Seoul Searching

“Travel far enough, you’ll meet yourself” – David Mitchell

Here I am in Seoul, South Korea. I am traveling for more than just a vacation, I am here to pursue and advance in mind, body, and soul. I am a researcher and I am here for science, but science to me is two-fold. On one side, it is the nanoscale study of materials (physics and chemistry) but on the other side it is equally complex. I study people. I study how people act, how they respond, and how they function. Most of my interests have led me to examine the pursuit of happiness and the respective components of happiness which encompass most of human life.

First, when studying people, one must be familiar with the 5 senses: touch, sound, sight, smell, taste and the 6th less common sense: intuition. Each of the senses can help someone relate to another person (i.e. environment and surroundings play a big role in how someone acts). These things also help you to relate to people from other cultures (I use it often in my lab group and while being in another country). The final one, intuition, helps you to connect with people far beyond physical sensing. Intuition crosses into the mind, and maybe further, and with the right people, you can read exactly what they are thinking.

Second, when studying other people, you must be familiar with one specific person to be effective. That person is yourself. But… that is easier said than done.

You may be thinking, “well of course, the best person to explain you is yourself”. But the main problem with that rational is that we know who we are, we know how we feel, we even know what we like, but we do not give ourselves honest credit in most regards. Some people are humble, some people are arrogant. Some people like to show who they are through their actions, others like to talk about it. Some people are concerned with how others view them and some people change who they are to be something else. There is even a saying which talks about how some people “keep their emotions bottled up and other wear them on their sleeves”.

Now with this thinking you may understand why we are probably not the best people to describe ourselves. Conversely, with that being true, then how do we ever know ourselves to the fullest? How can we interact with others if we cannot honestly interact with ourselves? How do we know what we want? And is what we want authentic, or is it what we think we want? Then, how can we truly be happy? The answer is that we cannot with traditional methods and I truly believe most people encounter these thoughts at some point in their life (especially if they are interested in humanity).

Finally, during my time traveling, my senses have been on high alert and they have told me something. This is the time to breathe deeply and to sense only vital things. This is the time to reflect and construct an ideal setting where the world is peaceful, even just for seconds. This is the time to start something new and this is time to stop wasting time.  Wasting time is simple, yet frustrating, and the easiest way to mitigate this time lost is to not focus on what we want, but what we need. There is even another way of saying that: “focus not on what the mind wants, but on what the soul needs”.

Let me give you an example (or two).

Do you know that person at work who will walk over every single person to get to the top? You know what that does for that person? Or what it does to other people? In their mind, they think they are achieving, they are succeeding, they are fulfilling their dreams. But then what happens when walking all over people can no longer get them to the top? That same person will not even be able to reflect on what they have accomplished, on their successes, on the fulfilling moments, because they never were honest with their true position (their role). Those career moments will not make them truly happy and they will not even have the camaraderie of their co-workers beside them to celebrate because those people have been pushed aside along the way.

Do you know that person who never has time for their longest, oldest friends? Or the people who change morals, ideals, and characteristics every couple of years? These people are very similar to one another and also similar to the person stepping on everyone at work. They let their mind control their actions, feelings, and pursuit of common, everyday things. These people are not in control of how their mind interacts with their world, and more importantly, how they mind controls their soul.

With these two examples, it is clear that everyone has exhibited this behavior before, and some people may be better at controlling it than others. Are you the person at work who wants it all but doesn’t always respect others? Take a deep breath before starting anything and analyze quickly how that will impact others. Are you the person who changes constantly (trends, ideals, or morals)? This is tricky, because we are constantly changing, or growing, but find someone, something, or some place that keeps you grounded and reminds you who you are.

Our souls are their own, they know themselves. They know what they need. They know how to heal. They know how to be a friend when others are not. They know to be honest when it is more beneficial to be the opposite. They know they need to let go, detach, and remain solo from the mind every once in a while. This is your time. This is your time to go do what makes your soul happy.

With that, you can find me out attempting to manage my mind, following the things that excite me, and appreciating the soul that is mine.

You can find me Seoul-searching.

-Happiness in Handfulls

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