Of course my parents beamed, and my teacher even more so.
The application of the psychosocial theory in my case is the fact that an aspect of myself that I was not aware of was allowed to emerge first by my interaction with my teacher and then by my interaction with the rest of the participants in the extra program. I never knew that I could be good at mathematics until I made the effort required by my teacher. In this way, she had a profound effect on my life as a whole, and not only on my Mathematics grade. Indeed, she made me aware that I am able to do whatever I want to and even those things I believe are beyond my reach. Because of her, I no longer need to doubt my ability to do everything I want to, and to do it well.
Meditation also plays an important role in the life of the narrator, particularly since he consciously started his spiritual journey with the help of Socrates. According to Corey, meditation is a focusing process, whereby the attention is directed towards a specific and/or repetitive stimulus. The narrator frequently uses this method of focus in the book. Specifically, however, one might see an element of meditation during his first experience after being "energized" by Socrates. When he returns to his classes, the narrator is all but unable to concentrate on the intellectual content of the lectures, being distracted by an extreme awareness of his physical sensations.
In this way, Dan's first "meditation" consists of focusing on the senses. While this makes it very difficult to concentrate on the mental side of his life, his physical side thrives. When going to the gym that afternoon, the narrator is aware of having the most excellent session he ever had in his life. He is able to enjoy his physical body in ways that had not previously been possible. This type of meditation, although it was not voluntary, focuses the attention upon the improvement of the physical. This focus brings about an improvement in the function of the physical body.
Being interested in spiritual matters, I have myself also been involved in various forms of meditation and experiencing the spiritual through the physical, including yoga. According to Corey, Yoga provides a way to focus on the present rather than the future or the past. This focus is what Danny does in the book. He focuses absolutely on the present sensations of his body, and is therefore unable to be distracted by either past or future concerns.
The yoga experience is similar. The body is used as a focus for the inner attention upon the present sensation of the body. In this way, the spirit and soul attain peace. Interestingly, this is not initially Danny's reaction. Instead, he finds himself worrying about failing the term, and he is somewhat unable to interact socially with his friend Suzie. Nevertheless, this experience also paves the way for his future meditation sessions, which he uses to help him develop throughout a path that is not always easy to follow.
Personally, I find meditation and yoga particularly useful when I go through times of turmoil. These times are generally connected to my worries about the future or my regrets about the past. Meditation and yoga help me to focus on the physical present and to focus my mind in a way that helps me to resolve the issue I am worried about without being unnecessarily stressed about it. In addition, it also helps me to focus on issues I can do something about rather than worry about things that cannot change. Focusing on the present is particularly helpful in this, in that my physical body and my emotions as I experience them in the present belong to me and are under my control. Hence, whenever I worry unnecessarily about something, I am able, through meditation and my yoga practice, to focus on my physical and emotional reactions to the problem, and to control these in a much more useful way than otherwise.
One example of such an event is a final exam I was particularly worried about. I knew the material well, but the lecturer had a way to ask tricky questions, and I found myself worrying about these. How many tricky questions would there be? Would I be able to recognize them? What if there was one I could not answer? What if I failed because I did not recognize one of the trick questions?
I recognize that these worries did nothing to contribute to my ability to do well in the test. I therefore had a brief meditation to calm and center my emotions. After the meditation I thought carefully about my options. I could continue worrying and so deplete the energy I had to prepare for the test. Or I could simply focus on doing my best with what I had and study as well as I could. Of course I took the second option. Every time I found myself worried, I engaged in yoga practice followed by a short meditation. On the day of the exam, I was perfectly calm. This sense of calm helped me to focus on the test, and I was able to answer all the questions and spot all the tricky items accurately.
According to Corey, the concept of solitude distinguishes itself from the various forms of loneliness by being chosen, and by being a positive vehicle for systemic spiritual growth. In Millman's book, the narrator often chooses solitude in order to ensure his growth. Indeed, Socrates appears to be aware of when this solitude is required, and when his companionship is required. Danny is for example left alone for a time after his injury to go through the grieving process in privacy. When he is ready, Socrates appears to help him develop the physical and emotional strength to regain what the narrator believed he had lost.
Later, when the narrator has a family of his own, he recognizes the further need for returning to himself by making a pilgrimage. In order to do this, he must leave his wife and child for a time. When he explains this to his little girl, he promises her to keep her in his mind and to provide his family with the opportunity to accompany him on one of his journeys. However, the solitary physical journey represents the narrator's inner journey -- one he must necessarily make alone. It is only by being in solitude that he can once again return to the companionship of his family to live an effective and fulfilled life as husband and father.
The self-imposed solitude at the end is a means for the narrator to express his spiritual maturity as well as the need to continue exploring his systemic perspective on his own spiritual growth. The book therefore appears to indicate that the spiritual journey requires frequent solitude in order to be truly successful.
Personally, I believe that solitude is indeed a sign of maturity and the willingness to growth further. When I look at my own life, I recognize that I frequently experienced different forms of loneliness when I was younger. Most frequently, I experienced transient loneliness after attending a party or being out with friends. These social events made me feel fulfilled and happy during my interactions. Immediately after leaving and being alone, I would then experience a feeling of transient loneliness, which would dissipate as soon as I became involved in my duties or studies at home.
I also experienced a sense of loneliness when I was home for some time and desired the companionship of friends. When I had completed my studies and didn't feel like hiking, for example, I would call a friend to alleviate the feeling of loneliness. During my hiking trips however I enjoyed a sense of solitude in nature. I believe that this is the feeling that Danny had of Socrates being part of everything around him. Even though his friend was not physically with him, he was able to experience a sense of him during his hours of solitude. In this way, the idea of Socrates became part of Danny himself.
In this way, I believe that solitude presents an opportunity to become acquainted with oneself. It teaches a person to be happy even in solitude, or indeed because of solitude. I find that nature is the best environment in which to seek solitude. For Danny, the ideal appeared to be a location of specific spiritual significance. I however feel that nature brings a person closer to what it truly is to be spiritual. Spirituality is not an imposed ideal created by others, regardless of how large this group of people is. Instead, I feel that spirituality relates to the personal inner self. Where I am during meditation is my own spiritual ideal. Solitude is the best way to…