Meditation xvii is a famous meditational poem that was written by John Donne in 1624, it is part of a 23 piece series that he wrote while he suffered from an unknown illness that almost killed him, parts of the poem have been remembered throughout history, the most famous part being ‘no man is an lland’ which has been translated into modern day English to read as ‘no man is an island’.
The meditation xvii reminds all of us that even though we live our own lives, have our own unique group of friends, communicate with selected individuals and rarely interact with people we do not know, that we are still all interconnected, it also reminds us of our mortality.
As a person who is practicing any particular meditation practice, you will find that you do have more compassion for people and that you are generally more concerned about the wellbeing of strangers and the world at large, simply because you realise how you are part of the world and what affects the world, does affect you.
It is also important to remember the reality of death, and how the death of any human affects the world at large, even though you might not be directly related to the person that has passed, or even know the person, their death reminds everyone about their mortality, which often makes people start to think about their own death and what they want to achieve before they die.
Meditation xvii was written in the Renaissance era, and the translation or understanding of the poem differ from one person to the next, but the main message that all humans are interconnected and that everyone will die at some point are important for meditators, as it provides inspiration to be more compassionate towards the people around you, including total strangers, and to remember your own mortality, which in turn inspires you to reach those goals that you want to reach before your lifetime comes to an end.