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Friday, September 28, 2012

Meditation is not what you do in your spare time

Meditation is what you do all the time. Meditation is being in touch with the present moment, with your innate nature, which is always present but gets buried under busyness and thoughts of what you have to do or what you should have done.

When you are at work, you can be at work and focus on the task at hand. Bringing focus and clarity to what you are doing in the moment helps to get it done.

When you are not at work, when you are making dinner or watching a movie or attending a PTA meeting or cleaning, you can simply do those things. Make dinner and notice the colors and textures of the food, the steam rising off the pot of boiling pasta. Don't watch the sauteeing onions just to keep them from burning -- watch how they respond to the heat and the oil, notice the smells.

Be present for whatever you are doing, without judgment, and whatever you are doing will become richer and sharper.

We think we have to compartmentalize, to divide up our time and ourselves between work and home care (like cleaning) and self care (like exercise) and entertainment and on. But those are just tasks. We are the essentially the same person doing different things.

If we can be that person with that same essential nature just doing different things, we can be present with whatever comes.

Photo by Paul Shambroom/ The Financial Times
Janice Maturano created a Mindful Leadership program at General Mills, the massive food company, after becoming a meditation practitioner herself. Although she teaches at the company's corporate offices and the program is intended to help people at work, she says the benefits extend beyond the walls.

“There is no work-life balance. We have one life. What’s most important is that you be awake for it.”


The Financial Times described the program as "a mix of sitting meditation based on Buddhist practice, gentle yoga, and dialogue to settle the mind. The idea is that calmer workers will be less stressed, more productive and even become better leaders, thereby benefiting the entire organisation." Read the article  here.