Posted by Meditation USA on June 26, 2020
Sunhye Chun / Housewife
My mother is a beautiful woman, always kind and smiling. When I was 7 years old, she underwent surgery for tuberculosis. She had twice suffered from near-fatal surgical errors and still found the strength to raise my brother and me as a single parent. Her body never really recovered fully. She became increasingly hysterical due to the pressure of her life and as a consequence, my brother and I lived with constant anxiety. You see, my mother wouldn’t accept even a small mistake from either one of us.
I was as unhappy and I hated my mother
I gradually began shutting my emotions off to my mother. I began to ignore her. I didn’t want to recognize her because I felt that she didn’t recognize me. From that point on, I hated my life. No matter what I did, I wasn’t joyful or happy; my mind became increasingly desolate. I decided I was going to be independent when I turned 20 years old. I decided I would break free from this negative cycle.
When I started college, I promised myself that I would live proudly, out from under my mother’s shadow. It became important for me to have control in my life. I jumped into the student protesting movement. And though I devoted myself to the movement, I soon realized that it wouldn’t help me to escape from the pain and childhood darkness. I couldn’t forgive my mother, and I couldn’t make peace with her either. Looking back, this was the same as denying myself. It was painful, so to escape from it I worked myself to death: I studied, I worked hard earning money, and I raised my child perfectly, but I was still miserable.
If only I could get out of this hellish heart… I found meditation
Because of my relationship with my mother, naturally, my marriage relationship was not going very smooth. It was very difficult dealing with a husband. My husband, who was also struggling with me, encouraged me to practice meditation together with him. I desperately needed to grab a lifeline. If I could just get rid of this hellish heart, I thought I could do anything.
As I practiced meditation, I realized how false my life was. I realized that while I thought I was doing the student movement for others, I was actually doing it for myself, and it made me feel disgusted. Also, my lifetime spent hating my mother began to peel off bit by bit. At first, it was difficult to just recall the memory of my mother.
As my meditation progressed, however, the wounded mind I possessed started to disappear and I slowly began to understand what our family life was like from her perspective. I understood why my mom was so sensitive. I cried a lot because I felt the desperate heart of my mother who had no choice but to raise us, giving up her own life.
After throwing away all of my notions about motherhood, I could see my real mom
As I continued to meditate, eventually, the happy times with my mother began to surface. Memories of my mother happily packing her children’s lunch boxes or making clothes for us with love in her heart were remembered. Also, the times when she laughed with us even though her body was in such pain. I let go of everything – good and bad – about my mother. I realized that I created all of these things and had been living in those thoughts and memories. But these were just remembered thoughts; they weren’t my real mother.
After removing all of the empty shells of those lies, my true feelings for my mother revealed themselves. The truth was that I loved my mother deeply. I called my mother one day…“Mom, I thought I didn’t like you, but it wasn’t true. As I practiced meditation, I realized I really liked you a lot. When I hated you, I actually cheated myself.”
It took me 50 years of living my life until I could finally say, “I love you, mom,” sincerely.
I just kept crying. After I confessed my love to my mother, something really interesting began to happen. Even when I thought of my mother, I no longer felt pity or hate toward her. I began to accept my mother exactly as she really is. My mother was a person who lived a hard life and never shown fear or pity to anyone. Pity and hate were the lies that I made. They were fake. What I thought to be my mother was actually a fake mother made from my mind. I boldly and strongly erased the fake feelings I had about her.
Happily chatting with my mom like an old friend
My mind became calm and my attitude changed. Before, it was compulsory to call once every two or four days, as if in debt. I was no longer worried about my mother, no longer lived with the obsessive thoughts of, “I should do well for my mother,” or “how can I be recognized by my mother?”
I was freed from my mother and freed from the mother-daughter relationship. When I changed, unbelievably, my mother began to change as well. The mother who disliked me became generous and supportive of me. I’ve always had a hard time with her negative words, but now I feel like she really hears me.
The last time I saw her, I sat and talked with my mother for a long time, like a friend. My mother’s words and actions feel so cute and pure. Would it have been like this if I hadn’t practiced this meditation? Perhaps I would have lived a life of suffering while resenting and pitying my mother for the rest of my life… Moreover, I couldn’t have had any real appreciation and respect for her. Meditation made me find my real mother.