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Aug 06
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Meditation and Corporate Socially Responsible Behavior

Could there be a link between meditation practices and shifting corporate concerns to align with the greater good? Can coaching based on introspection and meditation programs in the business world impact the probability to act in a socially responsible way?

Many popular books and scholarly articles have discussed the link between mindfulness meditation and increased attention to task, enhanced performance, reduced stress levels, and satisfaction at work – all positively affected.  Recently, some posts, such as one that recently appeared in the Economist, express concern about the co-opting of meditation to a western “mindfulness business” technique, where meditation is being touted as another tool for “getting ahead”.

One criticism of how meditation is being viewed in this and similar reports is that the emphasis on the value of the meditation is rather materialistic and moves away from the original intention of meditation practice, which is to allow the meditator to connect with the natural mind of compassion or basic goodness. When the chaotic thoughts of competition and anxiety pulling us off course are seen to be insubstantial, their pull on us is reduced and we connect directly with a bigger view in each moment. This is the true power of meditation.

Another way of thinking about the larger potential of meditation in the business arena may be to think about the socially responsible behavior of a corporation. Many corporations have focused their socially responsible initiatives outward – in engagement with advertising to stakeholders and the public. One recent in depth study by INSEAD suggests that HR managers might better direct their energy internally toward redesigning training programs toward using meditation for the development of social consciousness in managers and employees.

The idea that the social consciousness could arise from within the organization based on the practice of meditation and other internal awareness practices is quite realistic.  Traditionally in Buddhist meditation teachings, the person practicing meditation moves from developing an awareness of their own thoughts and habitual tendencies, toward the ability to not be controlled by them, to becoming more relaxed, open and curious about others. This is a progression toward natural compassion.

In a recent article on mindfulness in the workplace, the StarTribune wrote about Joe Ens, a VP and marketing director for General Mills who was introduced to meditation in his workplace 17 years ago.  He feels that the program’s biggest impact has been on his relations with fellow workers, He states that he is a better coach of people than he was prior to starting a meditation practice, and that now he’s also a better listener, saying to himself, “what is this person really asking me?”

This opening of the heart is natural and reveals the both the interconnectedness of all humanity, and of the impact of our actions on others.  This mindful awareness can be the seed of a socially responsible culture within any organization.

This article was originally posted here, on March 4th, 2019, on www.transformyourculture.com


Gayle is an award winning author, leadership consultant, and life coach whose approach opens both the minds and hearts of her clients. Her intuitive, direct and caring process supports greater focus, engagement and connection, and a productive and compassionate workplace. Gayle’s specialty brings together her extensive experience as a mindfulness teacher with the practical solutions and real-life work she has conducted as a business consultant and executive coach.

Gayle has an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA, and is a certified instructor of Search Inside Yourself, the mindfulness and emotional intelligence training developed and proven at Google. She is the founder of the consulting, training and coaching company Transform Your Culture, and is a senior meditation teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. With millions of listens to her meditations the online meditation app, Simple Habit ,and her teachings both in person and through online courses, Gayle has helped thousands of people find more peace, energy, inspiration, joy and success in their lives and businesses.

Gayle is the author of Happier at Work: The Power of Love to Transform the Workplace, a practical guide for developing the powers of attention, stress reduction, curiosity, collaboration and compassion, as well as enhancing performance, increasing engagement, resilience and better health.

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