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A Unique Dynamic and Valuable Way to Learn About Myself

By Luke Chiang

Coming together as a team and working towards a Heavenly mission, we put the collective ahead of the personal. As we are then exposed to both intra and inter-personal stories, this dynamic offered a unique and valuable way for me to discover myself.

An issue that Ive been grappling with is the difference between a true and false virtue. In myself, I found that the false virtue is one which is associated with my identity. In other words, the virtues, or non-virtues which I believe to constitute who I am. This virtues/non-virtues which I associate with my identity come with stories. Sometimes they are stories from past experiences. Other times, these are virtues that come from stories that I am inspired by. These are stories I tell myself to create an identity for myself, to reassure myself not only of my existence but also my benefits to society: narcissistic justifications of an insecure self desperate to be understood and accepted by others.

In itself, I dont believe these virtues are false. It is my insistence on asserting these virtues as though they are a part of my identity, which falsifies such virtues. When I assert myself as a virtuous person, it is but a demand to others to acknowledge the importance of my existence: a protagonist character in a way. On the other hand, with traits which I deem to be non-virtuous, I am ashamed and hide myself. These two acts/non-acts I do to express myself: to curate a self and show others a story of who I am.

These two traits: the assertion of virtuousness, and the hiding of inadequacies, are each defensive and narcissistic tendencies which reinforce dualities in my perceived self. To then ‟cultivate and practice ‟virtuousness in this fashion, is to embark on a path straying further away from wholeness. Rather, it makes my narcissistic self stronger which is unable to empathetically connect with others.

The acknowledgement of these narcissistic tendencies of mine, coupled with an active effort to listen to the expressions and stories of others, temporarily removed virtue/non-virtue from its association with my identity. My need for a virtuous façade is then replaced with a need to empathetically listen and collectively acknowledge the similarities in our human condition. Additionally, in those moments where the distinction between self and others is blurred, the need to hide vulnerabilities is also lessened. It is in these moments where I get a glimpse of potential wholeness: simultaneously in myself and others, for it cannot exist in just an individual.

The environment and dynamics of the summer camps allowed for me to discover this, and for that I have some acknowledgements to make. This opportunity was provided to me thanks to the Grace of Heaven, and all the predecessors. I am grateful for this opportunity to learn and experience the unique conversation between myself and the collective as we worked towards a Heavenly goal. As a practice of this gratitude, I will continue to reflect and practice these reflections. This opportunity, of course, would not be possible without the great efforts of Lee DCS and Chen DCS, as well as all the supporting staff and heavenly chefs.









My Reflections on Tao Family Camp

By Taylor King (Age 23, a college student)

My experience of being a Youth Camp leader was a roller coaster. Internally I was nervous the camp was an experience that the youth hopefully wont forget. And I wanted to present myself in a way that made everyone feel comfortable. I didnt have any expectations but I knew that I would have to be intentional and attentive with everything that I did. Everyone pitched in and made the necessary compromise to ensure the camp went well. 

Considering we come from all over, we all blended well with one another. And it felt like we were all on the same wavelength, working on the same goal whole heartedly. My biggest takeaway was that ‟growth takes compromise and the importance of being mindful of ‟how I treat and react to others because you never know who is watching. Being a part of this production was worth it and I feel like I grew in patience and understanding and I am truly grateful for the experience.


ǡD ]23Bjǥ͡^