As I was reading works such as Robert Frost's "Mending Wall", Frances E. W. Harper's "Learning to Read", Jill McDonough's "Accident, Mass. Ave.", and Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach's "The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education" after going to my very first Zen Meditation session I was more easily able to make relatable connections between my personal experience with the event and the pieces of literature read. Each work touched on a specific underlying message coinciding with my meditation: focusing on more important aspects in life rather than the small trivial details we tend to focus on instead. After realizing this, one can start to lead a more meaningful and peaceful life, taking everything day-by-day.
Towards the end of Robert Frost's "Mending Wall", one quote out of the poem really struck me: "Before I built a wall I'd ask to know/ What I was walling in or walling out,/ And to whom I was like to give offense./ Something there is that does't love a wall,/ That wants it down" (Frost 360). To me, I read this as thinking deeper about things in life rather than making rash decisions and that sometimes we do things too fast without stepping back and really thinking about how our decisions will impact our lives. During the Zen Meditation, I was able to take a step back from my hectic schedule and just think about upcoming things in my life that I would have to make a decision about, especially regarding my work schedule. I normally am the kind of person to always be on the go and to do things on impulse so having this time to myself was different yet I felt more organized and at peace with everything. These few lines reminded me of how important it is sometimes to really reflect on something before making a decision.
In Frances E. W. Harper's "Learning to Read", I picked up on the notion that you need to do something to benefit yourself every once in a while, as the subject of the poem finally taught herself to read. I was hesitant to go to the meditation event at first, thinking that I could be doing so many other things rather than sitting on a mat in silence for thirty minutes listening to other people breathing around me, yet once I was there I realized that going to this meditation once a week is a good and positive thing for me, and every once in a while we all need to do something nice for ourselves and take a break from the hustle and bustle that life brings us to.
My favorite poem to read was Jill McDonough's "Accident, Mass. Ave.". I felt like this piece really embodied what I got out of going to my event the most, being that it is all about focusing on the bigger picture in life. The lines that really captured this message were: "But she hadn't hit my truck. She hit/ the tire; no damage done. Her car/ was fine, too. We saw this while/ we were yelling, and then we were stuck" (McDonough 619). Basically at this point the woman in the poem realizes that screaming at the other woman isn't going to fix anything and all that really matters is that both people are okay. I know that I tend to freak out about the littlest things in life but then further down the road I'm reminded that there are bigger things in life to worry about. During the meditation I was able to sit and relax and release all of my stress and I realized that most of the things that I was stressed about were such minute things. I really enjoyed this aspect of meditation because I left feeling so much lighter.
One quote that I was able to take away from Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach's "The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education" and relate it to my meditation experience was, "The real measure of out Jesuit universities lies in who our students become" (Kolvenbach 34). During my meditation I had a lot of time to focus on deep things, such as what I want to do with my education that I receive here at Loyola and who I am trying to become.
All in all, after going to the Zen Meditation, I was able take things that I picked up on there and relate them to pieces of literature, such as Robert Frost's "Mending Wall", Frances E. W. Harper's "Learning to Read", Jill McDonough's "Accident, Mass. Ave.", and Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach's "The Service of Faith and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education" and noticed that all works touched on the message that one should focus on more important aspects in life rather than the small trivial details we tend to focus on instead.