The practice of mindfulness, of bringing the scattered mind home, and so bringing the different aspects of our being into focus, is called “Peacefully Remaining,” or “Calmly Abiding”…. In that setting, we begin to understand ourselves more, and sometimes even have glimpses of the radiance of our fundamental nature.
Recently there has been a lot of discussions about Mindfulness, Large Corporates like SAP, Apple, Procter and Gamble are offering mindfulness coaching to their employees. Curiously I started exploring about the subject and thought of sharing glimpses of my journey on understanding of what is mindfulness about and how is it relevant for Project Management Practitioners.
Mindfulness as I understand is about being aware of your own being and accepting the current situation without judgment. The following three points basically are marks of our existence and understanding it in context of our day to day life will improve self-esteem, emotional intelligence and reduce stress by regulating emotions.
Impermanence or Change: We need to acknowledge the fact that everything around us is changing We usually can’t keep our mind still or focused for long, our mind always keeps drifting from dwellings of past to dreams of future, with anxieties and excitements adding blur to our thoughts.Live in Present moment: Directing our thoughts to current moment will help us to be more attentive and understanding person. For example you are in a critical meeting and with the help of mindfulness you are more attentive and are able to transform from hearing to listening. In our age of multitasking focusing on one or two concurrent task will improve throughput and generate less waste. By mindfulness you will be effective in using your time more productively and reduces tendency to escape by engrossing ourselves in activities not related to the problem and its solution but activities like eating,Finding with smartphones, Watching TV…
Suffering or Un-Satisfactoriness : In our day to day life, there are events that may cause stress and anxieties, like been let down by team member, missed a critical meeting or any other bad situation you can think off. You might not have control on the occurrence of these events but mindfulness will help to control our reactions and create a positive environment around you. As we are aware about impermanence we know with time and effective handling, the issues will fade away. Even in situations of utter chaos by keeping your calm there is a good chance you can nail it or at least help it stop turning into worse. Mindfulness help to make you aware of your own emotions and reducing the bias you are most likely to control your reaction and can become beacon of compassion and bring the required change from negativity to positivity. Even stress and anxiety are impermanent and their cause and effect will fade away with time with your mindful actions.
Not-self or Insubstantiality: Mindfulness is not about suppression of thoughts, Mindfulness makes us aware on our own thoughts and behavior, understanding the present condition you are in. The understanding of “Not self” or Taking yourself out of proposition will provide you with new perspective and understanding.
Curiosity to understand the situation with third person perspective will reduce the bias of being judgmental, reduces effect of personal emotions and Individual bias on your thinking.
Mindfulness help you to take decision with clarity, helps us to accept the facts as facts and building compassion for yourself and others in current situation. Practicing mindfulness will provide objectivity in decision making.
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
Resources on Mindfulness coaching:
“The Three Basic Facts of Existence: I. Impermanence (Anicca)”, with a preface by Nyanaponika Thera. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013,http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/various/wheel186.html .
McKenzie, Stephen. ( © 2015). Mindfulness at work: how to avoid stress, achieve more, and enjoy life!. [Books24x7 version] Available from http://common.books24x7.com/toc.aspx?bookid=73103.