During my sustainability journey I have recently come across the topic of mindfulness. Mindfulness is something that is key to our well-being. I believe that living in the present is a big thing that our society needs to learn how to do. We always get caught up holding onto the past and letting it bring us down. Why is it so hard for us to let it go? We also think too far into the future when it’s not in our control. Why are we so worried all the time!? Paying more attention to the present allows us to be connected to the world and even ourselves and our position in it. I also want to touch on the fact that mindfulness is also a mental state. It is healthy to be in touch with our feelings and know why we feel what we are feeling. This is hard for me, because I like to push my feelings away, but I have learned that it helps much more when we are in touch with our own mental state. A quote that I love and that I believe that represents mindfulness is: “It is our own mental attitude that makes the world what is for us. Our thoughts make things beautiful and our thoughts make things ugly. The whole world belongs to our minds perspective. Learn to see things in the proper light.” This quote hits hard for me because I feel like perception is key to your experiences. If we don’t have a positive mindset, we most likely won’t enjoy the things that we experience. This relates to sustainability because studies show that the characteristics of mindfulness can lead to more sustainable behavior.
In one of our assigned readings, the author discussed how we can ‘train and enhance’ our mindfulness by ‘mindfulness meditation.’ I found it interesting that these meditation practices have become popular in professional workplaces and private arenas. This reading also confirmed the idea that focusing more on mindfulness can lead to better sustainable behavior. When we did this in class, going along with Marc Cohen’s Ted Talk, it brought back many memories. These include yoga, meditational prayers, and breathing/ meditation exercises led by some of my teachers in highschool. One thing Marc Cohen touched on was how in every aspect of our lives we have things that bring us down and stress us out and how we put so much focus on these things. He questions why we don’t focus more on the things that bring us up and why we don’t emphasize these things instead. Because in reality, good memories seem a lot less vivid than the bad ones. I am not sure why this is so true, but it is an observation I have made about my feelings.
Another activity we did was a search for a wicked problem that relates to our field of study. The wicked problem I picked was how technology has advanced our generation and world in many ways, and we have become too reliant on it. It has changed our minds to become in need of instant gratification. Within this huge problem, I pinpointed online shopping. During my research on this problem, I learned that it is causing many retail employees to lose their jobs. Also, our need for instant gratification causes online shopping to become more of a habit.
Each of these things that we have done has strengthened my knowledge on sustainability. I love learning about how it relates to my field and understanding its importance. I feel like each assignment we do further advances my knowledge and can ultimately lead me to become more aware of the things around me. I am excited to learn more about how I can be more sustainable with the things I design and how I use certain resources more mindfully.