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Compassion in Action Student Spotlight: Steve

Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I’m Steve and I am an intense guy committed to climbing all the way to the peak of consciousness through spiritual practices. It is a wasted effort if I climb only halfway up the mountain only to come back down again and miss the opportunity for higher dimensions of eternal heaven and boundless ecstasy. I want to experience the fullness and the boundlessness of life. I am unwilling to have only a small slice of life’s fruit. Even though it takes waiting and intense practice, it’s better to have an unlimited supply of fruits, which is undefined without slices. Everything is one big self so it’s wonderful to be selfish and greedy in an unlimited way! Selflessness, which is really being a people pleaser and a doormat, is valued in society. But selflessness is literally soullessness, which means you are dead, not alive. Being selfish does not mean we should not care about others, but we need to make sure to prioritize our spiritual growth. We need to dig deeper to find the gem in others through love and devotion rather than trying to please others. There is nothing selfless about being a doormat or a people pleaser because then we are greedy for others’ liking and approval.

One reason I’m not enlightened yet is that it takes toughness, intensity, and patience to dig deep and be committed towards becoming not just a little but absolutely vulnerable to pain and suffering. I consider myself a daredevil, patient, deep, and intense. I have these courageous qualities to burn and dissolve my body and mind into thin air.

What’s your major and why did you chose it?
I am undecided with my major because I do not find any of the majors interesting. I want my education to be passionate and joyful because it takes a lot of commitment to graduate with a degree. I’ve tried Psychology, Philosophy, and Public Health. During the fall term, I took a full-term credit of Public Health classes and felt burdened because I did not have the passion to finish the workload with ease. I chose Public Health because I thought careers related to Public Health were needed in the world. But I did not have the aptitude for that major. At a Compassion in Action retreat in the fall term, I tried to figure out the solution to the heavy load of my classes. Because of the retreat, I made an effort to deepen and intensify my focus on my actions. That led me to do my class work slowly and consciously without a concern for the results, and I managed somehow to get an A in all my classes.

What drew you to the CiA Fellowship?
I was never fully committed to being part of a spiritual community, so I wanted to experience something new. I went into this with an intense and critical mindset, knowing I have much to learn with an intense and critical mindset. My pride and ego failed me and made me depressed because I failed to live up to my expectations, and allowed hope to mislead me. Contrary to what many people think, it’s actually a good thing to be intensely critical if it’s done voluntarily and consciously as opposed to when it’s forced upon you because you are willing to work on your flaws. I wanted to receive support on my spiritual path as well as help others with their transformation.

I also wanted to explore the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and their spiritual practices, and gain them as tools for my belt. However, I am already doing yogic practices so I may not use the spiritual practices that I have gained. I am dispassionate about my individual identity and wanted to continue to expand the self to include others. If you choose to love and include others, you will naturally generate and experience love for yourself as your own quality. We are all part of one big self.

This CiA fellowship has given me a chance to practice my diplomacy skills. To me, diplomacy means dealing with people in a sensitive way to maintain relationships. This skill can be a useful asset towards my spiritual growth because I am able to remain popular with people so that they can help me if I get stuck on the journey. In the future, I plan to make use of more intense and committed ashrams or gurus for support. I hope that this community grows in such a way that we can continue to support each other on our spiritual paths.

What are your goals for the semester?
My desire is to be and experience life. I want to move towards not having any goals because having goals and being successful is a way of fixing and restricting life so that it is enjoyed for very brief moments. The majority of the time, we are either experiencing life or seeking our ideas of success through limited and temporary thoughts, which means we are mostly failures. If I only live within the limits of my dreams and then fulfill all of my dreams, I will have nothing else to experience. In contrast, if I live without goals, my experience of life will be total because I am not restricted to a miniscule goal. Life can only be fully experienced without any hopes or expectations. The question is, am I working towards joyful failure?

So my only goal is to stay consistent and grow steadily in my spiritual path. I have already experienced a huge transformation. I went from chasing after success and happiness, like trying to get a good job so I can make a lot of money, to being committed on the spiritual path by doing spiritual practices. My biological needs such as sleep have reduced from seven hours to five. My food consumption has reduced from four to five meals daily to two to three while I keep an extremely physically active lifestyle throughout a large portion of the day. However, I still have a lot of inner work to do.

Recently I got heated with loved ones because they imposed their beliefs on me in a serious and angry manner. Instead of choosing to blame them, I chose to blame myself for my angry outburst. I put it in my mind to solve my issue with them, and I no longer have anger outbursts towards them.

To improve even further, I can also continue to practice listening to those with whom I disagree. It doesn’t matter how fast I progress this semester as long as I am becoming a more conscious human being.

What’s been happening in your chapter?
The same three students are consistently showing up to my learning circles and being involved in the teachings and discussions. They are also supporting each other on WhatsApp. I started this chapter in my university alone and now I have met some friends who want to help raise their own consciousness as well as the consciousness of other individuals.

What type of meditations are currently resonating with you and why?
I practice meditation throughout the whole day in my daily routines because anything can be used as meditation. I do my daily routines slowly. Even as I write this blog, I write it without being in a hurry to have it finished and posted. I also keep my daily schedule as free as possible for the most optimal growth so that I don’t feel any pressure to do things. If I want to live in reality, then I cannot be in a hurry, as time does not exist. But I keep a structured practice because it is important to have a detailed routine in order to see progress. So I will describe some meditations I use.
I am initiated to a meditation called Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya by Sadhguru. It has helped me connect to life and find inner pleasure.

Also seeing my current limited self as an idiot or a fool is a good mantra to practice. Without a sensible amount of criticism, one cannot grow. In Western culture, many say to love yourself. But I beg to differ. Love is already a quality that comes from within the self when we love someone or something as a part of ourselves. Loving yourself doesn’t work to increase consciousness because love requires two people or entities moving towards becoming unified as the self. Being passionate about everything except this limited self will expand the self limitlessly to include the whole of existence and loosen the attachment to the body and mind. The point of spirituality is to practice and see that we are undefined as the big ocean of self, not identified as the body and mind. To practice loving yourself would mean to become more identified and attached to the illusion of body and mind. Loving yourself just builds more and more walls around your ego and identity while it takes vulnerability and a stripping away of the limited self to love someone or something very deeply and intensely.

I also practice doing something that is irrelevant to me with absolute focus because my true nature is undefined. Out of nothingness came the ocean of creation without any reason or explanation. I long to have the free will to play any role like an actor for a movie. I go outside and kick a soccer ball for hours on end even though I have lost most of my interest in soccer. Instead of taking the public transit, I bike 30 miles across the city of Portland even though it’s more logical and time-saving to take public transportation. I travel to random places and meet new people for no reason. Doing these carefree and irrelevant things with absolute focus remind me to joyfully experience anything totally.

Lastly, I work on being like a mother to others indiscriminately because love is such a powerful emotion. Sometimes people are hard to love, but I still try. I give my mom hugs and do the chores around the house. I have an easy time loving and accepting new people. From time to time, I give food to the poor, which always touches my heart. I also gave money to one of my friends who struggled during COVID because I could feel his fear and pain. I also take care of young kids in my apartment by playing soccer with them and letting them have fun. Usually on Valentine’s day, I will give friends chocolates and flowers. I have also worked in a grocery store and volunteered in food drives and food banks where I have been a mother figure to people. I also volunteer to make spiritual practices more available, which I will talk about in the next section.

What social causes do you feel passionate about and why?
I am involved in volunteering for Sadhguru’s organization called Isha Foundation. The volunteer work is a calling campaign for a meditation program called Inner Engineering Completion Online where I call participants to help nurture and make sure they attend the program smoothly. I am passionate about this because it is a great opportunity to be a mother and make spiritual practices more available.

I see raising human consciousness as most needed in the world. I am willing to postpone when I leave my body, also known as mahasamadhi, for the expansion of consciousness in individuals because I can still make a heaven on this earth while helping others. Even though it is the most needed thing, the work should still be practiced slowly with ease. Then I will be able to feed two birds with one grain by expanding my consciousness and helping others at the same time.

I help joyfully and consciously rather than trying to change the world or take the work seriously. In life, there is no such thing as work because it is a play or a dance. Expanding my own consciousness is more important than external results. I can have great intentions to uplift society, but if I don’t have the consciousness, then there is a chance I can do more harm than good by spreading unconsciousness rather than consciousness. Just like how a sick person can’t help another sick person, but the doctor must take care of himself first before he treats others. Plus, I really don’t know if I am actually making a difference in the world because I have not experienced anything outside of myself, as every experience happens from within. So I see turning inward rather than trying to fix the external as the best solution to a social cause. This is why I will find enlightenment first, then try to do something big in society.

If you could invite anyone to dinner alive or deceased who would that be?
I would be with any family members or friends because I am devoted to them; with new people; with people I disagree with. I recently went to a bible discussion and met some new people. It allowed me to practice diplomacy to others’ viewpoints. I don’t see any particular person as special or better than anyone else because everyone is a unique part of the ocean. We may be at different points on the spiritual path but we will all make it!

But I can make an exception. I would like to speak to enlightened beings like Sadhguru. He knows the little secrets to the life energies within us, such as eating certain high pranic foods to increase life energies, chanting certain sounds, being in touch with the five elements of nature, how shaving the head can raise your energies, but with an energy imbalance, how growing the hair or attaching a cloth to the head protects the higher chakras if they are activated, and how hatha yoga keeps the body well-rooted in physicality before higher possibilities are attempted. I want to learn how to master my life energies so that I don’t accidentally leave the body if by any chance I become enlightened. It will also help me become enlightened quicker.

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
More love. More laughter. More smiles. More experience and involvement with life. When happiness can be found from within, there will be less compulsive human activity because people don’t have to burn up the world or hurt one another to find a miniscule amount of pleasure. People will not hurt someone or something when they see another human being or another thing as a part of themselves. Then the world will naturally be a greener and joyful place. The abundant amount of highly conscious people would massively help the needy and suffering population. Less people would pollute the environment for excessive comforts.

What does a more compassionate world look like to you?
“Only if you see, ‘I do not know,’ the possibility of knowing will become a living reality in your life.” – Sadhguru

“We are mostly failures because our ideas of success happen for very brief moments in life. The majority of the time, we are either experiencing life or lost in our thoughts trying to seek success. We must experience life to the fullest!” – Steve Park

“Everything comes from what we think is no good. From nothingness came creation. From mud came the lotus flower. From the soil came beautiful flowers and agriculture. We must be willing to accept what we think of as dark and unpleasant to experience the beauty and boundless ecstasy and eternal heaven. I would like to see the flower blossom within myself and in others.” – Steve Park

How can people join your chapter?
Email compassioninactionpsu@gmail.com for more info. The chapter’s instagram is @compassioninactionpsu.

Anything else you want us to know? Do tell! 🙂
I recently got into bike touring because I get to travel around one of the largest countries with hardly any money. With bike touring, there is adventure and more involvement rather than fixing my trips with hotels and flights. Rather, I can pitch a tent in the woods or campgrounds. I can even explore places that are restricted for cars. This is a great way to practice having no compulsion to find excessive comforts and convenience in my trips.

What are you getting out of the fellowship so far?
Being part of the fellowship has given me more meditation techniques to practice, such as Shamata, Tonglen, and Round Robin. Shamata has given me a way to practice through my awareness. Tonglen has given me a way to practice through my emotions. And Round Robin combines the two to keep me engaged. I developed better leadership skills from leading Learning Circles, such as diplomacy and public speaking. I have been able to practice being receptive to others. Instead of being overly consumed in my own stories and sharings, I listen more intensely to the stories that others share.

Compassion in Action Network

The Compassion in Action Network is a movement and community of young people working to create a happy, just, and flourishing world. Students and youth are at the forefront of changing the world. Today’s rising generation knows that our challenges are interconnected and that we need inner and outer change. In partnership with young people and allies across North America, we are growing a network of next generation leaders who are waking up together and acting with compassion for the benefit of all.

Learn more about the network and the Compassion in Action Fellowship.