We live in a culture where stress has displaced happiness as the most common default state of mind.
Despite the rapid growth in technology and availability of material goods, research indicates we are more likely to be depressed than our grandparents were back in the day.
The very things that are supposed to save us time and give us the opportunity to relax are too often the cause of stress and worry.
The abundance of incoming information and noise can prove to be overwhelming.
There is a growing body of evidence to suggest our addiction to social media can adversely impact our psychological well-being.
Following exercise regimens are meant to relax us. However, they often feel like one more task to fit into an overflowing schedule.
The simple truth is that we won’t be able to heal until we find balance within and learn how to calm the mind.
So what can help?
We can’t use our full creative potential or enjoy the blessing of intimate relationships when we are chronically stressed and overloaded.
Research studies have shown a little bit of stress can enhance performance, however too much can be paralysing for many.
To gain control and master the mind we require an ability to focus our attention solely on the present moment.
As we learn to let go of the extraneous chatter that fills our mind, we discover our true nature. Acting with kindness towards others becomes our authentic state of being rather than a mere external performance.
So how can we achieve that outcome?
Understanding the conditioning process of meditation
Working at our edge means we need to acquire the tools that will prevent us from easily going over the edge.
Meditation offers the most effective way to achieve this.
In his book, ‘Awakening the Buddha within’, Lama Surya Das offers the ‘The five T’s of concentration’ as a framework to better understand the process of meditation:
- Taming asks you to image your mind is a wild horse that needs to be tamed enough to get it to move into the arena of meditation.
- Train the restless horse to calm down and relax by keeping it on a tight rein.
- Test the progress of the wild horse by introducing it to external distractions to see if it still reacts when confronted by triggers or it remains poised.
- Transformed the horse can remain controllable in any situation.
- Transcendence sees total harmony between rider and horse. Everything comes together as one. No resistance.
The benefits of meditation in the corporate world
For many in the corporate world there has been an underlining belief that if they relax and meditate they will lose their edge in a very competitive environment.
However recent reports dispute these claims arguing CEO of big organisations are starting to appreciate the benefits to be gained by making the effort to learn meditation.
Most were surprised that their performance improved dramatically as they learned meditation techniques.
As we begin to clear and focus the mind, senses become sharp and fresh, and creativity explodes. We learn to see with new eyes and recover the sense of wonder that we had as a child.
The true value of meditation becomes apparent over time. The fruits of practice are much greater than just lowered anxiety, better health and enhanced performance.
Where to start your meditation journey
While there are many ways to learn meditation, I strongly recommend the 8-week Mindfulness course format as a great starting point.
It is the most widely-researched and evidence-based approach.
The 8-week format is an opportunity to make a commitment to showing up and building a regular practice over a number of weeks.
It takes this kind of repetition over time to form new patterns of thinking and habits.
Learning to mediate in a group with others under the guidance of an experienced mindfulness teacher will provide you with a great source of insight and support.
What you can expect by joining my 8-week Mindfulness course
My 8-week course is based on the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme, originally developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the late 1970s.
It includes components that explicitly address the negative thought patterns that can perpetuate stress and lead to anxiety.
This fundamental course explores the essential mindfulness meditation exercises.
It helps cultivate new skilful ways of dealing with what goes on in our bodies, minds and lives.
In addition to the meditation exercises there is information (and discussion) on healing stress, relaxation, stress management, and how to apply mindfulness to interpersonal communication.
If you, or your organisation, would be interested in learning the subtle art of meditation by participating in an 8 week mindfulness course please feel free to contact myself.