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).
There are countless forms and types of meditation and in work with clients I have been introduced to many forms of meditation, including yoga. In my research for my dissertation I found that each world religion had concepts and forms of meditation from contemplate prayer to chanting. The type of meditation I practice (quite imperfectly) is called calm abiding mediation, or mindfulness meditation. I have included an example of one type of meditation below, but encourage you to find your niche!
In short, mindfulness meditation is a friendly gesture toward ourselves, in which we take time to sit still for 10–15 minutes or longer. You can even meditate in your office, sitting in your chair. Here are some suggested guidelines:
As promised, I will be blogging about mindfulness and other leadership topics. Mindfulness is a topic very near and dear to me both in my work and personal life. (more in My Story). I did my doctoral research with monks to find out how and why they use mindful meditation in their lives and work. I also recently co-authored an article with my friend and colleague, Julie Maloney, which was published in the most recent Neuroleadership Journal. (Please email me if you would like a copy). Julie and I discuss the demands placed on the leaders of today and a mindfulness pilot we are doing at Microsoft. For the next few posts, I will be discussing mindfulness and how it is being use in various settings. I look forward to hearing your comments.