When you think of “team building exercises” in the corporate environment, you might immediately start to conjure up images of people crammed together in conference rooms sitting through boring seminars, or perhaps a ridiculous game of Capture the Flag on a “casual Friday” in the company courtyard. The last thing you might imagine is an exercise that is usually practiced alone in solitude, like meditation. However, meditation is turning out to be one of the most effective team building exercises.
So, how is it that something like meditation that requires no teammates, or members, or outside assistance of any kind, can actually make a person feel more like they are part of a team, and more willing to work with others in a team-like fashion? Well, according to new research, it turns out that when someone finishes a session of meditation, they suddenly have a more “liberal” attitude, regardless of any political or religious affiliations they may have before starting the session — i.e., it doesn’t matter if someone considers them self a hard right-leaning conservative; they still come out of the session more liberal. Conversely, if someone already considers them self a liberal, they also come out of the session more liberal.
Now, you may be wondering, “What does being liberal have to do with teamwork?” Well, it has a lot to do with the difference between being religious and being spiritual. Meditation is not a religious practice. It can be, but for most people it’s not. For most people, meditation is a spiritual experience. When someone has a spiritual experience, they feel as if they are one with everything, and they sense that we are all connected. Unlike belonging to a particular religion or having a religious experience, which may make someone feel like they are part of a group, but still separate from everyone else who does not share their views.
When someone meditates, they feel a closeness, a connectedness with other people; they have increased empathy and compassion for others; and they develop a sense of their place in the Universe. All of these, what you might consider, “liberal” attitudes encourage teamwork and working with others. It makes sense, doesn’t it? When you feel like a loner; when you focus only on your own individuality, you do not feel motivated or inclined to work with others. In fact, you might make it a point to shy away from being a part of a team entirely.
The next time you are trying to think of a team building exercise for your co-workers, consider a group meditation session. There are plenty of DVD’s available online and in stores that will guide you through a meditation session so you and your colleagues have some direction and know what you are doing.
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