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As an executive coach, I have the privilege of working with my fair share of stressed out businessmen and women who are running hard most of the time and live pretty chaotic lives. Part of my job as their coach is to help them reconnect with their inner self, to see how they create their own disruption in life, and to find a deeper connection to their purpose in life.

This is especially true for my clients that are mid-career. They have been pretty busy people for those first 15-20 years of their careers. More often than not, as they approach the second half of their career, they want more meaning and purpose rather than more money and career achievements.

The Art of Meditation

As part of their quest for purpose, many of my clients want to know about how to find “inner peace.” They desire a way to find some level of sanity amidst their chaos. I’m often asked about meditation as a tool to achieve that calm. I’ve investigated a number of sources on the art of meditation, but it was what I learned from Dr. Elliot Dacher (with the Institute for Noetic Sciences) that made me think differently about this form of mindfulness.

In a timeless blog post, Dr. Dacher points out that “in modern times the use of meditation has strayed far from its original intent and use, which was to awaken the mind to its fullest potential.” He further notes that when we treat meditation as a relaxation technique, it is like a pain remedy and lasts only as long as we use it. As a result, we fail to get to the “root of stress, distress, emotional affliction, and the overactive mind.”

His point?

When we think about meditation as an investigative tool rather than a temporary stress relief remedy, we can go even deeper and receive its full benefits. Meditation focused on discovering the authentic self and expansive consciousness leads to the dissipation of dissatisfaction and distress. The goal is awakening to the fullness of life, rather than temporary relaxation and pacification.

Getting Quiet

I’ve often heard Bob Berkebile, an internationally renowned architect with BNIM who happens to live in my hometown, refer to his own practice of finding “quiet” to discover his own truth. Bob quotes the teachings of Iroquois Chief Leon Shenandoah (his blog post from 2011 is a great resource), who shared with him this idea:

“The eternal truth is within; it is available to everyone, but we must be quiet to benefit from this great wisdom.”

Getting quiet can be a tough exercise, especially when our cell phones, iPads, and computers are always vying for our attention. We live in a distracted world that makes it difficult to find even a moment to turn inward and look around a bit. To me, this idea of “getting quiet” is what Elliot Dacher is referring to when he talks about the original intent of mediation.

I hope you can find a moment each day for some quiet, or meditation, or whatever you want to call it. I know it has helped me to see things in a new light and improve my inner workings.

Laughter Also Helps

If the idea of quiet or meditation is not your thing, then I hope you will at least read the following poem that a friend passed on to me. The message is timeless and brings about an important stress-relieving chuckle (at least it did for me). I hope you enjoy it.

If you can start the day without caffeine,

If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,

If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,

If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,

If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,

If you can conquer tension without medical help,

If you can relax without liquor,

If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

….…Then You Are Probably………

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The Family Dog!

(Meditating Dog image by PetSpace)