Summary: Love for Imperfect Things By Haemin Sunim
Summary: Love for Imperfect Things By Haemin Sunim

Summary: Love for Imperfect Things By Haemin Sunim


▪ When we become kinder to ourselves,

we can become kinder to the world.


Don’t Be Too Good

▪ It’s okay not to be ranked

first, second, or even third.

Compare yourself not with others,

but with the old you.

Like yourself for making an honest effort.

And continue to have faith in yourself.

▪ We are worthy of being loved

not because of what we do well

but because we are precious living beings.

Even if you don’t achieve

the perfection the world demands,

your existence already has value

and is worthy of love.

▪ Don’t think you are lovable only

when you succeed at what the world demands.

You are already worthy of love.


Your Existence Is Already Enough

▪ Don’t let your difficult past

define who you are today.

If you do, you will live your whole life

as a victim of the past.

There is life force within you

waiting to shoot out of the ground of the past.

Please trust that force of renewal.

Bow respectfully to your past and proclaim,

“From now on, I have decided to be a little happier!”

▪ Every now and then, permit yourself a little luxury.

Whether it’s buying beautiful flowers for the dinner table,

a slice of delicious cheesecake to have with a caffè americano,

a pair of soft winter gloves—

little luxuries can brighten your life.

▪ Though we should not ignore

what other people say,

the decision is ultimately ours to make.

When you make a decision,

listen to your heart more than the opinions of others.

A decision made because of the opinions of others

is one we often come to regret.


“Please Look After Mom

▪ It can feel like a mystery

why my child, parent, or sibling is

thinking and behaving a certain way.

But although we may neither

comprehend nor like it,

we can nevertheless love them,

because love transcends understanding

▪ Something as simple as holding someone’s hand

can go a long way toward easing that person’s pain.

The more we hurt, the more we need

the love and support of our family.

▪ Losing someone precious to us

is like losing the compass that pointed to life’s meaning;

it seems as though we will never find true north again.

The experience of life’s impermanence is a great lesson.

For those of you who are suffering, may this experience become

an opportunity to wake up to the Truth beyond impermanence.

▪ The greatest gift that parents can give their child

is to be happy themselves.

If the parents are happy,

then the child can grow up into a happy and confident adult.

But if the parents are not happy,

then the child can feel worthless—

unable to make his parents happy no matter what.


Understanding Our Fathers

▪ When your self-esteem hits rock bottom,

say to yourself: “To my family and close friends,

I’m just as precious as I’ve always been.

I’m still capable of doing good in the world;

a few people who don’t really know me

don’t get to decide what I’m worth.

In time, I believe I’ll meet different people

who will value me and my abilities.”

▪ If you love someone,

rather than doing what you think they need,

do what they themselves ask you to do.

Though it comes from a good place,

doing what you think someone needs

can be the seed of wanting to control them,

to make them a certain way to please yourself.

▪ If you love someone,

rather than doing what you think they need,

do what they themselves ask you to do.

Though it comes from a good place,

doing what you think someone needs

can be the seed of wanting to control them,

to make them a certain way to please yourself

▪ If you take home a cat and care for it,

even one that’s been abandoned and is dirty,

it won’t be long before it becomes

the cutest cat in the world.

▪ If you take home a cat and care for it,

even one that’s been abandoned and is dirty,

it won’t be long before it becomes

the cutest cat in the world.


The Power of Hugs

▪ If you want to express love to family or friends,

really listen to them,

devoting your whole mind and heart to their words.

If you listen with great care and interest,

they will come to feel, “I am a precious being,”

and, “This is what it feels like to be loved.”

▪ Apparently seeing a photo of someone you love

can actually alleviate your pain, like taking Tylenol.

And if you see a person helping someone,

it boosts the happiness hormone inside your body,

as if you are the one lending a helping hand.

▪ When your loved one is suffering and needs you,

just be there with her pain and suffering.

Let her feel she is not alone.

If you offer cheerful platitudes

or look for a quick solution,

it might be because you

do not want to face her situation.

Consider whether you are looking only for glib words

to quickly put yourself at ease.


Listening Is an Act of Love

▪ When we tell someone about our problems,

more often than not we do not want to hear

the “right words” from them.

We simply want to be heard.

When someone speaks to you,

do not rush to give them advice;

hear them out.

▪ Rather than trying to improve someone,

just be a mirror, reflecting them without judgment.

If you want them to improve, you stop seeing them as they are.

Instead, you see only their shortcomings,

measured against your own subjective standards.

▪ Genuine love seems to love “in spite of.”

Of course it is easy to love the parts we agree with,

but when we learn to embrace the parts we disagree with,

that is when liking turns into loving.


on a Zen Retreat

▪ Living with family, friends, or roommates

can be as difficult as doing spiritual practice,

requiring you to act in consideration of others

by either renouncing or moderating your desires.

Not criticizing those who live a different way than you do

and making an effort to understand and accept them,

that, too, is an important part of spiritual practice.

▪ There are times when you assume the worst

about someone and break off your relationship for good.

At such times, stop for a moment.

Fight the impulse to have the last word

and to make an irrevocable break,

lest you regret your decision, thinking,

“I should have kept my mouth shut.”

▪ We all wish to belong.

It is through those who care deeply about us

that we find love and purpose in our lives.

After all, we are all imperfect beings who need one another.


Dealing with Disappointment

▪ Try to share your true feelings.

Even if the other person is hurt at first,

eventually she will be grateful to know the truth.

The truth is freeing

to both the one who expresses it

and the one who hears it.

▪ True friends and good colleagues

are not those who say only pleasant things to you.

When it’s clear you have made a mistake,

they will tell you that you are at fault.

▪ Do not complain that someone has not

accommodated your every desire.

The real problem may be your expectation

that others must adapt to you.

The person who always adapts to you?

There is no such saint in the world.


To My Beloved Young Friends

▪ There are times when things are going well for you,

and people offer you unsolicited advice in the name of love.

They tell you to think about financial security, marriage, your future.

At such times, do not be shaken. Just keep walking the path

you have chosen, like the steadfast march of elephants.

▪ Don’t assume another bus will be coming.

Sometimes the route will have changed,

and you will never get another chance to catch the bus you missed.

If an opportunity is presented to you, don’t give in to your fear.

Muster your courage and get on that bus.

▪ If you’ve waited for someone to show up and change your life,

and they still haven’t appeared, don’t wait any longer.

It probably means you need to become that person for yourself.

When you feel like relying on someone else, remember:

There lives a far stronger and wiser being inside you than you imagine.


The First Failure

▪ Just because you have failed to achieve your goal,

it does not mean all your efforts were in vain.

Failure is meaningful in itself,

teaching you many new things.

No one can tell the sum of a life until it has come to its end.

▪ You have not screwed up your life

just because you screwed up an exam.

Nor is your life a failure

just because your business failed.

When you have had a negative experience,

be wary of thoughts that

make it seem worse than it is.

▪ The first step to overcoming failure

is to fully admit you have failed.

Admitting it will put your mind at ease

and help you to see what you ought to do next.


When Forgiveness Is Hard

▪ Underneath someone’s violent nature,

there is always fear, rooted in

either childhood or present circumstances.

Underneath that fear lurks

hurt and vulnerability.

If you really want to forgive someone,

look beneath the surface and see what is there.

▪ “Only true understanding can

bring about forgiveness.

And this kind of understanding is possible

when you see the suffering of others.”


▪ However much someone deserves your hatred,

hating them will end up making you

the biggest victim of your own hatred.

The deeper the valley of hatred grows,

the more it comes to feel like you are trapped in hell.

Resolve to be mindful of these negative feelings,

even if for no one else’s sake but your own.


“Haemin, I Am a Little Depressed

▪ We all experience feelings of depression

at some point in our lives.

When you do, notice that the fuel

for depressed feelings is negative thoughts.

If we keep feeding the feeling with those thoughts,

the feeling grows stronger and stays longer.

Rather than being trapped in negative thoughts,

shift your attention to your body and breathe deeply.

As the mind clears, so will the feeling.

▪ Clouds release their sadness

by crying until they can cry no more.

When they have no tears left to cry,

they feel a great weight has been lifted,

as heavy as all the tears they have shed.

We can release our sadness into the sky within us.

When we feel sad, it’s okay to cry like the clouds.

▪ When sadness visits you,

don’t try to push it away.

Instead, walk right into its center

and embrace your sadness.

After many hours of crying,

you will begin to see

the light at the end of the tunnel.


The Mind’s True Home

▪ When you eat your next meal, try closing your eyes.

We tend to rely on sight far more than on the other senses.

If you close your eyes and slowly savor the taste,

a whole new world will open up to you.

▪ Five ways to clear your thoughts and find peace in the present:

Look at beautiful scenery, and smile.

Close your eyes and breathe deeply ten times.

Listen to music with your eyes closed.

Enjoy walking without a destination in mind.

Shift your attention to your body, focusing on how your shoulders and back feel.

▪ When you are lost in thought,

you might not see what is right in front of you.

But if you concentrate on what is right in front of you,

you will be able to pause your thoughts.

Rather than struggling to stop your thoughts,

simply look at what is in front of you.

This brings the mind to the present.


The Art of Letting Go

▪ When you feel bad, don’t struggle with the feeling.

If you struggle to control it, you can make it worse.

However hard you might wish your feelings away,

they will stay for as long as they need to.

When you allow them to be there and watch them,

they usually leave earlier than you expected.

▪ Emotions are like uninvited guests.

They come whenever they want to,

and leave once you acknowledge their presence.

Although emotions are born inside of you,

don’t assume that they belong to you.

That is why they rarely listen to you.

▪ The moment we allow ourselves to be,

we finally feel at peace with ourselves.

Remember that we can only be ourselves.

When we accept ourselves,

others begin to accept us, too.