Tao of the WuThis weekend I had the opportunity to catch up with a few friends and family members back home.  The conversations that I had got me to thinking, what has my decision to teach English abroad really done for me?  Quite honestly, teaching English abroad has done many amazing things for me but in this post, I will only list a few.  To me, South Korea has served as an island of enlightenment.  I think it's imperative that at some point in every person's life, they find their own island, wherever that may be.  In the words of The RZA in his book The Tao of Wu: "I advise everyone to find an island in this life. Find a place where this culture can't take energy away from you, sap your will and originality. Since anything physical can be mental, that island can be your home. Turn off the electromagnetic waves being forced upon you, the countless invisible forces coming at you all the time." See below for some of the things that I believe can be accomplished when you find your island.  1.)FACE YOUR INNER SELF.  When you take a step back and truly get away from everything that you once knew, you have the ability to look within and discover things that were previously unknown to you.  For instance, since coming to Korea I have come to the realization that all of the uncomfortable emotions I experience towards other people are simply a reflection of my own demons.  Jealously, hate, anger, etc.  When you learn to face these inner demons on your own, you experience an overwhelming sense of independence that I can only describe as blissful. 2.) YOU CONTROL YOUR LIFE.  It has been well documented by geneticists that your genes are constantly being switched on and off by the environment.  Experiments have shown that the exact same genes react differently to the same surroundings.  In one experiment, genetically identical stem cells turned into bone, muscle tissue, and fat cells, respectively when exposed to the same environment.  By finding your island and exposing yourself to a different environment, you come to the realization that you as an individual have the power to mold your external surroundings into whatever it is that you want them to be.  You have a choice: become sovereign or remain dependent. 3.) YOUR EGO IS A JOKE.  Perhaps the most startling realization that I've come to since finding my island over here in Korea is that our ego is nothing more than a misunderstanding of self.  In fact, much like any living thing, the world is nothing more than a large organism and it requires all of us to function correctly.  Our false ego creates a sense of fear that consumes us and by acknowledging that fear, we are using our conscious energy to survive.  When we are afraid, we are in protection mode.  When you're in protection mode all of the time, you cannot survive.  By putting yourself on an island, you realize that the repression of your natural desires can be harmful to both your mental and physical states.  Fear can show itself in a number of ways.  Of the numerous fears that I've experienced, conceivably the most powerful of them all is the fear to love.  By coming to Korea, it has enabled me to open my heart in ways I never imagined. Find your island, change your perspective, love life.

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