Quiet Mind Meditation

This is a quiet space .. designed to inspire, nurture and support your meditation practice so that you might find your own quiet mind

Monday, 30 March 2015

Meditation at Google (SIYLI)

When it comes to pushing buttons .. well, I am the parent of a teenager,
need I say any more?
Button pushing is a fine art that our kids often perfect ..  well before we realise what has happened.  Quite naturally when we live or work closely with others, we subconsciously pick up on subtle (and not so subtle) ways of gently triggering responses - positive and negative.
A regular meditation practice can assist us in observing our habitual reactions, and teach us a little about self-regulation.  The ability to see that our 'button has been pushed', to observe the physical and emotional manifestation of that event, to pause and take a breath before consciously deciding on our reaction or action - is a wonderful tool to have in our life tool box.  The tell-tale signs of having your buttons pushed might include:
Feeling it in the body
you might stop breathing, or feel 'winded', or notice a rapid heartbeat
Being flooded with emotion
a desire to run and hide, or push back forcefully .. the fight-or-flight response is often primal and rapid
Noticing thoughts
rapid runaway unfocused thinking, elements of negative-speak, self blame or judgement, or feeling the victim.
This week I am in Sydney attending the SIYLI (Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute) program .. based on the book Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan, who introduced mindfulness meditation course to the Google empire.  As an engineer by training, Meng brings a different perspective to meditation, introducing ancient concepts through a highly analytical and scientific lens - with a focus on the benefits of meditation for developing and strengthening emotional intelligence .. which can lead to improved work performance and leadership. 
In the chapter titled Riding Your Emotions Like a Horse, Meng introduces us to a practice called the Siberian North Railroad for dealing with those times when our buttons are pushed.  The practice has five steps:
1. STOP: once you notice that you have been triggered just stop.  Pausing at the onset is a powerful and important skill, a momentary pause in life before acting or reacting.
2. BREATHE:  by focusing our mind on our breath we reinforce that pause, and by taking a conscious breath, especially a deep slow one, we have the power to calm the body and mind.
3. NOTICE: notice where you feel the tensions and bring your awareness back into your body.  What do you feel? Where do you feel it? We are learning to apply mindfulness by experiencing it moment-to-moment without judgement.  If you are angry be interested in where you experience anger in your body.
4. REFLECT: where is the emotion coming from? Is there a story behind it? Trying not to judge whether the emotion is right or wrong, just noticing what may be 'behind' the reaction you are experiencing.
5. RESPOND: Consider a positive outcome driven response.  You may not actually have to do it - but image what the kindest, most positive action could be to take.  Visualising what would be the best and most positive response can be empowering and change the way you feel about the whole event.
In our seated meditation practice we might also take some of these steps onto the cushion.  If you find a particularly 'loud' thought or emotion keeps distracting you or calling for your attention, you may choose to just 'sit' with that thought or emotion for a moment - just stop, breathe, notice and reflect - and then return to your practice.  
SiBerian North RailRoad 
Stop - Breathe - Notice - Reflect - Respond 
"This book and the course it's based on represent one of the greatest aspects of Google's culture - that one individual with a great idea can really change the world"
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google

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