The Vitality of Mindfulness

By being mindful, one is aware and taking note of what is going on within oneself and in the world. One can be more mindful through meditation. With meditation, one is paying attention, reacting, and relating to the entirety of the experience and emotions. We can no longer live through automatic, habitual patterns of reactivity. In order to change our current environmental state, we must rather consciously choose thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in order to gain new perspectives on development. Mindfulness has positive effects on well-being, empathy, and promotes awareness of an individual’s values. This will in turn lead to more sustainable behaviors.

For the short amount of time that I have been in Wicked Problems, I have noticed how more in touch with my personal values and morals. When my basic needs are not fulfilled, the environment and surroundings are not as important. Through meditation, my basic needs are met through the satisfaction and understanding of myself. Meditation impacts the brain as well as contributes to happiness. When one is engaged in the present moment, there is less stress about the future. I have always had a tendency to be so focused on the future and what my next step is, instead of being in the moment and fixated on my current state. After meditating some in class, I have become more aware of the present, influencing my values, emotions, and relationships. I am more attentive and conscious of my surroundings. I have a clearer view of my morals with a better sense of well-being.

Instead of just adapting to the circumstances at hand, we as a society need to make a change in our habits in order to change our environment. We can achieve this by sustainable happiness and decreasing our use of material resources. Advertising promotes materialism and consumerism being correlated with happiness, causing decreased sustainability. Materialistic individuals are found to be less environmentally friendly. Since media has such an impact on society, advertising should make sustainability more attractive and engaging to help change the attractiveness of materialism and consumerism. Individuals also must distinguish between needs and wants by consuming just enough to satisfy human well-being and practice planetary well-being. Environmental problems are moral agents that are rooted within our society. With empathy and compassion for future generations and other cultures, we can make a change before selfishness takes over. Rather than focusing on ourselves and our wants, we need to encompass wider aspects of life. Our society has become so selfish and materialistic, that we are not looking at the big picture. Before this class, I was also a victim of this materialistic and consumerist lifestyle. Being automatic in nature, without consciously evaluating my thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. We need to realize that we as a collective will be the root cause of the collapse of our environment, which in turn will cause the collapse of humanity. An increased self-control and mindfulness promotes pro-environmental values. By being mindful and aware through meditation, sustainable behavior is influenced. Through this, humanity has the chance to transform its dominate cultural patterns and ultimately save itself from ecological collapse.

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