Using mindfulness for business success
A growing trend in business is to teach the practice of mindfulness. In the March 2014 issue of Harvard Business Review, Ellen Langer of the Mindfulness Research Institute stated, “Mindfulness is the process of actively noticing new things. When you do that, it puts you in the present. It makes you more sensitive to context and perspective.”
What Langer is pointing to is what sages such as Ramana Maharishi and Eckhart Tolle have brought to our attention. They have encouraged us to recognize awareness of the now — this moment. In this moment we are aware of our true nature as being still and peaceful. Experience feels rich and alive. How much peace of mind are you finding in your personal or work life? Mindfulness can be the pathway to recognizing that peace of mind is ever-present.
One might wonder, “What does this New Age-y stuff have to do with business?”
This past year I spent four months on sabbatical practicing mindfulness at a mindfulness center in Canada. Based on that experience, it feels valuable to add a little more to the description of what mindfulness is and how it leads to peace of mind.
Mindfulness is a practice of observing how our thoughts create our emotions and perceptions. The power of mindfulness is in taking full responsibility for observing our interpretation of our thoughts so we can discover the ways in which we “select and believe in” thoughts that either lead to peace of mind or fear-based states (e.g., blame, anger, regret, frustration, etc.). In fear-based states, our minds fall into a trance/deep sleep (some call this ego). We become “stuck in the past.” Most business leaders have observed the kind of unproductive behavior in organizations that arises from blame, anger, and frustration. Often we act in ways we wish we had not, and this results in guilt. It can feel like a downward spiral.
The real power of mindfulness is the recognition that each of us owns the key to our own happiness. There is no one else to point to or blame. How powerful would this be in both work and personal relationships? Even more profound, mindfulness can help us become aware of our true nature, which is peace, joy — and, yes — love. With mindfulness (growing self-awareness of our true nature), the blame, anger, and frustration that we once called stress can be seen through as not our true nature. It is from this place of awareness and sustainable peace that intuition and inspiration flow.
It may not be possible for everyone to go to a mindfulness center, yet in every day and every moment we have the opportunity to recognize that we are not the stream of our thoughts or our emotions. We are so much more. More than that, there is nothing about us to be fixed or changed! We only need to recognize the truth of who we are in this moment. All it takes is the decision that we will no longer be “controlled” by our thoughts and one moment of quiet to recognize that our true nature is peace.
Can you think of any person, leader, or CEO who would not benefit from this recognition?
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