24 January 2013
My event that I attended was the Zen meditation on January 22, 2013 in the chapel in Hammerman House and in this paper I am comparing Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” in the poetry book seventh edition, Jill McDonough’s “Accident, Mass. Ave.” in the poetry book seventh edition, Frances E.W. Harper’s “Learning to Read” in the poetry book seventh edition and Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach’s “The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education” from the online article. In Zen meditation and between these four works, the common idea is that though you may not understand something at first, trying something new brings about new experiences that can benefit you. An example of this is learning from other people’s culture that not only teaches you something about another person but also yourself.
The first work, “The Mending Wall” by Robert Frost talks about two neighbors who have a wall in between their properties. The narrator does not see why he needs to have a wall in between the two neighbors. Though he does not see the point, both neighbors still make repairs to the wall throughout time. The wall seems to always fall apart and always needs constant repairs. Though he does not understand why there needs to be a wall, he continues to repair it throughout time. At the end of the poem, his neighbor seems to answer his thoughts by saying “Good fences make good neighbors”(Frost 45). What seems to be a theme in this story is that though you may not understand something at first, you should keep trying to figure out the meaning of it. This relates to Zen Meditation because this was my first experience with the whole aspect of Zen. Therefore, going into I was puzzled but am intrigued enough to want to learn more about it.
The second work I read was Frances E. W. Harper’s work “Learning to Read.” In this work, I picked up on a similar theme once more. Like the Mending Wall, the common theme I found was that in this story, the narrator did not understand how to read at first. However, he was interested enough to learn the language and to figure out the meaning of the book. “So I got a pair of glasses, and straight to work I went, and never stopped till I could read”(Harper 37-39). Once more, this relates to Zen since there were many practices that I did not understand such as the ringing of the bells in the beginning and end of the meditation. I was so curious afterwards that I want to learn more.
The third work I read was Jill McDonough’s “Accident, Mass. Ave.” In this work, the theme is slightly present. This may be some sort of stretch but I do believe that it is a form not understanding something then followed by learning more about the subject. In the story, the narrator is thinking about cursing out the driver who hit his/her’s car. Instead, the narrator saw the person who hit the car and instead learned something about someone who the narrator knew nothing about. The narrator found out that the person who hit the car was sensitive and started to cry. The narrator hugged her and learned that she was sensitive as well. “I hugged her, and I said We were scared, weren’t we” (McDonough 38)? Zen Meditation was a lot like this actually. I went into the meditation not knowing anything about it and not wanting to do it. The outcome of the meditation was that I learned something and actually liked it a lot.
The fourth work I read was Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach’s “The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education.” Surprisingly, the theme that has been mentioned multiple times above was found in this article as well. “We take up our Jesuit university responsibility for human society that is so scandalously unjust, so complex to understand, and so hard to change” (Kolvenbach 40). This states that is so hard to promote justice in a world that is so hard to change and so hard to understand. However, we must still to try to understand and change the world by learning various ways of doing so. This is similar to the Zen meditation because it is very hard to understand the main goal of it: inner peace. Therefore, you must practice and learn more to master it.
Overall, these works all had a common theme of not understanding something at first but trying and learning more to accomplish a task or just understand more. Going to the Zen meditation was very unique and I am glad I got to experience it.