by Don Ingwerson
Meditation, with its benefits and its shortcomings, has really been in the news in recent years. I’ve even written a number of blog posts on meditation as it relates to prayer. But now there is a different focus on meditation: combining meditation with the marketplace. What were once thought of as two completely incompatible pursuits are now being used together, incorporating meditation studios with conferences, which become new hubs for networking.
Some may wonder how this pairing came about. It turns out that what makes meditation palatable to entrepreneurs and executives these days is that it’s perceived as a tool to help increase productivity. This type of meditation still has a foundation in quieting the mind, but now the intended end result of this quiet mind is to recognize and pursue business opportunities.
And meditation centers are promoting themselves with a new business networking focus. The actual setting may be different, but generally a break-out group will start with a short meditation period and then focus on business. It seems that the more exclusive the meditating groups are, the more productive they are in offering help and support in networking and providing contact with like-minded individuals.
In many ways this combination of meditation and the marketplace emulates the relationship between prayer and serving church through membership.
But is there an important component missing in this new meditation/marketplace relationship? I would say yes. Although cultivating a quiet mind and gaining business opportunities and individual contacts in a network may decrease workplace stress – and stress may directly affect health – adding prayer as a foundation for quieting our thoughts and incorporating this prayerful meditation in every aspect of life is even more health-giving. Mary Baker Eddy, a deep researcher into the relationship between spirituality and wellbeing, found that looking beyond self through prayer was integral to health: “Prayer, watching, and working, combined with self-immolation, are God’s gracious means for accomplishing whatever has been successfully done for the Christianization and health of mankind.”
While meditation is being found to benefit many aspects of life, it’s important to remember that there is a spiritual foundation inherent in this practice. Starting from a spiritual standpoint leads to a higher form of meditation, cultivating health in all aspects of life. Meditation by definition quiets thought, and once thought is quieted ideas flow more freely.
Beyond that, I’ve found mental outreach through prayer is more than just quieting thought. It includes listening to divine Mind (God) for direction and spiritual purpose, bringing harmony, peace, and joy – all spiritual qualities derived from prayer that have been found to be powerful building blocks in creating a healthy mind-body relationship.
Article first published in Blogcritics.