The other day I visited my bank in Indiranagar, that’s one of the busier suburbs in Bangalore. It was a routine money deposit errand. Having written out the deposit slip, I approached the counter to hand over the money. The cashier and I exchanged pleasantries. He took my slip, verified the Account details and once all was fine, he stamped and gave me back the receipt. Transaction complete. I walked away.
Couple of minutes later, I returned to the cashier and politely asked him, ‘Will you be paying the 50,000 rupees for me?’ He gawked, trying to make sense of my inane question. Still unknowing of what I was hinting at, I finally ventured to tell him that he had forgotten to take the money from me!
Are you really there at Work?
Does this happen to you at Work? Are you sleep-walking through the day, lost and UN-PRESENT each moment? This got me thinking, if a smart banker can be so lost as to forget ‘banking’ itself, how many of us are actually spending our work-time totally present, solving the problems and creating solutions that our work demands. Is this one of the reasons we bet bored with work….cause we’re actually spending our time ‘dreaming’ and what-not.
For years I’ve trained in Meditation and increasingly I’m finding signs that my youthful, right-brain decision to give up my career and pursue training in Meditation with my Guru was perhaps the most logical thing I’ve ever done in life! For, the most important thing that we carry with us is our Body+Mind and Yoga trains exactly those two aspects of our being better than any modality or system created in the last 6000 years! And we’re not even talking about the spiritual aspects of Yoga training.
I’m often asked, What is Yoga? While this Blog isn’t about that, (and there are numerous definitions of Yoga) the second question is more pertinent. What’s the benefit of practising Meditation. Well, additional to what Science tells us about very real Health benefits for the Heart, Brain, Emotions and everything else – for me the tangible benefit that I’m really interested in is this – Meditation makes me ‘Present’. I’m not going to delve into the benefits of being Present; Eckhart Tolle has hammered that into our 21st century consciousness! (In fact everytime I use the word NOW, I feel I’ll need to pay Eckhart a royalty!
So, in brief, is it really such a big deal to be present? Absolutely! Why would you want to go through your days, years, life .. sleep-walking? As a Zombie? Why miss out on your own life…only to realize on your deathbed that you spent most of your time worrying about stuff that never happened, that you didn’t spend quality time with your partner whom you were married to for 40 years! That you missed out on your kids’, parents’, siblings’, friends’ lives because you were always living in your own ‘head’!
How does this translate at Work though?
Being Present is not just a philosophy, it’s the primary thing we seek – Engagement. Just as we saw with the banker, being lost is dangerous! So, how do we train ourselves to be in the moment….I know this is a lifetime’s worth of Zen training, but then there must be some simple techniques to help us shut out the noise and focus and enjoy the present moment. Yoga & Meditation trains us to work on everything that is ‘near’ to us – body, breath, mind. And to stop worrying about all that is far away and conceptual. By and by, we find that we are able to occupy ourselves with our current situation and improve what we can, rather than keep dreaming that magical things will HAPPEN to us! In this way we finally come to terms with and end the ongoing internal chatter of the Mind. One of the most important techniques that will help you in this journey is Anulom-Vilom Pranayam, preparing you to be Meditative. Whilst at the workplace try these Yoga at Office practices to keep you feeling fresh and creative through the day.
Being Present is Being Creative! In other words, before we train to be an engineer or a designer, we first ought to train in how the Mind works. Without acquainting ourselves with our own ‘software’, everything else we do in life will be of minuscule significance. And we’ll end up forgetting to do the one most important thing we need to be doing every Moment – like our banker forgot to ‘bank the money’!
PS: Seems like most of my insights in life happen in the environs of a bank – making Meditation in the Marketplace feel like my tagline!
- Manish Pole (co-founder Total Yoga, Writer & Speaker)