Words like meditation, mindfulness, and spirituality get thrown around a lot these days. Each word can mean very different things to different people. In this article, I’ll discuss what each one means. And we’ll get to the bottom of what corporate meditation and corporate mindfulness programs are. Furthermore, how they’re different, and how they’re the same.
First, a Little Background on Meditation
If you’re like me, you’ve heard people say things like, “For me, swimming laps is my meditation.” Or, “Making art is meditation for me.” Or, “Going for walks is my meditation time.”
I get it. When I used to act or perform comedy, I felt the same way. Going skiing, shooting a bow and arrow at a target, working out, and rock climbing. They all were times when I cleared my head and I was totally in the present moment.
But all of these experiences are meditative, not meditation. They force the mind to be present, but they do not train it to be present after the activity is over. They do not train the mind to see the world as it truly is. Nor does it teach us to live more presently, consciously, intentionally, and peacefully.
Jumping out of an airplane will definitely propel your mind into the present moment. But, this can lead to adrenaline addiction.
Going for a walk may help clear the mind. But, most of your mental activity is actually focusing on balance and not getting hit by car.
True Corporate Meditation Programs Teach Mind Training
All of these meditative activities can be beautiful, profound ways to spend our time. They are important and they make life worth living.
But sitting still with eyes closed, focusing on either your breath or a mantra, is the only true form of meditation. This is the mind training that helps us see the world differently long after the meditation is over.
In this meditation, we learn focus and patience. We gain a heightened awareness of our thoughts and our surroundings, calm and peace. We reconnect to the present moment with no desired outcome or achievement. Our still body helps us achieve a still mind.
After learning sitting meditation, there are ways to turn activities such as eating and walking into a meditation. But walking meditation is much different than just going for a normal walk. Here’s a great video on walking meditation.
What is Mindfulness?
Some people think mindfulness is clearing our mind. This is not mindfulness. This is mindlessness.
Mindfulness is becoming fully aware, or mindful, of everything that is happening within us and around us. When we are lost in thought, we have lost our awareness of where we are. When we are present, we are seeing what is happening as it truly is.
Mindfulness is the byproduct of our meditation practice. Continually focus on the present moment, like on your breath or mantra, and you will train our mind to be present.
When we are fully captivated by a movie or exciting activity, we experience presence. But, we have lost awareness of ourselves because the activity is so hyperstimulating.
Corporate Mindfulness Programs Raise Our Awareness
By learning to focus on breathing or mantras with the same level of attention as a movie, our awareness rises. We become aware of our subconscious and unconscious thought patterns and behaviors. We can break free from bad habits. And we can observe negative emotions with equanimity.
As we become more aware of thoughts and feelings, we no longer identify with them. Rather, we can simply observe them come and go. With mindfulness, we understand deeply the impermanent nature of all phenomena and do not get attached to them.
Mindfulness can best be described using the ocean. Our thoughts are like the waves on the surface. Sometimes they can be dark, chaotic, noisy and large. As much as we try, we can’t force the waves to stop or simply ignore them. But, we can expand our awareness to the deep, vast, still, and peaceful quiet underneath the surface. When we do this, the waves on the top don’t seem so large or important. This is mindfulness.
What is Spirituality?
This is the big one. Does it imply a spirit or soul? Does it mean sacred geometry? Believing in crystals? Magic? Ghosts? Is it anti-Christian or pro-Christian?
Since no two people may agree on what spirituality means, I will describe what we mean at EastWesticism. Here, spirituality simply means psychological wellbeing.
There is a physical world, and there is a nonmaterial spiritual world. The latter is the world of thoughts, emotions, mindset and attention. It is experience itself. While we cannot always control external circumstances, we can control how we perceive them. This is what we mean by spirituality.
Spirituality helps us find peace, love and beauty beneath the surface of whatever is happening. Too often we become fixated on a story in our mind rather than what is actually happening. We obsess over why something isn’t the way we wish it was.
Through spirituality, we accept the present moment. We can still work to change it, but with calmness and wisdom. It is about seeing life as it truly is.
What are Corporate Meditation Programs?
Corporate Meditation Programs are any type of meditation instruction for employees and executives. They may be an hour, a half-day, full day, or weekend retreat. It can be daily, weekly, monthly or annually.
During the course of the program, there will be some time for instruction, some time for practice and some time for questions.
The type of meditation will be based on the skill level of the students. Regularly occurring programs may divide workers into skill levels. The teaching can be customized as well based on how advanced workers are.
Often, the meditation we teach for beginners is recommended for new corporate meditation programs. It is both easy, enjoyable, and incredibly profound and transformative.
What are Corporate Mindfulness Programs?
Corporate Mindfulness Programs typically consist of keynotes, workshops or retreats as well. However, they focus on skills outside of meditation to help workers manage their emotions.
Corporate Mindfulness Programs help workers relate better to coworkers. And they ensure greater fulfillment and joy in their lives and jobs.
Why Corporate Programs Must Include Meditation and Mindfulness
True wisdom and understanding comes from two things: knowledge and experience. Both are necessary for becoming an expert in anything.
A doctor cannot become a doctor just by reading books. Nor can they just start cutting people open and hoping for the best. They need both knowledge and experience before they can become a doctor.
Meditation is the experience and mindfulness is the knowledge. They must both go together for people to reach their fullest potential. We need to know the why, not just the what, to truly understand and learn about something new.
It’s one thing to be told all things must pass. It’s another to experience it firsthand. Whereas mindfulness is learning the concept, meditation is the experiencing. In meditation, you watch all your thoughts and feelings come and go. You see every impulse and craving, every dislike and discomfort, every sight and sound arise in the mind and fall away. Only then can impermanence be understood on a deep level. You’re not just aware that it’s true. You know it’s true.
At EastWesticism, all of our Corporate Meditation and Mindfulness Programs include both. Meditation is essential to achieve lasting positive changes. But Mindfulness is equally necessary for understanding how and why it works. It’s vital for people to fully understand on both an intellectual level and an experiential level.
You can read as many books as you want about basketball, but unless you practice you won’t be any good. This is why mindfulness and meditation must be taught together.
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