Hi, my name is Seoung.
I was born in South Korea and some of the most idyllic and carefree time of my life was at age 4, when I went to live with my grandmother and uncle in the countryside, while my parents worked in the city. The events from this time are the most vivid of my memories.
There was a river that swelled up each rainy season. I fished there all summer long. I would bring the catch home to my grandmother and she would cook it in an open fire in the front yard. A cow gave birth in the courtyard and I remember the smell of the grass that was cut for her feed. My youngest uncle, who was in high school at the time, often caught sparrows. We would squat in front of the fire to roast it for supper.
For my grandfather’s memorial service, two uncles killed a pig in the front yard as the centerpiece of the rites. It should have felt cruel, but it remains in my memory as something magical. I have many of these vibrant memories of being in the countryside.
But when I returned to the city to resume my life in school, I remember feeling frustrated and bored. High school felt oppressive and regimented, so I spent all my time at home immersed in books, which looking back was my saving grace. I was obsessed with the adolescent question of “who am I?”. And, I first read Alfred N. Whitehead’s Process and Reality, and although I didn’t quite understand it, I knew it was an important text for me. I read through a lot of Classical Chinese philosophical texts, Western philosophy, natural sciences and emerging spiritual texts at the time.
In college, my philosophical interests led me to an avant-garde research institute. There I met authors and free thinkers and I found my true calling in natural science and philosophy. I picked up Alfred N. Whitehead’s books again and spent most of my 20s obsessed with this material. At the same time, I was working with my father who was a herbalist in Korea. For the first time, Chinese philosophy and cosmology made a deep impression on me. This was the philosophy that I had dreamed of, alive in the body and in nature.
In 2011, I relocated to New York City and began a four-year graduate school at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM). There I obtained a Master of Acupuncture and Herbology degree and I am currently a doctorate candidate at PCOM.
My main philosophical inquiry continues to evolve and shape my daily studies and pursuits. Having studied Traditional Chinese Medicine, the question began to take on a life outside the realm of thought. Currently I am working on the Metaphysics of Qi. This has to do with the movement and animation of our cells, and everything in the universe. We understand by looking at a cell how it works but not how it gets animated. We understand things from where they are, not how they came to be. I think the metaphysics of qi will deepen our understanding of how things came to be.
Healing the body is a practice in understanding how our bodies interact with nature. Many theories behind Chinese medicine is about seeing the body as a microcosm of the universe. Seeing the process in nature, as we see in physics and natural sciences, helps us better understand how our bodies functions and how it becomes unbalanced.