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Mindful Leadership

But What Does It Mean To Be Mindful?

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Mindfulness is simply noticing the way things are. It’s not a technique, it’s a skill — the skill of being aware without grasping or denying. Both grasping and denying are created states, they don’t occur naturally. In fact, they are habitual.  Therefore, Mindfulness is the skill of being natural. It enables us to be aware of exactly where and what we are.  It is a skill that enables us to be “awake” in the moment – moment by moment.  When we are “awake” we are present regardless of circumstances.  This means that if something wonderful happens to us – we are present, savoring the moment, so that it is not only pleasurable but fulfilling.  It also means that when tragedy strikes or when painful memories arise, here too we are fully present.  In this circumstance little or no suffering need arise, rather just the raw pain of the experience.  And ironically, when we are with the pain and don’t interfere with it, it has the potential to dissolve, no longer gripping us.  And that is freedom – freedom from the tyranny of the mind.
To be truly Mindful means that we are applying this skill in our daily lives whether we are in a board meeting, with a client, on a flight, on a golf course or on a treadmill.  Whatever we do in our formal meditation practice will invariably help our lives.  But, it is where the rubber meets the road that really matters and that is our daily lives.  That is the reason it is so important to work with Mindfulness in Action Strategies throughout the day.  These become habit forming and eventually with perseverance and time, we realize we are more and more Mindful, more and more “awake”.  Later this week I look forward to posting a Mindful Leadership in Action – Tip of the Week.

Some of you may be familiar with the teachings of Charlotte Joko Beck, a wonderful American Zen teacher.  Her teachings were always about being awake in the moment and practicing in life.  Joko passed away last week and below is Tricycle’s tribute.  They have included a link to Life’s Not a Problem, which is a great interview with Charlotte Joko Beck, in plain language, about what it means to be awake.

Tricycle Weekly Teaching: This too is wonder
American Zen teacher Charlotte Joko Beck passed away peacefully on the morning of June 15th at the age of 94. We would like to express our deep gratitude to Joko Beck for her inspiring work and ceaseless dharma activity. Our hearts go out to her friends, family, and community.

In a recent letter from her daughter and son, it was asked that we “think of some teaching of hers that may have opened you to transformation in some aspect of your life and the transformation that occurred.” In this spirit, we are grateful to present this a 1998 interview, “Life’s not a problem,” in which Joko discusses everyday practice, American Buddhism, and making koans out of monkeyshines.

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