About Meditation and Mindfulness

I thought today I’d take a minute or two to talk about meditation and mindfulness.

Many people immediately associate mindfulness with deep insight meditation, which starts by focusing on the breath. However, mindfulness can be about many other things besides that.

A number of well-known companies, Apple and Google as perhaps the most prominent examples, are now implementing mindfulness programs for their employees. In the meanwhile, our organization is currently participating in a large-scale research project on practicing compassion at the workplace.

My interest in this subject matter, mindfulness and compassion, sparked over 10 years ago when I was visiting Tibet. The trip was extraordinary. Getting to know the political situation in the Himalayas as well as immersing in the rich culture of the Tibetans made me, eventually, take up spiritual practice. By this I do not mean that I am particularly religious, but rather that I attempt to simply apply some methods of spirituality in my everyday life.

As it is, like many of us, I am currently leading a fairly busy life. Over the years, having also suffered from this situation from time to time, I have come to realize the need of incorporating some mindfulness principles into my daily life.

It is not always easy. To begin with, meditation is perhaps not the best method of mindfulness nor relaxation for me. But the idea of doing nothing and simply focusing on the moment can and perhaps should be applied whether or not one assumes the correct posture. Like most people do, I find that taking small breaks during the workday makes me more productive and reduces stress. And likewise, fully focusing on one subject or task at a time certainly helps in getting the best result.

At home, I have a few reminders of paying attention to mindfulness around. One of these is a thangka. For those that are not familiar with the term, a thangka is basically a traditional Buddhist painting, originally created for meditation purposes, as an aid for meditation. Even though I find meditation to be too hard for me, the thangka is a constant reminder of the importance of spiritual practice.

Not every method works for everyone. That is why I decided to seek for a concise list of different ways to practice mindfulness at the workplace online to add to this post, and found this one by Laura Vanderkam. Some good starting points for the journey towards mindfulness by Laura are listed in her article below.