On a Mindful Wellness Mission To Help New Immigrants Resettle

·3 min read

Fresh from getting her residency status in Canada, Ajung Kim of Vancouver is on a global mission to link the East and West with mindful wellness.

Kim, who has travelled to over 20 countries to study the impacts of mindful wellness, is now in Korea, helping stage the upcoming Seoul International Buddhism Expo. Its central focus is on mindfulness, which has been found to be a key element to helping new immigrants settle in Canada.

“For the past seven years, while studying business and international relations and dabbling in films in Vancouver, my sole objective was to get to a place where I could use my skills to spread the values associated with mindful wellness,” said Kim in an interview with NCM from the venue of 2020 Seoul International Buddhism Expo.

“I plan to do this in Canada both digitally and in person, as more and more people turn to finding an inner peace to make a better world,” she said. “When you are happy, your families can be happy, then it'll eventually bring socially beneficial impacts to communities around the world.”

In her view, many new Canadians face adversities in their new homeland, and mindful wellness programs can help them on their journey. “It definitely helped me and I plan to help other new immigrants to Canada,” she said.

Kim’s mission comes at a time when more and more organisations in North America are turning to programs that improve wellness and mindfulness in the workplace. In Canada, companies like BC Hydro and TELUS have actively engaged employees with mindful wellness programs, when implementing new initiatives.

Mindfulness practice and training, which has its origins in Buddhist meditation teachings, is now part of a global wellness industry worth trillions of dollars. This includes over 1,300 downloadable apps, books and online courses.

The Canadian Mental Health Association states that while mindfulness comes from Buddhism, it can be as religious or non-religious as you’d like. Therapies that use mindfulness in mainstream settings today are not religious.

A 2016 study conducted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada mentions that immigrants when they first arrive, are generally in better mental health than the Canadian-born population. Known as the “healthy immigrant effect,” this condition slowly dwindles over time for lack of linguistically and culturally appropriate support services, social isolation and fear of stigma from having a so-called “mental health problem.”

Many immigrant resettlement agencies now employ mindful wellness in their integration protocols.

“The Buddhist meditation and mindful lifestyle is being incorporated in science, medical discoveries and technological innovations…that’s one of the main reasons I am here,” said Kim.

The Dalai Lama will headline this year’s Expo, which, like many events staged during the pandemic, will be held virtually.

Other headliners include world renowned meditation master, Mingyur Rinpoche, dubbed “the happiest man on earth.” Rinpoche renounced his world trappings to spend long periods of isolation in the Himalayas, honing his interest on the scientific implications of meditation on brain function and the nervous system.

Rick Hanson, an American neuropsychiatrist who is renowned for his research on Buddhism and neuroscience, and Tara Brach, a leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation and emotional healing, are also slated to deliver online Expo seminars beginning Nov. 5.

For more information on the speakers and how to register for the Expo please visit the website https://www.bexpo.kr/conference/introduce_en

Fabian Dawson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Canadian Media