What do you think of when you hear the word mindful? Is it a hippie on the side of the road yelling for peace? Maybe it’s a monk being modest and one with its surroundings. After reading more on mindfulness, I believe it is much simpler than that. To me, mindfulness is living in the moment, void of distractions, and understanding the connection we have with not only ourselves, but our environment around us. There is, however a distinct difference between mindfulness and escapism. Using outward charity and socialization may feel like happiness, but doing so with the wrong motives can become detrimental to mindful thinking. To be truly mindful, you must first be at peace with yourself and your situation. It is a simple thing to say, but very hard to practice. With dedication, self-care, and meditation, I believe everyone could become more mindful and live a happier and healthier life.
For me, one of the best ways to change my thinking on subjects is to learn as much as possible about them. One great man that everyone should seek out is Marc Cohen, and not the one who is walking in Memphis. His TED Talk over mindfulness was an eye opening experience that brought up viewpoints that I haven’t previously thought of. The idea that wellness is not a simple point list but multi-dimensional was a very interesting concept. Western medicines only go so far in terms of physical wellness, but more contemporary practices can aid in mental wellness and happiness. He also says it’s hard to be happy unless you are well and wellness is hard to achieve unless all around you is well. It may sound simple, but doesn’t it make sense? If you are surrounded by chaos, your mind cannot be a peace. If your mind isn’t at peace, then your body and soul cannot be fully well. And isn’t that what we all strive for in life?
A favorite term of mine is the idea of sustainable happiness. It is the pursuit of happiness that does not exploit other people, the environment, or future generations. Sustainable happiness can be brought in to our everyday life simply by being more conscious in the decisions we make. These changes may be hard at first, and I know that change is difficult and it is much easier to keep going down the same path as days past, but once you start making these changes, you begin to feel better and have more respect for yourself and others. These changes don’t just have to happen at the small scale however. We can make paradigm shifts in our culture to make large corporations begin to look less at the bottom dollar and more into the concept of sustainable happiness. The previous week, I did research on embodied carbon for a paper I am writing and the stats are very concerning. For those of you who don’t know, embodied carbon and embodied energy are the amount of carbon and energy, respectably, materials that go into a building take to go from harvesting the raw materials, to transportation, to instillation on the site. If we create requirements to look into these numbers, we could drastically reduce the carbon footprint our growing lifestyles and help make a real difference.