21 March 2013
Throughout Richard Hague's "Directions for Resisting the SAT", Gary Gildner's "First Practice", Bharati Mukherjee's "A Father", and Stephanie Shapiro's "Serving up Hope", the aspect of what a belief is and the effects that it has on your life is touched upon. I was able to relate this message to my Zen meditation session being that when you are meditating, you have time to yourself to focus on your beliefs and what you want to do to better your life involving them. Also, when I am meditating I tend to believe that I'm being cleansed for the week in a way… I don't know why, but I truly do believe it!
I really enjoyed reading Hague's "Directions for Resisting the SAT" because I loved the message he was trying to get across to the reader. The poem is basically saying that even though everyone makes the SAT seem like it's the biggest test of your life and that everything that you'll do in the future depends upon your score on this test, that it's all just a belief. Hague is challenging the reader to think for themselves and not to always believe in what everyone else does. While reading another poem, Gildner's "First Practice", I picked up on Clifford Hill's belief that shows through the lines "…and if we are to win/that title I want to see how./But I don't want to see/any marks when you're dressed,/he said."(Meyer 275). These couple of lines are explaining character Clifford Hill's belief that no matter what you go through, you must present yourself with dignity in the end. By reading both of these poems regarding standing by your own beliefs, I was able to think about my meditation time and how I reflect on my own beliefs and how I go through with them on a day-to-day basis. During my meditation, I try to focus on how to be a better me and how I can stay true to myself and my beliefs as I grow older and go through more life experiences.
Bharati Mukherjee's "A Father" and Stephanie Shapiro's "Serving up Hope" were powerful little stories where you can tell that beliefs can really change lives, whether it be your own or the people's around you. For example, in Mukherjee's "A Father", it is evident from the beginning that Mr. Bhowmick has very strict beliefs in superstitions, especially with the passage that states, "He got in behind the wheel of his Oldsmobile, fixed his seatbelt and was just about to turn the key in the ignition when his neighbor, Al Stazniak, who was starting up his Buick Skylark, sneezed. A sneeze at the start of a journey brings bad luck. Al Stazniak's sneeze was fierce, made up of five short bursts, too loud to be ignored… But Mr. Bhowmick was also a prudent enough man to know that some abiding truth lies bunkered within each wanton Hindu superstition" (Mukherjee 909). Mr. Bhowmick's beliefs in superstitions were so strong that something as simple as a sneeze really disrupted his day and inevitably made him stay home from work. In Shapiro's "Serving up Hope", a local citizen employs the less fortunate, stating "'A lot of this has to do with my belief, my faith,' Sampson says. 'You need to make a difference in your community'". Shapiro's article is a prime example of how someone's beliefs can affect other's lives. I know that during my meditation, I try to think about how what I am doing affects those around me, hoping that it's a positive effect!
All in all, everyone has their own beliefs, and whether they be strong or not, they inevitably affect not only those who believe in them, but those surrounding the people that do. This message was seen in reading Richard Hague's "Directions for Resisting the SAT", Gary Gildner's "First Practice", Bharati Mukherjee's "A Father", and Stephanie Shapiro's "Serving up Hope" and I was able to further reflect on this notion of beliefs during my Zen meditation this week.