Kyung Mi Kim is a Juvenile Case Investigator with the Incheon Supreme Court in Incheon, South Korea. Her job is to investigate and counsel with juveniles accused of school violence and criminal acts; and prepare legal reports which she then submits to the presiding judges. When she began this job in 2002 professional investigators for juvenile cases were not common in South Korea.
She is an experienced investigator, and has always tried to direct the children needing help and advice into a more positive way of life through counseling and therapy as needed. She believes that in order to genuinely help the children her own mind must first of all be positive and at ease. This is the story of her experiences with Maum Meditation and her work.
Some time ago I met with an eighth grade girl. She would swear at her teachers, and she had run away from home. Whenever she spoke it would always begin and end with swearing. It was literally impossible to have a conversation with her. It was obvious that she needed a break from our sessions, so I waited three weeks to meet with her again.
In our next meeting I discovered that she was a child with deep scars in her mind. She couldn’t help but watch her parents fighting every night; they eventually got a divorce. Afterwards she lived with her mother, who always worked away from home. At school she was always being bullied. From these circumstances she had learned that, in order to appear to be strong and to survive, she had to swear and curse all the time. So when a crisis arose she would deal with it by swearing and cursing a lot. However, I had to tell her that “I feel awfully sorry about your situation, but you will have to be sent to a juvenile detention center for what you have done.” She began weeping. “Why is it only me? No one else has to go. Not those who bullied me, or my parents who were always fighting, or the teachers who never even tried to understand me. Why is it only me?” It was terribly painful to watch a young girl crying out to the world.
“I don’t know your parents, those who bullied you, or your teachers,” I said. “But right now I am here with you, and you are the one I can help. If we try hard together, things will definitely get better.”
For the most part these children do not have a good home environment. They would tell me that for them the world is just “a frightening place where there is not one single person they can trust.” In the past, before I found Maum Meditation, their experiences would have made me felt sad and downtrodden also. However, now I tell them “No, that’s not really true. The world really is a good place. But the world you have experienced was not the real world. If you change, you will know how warm and great the world really is. Together let’s try hard to find this world.”
I could say this with confidence to them because I had been subtracting my mind at the local Maum Meditation Center daily. We counselors actually have to go through a kind of self healing every day. Otherwise, we would not be able to work in a positive way with people because we are faced daily with negativity in the situations we encounter and would be influenced by them. By throwing away and subtracting those accumulated minds I could always deal with people with a fresh mind and positive energy.
The most important task when working with the children is to listen to them carefully. I should just be there, without making judgments. I should be a mirror that reflects their selves so that they can see their situation. Because they have never been accepted or loved in their short lifetimes, only by consoling them and pointing out to them “this, or that, is why you have had a hard time,” can they become brighter and open up their mind.
To be honest, it was not easy to just listen to them. I had majored in counseling because I liked meeting people and listening to them. But actually, I just pretended to understand them, all the while making judgments and analyzing them with my own standards which I held in my mind. Therefore, I was limited in what I could accomplish.
One day, when I was studying for my master’s degree, my psychiatry professor came in with a brightly shining face. He had been practicing Maum Meditation. His conclusion was that “Maum Meditation is way more efficient and faster in healing the mind than any other treatment.”
Based on what he said I started doing Maum Meditation. Then I was able to see that Maum Meditation is the place where you throw away your mind, the mind that you accumulated while living, by looking back at your life.
In the first level of Maum Meditation I cried terribly, because I really felt ashamed of myself; that self who always perceived that only I was right, that tried to manipulate others with my will, and the strong conceit and selfishness that I had.
Then, in the fourth level, I experienced becoming one with everything around me as my “self”, who had lived until now, actually disappeared. I really became one with the blowing wind, a flying bird in the sky and everything around me. I could see how everything lives as one, even though everything had been brought forth in this world in different shapes. I felt all the worries and concerns that I had from counseling others had become resolved. Then, I truly felt grateful.
Around that time I became a Juvenile Case Investigator with the Supreme Court. It was tough at first, but I was grateful that, through Maum Meditation, I had come to earnestly see the misbehaving children as they really were. Everyone believes that they live their life free and independent, but they are actually living inside the conceptions they have formed from their life; they live following those beliefs in their mind. Because children have lived for such a short time, they are especially influenced by their environment; much more so than adults are. That is why children who have experienced being bullied and the fights between parents believe that the world is only like that. And this leads them to their misconduct. Who is to blame for this? I help them to resolve their issues so that they will no longer make such mistakes. So this is what I say to the children:
“People always live out their lives making decisions. So far, you have made decisions that have harmed yourself and others. From now on let’s try to make other, less harmful decisions.”
Children really show changes when they are counseled and guided to see from other’s positions, or to look back on their life. The happiest moment for me is when their parents or teachers call me later and tell me the child has completely changed after coming back from court. Just as a warm spring melts down a freezing winter, so can anyone’s mind melt down and disappear with embracing acceptance; and with children this can occur extremely quickly.
In the juvenile cases many people, including the judges and lawyers, work hard trying to truly help the children. I really appreciate their efforts. In the past, especially in South Korea, every adult earnestly cared for the young people, even if they were not their own children. I truly hope that warm spring world comes along where everyone cares for our young children, and one another too, by throwing away their minds of thinking only about themselves and of cherishing and wishing the best only for their own children. For such a world to come true I will truly, gladly work more diligently to throw away my mind.