A Taoist Philosophy of Personal Growth & SPIRITUALITY
Individuals with distinguished titles in society, education, religion, and specialized fields often appear so far removed from the reality we know — as if they one day poofed out of thin air with all of the enlightenment they needed to live happily and teach others “the way.” Believe it or not, this is usually quite far from the truth. The truth is enlightenment is a process, but this truth is one we rarely hear about.
Taoist Master Kim believes it is very important that people truly understand his humble personal history and exactly how SunDo made such a difference in his own life. These are precisely the topics we will explore in the blog below.
Master Kim’s life before SunDo
Master Kim’s life as a young adult was fairly unusual for that of an esteemed Taoist master-to be. He details his troubled past in his doctoral dissertation titled, The Tao of Life: An Investigation of SunDo Taoism’s Personal Growth Model As a Process of Spiritual Development.
As a result of early years living a stressful and physically-taxing lifestyle, Master Kim developed severe chronic pain in his stomach, which worsened any time he ate. This served as a wake-up call to him to re-examine what was really important in his life and to pursue the SunDo practice that had captured his interest in the months before his military service. The change SunDo made in his life was quick and dramatic.
It took only one week of concentrated effort to convince me that I had taken the most formative step in my spiritual education. It was a blessed feeling. My life was totally changed.
I felt energetic, gained self-confidence, and finally knew the right direction for my life.
(The Tao of Life, 6)
The three nearly immediate changes Master Kim noticed at the start of his SunDo practice were:
more energy, better health, and improved self-esteem, but one of the most remarkable changes came three months in when he realized the power of self-healing SunDo unlocks. After three months of practice the awful pain in his stomach disappeared and didn’t come back.
One day I noticed there was no longer any pain in my stomach at all! With only 3 months of practice, I had experienced a dramatic change in my body, mind, and emotions. I was happy and I thought that I had gained the whole world, but it was merely the beginning steps of my spiritual journey.
Master Kim’s spiritual development from SunDo practice
While SunDo’s epiphanies were felt almost immediately in Master Kim’s life, and soon included euphoric spells of peace and awareness, things did not suddenly become easy for him, however, through his challenges he soon came to a number of powerful realizations:
- It was best not to flaunt his profound-feeling realizations but to bring them into the world with action.
“Instead of scattering wisdom with words, I decided to embody it in my life.”
- That SunDo practice does not place a focus on one’s realizations at specific points in time, nor does it place value on how big or small they are — rather it sees these experiences as an ever-developing, equally important unfolding of awareness.
" I came to understand that my realization experiences were part of the opening process of higher awareness and that one’s whole existence has meaning .'"
- That profound experiences and personal growth can happen through the most crippling pain and misfortune, but SunDo makes it much easier for us to see this.
I now realize that a spiritual experience can come from many different ways but I doubt that I would have accepted those experiences as spiritual experiences without the previous realization experiences or without my personal development under my SunDo discipline.
Master Kim’s SunDo teachings
The main premise of Master Kim’s doctoral study in America was to demonstrate SunDo’s power to aid individuals in their personal growth and quest for meaning in life.
This is a journey we all take in our own way with the goal of bringing purpose to our lives — lives which are inherently problematic. We face stress, sickness, misfortunes, and the knowledge that one day the lives we know will no longer be. With all of this being the case, how can we live full, satisfying, balanced, and harmonious lives?
The answer, according to Master Kim, is to fully embrace the whole of who we are and the reality of our circumstances — to know our minds, bodies, and spirits intimately, and bring them into complete unity. This “wholeness” or integrity is what makes life enjoyable, meaningful, and worth living. It is also the true goal of SunDo practice.
These insights are all explored in greater detail in Master Kim’s book, The Tao of Life. He has also recently released his second book, which will soon be available in full English translation.
To summarize, the Sundo practice consists of three parts:
- Warm up exercise: helps to expand lung capacity for the entire body
- Breathing meditation: a buildup of energy
- Chi exercise: distributes this built up energy to our internal organs
Master Kim demonstrates the three parts of the SunDo practice in the video below and explains these important ways in which SunDo may better our health...
Increases Oxygen: SunDo’s breath exercises can help individuals strengthen their lungs and, therefore, those who practice SunDo can hold their breath for longer periods of time. This can be beneficial to those who are facing illnesses as bringing more oxygen into the body can help the body to naturally heal itself.
Improves Emotional Control: SunDo breathwork focuses on breathing down into the belly. When we breathe this way, we are strengthening the heart which can help to improve many emotional conditions. Abdominal breathing helps to move around the stagnated energy in the chest and pushes it to and vitalizes other parts of the body. Makes a Difference in Just One Session: Master Kim suggests that thirty minutes of abdominal breathing a day can improve your mind, but states one will notice a difference with even just five to ten minutes of breathing exercises a day.
It’s An Asset for Any Health Professional: One of the main goals of the SunDo practice is being in the moment (here and now) rather than focusing on the past or future, which is crucial to moving past stress. SunDo breathwork can be used as an asset for those in the psychotherapy and professional healthcare fields as they can teach their clients abdominal breathing techniques to ease emotional distress.
Refreshes the Mind and & Body: Master Kim states that practicing SunDo can help to maintain a youthful mentality and his advice for those who are interested in the SunDo practice is to “breathe deeply!”
To learn more about SunDo, please visit: http://www.sundointernational.com/learn.html