Urban Mindfulness

Mindfulness in Urban Life

Finally. The endless summer is coming to an end, the warm sunlight will give room to the hard blue skies in only a few weeks and people start to dress more appropriate again. True, one might argue color and cut of clothes sometimes, but the main difference is that winter fashion has significantly smaller impact on others than in summer. Why is that? I believe it’s simply convenience.

Unkempt feet in open sandals, skirts and pants offering views on body parts the owner can’t be too proud of and an unhealthy indifference against the normal physical perspirations – why was it again that God invented deodorant? Now, combine this picture with the¬†rampant carnivore in suburban trains, seasoned with the smell of onions, sausages and garlic sauce dripping on the seats. Welcome to Urban Summer Travel.

Oh, ok, so you might think this is the blog of an angry citizen about normal life? Who can’t wait to get back to his own (autonomous driven) car? Not quite.

Increasingly, we see a move to cities, in Asia still more than in Europe or the US where we are approaching 70% of the population already living in urban areas. It is a no-brainer to understand that one of the outcomes will be less room per inhabitant in open spaces. Tunnels and skies might offer a very long term escape-perspective but for now most people need to live on the earth, not below or above.

But every child knows that when the new brother or sister moves into the children’s room, there must be compromises and a new way of living together has to be found. And yes – it will impact the current convenience. Not always and not everywhere, but quite often.

We need to learn again how to behave in public. Not only in summer, but throughout the year. We need a new etiquette if we want to make our journeys as pleasant as possible, even if our own convenience might suffer. Concepts of efficiency (better traffic management) and sufficiency (less traffic) will help but not fully address the main challenge of more people on the same surface.¬†We need to regain respect for the others. A world of “I feel good and don’t care what the others might think” is not working anymore.

Attentiveness will move from a course offered on weekends to a necessity in Urban Life.

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