Meditation is the practice of training attention and awareness so as to achieve mental and emotional clarity and calm. In turn, meditation can yield significant benefits spanning from improved mental health through to increased inspiration, clarity of decision making, learning and performance at work.Summary by Gillian McMichael, for The World of Work Project
Meditation is the name given to the practice of training our attention and awareness. Throughout the world people meditate as a way to achieve mental clarity and emotional calm, either to improve their own personal lives, or to help them with their work. There are many different techniques used in meditation, but they aim to achieve the same outcomes.
Why Do People Meditate?
We each have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day. Unfortunately, many of them are the same thoughts we had yesterday, last week, and last year. The mind tends to get stuck in repetitive thought loops that squeeze out the possibility for new ideas and inspiration. Meditation is a powerful practice for going beyond habitual, conditioned thought patterns into a state of expanded awareness. We connect to the field of infinite possibilities or pure potentiality, and we open to new insights, intuition, and ideas.
The world’s great innovators, athletes, and other high achievers have described this state of expanded awareness as being in the “flow,” being in the right place at the right time, or a state of grace. Time seems to stand still and instead of struggling and trying to force things to happen, everything you need comes naturally to you. You do less and accomplish more. You aren’t burdened by the past or worried about the future; you’re flowing in the eternal now. This higher state of consciousness is the birthplace of all creativity. The mind is in an open, receptive state and is able to receive flashes of insight and fresh perspectives.
“Meditation Improves Your Brain, Including Your Focus, Memory, and Ability to Learn”
As researchers have found, meditation can help you tap into your brain’s deepest potential to focus, learn, and adapt. While scientists used to believe that beyond a certain age, the brain couldn’t change or grow, we now know that brain has a quality known as plasticity, enabling it to grow new neurons and transform throughout our lives. Meditation is a powerful tool for awakening new neural connections and even transforming regions of the brain.
A major study led by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found that after only eight weeks of meditation, participants experienced beneficial growth in the brain areas associated with memory, learning, empathy, self-awareness, and stress regulation. In addition, the meditators reported decreased feelings of anxiety and greater feelings of calm. This study adds to the expanding body of research about the brain’s amazing plasticity and ability to change habitual stress patterns.
Meditation, in a variety of forms, has been practiced in many cultures around the world for millennia. And the same is true today. People of all ages, nationalities and beliefs practices different forms of meditation around with world.
You are never too young or old to learn to meditate. It will help you gain clarity, improve your focus and expand your capacity for learning.
The World of Work Project View
Meditation is a hugely useful practice that can help people materially improve their lives. Through regular meditation people can clear their minds, reduce their anxiety, improve their focus and decision making and improve their ability to overcome the challenges that life throws at us all. Given this, we’re strong advocates of meditation.
That said, we don’t think that meditation is the answer to all the challenges of work. We know that many organizations now promote and support the use of meditation as a practice, and of meditation apps, as a way for their employees to manage the stress of work and to become more resilient. In our view, this is shifting the burden from the organization to the individual, and is not the right thing to do. Instead of suggesting that employees need to focus more on increasing their resilience and ability to overcome stressful situations, organizations should focus on improving their cultures and working environments to that employees don’t need to do so.
In summary, we think that meditation is great, but we dislike the way that it is being used by some in the world of work.
About the Author
Gillian McMichael is a Chopra Centre Meditation and Wellness Teacher, Reiki Healer and globally recognized Master Coach with the ICF. She works with clients all over the world, helping them connect with their true selves, embrace their life’s purpose and live a healthy and vibrant lives.
Gillian’s journey on this path started in the summer of 2009, when her life fell apart and she felt completely out of control. She got divorced, lost her home and self esteem, her business went into liquidation and her car was driven away, leaving her with nothing apart from a few suitcases and her six year old son.
It took Gillian seven years to get to the stage where she felt full recovery, far longer than she expected it to take for her to feel whole again. On the journey towards rebuilding her own life she realized that her purpose is helping others to find their purpose, and helping them achieve fulfilling lives.
She believes that meditation has been the greatest gift she has given myself in her life, and now works to share this gift with others.
To contact or read more about Gillian, you can check out her wellness website, www.gillianmcmichael.com or her international coaching practice, Full Circle Global. You can also contact her directly on her email: firstname.lastname@example.org.