September 19, 2013
Meditation and Isolation
The literary works “I Wondered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth, “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman all focuses on the ideas of isolation, obsession and not being selfish. A connection with these pieces were made during Zen Meditation, since isolating oneself from the world is key to being transformed into a peaceful openness that embraces all the differences and letting people be who they are. In Wordsworth’s poem, the speaker isolates himself to be one with nature. In “The Birthmark,” the speaker isolates himself when he becomes obsessed with wanting to remove the birthmark on his wife’s cheek, while in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the speaker is isolated in a room for weeks and goes crazy. Viewing all types of isolation, a person’s state of mind can either grow or diminish based on their reaction to isolation.
In “I Wondered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth, the speaker decided to isolate himself from the world to become one with nature. He is able to embrace nature without having any sort of distraction and is able to return to a peaceful state of mind when he may feel lonely or depressed. Although the speaker may feel alone at times, when he embraces that beauty and peacefulness of nature, he does not feel meaningless.
In Gilman’s short story, “The Birthmark,” Aylmer begins with good intentions by believing he will be doing a good deed by removing the birthmark on his wife’s cheek, but his obsession isolates himself from everyone else in the story. His work to find a remedy to sure his wife’s “imperfection” collides with his personal life and becomes so consumed with his work that his relationship with his wife suffers. When he believes that one of the remedies begins to cure his wife and the birthmark slowly begins to disappear, his wife dies minutes later and can blame no one but himself.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Gilman introduces a woman who suffers from nervous depression and is advised not to participate in any physical activities, which includes writing. She secretly keeps a journal and starts writing about the yellow wallpaper in one of the rooms in the house. After being isolated from any activity and social contact, she begins to hallucinate and sees people walking outside, along the pathways. As insanity overwhelms her, she starts to believe that she is the woman who is trapped and isolated in the wallpaper.
When comparing these readings to the first meditation session, there were immediate similarities between them. During meditation, one is isolated from the world around them and reflects on being a better person. One may also find peace and comfort in their thoughts, which can make them a stronger and more independent person. Meditation allows one to cleanse the mind of all the negative thoughts and fill the mind with positivity and happiness. In both “The Birthmark” and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and obsession over something isolates the narrators from others and drives them to insanity, while in “I Wondered as a Lonely Cloud,” the narrator isolates himself to be one with himself and with nature. How we perceive the world may depend on our thoughts and how we meditate and isolate ourselves to focus on the things that may be important at the time.