I am a little, if not a lot embarrassed to articulate my former feelings of judgement and prejudice with you - but here goes.
This all took place more than twenty years ago, long before I discovered the benefits of Meditation.
Living in South Korea had proven very difficult for me at first.
I was working as an English teacher in the pretty regional city of Jinju. I experienced a massive culture shock at first. In the city I was living, it was impossible at this time to find butter, margarine or fresh milk and the only place that had knives and forks was at the International hotel.
To make things even more uncomfortable my apartment was right next to a street in which their were numerous dog restaurants and even one or two cat restaurants. I remember the horrid feelings I had when I walked past the truck loads of live dogs at the front of some of these establishments. I would actually lay awake at night and plot how I could escape my contract, without being fined. I would also constantly contemplate the cruelty of the Korean people because of the dog restaurants.
It was at the height of my anger, while I was walking around the streets of Jinju, that I remember feeling like a shadow, or a ghost, totally disconnected with the country I was living in.
Then something simple but very profound occurred to me. Something on the street caught my attention.
A young Mother was pushing a pram on the other side of the road. She suddenly stopped and bent down to pick up her child. As she held her child I could plainly see that the love that she had for her baby was no different to any other Mother of any other country, Korean's weren't perhaps the cruel people I had imagined.
This event had a calming effect on me, which began to melt away my judgemental mind.
Shortly after this, I read about how the dog eating practise had really evolved out of extreme poverty, especially following the Korean War. I also learned that these eating habits were mainly something associated with the older generation and it wasn't something that most younger people did. The truth is that owning and pampering pet dogs is a very popular thing to do in today's Korea.
I began to understand that my judgments and thoughts about dog eating were in fact little different to the feelings of people of other cultures, who treat cows or animals in general, as being sacred. Even within my own culture there are many who regard the eating of all animals as pornographic. In actual fact my own nephew is one such individual who I love dearly. It is so easy to be so caught up in our own culture and attachments that we loose sight of the truth and end up judging others unfairly.
Soon I began to make close friends with the Korean people, who were part of my world.
By the time I had finished my twelve month contract in Korea, I felt that Korea was my second home and that a big part of me and I was sad to leave.
The fact is that because of our upbringing, our culture and our religions it is very easy to believe that we are not like "The Others". The truth is however that we are all much the same and that very little really separates us.
It is through Meditation that we can silence and discard our judgemental and prejudiced mind.
It is through Meditation that we can learn to live as one and experience the world as it really is. Please Join with us in a free online Guided Meditation Session.
Oh...and by the way, Korea is a truly Wonderful country. :-)
G. Clifton, SYDNEY NSW