Hell to the yes! I just came away from a 2 day retreat at the Nan Tien Temple in Wollongong, and it was as powerful as any business seminar I’ve ever attended. Maybe even more-so because learning to control your mind could be a business owner’s greatest tool.
I went there thinking I was just going to learn to meditate, and came away with so much more, and really wanted to share it with you. From anybody looking for deeper meaning to what they do, looking to quieten their ‘monkey brain’ and learn how to better master their mind… then this retreat is an incredible way to do that.
“The mind is like water. When it’s turbulent, it’s difficult to see. When it’s calm, everything becomes clear.”
It started on the Saturday morning when we checked into our modest but very adequate accommodation. Straight away, I was a little alarmed by the uniform. Being a creative, any kind of mandatory uniform makes me shudder, let alone a shapeless oversized grey smock and with big puffy pants! But, that was the uniform and I had to suck it up!
We then met down at reception, formed into our lines, men at the front, women at the back. (Again a little disconcerting!) And with that, the weekend meditation retreat began and we were all asked to be in NOBLE SILENCE for the experience. That means no talking. I actually failed in the first few minutes because I’ve come to learn that my brain is so busy and cluttered, I actually talk to myself! But, not to be put off, I stitched up my mouth and kept quiet for the next day and a half.
We were directed to a beautiful meditation room and I sat with 40 other inspired humans that were mostly embracing the silence, and we learned about the philosophies of mindfulness, practising to have a quiet mind through meditation, and why it’s a good daily practice to learn how to control our busy brain chatter so we can direct our brain’s focus when we need to under all sorts of circumstances. All great characteristics for a great business owner when you think about it!
It’s a buzz phrase right now, but in case you were wondering, mindfulness is the ability to see things as they really are without the cloud of feelings, prejudice, or mood, and a really grounding way to live in the moment.
We learned about kindness, empathy and compassion to all living creatures but most especially, to ourselves.
We learned about the beauty of doing one thing at a time, with grace, elegance, and complete mindfulness.
We learned the power of doing one thing at a time and doing it right the first time (that one really resonated with me).
We learned that “the body keeps the score”. And that if we don’t deal with it and process our problems and emotions, that our bodies will stuff it all away and that it eventually comes out in us as disease. (Something I personally experienced when I was widowed at 45 and my husband passed away suddenly of a massive heart attack at 48. Now that I have just turned 48, the health of my mind, body and spirit is paramount to me – hence why I’m sharing this experience at the meditation retreat.)
We learned that disconnection from the head and the heart in our western society is very common, and it leads to unethical business decisions and attracts equally disconnected people to your business. So by choosing to lead a more authentic and grounded life where you actually care about business outcomes and doing right by your clients, and by running your business as a heart-centred, mindful, conscious entity, it will attract and inspire others to practise business in the same way. With compassion, generosity, playfulness and the main focus always being the well-being of your team, your clients and your suppliers. To choose to conduct your business with your heart as well as your head leads to attracting more heart-centred people and businesses to you, and we can all flourish.
We learned that everything starts with a seed.
And if you want to see change in your industry, be the change.
Show your success by planting the seed, and it will steadily encourage the change that you want to see for your clients, your industry and if you play really big, the world.
We also learned that surprisingly ‘stress’ isn’t always a bad thing. When harnessed it can generate great energy and achieve some amazing things in a short time-span when channelled mindfully. You just don’t want to live in that space permanently!
Probably the most incredible thing I learned and experienced was that when you quieten the ‘monkey mind’ through daily practise of meditation, you can channel the most amazing and clean creative thoughts and solutions to problems that you have had for a long time. So often as business owners we are wearing multiple hats, fielding so many thoughts and issues with the day to day running of our businesses that we don’t sit and contemplate the big and important issues that will really get us to where we want to be going. We clutter our minds instead with the less important but demanding tasks at hand, and don’t make time or have the mental capacity to spend time on the bigger picture of marketing and growing our businesses.
You just need to be clear enough in your head to be able to shut out your internal voice, and to tap into your inner wisdom. So many people pay a lot of money to ‘experts’ to solve their problems, when often the answer is locked away inside of you. We all have the potential, we just need to learn how to harness it.
So that was my Buddhist meditation retreat experience! As always, I’m happy to chat to anybody personally about my experience at Nan Tien Temple if this is of interest to you. I found the experience to be really illuminating, humbling and so useful that I am now practising meditation twice a day, to stay focused, driven and on task. And… peacefully happy!
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”
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