pushed myself as much as I comfortably could, and slowly but surely, saw the results; my mind became clearer and more focused.
Subhash Chandra, the billionaire chairman of Essel Group, is also a Vipassana meditator, taught by S. N. Goenka. Chandra has even donated a 13-acre plot near Mumbai for a new ashram location. Former Monsanto CEO Bob Shapiro and New York Times bestselling author Keith Ferrazzi are among those who have attended Goenka’s meditation workshops.
They've realized meditation's benefits: Staying focused and resilient can be difficult, especially for overworked CEOs who live stressful lives; however, research has shown that mindfulness meditation can boost long-term mental health.
As Chandra told a business publication, “Vipassana taught me how to maintain equanimity in all situations of life. This has helped me tremendously in business, more so in the tough times.”
Meditation helps you maintain a positive mindset.It’s easy to stay positive when our careers are on a roll, but to be able to find happiness within, even during times of turbulence, is something else again.
Because the Vipassana philosophy emphasizes the concept of time, I had a lot of it to reflect on its nature and how it brings about change. Everything we experience, both good and bad, will come to an end. Vipassana taught me to enjoy the present moment to its fullest without worrying about the future or dwelling on the past.
With a cool, calm mind, you'll be better able to appreciate life’s simple pleasures because you are unconcerned by thoughts of when the moment will end or whether or not you will have a similar experience again. While our circumstances are finite, our positivity is something that can be endlessly harnessed.
This is all part of creating an abundance mindset. When your happiness comes from inside, and you have an infinite well of positivity that you can tap into at any time, the way that you run your business is markedly different.
Rather than give up, he thought, “What I need is an amazing sales person with a ton of experience who also happens to be willing to work on a commission-only basis for a hardly existing company.”
Shortly after, he connected with a VP of sales on LinkedIn who wanted out of the 9-to-5 world, and the match was perfect. Had Hawker not cultivated his positive outlook, he never would have engaged with this person.
Meditation teaches you to be nonreactive.When practicing Vipassana meditation -- sitting still and silent as your physical and mental sensations come and go -- you learn to observe, rather than react. By adding this layer of distance, we train our minds to respond rather than react, which helps us to gain a more thoughtful and holistic understanding of our situations. As the Association for Psychological Science reported, meditation increases compassionate responses to suffering.
And the result is an increase in tranquility. I was pleasantly surprised to discover this sense within myself after I returned from the meditation course. Without putting active effort into curbing my anger, I found I could reduce it naturally through meditation: I became a calmer, kinder person. I noticed an internal shift manifesting externally.
As we become more compassionate, we are better able look beyond ourselves and our own immediate business interests, helping us to understand long-term implications and the unique positions of all stakeholders. We stop thinking in terms of winning and losing, and friends and enemies, but instead feel the commonnality that we share with all of humankind.
In this context, seasoned entrepreneur and venture investor Chirag Patel told the Harvard Business Review that meditation had made him feel more connected to clients, colleagues and staff: “You start connecting to your customer as your family rather than merely a business transaction,” he said.
By increasing our capacity to empathize and decreasing our stress levels, meditation helps us thrive in all aspects of life, both personal and professional. Mental fortitude, insight and empathy are invaluable assets in any business, and meditation helps these qualities flourish. Perhaps this is why Goenka also created a Vipassana course specifically designed for business executives.
Of course, you don’t need to set aside the time to complete a ten-day course to put meditation on your agenda this year. All you need is five minutes and a (preferably quiet) place to sit, lie down or even stand. Your mind -- and your business -- will thank you.
Samita SarkarCopywriter and Editor,
Samita Sarkar is a copywriter and editor at Blossoms Writing, where she blogs about the publishing industry. She is also the author of the travel memoir I Am the Ocean.