Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Compassion and Problem Solving

Zen meditation is literally translated to be sitting meditation. Proper sitting technique is extremely important to allow the body to relax completely. In relaxing the body proper relaxation of the mind becomes possible. To relax or clear the mind we half close the eyes and stare at a single point. We then begin to count our breaths focusing on nothing but the number. We count from one to ten and then restart at one. The focus of the meditation is to try to think about nothing and in doing such to remove stress that can impair problem solving, creativity, and the ability to concentrate.

Like Christian and Jesuit ideals The Heart of Zen Meditation group hopes to allow us to relax so that we may be compassionate toward others in a way only someone who is at peace with themselves can. In the poem Suburban by John Ciardi Mr. Ciardi shows considerable compassion toward his neighbor. The Neighbor believes that Mr. Ciardi's dog had defecated in her flower garden even though the dog was with Mr. Ciardi's son, who had gone camping in Vermont. Mr. Ciardi apologizes to the neighbor and promptly goes and cleans up the poop while not responding to any of the neighbor's comments. The main reason that Mr. Ciardi does this is not out of compassion but he realizes that he can use the dog poop as fertilizer for his own flowers and in the end he will be left with the reward. Where Mr. Ciardi shows compassion is in not making and quick decisions to respond to the neighbor with an insult. An insult is the way that most people would respond today to a false accusation if not the condescending comments such as those the neighbor makes toward Mr. Ciardi.

In the poem the language at the end of the poem “and buried it until the glorious resurrection when even these suburbs shall give up there dead.” can be inferred to be symbolizing the second coming of Christ when people will be given their rewards in heaven for the deeds that they have performed. In this interpretation the poop represents the good works, which are often undesired, that will be rewarded in the end times. Jesuits believe good works to be extremely important and they are some of the stated aims of the Jesuits.

In The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe Montresor is compassionate and shows concern for Fortunato. Montresor's motives are sinister but he does not want Fortunato to know his plans and therefore must be compassionate toward him in order to lead him to his demise. Throughout the journey to the bottom of the Montresor family family crypt, a labyrinth of catacombs, he often shows concern for Fortunato's health and gives him some of his prized wine as a truly compassionate person would do for a friend. The situation that Montresor is in, being required to be compassionate toward someone, even when they have hurt you is equivecal to the Christian belief of turning the other cheek. In the story Montresor does not want to be nice to Fortunato but by being kind he seals a reward for himself at the end. Jesuits too believe that they will get a reward for being compassionate toward others but their reward is one from god in heaven not of vengeance against an aggressor.

The other main point to Zen meditation is to improve the ability to solve problems or to manage the stress caused by them. In Liberty by Thomas Lynch the speaker becomes stressed at the social expectations toward proper behavior that govern people's actions. To deal with this stress he breaks social rules by deciding to pee outside which reminds him of the freedom that his ancestors must have had long ago. In Suburbs the man has the problem of a neighbor who thinks that believes his dog has pooped in her yard despite the dog being in Vermont with the man's son. Rather than tell the woman that it is not his dog's poop he decides to clean it up for her and place it in his own garden. In doing this his creative solution benefits him in two ways. He preserves his neighborly relationship with the woman and he also gets the poop as fertilizer for his own flower garden. In The Cask of Amontillado Montresor takes his time in plotting his revenge toward Fortunato and in doing so he comes up with a plan that makes sure that he will be unpunished for his revenge. Jesuits hold education in the highest esteem because of its applications toward solving problems. They value a well rounded education so that those who have gone through a Jesuit education are able to solve any problem that they come across in society and zen meditation is a tool that can be used to increase the efficiency of solving these problems.

No comments:

Post a Comment