There are some great business benefits in store for workplaces that integrate meditation practices into their culture. I'm not talking about one-off stress management workshops where meditation is talked about over lunch for 30 minutes but actually integrating this powerful and proven practice into company culture. I'll talk more about that a bit later but right now, let's dive right into the benefits.
You know how you usually get your greatest ideas when you are chilling out in the shower or taking a nice walk through nature? It's like all of a sudden when life calms down a little you can see things clearly or from a new perspective. Creativity is not only born in the heated discussions, the flip charts and the brain storming sessions - it often emerges from the calm and stillness. As we allow the mind to get even a bit more quiet we can drop out of its normal thinking patterns, new connections and solutions become available. Getting quiet and calm is one of the best practices for creativity. Imagine if a brain storming session began with a few minutes of brain calming? You are actively placing people's minds in a more creative thinking state.
Many of us may find ourselves constantly running around proclaiming we do not have enough time in the day to get it all done. However, a practice that creates more space in the mind brings with it the power of actually giving you the sense that you have more time. When you take just a little bit of time to slow down, you open up space for clarity and focus; two things I often hear many people desiring to experience. Clarity and focus do not usually happen or happen as well when we are constantly rushing and racing around. The constant rush and race actually gives you a very real sense that you are running out of time and don't have enough time. Meditation is a small investment of time that brings with it a strong and significant sense that you have more time. So when someone says they don't have time to meditate - let me suggest that you don't have time not to.
The lighter side of ourselves
It's easy to get caught up, especially now, in the seriousness of life and also taking ourselves so seriously all the time. Yet, all that seriousness does necessarily empower us to go through the roller coaster of life and go through it well. Like a tree that bends easily with the winds and storms, meditation can help the mind become more flexible, less fixated and more open as the winds of change and uncertainty make their way through our lives and that's extremely beneficial to us. Yet, it's not easy to cultivate in a busy, stressed mind state. If you start taking a practice like meditation more seriously, it can help you not take life so seriously all the time which just feels better, helps us perform better and feel stronger.
When you practice reducing the noise in the mind, you start to really see what matters most. In an increasingly noisy world, it's getting harder to tap into that. The more you sit, the more the mind settles. Like sand in a jar full of water and as the mind settles, the more things start to get clear and focused and in ways that begin to really surprise and amaze you. A quieter mind might also help to clarify your values and where your daily actions are in or out of alignment with those values. Our priorities do not only come from the work we do each day but how we do that work each day - a stronger sense of who we are and what we bring to the table which is also natural side effect from the practice of meditation. I also truly believe, after many years of being a coach, working with organizations that a business is stronger when the people within know themselves better.
We often talk, in business settings, about the need for better communication but a meditation practice can actually build some of the skills, like empathy and listening, that lead to better communication. Talking to someone or even negotiating with them takes understanding or an intention to better understand. Yet, logically how can we understand others if we do not understand better ourselves. Self awareness is also a natural by product of meditation. It can help us slow down and notice things that we miss in the rush and when the brain is constantly busy and this, logically, leads to better more clear and intentional communication.
As uncertainty and change become the new normal in our modern working lives; we are going to need practices that calm the brain and mind and place us in a better working state of mind and not simply leave the state of our mind to chance.
Here are few ideas for workplaces:
- provide consistent ways for employees to receive the business benefits of meditation and build it into their working life
- make meditation a natural part of the culture
- provide easy, accessible ways to do it; a meditation room is great for some but many today appreciate tuning into a zoom meeting whether working on site, remotely or travelling
- go farther than just providing an app or some videos - guidance can go a long way to making this practice easy and accessible in everyday working life
- have leaders and managers lead by example - a calmer mind makes good business sense for everyone! This is big idea and one often overlooked. Organizations often leave it to the individual to participate instead of going farther to make it a natural part of the culture and an business improving practice.
- integrate a few minutes of meditation before a creative meeting or before a town hall meeting so people are more focused and present
In closing, if you find yourself reading these words and feeling the many things that these times have us feeling - I hope that this has inspired you and your workplace.