While reading poems by Frances E. W. Harper, Robert Frost and Jill McDonough, and an essay by Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, plus taking part in Zen Meditation, I connected the beliefs and lives of others to my everyday life style. I never really took the time out to think about how others viewed things. Or how serious certain things are to certain people. Zen Meditation gave me a sense that there are practices taking place around the world that I’m sure I never even heard of. Practices that are so different to what I’m use to, I’m not sure I would be able to adapt.
Walking into meditation on Tuesday night, everything remained quiet. Already, this wasn’t something I was use to. I immediately wanted to leave the room and never give meditation a try again. Suddenly, the instructor walks into the room and starts to speak. He talks about the fundamentals of meditation. Where to place your hands, feet and even where to look. Now, I would have never thought meditation had so many rules. This turned into the most interesting thing of my whole day. As the bottom of the hour started to approach, I could not believe how much I learned about something as simple as meditation. Maybe change wasn’t that bad after all.
Meditation got me thinking about all the times I didn’t accept things because they were different. But in reality it was because I thought everything I did was completely perfect and right. I started to think about certain comments I would make when I saw people that dressed or acted different then my friends and I. It wasn’t that it was weird or wrong, it was just that they were different then us. And different is all around the world. Next, I started to feel uneducated. How is meditation so different then what I thought it was? Well, it was simply because I never took the time to get to know what it was. There are many cultures, places, religions and societies that are completely unknown to me. Instead of rejecting them, I want to build a bridge and connect another life to my own.
In “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost we see an example of a barrier between two people. Two individuals living side by side continue to build a wall between one another. While one man tries to knock down the wall, the other man insist that it remains up. Although I thought that the wall was there so that the second unknown character was never bothered and never had to accept change like me. As I read the phrase ‘Good fences make good neighbors’, I began to believe you can still associate with others by keeping your distance. The neighbor didn’t necessarily want to block out his neighbor completely, instead he still wanted his own privacy.
In “Accident, Mass. Ave.” by Jill McDonough I can relate a previous sentence about accepting others to the narrator. Instead of doing what she felt every person in Boston would have done, she should have done what she thought was right. After cursing bad words towards this lady, the narrator realizes it was all for nothing. She was yelling at a lady that happened to be feeling the same way she was. Instead of judging the situation she knew nothing about, she should have gotten to know the details from the start. Just like myself, I should get to know more about individuals or even practices until I speak my opinion on them.
Lastly, in “Learning to Read” by Frances E.W. Harper and “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education” by Peter-Hans Kolvenbach we understand the care for others. Kolvenbach emphasizes the phrase ‘cura personalis’ (care for the entire person). This phrase introduces us to the service of faith and promotion of justice. In order to accept someone else’s lifestyle you must first care for any beliefs they might have. I relate this back to meditation because if I didn’t care about how one might take the teachings of meditation, I wouldn’t care to listen. One must look beyond what they know, to accept what others might know. Especially being taught Jesuit education, I have learned that to care for someone is exactly what service of faith means.