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Mindfulness in Business & Work Life

In this interview, Mirabai talks with Melli about the key principles and practices that create a more mindful workplace.

I'm your host Melli O'Brien and

I'm just so delighted to be here

right now with Mirabai Bush.

Mirabai is the author of

Working with Mindfulness.

And she's been a key contributor

to Google's mindfulness program

called Search Inside Yourself.

She's the co-founder of the Center

for Contemplative Mind in Society.

And she's really, it's really such a

privilege to have Mirabai here with

us because she's really one of the

world's leading experts on integrating

mindfulness into our work day, both

on an organizational level and really

on an individual level as well.

So Mirabai thank you so much

for spending this time to share

your wisdom and experience.

It's great to be with you.

I'm already enjoying it.

Me too.

I'm really curious about this niche

that you find yourself in, you

know, mindfulness in the workplace.

I'd love to hear a little bit of

the story of how you came to be so

interested in mindfulness and, and

specifically mindfulness at work.

Well, it's a long story.

But sure.

We have time.

I, in 1970, I was in graduate school

and studying for my PhD and it was

a hard time on American campuses.

It was a time of civil rights

and, and antiwar, work, and

things began to be very confusing.

And so I, with, with my then

partner decided we'd take

some time off and travel.

And we went through Europe and through

the Middle East and in, and to India.

And I didn't actually even plan to

go to India, but we were just kind of

journeying and hoping that we would,

by meeting different kinds of people,

hoping that we would find other ways

of being that made more sense to us.

But I got to India and the first day I

was there, I was in New Delhi and I met

on the street someone who had been at my

university, but I hadn't known her there.

It was Sharon Salzberg.

And she, she had just heard about

this retreat that was being offered

by Goenka, Burmese meditation teacher,

for the first time for Westerners.

So she told me about that and I

thought that sounds interesting.

I hadn't come to learn meditation, but you

know, we are in India, so might as well.

So I went there and it

was a 10 day course.

And it began at five in the morning and

went till 10 at night and there were

two meals and it was all in silence

and we just meditated all day long.

And my mind had been really

busy until that time.

Of course, as a graduate student

in literature, I'd read everything.

And I had never really thought about the

possibility of looking within for wisdom.

Even insight or understanding.

But through that first course, I got

the tiniest glimpse that, oh, my God,

there's a way to look at your own mind

that I am not my thoughts or my emotions.

I actually, there, there

is awareness there.

I can rest in awareness and, and

discover the way my own mind was working.

That was so amazing to me.

So anyhow, I stayed, I, I was with this

group of people, whom I met when I got

there and we just loved the course.

And then we asked them to do more.

And so we stayed for, I don't know, we

did four or five, I think, and over a

couple of months and, and then left there.

And as I said, I was going to stay

in India for two weeks, but I was

so, I was so moved by this new way of

understanding, which was at the same time,

so familiar and intimate that, and I knew

there were other good teachers there.

And so I stayed in India for two years.

I met my root major teacher

Neem Karoli Baba there and

spent a lot of time with him.

And then many other people who became

the, the beginnings of meditation

and mindfulness in this country

were also part of that first group.

Ram Dass was there and Joseph

Goldstein and Sharon, of course and

Wes Nisker and many, many other people.

And, so.

iT was an intensive time of

learning, a new way of being.

And then I came back to this country

and most of the others, Danny

Goleman was with us also there.

Most of the others, either

started retreat centers.

We were all like, totally

committed to this.


You know, we came back.

So some started centers and

others went back to school.

Dan Goleman and, and, but I, when

I first came back, I had a baby.

And then, and in those days,

babies and meditation just were not

ever spoken in the same sentence.

So you couldn't possibly have a

baby and be teaching meditation.

So I, but I, I really wanted to find

a way to integrate mindfulness into my

life and, and share it with other people.

So I, with my then husband, who I had

traveled with, we started a business.

It started out as a small, funky business

and it grew over time to, in those

days, was a biggish small business.

We had 65 people working and, and we

were, we were making, we're making

transparent decals of the, of mandalas

representing all the spiritual and

religious traditions around the world.

We wanted to express that we had

found this common core everywhere

we went, in temples and mosques and

churches and with all kinds of people.

So we did that for awhile and, and,

and then we, we were experimenting

with things and we created a

transparent rainbow and that became,

that was like, like mindfulness now.

It was like the leap from, you

know, the sort of alternative

marginal, esoteric to the mainstream.

And we were at some, one point

we were in 10,000 stores.

And so, so neither of us knew anything

about business when we started.

And we hired people we thought

were cool, and none of them knew

anything about business either.

But we had to learn quickly because it

was a lot of money going through and

there, you know, there were lawyers and

bankers and, you know, major players.

So we did learn.

In the process.

I, we wanted to integrate

from the beginning some of

this new awareness we had.

And we would, we would begin our

meetings always with silence.

And we would, not everybody there

wanted to learn to meditate, you know,

so we, but we had yoga classes and

we had kind of mindfulness classes.

But, you know, we didn't require

it, but the whole, it was

integrated into whatever we did.

And based on, you know, basic

moral and ethical principles that

were in alignment with, with, with

mindfulness, we, we, we created a

set of guidelines for the business.

And this was before, you know, in this

country, there was a big movement after

that, of, with people like Ben and

Jerry's and the Body Shop and, and others.

This was before any of that.

We were really experimenting.

But it was, we were so successful as a

business and people loved working there.

The employees of Illuminations,

many of them who now, I mean, we

ended in the early eighties and

they still have annual reunions.

How lovely.

People say it was the best job they

ever had, you know, cause we were all

learning together as we went along,

but we did integrate these practices.

So I had that as, as one of

my like great experiences.

And then...

So it sort of sounds like something that

happened quite organically that you...

It did.

There wasn't a, we didn't have a

like model of, you know, of being a

social venture business or anything.

We just were trying to do it.

We were, you know, we had challenged

a lot of American institutions before

we left and we thought, well, this

is you know, maybe business can be

caring and loving and environmentally

sustainable and all those things that

just came out of what we had learned.

It was really fun.

Then in the eighties, I helped

with some of the, some of the

people I was in India with, had...

Some of them were medical people, doctors

and epidemiologists, and became involved

in the end of the small parts on planet.

And when, when they came back and we

came back, they wanted to do something.

We all wanted to do something to give

back to, to these countries, not just

the teachers, but the countries that

had taught us a different way of being.

So, we, so together a group of us

who had been with Neem Karoli Baba,

including Ram Dass and Larry Brilliant,

who was, and his wife, Girija.

He was, he'd worked on the

end smallpox and now runs Jeff

Scoll's Urgent Threats Fund.

But anyhow, a group of us

started Seva Foundation.

So, seva means service in Sanskrit.

And we, we focused on blindness,

starting in Nepal and India

spreading out through India.

And it was a great organiztion,

still a great organization.

And Seva has done, has restored

sight to 3 million people without

cost who would otherwise be blind.

I mean, it's amazing.

That is amazing.

And we raised the money through

rock and roll with the Grateful

Dead as our house band.

So it was really great.

But as part and Seva enlarged

it's view for some years.

And for 10 years I worked in, I

worked in Guatemala with Mayan

people in the highlands doing

sustainable integrated development.

And there, they had just been through

this terrible, terrible violence and

there I really learned that the way in

which the mindful practices, mindfulness,

compassion, loving kindness are really,

really useful and critical for sustaining

oneself in difficult situations.

I, I, I knew that before, but

Illuminations was not like a

really, it did not put us in the

presence of a lot of suffering.


Whereas there was, it was relentless,

endless suffering in Guatemala.

A lot of people were amazing and

they did extraordinary things to

rebuild their communities, but it

really required, you know, required

patience, compassion, and just energy.

We'd go home at the end of each day,

not home but wherever we were staying

and just cry and cry and cry because

it was just like unrelieved sadness.

And, but we had to come up with like

creative ideas about how to help

rebuild without getting in the way

and, and with very few resources.

And I saw then that these practices are

just, I couldn't have done it without it.

And so now, I think even in, certainly

in all kinds of organizations,

but you know, now in business, I

really see that, you know, a lot of

people are under a lot of stress.

And you know, it may not be that they,

you know, their village was burned down

and they have to flee to the jungle for

two years, but feeling a lot of stress.

And I really know how those practices

can help sustain us individually.


And then after, um, sometime in

'96 with, with the heads of two

foundations, Nathan Cummings Foundation

in New York and Fletcher Institute in

Michigan, their, their directors were

presidents, were friends and together

and with a group of other people, we

kind of were brainstorming what...

They had just funded a Bill Moyer

series on healing in the mind.

And we're looking at the way in

which these practices are being

used in health and healing.

Jon Kabat-Zinn was part

of it and many others.

And we started asking whether these

practices, they started asking whether

these practices could be beneficial

in other areas of American life.

I was convinced that they could.

But we, so we talked for a couple

of years, you know, we tossed that

around and brought in anybody we could

think of who was a quote "expert."

There weren't very many.

And then we started exploring and we

worked in a lots of different areas.

We worked in higher education

and in journalism and in social

justice activism and in, I forgot.

But one area, oh, we eventually

worked with the army.

But one area was business.



And were you involved in, in

rolling out those programs in

higher education in the army?

And or did you specialize

in, in one of those?


No, I was, I was the executive

director, so I had to oversee

them all and look at to them.

And now you're really getting

into like the, at this point, it

sounds like you're really getting

into mapping out, so to speak.

You know, using your previous

experience to really map out how you

would roll out mindfulness into an

organization and really having to

think out how that looks and feels.


What works and what doesn't.

And all these different sectors, you

know, they just all had different ways

of viewing the world and, and different,

vocabularies and different concerns.

And so I imagine you would have to frame

it very differently for higher education

than you would for the army, what kinds

of things they would be interested in and

how they would all the language around it.


Yeah, exactly.


The army was interested in resilience

and higher education was interested in

contemplative epistemology, you know.

How we can know and then knew

in a different way, how we can

balance critical thinking with

contemplative knowing, you know.

So yeah, it's different in every place,

but it's also basically the same.

So at the same time.

So and at that time also, I knew, and I

was close to a lot of the major teachers.

So we could bring in the best people.

So when we start, cause these were

like high risk situations people,

we, one time did a retreat for

what's called the Green Group.

They're the CEOs of the national

environmental organizations like Sierra

Club and NRDC and the Wilderness Society.

And they were pretty skeptical about,

most of them are scientifically

educated lawyers and they were

really pretty skeptical about this.

But they also were stressed and they

needed, you know, creative ways to, to

look at this immense job in front of them.

And so they just decided to give

it a try, you know, and they

were pretty amazed at the end.

They all said, well, yes, but

when we go back to work, we can't

tell anybody we've been here.

We can't use the M word.


See, that's not so much

of a problem today.

I may, I think it's

still is but not as much.

It's not as much.

But that was still in the

nineties, you know, and the word.

And the word, even then the word,

not then, but yeah, even now, to some

extent, the word meditation is not as

acceptable as the word mindfulness.

This is why we use

contemplative mind as a way to.

People weren't really sure what it meant.

But, but it didn't immediately

evoke, you know, weirdos, you know.

So but now, of course, the word

mindfulness in such short time has

become very unthreatening to people.



And so how did you end up becoming

involved in, with Google, with their

Search Inside Yourself program?

I worked with a few other

corporations from the beginning

and we, we were nonprofit.

We weren't like being

consultants or anything.

We, we simply had the goal to

encourage contemplative practice and

awareness in American life in order to

create a more just, sustainable, and

compassionate society that was there.

So but I found that what in the first

corporation had worked in, when the

CEO was replaced, the new person

coming in got rid of the whole program.

And that's, you know, it's common in

business, no matter what the program, the

new guy wants his own thing, you know?

And we had worked a long time developing

this program and it was, and it

needed more time, you know, for for

people to get really grounded in it.

So and then, then I did a short thing

for Hurst publications and, the, for

one of their magazines and the publisher

was replaced just before we did .This

was like an eight week, one, two hours

a week kind of course in New York.

And it's so amazing that, I mean,

people get just as stressed over

fashion as a thing, you know, as they

do over any, any kind of business.


So they were stressed and they loved the

course and, but the publisher was replaced

just before the last, the last being

most important class, right, in which you

learn how to take it out into the world.

And she canceled it.

She wouldn't even let us do

the last class and she didn't

want anything to do with it.

So then I began to think, well, maybe

we should work in business schools.

And we did a little work at

Stanford Business School.

And, but then one day the phone rang and

it was Meng who's my partner out there.

And he, we had a friend in common who

had encouraged him to call me, cause

he said MIrabai's had experience in

business and not many people had that.


And so this is 2007 maybe.

And so Meng had tried to, he wanted

to bring, or, you know, when, when,

when Google went public, you can

appreciate this, when Google went

public, they, none of those young

engineers had ever had to work again.

But they were young engineers and

they loved what they were doing and

they didn't want to stop working.

So Google told them that they

could do anything they wanted,

as long as it, it, in some way,

furthered the mission of Google.

So Meng decided he wanted to

bring meditation into Google

because it had really helped him

through something in his life.

So he, he found an MBSR, mindfulness-based

stress reduction person in Mountain View.

And of course that had been the

course that it was so successful

in so many organizations.

He was sure it would

work and he posted it.

These are all these

opportunities at Google.

He posted it and nobody

signed up and he was shocked.

I was shocked.

So he didn't know what to do.

So he, that's when he called

me and I went out there and

we started thinking together.

Me, never having been there

before with fresh eyes and

Meng knowing everybody there.

We started looking around and

we, together, figured out, but it

didn't take much, everybody there

is really young, really smart and

competitive and has been in front of

their screens most of their lives.

Cause, cause they are young and,

and, and so the place where they

were at least well-developed was

the emotional intelligence, was a

self-awareness and awareness of others.

So, and they need that

because they work in teams.

They tried to build Google plus.

And so we decided that the thing to do

would be to offer the same practices

that you wanted to offer before, but

to emphasize their, their capacity for

cultivating the factors of emotional

intelligence, empathy, compassion, so on.


And so you had to do a bit of a rebrand.


It was a rebrand.

We changed it, we changed it a

little bit, but not that much.

This is, I remembered that when we

got finished and we designed the whole

curriculum and everything, and Meng said,

"And when we get this completely finished,

I'm going to, we're going to make it,

open source cause we're Google, you

know," And I said, Meng, these practices

have been open source for 25 years.

Of course it's we actually did create

a curriculum and wrapped it around

with framing that was particularly

good for, for young engineers.

And, but, and then we asked Danny Goleman

to, if he would come out and give a talk.

And he said yes, because

we're all friends.

So he came out to Google and he

gave, he gave a talk for the

first time linking these practices

with emotional intelligence.

He, you know, his book is I think still

the best selling book in the history

of social science publishing, but

he was very careful when he did it.

He didn't, he didn't in the book or

later say, you know, mindfulness and

meditation are, are a direct way to

cultivate these capacities because

he didn't want it to be marginalized.

And when he published the

book it would have been.

So this was the first time he could

really talk about the connection

and he did it beautifully.

And I don't know, four hours

later, we had 140 people signed

up, you know, and ever since then.

Now over 3000 Googlers

have taken this course.

And, and now, you know, they

have an institute that takes

it into other organizations

and trains teachers and so on.

Yeah, because here, here in Australia,

we just had the, this wonderful friend

of mine, Jono Fisher just brought out.

I saw that, yeah.

And so we, we just had, you know,

anyone could just go and get the

Search Inside Yourself training.

So it's become really,

really, really popular.

I know it.

That's right.


Well Meng wrote the book about it.

So that really helped.

And, and it's just, you know,

these practices are, you know,

they're deeply human practices.

They're about us waking up

to our own minds and hearts.

And anybody who, you know, who received

them from a reasonably good teacher, you

know, understands that they're so helpful

and that so much of the way that we're

all educated doesn't allow for that.

And, and that they really, they help

us in all these ways, all the ways

that the research is now showing.


So I'd love to what, what do you, what

do you see as the components of the

Search Inside Yourself program that

are really powerful, that, that have

really made this program so successful?

Are there, are there little components

that you could share with us if people

want to kind of use them to integrate into

their work day or into the organization?

Well, I would say one thing about the

process that made it so successful.

They are, as you know, data-driven.

One doesn't think about

mindfulness and data-driven.

This is just too much or didn't use to.

But what that's really meant for

the course is that, you know, we

taught it over and over and over

and got feedback and refined it and

worked it in different ways until

it really worked for that community.

And I mean, I've, I've actually

never seen any organization,

like work that thoroughly.

And with of course, the people who

were, who had helped to develop

that, you know, great people.

And so there was a lot of enthusiasm

about it, but a lot of, a lot

of loving effort went into it.

So that's one thing and it was effort to

design it so that it worked for Google,

you know, cause they have a culture and

so it's very aligned with their culture.

And I think that that is the one

of the most important things about

bringing it into your workplace, not

so much individually, but if people

are become interested in introducing

it to their workplace, it really needs

to be framed and adjusted so that

aligns with, with that workplace.

And they were the first really to

frame it also with the neuroscience of

mindfulness and Chris McKenna right there

with Stanford and we had some really

wonderful people helping with that.

And that made it, in that community,

that made it very, you know acceptable

and not, not just acceptable, but

it was the great motivator because

once they heard that, you know.

Once they could see the brain

on, you know on an fMRI, then it

was like, Oh, I want that too.


It becomes a, it just becomes a

really intelligent thing to do.

Doesn't it?

It's, that's how it really, yeah.

So they more, no, no, no.

I've found that not every group is

that enthusiastic about the science.

Some people are just like, let's get

past this and start meditating, but yeah,

but that there, that was really great.

And, and then I think the

emphasis on, you know, on, on

loving kindness and compassion.

Really people started getting more

loving and kind and compassionate.

And that started a, a change in

relationships in, in that workplace.

Actually, I was going to bring that

up, actually, that, that specific

topic, because it's, it strikes me

as being one of the, I mean, rolling

mindfulness out in an organizatio,

you know, relationships have to be a

pivotal part of that program, bringing

mindfulness to the way that you interact

with other people in the workplace.

So is there specific things that,

that you can do, exercises or tips on

how to work with that specific aspect

of mindfulness in the workplace?

Yeah, I think mindful,

well, communication, mindful

listening is very powerful.

We do, in Search Inside Yourself, but

also in lots of other places, we do

an exercise called some people call

it deep listening or calle it mindful

listening, wherein you sit with a partner.

And as that partner speaks you listen,you

listen fully for what is being said.

You're silent and you're, and then as...

It's the same process as when

you're sitting by yourself with your

eyes closed, watching your breath

and letting go of your thoughts.

As you notice thoughts coming into your

head about thoughts about this person

and their story, or about how you could

fix it or about how the very same thing

happened to me or, or thoughts about when

I finish here I'm going to go do something

else or, you know, the whole range.

You just notice those thoughts

as they arise, and then you

let them go and you bring your

attention back to the other person.

And now when we're in a conversation,

usually you don't, you don't want to

be kind of so strict about that like,

because many things that arise in me are

helpful in terms of our conversation.

But in this, you, you learn that

in letting go, you can fully

listen to the other person.

And you realize how little, you

know, you often are listening.

So many people, especially in the

workplace, you're busy thinking

about what you're going to say

when that person finishes talking.

And it's almost always a

big awakener for people.

So, so I think cultivating good

listening skills are really important.

And then of course, good speaking

skills being, being able to be truthful

and truthful in, in Buddhism, they

call it right speech, you know.

Be truthful, be kind, to be timely.

So you might have something to say to me,

but this might not be the time at all.

And I might not be able

to hear it, you know?

And the way in which you say

it, if it's not compassionate, I

also may not be able to hear it.

So, so those two things go a long way.

And are those things that you integrate

into at, in Search Inside Yourself,

is that something that you do, you

teach as a formal practice where you

kind of, you actually sit down and you

get to practice mindful listening and

you get to practice mindful speaking.

So that the idea then is that you,

you have this practice time and

then you would go out and just be

natural in your natural environment.

You don't have to kind of like sit

there in silence while somebody speaks.

But the idea is just, don't bring

your attention to these relating

that you do and sort of trying to

infuse that with more mindfulness.


That's true of all these practices.

I mean, when you, you, when you sit

and watch your breath and look at

your thoughts and realize you are

not your thoughts, you know, Yeah.

When you, then when you open your

eyes and go back into the rest of

your life, you're not self-consciously

doing that, but the awareness, I mean,

mindfulness is both a practice, but

it's also an awareness that you bring

into everything that you do, you know?


I had, I was teaching the incoming

students at Amherst College last fall.

And I had them, they were having

a hard time just really paying

attention to their breath.

It's pretty subtle actually, when you've

been living a really kind of wild life.

And I had them look at a leaf.

And so they all had a leaf and, you know,

they just would bring their awareness

back to their leaf over and over.

And just when they thought,

it's a leaf, I saw it.

Then you bring it, bring it back again,

and then there's always more to say.

And that, and so they were not

then going to go out and look at

everything for 10 minutes, you know.

But, but then, you know, you bring up,

at least when you look at something,

you may not give it the attention,

it might not be important enough

to you to see everything about it.

But at least, you know, you're

only seeing the most surface part

of that thing, whatever it is.


So that can in the same way as the

mindful communication, it, it affords

an opportunity to have a formal practice

where you can look in a different way

than you usually look and to experience

relating to this visual object, a

leaf or whatever in a different way.

And then that could afford you the

opportunity when you walk out the door

to see things afresh, so to speak.


So that kind of infuses, I think

there was a, there's a, a story

that I've heard over and over again

about, you know, having a bowl of

water that has some gold paint in it.

And then, you know, every time

you practice mindfulness, you

put a little white rag in and a

little bit comes off and then you

practice again a little bit more.

And then eventually the, the,

the white rag is, becomes golden.

And it's that kind of idea of

formal practice doing that.

Yeah, exactly.

Another thing that, I heard you do an

interview with my, the lovely Shamash.

Alidinana my friend.

It was a pleasure listening to it.

And one of the things that I really loved

is that you spoke about how at Google you

were training people to, before they hit

the send button on their email, to stop

and take a couple of deep, slow, conscious

breaths before they hit the send button.

And I love the practicality

and the simplicity of that.

It's just something that can become

peppered through your day, these

little moments of mindfulness.

And I was wondering if there was any

other really simple, practical things like

that, that you might offer from not just

from Google, but just from your years of

experience that people could take away.

That one's good because you not only

take the three breaths, but then you

reread the email from the perspective

of the person who's going to receive it.

So it's really practical.

And then you either change it or not.

But you know, reminders

during the day are helpful.

So some people will do the thing like

they'll take an object, like the doorknob.

Every time they go through the door,

they'll take one deep breath or three to

remember to remember to kind of settle

into their bodies, be aware of their

bodies walking through space, you know.

Or when the phone rings, use

that as as an awakening bell, you

know, So reminders are helpful.


And then I think, yeah, just

having a little silence at

the beginning of a meeting.

You can do it at the beginning

of a conference call even,

that turns out to be radical.

That's what we did at the

beginning of this call.


And do you know a moment or a

minute, you know, a lot happens.

You remember.

The thing is we, we want

to do the right thing.

We want to remember, but things are

moving so fast and there's so much

input now that it's, we forget.

So just taking those moments really

helps and particularly helps in

connection with, you know, doing more

formal practices and, and, and being

in community with other people who

are also trying to do the same thing.

That's really important.


And I think mindful walking is a

great practice for the workplace.

First of all, we're supposed

to be walking more than we do.

You know, they say sitting

is the new smoking.


So, but even if you're not,

self-consciously trying to get up every

hour, that most everybody has to walk from

one place to another, a few times a day.

And so if you bring your awareness

to, to your body, to your legs and

your feet, as you're moving through

space, That's a great one, because

usually you're not doing anything very

important while you're walking anyhow.


Except for ruminating

about your whole life.


And then trying to get there

instead of being where you are.

So, yeah, I think that's an

important one for the workplace.

I'm curious to know Mirabai, with

all of your experiencing this

area, how, what are the things

that you personally do everyday?

What works for you?

I know we're all different, but what are

the little habits that you do ever day?

And do you have a formal practice

that you do generally speaking?

And then what are the other informal

kind of little tidbits that work for you?

I, you know, one thing I think

is important for people to know,

I found that over time, over

like 45 years that it changes.

So my basic practices are still vipassana

meditation, mindfulness, loving,

kindness, compassion meditations, insight.

And then I also, because I

also have thisconnection to my

original teacher, Neem Karoli

Baba, I, yoga and chanting also.

And he, he gave me a couple.

But like one main instruction which

was, love everyone and serve everyone.

So I keep that in, in my mind and

come back to it all the time to

just sort of see if, what I'm doing,

is in some way fulfilling that.

So that's like, so I think

mindfulness of intention is, is

important, and, and all the others.

I mean, at one time in my life,

I just, I've been doing sitting

practice and walking practice

for 10 years or something.

And I was in a very stressful time in

my life and I just couldn't sit quietly.

I just, my mind was racing.

And even though the instruction is just

return to your breath, I was inside.

I hated it.

So I started doing aikido and it

was so perfect for me at that time.

And, and it was utterly

different, you know?

So I, I just think that that's

important for people to know.

People may start by just simply

learning a basic mindfulness practice.


But you know, there are so many that

work in different ways for people to

cultivate those same, you know, qualities.


And I'm really, I think one of the

things that I really appreciate about,

you know, the work that you do and

the different ways that you, you see

that one audience may need mindfulness

framed in this way and another audience

may need, as you said, you know,

the, the, the one audience needs the

research and they need practical sort

of, you know, very tangible exercises.

Another sort of audience may, you

could almost literally say, you know,

go into your body and they're such

sensing people that they might not

need as much instruction or they

don't need, they, they're not as

inclined to need it framed in that way.

You can just kind of present it.

And then there might be a really

active person who could do aikido and

cultivate the same quality of being

more awake in their lives and more

kind and compassionate and connected.

And I think that's a really important

message that, that, that this summit

is getting across and many teachers

are saying the same thing that, you

know, there isn't really a right

and perfect way for everybody.

And it's fine to explore different ways.


Yes, yes, yes.

Thank you.

That's a great word, explore.


Well, I just have one, one more

question that I'd like to ask you.

And it's the same question that

I've been asking everybody who's

been taking part in this summit.

And you know, they say, it's said

around, you know, in the media

and stuff like that, that, that

mindfulness has now gone mainstream.

What I think is that it's

entering mainstream culture.

It's certainly been de-stigmatized a lot.

I'm wondering what would happen

when it hits critical mass.

I'm talking sort of like 50% of the

world's population or thereabouts.

So my question to you is if mindfulness

would a truly go mainstream, what kind of

a world do you think that would create?

I think it would be a world in which we

recognize more deeply our interconnection

and with that, our responsibility

to each other and not out of a sense

of responsibility, but out of an

inner knowing that we are connected.

And so just as, I don't want to

suffer, you don't want to suffer.

So what can I do to prevent that for you?

And I think we'd understand more about

how everything is changing all the

time and not try to hold on so much.

We'd be, I think, you know, less

materialistic in the sense that we think.

We might not even own less

stuff, although I think we would.

But, but that we would understand

that, that happiness and awakening

doesn't happen through owning stuff.

That, that would be a big difference.

And I've thought a lot about all the

different, what parts of society that

would change and how that would, you

know, how would architecture change.

But, but I think that they would

all come out of that understanding

particularly of interconnection.


Is there anything else you'd

like to share before we close?

Only that I really loved

talking to you for this hour.

It was really fun.

Me too.


You know, I kind of thought, Oh, I'll do

it, you know, but cause I always say yes.

That's a problem, but

it's really been nice.

I feel really good.

Aww, me too.

It's a

great way to spend an hour.

Yeah, I couldn't agree more.

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The Mindfulness Summit  null Playlist · 23 tracks

The Mindfulness Summit

Playlist · 23 tracks4.9

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