“Mindfulness is the foundation of emotional intelligence,” meditation teacher Mark Coleman said at a Google Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute training event in New York on Tuesday. We can look at mindfulness as a radical shift in the way we pay attention, Coleman explained. It is “attentive but without judgment.” It’s a skill that anyone can develop, and one that can have real benefits for those in leadership positions.
At the training, hosted by Coleman and Search Inside Yourself CEO Marc Lesser, participants went attention and mindfulness training exercises designed to build emotional intelligence, which the program deems key for successful leadership and peak performance. At the crux of the program’s philosophy is the idea that attention and self-awareness set the stage for leadership success.
Meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches five exercises to help you practice mindfulness. http://www.mindful.org/mindfulness-practice/mindfulness-and-awareness/five-steps-to-mindfulness.
First Mindfulness Exercise: Mindful Breathing
The first exercise is very simple, but the power, the result, can be very great. The exercise is simply to identify the in-breath as in-breath and the out-breath as out-breath. When you breathe in, you know that this is your in-breath. When you breathe out, you are mindful that this is your out-breath.
Second Mindfulness Exercise: Concentration
The second exercise is that while you breathe in, you follow your in-breath from the beginning to the end. If your in-breath lasts three or four seconds, then your mindfulness also lasts three or four seconds. Breathing in, I follow my in-breath all the way through. Breathing out, I follow my out-breath all the way through. From the beginning of my out-breath to the end of my out-breath, my mind is alwayswith it. Therefore, mindfulness becomes uninterrupted, and the quality of your concentration is improved.
Third Mindfulness Exercise: Awareness of Your Body
“Breathing in, I am aware of my body. Breathing out, I am aware of my body.” I know my body is there. This brings the mind wholly back to the body. Mind and body become one reality. When your mind is with your body, you are well-established in the here and the now. You are fully alive. You can be in touch with the wonders of life that are available in yourself and around you.
Fourth Mindfulness Exercise: Releasing Tension
The next exercise is to release the tension in the body. When you are truly aware of your body, you notice there is some tension and pain in your body, some stress. The tension and pain have been accumulating for a long time and our bodies suffer, but our mind is not there to help release it. Therefore, it is very important to learn how to release the tension in the body.
Fifth Mindfulness Exercise: Walking Meditation
When you practice mindful breathing you simply allow your in breath to take place. You become aware of it and enjoy it. Effortlessness. The same thing is true with mindful walking. Every step is enjoyable. Every step helps you touch the wonders of life. Every step is joy. That is possible.
Question: What benefits have you experienced from practicing Mindfulness?