Meditation In The Corporate Environment
Two studies released this month which focus specifically on meditation in the corporate environment:
#1 Creative Thinking
The outcome of a study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato and fellow researchers at Leiden University (published 19 April in the open access journalist ‘Frontiers in Cognition’) found certain meditation techniques can promote heightened creative thinking.
The study investigated the influences of different types of meditative techniques on the two main ingredients of creativity: divergent and convergent styles of thinking.
The meditation techniques analysed are Open Monitoring and Focused Attention meditation. In Open Monitoring meditation the individual is receptive to all the thoughts and sensations experienced without focusing attention on any particular concept or object. In Focused Attention meditation the individual focuses on a particular thought or object.
#2 Increased Self Awareness and Emotional Intelligence
In another article, from The Independent Newspaper of the Harvard Business School Community (The Harbus), mentions a new study that will look into ‘whether meditation can help business leaders increase self-awareness, mental clarity, focus and emotional intelligence.
It is often claimed that meditation helps a leader develop more authenticity, tolerance and empathy, which leads to a greater sense of belonging-ness and responsibility for the communities they live and work in”.
Harvard Business School has been a leader in a number of studies in this area, reflecting a growing awareness at Harvard for contemplative studies, including the study led by psychologist Sara Lazar at Harvard Medical School that first documented how meditation produced changes over time in the brain’s gray matter (in areas associated with attention and emotional integration); the inclusion of mindfulness practices at the Harvard Law School ‘essential to the art of conflict resolution’; and the cross-university study at HBS that is looking at contemplative dimensions of leadership and leadership education.
One inspiring, creative and focused business leader that comes to my mind (who was also a meditator) ~ is Steve Jobs who visited India in the 70’s, developed an interest in Buddhism and had a Zen practice ..
“If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.” Steve Jobs (from the Walter Isaacson biography, Steve Jobs)