Mindfulness is a personal discipline used to develop greater awareness in individual and social spheres. Awareness provides greater perspective and scope, looking through a new kind of lens. Organizational challenges can be met with fresh and collective perspectives that take full advantage of extraordinary creativity and intelligence, the innate talents of team members.
Our training session introduce mindfulness-based techniques that enable participants to gain insights into improving the quality of their engagement with themselves and co-workers. This will lay the foundation for a company-wide culture that reflects an environment of greater interconnectivity. The training will provide the groundwork for catalyzing new ideas, enacting through prototyping, and performance based on optimized shared collaboration.
The Neurological Basis of Mindfulness
The Neurological Basis of Mindfulness
Ongoing studies on the neurological basis of the benefits of mindfulness training support an ever-increasing understanding of the science behind well-being. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) studies over the past 30 years show that the first-person, subjective investigation of mindfulness practitioners, and the third-person investigations and methodologies of the scientific world, both seemingly very different ways of searching for truth, come to similar conclusions. Science supports and confirms the discoveries of mindfulness practitioners and mindfulness practitioners gain valuable insights into their experiences through reflecting on scientific studies. As societies and organizations are increasingly compelled to find solutions to the intractable social, ecological and personal divides, the coming together of the personal and scientific is showing us the way forward. We can literally change our brains, ourselves, the organization, and the world.
Increasing Brain Size
Studies have shown that people who practice mindfulness regularly increase the size of the brain’s cortex, thus increasing neural connections. In general, brain size and capacity diminishes with age. One study demonstrated that the prefrontal cortex of mindfulness practitioners was equal to that of non-practitioners twenty years younger.(1) This area of the brain is critical for high cognitive executive functions like planning, decision making and judgment, facilitation of appropriate social behavior, comparative analysis, and linking memories with sensory input. Increased functioning in this and other areas of the brain are associated with the same kinds of psychological and behavioral changes that mindfulness practitioners have experienced for thousands of years.
Decreasing Amygdala Reactivity
The amygdala is an area of the brain associated with emotional reactivity and fear. In mindfulness practice there is a continual shift between dream-like non-awareness to vivid present-moment awareness. This is helpful in moving from an over-reactive or impulsive mode of responding to situations, to one that is aware, observant, and non-reactive. It has been shown that the amygdala in mindfulness practitioners has less grey matter and that they experience less stress.(2) Studies show that significant brain changes occurred after only eight weeks of mindfulness training.
Not Lost to Distraction
Studies have also demonstrated the effects of enhanced awareness, where distractions are noted within one’s field of awareness and are therefore less likely to steal away attention to the task at hand.(3) The quality of this awareness becomes ever more open and alert as mindfulness expands beyond mere object/task focus. The implications of this are enormous considering that, according to other studies, over half the working day is commonly lost to distraction. This panoramic awareness when operating in the collaborative field is key to the transformation of organizations. The focus of mindfulness and the openness of awareness work together as the synchronized mind and body of whole individuals and organizations.
The Primacy of Mind
Studies like these support mindfulness practitioners in that they show quick results from a very simple technique. Physiological changes reflect the inner process and confirm the experiential results. They also point to the primacy of mind and quality of experience, rather than a brain that dictates the quality of one’s abilities. With experience, mindfulness practitioners come to the conviction that mindfulness practice is the ground from which their talents as human beings can be put to maximum use. They come to a sophisticated understanding that at any point along the way there is a choice, and that the brain, together with their experience, will develop in a direction that will produce the maximum benefit for their colleagues and their organization.
The focus of mindfulness and the openness of awareness work together
as the synchronized mind and body
of whole individuals and organizations.
The trainings are organized around the principle that an individual’s well-being does not occur in a vacuum, but in the context of quality connections with colleagues and team members. Thus communication skills based on mutual trust are introduced through easily learned and delightful methodologies. These in turn enhance mindfulness further which encourages even greater team collaboration.
Mindfulness Training is not a one-size-fits-all approach. A careful review of each individuals’ unique approach to mindfulness is part of the education cycle. The instructor addresses the unique needs and challenges of each participant thereby maximizing the effectiveness of the training. Evaluation of the training occurs through personal interviews, group discussions and feedback processes. Intuitive personal experience is included in a framework of understanding mindfulness theory and application in working life.
Gaps for Everyone
In all areas of society individuals experience desire for change, and there is a gap between the old and the desired future. The gap experienced in mindfulness is open, fresh, uncomplicated and full of potential. Conversely, in common experience this gap is often glossed over and the gap experience is a sense of being stuck, closed, stale, hopeless and uninspired. Mindfulness teaches its practitioners to fully experience the gap.
The role of mindfulness in gap creation trains its practitioners to hold, without closing down, in the uncertainty gap between past and future. This develops great inner strength, a wholesome attitude, and enhanced inherent intelligence. These are qualities that will seed the collaborative framework and put into motion a new kind of group operating system that effectively responds to the present challenges of the organization. The idea is not localized in any one individual but arises from the power of the field. When a fresh idea emerges within the collaborative framework it is likely to have the power of a great idea whose time has come.
Strength and Clarity
At the heart of this process is the understanding that everyone sees themselves as an integral part of the whole and is therefore responsible for it. There is no longer a problem that is somebody else’s fault. With that greater responsibility comes greater demand on one’s resources and availability to the process. Mindfulness provides the ground for the inner strength and clarity needed to work with the ongoing process of working with the team.