Empty Your Mind and Awake

Bruce Lee offered a challenge: “empty your mind.” Along with Buddhist teachings, I interpret Lee’s quote to mean that we must all achieve, however momentary, inner peace in order to empty our mind, so that we are then ready to be shocked and awakened. In some ways, we must continuously empty and reawaken the mind throughout our lives, or else we are left stagnant, bored, and unenlightened.

Emptying our minds to achieve inner peace is a challenge, hence why some devote their entire lives to such a journey. I cherish the moments, however small, in which I have been able to regroup and focus the mind on my studies and my art. Despite all its challenges, living in South Korea is allowing me (day-by-day) to not only reawaken my mind to new cultural views, but to also inspire my scholarly research and artistic creations. The 7500 mile move from Orlando, Florida to Daejeon, South Korea has served as shock to my system and my mind, in a mostly positive way.

Just the other day I was taking a solo walk around the beautiful, urban beach city of Busan, where I came upon a nondescript art gallery tucked between a nail salon and a beauty shop. Outside the gallery was a large vertical banner, mostly written in Hangul, but feature romanized versions of the artists’ names. The first name listed: Andy Warhol, the second name: Paik Nam June. This small, nondescript gallery had not only one, but two pieces of Paik’s work for sale, for only $2500 each.

So, the main impetus behind the move to South Korea are the simple, yet thrilling moments of stumbling upon great art as if it was just another New York hot dog stand. Just one moment, among many, that continuously awakes me to another perception of existence.