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The corporate benefits of contemplation

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Mindfulness and meditation are no longer reserved for the spiritually dedicated, as Silicon Valley companies turn to these ancient practices to help employees tap into creativity and calm.

Companies such as Google, Twit­­ter and Facebook have made contemplative practices key aspects of their enterprises, offering meditation sessions and classes for employees. The goal is to bring self-awareness, self-management and creativity, and ultimately to get ahead in business.

Here are insights from Wired’s Noah Shachtman on incorporating mind­­­­ful practices into the corporate world and the business benefits.

  • Emotion management. Google employee and mindfulness coach Chade-Meng Tan provides meditation classes such as “Search Inside Yourself.” “It’s designed to teach people to manage their emotions, ideally making them better workers in the process,” Shachtman writes.
  • Contemplation is the new caffeine. Companies are beginning to recognize that quiet contemplation is a fruitful creative resource, Shachtman writes.
  • Train your brain. “Entrepreneurs and engineers are taking millennia-old traditions and reshaping them to fit the Valley’s goal-oriented, data-driven, largely atheistic culture,” Shacht­­man writes. As meditation teacher Kenneth Folk says, “This is about training the brain and stirring up the chemical soup inside.”
  • Emotional intelligence. Companies can use mediation as a way to gain a better understanding of the emo­­tions underlying their actions and the emotional responses they ex­­peri­­ence to particular stimuli. “They are also using it to understand their co-workers’ motivations, to cultivate their own ‘emotional intelligence.’” Shachtman writes.    

— Adapted from “Enlightenment Engineers,” Noah Shachtman, Wired.

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