Have you ever heard of Gaekkum? It does not mean ‘bad dream’ literally. Gaekkum is an educational program for growing creative personality. It is hosted by CML Laboratory of Dongguk University and College of Medicine from Choong-ang University, supported by the Ministry of Education.
Through Gaekkum, which can be translated into ‘opening your dreams,’ students can meet the real self through unconscious experience, grow creativity through self-managing, and have sympathetic time. The Post met Kim Ae-ju, a professor of Department of English and English Literature. She is also a chief adviser of this program.
|▲ The participants of Gaekkum are experiencing unconscious mind by meditating. /Photograph from CML Laboratory|
Q: What is Gaekkum?
A: In short, it is a program that helps students to find their dream through self-examination. In the program there are two missions. First one is individual mission and another one is group mission. For the individual one, students will have time to meet “real I” through self-managing, thinking about ‘what is the reason I come here?’ As for group work, students will spend time on setting mind network through cooperation such as creative project. Through this, students are able to express their creativity freely and in various ways. Furthermore, students can set their mind to magical, seemingly impossible ideas and bring them to reality within short period of time through meditation. And this overall process is so called “Moonshot Thinking.”
Q: What is your experience of teaching in Gaekkum like?
A: Since I became a professor, I strongly felt that it is crucial for students to not only build up their knowledge but also find self-identity. Also, as a professor at the English Department, I believe learning literature is also another process of learning human mind. In other word, just as the characters in the novel go through the process of finding their ‘true’ identity, we should also take a journey to find real ‘I’ that lay deep inside our mind.
Q: What value do you want to give out the most through Gaekkum?
A: I would say self-positivity is the one that I want students to get in the program. True meaning of self-positivity is originated from in-depth self-affirmation process, I believe. Thus, students will be able to open their mind as they experience the healing program in Gaekkum such as writing a letter of self-introduction and long-term unconsciousness experiencing with the purpose of finding their true ego.
The Post also interviewed with Choi Jung-hoon, a junior majoring in English and English Literature. He has participated in Gaekkum program this summer and said it has changed his life. He emphasized that he could find his real self through meditation.
Q: Can you describe the programs?
A: Gaekkum is not a real name of this program. The official name of the program is Creative Mindful Leadership Program (CMLP). It is a sort of educational program in which participants experience unconsciousness through meditation. This is based on the practice asceticism that Buddhist monks usually do. I have been participating in this program from the 2nd session. Now I am also performing as a student operation committee member of Gaekkum project.
Q: What brought you to participate in Gaekkum?
A: After finishing military service of two years and returning to school, I felt losing of the thread of my mind. I wanted to find “real I.” Meanwhile, an acquaintance of mine suggested me to do this program. He was a head of student operation committee member of Gaekkum.
Q: What value do you want to get from Gaekkum?
A: I wanted to get so called “enlightenment” that usually Buddhist monks say. Through meditation, I can renew myself. It helped me concentrate on myself. In fact, it does not have a short-term effect. Instead, it motivated me to live a better life. At first, I doubted the effect of experiencing unconsciousness. Professors continuously brought up conversation topics and make students to think of themselves. In an early stage of the program, I could not think of anything. I tried hard to concentrate on myself but only miscellaneous thoughts went through my mind. After several meditations, something started to come up from deep inside of my mind.
Q: What was the most memorable moment during the program?
A: It was a “long-term unconsciousness experiencing.” We had meditations for three days at International Seon Center. During the meditation, I saw many students acting unusually. Some students were crying, hitting themselves, or even shaking their bodies. In my case, I felt my body twisting and falling deep into a hole. Although responses all differ from students, professors told us that those reactions were the evidence that we have experienced unconsciousness.
Q: To whom do you want to recommend this program?
A: I want to recommend Gaekkum to all Donggukians. However, it will be especially helpful for those who want to settle goals, do not know what they really want to do and have traumatic problems in relationships. In fact, those problems are all relevant to university students these days. However, this program is not just extramural activities that we write on our resume. Participants can fundamentally find themselves through Gaekkum meditation. We face difficulties everyday, and I believe, Gaekkum will help you overcome those hardships.
Kim You-jeong, Na Soo-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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