Before we started our meditation last Tuesday I thought, “Jayadas is crazy if he thinks this is going to help me relax and be more mindful.” I have a history of trying to meditate and halfway through I always end up doing something else. I know it’s okay to let your mind wander at times but I usually get stressed out by the things I could be working on instead. I was optimistic in class though and went into the meditation with an open mind. Maybe being in a classroom setting would have a different outcome. Five minutes in and my mind continued to wander off and my feet were extremely antsy. Luckily, I had a twig I was able to fidget with the entire time but I knew I wasn’t truly able to pay attention to the whole experience.

I was disappointed in myself because I know that mindfulness improves well-being and health-related conditions. It’s something I will continually have to practice. It is also proven that mindfulness can increase happiness, which is what one of my main goals is for this semester. Then, we engaged in object meditation. I saw features in a twig I have never noticed before. The grooves, or the symmetry of its footprint. I began to feel more positive emotions more directly. I finally had a meditation session where my mind didn’t wander and I felt a rush of happiness. After those few short minutes, I was convinced I had a greater sense of clarity.

I think this class could not have happened at a better time in my life. I have been trying to get out of the “hedonic treadmill” curse. I have been trying to rid myself of excess material goods that give me a short-lived high and focus on buying non-plastic materials for my home.

This brings me back to the Yes-no reading we had on globalization. I do think there is some truth in people that make more money will be more sustainable and environmentally conscious. But I do think they need to be aware of sustainability for them to actually make the more sustainable choice. I relate myself. Just this summer I had an internship in Dallas working for an architecture firm. At the end of my internship, I had a stack of papers thicker than a textbook. I was so upset with myself but I can’t deny my love for paper. Thanks to the money I made over the summer I was able to afford a paper tablet called ReMarkable that completely eliminates my need for paper. I am proud to say I am three weeks into the school year and I have only used three sheets of paper so far. I never would have been able to make this lifestyle change if it wasn’t for the money.

In the midst of my lifestyle changes, I not only want to change the things I am surrounded by but the things I put into my body. I have become a part-time vegan. Part-time as in any meal I prepare for myself will be vegan but if I am eating out with my friends I won’t limit myself. I think that is a healthy balance because completely diving into a new life could be overwhelming and could cause my whole plan to collapse. I am a true believer in baby steps. But this started to beg the question of where my food even comes from? Last semester I watched a few documentaries on agriculture and its continually been on my mind. As well as the ted talk we watched in problem-solving about gardening. Ever since then I walk into a grocery store and am saddened by all the processed foods. With our growing population, we might soon be facing hunger in even the most developed countries. While this problem may be wicked, I have a few ideas on how it can be solved on a small scale or personal level. And if each person can contribute, it will make a global impact.

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