I’ve had people tell me they are between books, looking for something new to read; a new author, a new genre. There are more writers than ever before: More good writers, more not so good writers. The choices of things to read are enormous. The purpose of interviewing a writer is to give you, the reader, a chance to hear from the writer directly, to hear the writer’s own voice.
ILCHI LEE is an educator, mentor, and trailblazer who is the developer of many mind-body training methods including Dahn Yoga and Brain Education. He serves as president of the University of Brain Education and the International Brain Education Association. Ilchi Lee is also the founder of Sedona Mago Retreat and the author of thirty-three books, including THE CALL OF SEDONA.
The Call Of Sedona is a New York Times bestseller, #2 the week of 02.19.2012. It is also a Washington Post bestseller. Here’s a brief synopsis:
If you need a dream, or if you need to rediscover a dream you’ve lost, come here to Sedona. author Ilchi Lee’s fascinating personal stories and profound awakenings in The Call of Sedona are beautifully interwoven in this book. His experiences and messages in various known and unknown vortexes in Sedona are especially inspiring, and they will encourage you to start your own journey of the heart. If you haven’t been to Sedona yet, this book will urge you to come to this blessed land. If you have been to Sedona or even live there now, this book will only deepen the love you hold for the wonders of the land. Here you will find profound insights about making a true connection with your heart and nature, as well as much practical guidance for experiencing the spirit of Sedona.
Let’s begin. Discuss your philosophy of writing.
When I write, I don’t focus on the structure of it at first. I simply let the words come out of my heart and flow naturally onto the page. It’s similar to an energy meditation I teach in which you let your body flow with the energy that’s always circulating inside it. You don’t try to control it; you just go with the flow. In this way, what I really want to say comes out, and I believe the result is authentically heartfelt.
What is the focus of THE CALL OF SEDONA?
The focus of THE CALL OF SEDONA is to share the inspiration and messages that have guided my life in order to provide an example through which other people can access their own inner guidance. I believe that by following that guidance one can live a more fulfilling and happy life and the world can begin to solve its problems.
Who is the audience for this book?
Even though this book is set in Sedona, Arizona, its audience is not limited to those who are interested in Sedona. I think its audience is people who want to interact with the mystical quality that underlies the ordinary. Especially by demonstrating what happens when you connect with nature, this book speaks to individuals seeking greater fulfillment and deeper meaning in their lives.
What surprising things did you learn while writing this book?
Writing any book is ultimately a deeply personal communication with yourself. Since THE CALL OF SEDONA contains much of my life story, in the process of writing it I had to reflect back on my life and distill the lessons and messages that carried me forward and pick out the ones I thought would be useful to others. It brought my life into stark relief and clarified my next steps. The writing process of this book was also a reflection of how I’ve lived my life—from making the goal to knowing I could achieve it to pouring my hopes and dreams into it and openly sharing them with others. THE CALL OF SEDONA does not just contain the events of my life or the story of my achievements; it is a vehicle for the vision of the world I have been working to create. I think the real surprise came after the book was published and I saw how much people identified with its contents.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I grew up in South Korea as the son of an educator. Because I had ADHD, however, I had a lot of trouble in school, which affected my self-esteem. Then, after a friend of mine accidentally drowned when I was a pre-teenager, I was left with a burning desire to know the meaning of life. Through sports, especially martial arts, I learned to channel the energies of my body and discipline my mind.
I married and had children, but I was still left with the questions: “Who am I?” and “What is the purpose of my life?” These questions drove me to engage in the ancient mind-body practices of Korea. I was so determined I eventually went to meditate intensely on a mountain. After twenty-one days, the answers to my questions became clear to me, and I was filled with the desire to share my awakenings with others. This desire to share is the impetus behind my writing. Because I’ve had to overcome many obstacles to achievement since I was a young boy, I’ve also learned persistence and a firm belief in myself.
From my physical training I’ve gained discipline and consistency. These qualities carry me through the writing process, which can otherwise be a long, tedious road and which directs a sharp lens on oneself. My physical practice has also taught me how to manage my energy level while maintaining a busy schedule.
Where do you live and how does that influence your writing?
Throughout most of my life I’ve lived in close contact with nature. I was born in the countryside of South Korea, and now, though I travel a lot, I live in Sedona, Arizona. Nature is my constant inspiration. As you can see in THE CALL OF SEDONA, I’ve spent a lot of time meditating in nature, and I’ve felt a close connection with what I call the soul of Mother Earth. That connection influences everything I do; it was spreading the messages I received while meditating in nature that inspired this book. In addition, because of the inspiration and encouragement I’ve received from nature, when I write I always seek to touch people’s hearts and inspire hope in them, rather than just sharing information or telling a good story.
Do you have a special routine you go through before you begin writing?
Before I begin writing, I engage in meditation and breathing to quiet my mind and bring out my creativity. Through meditation I can widen my perspective and access my intuition. I also open my heart more, which allows me to look at what I’m writing from the reader’s perspective more easily and produces a desire to make my writing useful to them. I believe that the mindset in which we write influences the reader in ways beyond the mechanics of language. By meditating before I write, I don’t just hope to make the process of writing better; I hope to encourage a more meditative, healthy, and open state of being in those who read it.
That’s the interview. Thanks for listening. Join this site for email notices of happenings and events. You comments are appreciated.