The Restlessness Experience
As explained in Carrol’s book, The Mindful Leader, at some point in meditation we experience our mind’s restlessness—a strong desire to be somewhere else, doing other things. You’ll be reminded of matters that need your attention.
When you experience restlessness, you’ll come to realize how you shut down your sense of “here and now”—your own presence in the world as it really exists. It’s easy to become distracted, yet hard to sit and be still with ourselves.
This is when we begin to discover how we interact in the world: by shutting off the here and now, distorting our sense of purpose and missing opportunities to appreciate our true environment. The ensuing anxiety prevents us from being open.
To become a mindful leader, you must understand the distinction between trying to improve yourself versus experiencing who you already are:
As a mindful leader, you acknowledge you’re already open (not trying to be more open).
- You acknowledge the wisdom and kindness you hold within (not trying to be more wise or compassionate).
- You don’t strive to achieve a better, improved you. Rather, you meditate to get in touch with who you already are and to discover your basic sanity and true qualities, as they already exist within you. You turn off the inner judge and critic.
The Art of Nonachievement
Practice mindfulness meditation with nonachievement in mind. Meditation’s benefits are attained by exercising unseen “leadership muscles” as you sit still.
Ten leadership talents developed through meditation are presented in Carroll’s book:
These skills develop with practice and can then be applied with a natural ease and familiarity.
As you know from experience, leading others is no small task, requiring a poised, courageous, down-to-earth acknowledgment of reality.
When you slow down, you gain a realistic picture of what’s going on instead of speeding through your day—or worse, speeding through your life.