Exploring Mindfulness and a Consumer Based Society

This week in Wicked Problems of Industrial Practice we explored the idea of mindfulness. According to the Oxford Dictionary mindfulness is defined as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.” I personally had previously been exposed to the idea of mindfulness when going to therapy to learn how to better manage my stress and anxiety. Anxiety is sparked by triggers personal an individual. Often mindfulness allows oneself to relax and not be overwhelmed by the task or subject causing them to be anxious. This week I enjoyed making time for this practice again as the beginning of the semester is often stressful and busy. I use an app called head space that I had previously used. Headspace when you start asks you to try to make it part of a routine making it easier for individuals to get into meditation. It provides mini exercises lasting only a minute long to help individuals ease mediation into their daily routines. Often when meditating I find myself worrying about what the guided people are saying.  I also seem to always worry about exercising my thoughts and my breathing. I find keeping my feet on the ground during meditation allows me to feel grounded and rooted with the environment around me. I hope to continue these practices in the fall to become more mindful and relaxed as an individual. 

Also this week during class we explored the article “Are Western values, ethics, and dominant paradigms compatible with sustainability?”. There were two sides to this article a yes and a no side. I was assigned to read the no side of the argument written by Erick Assadourian. I contributed to class discussion within my small group by discussing Assadourians argument while also listening to the counter argument. Assadourian focused on the consumer culture within our society. In our small group discussion I brought up an interesting statement made by Assadourian. He states that “asking people who live in consumer cultures to curb consumption is akin to asking them to stop breathing” (pg 51). I found this interesting because it seems dramatic at first but the more you think about it compared to our society the more truthful it becomes. We are a consumer driven society. Meaning our country mainly focuses on the economy rather than the well being of the world we take part in. Assadourian brought up a point that got me thinking about my personal consuming habits. He proposes a goal
“to replace private consumption of goods with public consumption” (pg 58). This goal would promote the use of buses, public parts, public libraries, and shared gardens. These would encourage individuals to not spend money on cars and gas, borrow books, go outside. These activities safe trees, help air pollution, lessen the use of natural resources, and lower energy use within individual households. This became one of the major takeaways from this week because it allowed me to realize that simple tasks like these could later have huge impacts on the planet, environment and resources we take for granted most days.

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