This week has been interesting to say the least. In a class that we started out being very vocal and respectively debating in, we had the chance to quiet ourselves and reflect on everything that is taking place around us and within us. It made me realize as hustle, bustle college students, we do not really get the chance to do that. We get so caught up in our to-do lists and our to-DUE lists that we very seldom take a minute to just breathe and allow ourselves to process our emotions, reflections, successes, strengths, desires, and even needs. We are more aware of our tuition and class schedules than we are self-aware. I think more than anything else that is what I gained the most from this week.
After leading us through a soothing meditative practice and allowing us to speak about it to one another, Professor Armstrong requested that we take 5 minutes out of every day of this week to do our own meditative practice. I discovered that just sitting alone, crisscross applesauce with the back off my hands resting on my knees and my palms open and facing up, ready to receive whatever I am meant to, with my back straight and my eyes closed was the most effective and peaceful way to do this. I found, after repeating this through the week that my mind is able to diffuse all the things that do not mater. MIND OVER MATTER. I have been able to sort through my priorities and reorganize my life in a way that is not overwhelming. My stress has significantly reduced and I feel like I can enjoy myself a little more with an awareness that everything is going to be okay. I feel like it re-centers me and helps me to remember my truest desires and why I am at this university anyways. I believe it is a great way to boost confidence like the article “Mindfulness and Sustainability” states. We discussed how important it is to sustain ourselves before we can sustain our planet and I believe meditation is a great way to start doing that.
This week we also learned about Paradigms, which I had know idea how to pronounce until Professor Armstrong read it aloud by the way. I happened to be on the “No” side when we read about Western values and the Dominant Social Paradigm. In doing so, I learned about how consumerism plays one of the leading roles in our culture. We believe we NEED to consume regularly and excessively to feed our satisfaction. We need bigger houses, which use more energy for electricity and pull more water. We need more cars, which produce more carbon and pollution. We buy more stuff, which results in more waste to pile on and with an every growing population, we are consuming more meat, which results in more land being cleared for the livestock and more carbon being released as well. The sad part is that this is normal to us. It is so embedded that most of us do not even know it is wrong. In our discussion, I recited to the class something I read in the article: “If everyone lived the way Americans do, the world would only be able to sustain 11.4 billion people.” This statement blew my mind and just made me realize every more so how selfish and ignorant we are being. I am not sure if I agree with everything I read or everything I heard on the opposing side, but I do agree with this: WE HAVE TO CHANGE.