I really enjoyed attending Heart of Zen Meditation in the Fava Chapel. It was an hour and a half long, which beforehand seemed it might be a bit too long. However, I was surprised that while in the meditation, time seemed to disappear and when the session was over, it hadn’t seemed very long at all. There were several different parts of the meditation. The majority of the time was spent sitting, while other portions included walking and reciting rituals. Throughout this entire time, focus was placed on maintaining a relaxed yet upright posture and proper breathing patterns. The room had a peaceful feel to it and the subtle incenses helped to calm my body furthermore. During the meditation, I was able to completely relax my body and therefore my mind and spirit. Sometimes a thought would creep into my brain and I would have to allow my body to get rid of this thought. Although at some points I found it particularly hard to release all thoughts and ideas from my brain, I did notice that at no point was I feeling stressed about any particular thought. Instead, my thinking was more of a peaceful ponder or reflection. I think I really enjoyed this, because I was able to connect with a deeper part of myself. I was able to get in touch with more intimate feelings and calmly reflect. I went through the rest of my evening with a different kind of tranquility and didn’t feel pressure. I just went through with a calm mindset and consequently ended up getting a large amount of work accomplished. This experience really helped to show me the negative effects that stress can have on my life and how removing this stress can really benefit me.
Because the meditation helped me to become more in touch with my feelings, I think this meditation also helped me to better understand and interpret the feelings and emotions behind the writers’ motives. I was able to relate more closely to the emotions of the works that we have been reading in class. As I was preparing a study guide of the works we have already read, I realized many connections between the writings and my experience. Like Nathaniel Hawthorne expresses in his “The Birthmark,” life is completely dependent on how you look at it. If you look at particular aspects and encounters of your day with a negative regard, you will not enjoy all that life has to bring. However, meditation helps to bring life to a more joyous and positive enlightenment. It helps to relieve the stress that can cause us to have a negative attitude. I also found a connection with John Milton’s “When I Consider How My Light is Spent.” Milton is reflecting back on the time in his life where he was able to see and ponders if he has used it properly. Although a person is supposed to let go of all thoughts, I found myself reflecting back on my day. I was analyzing it in almost a similar way as Milton. Each day is a gift and we never know what is to come next so we must live each day to its fullest. I also found that after meditation I was more appreciative of all of the nature and beauty around me. This was similar to Hopkins’s message in “God’s Grandeur.” He stresses the extent of the wonderful gifts God has granted us through nature, and I was able to better see this more clearly after my meditation.
I’m really glad that I decided to try out the meditation session at Fava Chapel. It really helped to bring peace and relaxation to me, which continued throughout my day and even somewhat into the following day. My experience also helped to shape the way I read and interpreted some of the selected works from our class. I think that meditation is a great practice and is something that can prove to be very beneficial to anyone who opens himself or herself to the concept.