Julie Thomas – India

Julie was born in the southern part of India but grew up in Bombay and came to the United States in 1988.  She and her family lived in a gated community in Bombay that had parks, tennis courts, and mango trees, a place where they always felt safe.   Julie attended a girl’s academy. Although it was an English medium school, the Hindi language was required. Indian languages from other regions along with European languages also were offered. Julie speaks and thinks in English.

In India, Julie grew up with spiritual energy all around her.  She recalls hearing the call of Allah to prayer, temple bells, church bells and seeing festivals celebrating gods and goddesses from all traditions. But she grew up in a Westernized family, and although she was surrounded by that energy, there was a tendency to ignore it.

Living in the United States, Julie realized there was something missing and then realized it was that spiritual energy she had taken for granted in India.  As a graduate student in psychology, she took a course in Buddhism and realized that the questions about suffering and healing that led her to pursue psychology could be more profoundly answered through Buddhism.

After living in Youngstown for several years and teaching at Youngstown State University, Julie went to San Jose to hear a talk given by his holiness, the Dalai Lama, and realized Buddhism was her path.  According to Julie, “Ironically it took coming to the West to see India with new eyes and with an appreciation of India I did not have living there.”  Her spiritual path has led her to meet his holiness in 2002 and she has been attending at least one teaching since 2003.

Julie misses certain things about India, such as the food you can buy at the bazaars, the music that is always playing, the riot of colors and smells around you and the people. She returns to India every year in December and connects with people in the community and visits places of pilgrimage, Tibetan settlements, and teaching monasteries.  “When I go to India, I feel at home, when I come back here, I also feel at home, so I’ve created home in this community and cultivated things here that nourish and nurture me and I hope nourish other people.  I feel that I have a foot in both cultures, and sometimes that works harmoniously and sometimes there are cultural conflicts.”

One Response to “Julie Thomas – India”

  1. Hello Julie,

    It’s been many,many years since last we took the time for a short visit. When you return from India, perhaps it will be time again to visit.

    Enjoy your visit to India this winter break! I am looking forward to the experience of the inspiration you will bring back to our community.



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