Ilchibuko Todd has recently moved from the beautiful islands of Hawaii to Sedona to teach energy healing and to spread the message of love with more people. As the new director of the Sedona Meditation Center, Ilchibuko shares her thoughts on discovering new energy, direction, and vitality in Sedona.
LAT: Please share a bit about yourself, your passion and the work you do at the Sedona Meditation Center.
IT: I feel deeply connected to Sedona, especially since I experienced a big awakening at Sedona Mago Retreat. Since then, my main goal has been to share what I have experienced—a profound feeling of oneness with people and nature, and with the entire universe. I want others to experience that same awakening, so I do my best to bring that energy to them. My wish is that they will experience it themselves. That is my vision and my passion for every moment of my life!
LAT:Many people are drawn to Sedona Meditation center because they are seeking greater health and energy. How do you deliver these to them?
IT: An important part of my role here at Sedona Meditation Center is sharing important principles with members. The main principle I want them to realize is that they already have health existing inside of them and that their true self is already alive and well inside of them. What they have been looking for, what they want—all of that is already inside of them. Everything they seek is about their inner journey.
LAT: What tools or techniques are used to bring this message to the members of Sedona Meditation Center?
IT: I lead workshops, meet people individually, and guide them to meet their True Selves. Members, to me, are very, very precious, so for every single person who walks in here, I have the mindset that they are able to experience their True Selves. They might do that by going out to the trails around Sedona, or they might experience it in the classroom. Wherever they are, it is always the same for them—all they have is themselves. And they themselves are the only people who can make them change and grow. So, my job is to guide them to let them feel that for themselves.
LAT: Are people sometimes surprised to discover that what they’ve been searching for has always been inside, right there all along?
IT: Yes, definitely. Often they have been searching all their lives, so it can be a surprise. Some of them already have the mental knowledge that it exists inside, but they have never known how to access it. Other times, there are people who don’t necessarily feel the need of it. They might even feel like they already know, but in reality they have not truly experienced it. It’s all about awareness and consciousness and being open-minded about it in order to see the possibilities for oneself.
Even me, I have had many different awakenings, but I still don’t say I know everything. If I were to believe that, I can’t experience any more. The key for them is to remain open-minded so that, however awakened they might believe themselves to be, they can continue to deepen their awakening.
So, yes, it can be surprising that everything they want and need, everything they’ve been yearning for, already exists inside. Most people nowadays have some idea or knowledge that it exists. The problem is that they cannot believe it completely. Also, ideas and preconceptions about themselves can prevent them from really experiencing it. And that is what Brain Education, which we share at Sedona Meditation Center, is all about. It provides concrete steps toward the experience of meeting oneself. It helps people see potential that they didn’t see before.
LAT: Why is Sedona so important to you? What is it about Sedona that helps people on their inward journey?
IT: That’s a really good question, and it’s not easy to understand because it’s invisible. Anyone can see the beautiful red rocks and nature, but the power of Sedona is beyond that. It’s the sacred energy of it—something that’s indescribable, but that everybody can feel. With the special energy and the vibration Sedona provides, it’s easier here for people to open up and let go of all the business of life. Here they can more easily experience oneness with energy and with nature. Ultimately, you can do that anywhere, but because of the special nature of this place, it’s so much easier to do in Sedona.
LAT: Ilchibuko, how do you guide people who may be feeling lost on their search to find their True Self?
IT: It’s all about the internal journey, or, as we say, “being mindful.” But what does “being mindful” mean? It’s about being in the present moment. That sounds easy, but it can be very difficult during people’s busy daily lives, where they live every day according to busy work schedules and following the routines of life. When they come to Sedona, it’s easier to be in the present moment.
So how can people be in the present moment? It’s a matter of feeling one’s body, feeling one’s breath. In the center, people learn to utilize the five senses fully—smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing—through breath, and they take time to experience the energy of this place. Through their five senses, they can start connecting and feeling. Breath is an important aspect of that, too.
Also, slow walking is one of the types of meditations we do. Sometimes we take socks and shoes off because we have so many senses in our feet, and our feet are connected to our whole body. In particular, there is a special point in the foot, the Yong-chun in the middle area, that allows us to feel the energy of the Earth.
We also do slow moving meditation, called Dahnmu, or energy dance. And we do Qigong movement, too. Through these slow movements and connection to energy, we can gain awareness of our oneness with the energy of nature. As we do this, we can release old energy that we’ve been holding and receive new energy for healing and renewal. Release of emotions and reflection about the self then flows naturally from this.
In meditations, there are four key phrases for purification of the soul that we use: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” It may be easier to say one than to say others. Slowly, we can melt away all of the things we are holding on to. We can start the releasing and purification process. And that’s all about energy—receiving and releasing. That is the principle of Tao, and that’s what we teach.
LAT: So the journey of self-discovery is also about understanding of the way that energy flows—within ourselves and within all things.
IT: One thing that is unchanging is that everything is changing. So, if we try to hold on to something, we become blocked, and we become sick. Continuously letting that energy move is the only way to release old energy and old consciousness, and that is the only way to discover yourself.
LAT: In The Call of Sedona, Ilchi Lee writes about meditating in several special places around Sedona and about the feeling of oneness that arises through the energy of nature.
IT: We can also do meditations with the tree, the creek, the bright sun, the red rocks. There is so much that we can experience about ourselves through communication with nature. We can purify, and we can receive. We can discover some voice inside of us that continuously talks to us, a voice that was always there but we ignored. And it can start talking to us more. And we can hear that voice more. At that time, we can be touched by ourselves, and we can recover.
Whether in the classroom or outside with nature, how we guide people is the same. They can reconnect to the self they really are, and once awakened to that, it’s unchangeable. In other words, no one can “un-awaken.”
So people come here, and they change. As their awakened self, they go back home, and they see everything in a different light. That is our mission. There are so many visitors here, and although we want to help them all, that’s hard to do. Many are visitors to Sedona from all over the world. For them, it’s a gift that they can take back home.
LAT: What message would you most like to share with those who dream of coming to Sedona?
IT: If you dream of coming to Sedona, that means your soul is calling you to experience who you really are. Listen to your heart and come to Sedona. You’ll have the experience of a lifetime!
LAT: Thank you, Ilchibuko!
By Lynn A. Trombetta: A freelance writer on nature, creativity and wellness, Lynn is also a visual artist, professional flutist, recording artist, and published author.