Friendship Celebrating Diversity
Several years ago I took up yoga as a hobby. My fascination with this fitness system gradually evoked my interest not only in the physical exercises, but also in certain spiritual practices and led to the fact that gradually I acquired a number of Buddhist friends and constant rows with my mother. She, being a devoted Christian and an active member of the church community, found it very difficult to digest the idea that I enjoyed the company of those people whose religious beliefs, in her opinion, were totally unacceptable.
Arguing with each other, we both suffered a lot. I was trying to persuade her that I was not going to convert to Buddhism. And even if I had been, it would have made no difference in my attitude to my family. I felt quite strongly about my spiritual findings. However, my mother felt the same about her church and was frightened to death by the idea that she could lose me in some religious sect of an Oriental type. Feeling exhausted by constant rows, I felt desperate and depressed, but was still trying to make her see my point of view, if not accept it. I knew that my friends influenced me in a positive way: I had become much more tolerant than I used to be and had acquired better concentration. My school record improved considerably and even my teachers noticed that I was doing much better.
Finally, after lots of discussions, I managed to persuade my mother to meet my new friends. She was cautious and ready to preach every single minute. But as a result, she actually liked them. Now, she is still worried about me converting to Buddhism, but she is gradually accepting that fact that she was wrong claiming my friends to be a bad company for me. They were just different, not bad.