Aehyang Choi / Housewife
There were some words printed on the beautiful cover of a meditation pamphlet: “If you empty your mind, it becomes the universe and the truth.” I could really be like that… If I could really empty my mind like that, how great it would be. I read it over and over again. My husband is an artist. I met my husband in a painting club, but I thought living would be difficult if we were both painters. I gave up painting because my husband is a more talented painter than I am, and after we got married, I worked. Since then I have had many jobs.
Minds like thorns caused by unfairness and burden
Among my jobs, I managed a children’s bookstore for 13 years, but there were almost no days off. At the bookstore I always felt trapped. Every time I delivered a heavy box of books to a house, my legs shook. On the other hand, my husband would go to a place with nice scenery and paint, while hanging out with various people. Even though I understood my husband’s job because I also liked painting, I sometimes felt it was unfair and I suffered. I hated my moody mind and myself for being so unstable.
In addition, my mind was always heavy with the burden of being the eldest daughter-in-law, being the eldest daughter of a family with financial difficulty, and paying for my son’s education. This burden on my mind led to frequent illness. I was watching my body break down because of the sacrifices I was making for my husband and child. I wanted to get out of this situation quickly.
Without taking a day off, I meditated hard for nearly half a year. The first thing that surprised me when I decided to meditate was that I was taking time for myself. I have never been able to rest because of the pressure to make money. Then, as I meditated, I had time for myself. It was such a desperate, necessary and important time for me.
When I looked back at my life through meditation, I was only able to say, “I really lived wrong.” How selfishly I had lived. I have never fully liked the people I believed I liked and respected. Since I always looked at others with a ‘self-centered mind,’ I wasn’t able to understand them.
I feel like I have it all, a new world is opened
In particular, I repented most for my husband. I thought how uncomfortable my husband must have been, so I just felt sorry. Looking back, I was always dealing with my husband like a thorn.
How many minds I had of, ‘I did it’ about earning money and supporting my husband… The unfairness of living a more difficult life than a husband who does his favorite things, taking on the financial burden, and so on. The minds that had piled up over fifty years were being thrown away one by one. Then the perspective of looking at my husband gradually changed.
In the past I had seen him as a husband who was incompetent and who burdened his wife. My husband, who has been doing art for more than 30 years, is respectful. When I gave up my mind that was attached to money, I realized that my husband was working diligently as the head of the family. Now I am meditating with my husband.
As we meditate, we throw away our own frameworks that we insisted to each other. Now we are on the same wavelength and when we have a conversation it is comfortable. There were so many things that have happened in my life that I had still been holding on to in my heart even though those moments had already passed. The more I meditate, the more I realize how important it is to throw away the mind.
Usually I had a lot of interest in truth. I talked a lot about truth, but there were many times I suffered because I couldn’t actually live like that. However, after doing this meditation, I watched how the words of saints that I had only read about and knew with my head turn into action. I am convinced, ‘This meditation really works.’ Even though I knew in my head that I should treat my husband that way, I couldn’t treat him with any warmth. After I threw away my mind I began to treat him with warmth naturally, so I am happy.
These days, I hear a lot from people that I ‘look calm.’ The words “Thank you,” which were only spoken by my mouth, now truly come from my heart. I live with gratitude all the time, so I don’t feel poverty at all. I feel like I have it all and a new world has opened up.