An anonymous testimony:
There are a lot of different factors that together help to provide us with a rich and uplifting life of faith. This testimony from a recent university graduate helps to show how keeping an open heart and mind allows God to be a part of defining our direction in life:
Cheong Pyeong Heaven and Earth training centre: Sept 19 – Oct 28
“During my last year at University I decided to take 6 months off upon graduating, to travel amongst other things, but also to have the oppurtunity to take a breather from the career orientated, rat race inclined London life. Fortunately my employers are accomodating and deffered my starting date. My travels included a 3 months stint in Korea which was subdivided into catching up with my parents who live there and 40 days in Cheong Pyeong (CP), both invaluable. When Simon asked me to write a testimony about the latter, I happily agreed but as I sit here looking back on my experience I realize how awkward it is to summarize 40 days worth of diverse experiences and personal realizations as well as recount them publicly. Nevertheless, since I had a very positive eye-opening experience, if I can in any way inspire or help better prepare for a trip to CP, I’ll happily share a little bit.
Just like any regular western person I’m not a huge fan of something that would appear to be syncronised slappings of oneself in addition to a daily schedule nowhere near our real lifestyle. Not for nothing my previous experiences at CP have all been epic failures. Nevertheless I think I was lucky to have those previous experiences as it emphasized the importance of prepation. Making it my own decision to go made a huge difference and it allowed it have an open mind and having previously been allowed me to manage my expectations and set goals which were realistic to me.
As a result, instead of it being a hellish process of self-denial, a simple adjustment of mindset to viewing everything in CP as an aid to achieving my goals made it an enjoyable experience in which I wanted to invest, which was probably the foundation of my whole experience there. I could see all the challenges as specially prepared for me in order to have certain realisations.
If there’s one thing I could take away from Cheong Pyeong, I definitely say that it is the realisation that no matter which direction your live takes and what kind of decisions you make, God is always there trying to be a part of your life no matter how distant we sometimes choose to be. The moment you allow a little space you feel completely filled up instantly and I felt like I discovered an unlimited source of Love. I guess one big part of my experience was (physical) Daemoonim. I have never met a more genuinely caring person and her ongoing concern for the well-being of our members completely softened all of my scepticism. There are these moments in life where everything is just crystal clear, where everything makes complete sense and I don’t think I will ever forget the moment I experienced that once again in CP. This whole experience reminded me of the importance of our environment and how much it influences our lives.
As aforementioned, I can’t possibly put much of my experience in words. What I’d say though, and conclude with, is that because we place such importance on the Spirit World within our movement, Cheong Pyeong can be immeasurably useful in clarifying as well as solidifying something without which little of what we believe in makes sense. Although I paint a pretty picture, distancing oneself for 40 days from the life you’re accustomed to is always going to be challenging.. but no where near as challenging as not having a clear grasp of what you believe in. I know I’ll remember everyone I met there for a long time to come as they all significantly contributed to my experience.
One last thing.. if you’re considering going to Cheong Pyeong and can avoid the summer rush, I’d strongly recommended it. I felt that the peace and tranquility of the environment was preserved in the absence of thousands of people and that was essential to my experience.”