Last week’s meditation at the Fava Chapel was my first try at any sort of mind body exercise. It was completely different from what I thought it would be and for the most part was a success for me for a couple of reasons. Initially, I walked into the room and sat down on this thick rug looking mat. It came with a small bag to sit on but for the most part I was sitting on the ground. From the moment I awkwardly contorted into pretzel weave leg stance, I knew I was going to be very uncomfortable.
A short time into the presentation, to my great surprise, I learned some better postures and it became much more comfortable very quickly. I was given some wisdom by my teacher for the pose and I was simultaneously given a dramatically high chance to connect with the meditation. Instead of focusing on the pain of sitting, I could focus on my recent feelings knowing that no work could be done. That artificial excuse gave me a chance to relax and purposefully recap my week, which is much more productive than my usual experience. The experience was definitely more impressive than what I expected to see.
My presentation this week was about William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”. In the poem, the speaker describes memory as a beautiful and artful display of daffodils by the coast. However, it is so much more meaningful than just a fond memory. This poem is also about how we can often realize the wealth of a moment only once it has passed. Small parts of his day are things he eventually thought about for the rest of his life. After one session of meditation I quickly realized this would be something I could really benefit from. My health physically and mentally has been under a lot of question this past year with my illness and appendicitis. Knowing that meditation is an undeniably helpful exercise is inexplicably reassuring.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark”, we see a husband lose attraction for his wife because of a habit. His fixation was his downfall, and he could never get over that, realistically small, birthmark. It can be so easy to let things marinate in our mind for too long when we do not sit down and think through the issue. He became obsessed with making her perfect and could not think about the other good qualities that she held. The goal of meditation is to move past things like this. You reflect and concentrate on something, then you move on. The husband could have meditated to appreciate that other things are important, he would have been much better off. A birthmark is something that you cannot really change. Monks can confirm that focusing and concentrating on only those things that you can control will help you lead a very purposeful and rewarding life. Worrying about the things that you cannot fix is the problem of the husband and of those who do not meditate.
The narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” feels weird about sitting and not doing much. It makes her question all types of things and she is not super comfortable with this. In meditation we talked about how easy it is to become very restless when meditating, because you are not active and that lack of constant stimulation is a foreign feeling. Making you feel like you are not doing something you should be.