Meditation is key to our work, because we believe it's the most effective way to cultivate mindfulness in life and at work. But before we talk about the tool, we have to first consider the problem we're trying to solve. In our case, that would be:
How do we help folks get more in touch with the present moment -- how they're feeling and what they're thinking -- so that they can live/work with greater awareness and less judgment?
To get there requires a practice/tool that is:
- Accessible -- Anyone can do it, at anytime, with low barriers to entry.
- Effective -- It works at both cultivating awareness and acceptance.
- Flexible/Scalable -- Beginners have just as good a chance of success as long-term practitioners, and the practice grows as people grow.
Oh, and let's recall some of the reasons we are trying to solve this problem in the first place: We're overworked, overstressed and generally disengaged. And we've established that mindfulness is key to being engaged and happy in life and at work.
So then, we need a tool that fits our criteria and effectively solves our problem. Luckily, one has existed for centuries. And it's even gained some renewed popularity in the US, as well.
That, of course, is meditation.
It's tradition for a reason -- the mindfulness practice of choice for centuries, from monks and priests, to the Beatles and Ben Franklin, and now CEOs and coders extraordinaire. So we certainly weren't going to try to fix what wasn't broken.
Why does it work?
Well, first, at its core, meditation is very simple. You don't need a fancy facility or equipment. You don't even have to go anywhere. You can practice at your desk, in your car, in bed or in the conference room. So, really, any of us can practice anytime we want.
Secondly, meditation is effective because there is nowhere to go. No app to open, no cat video to escape to, no notification to distract you. Basically, you have no choice but to let yourself be exactly where you are. So all you have to do is let yourself be in the present moment, without judgment.
And finally, results come quickly, but it's a practice that we never perfect. Don't let that scare you away. Remember, we're trying to tame our mind -- the wonderful thing that is responsible for putting a man on the moon, but also for keeping us up late at night. The good news is small doses have a great effect, and over time it just gets better.
And how do we meditate?
We'll teach you, so don't worry. But to begin, we just focus on our breath. We simply rest our attention on our breath, and know we're breathing.
At some point our minds will wander. A thought or feeling will rise up, take our attention and we'll lose our breath. Once we realize that's happened, we acknowledge the thought and gently come back to our breath. It's that simple. We simply begin again (and again).
And when we practice, we will find our focus is sustained longer, we are caught less in our thoughts and we become more at home with ourselves. That's where the magic happens.
P.S. That moment in which we catch a thought -- that is mindfulness. So, in a way, thinking leads us to victory, because it's an opportunity to become aware.
If you'd like to talk with us about bringing mindfulness practice to your organization, we'd love to talk.