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Principles of Mindfulness Leadership and Meditation

Coaching insights and inspirations from Buddhism

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Principles of Mindfulness Leadership and Meditation

1) According to Buddhism, following “Mind” is the ultimate goal:

I follow  “spiritual and mystic traditions (mostly Hindu and Buddhist philosophies)” and draw inspirations for leadership coaching .  With the following article, I am endeavoring to shed light on the concept of “mindfulness leadership and meditation”.

In Buddhist traditions,  “mind” is the ultimate deal. Mind is the deathless and timeless aspect of our being. Resting in its core of “peace and calm” is the way to countering “ human vices”. That is the basic premise of Buddhist teachings. So, what is mind and what is its nature? The basic nature of mind is empty. This sense of “base and bare awareness” is transparent, clear and expansive. When we become quiet—in body, in mind—we feel and acknowledge our core of “peace”. We realize that this core of peace, basic awareness and primordial mind is non-quantifiable and yet all-knowing. It is that “timeless” aspect of our being that has existed before us and will remain after our worldly departure (Buddhists believe in the concept of  “reincarnation” and the fact that our self or our “Consciousness ”—which essentially is non-self– is a continuum….and empty). And acknowledgement of this aspect of our being can be brought about through the practice of “mindfulness meditation”.

2) Mindfulness Meditation explained:

In acknowledging the co-existence of mind and no-mind, being and non-being lay the great human challenge. Yet, arriving to a state where we witness “non-duality” is liberating. This state of “non-duality” is also called the Buddha-like-mind or the Buddha-mind. When we acknowledge and align to this illusory aspect of our being, we become more affectionate and empathic. We witness compassion imbuing our being; we are more open and creative. We love more and are loved more in return. That is the power of meditation. And mindfulness. The aforesaid analysis is also entertained and offered  in the Buddhist practice of “Mahamudra” and is also its premise. And yet, Mahamudra can be—and perhaps needs to be—a non-intellectual undertaking or practice oriented more towards its practical approach and implication. Perhaps that is why it  has classically gained appeal to  laymen.

Now, getting back to the state of non-doing and just being:

When we are not thinking, or not indulging in relentless day-dreaming, ruminating and getting lost in the past and future, we notice, amid silence, that there is a “silent knower or what I call an on-looker”. This is called “base awareness” or in Tibetan Buddhism, “rigpa”. This aspect, as I mentioned before, is the non-dying core.  So, this “central peaceful core”… is what we should seek to align and acknowledge: to attain unswerving peace, balance and wisdom . Yes, mulling over our own existential inquiries, whilst aligning to our “core of silence” can help answer classic bigger questions of life like: “Who am I? Where was I before I was born? (This particular question is also explored in a different Buddhist tradition, namely Zen Buddhism), What will happen to me after I am physically or bodily gone? But it is beyond the scope of this little article, so let me concentrate on the “peace and calm generating effect of meditation”. 

 In Mahamudra, we try to align to that state of “ unity”. Here let me also add this: that the Buddhist meditation practice of samatha (of gently focusing one’s mind in one object, mostly breath…the in-breath and out-breath to elicit mental and bodily calm and concentration ), and vipassana (the process of gaining wisdom and insight through the sheer positive effect of mental stillness), can be seamless. And, the above-said practices of samatha and vipassana complement and accompany “Mahamudra”.

3) How following Mindfulness Meditation has positively affected my life.

 Personally, when I practice samatha and vipassana, I witness how past hurts and slights (that others have inflicted upon me and I have perhaps knowingly and unknowingly inflicted in others) have left a mark in my body through bodily aches and discomfort . Modern medical science is an evolving field: further research could  elicit that  many bodily ailments could have their origination in pent up hurts, slights and emotions. So, getting back to how the “Insight” helps me acknowledge my own mistakes (and the mistakes and hurts inflicted upon me), it also brings me to a sense of release. And calm and peace. It makes me realize how pent up emotions and hurts should be released.  We need to forget our hurts in the  past…and forgive.  Since we can’t go back in time, all we can do is not let those moments persist. Perhaps Buddhist meditation is hinting at this very discernible effect and result of meditative and contemplative undertaking. Yes, even though exploring full repertoire of  “Buddhist practice” leads to deeper understanding of our own existence, and goes beyond beckoning “bodily and mental peace and calm”; yet, starting with “eliciting bodily and mental peace and calm” through it is a great way to start. It can appeal to non-followers or non-practitioners of Buddhism too owing to its sheer power of helping attain “peace and calm”.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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