South Korea retreat, May 1998.
This occasion is very sacred and also very romantic. I like a romantic atmosphere. Romantic doesn't mean only the loving atmosphere between two people, like a man and woman. Romantic is something that is very sacred, very noble, very poetic in the air, which we ourselves generate from within our heart when we feel very loving, very peaceful, very kind very gentle, and we feel so good about everything, about everyone around us. We walk slowly, we talk gently, we think very, very nobly and poetically. That's what I call a romantic atmosphere. Today we have it.
I think in the modern times, we have a lot of advantages, as I told you yesterday. We have airplanes, we have super electronic equipment, so that we can contact each other. We have television, and we have all kinds of conveniences afforded to us so that we can be here in a very short time and stay together and enjoy all this comfort. Even if we're not together, later we can enjoy the memories of this occasion at home through video tapes, television, audio tapes, and songs, as well as our own recording system in our brain. But nevertheless, in the modern times, due to this high technical development, it has somehow destroyed a little, if not a lot, of the romantic atmosphere of the old times, such as the clothes we wear, the way we walk, the way we talk together, the way we think, and the way we write and express our thoughts inside. It's not as poetic and leisurely, romantic like the ancient times. That's what we miss sometimes. That's what I miss a lot of times. And on such occasions, we bring it back.
I don't know whether we've forsaken our poetic nature, our romanticism, inherent inner beauty, or whatever we've done to ourselves, that nowadays most of the time we think more of finances. We think more of material comfort than the care taking of our inside beauty or even our own representation outside of the inner beauty, such as nice clothes, walking with dignity and manners, talking with gentleness and sweetness. It's very difficult for all of us nowadays to talk even in a sweet tone, even if we want to, because everyone else talks in a harsh tone quickly and loudly. Sometimes I myself feel very lost in this world, I don't know how you feel. Not sometimes, often times, especially when I'm in a very poetic and romantic mood and I have to deal with the people who are less romantic or not romantic at all. Then I do feel lost, or that I've lost something that I don't know, lost sadness. I feel kind of out of this world, born in a wrong world.
I guess you feel like that sometimes, don't you? Yes! So, why don't we all try to get that back. Not only during our meditation, but after, before, and all the time that we deal with people. I know its difficult even for me. You know I write poetry. Even though in the old times when I was younger, maybe my poetry was not all that polished and perfect the way I would have liked it to be, the way I would like it to be now. I did not understand as much as I understand now. But still in my heart I'm a poet, and I like to be like poetry, like a dream, like romance.
But many times I have to face situations where my poet inside runs away from me, because I can't bear the crudeness of the reality outside. Then I have to talk the way other people talk, I have to act the way other people act, and so on. After that I just sit down, feel quiet and sad, feel as if I've lost some part of myself, feel as if I shouldn't have done what I have done, shouldn't have said what I said, because it wasn't me. It wasn't the way I like myself to be. But it's easier for you, perhaps as an individual, a not too famous individual, to try to get back your romantic, soft, gentle and sweet nature, and try to preserve it.
It's better that we preserve our real self, so that we like ourselves better. It doesn't matter if anyone else likes us or not. We have to like ourselves and that is very, very important. Otherwise, you go through life miserably and you're always on the defensive. Anything hurts you. Even though people mean well, you misunderstand. You hurt yourself and you feel low about yourself. That's not very good. So, let's try maybe from today to represent ourselves the way we want whenever possible. Don't let the habits of this world drag us into a different, rude, coarse kind of atmosphere in which we feel uncomfortable, in which we find ourselves very confined, very suffocated, very lost, and most often times, very sad. It is of course more convenient for us a lot of times to run around fast and to talk in a very irresponsible manner. (Master chuckles) But whenever we can, we should try to go back to the soft side, to the romantic side, like the way we have today. It's very nice to have a romantic atmosphere. Don't you think so? It feels good.
That's why people fall in love. When we are in love we talk softly, we feel elated. But we can create that ourselves, too, every day; create this kind of romantic atmosphere and carry it in our pockets. Carry it around with us. So when people see you, it's like they see a flower, like they see the sun, like they see the moon. And they also get infected by the romantic atmosphere. It's difficult nowadays to tune in to the poetic atmosphere of the old times. But maybe sometimes we can try, just for a change, just to be away from it all, to be away from the hassle feeling every day, to be away from the rough atmosphere of the world. And feel ourselves again. It wouldn't be bad, would it? So, next time if you go on retreat, or if you come to see me sometimes, you can put on your beautiful dress, or bring one, at least. It won't hurt to bring one. It doesn't have to be expensive, or colorful, it can be white, can be any color that you like. Just when you put it on you feel soft, you feel gentle, you feel romantic, you feel very, very poetic, feel like a fairy, an angel, feel like you're in the celestial world. That's very good.