Have a question about mindfulness meditation?
Q: WHAT IS MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS?
A: Mindfulness is about being aware of when the mind is wandering and as best you can redirecting your attention back to what is most important for you in that moment (Jon Kabat-Zinn). It's actually rooted in a 2,500-year-old science of the mind, called Vipassana (which translates to insight meditation). It's a skill that trains the mind to be present without distractions and to concentrate on whatever you choose.
Q: How do you do it?
When you exercise your body it becomes stronger, more flexible and has greater resilience. Likewise when you exercise your brain by meditating using proper techniques the more deeply you will be able to concentrate and the greater clarity you will achieve about yourself, your business and your life.
Q: CAN ANYONE LEARN TO MEDITATE?
A: It’s not something we need to learn - it’s something we need to remember. We all have the power to be still with our thoughts, to not judge or critique or ruminate. We were able to do it as children, we can remember to do it again. It's important to understand that meditation, like many new things, requires determination and a commitment to practice. Don't sweat it though, because we've got plenty of great ways to help you do this!
Q: IS MEDITATION RELIGIOUS?
A: People sometimes worry that meditation is mystical or too new-agey or that it has religious connotations. Not so with mindfulness meditation. It’s simple, secular and completely accessible to the mainstream. There are some small things like sitting posture and timing gongs, but there’s not much carry over beyond this. The approach is completely practical, non-religious and complements whatever your worldview happens to be.
Q: HOW WILL IT HELP MY BUSINESS?
A: In the commercial world people are ready to listen if you can show them that by training their mind in mindfulness they can become more productive. A wide range of recent studies have cited the specific business benefits of mindfulness within organizations including improved cognitive function (better concentration, memory and learning), improved productivity, enhanced relationships, enhanced job satisfaction, increased creativity and innovation and decreased burnout. You're more likely to experience work difficulties and adversities as opportunities rather than threats while remaining calm in difficult situations.
Q: IS THERE PROOF THAT MEDITATION ACTUALLY BENEFITS PEOPLE?
A: Yes. Science is backing the claims of mindfulness with more precision because through MRI studies we can see how regular meditation changes the brain. For example, we now know that the amygdala thins (the part of the brain where anxiety is located) and the hippocampus thickens (the part of the brain responsible for formation of memory). We also know from a 2013 study by Harvard Medical School that those who meditate can more easily ignore distractions. But you know what? There's no better proof than your own experience.
Q: ISN'T MEDITATION JUST ANOTHER FORM OF RELAXATION?
A: Relaxation can certainly be a by-product of meditation, but it's not the intention of mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness is a bit like weight training for the brain. When you exercise your body regularly it becomes stronger, more flexible and has greater endurance. Likewise when you exercise your brain by meditating regularly using proper techniques, the more deeply you will be able to concentrate and the greater clarity you can achieve about your self, your business and your life.
Q: HOW DO I MAKE TIME TO MEDITATE? I'VE GOT TOO MUCH TO DO.
A: We live in a hectic fast-paced world where busyness is perceived not only as a good thing, but absolutely necessary to get our jobs done. The busier we are, the more we achieve....right? Not necessarily so. Today, more than ever, it’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed by our own lives. This drives us into “coping modes” and “autopilot” behaviours. Being on autopilot helps us go through life quickly, but there is a cost to our work and life. When we are not as fully present to ourselves emotionally and physically, it can lead to reactivity, bad decisions, anxiety and illness. Ultimately, you'll be the judge of whether or not mindfulness is worth making a regular priority, but we think it's imperative!
Q: are many companies using mindfulness training?
A: Yes. Mindfulness is becoming an integral component of employee wellness programs. Employers and employees are realizing that we have to take better care of our health. We're seeing a major shift in the way many companies are thinking about how they have to do business. Mindfulness is spilling into areas beyond medicine and healthcare and moving rapidly into education, the military and professional sports teams. In addition, there are some large, high profile companies that have introduced corporate mindfulness training programs, such as Apple, Yahoo, Google, General Mills, The Huffington Post and Proctor & Gamble.