Mediating and the World Hesitating

On day one of week two, we learned about meditation. The article we read prior to class mainly discussed that incorporating meditation to one’s everyday life can benefit overall health and well-being, and could in turn cause one to reflect less on personal problems and focus their attention to outer world problems like poverty and climate change. Our guest speaker showed us how mindful mediation works as we spent time trying it for ourselves. I always thought of meditating as sitting crisscross and humming for an hour, so I was very surprised when I was sitting in class, breathing and – just being. After firsthand experience, I do agree with the article’s claim that mindful meditation would help people’s mental health and reduce stress; the idea that people would switch from personal concerns to caring about worldly issues so quickly doesn’t seem very likely. I think that if some kind of meditation became more common in everyone’s life, then the idea of improving sustainability would cross more people’s minds.

On day two, we discussed two sides of the question of whether or not the Western paradigm is compatible with sustainability. I was on the “NO” side of the discussion, and I very much agreed with my side. Our society is so caught up with consumerism that so many people don’t realize what it’s doing to the environment. The article showed strong points for the “NO”, like how after World War II, the US started a consumption trend to fill the void of a post wartime economy. The endless cycle of buying, then producing to buy again is what keeps our society’s lifestyle running. I think it’s impossible to go a day in this country without seeing an advertisement. So how could we possibly undo a habit that our entire society runs on? I would say that we undo it slowly; we could start by just being a more informed society—knowing everything that goes into making (and disposing) of a product. Small changes could eventually lead to bigger changes—like a demand for sustainable products and practices—that could transform the Western paradigm, and perhaps save our Earth.

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