Mastering Being for more Powerful Doing

By Carolina Caro

For most of us, life can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster going at full speed. Finding balance can seem like a utopian concept. How does anyone find time to be productive at work, while maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, tending to all their household chores and family responsibilities while still managing to keep up some semblance of a social life (even if it’s just on Facebook) AND still get some quality shut eye?

So when we think about adding a daily mindfulness practice to our busy schedules, it’s no wonder that most people resist the idea of giving up precious minutes of their day to meditation. But what if by taking the time to slow down, you could actually speed up? This might seem like a paradox, particularly in a society that values ‘doing’ over ‘being’. Who doesn’t feel a sense of accomplishment when crossing off items from their to-do lists? Doing nothing for 10 minutes, on the other hand, without a specified, desired outcome of any kind goes against our fabric. Yet our minds, which are responsible for just about everything, require that stillness to be reinvigorated.

Mindfulness, by definition, is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. As we develop this self-awareness, we become more conscious of our perceptions and behavior patterns, enabling us to better choose those that are best serving us. Our ability to be selectively responsive rather than reactive to any circumstance is heightened. This leaves us with more capacity for alert thinking leading to better decision making skills, more productivity, increased creativity, not to mention better health and overall wellbeing. The evidence in support of mindfulness is overwhelming. Yet despite how trendy this topic is becoming, it’s far from being mainstream practice.

The recognition that we are human beings not human “doings”, re quires a major paradigm shift particularly in the corporate world. We are trained to feel a sense of validation based on how much we get done. So, if our self-worth is dependent on a busy, task driven existence then it’s no surprise that we don’t prioritize more subtle activities that develop our sense of being. That change requires self-discipline to develop the muscles that ground us in the present moment in much the same way we exercise our physical muscles to maintain our bodies in shape. That will help us concentrate on the now instead of projecting into the future or dwelling in the past. Ruminating about situations that have already occurred or worrying about scenarios that most likely will never occur is a waste of time and energy both professionally and personally.

Medicine has already evolved in a similar manner by adopting a more holistic approach to patient care. We no longer examine the body from a myopic lens since we acknowledge that this narrow view can lead to a misleading diagnosis considering how everything is intricately connected. Similarly, embracing the power behind a strong mind, body and soul alignment creates a grounded sense of being which leads to more powerful doing. As such, mindfulness can undoubtedly cultivate high performing work environments. But more importantly, it can create a society full of healthier and happier individuals. Isn’t that worth 10 min a day?

Carolina is the founder of Parinama Consulting, an executive and corporate coaching and consulting firm specializing in leadership development, employee engagement and diversity and inclusion. She is also a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation. She can be reached at [email protected]

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