News - Meditation Mania
by Life Positive
But tactical skills, it turns out, aren't what turned Ferrazzi into a bestselling author or sought-after speaker.
Instead Ferrazzi let out a little secret. The key to connecting, he told the group, is meditation. Exercise and prayer work too, he said, but meditation has been so effective that he now spends ten days every year at a silent meditation retreat. In other words, the man whose latest book is Never Eat Alone, credits much of his success to alone time.
Meditation has been around for thousands of years, but not so long ago extended retreats or programmes that banned speech were reserved for aging rock stars, or college students on the ten-year plan. But the scenario has changed. More and more corporates meditate to get away, at least for a while, from the competitive, almost claustrophobic climate.
Meditation devotees include junk-bond-king-turned-philanthropist Mike Milken; Bill George, the former Medtronic (Charts, Fortune 500) CEO; ad industry mogul Renetta McCann; and NBA coach, Phil Jackson. Silicon Valley is full of meditators, such as Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce.com (Charts, Fortune 500) and Larry Brilliant, head of Google's philanthropic efforts. Naturally, a crew of Google (Charts, Fortune 500) employees has organized twice-weekly open meditation hours, at which it has hosted Tibetan monks, and a team of mind-science researchers.
Particularly hardcore is Bob Shapiro, the former CEO of Monsanto (Charts, Fortune 500), who has done three ten-day silent retreats and is considering a 30-day tour. He must certainly be the first person to serve simultaneously on the boards of the New York Stock Exchange, and the Center for the Contemplative Mind in Society.
Shapiro says that meditation has improved his ability to listen and to think creatively – and there's an increasing amount of scientific evidence to back that up. Dr. Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin at Madison has, among other experiments, used cranial electrodes and MRI scans to study Tibetan monks on loan from the Dalai Lama. His basic finding is: The brain functioning of serious meditators is "profoundly different" from that of nonmeditators – in ways that suggest an elevated capacity to concentrate and to manage emotions. He calls meditation a "kind of mental training."
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