Buddhist Teacher Offers Meditation Way for Business

by Kathy Keeser, iBerkshires.com, June 02, 2009

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (USA) -- How can the seeming opposites of Buddhism, a spiritual practice that emphasizes meditation and the observance of moral precepts, and the striving of business mix in today's world?

By slowing down and reflecting, you can function better, says Michael Carroll, author of "Awake at Work" and "The Mindful Leader."

Carroll was the speaker a Berkshire Entrepreneurs Network forum at the Unitarian Church last month on "How Mindful Mediation Can Help Us Build Successful, Healthy Careers" and how to bring Buddhism into business as a "Mindful Leader."

"I am tired of being sold this bill of sale, that we have to have more, that we accept society and business as they are," said Carroll, whose studied Tibetan Buddhism since 1976. "I am cynical of society. ... Instead, we can create a society where we have a compassionate society."

An authorized teacher in the Kagyu Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, he has held executive positions with high-level companies including Simon & Schuster and The Walt Disney Co., and continues an active consulting business with Fortune 500 companies and others.

"Being a Mindful Leader is especially important in this disorienting time when many people don't know what to do next or how to get through these times," said Carroll. "Being a Mindful Leader means to take a new spiritual course and, though we all want security, a Mindful Leader also considers how [he or she] contributes to their world."

Mindful Leadership emphasizes truthfulness and clarity of being; being honest about our relationship with work and why are we doing it; working to fully engage our minds; being comfortable with ourselves and completely who we are while in touch with the world; rising above toxic work environments by treating others with respect and helping to find a level of health and well-being for others; and developing an ease of being where you are comfortable simply to be here, not always striving to be somewhere else.

Meditation is an important path towards being a Mindful Leader and achieving successful, healthy careers, Carroll told the several dozen participants during the hourlong talk.

For the last 15 minutes of the session, he took the members of the audience through a meditation exercise that can easily be done sitting anywhere, with a simple posture with your eyes open so that "you can be completely engaged." Carroll said it is important in teaching to develop a mind that is fully awake. He reminded the audience that he didn't have "the" answer, but suggested that through Mindful Leadership, an individual finds mindfulness in their self and extends not inflicts it to others.

Carroll obviously sparked interest in the group, answering questions and staying to talk afterward with several members.

The business group is an educational and social support network for small businesses, especially "solopreneurs," said organizer Wendy Jill Krom.

"I am very pleased with the turnout for tonight's event and I thought Michael did an awesome job keeping the audience interested and helping them understand how to be a Mindful Leader," she said. "I have read both of his books and really love what Michael has to say and think it is really important for everyone, especially business people to hear."

BEN President Peter Coombs invited participants to attend the next social gathering and information session on Tuesday, June 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 at Zucchini's Restaurant. The topic of the evening will be on "Twitter 101: How and Why to Use It."