As The New York Times best-selling author and acclaimed philosopher, Ilchi Lee has been frequenting Kerikeri, the largest town in Northland New Zealand.
In June, Lee visited Kerikeri for the second time, and he plans to return for a three-month-long stay. He says that Kerikeri, with Rainbow Falls, the friendly people and the peacefulness, is a magnet for meditation.
Of course, setting has a lot to do with mindful meditation. Reaching a sense of calm is given a big helping hand from the soothing, relaxing environment in which one practices. Kerikeri, a subtropical paradise, aptly fits the bill.
The 63-year-old South Korean has followers from all corners of the world. He combines the Korean Taoist tradition, known as Sun Do, with neuroscience and environmental wisdom, and he has written 36 books, many of which have been translated into several languages.
Becoming a Fun Person
All of us have gone through the struggle of figuring out who we really are and what we want to do with our lives. For Lee, becoming happier all starts with living in the here and now, and embracing life for what is rather than what it appears to be on the surface.
When you look at someone you think is fun, what characteristics do they have? Outgoing, generous, adventurous? No matter your personality, Lee says, you can become a "fun" person – someone who makes their existence beautiful.
"Becoming a fun person isn't hard to do," Lee told the New Zealand newspaper Stuff.co.nz. "Right now, at this very moment, change how you smile, how you speak, how you walk and how you breathe. Practice it every day, in every moment. Smile, talk about good news, walk with a spring your step and breathe."
From Struggle to Success
As a child, Lee grappled with the problem of attention deficit disorder. When he was a teenager he turned to the martial art taekwondo to help ease his restless mind. Although he initially didn't pass his college entrance exam, Lee ended up graduating with a degree in clinical pathology and opening a clinical pathology practice. Through meditation, Lee was able to fight off the problems of ADD, and he began to teach methods of meditation to classes gathered in a community park.
The classes were the starting point of a lifelong journey, as Lee has since opened hundreds of Dahn Centers in South Korea and the U.S.
When the entrepreneur visits places like Kerikeri, he sees a human potential that transcends national boundaries. One of Lee's biggest messages is that we should all consider ourselves citizens of the earth. Lee believes that peace can only be achieved if humanity gives up nationalistic identities and becomes more self-sufficient in health care. Instead of over-relying on pharmaceuticals and specialized health care, we should rediscover the natural means of health maintenance.
Lee notes that our minds are the driving force of our happiness. We have a lot of external and internal noise – people telling us one thing, and our minds telling us another. Get rid of the cluster and fill it with good news. Through meditation, we can learn to work with our minds instead of against them and form relationships between one another to build a stronger future.