Recently I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Mat McDermott, a contributing writer for Patheos, on Hindu identity. It was engaging opportunity to express my experiences as a White person adopting a Hindu practice and culture.
When and why did you first identify as Hindu?
I started exploring a Hindu identification pretty immediately. I didn’t see it as an identity conflict of any sort. I was so attracted to the philosophy and way of life that it felt quite natural.
I was also surrounded by other Hindu youth of various ethnic backgrounds — rather than a yoga or mindfulness community — so that may be why it felt more natural.
A lot of people get exposed to yoga, meditation, Hindu philosophy, etc in a digested form in a yoga or mindfulness center and have, at best, an interest in discovering the authentic form but feel some sort of barrier, or at worst, a lack of interest in moving outside that ‘comfort zone.’
There certainly can be a cultural barrier or at least an uncertainty about how to get involved in Hindu community or teachings, but that anxiety doesn’t have to be there. I really encourage people to go deeper, to step outside of their comfort zone and try to learn from the source, and be open to a journey of transformation. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?