Have you ever heard of yullyeo? Maybe not, since it is a concept found in ancient Asian stories about how the universe and humanity came into being, and it is not often talked about in the West. I think it is an important concept, though, similar to the idea of the Tao, that can help people to understand their place in the universe and to live better in it.
The simplest definition of yullyeo is “the rhythm of the universe.” This rhythm can be most easily seen in the many repetitive cycles that occur on the earth—the tide moving in and out, the moon waning and waxing, beings breathing in and out, and so on. In the ancient Korean conception of how the universe came into existence, this actually the source of all existence.
Through a constant, rhythmical push and pull of polarities, all things in the universe came into existence. Although we humans, too, depend on yullyeo, our busy minds disrupt our experience of it. Opening ourselves back up to this rhythm is key to deep healing and spiritual enlightenment. Here are some simple ways you can begin to feel yullyeo once again:
1. Walk in Nature
The natural world demonstrates the cyclical rhythms of the universe in countless ways. Of course, living things all go through their cycles of living and dying, growing and blooming, sleeping and moving. But the nonliving world—rocks, weather, mountains, etc.—all have their cycles, too. Rocks are born of volcanic activity and then wear away, and mountains rise up and then are slowly washed to the sea. Being out in nature puts you in the midst of all of this, in the middle of creation itself.
2. Close Your Eyes and Breathe
Your body is sustained by the rhythms of yullyeo, a fact that is reflected in your heart beat and in your breathing. Without them, life ends quickly. If you relax, close your eyes, and quietly listen to the in and out of your breath, you will naturally release your stress and center yourself in the natural flow of life.
3. Move with Energy
In the Brain Education program that I teach, there is an exercise called dahnmu, which is a kind of energy dance. Start by just trying to feel energy on the palms of your hands. Then, allow that feeling of energy to guide your movements as you follow the flow of energy.
4. Meditate Regularly
Yullyeo is always all around us, but for us humans often the chatter of the mind stops us from feeling it, which in turn leads us to make decisions that aren’t in sync with the flow of yullyeo. Meditation is a way of calming down and possibly even silencing that chatter, so see if you can develop a regular practice.
5. Be Grateful
In the universe, yullyeo has created many dualities that help to keep the universe in motion. These dualities include both dark and light elements. For that reason, although we rightfully want to cultivate the positive aspects of life, the dark shadow side exists for a reason, too. For that reason, we must remain thankful for everything, always knowing that everything, both good and bad, exist for the greater good of our growth and expansion.
6. Remain in the Moment
Yullyeo can only be felt in the present moment because that is the only place that it really exists. Future and past are only phantoms, while now pulsates with life and possibility. Give up dwelling on the past or obsessing on the future—right in this moment is the only place where the creation of yullyeo can take place.
7. Dance with Abandon
Do you remember being a little kid and just running and dancing about without a care in the world? You can return to that kind of moment, if you want. Try playing some good music and dance without any self-consciousness or restraint. Let go and just enjoy the feeling of your body’s movement.
8. Draw Outside the Lines
Just like you can dance with abandon, you can do the same with some pens or crayons and some paper. Just turn on some music, take some blank paper, and start drawing, letting your hand move without restriction.
9. Let Go of Burdens
Anything that fills you with regret, resistance, or resentment will cut you off from the flow of yullyeo. These become like addictions of the mind that keep us from experiencing true freedom and healing. Learn to drop those attachments, thanking them for however they have served you and then move on.
10. Take the Broader Perspective
Sometimes we cannot appreciably the ebb and flow of life because we are too caught up in our own limited perspective. Instead, always try to take the “God’s eye view” of any situation, even when it seems harmful to you. From that perspective, you are much more likely to see the ultimate divine plan, the never-ending creative flow, of everything in your life.
These are only simple little things you can do to glimpse the existence of yullyeo. There is an even deeper experience of it that you can have, too, if you are willing to discipline yourself at deeper levels. You must open yourself widely and deeply, which for most takes years of practice and dedication on the path toward enlightenment. That journey begins with only one step, though, so I hope you will stop and take the time to get back in touch with the rhythms of yullyeo.
You can learn more about experiencing yullyeo in Living Tao: Timeless Principles for Everyday Enlightenment.