Subtraction is the solution
Reducing Aggression and Gaining Confidence
Instead of character development and providing a complete education, most middle and high schools are oriented towards preparation for college entrance exams. This trend gives students emotional anxiety, a sense of inferiority and causes a loss of sense of self-worth. Sense of self-worth is particularly related to aggression levels, and research has shown that cases of students with a low sense of self-worth are prone to be hostile, angry and use violent language and actions.
Therefore in order to reduce aggression, it’s important for these children to throw away the stored up negative minds to recover their original character and improve their sense of self-worth.
At the 2010 Maum Meditation Youth Camp I had the opportunity to observe a group of ten middle and high school students for a period of twenty days. These children, ages 14 to 18, were able to subtract negative minds and throw away violent tendencies. Within the first few days the children, who came from all different backgrounds, warmed up to each other and I noticed a visible decrease in aggression and an improvement in their sense of self-worth. I will present examples of two middle school students who had strong violent tendencies.
Case of Student Yoon
Yoon’s parents divorced when he was nine. He did not have a good relationship with his parents and during his study abroad in China he had to withdraw from school due to not attending school for a long time. After his return to Korea, Yoon fought with his classmates and had a hard time adjusting. He was often angry and included swear words in his language, like “XXX what are you looking at?”
At the beginning of camp, I asked the group if they would like to participate in a singing performance and Yoon answered, “I don’t want to. You should throw away that thought.”
Towards the middle of camp session, after Yoon had thrown away a lot of anger and irritation, he began to smile and talk comfortably with his teachers and peers. He even cleaned the area without being asked. At the end-of-camp talent show, Yoon volunteered to sing. He had gained positive self-esteem. Here is what he wrote on an evaluation sheet given to the students.
Yoon’s Thoughts on Maum Meditation:
★ Three minds that have been thrown away my face getting flushed, skin, emotions
★ Three things that have improved after camp relationships with others, setting clear goals, understanding one’s duty
★ Thoughts on camp If one does Maum Meditation with one’s life on the line, one will succeed.
If a young person meditates, he will find his sense of duty. Overall, one will see improvement. If the world can become one through Maum Meditation, I think we won’t have criminals and we won’t need police anymore.
Case of Student Lee
Lee’s family moved to Malaysia and he had a hard time adjusting. He even considered suicide. His answer for everything was, “no” and he opposed everything. At the beginning of camp Lee couldn’t concentrate on the meditation and always complained about his family. He swore at people, and often talked about horror movies and scary stories. By the middle of the camp session he was able to meditate more and get along with his friends. He reflected on himself, and felt sorry for how he had treated his family and said he had thrown away a lot of jealous mind.
Lee’s Thoughts on Maum Meditation:
★ Three minds that have been thrown away not doing well on tests, not wanting to meditate, passive mind
★ Three things that have improved after camp mind has become calmer, made a lot of friends, learning gratitude
★ Thoughts on camp I changed a lot after coming to camp. Before I came, I always fought with my mom.
However, as I meditated I saw that I always hurt people with my words, I was cynical about everything and I ignored adults. As I threw that away, I realized I had lived so carelessly. So I decided that after camp finishes I will tell my parents that I’m sorry and that I’m thankful.
By Suk Gee Lee Deputy Director of School Policy in the City Office of Education, Busan, South Korea
Subtraction is the solution
An Armful of Tulips
To My Friends:
I’m Sorry. And Thanks.
In the countryside, I had always won prizes in competitions, and my teachers had high expectations for me. Out of thanks to my parents and the desire to make the most of this opportunity, I made the hour-long journey back and forth to the studio every day.
Life in Seoul was more unfamiliar than I expected. All the kids in my class were pretty and fancy. They were outgoing and they spent a lot of money. I was shocked at how they would spend so freely what was a month’s allowance to me.
I started to feel inferior. In order to hide my sense of inferiority, I always forced a smile and acted outgoing when drawing or on field trips. But I was easily hurt by my friends’ careless words and it was hard to make up after I fought with my friends. So instead I threw myself desperately into drawing. At least with drawing I was confident. I was always the last to leave the studio the night before exams, and I maintained top scores.
I received scholarships and got into a high school for the arts. But on the inside my heart was rotting away. My grades started to drop and I often cried in front of my friends. One time I called my mom and wept in the bathroom of a subway station while I was on the phone to her. I couldn’t attend school regularly and was unable to keep up in class. That winter I ended up dropping out of school.
While I was worrying about what to do, my father, a teacher, recommended Maum Meditation to me. I was attracted to the fact that the meditation allowed everyone to become one.
As I looked back I regretted and felt sorry for how harshly I had treated my friends. At first it was hard to throw away my mind, which had built a wall between me and others. But as time passed and I threw away inferiority and the habit of comparing myself to others, I became more comfortable and energetic. I began to laugh more and was able to talk, laugh and embrace people of all ages.
I was even able to throw away the ‘I’ in ‘I have to improve and get better.’
I returned to Seoul, took the high school equivalency exams, and tried to contact my friends. On graduation day, I took an armful of tulips to school and handed one out to each of my friends.
This was my way of apologizing and reconciling with my friends who had suffered because of my sense of inferiority. This act of gratitude was something that I couldn’t have imagined doing in the past.
Later I was admitted to the university I wanted to attend, and nowadays I have even more friends. The more I throw away the judgment of others, the more I am able to comfortably interact with people. Now that I’ve thrown away the minds that tormented me, I can embrace people and I am thankful. I am happy.
By Ara Go