The Words of In Jin Moon from 2009
Good morning, brothers and sisters. How is everyone this morning? I'm delighted to see you once again on this lovely Sunday morning.
I think you've heard that True Parents are back with us in America, and next Wednesday we will be having a big rally in Las Vegas. So we look forward to spending a wonderful time with our True Parents there. For those of you who can attend, I very much encourage you to come if you can.
True Parents are so busy with the many different responsibilities they have to take care of, and yet America is very much in their hearts. Whenever they can, they want to make their presence felt here and to let the American brothers and sisters know that our True Parents are very much with us, actively guiding us and encouraging us to be the best that we can be. We are truly lucky. Not only are we are living at this incredible providential time when we can truly breathe, walk, and live with our True Parents, but it is truly a blessing for America to have them here to support, encourage, and propel us forward.
When I was thinking about what I would like to talk about this Sunday morning, a lot of topics came to mind, but one thing I realize time and again, whenever I spend time with True Parents is that not only is Father a religious man, a man of spiritual nature, but he is someone who very much loves music.
Even in the course of Hoon Dok Hae, he will digress and call out a name in the audience. It's always amazing to me how he knows everybody's names. Sometimes when Father calls a name, the look on that person's face is amazement: "Father remembers me!" Then Father will ask that person to stand and sing a song. By bringing song into the fellowship shared at a Hoon Dok Hae, which may go on for five, seven, nine, or fifteen hours, my father is receiving love from people and also sharing his love together with the members there.
Not only do you feel you're in the presence of a great teacher, but there's an immediacy of feeling very intimate with this man. I've talked to a lot of dignitaries who have met my father for the first time, and quite a few of them comment on the significance of having people sing. It's truly a family atmosphere, like coming together at Christmas around a hearth or a piano, singing together. They feel the love that's in the room. Music has that kind of power.
I've noticed time and again that my father understands the power of music, the universal language, as he has referred to it. In the early years of our church, especially in America, my father put a great deal of resources into the development of performing arts. When my father purchased the Manhattan Center in 1973, together with the New Yorker Hotel, he had great dreams of it becoming a cultural jewel, the true heartbeat of midtown Manhattan.
We here at Lovin' Life love to share music together with the congregation. By bringing the universal language into our lives, we can be on common ground and truly open up our hearts so we can experience the divine love of our Heavenly Parent, God.
Our movement is not the only one that understands the power of music. I've talked about Rumi, the most famous mystical poet of Sufism. The Sufi order understood the importance of music in worship, in terms of achieving an ecstasy or certain kind of union with the divine. They practiced what they called sama', a musical rendition. They would listen to music together. Many times this musical rendition would be accompanied by the recitation of love poetry or mystical poetry. These devotees would immerse themselves in a remembrance of God. By worshipping together in such a manner, they would achieve an ecstasy, or union, in which they felt totally one with the divine.
Rumi was very much the catalyst for this kind of worship. When Rumi was listening, going through this sama', many times he would involve himself in spontaneous movement. He liked to feel the music flow through his body, and he would start twirling around, maybe with his arms stretched out. So his devotees followed these spontaneous movements and later became known as the whirling dervishes because, in tune with the music, they would twirl in unison. It's quite a beautiful spectacle to witness. In that way they celebrated who they were in this world: mystical beings achieving divine oneness with the eternal one.
The passage I shared with you this morning is from Masnavi, Book 1. It's a huge collection of poetry that Rumi wrote for his disciples. This poem is considered the most significant poem in the Sufi Persian literature. It is often referred to as the Persian-language Qur'an. It has the prominent position of being something every poet should aspire to.
It's written in the Persian style. It's fascinating because Rumi wanted to teach his devotees through various allegories and stories that they were familiar with. He injected humor and insights, so that when they are read over and over, like a meditation, they convey something new every time. That's why I love Rumi so much. Not only does his poetry have a lyrical quality of almost being set to music, but it's like a mystical Eastern fan. As you continue to read it, meditate on it, and pray about it, it unfolds, bit by bit, and you realize that you're standing before a beautiful fan.
This passage in particular is quite profound. Here we are, in the middle of New York City, where people are so busy all the time. The hustle and bustle of New York is sometimes deafening. There are so many things going on, and everybody is so attached to careers, positions, or power. Sometimes you wonder, Is this the only thing that our lives are about?
I like to reread this passage from time to time because it reminds me that some people like to look at the whole and some people like to appreciate the part. But if you really think about it, what Rumi is getting at is that the lovers of the world have fallen in love with the wall that the light shines on. These lovers of the world make no attempt to understand where this light source comes from, fixating on and falling in love with the wall because the wall has a beautiful light reflecting from it, not realizing that the light source is the sun, up in heaven.
This is Rumi's way of reminding us that we get stuck on walls, on part of the picture. Maybe we get stuck on the importance of our careers or on our goals, forgetting where everything in our universe comes from. Sometimes we forget that the beautiful light that we see flickering on the wall, which we've fallen in love with and think is the epitome of what our life is all about, is a mere reflection of what is truly real and genuine, the sun up in heaven: that is, our Heavenly Parent, the eternal one, the loving one up in heaven.
Rumi is provoking us to reimagine and reexamine what we consider the great loves in our lives, our great attachments. He reminds us to see that everything we have, everything that we think might be the most important things, are merely wall reflections, and not to forget where those reflections come from, which is the sun and our Heavenly Parent.
When I was ruminating about this passage and thinking about my own life, thinking about the lives of others I have the opportunity and blessing to touch, I thought this Sunday would be a good time to share with you about an Italian movie. The title translates as The Bicycle Thief. It's a black-and-white movie made around 1940, a beautiful tale about a father and his journey into self-discovery, into realizing what is truly important.
This movie wonderfully captures how desperate a man's life can be when he suffers from certain attachments. It is the story of a man with a wife and two children who is very poor. He is standing in queue, hoping to get a job from the office that gives out jobs. So he waits in line every day. One day his name is called and the supervisor says, "Well, you can have this job, but you need a bicycle. If you have a bicycle, then there's an opening for you."
In this time of desperation, when he is confronted with his inability to provide for his family because he does not have a job, it's a ray of hope that appears -- if he has a bicycle. The movie starts with his wife giving up their bed linen to sell so they can purchase a bicycle. For this man, the bicycle represents hope. It almost becomes God in his life because he believes that through this bicycle he will have the life that he wants, the comfort that he wants, the security that he wants.
When he purchases the bike, then he goes to the supervisor and says, "Here I am, ready to work." His job is going around the city putting up posters that advertise different entertainment shows that are coming. He and his son are going around, and he is so happy, so thrilled that with his bicycle of dreams he will accomplish everything that he wants in his life.
But while he's on a ladder gluing up a poster, somebody comes and steals his bicycle. The man is confronted with the loss of his dream, the vehicle through which he was going to have a great life. The whole movie is about his desperation and obsession to get the bicycle back. He goes through trials and tribulations trying to retrieve the bicycle that symbolizes hope for him, that symbolizes a life that he wants so badly. He doesn't realize that the more obsessed he gets about this thing, the more attached he's becoming, and the more depressed, disappointed, and disillusioned he's becoming.
In the course of the movie he actually bumps into the thief who stole the bike and follows him back to his town, only to realize that the bicycle is not there. Toward the end of the tale, he is overcome with grief because he cannot get the bicycle back. The protagonist is totally lost without this symbol of hope. But ultimately he is confronted with the reality that he has his son, named Bruno, who has accompanied him everywhere throughout the movie. The boy, almost like his shadow, has never left his side.
Near the end of the movie, the father is in front of an amphitheater, sitting on the curb with Bruno. Then he realizes that there are bicycles everywhere that belong to people enjoying the festivities inside the stadium. His eyes start getting shifty, and he starts thinking and pacing. His heart starts racing, and, even though not a word is spoken, the audience knows what he's confronted with. He sees hundreds of bicycles lined up, and we hear his thoughts racing: "What if I take one? Maybe nobody will realize that it's gone. If somebody stole a bicycle from me, why can't I steal a bicycle from somebody else?"
All these conversations are taking place in his head, but the audience doesn't hear anything. The movie is shot in such a beautiful way that even without any words being spoken we understand what the man is going through. In between these conversations in his mind, we see him looking over sheepishly at his son, who is such a symbol of love and innocence. Yes, he knows his dad was unsuccessful in retrieving the bicycle, but he's so happy to be there with his dad. There's the beautiful face of his son, juxtaposed against the not-so-good thoughts in his mind.
When the father looks around the street, he sees one bicycle leaning against the entrance of the building, one bicycle, out of hundreds in rows, on a very quiet street, with almost nobody there. What does the man do? He looks at his son, gives him some money, and says, "Go, wait for Daddy over by the bridge."
In the midst of these conversations in his mind, the son has come to be in the subject position, representing his conscience. He has to disregard and dismiss his conscience before he can act on the conversations in his mind. The innocence and the beauty of the boy are dismissed; the man acts, grabbing the bicycle and fleeing. Somebody sees that the man has stolen the bicycle and calls out, "Bicycle thief!" A throng of people start chasing him down the street.
The son realizes it's his father on the bicycle. He starts running after everyone. The man is caught, and the crowd wants to throttle him. The little boy runs up, and he can't really say anything but just cry quietly, not understanding what's going on but knowing that something really bad has happened. He is hoping that he can help his father, hoping he can make all these people go away so he can be with his father again. He's just standing there, calling to his father, wanting to stand by him while these men are giving him a tough time.
One of the men happens to be the bicycle's owner, and he suggests that since he got his bicycle back, the crowd can let the man go. Besides, he can see the face of the son. The owner of the bicycle is feeling generous toward the thief because of this beautiful boy, and the embarrassment of having the boy witness the act of stealing a bicycle is probably hard enough. So the owner lets the father go. The movie closes with the father and the son walking off together.
The beauty of the final scene is the way these two figures depart together. It's the son who makes the first move to hold his father's hand. The son, representing the father's conscience and everything that is good in the father, is the first one to act and thereby forgive the father. Through his son, the father achieves redemption from what just happened. He receives salvation from being so attached to worldly things, so attached to something like the bicycle that drives him crazy throughout the movie, on this wild goose chase from one end of town to the other. This attachment to a symbol of, ironically, hope for him and everything that he wanted in life became his addiction, his obsession, his drug. He did not realize that the whole time the most important thing in his life, which was his child, was always with him.
Rumi, as well as other great teachers of Islam, always reminded followers that God was always as close as their jugular vein. God is always with us. Throughout the self-discovery experiment of the father, God is always there in the presence of the man's son. Everything beautiful and unique, everything unchanging, and everything eternal is in the love that he had for his son, just like God's unique, eternal, absolute, and unchanging love for the father.
In the midst of his obsession and his addiction, the father forgot that the beautiful flicker on the wall actually comes from the sun in heaven. He forgot, while he was engaged in this hunt, that the most important thing in his life is God and God's divine love and the greatest purpose in life is to feel and experience this unity with the divine that makes us feel truly like his and her eternal sons and daughters.
This is one of those movies that you cannot watch without a box of Kleenex. For entertainment's sake, movies like Mission: Impossible are filled with action. But when you're watching a black-and-white movie with not a lot of action and special effects going on, what's truly beautiful is the genuine interaction that takes place and the moments when nothing is being spoken but so much is being conveyed. These things make silent films and black-and-white films (and a lot of foreign films) very beautiful and poetic. This is certainly one of these movies that leave you feeling like everyone will be tempted with different attachments.
Buddhism teaches the middle way, learning how to let go of attachments. That's really the only way we can achieve happiness. In this movie, the attachment, everything that the man wanted, is in the form of a bicycle. Only after losing everything that he thought he wanted does he come to know what he truly had -- the beauty and love of his son.
As we go through our lives, I'm sure that just as I've been tested, my brothers and sisters will be tested, too. Maybe there will be a time we're attached to our careers, to our position, or our understanding of our own power. But we must realize that what we seemingly think is so important are mere flickers on the wall. It doesn't make sense to fall in love with the wall when we can have the real thing up in heaven.
Sometimes power might be a great attachment that comes in the form of a temptation. Maybe position might be a great attachment. But the most important thing we must remember is that if we truly understand that we are God's sons and daughters, if our lives are truly in God's hands and God is the God of love, always there, always practicing living for the sake of others, always living for our sake, then we have nothing to fear. It's all right to let go; it's all right to let God take the wheel every now and then.
I often tell my children, "Look, Mommy is here because your grandparents asked me to be here. But I do not want to be attached to anything that I'm responsible for while I have the opportunity to be a custodian, a steward of this great organization. It's my blessing and honor to serve. But if God says, 'In Jin, time to go to overseas,' I would gladly thank my Heavenly Father for the opportunity to have served." We must always remember that in front of God we come into this world naked and we will leave this world naked. Everything in between is just a blessing.
If you really think about it, nothing really belongs to us, anyway. So if God is asking you to step down, if God is asking you to go someplace else, you must not be so obsessed with your own attachments that you become like petrified wood or worse, actually go into a "victim" mode, feeling that the whole world is against you and that everyone is trying to make life difficult. Not really. Maybe God wants you to go elsewhere or wants you to try something new.
Just as God gives us a lot of blessing, sometimes he puts us to the test and says, "Okay, it's time to let go." When God asks us to let go, it's time to let go gratefully. When you can give to God truly with a grateful heart everything that he has given you already, then God will give you more and more blessing and love in the years to come.
Regardless of the difficulty of his situation, instead of fixating on the bicycle as his messiah, if the father could have remembered that truly the most important thing is to remember God, then he would have been at peace because he would have been grateful for whatever happened and would have looked at the glass as being half full instead of half empty. Sometimes by having a grateful attitude, you will find that many blessings will come your way, many unexpected and wonderful surprises.
The Bible reminds us in John 16:33 that "in me you may have peace; in life you may go through tribulations, but be of good cheer." Jesus reminds us, "Be of good cheer," meaning, "Be grateful for your lives because I have overcome the world." When Jesus says he has overcome the world, what he is talking about is that he has overcome all the attachments that most of us are suffering from in this world. He has overcome the world by concentrating on love -- divine love, the love of our Heavenly Parent.
My father often says that the Divine Principle is the eternal truth, but something even more powerful than our understanding of the Principle is love. In fact, love is the central axis of the universe. It is the primary language flowing through our veins that we understand instinctively. If we can truly tap into this circuitry of God, we will understand it profoundly.
My father reminds us that the most important thing in our lives is love. Rumi reminds us that the most important thing is the love of God, or the remembrance of God. Through his poetry -- the 26,500 verses that he wrote in Misnavi, Book 1 and Book 2 -- what he is encouraging us to do is to remind ourselves that it's the love of God that helps us transcend the attachments that we have in our world, and only then we learn how to let go and give ourselves to our Heavenly Parent.
The band sang, "With everything we will serve you and love you." If we approach life that way, it allows a foundation for God to work in mysterious ways. We came into this world naked and hungry, hoping we'd land in the arms of wonderful parents, and we will go back naked to the embrace of our Heavenly Parent. The only thing we need to concentrate on is building bridges of love, connections to these people sitting next to us, these people who are masterpieces of love, who are gifts from the divine.
What we need to realize is that we are here not just for ourselves but to do something wonderful. When my father imagines a peaceful world, it's a world where everybody is thinking about the other, it's a world where everybody is willing to love the other. Instead of being obsessed with our own attachments, when we practice living for the sake of others we are practicing the art of letting go of our individual wishes and priorities by putting the priorities of the other first. , When the parents really live and sacrifice for the sake of the children, that's what allows a family to be great.
If the children can truly return that love with gratitude, saying, "Mom and Dad, thank you for giving me life, for giving me this opportunity to be an eternal son or daughter of God, for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to leave something beautiful behind," then the circuitry of true love will inspire that family to be an incredible one.
Now that we have our True Parents here, my father is putting emphasis on the word peace once again. Please think about how peace can be accomplished in your family. Peace has to start with the individual. We must have peace in our hearts. The first step in finding peace is knowing that God is our Heavenly Parent, realizing that we are his sons and daughters, and understanding that we have an opportunity to live our life for the sake of others, just because we want to be good people.
Our lives are really an invitation to practice compassion for each other, day in and day out, and, in so doing, become excellent men and women of God, not just internally but also externally. In that way, as every human being decides to be an agent of change, then we start affecting others around us, affecting our own families, inspiring brothers and sisters that this kind of world can be something tangible, real, not something that exists only in our imaginations.
Brothers and sisters, I bring you great love from our True Parents. They truly love America very much. Just as our True Parents have gone through so many trials and tribulations in their lifetimes, I'm sure all of you have gone through trials and tribulations, and me, too, in my own way. Let's remember to be of good cheer. Jesus Christ certainly overcame the world; by following his example and the example of our True Parents, we can do the same. Then we have great reason to be hopeful, great reason to be inspired, and great reason to be encouraged that we will have a great week, that we will love our families with all our hearts, and that we will really tackle this time, going forward with a grateful heart.
So God bless, and have a wonderful week.
1: "I have said all this to you to keep you from falling away.
2: They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.
3: And they will do this because they have not known the Father, nor me.
4: But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you of them. "I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.
5: But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, `Where are you going?'
6: But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts.
7: Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
8: And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
9: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
10: concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more;
11: concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12: "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13: When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
14: He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
15: All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
16: "A little while, and you will see me no more; again a little while, and you will see me."
17: Some of his disciples said to one another, "What is this that he says to us, `A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'; and, `because I go to the Father'?"
18: They said, "What does he mean by `a little while'? We do not know what he means."
19: Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him; so he said to them, "Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, `A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'?
20: Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.
21: When a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world.
22: So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
23: In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name.
24: Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
25: "I have said this to you in figures; the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures but tell you plainly of the Father.
26: In that day you will ask in my name; and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you;
27: for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father.
28: I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father."
29: His disciples said, "Ah, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure!
30: Now we know that you know all things, and need none to question you; by this we believe that you came from God."
31: Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe?
32: The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, every man to his home, and will leave me alone; yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.
33: I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."