The Examined Life
With stress-related illness draining the coffers at many organisations, and the advantage to companies of attentive, resilient staff, you might think the workplace was fertile ground for mindfulness training. But while there have indeed been some pioneering programs, meditation in most business settings has yet to really take off, especially when compared to a sector like healthcare.Read more »
Like most people who’ve expressed a view on the English city riots this month, I wasn’t there. Having relocated last year from inner London to a small countryside town an hour’s drive away, my experience of the unrest was mediated through television, Twitter and news websites. It was also filtered by the habitual tendencies of my mind when faced with events that seem to be creating widespread anxiety (it likes to take a contrary line: “Everyone is over-reacting/the media frenzy is out of proportion/don’t they know there’s a famine in Somalia with millions of people at risk of starvation?” and so on).Read more »
Barely a week goes by without some new clinical trial showing how programs which teach mindfulness can help people minimize suffering and enhance their well-being. Whether it be through reducing stress, managing illness, boosting the immune system or moving away from addictive habits, science is confirming what meditators have reported for thousands of years—that mindfulness is beneficial in a wide range of ways. At the same time, it's important not to get carried away by all the data, sucked into viewing meditation as a quick-fix solution.Read more »
Imagine going to your local doctor and suddenly discovering a shamanic healer has been made partner in the practice. Not only that, but all the conventional doctors are referring their most difficult cases to him, murmuring reverentially about his evidence-based magic skills. It would seem pretty surprising, no?
Well, that's about the size of the seismic shift that's taking place in our culture's perception of meditation. In 1970, or even 2001, a meditating politician, teacher or policeman in the West would probably have deemed it prudent to keep their practice a secret, for fear of public ridicule—now we have openly mindful congressmen (see video below) and parliamentarians, and meditation is enthusiastically championed in government reports, school curricula and a vast range of other establishment settings.Read more »
At 6:34 p.m. on Thursday, June 2, several hundred people quietly strolled between the fountains in London's Trafalgar Square, sat down together, and began to meditate. They remained seated on the ground in the crisp summer sunshine for almost half an hour, before getting up again and going their separate ways. The English capital had just played host to its first meditation flashmob.Read more »