Living a Life You Love: Mindfulness Versus Mindless Habits

  • Published on February 8th, 2012

I’ve been thinking about coming back to this topic of habits lately. It’s one I’ve covered in the past, but should probably write about more often. Luckily, a nice post on sister site sustainablog has brought me to finally doing so.

We do soooo many things worse than we know we could, or even do things we shouldn’t do at all, simply because of habits. This goes for everything from how we eat, to how we transport our bodies, to how we think and what we focus on.

We could transform our lives if we just decided to tackle the inertia of our habits and live the life we know we would love.

We could turn our health around if we decided to no longer be a slave to habit.

Most importantly, I think, we could find true meaning in our life if we actually decided to focus on that rather than float through our life like zombies. (Though, I hear being a zombie is pretty cool these days, so one must first get over that desire to be cool.)

Getting back to the main focus of Planetsave, though, how does this all relate to “the green life”?

The Green Life

The sustainablog post I mentioned above has a good intro on this:

Working to create a sustainable world hasn’t been easy. One reason for this is that people are highly capable of knowing something but acting as if they didn’t. It is epitomized by the attitude, “I know I should, but I don’t.” We know we should eat localbike more, etc. etc., but so few of us actually live up to what we know.

In Buddhism, there is a huge emphasis on the different between knowing something intellectually and having the kind of understanding that leads to insight and transformation. Once we have that insight, we are changed by it and there is no going back.

So if we in the sustainability movement want to create this deeper type of understanding, we can see mere education won’t be enough. Instead, we can combine education about these issues with the practice of mindfulness that helps turn “mere ideas” into deep insight.

Truthfully, I’m not a big fan of the method proposed following that. It’s slightly effective, but I think it creates a handicap in the long run. But, the general focus, expressed above, is key. We need to be mindful. Mindfulness will help bring us from paralyzed inaction in the face of knowledge to knowledge with action.

Also, I think the practice of mindfulness is different for different people. The key is engaging in what works for you. So, how can you focus your life? How can you remove the habits you know serve no good purpose and replace them with greener habits that benefit your life?

Find out how you can improve your mindfulness.

Then, go forward with that (as if your hair were on fire) and live the life you will love.

Photo Credit: premasagar (CC BY-NC 2.0 license); dhammza (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)


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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.
  • Love this post ! re-posted. Habits – as soon as we break a habit .. we are freeeeeeeeeeeee :))

  • Thank you, Zachary Shahan of Planetsave. This is the new environmentalism we all need which is… a change in human consciousness. You’ve opened the door.

    “So if we in the sustainability movement want to create this deeper type of understanding, we can see mere education won’t be enough. Instead, we can combine education about these issues with the practice of mindfulness that helps turn “mere ideas” into deep insight.”

    Superb writing.

  • Zachary, I loved your quote, especially “Mindfulness will help bring us from paralyzed inaction in the face of knowledge to knowledge with action.” I wrestle with this concept every day both working for DailyFeats and in my own life. Thanks for revisiting this.

    http://www.dailyfeats.com/feat/!bemindful 🙂