Where the Mind Breaks: The Rise of the Inner


Yesterday I worked a full afternoon with a group of people in health sector. We looked closer to their challenges. It all crystallized to the following: how to have a sense of control when so much changes? How to do things smarter and avoid repetition of old and useless habits? In the end, we found ourselves talking about awareness: are we aware of how we actually take our stand to these issues? My provocation hit home.

What we people tend to look at when solving the issues of this kind is to look at structures and processes: ways of organizing things.   But in a way it is only a technical fix to the real problem at our hand: how to master our minds, our self-control?  That’s where the biggest fish swim.

When we are entering the sixth wave of development, there is a remarkable shift happening:  we begin to realize how human potential can be tapped in a very new ways. We start to understand how businesses and organizations flourish and fail not only because of their business competence or their ability to act in the market and entice consumers but rather because of the ways they are able to channel the energy and insight of their people.

It all starts with individuals. INSEAD professor Randel Carlock has described how, in his pursuit of making his students more centred, focused and open minded, starts with mediation all his classes. Teachers in the art schools are reporting how mediation helps students to get to the source of their creativity, while lowering the stress level of the students. Google has now their famous Search Inside Yourself program, launched by Chade-Meng Tan, who actually created the program when Google allowed their engineers to have 20% of their working time to be used for their own individual passion. Now his program is perhaps the most popular training program inside Google, helping people to tune to themselves but also reflect how they can live in harmony with the world.

Daniel Goleman, man behind “Emotional intelligence”, recently wrote an interesting book called “ Focus” where explored how focusing to inner capacity really helps to make a leap from average to excellent. Goleman’s starting point is that  we are actually creating world us that distort our focus more than ever. But just because of this, in spite of all attractive sirens, we should be more than ever committed to create the inner space in which to focus to do what we really want to do.

As it seems, the world we have created actually try to drag ourselves constantly away from our direct experience. Outside there is now a beautiful late spring morning with bird singing. However, here I am, focusing on my thoughts and laptop instead of just letting myself to be part of that event.  I am afraid this has become a picture of our life.  You just need to go to any seminar today and you see many of the people are not actually there, they are elsewhere with their gadgets.

Creating inner space and being the master of my own world, that’s what we are looking for. Practically taken, this is about becoming smarter about our decisions.  A recent study done at INSEAD showed how meditation helped to make more objective decisions on business matters.  Meditation helps to get rid of past, thus enabling to cut off the bad habits one is tempted to repeat. Focusing on our inner self helps us to be in now, not in the past or in the future.

Among business elite, there seems to be a growing notion that rehearsing regularly meditation and yoga helps to meet the demands of the everyday life.  This is actually what artists have known throughout the ages: the true spark of creativity comes from the core of our being, accessed through open-mind consciousness. The more we explore this inner world, the more we get connected to our earthly daily tasks. It helps to lower our stress levels and build determination to our work.

From my own humble experience about both of these techniques, I can only say it works.

Painting: Osmo Rauhala  

Blog, NewsMarkku