Understanding is Hard

Like many college students, I feel like the easiest form of understanding concepts such as wicked problems is intellectually. It’s what we were taught to utilize the most throughout K-12 and then of course into our college/university years as well. It feels safe and comfortable to default to using my head and logic anytime I’m doing homework, studying, or anything work-related, and a lot of the time in those situations that method of understanding is totally valid. However, I don’t think it’s fair to myself to limit my understanding to just one medium. As for understanding emotionally, I think the extent that people choose to tap in to their heart to understand things is really dependent on the individual themselves. No one can really force you to truly, wholeheartedly feel for anything or anyone; it’s all dependent on you and what you choose. I know I choose to feel with my heart with things outside of school quite often, but I rarely do when it comes to doing schoolwork or studying. There’s a big disconnect for me personally between the different ways of understanding, but especially so with somatically understanding. I mean wasn’t even fully aware of what it means to somatically understand something before this course. Now that I’m somewhat aware (I don’t feel confident enough to say I fully understand it yet) of the idea of tuning into my body to better comprehend things, I would say I’m definitely interested in exploring that further and in seeing how it applies to what I have learned and will continue to learn about wicked problems throughout this course. The biggest practice guiding my journey of trying to better somatically understand is the mindfulness practice I’m learning with Dr. Martinez. I will admit that I do feel like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to at times, or just struggling to keep up in the class sessions. I understand that it’s all very individualistic and I can stop and start again as many times as I need, but being able to follow along with Dr. Martinez is fairly important to me right now because I’m so new to it all. The classroom setting also isn’t very helpful because of all of the distractions that occur or could occur during the session but that’s somewhat unavoidable. It’s also hard to be vulnerable in a setting where I don’t feel totally comfortable in while practicing something I don’t fully grasp myself yet. That being said, I do try hard to connect my mind and body during these times despite the obstacles. I suppose that as I get better with the mindfulness practice the less these things will bother me or take me out of the practice, which is really what I’m hoping for. The mindfulness practices I do outside of the classroom are more successful than the classroom ones, which is honestly what I expected. I have faced minor problems, especially when practicing at home, but nothing that has been too daunting or overwhelming to face and understand. The biggest one is unfortunately falling asleep while trying to meditate, but after giving it some thought the reason it happens is definitely due to the times I have been choosing to practice (at night time) and the fact that I haven’t been getting much sleep in the first place. I have yet to try practicing at a different time because of my schedule for these past couple weeks, but I’m hoping to clear some things up and I’ll have more time to explore different times and how it affects my practicing. As for not getting enough sleep, it’s a hard habit to break because of how embedded that workstyle is in my life but it’d definitely benefit a lot more things than just my mindfulness practices so I’m hoping to find a way to shift that.

Something I have always and likely will always value in life is compassion, and that’s not just compassion for others or myself but compassion for everything I get to interact with in my life. Because I place compassion so highly in my life, I do feel applying it to wicked problems is a little easier than it normally would be. This is also by no means me trying to boast about myself or how good of a person I am but rather just me trying honestly evaluate how my mind is interacting and analyzing the heavy problems that are wicked problems. A moment I feel highlighted such an interaction is the discussion where we broke into groups discussing whether or not globalization could coincide with a sustainable society. I had read the “NO” side and didn’t feel fully convinced by the author and then I met with other classmates who told me what the “YES” side as advocating for. I expected to be persuaded by that author’s argument but I still didn’t feel as though I could agree with their side. I was at a crossroads with these two point of views because I could emphasize with both sides and it felt like by choosing one it meant the other was going to be tossed from my mind and I had to be a full advocate for that side. Of course that isn’t actually true and in reality it’s totally okay for me to feel for both parties. In fact, I think it’s the only way to truly achieve a humble response to such issues. I feel as though I have a good understanding of what such a response takes on paper or in definition but I haven’t been able to demonstrate in real life yet. That aspect of it does still need some work from my end, but it’s not enough to discourage me from going to try which feels good. I find this to be especially true when I compare it to my experience with the mindfulness practices. Of course, I’m not going to stop trying with either of them but if I could have a similar confidence level with the mindfulness practice as I do with forming compassionate responses then my experience would certainly feel better than its current state.

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