Meditation is a state of thoughtless awareness. You have probably experienced this without realizing it – do you remember a time when you were so in the flow of whatever activity you were engaged in that you lost track of time, and for that brief period there was nothing but enjoyment of the activity at hand? That was a meditative state.
Most of us have a constant stream of chatter that goes on in our brains. Many of us are not even aware that this chatter goes on. It might focus on the litany of tasks that you have to do after work, or a particular worry you are experiencing, or what other people will think of you if you do a certain thing. That voice is the chattering of our ego -the part of our mind that we identify with, that provides our sense of self-identity. That voice consumes a tremendous amount of our energy, focus, creativity and vitality. Meditation is a state where that chatter stills, and we can then begin to access our full potential as intelligent, creative, compassionate, inspired human beings.
You cannot practice meditation; you can practice techniques which lead to the state of meditation. With attention and practice, this state of thoughtless awareness can be your normal state of being. Thoughtless awareness doesn’t mean that you don’t have thoughts, it doesn’t mean you are zoned out and inactive. Thoughtless awareness means that you are fully centered and present in the moment, and that your attention isn’t diverted by the mental chatter that the ego wants to engage in.
Reduced Stress: Even brief periods of meditation can reduce stress and improve mood. (1) Stress plays a significant role in burnout, fatigue, mood, and in all of our biological systems – cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, immune, and nervous systems all react negatively to prolonged stress. Meditation can positively impact health for a wide range of conditions, and overall wellness. (2)
Improved Focus: Multiple studies have shown that short trainings in mindfulness improve cognitive focus and working memory capacity, while decreasing mind wandering and mental distraction. (3)
Increased Creativity: Even brief periods of meditation can encourage divergent thinking, a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. (4)
Better Decision Making: Researchers found that “a brief period of mindfulness meditation can encourage people to make more rational decisions by considering the information available in the present moment, while ignoring some of the other concerns that typically exacerbate the ‘sunk cost bias.'”(5)
- Bringing Mindfulness to the Workplace, a UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School whitepaper
- How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains: Sara Lazar at TEDxCambridge 2011
If you want to learn more about meditation, come to a free, guided, group meditation, or a half-day workshop. Details are available on Midtown Meditation on meetup.com. For individual sessions, contact me.
Santosha Space currently offers short guided meditation sessions to corporate groups. Thirty minute sessions are delivered in the morning, to benefit from the impact throughout the day, or a slightly longer “Lunch and Learn” style session can be scheduled around the lunch hour.
Either option is a low-investment way to bring a bit of stress reduction and mindfulness into the workplace. Read about what meditation is and what its benefits are here, then contact me to get started.