There is change in the air. Across the globe, humans are waking up. More and more people are realizing the benefits of spending time every day in quiet contemplation, meditating and connecting to the intelligence of the here and now.
Most of us have heard of the many benefits of meditation including managing anxiety, stress and depression, to health benefits like boosting the immune system, lowering cholesterol, and decreasing pain. But never has there been a time when the practice of meditation has been as prominent as it is today.
Not only are individuals practicing this technique, but now huge companies, sports teams, government officials, prisons and even the military are benefiting from the fruits of this practice.
Corporations Are Doing It
Known to focus the majority of their attention on increasing the bottom line, corporations are now waking up to the fact that calm, happy employees equals more productivity, better cooperation and less health problems which actually results in, you guessed it, increasing the bottom line.
Apple, Prentice Hall Publishing, Google, Nike, AOL Time Warner, McKinsey & Co., Yahoo!, Deutsche Bank, Procter & Gamble, and HBO are just some of the companies that are now integrating meditation into their corporate culture. Google even has an internal program for their employees based on a book written by one of their own engineers Chade-Meng Tan called, “Search Inside Yourself.”
Doctors Are Doing It
Many people feel that western health professionals have become detached from their patients, but that trend is changing thanks to Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. The MBSR program started in 1979, and is now offered in over 200 medical centers, hospitals, and clinics around the world.
Most of us have enjoyed watching our favorite sports team “on fire,” or what athletes call “being in the zone.” What one coach realized is that there is a way to strengthen this ability amongst the team that has nothing to do with pumping iron or practicing drills. That coach was Phil Jackson. Considered by many to be one of the best basketball coaches the game has ever seen, Jackson implemented mindfulness as a key method to building up his players’ mental strength and enhancing their connection with each other at a deeper level. To this day he is still referred to as the “Zen Master of Basketball.”
The Military Is Doing It
How could it make sense to train people in aggression and also calm peaceful abiding? Well, as it turns out, the military sees a multitude of benefits. Meditation is being integrated into everything from combat preparedness to health and therapy programs and is now considered to be a great solution for many of the mental and emotional problems troops face such as PSTD, anxiety and depression.
Schools Are Doing It
Mindful Schools in the Bay Area, realizes the importance and impact of teaching mindful meditation to our youth. They have implemented their 15-session mindfulness program into elementary schools over the last 5 years and have trained over 18,000 children. Other organizations are popping up around the country as science and research continue to show the positive benefits of meditation for kids.
Congress Members Are Doing It
There could be hope for Washington after all. Congressman, Tim Ryan, has actually written a book about mindfulness called, “Mindful Nation” where he lays out the medical research confirming the effectiveness of mindfulness. He suggests that how we pay attention can lead to significant changes in the quality of our lives, as well as a profound healing and transformation for our country. Ryan is spreading the word about meditation in Washington and telling his colleagues that quiet contemplation can help everyone, no matter what beliefs they have or what side of the aisle they sit on.
Prisoners Are Doing It
Correctional behavior programs or sitting in silence? That is the question prisons around the country are beginning to ask when trying to determine an effective way to promote positive behavior and mental healing for the inmates. In the documentary the “Dhamma Brothers” you can see an example of one of these prisons testing the effectiveness of a 10 day meditation program. What you see are some of the most dangerous people in our society, sitting silently, alone with their thoughts. Preliminary results of a study done on the inmates showed that all who had participated in program improved and had reductions in drug use, anxiety, depression and hostility.
As this global shift moves upon us, slowly infiltrating our collective consciousness, we realize that we as individuals, have the ability to accelerate this awakening through our own practice and inner experience. But don’t take it from me, or the millions of individuals experiencing the benefits of meditation today, experience it for yourself. Breathe, relax and quiet the mind. This time the revolution is a silent one.
Laura is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of iNothing, a company that develops Modern Meditations designed to quiet the mind, revealing one’s natural state of clarity and relaxation in the here and now.
You can access free guided audio and video meditations to sample for yourself from her website: www.intelligenceofnothing.com.