I'm not going to talk about the benefits of workplace mindfulness. If you haven't seen such articles and research, you may have fallen behind in your reading. I'd like to share something you may not have heard before - an unexpected (and wonderful) result from group mindfulness practice at work.
When I began leading mindfulness in my workplace back in 2011, something steadily emerged in addition to the much-talked-about benefits of this practice.
A sense of community happened among the participants.
You are human, and so am I
When co-workers file into the meeting room where we enjoy our group meditation together, something is very different.
We enter the room not as bosses, subordinates, project members, administrators or vice presidents. We enter as people. People who are all seeking the same thing individually, and at the same time.
An intriguing new community
After awhile, the same faces keep showing up in the meditation room at work. A sense of familiarity blossoms with people you have never met. Many people don't even know each other, but they have their group meditation practice in common.
In the hallways, they exchange a friendly hello when they hadn't previously.
In meetings, they might remark 'oh, I see you in meditation class'.
An undercurrent community has begun, although not planned.
People strike up conversations inside and outside the meditation room, sometimes about meditation or mindfulness, and sometimes not.
It creates a level-playing field for participants and it doesn't matter what role you have in the organization.
You feel a sense of common purpose and support.
It brings humanity back into the workplace
What a revelation, to experience each other at work as people. We are all people with stories, ups and downs, living with life's challenges. We are not just our roles, hierarchy, performance and deadlines.
If and when you start a group mindfulness practice at work . . .
Be on the lookout to see if a unique community arises. Are there unlikely people interacting and sharing?
"Community" - a sense of fellowship with others,
as a result of sharing common values and interests.
I invite you to let me know what you see at Wendy@TheCalmMonkey.com.
~Wendy Quan, Founder, The Calm Monkey