A defining moment in my life - A Movement In Time And Space
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priyabradfield
priyabradfield
A defining moment in my life
I've been thinking about this event for a few days now and just really felt like sharing it. I have no intention of making others feel weird or to preach, it is just something I want to write down for posterity's sake and thought maybe it would give a little more insight into how I feel about such things.

My parents moved into the house they currently live in when I was in college. I never actually lived in Seattle, as I stayed in Los Angeles at USC. Up until then, they were a mere hour away from USC. They moved to the Seattle area my freshman year. In fact it was February 9, 1991. I was 18. They stayed in a rental while they looked for a house to buy. After they bought one, I went up there for some vacation, I think it was summer of 1991, and helped my mom unpack and set up the house. One day, we were cleaning out what was to be their meditation room. In the closet, on the floor, my mom found a small charm. It was of Jesus on the Cross. We looked at it and I was about to throw it away. I figured that since we don't follow Him, why keep it and what else are we going to do with it? My mother grabbed it from me and proceeded to hang it up in the room, alongside the other pictures of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. I asked her in an incredulous voice why she was doing that. And my mother proceeded to give me a lesson that, to this day, has affected how I deal with people from faiths other than Hinduism.

She told me that while we may not follow Jesus exclusively, we do not necessarily reject Him outright. Tolerance means accepting other ideas even if you don't agree with them. Many people follow Jesus Christ and there were qualities about him that were kind and loving and gentle. And that is what my mom respects. Obviously she does not accept the idea that everyone must follow him or be destined for Hell. Tolerance doesn't mean getting walked all over by people. But God is God and all the forms that we choose to see Him as are also to be revered and respected. Including Jesus Christ.

Hinduism is all about an individual approaching a personal God in an individual way. That's what I love about it. It is supposed to be private, sacred and personal. Hinduism isn't about yelling at the top of your lungs that you are religious and that your God is the one and only. It is about following what is in your heart, quietly and with dignity and humility.

Obviously, there are Hindus who do not follow these beliefs. There are these types everywhere. But I choose to follow in the footsteps of my mother and accept that there are other ways of thinking out there. I may not agree with the way people will take things to extremes, but I choose to try to remember that there are good values in each religion and try to just be a good person.

I only hope that I will make such an important and strong impression in my own children. Thank you, Mom.

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What I'm feeling: contemplative contemplative

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Comments
gnotobiotically From: gnotobiotically Date: April 8th, 2006 06:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow!

Just wow!
I love this post.

'It is supposed to be private, sacred and personal. Hinduism isn't about yelling at the top of your lungs that you are religious and that your God is the one and only.'

Gee, now you've got me all interested in Hinduism.
It seems like this approach would be more intimate and defining to a person like me when contrasted to the other religions I've experienced.
sammykate From: sammykate Date: April 8th, 2006 08:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
What a great lesson. I was very lucky to attend what I think must be a very unique Catholic girls' high school for the first half of 9th grade. Surprisingly, the course of theological study for that year was "religions of the world." We studies various religious and philosophical beliefs held by non-Catholic people, and discussed similarities and differences. At no point did anyone say, "We're right, they're wrong." It really opened my mind to different approaches to spirituality. I have never felt like there was "one right way." To me, it all seems to be different ways humans have of interpreting the same concepts. Does that make sense?

Okay, I am long-winded - sorry!

Yay for your mom!
From: junetoo Date: April 9th, 2006 06:14 am (UTC) (Link)
That's the way I feel about my hometown's Catholic church. The priests and teachers were true role models. Whenever they discussed another religion it was always with respect, not how they were wrong and we were right. They truly followed Jesus's example of love.
From: gabbytheguy Date: April 9th, 2006 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Your mother is obviously very wise.

We could use a few more people like her in this world.
priyabradfield From: priyabradfield Date: April 9th, 2006 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Wise and loving - that is even rarer than just wise. :-) And I agree about needing more people like her in this world.
From: dubbage42 Date: April 9th, 2006 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I really love the sentiment of this. Jamie and I were discussing religion earlier today, and I told him about your post.

I hope you don't mind - I copied it and sent it to him so he could read it in its entirety. (I can never get him to read anything on LJ these days, and I don't think he is listed as a friend anyway!).

And like Gabby said - I think your mom is wise and the world could use more folks like her.

:)

deb
priyabradfield From: priyabradfield Date: April 9th, 2006 04:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't mind at all. Actually, I thought I had made this a public post...will change that now.

Thanks. :-)
From: junetoo Date: April 9th, 2006 06:36 am (UTC) (Link)
My definition of tolerance is much lower than yours. I definite it more as "putting up with," "ignoring" even than "accepting."
priyabradfield From: priyabradfield Date: April 9th, 2006 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I suppose that mine isn't even truly "accepting". More "accepting that it exists". :-)
gfailure From: gfailure Date: April 9th, 2006 08:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Uppity Hindus, think they're better than us with their non-violent belief system.
priyabradfield From: priyabradfield Date: April 9th, 2006 08:44 am (UTC) (Link)
gfailure From: gfailure Date: April 9th, 2006 08:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, yes, I've seen the instruction manual they wrote. Razor still hasn't made it over there, huh?
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 25th, 2006 01:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I am glad that you are a Hindu. However, I don't understand why you eat beef??? A few posts back you stated that you went to some restaurant and that they were serving beef. Just wondering.
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