knowledge of calligraphy, poetry, and the martial arts, she taught her husband to be the greatest warrior, the greatest scholar, and the greatest husband who ever lived.
We read in Galatians that God knows “Neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor master, or male or female.” These are distinctions that society puts on what we are. But when you are totally united in the spirit of God, you begin to concentrate on who you are and you realize that, just like Pa-bo Undol, it doesn’t matter whether you are a village idiot, a janitor working at Manhattan Center, or the CEO of Manhattan Center, you all have equal value as human beings.
When I see Lynette, the person who cleans up the Manhattan Center and keeps it beautiful for all of you, going about her day with a bucket of cleanser and paper towels, a mop and a vacuum cleaner, I am so thankful for what she does, and when she looks at me, she’s thankful for what I do. But we both know that it’s not what we do that defines us. Lynette knows that I’m her sister, and I know that she’s my sister.
Muslim, Christian, Protestant, Buddhist -- that is what society sees us as. But what we need to concentrate on is who we are. When we realize that we are the sons and daughters of God, we know that we’re part of one family under God and we are brothers and sisters. You know the long historical debate about what is the worth of a woman compared with that of a man? Our Heavenly Parent, who has both masculine and feminine qualities within him and (that’s why we call him the Heavenly Parent), tells us that women and men have equal value as human beings.
Yes, we are different. Thank God we are different. But in terms of our divinity, in terms of our value and worth, we are equal. We have equal value as the children of God.
Nowadays when I take a walk outside and see young people, many times I see them engaged in things that maybe they should not be doing. They’re always looking, and fundamentally they’re searching because they don’t know who they are. I like to look at words. I shared with you earlier about how I wanted to be a wise mother and came to understand the word wise in terms of an acronym, W-I-S-E. My life’s motto has become loving the Word, with Integrity, Service, and Excellence. That is what I hope to accomplish in my lifetime.
When you look at the word lost, there’s so much in the word itself. We feel lost at sea when we have no anchor. For many of us, when we’re feeling like nobody understands us we wonder when we will be loved. When we feel lonely, we feel like orphans. L for loneliness; O for orphans. Because we’re orphans, we’re always looking for our parents: S for seeking, searching, never being satisfied. What are we seeking? We’re seeking some understanding of ourselves, some understanding of our reality, of the Truth in our life. When you’re lost, you’re like a lonely orphan caught in perpetually seeking for something true.
Many times it’s in the process of going through loneliness that we come to search out our Heavenly Parent. Then we realize that this is just God’s way of letting us find him ourselves. If God were truly a God that just wanted his children to obey, then as an omniscient God he could have programmed his children like robots. Sometimes I think we as parents wish we could have a programmed teenager in the house, right? But if they were robots, they would just be obeying what we tell them to do; as parents we would never experience the joy that comes from a child volunteering to help and willingly loving us.
Sometimes when we feel lost, we feel like God has left us. But no. This is God’s way of saying, “Find me, come to me, exercise your free will, exercise your 5-percent responsibility and come back to my loving embrace; understanding how incredible it is to truly love each other.” When you do, you realize that instead of being a lonely orphan constantly seeking for truth, you are embraced in the arms of love and you can experience divine oneness with our Heavenly Parent. Instead of seeking and searching, you have incredible security. Instead of always seeking and searching for the truth in your life, you have a Heavenly Parent whom you can entrust your heart to. You can trust, you can rest, you can be comforted in knowing that you will be loved unconditionally, absolutely, unchangingly, and eternally. This is what God, our Heavenly Parent, is hoping that we will come to realize in our own lifetime.
Recently there was an interesting article in The Atlantic magazine about the three keys to happiness. This was a compilation of a study started in 1937. Researchers chose 268 sophomores at Harvard University and asked them to participate in a study of what they called a good life, wanting to understand what makes people happy. The study continues to this day.
These sophomores from 1937 are in their 80s now. When the psychiatrists and researchers studied these 268 students and followed their lives, they realized some common themes, what they have come to call the three keys to happiness. The study concluded that the main thing that most people who have lived “a good life” or a seemingly happy life have is a healthy outlet: They have a sense of humor; they knew how to laugh. And they have a tendency to think about other people: They practice altruism, doing things for other people. That brings incredible joy.
The second point that this study has revealed is that people tend to be happy when they do not take themselves too seriously. Sometimes when we concentrate on what we do our whole life, and we think that we’re really fabulous at it, we tend to think we’re the master of the universe, there’s nothing above us, and that we ought to control everything. But the study is basically saying, “Look, it doesn’t matter how great you are. We all have our weaknesses. We all have our good days and our bad days. So exercise a bit of humility. Living a life of engaged humility is what the study recommends.
The third point is that true happiness is happiness that is shared. The article mentioned a documentary called Into the Wild, about a young man in the 1990s who left his college, left his home, sold all his belongings, and trekked into the Alaskan wilderness to find himself, to live his life as he thought fit. He was turned off by the commercialism and sensationalism that plagues society today. While in Alaska he passed away from starvation. But he took a picture of himself before he passed, and the film was developed after somebody found him.
In one of his journals he wrote that happiness is real only when it is shared. He thought that by going away from it all, isolating himself in pristine nature, he would be extremely happy because he saw so many things that were not pretty in the world. But in his last moments, he realized that it’s only in sharing with somebody that you become happy.
When you think about that, this must be the realization that God had about why he wanted children in the first place. He wanted to experience love and happiness, and he wanted to do that with his children, who are those of us sitting in the audience.
Proverbs 37:3-5 says to us, “Trust in the Lord, delight in the Lord, commit yourself to the Lord.” This means that you don’t have to be lost at sea any more. You have a home to come to. You can trust your heart in the Lord and revel in the security that he will give you.
Everyone here who attended Day of All Things may remember how we did “dunk the leaders.” As my husband said, when you’re sitting up there ready to be dunked, it’s not the fear of falling into the water but actually the fear that arises from uncertainty, from not knowing which ball is going to be the one that dunks you in the water. So every ball that comes your way makes you anxious because you don’t know which ball is going to dunk you.
When you commit yourself to the Lord, you can be at peace because no matter what comes your way, you know God is there with you. You know that he has always been with you. If we’re lost at sea, that is our doing; He is always there, hoping that we will exercise our free will, that we will exercise our own choice to come find Him again, to revel and delight in him, realizing that our life should not be a life of suffering. Suffering is just a way to make us grow; it’s not an end in itself. Our destiny is to become incredible human beings. What I want for my children is for them to experience love, for them to experience joy and happiness. That’s what our Heavenly Parent wants us all to have. He wants us to be happy, to be prosperous, to be successful. He wants us to live a life of excellence, not just externally in what we do, but internally in knowing who we are as his true sons and daughters.
Brothers and sisters, this Sunday morning I would like to leave you with a quote by William White, an American journalist at the turn of the 20th century. He said something that I have remembered quite often throughout my journey of self-discovery. He said, “I am not afraid of tomorrow. I have seen yesterday, and I love today.” When you are totally one and secure in the love of our Heavenly Parent, there is nothing to be afraid of. And whatever you went through yesterday is yesterday. But today is today, and we can exercise our choice and our free will to be happy today and every day of our lives.
So brothers and sisters, I wish you a beautiful Sunday morning. Have a great week, and God bless.