Zen in Doing Business


Your mind is like a wild buffalo. This expression by a buddhistic meditation instructor in Sri Lanka just crossed my mind. Back then I couldn't manage to sit still and focus on my breathing. Today is another day that I can't mute my thoughts. My mind wanders. Did I return that call from my employer? Did I send out the invoices?

The way you deal with thoughts and emotions affect your employees and organization. 'By meditating you'll learn how to deal with stress and to take a step back. It is about developing your consciousness and focussing on tasks like meetings or really paying attention in conversations, so you will function less on the automated pilot.

In my experience, businesses and managers have an increased interest in meditation. The word Meditation does no longer gets resisted, or is associated with vagueness, but is more and more being interpreted as a practical method to release stress; a valuable tool in times of recession.

Research shows that workload continues to increase and employees and managers fear for their position, or even the survival of the organization.

Meditation is rapidly gaining popularity worldwide. According to an article in Time magazine, ten million people are meditating on a daily bases in the United States alone. Although there is no hard evidence on the number of businesses offering meditation, companies like Google, Deutsche Bank, AOL, Time Warner and Apple let their employees meditate. Golf pro Tiger Woods and Basketball Coach Phil Jackson from Los Angeles Lakers claim that they owe their phenomenal achievements to meditation.

The corporate world in countries like Vietnam, Australia and Singapore are showing an increasing amount of interest in meditation. According to research, even in the more conservative countries, managers are showing interest in meditation as it is known to be the 'bodybuilding for brains'. Where physical sports trains our endurance and muscles, mediation is a workout for the mind.

The positive effects like relaxation are immediately noticeable. 'Executives state that it is difficult to deal with different interests and demands on a daily bases. By meditating they are better in keeping an overview and making clearer decisions. '

The advantages of meditation are numerous ..

For now, it is all based on scientific research but the tendency is crystal clear: Meditation has a positive effect on our well-being.

Especially the research results stating that meditation releases stress should convince employers and businesses. Stress and absenteeism are after all the biggest costs for businesses.

The reluctance of businesses I can understand. 'Meditation is still a loaded term and too much associated with religion.'I rather refer to attentional training, mindfulness or meaning. These are concepts that managers and businesses can work with. If you call it "learning focus" instead of meditation it still means the same, but it sounds less floaty. '

Managers and businesses speak the language of money and research shows the effects of meditation in an organization is an excellent business case to invest in. 'If I pay fifty thousand euros annually for a weekly meditation course for about 25 employees during working hours, I will have one percent less absenteeism, which equals an annual profit of half a million. As an organization you can't argue against that. '

Businesses and managers are not yet acknowledging that the moments of silence, meditation and attention will lead to better results and achievements.

The way executives deal with stress and relaxation are representative of the culture and vibe in an organization. As a manager sets the right precedence and creates peace, this will influence and effect employees.

It can take a while before meditating becomes a routine, like for example drinking a cup of coffee, yet it will become a regular way of life where people feel the need of being meaningful and balanced.

Meditation isn't easy. It demands a certain amount of discipline to train yourself in being peaceful and attentive. Managers are mainly focussed on "doing", rather than "being" and "feeling". It is not until they've reached their physical limits when it becomes clear that their attention was too focused on the outside.

Often it is not the work or the colleagues that cause stress or tension, but it's our minds, our ambitions or our judgment. But we can't control and effect every single little thing life. Our jobs will always be stressful and people will always be unpredictable. It is on us how to deal with it.

There is not a good, or bad, way to meditate. 'Try to observe without judging.' Observe the patterns you've developed to deal with difficult situations. Many people are stuck in patterns, which tends to make them oblivious to new solutions. Sometimes you only have to take a step back, or simply just understand, what it is all about.

Evidently, you can't obligate employees or managers to meditated just as you can't demand someone to be spontaneous, the entire effect of meditation is built on voluntariness and openness. To be able to relax, you need patience, trust and time. 'Whoever considers meditating a waste of time, will never be able to find the patience to meditate.'

Meditation or mindfulness is not a quick course which will solve all your business and personal problems at once. It is primarily a way of life. Only when you are able to integrate meditation into your daily life, you will experience the space, consciousness and pleasure that will arise with it.

And what about that wild buffalo? We cannot mute the tumult of our thoughts, but we can tame the beast.

After all, meditation is about taming our mind. '


Source by Eefke Bodt