Posted by Meditation USA on August 9, 2020
Eun-sook Son / Kindergarten Teacher
Meditation Story: I Stopped Listening to My Thoughts I vowed not to live like my parents and strove to live happily in my marriage. That’s how my marriage began, but I soon found out there was no such thing. Instead, there were endless fights with my husband and I turned to meditation because I was unable to figure out a way to get along. Through meditation, for the first time, I was able to reflect on myself instead of blaming my parents and my husband. This is my story about meditation, how I let go of myself who lived with resentment more than gratitude, and how I found happiness through the practice of meditation.
Stress of Being in an Unhappy Marriage Was Affecting My Two Daughters and My Husband
Until I was in third grade, I lived happily in a cozy and spacious house with a flower garden. In fourth grade, everything changed because of my father’s unrestrained lifestyle. The financial situation of our household suddenly became difficult. I was unable to do what I wanted and had to put aside my plans for the future. Since then, I blamed everything on my father, the world and others. I pretended to be kind and understanding and to not let others find out how I truly felt, but I was being selfish and calculating. I hated myself and I could not turn myself around.
I got married thinking I would live happily – unlike my parents who fought constantly – but there was no happiness in my marriage. It was challenging to understand my husband who was quite different from me. On top of the many differences between us, I was intolerant and had negative thoughts about married life. Our fights never ceased, our conversation gradually stopped and we became strangers. At work, it was hard because I was a perfectionist. I tried not to show it but my facial expression was stiff even when I said hello. Encounters with my colleagues were very uncomfortable.
I projected my stress from these difficult parts of my life onto my daughters. Rather than trying to be understanding and resolve conflicts through conversation, I nagged them to work faster, to excel and force them to behave to my liking. The more I nagged, the more my daughters became irritable and hated studying.
Occasionally, they gave me a hard time by skipping after-school tutoring and instead, played at the park with their friends. I blamed my husband because we only saw each other on weekends due to his job. I would say, “I’m raising these kids all by myself while you’re doing nothing.” And complained that he wasn’t helping me with cleaning or doing the dishes.
I Realized That It’s All My Fault
When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer in June of 2005, she was given only three months to live. My husband quit his job as an after school instructor so he could care for his mother. Our lifestyle became strained with loans to pay off and it got me really worried. This is when my co-worker introduced me to meditation. After only a few days of meditating, it struck me how much at fault I really was.
My father always took the blame and resentment for everything in our family. He probably struggled because his life didn’t go as planned. I realized, while meditating, that I never tried to understand him. My heart ached deeply when I thought of my father, who loved his foolish daughter until the day he passed away. ‘Please forgive me for being so foolish…’ I cried nonstop for the next few days and prayed for forgiveness from my father.
When My Mind Changed, I Became Grateful
Soon, my husband started meditating too. He cleans and does the dishes even when I say, “Take a break, I know you’re tired.” I’m very grateful for his love.
My daughters now take care of themselves and they understand and try to help their mom out a lot. I’ve become a mother who lives independently to avoid burdening her children or my in-laws. These days they are quick to praise me and are generously understanding of our situation, despite my flaws. Even my colleagues, care for me like I’m part of their family. I’m grateful to everyone around me.
What is the reason why? There have been changes that I could not even imagine with regards to my words and actions. I don’t exercise much, yet my body has become healthier and lighter. I have a smile on my face these days and people who meet me for the first time ask, “You look so restful, what’s your secret?”
Even my talking has changed from a slow, low drone to a more lively tone once I regained my motivation and confidence in life. My family is so surprised at my changes.
All I did was let go of prejudice and set ideas of my “mind pictures” and the world that I had known as dark and difficult turned into a bright and happy world. I feel joyous with a single ray of sunshine in the morning. I feel grateful for the air I breathe. I’m grateful for the wind, a drop of water, a tree and plants of which I don’t even know the name.