“Just as learning to swim or the enjoyment of floating in water can’t be experienced by reading books about it or hearing others’ accounts of the joy of aquatic self-buoyancy, so the benefits of meditation can only begin to be understood by taking an experiential plunge,” says Manish Chopra, principal of McKinsey’s New York office and author of The Equanimous Mind. Chopra, skilled in the ancient meditation technique of Vipassana, teaches us to utilize meditation as a tool for focus, self-awareness, and control.
For busy leaders and “time-strapped” executives, planning ahead for and prioritizing work is often as important as sleeping and spending time with family and friends. However, doing so is easier said than done, as Chopra explains his previous inability to resist “typical temptations” and arising negative emotions such as checking his emails in the morning and feeling resentment towards competitors in the workplace, respectively.
Through the practice of meditation even just a few times a week, hard-working individuals can learn to separate their actions from their emotions and not let stress get in the way of productivity. Creating space between oneself and one’s emotional reactions allows for a higher level of self-awareness that contributes to efficiency, happiness, and problem solving. Mindfulness is a useful tool for dealing with issues that surface throughout the workday.
Although meditation and the active practice of mindfulness may not completely do-away with negative emotions or feelings of exclusion and resentment, they better enable us to cope by helping us learn to distinguish between our feelings and outwardly displayed reactions. Meditation, for Chopra and his colleagues, is “like a mental aerobic exercise that declutters and detoxifies the mind.” Only with practice and focus are we able to use meditation to our benefit as we take greater ownership and control over not only work tasks, but life.
The DEN Meditation offers both mindfulness meditation classes and a Focus class that leaves guests feeling better prepared to take on the world. With some of Los Angeles’ top instructors teaching mindfulness instruction, the DEN is suited to help leaders stay both task-oriented and gratified in the workplace. Stop by Wednesdays at 9:45am for our 45min “Focus” session taught by one of our remarkable meditation instructors. Can’t find time for a morning class? Check out our app, The DEN meditation for Apple and Android, for a schedule of our classes.
McKinsey & Co., Monthly Newsletter (Feb. 2016): “Want to be a better leader: Observe more and relax less”