ParaTIME to Make a Change

I was very excited to start the second week of DHM 1101 because I had so much fun last week and learned so many new things. It is crazy to think we are halfway done with this class, it is really flying by! We started class on Tuesday with a discussion over mindfulness and sustainability. I had never really heard of mindfulness before this class, but after our reading assignment and discussion I have a pretty clear idea of what it is. Mindfulness is being aware of what is going on within ourselves and outside in the world. I think I am pretty good at knowing what is going on inside myself, but I definitely need to pay more attention to what is going on outside of myself. There are so many things going on in the world that I am unaware of, but I believe that realizing I am unware of these problems is the first step to becoming more mindful. I also learned that mediation can help me become more mindful. I used to think that meditation was something that only hippies used, but then I realized that it is used in medicine, healthcare, psychology, neuroscience, childbirth/parenting education, businesses, athletics/professional sports, legal professions, criminal  justice, politics, and many more. Meditation can increase awareness, let people focus or refocus on their needs, increase compassion and empathy, help develop intrinsic goals, and has so many more benefits, which is why this practice is so commonly used. It amazes me that something so simple as meditation has such a positive impact on a person’s wellbeing. It is not easy to become mindful though, there are obstacles you must overcome. One of the obstacles we learned about is the “hedonic treadmill”, this is a cycle of chasing short lived dreams. Another obstacle is living life through a “cognitive filter”, mindfulness can help a person actually experience life instead of going through everyday on autopilot. This class opened my eyes to how much of my life is spend on autopilot and I would like to become more involved in the “here and now”. I felt relieved that I can become more mindful through meditation, but I had no idea how to do it.

Dr. Anne Weese gave a presentation of the What, Why, and How of mindfulness and meditation. I really enjoyed her presentation and feel a lot more comfortable with the idea of mediation. A quote from Dr. Weese that really resonated with me is “Depression is caused by past thoughts, anxiety is caused by future thoughts, so that is why we should live in the moment.” I struggle a lot with anxiety myself, but I never knew it was caused by my thoughts. I will definitely use meditative practices in the future to help with my anxiety. Dr.Wesse also showed us how to meditate, this was the first time I had ever done it. At first I felt silly and uncomfortable, but as time went on I was able to relax and be alone with my thoughts. I thought the 10 minute meditation session was going to drag on, but I was surprised at how fast it went by and how much I enjoyed meditation. I am by no means an expert at meditation, but now I have the tools to practice and become better.

I really enjoyed the first day of class, but I struggled with day two. I was on the “YES” team for Are Western Values, Ethics, and Dominant Paradigms compatible with Sustainability? I found it hard to participate in this discussion because I felt like I was arguing for the wrong side. I do not believe western values, ethics, and paradigms are compatible with sustainability at all! Although I did not enjoy the discussion, I did learn a lot of things from it. First of all, I learned what a paradigm is. A paradigm is a collective mental mode made up of out values, beliefs, and assumptions, or the “lens” through we perceive the world. It can be very hard to reverse a paradigm and usually takes a bad experience to change someone’s view. I think paradigms are scary because you are stuck in one way of thinking, it is also scary that is so hard to reverse a paradigm. This class made me become aware of some of the paradigms going on, such as climate change. Another thing I liked about this class was the time given to meditate. It is really hard for me to find time during the day to mediate, so I really took advantage of the time I was given before class and it really helped me get ready for the day!

I am very happy with the way this week went and all of the new information I have. I am quite nervous for next week, but if I was living in the “here and now” I wouldn’t be! I am looking forward to continuing my journey on the road to mindfulness and believe with the help of this course, I am not too far away from it!

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