When I started to learn about mindfulness, I was immediately drawn to it. Sure that’s because I’m a lefty liberal who is pink and fluffy, and I found that I struggled with it. This was mostly because my experience of meditation is different and I couldn’t make mindfulness fit.
In the Sikh religion, meditation is done as a collective experience. Of course it can be done on your own, but the practice tends to be with a group of others. Mindfulness, then, for me was a challenge. How could I embody this way of thinking and focus while being by myself?
I’ve found that it’s in my day to day stuff and work practise that I’m more able to take on being mindful as opposed to sitting quietly. It tends to be in my interactions with others that I can open myself to being mindful in a way I may not do otherwise. Below are some further examples of how you can think about how mindfulness can be manifest in day to day work interactions.
Often when we’re working on projects there are moments when we become personally stuck. It can be beneficial at these moments to take a break from the project, even if only for a few minutes, and cultivate mindfulness. This can be done by getting a glass of water, going for a walk, of even just breathing. Remember, with mindfulness it’s less about the act itself and more about the experience of what you’re doing. Taking the time to fully and wholly just experience that one thing. What does it feel like? What does it make you think? What’s happening to your body? Where are you thoughts bring taken to? How can you focus just on the one thing?
In doing this, what you’re enabling is for the body and mind to be occupied with just one thought. When you’ve had the time to do this, you’ll then be able to decide how to move forward with the project. Not necessarily immediately but certainly with more options available to you as you’ve been able to separate yourself from it which gives space to think better on it.
Facilitation with groups
As a facilitator, one of the many skills involved is encouraging the group to be inclusive with one another. That means needing to hear different people, be aware of the overall discussion, watch for people and their contributions, not forcing people to talk but creating an environment where they can, listening to tonality of voices, and being observant of body language. The role of the facilitator in these situations is to help everyone be the best of themselves and contribute in ways that are useful and helpful to others.
It’s also about your own thoughts, feelings and focus and how you perceive these are being impacted or influenced by the group and how you can provide direction, instruction or guidance on moving forward.
For many managers at work, they need to have difficult conversations at some point. When these need to be had, emotions are already flying high and it can be tough to ensure that the conversation will go well even with being well prepared.
Being mindful in these situations enables the manager to be able to understand the fluctuation in their emotions as the conversation is being had and also in how the other person is responding. What that means is the manager should be able to respond in ways which are more useful to them and the other person to have a better conversation.
These are just some examples of how I see mindfulness in practise may be easier to understand for some and allows for a different set of exploration on how to cultivate the practise as individuals.