Wisdom of life through throwing away (22)


Subtraction Changes Me


the perception of food


In my early thirty’s I met a man who I thought would be my guiding light. He was an expert on yoga and meditation, and he appeared to have an extraordinary appearance. One day he suggested that I begin a vegetarian. So I began eating vegetables only, trying to mimic his mind world.

From that time on I hadn’t eaten any meat or fish, or even eggs. I used to have vegetables and bean-paste for breakfast, and would bring my own special lunch to work. Also I stopped drinking any alcohol. I thought I could find peace of mind and maybe even contribute a little bit to the world by not taking lives to eat. I read many books trying to justify, in theory, the correctness of my behaviour.

I never paid any attention to the complaints from my friends when they would say things like “Are you going to live alone forever?” I just kept saying to myself that I was different from those who always pursued the pleasure of food, and that I was not an animal living just to satisfy my appetite. I kept that promise to myself for more than a decade. I felt inferior about being overweight. Therefore, I would do almost every sport I could find; like hiking, gym workouts, scuba diving, and more. I was trying to prove that I was not a person who lived just for food. I thought “I am different than you. I pursue the spiritual world.” And I lived more than ten years filling my mind with superiority, and I became stereotypical and stubborn.

But in 2010, out of curiosity, I began practicing Maum Meditation. My thinking about peace of mind and food changed dramatically. Looking back at my life I could not hold my head up when I realised that everything I did, including the vegetarian diet and quitting drinking, was to hide my inferiority. I never thought I had done anything wrong to my wife and children, but yet I couldn’t recall having a pleasant family dinner together with them. I was ashamed of myself for being a person who took even the small pleasure from my children of having a meal out with their father.

I also realised deeply that the Truth is not about what you eat. I was far away from the Truth when I was living my life separating myself from others as if I was superior to them because I was a vegetarian.

I gave up the vegetarian diet, the conceptions and the stereotypes I had learned throughout my life, and even discarded myself, by discarding all the memories of these things. Since then I haven’t complained to anyone about what to eat. It was a comfort being freed from myself. I began to understand people around me with all my heart. I could accept whatever they ate, and realised again that I had been wrong with my complaints and discrimination towards them and food.

As I got to know who I am and where I come from, I quite naturally came to the conclusion that I had to live for the world, not just for myself. I am thankful to know that the real peace of mind comes from repenting of one’s own self, rather than from the pursuit of any lofty idea or mind world.

Chul-gi Kim, 45