Being a Mindful Dad

Being a Mindful Dad

On Father’s Day, we remember Dad, who always made time for each of us.

Dad was a “very important person.” He would take very important calls in the quiet hours of the morning. He would travel to the far corners of the world to attend “very important” meetings. He had to make “very important” decisions for work. He did “very important” things for the world.

But, he was never too important to be present when he was home.

Dad and son walking side by side holding hands When he was home, he always made sure to give the “very important” people in his family 100% of himself.

Even when he was in a deep conversation with guest in the living room, he paused and kneeled down and responded when his toddler son pulled at his pant leg.

Even when he sat in his home office with deep furrows in his brow contemplating the next strategic plan, he wiped his face clean to greet his teenage daughter when she peaked around the door to ask if she could talk to him about something.

Even while preparing for a major organizational annual meeting, he made time to sit down and have coffee to advise his growing son on life’s challenges.

Even when his children grew up, had families of their own and moved, he used holidays to touch base and checking in on his children’s career and life developments and his grandchildren.

As a result, his children have grown to honor themselves the same way Dad honored them. They listen carefully to their conscience and intuition. They make and take their goals seriously. They face their challenges with honesty and confidence.

The relationships in his family are deep and because of that, the relationships are also a source of many insights and truths for every family member. The same sincerity carries through to their relationships with those around them.

As some of the children have grown, they have carried the same “present” parenting into their own families. From the smallest details of how they prepare meals for their family, to the larger picture matters of building a family driven by a vision for a greater purpose, to even serve the world, they pour their intention and effort into every interaction they have with their children.

As parents we often underestimate the significance of the small interactions we have with our children. The parent-child relationship is the first intimate relationship that we experience, and the most formative. Meeting our child’s eye and hearing what their soul is trying to express is an important part of building the foundations of their character.  

Teen Talk: “It’s so important to have the right motivation of heart.”

Teen Talk: “It’s so important to have the right motivation of heart.”

Sumika might be a shy high school student, but during her time on Jr. Leadership Task Force, her insights on spiritual growth demonstrated that character and a mature perspective are what count when it comes to learning about being a leader.

Jr. LTF is preliminary program for young adults who may go on to participate in Leadership Task Force, designed by Family Peace Association to provide participants with a unique international experience that develops spiritual growth and lessons on leadership to carry into their families, communities, and nations.

Sumika talks about having a higher perspective during leadership program

During the summer Jr. LTF program, Sumika had the goal to “take on a higher perspective.” Her introverted tendencies once made it difficult to break out of her comfort zone to approach people and share about the service project she would be going on to participate in later that summer in Indonesia. However, she shared how she was able to overcome her challenges saying, “I wanted to have a positive attitude and be motivated by the aspiration to live for the sake of others. I realized that by having humility and gratitude, I could think from a different perspective outside my own. It is so important to have the right motivation of heart.”

As Sumika has expressed, when developing leadership capacities in young people, it is essential to instill values that drive them to come up with solutions that may not primarily benefit themselves, but rather be motivated by a greater good. By thinking of the people she is serving, Sumika could look outside only what made her comfortable and reach a new level of maturity that gave her a glimpse into what she called “God’s perspective.”

Teen Talk: “It is only through challenge that we grow.”

Teen Talk: “It is only through challenge that we grow.”

Piljin is a new high school graduate who participated in a five-day fundraising campaign to pay his way through Family Peace Association’s leadership program for young adults. His story is one of challenge, leadership and maturity that gave him what he called “spiritual strength” to grow as a brother in his family and a leader in his community.

Piljin’s fundraising experience proved to be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of his young life. He describes the process of fundraising as a “mental challenge.”

Piljin expresses his gratitude to his family as a high school graduate and participant in Jr. Leadership Task Force

“We talked about challenges throughout the week, but it’s only through challenge that we grow. In one sense, I’d like to believe that overcoming challenge during the fundraising allowed me to see the people and the area I live in from a new perspective.”

Every day in transit between his home and school, Piljin crosses paths with many people, typically without a word. But by fundraising, he was put into a position where he could share why he cared to be a part of a leadership program in the first place.

“When you’re out there, you’re conveying your beliefs to complete strangers. When you’re talking to people you have to explain your beliefs and values. Opportunities like that, bottom line, are good chances to grow. It helps affirm your beliefs, conviction, motivation and faith.”

When it comes to leadership development, character, values and a healthy life of faith are all part of becoming a leader who can use their conviction and determination to help other people.

“Fundraising is definitely a spiritual, internal exercise,” said Piljin. “Through challenges you’re able to learn and grow and figure out where you stand and be honest with yourself.”

Jr. Leadership Task Force offers a summer program, providing middle and high school students the opportunity to participate in a unique experience of spiritual growth and lessons on leadership they can carry into their families, schools and communities.

Family Peace Association Inaugural Ceremony Founder’s Address

Family Peace Association Inaugural Ceremony Founder’s Address

Below is the transcript of the Founder’s Address delivered by Dr. Hyun Jin P. Moon on December 2, 2017 at the Family Peace Association Inaugural Ceremony.

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Opening and Welcome

Distinguished faith leaders, dignitaries, and founding members of the Family Peace Association from around the world

Welcome to Seoul, Korea, my birthplace, and thank you for joining me in the historic inauguration of the Family Peace Association.

The inaugural theme is “Creating a New Spiritual Consciousness Rooted in God-centered Families.” This theme encapsulates the aspirations of this new organization and offers a simple, but, profound solution to the vexing problems of our world today.

For more than two decades, I have been championing the vision of “One Family under God” throughout the world. Initially, the primary vehicles for this were the organizations within the larger Unification Movement. Although these entities had made some progress, they had inherent legacy, institutional and operational limitations. In 2009, I created the Global Peace Foundation (GPF) as a separate vehicle to carry forward this mission and as many of you have witnessed, we have made tremendous strides in furthering this vision.

For real transformation, however, a new organization is needed to supplement the efforts of GPF and its stated mission. This entity, from the very beginning, has to have a spiritual orientation that could inspire a global grassroots movement for peace on every level. It has to be relevant, simple and meaningful to the individual, family, society, nation and world. In addition, it has to be a membership organization that unites the human family across all the physical and perceived divides of our time.

The Family Peace Association is that new vehicle.

 

The Purpose of Creation

Ladies and gentlemen, the family is the most fundamental and defining institution of our human experience. It is a sacred institution where God’s original vision of creation was meant to take root. It should have been the well-spring of True Love, a divine selfless love of self-sacrifice; the school of love where True Life is formed; and the hometown of His direct dominion where all humanity is connected directly to His True Lineage through a covenant in blood.

Instead of being just our Creator, God intended to be our True Parent and co-create with His sons and daughters the physical kingdom of heaven on earth. His deepest desire was to connect intimately to every human life in a parent and child relationship of love. Through this relationship, He wanted to bequeath His truth, righteousness and goodness to His sons and daughters, expanding His presence through blood ties into a wider network of familial relationships, especially to subsequent generations.  Such God-centered families would and should have become the building blocks for a peaceful, ideal world.

 

The Importance of Family

I am sure all of you would agree that the closest, foundational relationships we experience are found within our families. That is why, regardless of culture, ethnicity, race or nationality, the intimacy of familial relationships is a universal ideal. We, therefore, utilize familial terms when we want to highlight the closeness of a non-family relationship: Our closest friends are like our brothers and sisters; Respected elders or mentors are like our fathers or mothers; Younger people we care for deeply are like our children.

This intimacy makes the family the natural school of love, interdependence and social cohesion. The amazing fact about the human experience is that every person begins life not by choice but by circumstance. We are thrust into the world as the products of our parents’ union, completely helpless and dependent on our parent’s care and love to survive and grow. As we experience the relationships with our siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, it teaches us, from the outset, that we are by nature relational beings and, therefore, interdependent. As a direct result, we realize that our identity, sense of purpose and happiness is defined by meaningful love relationships with others that, naturally, makes us find our unique place within our families.

 

Universal Principles and Values

At this time when values and norms are being vastly contested and redefined, there is urgent need to clarify and uplift time-honored universal spiritual principles and values. Such principles can be the much-needed compass to navigate through this confusion and guide humanity toward God’s ideal, which I believe is rooted first and foremost in families centered on the divine love of God. We do not have to look far to find evidence of these universal principles.

We can first look to the great faith traditions that have preserved, taught, and practiced time-honored traditions that point to the innate value of human life and the proper order in human relationships, especially in the family, as well as to virtues by which to live. Although they might differ in religious dogma, this is but a small part of their teaching. The vast majority of their instruction deals with universal truths. These truths are the basis of universal spiritual principles and values that all people of faith share.

Second, we can look to the natural world and find the hand of God in the design and order that exists in all creation. I spend a lot of time out in the wilderness, because it is my first place of worship where I seek out God’s guidance and strengthen my inner spirit. In the unforgiving mountains of Alaska or under the beating sun of Africa’s savannas, you cannot hide behind artificial, false pretensions and are forced to see yourself for who you truly are. That is why the natural world is where many of the great faith leaders turned as they sought to understand Our Creator and His purpose for creation.

The third area that can provide evidence of universal principles is the field of social science.  Just as natural sciences have advanced at an unimaginable pace to help us understand the created world, social science has also developed various ways to better objectively understand human beings, our interactions, and what contributes to happiness, fulfillment, and health.  When not skewed and used for self-centered, agenda-seeking purposes, we can find plenty of empirical data that point to the importance of the traditional understanding of family.

 

The Urgent Situation of the World Today

Perhaps these truths about the family appear self-evident to all of us gathered here. Yet, today, they face serious challenges from many quarters in the developed world. Traditional ideals and bedrock values that defined the family throughout human history, providing the foundation for cohesive societies, are being called into question. This inner strife and confusion, especially in the West, has global consequences since it reflects a deteriorating moral authority in the eyes of the rest of the world.

The West represents only a small fraction of the seven and half billion people that inhabit the earth, although its influence for the past century is undeniable. Yet, for most of that time, it led the global community by espousing universal ideals of fundamental human rights and freedoms that elevated the human condition. These were spiritual principles and values that came from its Judeo-Christian heritage. But, with the rise of the secular progressive movements of the 1960s, many of those time-honored traditions have eroded in Western culture to the point where the very mentioning of God and faith in the public square is frowned upon.

Yet, the developing world is largely made up of traditional and religious societies and cultures that reject many of the social experiments of the counter cultural movement. The excesses of the West’s materialistic and secular culture is offensive to most in these parts of the world. Although they seek the prosperity of the developed world, they do not want to adopt their modern values.

As many experts on the subject of the Global War on Terror acknowledge, Islamist terrorist groups are capitalizing on the growing consensus that the West has lost its way as the moral leader of this age. The nature of this global conflict, with its religious overtones, suggest a deeper issue of moral authority and spiritual leadership. Although the radicalization of Islam has to be dealt with inside its faith community, the ideology of Islamic or religious terrorism will be defeated by an alternative spiritual ideology that can go beyond the confines of religious dogma and enlighten humanity on fundamental universal truths.

 

The Need for a Spiritual Awakening

The secular and materialistic cultures of the developed world often place the greatest emphasis on immediate gratification instead of self-sacrifice, self-control and enduring human relations. There are disturbing trends toward an egotistic hyper-individualism fueled by the advent of social media, coupled with the dehumanizing virtual world of the internet. Many are concerned with the societal effects from these technological advancements since they seem to diminish human interaction and deep introspection, leaving many to wonder what the long-term impact of these trends will be. Most importantly, there seems to be a growing consensus that technology could solve all the global problems, fueling technologically driven utopian ideals that erode the fundamental meaning and essence of life rooted in humanity’s spiritual consciousness.

Yet, this consciousness was the foundation for all the “Great Awakenings” throughout human history where we reached new levels of enlightened understanding. From the Pax Mongolica of Eurasia to the Reformation and Enlightenment in Europe the universal ideals of freedom of religion, commerce, thought and the importance of personal merit and talent were conceived, nurtured and grew. They led to the formation of the United States which championed fundamental human rights and freedoms—leading to the ideals that defined the West. Always, it was the quest for spiritual truths that fostered these monumental developments.

 

The absence of a new spiritual consciousness in the developed world amid major social rifts along racial, ethnic, religious, economic, ideological and hyper-partisan lines is fragmenting the social fabric of most first world nations. Many are beginning to realize that wealth, technology, and abundant goods and services, address physical needs but can never satisfy the spirit’s desire to seek truth and meaning. That can only come through an “awakening” of one’s soul.

 

Importance of God-centered Families

The family is the most basic of all social units that addresses our most essential physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Thus, it is universally relevant and meaningful to our human experience. It engenders, molds and defines who we are, what we become and, most importantly, our deepest relationships. Therefore, it is the natural starting point for any meaningful transformation on the individual, family, societal, national and worldwide levels.

Since God is the source of all truth, righteousness and goodness, His presence and blessing are essential ingredients in establishing families that reflect those ideals. Just as the ideals of fundamental human rights and freedoms are acknowledged to come from our Creator and not from any human institution, the perfection of the human condition can only come about when it is aligned to His purpose. True freedom and innate human value can only be realized when we recognize and live according to the dictates of the spirit and our conscience. It is in the family where these ideals need to first be cultivated and experienced and then shared with the rest of society, nations and the world.

It is through such families that humanity has the chance to be enlightened and become active participants in building a world of peace and co-prosperity. It is where universal principles and values are made real and where God’s truth, righteousness and goodness emerge. This original, unchanging purpose of the family gives substance to the theme of this inaugural of “Creating a New Spiritual Consciousness in God-centered Families.”

 

Carrying on My Father’s Legacy

Ladies and gentlemen, today is a very meaningful day for me. On the one hand, this day represents a milestone for humanity, where all of you, men and women, families, faith traditions and organizations from around the world are standing together to declare your commitment to cultivating God-centered families. However, on the other hand, for me personally, this inauguration also expresses my commitment to continuing my father’s life-long work.

My father had founded the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification with the intention of creating a global movement to inspire all humanity to establish God-centered families. During public addresses, he often opined: “What do you think is God’s ultimate purpose for creating human beings? Simply put, it is to experience joy through relating with ideal families filled with true love… living as one family with God…”

I personally witnessed the difficulty my father faced as he sought to articulate this mission and bring it to life. His entire life was devoted to responding to God’s calling, to find a way for all humanity to live together in peace and happiness. His work was not merely for one people, or one faith; it was for all humanity. He was often misunderstood by the wider public and sometimes exploited by his own supporters with self-serving agendas. Yet, to the end, he remained steadfast in his commitment to God and humanity. As his son, and as one who shares in his aspirations, I am committed to bringing our shared dream to fruition.

In 1998, when I was appointed the International Vice President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, I made a promise before Heaven and humanity that I would carry forward my parents’ dream to advance God’s kingdom through the formation of God-centered families. Although I can no longer work through the FFWPU because it is not true to my father’s original mission, today, with the creation of the Family Peace Association, I am fulfilling that promise.

This spiritual movement will carry forward the original vision that animated my father’s life which is the dream of a peaceful ideal world where humanity stands as “One Family under God.”

 

Call to Action

Today we stand at an inflection point in history. The world is ripe for the next great awakening of human spiritual consciousness. Yet at the same time, the family, which should be a divine institution, is being undermined before our very eyes by the many disruptive forces at work within modern culture, dissolving the bonds of society. In its wake, purely human institutions, let it be secular or religious, are taking its place exacerbating the already existing divides within humanity.

The role of God-centered families is central to all positive human development since it brings back the divinity in that sacred institution and aligns it to the original purpose of creation. Without such families, humanity will not have the moral clarity and conviction to take on the challenges of this age and build a brighter future for our children and grandchildren. The course of human society will turn on how well we understand this truth and the choices we make today to act upon it.

At a time when humanity is growing more fragmented as a result of religious, racial, cultural, and economic tensions, we need to find common cause and work towards a world where every person is valued as a son or daughter of God. As people of faith and good conscience, we need to rise above differences of doctrine and ideology and recognize the universal principles and shared values embodied in the time-honored teachings of the world’s great faith traditions. Most importantly, we need to cooperate in enlightening humanity’s spiritual consciousness to turn to our common Creator and build “One Family under God,” one family at a time.

Please join hands with me in officially launching the Family Peace Association. Let us work to usher in an era of peace by creating families where God will be pleased to dwell and through whom His light and peace can spread throughout the world.

May God bless you and thank you very much.

Download the speech here.

Copyright © Family Peace Association

All rights reserved. No part of this speech may be used or reproduced or posted online in any manner whatsoever without prior written permission from Family Peace Association.

 

Spring Cleaning for the Spirit: Making a New Determination

Spring Cleaning for the Spirit: Making a New Determination

In some places the snow is finally melting and bright new flowers are starting to peek above the ground. After the dormancy of winter, the new beauty sprouting up around us is enough to put a spring in anyone’s step, energizing us to make a renewed determination. Many of us will use that energy to give some much-needed attention to our cluttered homes and work spaces. Spring cleaning helps those who want to get more organized, save time in the future, and learn more about what is most important to them at that time in their lives. In these ways, spring cleaning doesn’t just apply to your storage rooms and closets, but also your spirit.

 

Spring Cleaning Checklist:

 

1. Keep, Toss, Donate (Reflect)

Just as you would purge your closet of the clothes you no longer wear, whether ill-fitting or simply unappealing, you can reflect on your daily habits and attitude. Think about where you find the most value.

When you look at your closet, you have to wonder, “Where do I spend the most time?”or “Where do I WANT to spend the most time?” From here, you determine what outfits and accessories are essential and comfortable for your daily life. Some of us need appropriate clothing for adventure: hiking, water sports, horseback-riding, and other endless outdoor activities. A totally different wardrobe will belong to someone who works in a professional office, or is a university student who adorns him or herself in school colors, or someone who works from home in comfortable yoga pants.

In what areas do you want to spend the most effort in to develop your spiritual life?

You can think about cleaning out your “Spiritual closet” as a chance to reflect on the habits and attitudes you need to ‘keep, toss, or donate.’ Keep habits and attitudes that motivate you to live for the sake of others; toss those that only serve you; and, as a mentor and brother or sister, donate your best practices to others.

 

2. Organizing (Applying)

After you have gone through the process of “purging your closet,” the next step is organizing everything that is left. You reflected on the habits and attitude that you would like to have as part of your daily life, so how do you want to implement them? It’s not enough to just talk about the things you would like to do or the reactions you would like to have to any given situation.

To substantially apply what you reflected on, you need to make a plan. Organize your goals for positive habits by placing them in your daily schedule.

 

3. Staying Clean (Habits)

It’s easy to feel good after a couple days of keeping your home clean after a major spring cleaning session, but how long does it last?

New resolutions are easy to create, but difficult to maintain. You reflected on your spiritual life, thought of ways to implement good habits and attitudes in daily life, and now the real test is making those wishful habits into… well, habits!

Remember that just as Spring Cleaning is a reoccurring phenomenon, the process of reflection, application, and creating more positive habits is all an ongoing part of growing your spirit. As human beings, we are not meant to only change once. It is important to continuously reflect and in this way, we can attain greater understanding of ourselves and other members of our global family.

Happy Spring! Get cleaning!

Gratitude and Adventure

Gratitude and Adventure

By Keith MacMurdie

The attitude of gratitude or the state of being grateful in all circumstances is an important component in our life of faith. Without gratitude it is difficult to develop an honest relationship with God. Gratitude is not something we are automatically born with. It must be cultivated as part of our character by watching mentors, studying sacred words, and making effort.

Why is gratitude important? Well, what does a person look like who is not grateful? That person may feel that the world owes them something. He might think that he is the center and others are not so important. Essentially, ungrateful people do not value others and live and die in their own false construct of the world. This type of person is cut off from relationships of true love whether with people or God. They are also cut off from truth as their world is extremely limited.

Gratitude opens us up to the necessity of people and God in our lives. We realize that we are all interdependent beings with a common Parent. Through gratitude, we also realize that there are powerful forces in the universe that are beyond our control. The correct and honest worldview is that we are objects to God as the subject.

When things are going smoothly in our lives we are easily grateful. When we are receiving lots of love and support we easily praise God and feel good about our life, family and friends. How about when things are not going well? Remember the Biblical story of Job? He had everything taken from him and he deeply struggled and wrestled with his faith.

At first glance, the two concepts of gratitude and adventure may not seem to go together. However, when we ask the question, “How can gratitude be cultivated?”, we will see they are very closely connected.

We can strengthen our gratitude by putting ourselves in controlled challenging circumstances. This is one way that adventure activities can help us grow. Adventure activities can be fun and exciting. They also place us in very uncomfortable circumstances mentally, emotionally, and physically. These challenging situations are the opportunities to “exercise” our gratitude. Gratitude, much like physical muscles, needs exercise and stress to stretch and grow. By willingly entering into challenging situations we are testing and pushing our limits of gratitude.

Conducting adventure activities in a wilderness setting helps us to understand our proper position in the order of creation. First, in the wilderness there are factors that cannot be controlled such as the weather or encounters with predators.  Risk can be lowered with preparation but not eliminated. We learn trust and gratitude as we navigate wilderness challenges successfully. Secondly, with so much awesome beauty and harmony around us we cannot but be grateful to God for providing such a rich and diverse environment for us to grow. Feeling true love from our Creator stimulates our heartfelt response of gratitude.

So when you are scared, cold, wet, hungry and tired push through those complaining thoughts and allow your mind to go to a place of gratitude. Thanking those around you and God above for the opportunity to become a better person – a person more able to give and receive true love. Because, ultimately, this is why we are here – to become people who share deeply God’s love and joy with Him and our universal family.