Mindfulness and Sustainability

Before class on Tuesday, we had a reading over mindfulness and meditation to read and take notes over. In class, on Tuesday, we had a short discussion about the reading. An argument that this reading made was that having a better health and wellbeing, is likely to affect the way that we view and approach sustainability. I agree with this statement. I agree that if our basic needs like happiness aren’t fulfilled, then we won’t see caring for the environment as a top priority. I believe that meditation is a great way to achieve happiness. The reading describes mindfulness as “being aware, taking note of what is going on within ourselves and outside in the world, without shying away from feelings that we do not like or do not wish to be true.” The reading says that mindfulness can be trained and enhanced by practicing mindfulness meditation. Mediation is basically focusing on yourself in the moment. The reading gives us four benefits of mindfulness to selective wellbeing. The first benefit is being happier and more in the moment. The second benefit is that it seems to increase compassion and empathy. The third benefit is that it helps contribute to a greater sense of clarity and clarifying values. The final benefit is that it reduces emotional and cognitive habits. In class, Dr. Anne Weese came to speak with us about mindfulness and meditation. We got to practice two or three kinds of meditation with her. At first, I was a little thrown off by Dr. Weese. She made us do a distracting math problem. I was thinking, “Math? How in the world does this relate to mindfulness?” After that she explained our thoughts to us. I had personally never really thought about thoughts before, I always just think they are there. She gave us a picture of cars driving down a highway and related the cars passing by as your thoughts in your head. Then she proceeded to say that we should let them arrive, acknowledge them, and then let them go during our meditation. I had only practiced meditation once or twice before in high school, but I never was really focused on the moment enough to get into it. During class, I focused on the experience of meditation more, and letting my thoughts arrive, acknowledge them, and then letting them pass. It was odd for me focusing on myself in the moment, especially with our smell. I never really focus on the smell of things intensely, but in that moment, I did. I could smell things I normally don’t, like perfume and coffee. With this method, I could focus on mediating, and I felt happier and calmer when we were done. Throughout the rest of the week I practiced mindfulness a couple of minutes each day, I hope this will become a good habit for me from now on.

On Thursday, we read a taking sides article. I was on the “no” side which means I read about how the western paradigms are not compatible with sustainability. This is mainly due to higher amounts of consumerism in western culture. The article said that higher levels of consumption require larger inputs of energy and materials to produce, and therefore creates a higher amount of waste. It also talks about how consumptions have grown dramatically over the past five decades. I totally agree with this point. Due to the tends that keep coming and going, people are always wanting the new version of something that is more in style. I do this all the time, I’m like “oohh I totally need this new pair of tennis shoes, even though I just bought a new pair last week and they are in perfect condition still.” This is called a paradigm, the pattern of a model. The paradigm is the start of it all, they then lead to the structures, then our patterns, and finally lead to the events. Over the course of this week, I have learned that the power of our thoughts can determine our reaction. Also, that we need to start paying attention to what the purpose is, and being mindful.

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