Not Being Aware : A Small Guide to Mindful Living.

Have you ever wondered about the irrefutable consequences of the basic actions you commit in your daily routine and how they affect our existence? Sounds scary, huh? But nonetheless you probably didn’t think about it because after all, our education hasn’t conditioned us to do so… Oh wait, actually, since childhood, we’ve been told to ponder our own future, both professionally and in terms of family. Which is fine, there is nothing wrong with being a few steps ahead and being (not fully, but at least timidly) prepared to face our path.

But this isn’t what I wish to elucidate. By referring to these ‘irrefutable consequences’ that impact our existence, it’s implied that they don’t specifically concern you. Of course, I could bring up subjects such as global warming, air pollution, and over-consumption in our capitalist lifestyle… Actually, I would love to do so, but it seems that these subjects, for an obscure reason, tend to irritate and offend people. Then again, I do not wish to bore you or challenge you to an eco-socio-political debate… In fact, I will highlight the simpler, more common aspects of your way of life. Here goes my question again: Have you ever wondered why you perform certain automatic and illogical actions that will (somehow-somewhere) damage someone-something, even if it’s only through the buildup effect? Have you ever wondered why you perpetuate certain noxious and unbeneficial habits?

Still nebulous? When you throw your three-hundred-and-eighty-second cigarette butt on the sidewalk, do you really think about what you are doing? When that cigarette butt is now off of your lips, when it falls from your fingers and vanishes from your sight to fall on the cement, it is no longer related to you, so you distance yourself from the accumulation and filth, day by day. What if the cig was sparkly, huge and noisy and had your name on it? In that case, would you feel shame or discomfort related to your automatic and illogical way of disposing items on public space, since it would be ‘visually’ easy to track you as the responsible?

What I’m trying to say, is that we are not being aware. That non-recyclable coffee cup you adore to sip from in each of your English classes on Wednesday afternoon… what if you preferred a reusable cup? How many garbage bags would have been avoided… Try to picture said garbage bag containing all of your disposable coffee cups…and just think…Why?  Surely, people must realize that our earth will be, and is, limited in space and it can’t contain all our waste. Then again, since these garbage accumulations are out of sight, we tend to act as if they do not exist.

As soon as something is visually unreachable, we disconnect ourselves. That hamburger you just savoured, you must know that piece of meat was ripped off from an animal and that process was not pleasant. However, it is out of our sight, which means we continue our daily routine, ignoring what happens elsewhere and, therefore, we will continue to order that cheap $3 meal. Which makes me think, the cheaper we buy, the happier we are (because we can buy more), but it also means that the provenance of that purchase is dubious… Somewhere, someone is not receiving their rightful paycheck or working in a safe environment. Makes me think of the crumbling of Bangladesh’s clothing warehouse, collapsing on and burying employees… wait, wait, I promised no eco-socio-political debate! Hush hush…

These are the first examples (cigarette, coffee cup…) that come to mind in a not-so-tragic scale of causality related to our mind not being aware of our unobligated irrational ways of life. When it’s about plain cowardice or deliberately not wanting to make the effort, this is another problem, if you don’t mind my saying… (Like, not wanting to do compost for your community garden that would, in reward, give out veggies to everyone, it is plain laziness and selfishness).

Do not get me wrong, but you are not the center of universe: it is not about how something will affect you, it is about how you might be related to a cause, at a small scale, affecting something bigger than you, by the build-up effect. Your unseen contribution in the deterioration of your own environment could be significantly less if you start by reaching ‘au de-là’. If you start looking not with what you see but with what you understand, even if it is not fully stated, but at least with a sensible sight on the impact of simple actions that could be avoided. When you start being conscious, you’ll see, you’ll feel content with yourself, and happier in life.

-Mapirila