Attention Crash. It’s a meaningful description for the average workday as we all struggle to navigate our hi-tech society, while being productive. Despite distractions, one of the greatest tools to stay grounded is meditation, even at work. Numerous studies are revealing the skill, in its many forms, as a stress buster and creativity booster. In this post, I’m focusing on mindfulness awareness meditation through the lens of author Michael Carroll.
Through the magic of a Google Hangout #VLOG, I explored the dynamics of this ancient form of meditation with Carroll, who while working on wall street and enduring a career in publishing, studied to become an accomplished Buddhist meditation teacher in the lineage of Chogyam Trungpa. For many years, he has been bringing his experience into the corporate arena, working with professionals, to bring mindfulness into the workplace.
A Skillful Approach to Life’s Demands
Practicing mindfulness is a way to train the mind to pay attention in the moment, from a place of non-judgment. Being a witness, to whatever chaos might be reeling around you without getting caught up in the drama. How one can work skillfully through this perspective, is the life practice and teaching of Carroll, who authored Fearless at Work: Timeless Teachings for Awakening Confidence, Resilience and Creativity in the Face of Life’s Demands.
Where the Mindfulness Rubber Meets the Stressful Road
Depending on dogma, tradition, definition etc., the word meditation can take on many meanings. For some, it’s simply the resulting focus and calm from concentrating on a picture or sound for example, others might cultivate calm through contemplative thought leading to a state of inner peace and relaxation, but ultimately meditation fosters an acute awareness allowing us to be present in any moment, without judgment or drama. It’s a the practice toward cultivating a state of presence and depth of consciousness, from which we can conquer the chaos of life with just a tad more ease.
In his book, Michael Carroll weaves stories of corporate lessons with Buddhist constructs which are easily understandable. He calls upon us to be fearlessly authentic in our dealings within the world of business. It’s a rare quality that demands the courage to enter into the discomfort of the unknown. We’re challenged to face conflict in the workplace with the utmost awareness and confidence as human beings; exalted human beings who make it a practice to “ command gracefully,” as we seek to live a fearless life, seeing ourselves as clearly as we can.
The Science Behind Mindfulness
From a scientific view, mindfulness meditation continues to be one of the most common forms of meditation to be researched. Data out of the University of Wisconsin finds there are physiological and mental benefits of this particular meditation practice.
In the neuroimaging section of the journal Psychiatry Research, Mindfulness Practice was shown to “lead to increases in regional brain gray matter density.” The findings showed that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is “associated with changes in gray matter concentration in brain regions involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking.”
In my discussion with Michael Carroll, we begin with his thoughts of how the demands of high technology are impacting us as human beings, then Carroll beautifully illustrates the concepts in his book. Enjoy!
What are your thoughts about meditation at work? How do you personally define it? Please share your thoughts! And join the conversation with me @JudyMartin8 hashtag #WorkBliss.