The theme of the week in Wicked Problems of Industrial Practice has been mindfulness and practicing enhanced versions of mindfulness throughout the week. This was demonstrated in class by meditation and is used by many to calm and collect their thoughts as they develop. This also is a great stress reliever and has been shown to improve work and personal success and happiness. While all of these things are important to the constant desire to improve average lifetime happiness, a deeper meaning can be found through mindfulness. The act of mindfulness extends your own awareness beyond the physical of your body and into the natural and built environment. This is important as designers to find connections between ourselves and the natural environment in order to find solutions to sustainability problems that seem insurmountable.
By engaging in everyday acts that center myself in the natural environment and just simply observing life beyond myself helps connect me with the earth. This is very helpful when trying to conceptualise positive changes through design by giving ample time to ponder and brainstorm without the pressures of society. All of this is now going through my mind as I am engaging in meditation as my professor instructed us to do before the following class. I am sitting in my car of all places, facing Boomer Lake with the windows rolled down after a particularly stressful day writing a research paper for my class. As I sat and stared at the water, I gathered a greater appreciation for the beautiful bodies of water that dot the United States. I had always appreciated the water before but as I looked at the water in the silence I saw boats and fishermen enjoying the water. It became very clear that humans are more attached to the water than we realise, whether it be fishing, swimming, or utilizing the water for energy production. The reality is that while some may indeed be disconnected from nature, the great majority still can be seen to have a connection to nature whether intentional or not. The problem arises when this connection is not acknowledged or appreciated. In order to fully understand the natural world, you have to apply critical thinking skills that the average person does not use. This can be attributed to ignorance both willful and unknowing. The form of connection I made with the lake is the same connection that makes mindfulness so important for those seeking to find a more sustainable future.
As my week continued I was adamant about continuing to practice mindfulness in every aspect of my life. This led to me trying to meditate at different times of day not just by choice but also to accommodate my sporadic schedule. I began to use this time to visualize goals in my head and the steps necessary to achieve such goals. I thought of my goals for the semester, goals for college, and even further into goals for myself out of college. The goals that I needed to focus on in immediate time are the classes that I am taking as well as the work ethic that I present at my new job.
The benefits of meditation and practices that promote mindfulness are noticeable within the first week, I feel more driven and focused towards college and have noticed a significant decrease in stress. I intend to continue practicing mindfulness in my daily life in order to further my understanding of the natural world around me.