Can We Be Mindful, Please?

This last week we discussed what it means to be mindful and how mindfulness can be paired with sustainability. I found this topic to be so interesting and encouraging. There is a large correlation between sustainability and being mindful. Like we discussed in class, mindfulness can refer to several different things. Individuals could be mindful of their surroundings, future generations, the future of the planet, and their own well-being. One of the major things that stuck out to me was how mindfulness affects sustainability. People can be mindful of their surroundings which causes them to be more aware of what is going on around the earth. This knowledge will keep them informed of the problems that humans are causing, and hopefully they will strive them to make changes.

In class, we spent time focusing on being mindful by meditating. I had never experienced meditation before, so this was an interesting experiment. At first, I had a little trouble concentrating on what was being said and what to focus on, but eventually, I was able to let go of all other thoughts and work on being present in that time. Personally, I have been stressing over future decisions that and summer plans, so spending that time not worrying about the future was so beneficial. Being able to see the thoughts in my mind and just let them float by was so relieving. I really enjoyed being able to sit down in class with my peers, in the moment, being mindful. It was such an amazing experience.

The second reading of the week about western values, ethics, and dominant paradigms was very interesting. I had the “No” side of the argument, so I really enjoyed the time in class that we spent hearing both sides of the argument. This chapter discussed how Western Values are not compatible with sustainability because of how natural it feels for individuals to be consumers. An example that we discuss is that consumerism can be as natural as breathing for most people. People do not have to think about breathing, it comes naturally, and people can be consumers just as easily and without realizing it, like breathing. The No side claims that it is nearly impossible to make people stop consuming, similarly to asking them to stop breathing. What really stuck out to me was how the media can increase consumption of goods. According to a study that was conducted, the media helps promote different symbols, norms, customs, myths, and stories. With television and social media, the majority of time that is spent by consumers appears to be spent utilizing some type of media. One of the most interesting things that I read in this chapter was that for every additional hour of television that is watched by consumers, the more money they spend on random items, annually.  So far, this was my favorite week and readings that we have discussed.

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