Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's not the Journey, but the Destination

 Monday evening I attended another session of Shambala Meditation. After receiving instruction for proper meditation, and also having a few sessions already under my belt, I was looking forward to what could be learned about life, myself, spirituality, and others through sitting mediation. This passion for knowledge is a common theme within Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and Langston Hughes Poems, “Formula” and “Old Walt.” All three works center around this theme of seeking knowledge, however they differ in the means of seeking such knowledge.
My interest with meditation stems from testimonies of friends who have sworn better harmony with the world through its practice. While some of my friends may think of me as a kook, I am open to the experience and seek to personally understand the benefits of meditation. This is how Victor thinks in Frankenstein. Victor is adamant about reading the books he likes, despite being ridiculed for it. He is tenacious with understanding eternal life and doesn't let his own personal health stop him from doing so. Although things certainly don't seem to work out well for Victor, his attitude and perseverance are to be admired nonetheless.
“Old Walt” and “Formula” both convey a similar message of seeking truths, however differ in attitudes. “Formula” states that poems are for dealing with “lofty things.” Also, the muse of poetry should not know, or care, about heavenly problems such as pain. While the poem comes across sarcastic in nature, the muse of poetry can be likened to Victor. Like the muse, Victor was so possessed by his ambitions and interests that he disregarded everything else-such as sleep. This way of thinking can be harmful and dangerous. While it is important to have goals, it equally important to seek those goals rationally and safely.
Old Walt is a poem about a man who spends his days “seeking” and “finding.” These actions can be contributed to life goals and ambitions. The main difference in the poem is the speaker's attitude. While like the other two works Walt spends more time searching than finding, however Walt was pleased in both the process of seeking and finding. Unlike Victor who became ravaged by his work, or the muse of poetry which became blinded to earthy realities, Walt had fun regardless and the end result. This attitude is congruent with the proverb, “it's not the destination, but rather the journey.”  

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