Whatever the road, meditation leads the way
In the wake of another London Marathon I am reminded that long distance running has never held any huge appeal as a pastime for me personally, though I completely relate to the process of overcoming the physical, mental and emotional challenges of embarking on such an adventure. People have many reasons for taking on huge physical challenges and I’m sure for many, no matter what the original drive or motivation, they will have discovered many things about themselves, and maybe even the world, that they didn’t expect to at the start.
When you are covering 26.2 miles of road there will undoubtedly come a time when ‘running is happening’. When the runner enters the meditative state in which they almost leave their body (not from pain or exhaustion) but from a place of complete oneness within themselves, with the activity, with their environment and with a higher energy that provides additional ‘fuel’.
This place of higher existence may be fleeting in the context of running or indeed any other sport where we achieve a peak moment. However if we choose to build our practise and become more reflective, mindful, meditative, it is a space we can access more frequently in our everyday lives.
Why would we want to?
Developing our mindful or meditative capabilities is proven to improve our performance – improvements in brain power, emotional intelligence and creativity to name just three capabilities. In fact research by Harvard Business School and INSEAD cites meditation and intuition as the two most effective business tools for today’s leaders – interdependent capabilities with the power of the latter significantly boosted by the practice of the former.
For the organisation the benefits show up as increases in well-being, organisational agility and ultimately bottom line performance. Many seemingly conventional businesses are also committed to the practice. Meditation is part of McKinsey’s HR strategy to support the health and happiness of its employees, as well as being a people development approach with clients. Deutsche Bank has been providing meditation classes and quiet spaces on site for several years with the aim of reducing stress and prompting more level-headed thinking. BP has meditation rooms and Goldman Sachs uses meditation pods.
If you are interested in reading more about the compelling case for meditation in the workplace we’d be happy to share our white paper on the subject.