I believe that mindfulness is a driving force in a persons life, it is how we decide to do things whether it is something for ourself or for others it all comes to our mindfulness. In the TED Talk of Marc Cohen he gave some great examples of how mindfulness is able to control our lives as humans and then even as a society. If you haven’t had the time to watch this video I highly recommend it because it will encourage you to be for mindful. It’s almost silly to me that we as a society are having to have others remind us of things such as to mindfulness about others, our society and especially to our environment. What has gone so wrong and off track in the last hundred years? Why are so many struggling to understand what sustainability is? When did our world become so negative and dark?
Mindfulness to me is a lot of things, it is how we look at ourselves as a human, how we are able to perceive the world around us and even how our environment around us is able to perceive us. In many ancient ways of living day to day they are dedicated to the environment and there surroundings but somehow in the last two to three hundred of years we have completely forgot that simple piece of mindfulness. Somewhere along the times of the earth, we have turned our focus to be about ourselves and only ourselves. The society most Americans are living in today is focused around one, we are living in a society that is so competitively driven that its become and is becoming a dog – eat – dog kind of world. How does mindfulness relate to this, well it relates in every situation, if a person is able to take a step back and evaluate their life and become not only mindful of themselves but become mindful of themselves living in the world then they become aware of things outside their own little personal bubble.
In the article The Rise and the Fall of Consumer Cultures, it briefly touches on mindfulness. Rather than thinking of just one individual only being consumed with their own bubble, it is big, large corporations only consumed with their bubbles and how they are focused on making a profit, the focus is not on other topics that are outside of this bubble. We have for so long created this culture of consumption that all our society knows is how to use and continue to purchase just as quickly as manufacturers make. Our values have somehow been shifted into a focus of materialistic goods that define social standings. Why couldn’t we potentially shift our current values to saving the environment? Why aren’t social standings based on how much you give back to the Earth?
A major issue of our values and focus as a society is how we don’t try to be happy with ourselves, we have been trying to fulfill our lives with these materialist goods for so long that we have forgotten what it truly means to live. It’s not necessarily our fault either, this is how our ancestors have set up our society but how can we shift it into a more mindfulness way of living? There are many issues with this as our economy thrives off of competition while we love to consume without a focus on whats happening around us. If people were able to bring in self mediation and were able to pause from their busy schedules for just a few minutes to try to bring happiness with in themselves it could actually go a long ways.
As an architecture student, I would like to explore a bit more of why so many of the structures built within the last one hundred years to today aren’t efficient. If you look at Rome, Italy and look at how so many of these two thousand year old structures are still standing and have even lived through many wars but somehow a home in American was built in the 1960s but is already torn down. Is it because it wasn’t built as structurally sound as the two thousand year old structure or is because we are more focused on our materialistic life style and the home wasn’t good enough? Many structures in the United States don’t make it even a hundred years as they are seen as old and have no cause for us today, but what happens to the materials once the structure is torn down? Why does America design to be demolished? Is it just a paradigm of our values as a country?
These are issues I see within the society I’m living in, how can we change the small things to catalyst into something much larger? Something that could start small for us here in Oklahoma is trying to initiate having multiple trash bins all together, not having a recycle bin around the corner from a trash can, this isn’t something huge but it may help. I believe this small step can help bring our focus to recycling because it will make someone more aware when they go to throw something away. Considering all of the landfills in America are already full and we haven’t changed our mentality towards using less so why don’t we approach this?