To Stay and Live in the Moment
To Stay and Live in the Moment
  • Prof. Dongwan Cho
  • 승인 2012.09.05 20:12
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Hey guys,
As former editor of The Postech Times, I’d like to express my full respect to the newspaper reporters, whose effort and commitment have made it possible for Postechians to witness the issue that marks its 3rd year today. To see this is nothing but a miracle since many of them would have wanted to quit the reporter position due to the tough circumstances from heavy school work and overloaded club activities. To my surprise, however, they seem to have led their lives successfully; so far none have been expelled from POSTECH, known for the strict management of academic affairs for students. On the contrary, some of them have been on the dean’s list for semesters consecutively, and they were found to enjoy the killing schedule. Their attitudes towards life and time management, in fact, helped to iron out the topic of this column: staying and living in the moment. The issue is also related to how to enjoy life.
A long time ago, when I was about your age, I happened to see a picture of a monk belonging to Jainism walking on a dirt road in the county. What caught my eyes was that he was totally naked but he seemed to be immersed in himself looking very peaceful and serene. Looking at the picture, I wondered how a fully naked man could retain such a high level of composure. He looked like a big mountain confronting the whole world. I concluded that he might have obtained complete peace of mind, not to care about other people’s judgment and interest in him. I’m not sure whether I could have any possibility to see the same picture again but the impression was so vivid that it has left an unforgettable memory. Since the encounter of the picture, I’ve longed for a life with peace of mind.
Naturally, however, I’ve been too concerned about my future and life in general. My personality has thus often caused unnecessary mental pressure and groundless worry. In order to relieve my stress and to obtain a peace of mind, I’ve tried many things, two of which proved to be effective and successful. One was to train my mind and the other was to use my body.
For the first one, I’ve practiced a kind of meditation. Thanks to several visits to Buddhist temples during my college life, I was able to acquire the basics of Zen, which is 禪 in Chinese. Practicing it has helped to get rid of my concerns and worries. I’m now strongly convinced anguish derives from obsession over worldly matters such as social status, money, love and even life. If I no longer cling to these, I could have a real peace of mind. And to say a bit philosophically and transcendentally, anguish is non-existent. These awakenings have induced me to concentrate more on the present moment: the past was gone and the future has not come yet. I have to say that the awakening is not an abrupt achievement. It rather could be intensified through realizing that you’re the source of all pains you’re suffering from.
Doing exercise also has helped me stay in the moment. While I’m exercising, for example, riding a bike, I have to wholly commit myself to doing it or I will fall. Unless I concentrate on peddling and balancing, I have trouble. In fact, I’ve experienced falling from my bike due to distractions from thinking about a topic of my research paper and I’ve got a big scar on my face. Doing exercise in nature, in particular, has proven to be very helpful for me since I could focus more without being distracted from man-made things.
At this point, you may wonder whether to stay and live in the moment seems to be too shortsighted and ephemeral, which leads people to live without much thought about the meaning of life or a long-term goal of life. This view makes sense. What I’ve mentioned so far is mostly concerned with how to live now. Enjoying life and finding satisfaction in every moment is far wiser than pondering too much about an elusive and uncertain future and regretting what you’ve missed and have not achieved.
Then let me go back to the reporters of The Postech Times. You might expect a kind of life lesson from me and you guys now know what that is “Just stay and live in the moment.”

From your former editor