Mindfulness Meditation: Benefits from an Author, Entrepreneur, and Educator
The word "meditation" has been defined in various ways, and in Western culture can be conceptualized as a distinct psychological practice from its original religious and cultural roots and philosophies. Furthermore, from a non-sectarian point of view, meditation practice can be explained as the deliberate self-regulation of attention in the present moment and typically comprises concentration, relaxation, altered states of consciousness, suspension of logical thought, and maintenance of a self-observing attitude. As as an entrepreneur, author, and educator, Mindfulness Meditation has greatly enhanced my personal as well as professional productivity, emotional stability, and overall awareness. It is my belief that when utilized as a single tool in a tool-kit of various practices and methodologies, it can be extremely effective for anyone seeking to rise above the infinite variables and instability associated with todays new global knowledge-based economy.
Many friends, family, and associates often ask me about my practice of Mindfulness Meditation. Having been raised a Christian, and with most of those around me sharing such ideological underpinnings, I very well understand the many stigmas associated with the practice. For those who happen to be apprehensive, I encourage them to scour the bible where they will find the terms "meditate" or "meditation" mentioned roughly 20 times. Personally, I meditate on average 2-3 times daily, and also do so with my own family consistently every morning. Our organization also partners with corporations in order to use the practice to enhance employee productivity and wellness. In my own professional life, it cannot be overstated how the practice of mindfulness has greatly attributed to much of my success.
As an Author - On July 4th, 2014, I released my second book and first novel, "The Immovable Race: Rise of the Plebeians." Although i found the experience of writing a novel to be extremely stimulating and fulfilling creatively, there were times that I became overwhelmed with writers block. Some days creative visions would pour out into my Moleskine, and other days not so much. In an effort to try and overcome my writers block, I began an experiment with meditation. Instead of first trying to decide what to write, and then attempting to transfer thoughts onto paper, I began to simply meditate and verbally regurgitate the visions that immediately came to mind, using nothing more than the record feature on my iPhone, later transferring such recordings into my Moleskine before finalizing them in typed form. The end result was staggering. After my first attempt, I was able to push out two entire chapters within 25 minutes with minimal revisions, and ultimately I discovered a much more efficient way to produce content, while also defeating the notorious conundrum of writers block.
As an Entrepreneur - While in the midst of the heated pursuit of entrepreneurial endeavors, it can be easy to get sidetracked. After continuously hitting roadblock after roadblock, it's natural for your focus and determination to become bruised in the process. There are many times after a disappointment or even a success that I retreat to my closet for a 20 minute mindfulness session to meditate on what it all means. What was it that I did wrong? In the solidification of a meeting for a prospective sale, what did I do right? Did I miss any details that are essential to completing the puzzle as I envisioned it in my mind? Over the past few years, I've found that relaxing my mind and mentally removing myself from the stress and chaos of the daily pursuit, allows for greater objectivity of my performance, external environment, and inner state of being, thus giving me a more enhanced perspective of what was, what is, and what could become.
As an Educator - As the head of an organization which seeks to enhance the productivity, adaptability, and overall resiliency of human capital in the new knowledge-based economy, in an effort to discover methods to prepare human capital for the unpredictability of the world we now live in and the future world to come, we are constantly seeking to innovate. This past year, our organization was approached by an early childhood provider, who requested that we adapt our existing non-cognitive development curriculum for the early childhood sector. This task forced me to not only study the content of existing popular early childhood curriculums, such as High Scope, Abeka, and Creative Curriculum, as well as the top educational paradigms in the world (China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Finland), but it also forced me to ponder what was missing?
As the former national spokesperson for MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership for 11 years, and a former mentee and at-risk youth from a background of deep poverty, after delivering many keynotes around the country, afterwards many would often ask me how had I made it? What was it that I did that gave me the ability to succeed where others had failed? It wasn't until I began the rigorous practice of meditation that I discovered the answer.
While dealing with hardship and adversity, I had been practicing a form of meditation all along. I would mentally remove myself from the powerful stormy winds that surrounded me, and place myself in its eye, therefore finding peace and more importantly becoming aware of the power I possessed in my mind to remove myself, and remain unaffected regardless of what took place all around me. But what if I had learned to hone this skill at an even earlier age? And so it become increasing obvious that Mindfulness Meditation was an essential component that had to be included in any early childhood curriculum we created.
As of today, we are piloting the curriculum with 22 trained early childhood providers, who are working with ages as early as a few months to five years old, the majority being at-risk youth who are also practicing Mindfulness Meditation. If we can give them the gift of meditation early, and help them learn how to mentally control their inner environment and overall receptivity to instability or negativity, I believe we will greatly enhance their ability to adapt and remain resilient in the face of all adversity, including any they may face as they seek to thrive in our increasingly complex world. We will keep you updated as our pilots progress.
In my experience I have found Mindfulness Meditation to serve as a powerful tool to increase productivity, mental and emotional stability, as well as awareness in my personal and professional life. It has been a gift that I hope to pass on to future generations who will need tenacity and resiliency to solve many of the worlds greatest problems. I have faith that through its consistent application and implementation, that Mindfulness Meditation can and will be just as beneficial for you.
Ean Garrett, J.D., is the author of two books, "Rebirth of a Dream" and "The Immovable Race", as well as the Chief Innovation Officer of the consulting firm, Infinite 8 Institute, L3C, specializing in education and social innovation. Follow him on Twitter & IG: @eangarrett