Arriving each morning to face a rampant inbox and a hot bed of heart-racing deadlines is a scene many of us are all too familiar with. With one in three absences at work due to stress and anxiety, it’s clear that our coping mechanisms need to stretch further than an emergency Twix and a full-fat coke. On a quest to find inner peace, I slipped away from my desk yesterday lunch time to try out a free half hour creative meditation session with the Inner Space Meditation Centre.
With medical evidence now suggesting that meditation can not only lower stress levels but increase productivity and make better business decisions, leading employers including Deutsche Bank, Facebook and Goldman Sachs have been quick to jump on the meditation bandwagon. But would it really have an impact on my own performance at work?
Racing down the cobbled streets of Covent Garden, I enter the centre hot and flustered. Clearly in need of some calm, I’m beckoned to the quiet room tucked away down the stairs. Expecting a procession of beads and leg warmers, my preconceptions are knocked on the head when a couple of Saville Row suits slide in beside me.
Concentrating on our essential life force, the session starts with a simple breathing exercise. Suddenly conscious of how shallow and rapid my breathing is, my racing mind is forced to slow down with each deep intake of breath. Slowly tensing and relaxing from our toes to our facial muscles, I release the pent-up angst of the morning’s labours.
As we begin our journey inwards, my thoughts start to drift to this afternoon’s tasks, staying in the present moment is no easy task. Shifting impatiently in my seat, I start to feel stressed about not being able to relax. Gently guided away from the external world through a soothing series of visualisations, I find myself drifting through an endless blue sky. Suddenly jerking forward, I realise with a start that I’ve momentarily nodded off. Managing to stay present for the next exercise, I luxuriate in the deepest blue ocean watching the sun glitter on the waves in a state of bliss. Reluctantly guided back to awareness, I open my eyes to find the colours of the room suddenly much sharper.
Feeling as though I’ve just had a full night’s sleep, I’m keen to find out how my afternoon will go. While I manage to power through a report with relative ease, I soon start to feel agitated when a temporary computer glitch puts a halt to proceedings. Breathing in slowly and deeply, I resist the temptation to vent my wrath on IT and focus instead on my objectives, perhaps a promotion will be on the cards this year after all.
Brahma Kumaris offers a worldwide network of over 8,500 centres in more than 100 countries.
How do you find inner peace at work?