“When Swami ji doesn’t judge us then why fear anything?”

I ponder on Sushree’s reply to my comment in her post, My Meditation Journey with Q&A – 1. I never thought I can think of her comment so bad, as this is so inspiring. 

Swami ji doesn’t judge. Suddenly I was wiping a tear. This is the first time I hear such statements casually said to me. I tried to remember my conversation with my friends or families, but I can’t recall any topic this before. Not from my religious community. Once I mention a tolerant religious leader, but my family would just say, “He is an infidel!”. 

That being said, doesn’t mean that the people around me are judgemental. Thankfully, my partner and a few closest friends are tolerant enough.

For my whole life, I feel like an outcast. So, this non-judgment topic is a huge issue for me. The story started long ago when I was a kid. In my childhood, I witness an abusive relationship between my father and mother. The unequal power dynamic, strengthen with the cultural-religious belief, makes the condition went uncorrected for their entire marriage. At some point, I understand it’s not because of the religion of my parents. However, my father used some sentences from his religion to justify his abuse. And my mother, afraid that it might be a sin to fight to his husband, didn’t make things any better. So, I feel pretty bad during my childhood. 

As a normal kid who wants a peaceful childhood, I searched for a way to fix this problem. This leads me to learn about gender equality and women empowerment.

This is it, I thought. The key to end this misery is to be an empowered woman. So, that’s what I believe. I believe in gender equality. Isn’t that beautiful? Everyone has a chance to be empowered when gender is not an issue. Alas, my family disagrees. Even they said that I was a disgrace. A woman should always bow and be submissive even if they being abused by their husband, they said… They said I’ve contaminated too much with “western” values. It went into a huge conflict. 

Long story short, these constant battles made me take a bold step. I get out from them and be independent.

The independence is liberating. At least, I can alleviate some of my depression.

However, it comes with a price. I feel like I never have a home. I feel so alone. 

That’s before I give meditation a try (and “contaminated” with “eastern” value :D).

My first meditation

I just go back from a business trip around five years ago in 2015. It was 3 am, so quiet, what I could get is a taxi which charged me more than it should. Arriving at my block, it was raining and the road was closed. So, I need to drag my baggage for more than 100 meters long under pouring rain. That was like a movie scene… Or a sad music video clip. Then I need to lift my baggage to the third floor through the stairs. This is already pretty exhausting for me. Arriving at my room, I froze. I was alone. And I have no one to tell my arrival.

I was just broke up with my ex. Well, no need to mention my family. I feel so lonely and tired. What should I do? It was hard for me to sleep… Then, I searched for a “way” to makes me feel better. That’s when I found a meditation app.

My background is not from a Hindu or Buddhist religion, so meditation is pretty new for me. At first, I thought, oh well, please, not more judgemental religion. But all the meditation app shows that meditation is universal, no string attached. It looks so promising. Hmm… It sounds too good to be true, I thought. But, after all, what did I get to lose? So, I decided to meditate a try.

After the first meditation, I cried. 

I sobbed in relief. I have never been so calm in my life. For the first time in my life, I feel I can find a home for myself. And this came without a substance or alcohol.

Your true home is in the here and the now. It is not limited by time, space, nationality, or race… With mindfulness and concentration, you can find your true home in the full relaxation of your mind and body in the present moment. – Thich Nhat Hanh

From that moment, I feel the urge to learn about meditation and the beliefs behind it. I was pretty much amazed at how distant I was from my ancestor, knowing that the ancestors in my country were Hindu-Buddha followers. Meditation helps me to ground myself. Over time, I learned about non-attachment, groundlessness, and non-judgment. 

I now understand that my family might not intend to hurt me because they might already be hurt themselves. Maybe from their own problems or their past life. My father has unresolved inner wounds from his parents, and my mother has too. Well, that doesn’t mean that I can just ignore my inner-wound and barging into them cheerfully as nothing happened! I am still a filthy peasant 😀 but, at least I learned to let go of my resentment. 

Also, my depression slowly melts away. That’s was unexpected! (Although, depression is a complex issue. Many tools are needed to fight it. Meditation is one of the ways since I also do another way to heal myself. I am not a medical professional, so, if you are depressed, please take this story as a grain of salt!)

I might not have a “normal” family, but I try to build one as best as I can. Who can judge something is normal or not, anyway? I believe we can cultivate a good relationship with anyone. We can always build another family or a loving community. And most importantly, I try to not judge. Openness, compassion, and acceptance work better to cultivate a loving relationship than coercion, judgment, or even abuse. 

As Sushree said, “Swami ji doesn’t judge.” Yes. What an inspiration! Every time I remember this, I smile in relief. One can learn so much from Swami ji. That doesn’t mean I can be like him, and maybe we don’t need to. After all, we can just be ourselves. We can learn from Swami ji to be the better version of ourselves.

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Ria R

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