Free U.S. Shipping on orders over $20.00

share:

New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

Positive news and inspiring views from the New World Library community


Wednesday, February 27, 2019
“Keep Making It Simpler”: An excerpt from SEVEN PRACTICES OF A MINDFUL LEADER by Marc Lesser
 

Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader evolved out of Marc Lesser’s work helping to create Search Inside Yourself, a mindfulness-based emotional intelligence program at Google. In this transformative book, he distills a lifetime of contemplative practice and business experience into seven simple, powerful practices for optimizing mindful leadership at work, as well as living a full and meaningful life:

  • Love the work
  • Do the work
  • Don’t be an expert
  • Connect to your pain
  • Connect to the pain of others
  • Depend on others
  • Keep making it simpler

We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from the book. 

# # #

Whenever I lead trainings or give talks on using these seven mindfulness practices, I can often feel the room’s energy shift as I describe the seventh practice, “Keep making it simpler.” People experience a sense of relief, as though a weight has been lifted. Their shoulders drop and they relax. Though we yearn for and need practices to support our leadership, mindfulness, and growth, we also have a basic and primal yearning to let go, to let it all go — all our concerns and judgments about our health, well-being, improvement, effort, and struggles over everything, including these practices. What a relief to stop struggling!

Imagine, for just a short amount of time each day, letting go of your to-do lists, your self-help plans, and your projects. Imagine letting go of your improvement plans for others. This is often really difficult. Each day, just appreciate this moment, your life right now as it is.

In meditation practice we train our minds to be aware, to be with whatever sensations, feelings, and thoughts arise. A somewhat radical-sounding practice is to let go of everything with each exhale, to not assume or expect that your exhale will be followed by another inhale. With each breath, let go even of the expectation of being alive. Then, when there is another inhale, be surprised: Oh, here I am!

Acceptance — embracing the fact of impermanence and the certainty of change — is a powerful tool for cultivating simplicity. Much of our doing is extra and moves us in the direction of complexity. The key is to integrate doing and nondoing, effort and effortlessness. This isn’t some magic trick or ancient, mysterious spiritual practice. When you are speaking or writing, just speak or write, without doing anything extra. This same attitude of just doing what you are doing (without comparing or judging or trying to get to the next activity) can be cultivated in leading, in listening, in driving, in working alone or with others, in relationships, as well as in your daily activities.

The intention of the seventh practice is to see or recognize the most important thing in any given moment, even in the midst of our busy lives. We can’t avoid challenges, or problems, or grief, or death, but when we feel confused and overwhelmed, we can remember: Keep making it simpler, and simpler still; each moment and each day, keep making life less complicated, so we are more focused, spacious, and present. So we prioritize the most important action to take.

 

Meditation: Letting Go of Extra Effort

When I’m leading meditations, after guiding people to find that relaxed and alert state, I then suggest letting it all go: Let go of trying, of unnecessary effort, and just notice what comes to you. This is an important part of all the seven practices: Noticing and letting go of extra effort, of resisting your problems, of resisting change, of trying to change, and instead embrace your life as it is. 

Imagine: What would your life be like if you had a different relationship with your problems, if you could completely accept and be at peace with your problems? The meditation that follows explores understanding and working with the eighty-fourth problem, that of wanting not to have problems.

To begin, notice that you are breathing. Simply bring your attention to your breath, sometimes inhaling and sometimes exhaling. As you exhale, notice that you are exhaling, and see if you can let go of all your problems, everything. 

Simply bring your attention to your breath. Breathing in and breathing out.

Then, for the length of one long, full exhale, let go: 

  • Let go of your to-do lists, unfinished projects, and anything that is lacking or needs to be improved or fixed.
  • Let go of all your self-help plans, and even more difficult for many, let go of your self-help plans for others.
  • Let go of doing or thinking that is extra or unnecessary right now.

Imagine: What might it feel like to appreciate your problems and let go of resisting them? 

Then, as you inhale, let all your problems, lists, and issues resurface. Then, with the next exhale, let them go.

Continue for as long as feels comfortable, and when you are ready, bring your attention back to your surroundings and gently reenter your day.

# # #

Marc Lesser is a CEO, Zen teacher, and author of Seven Practices of a Mindful LeaderLess: Accomplishing More by Doing Less and Know Yourself, Forget Yourself. He has led mindfulness and emotional intelligence programs at many of the world’s leading businesses and organizations, including Google, SAP, Genentech, and Kaiser. He is currently the CEO of ZBA Associates, a company providing mindfulness-based leadership trainings and creating community by supporting ongoing groups. Previously, he served as CEO and cofounder of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, whose core programs he helped develop within Google. Marc was a resident of the San Francisco Zen Center for ten years and is a former director of Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. He currently leads Mill Valley Zen, a weekly meditation group. For more information, visit www.MarcLesser.net.

Excerpted from the book Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader. Copyright © 2019 by Marc Lesser


SHARE THIS PAGE

SHARE THIS PAGE
share:

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

CONNECT TO NEW WORLD LIBRARY

ARCHIVES

May 2019 (3)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (4)
February 2019 (4)
January 2019 (5)
December 2018 (3)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (4)
August 2018 (4)
July 2018 (4)
June 2018 (5)
May 2018 (7)
April 2018 (5)
March 2018 (5)
February 2018 (5)
January 2018 (5)
December 2017 (3)
November 2017 (6)
October 2017 (6)
September 2017 (6)
August 2017 (6)
July 2017 (5)
June 2017 (7)
May 2017 (6)
April 2017 (6)
March 2017 (8)
February 2017 (5)
January 2017 (5)
December 2016 (6)
November 2016 (8)
October 2016 (6)
September 2016 (7)
August 2016 (6)
July 2016 (6)
June 2016 (7)
May 2016 (7)
April 2016 (6)
March 2016 (7)
February 2016 (6)
January 2016 (6)
December 2015 (4)
November 2015 (7)
October 2015 (7)
September 2015 (6)
August 2015 (7)
July 2015 (9)
June 2015 (9)
May 2015 (8)
April 2015 (9)
March 2015 (9)
February 2015 (8)
January 2015 (8)
December 2014 (7)
November 2014 (7)
October 2014 (9)
September 2014 (9)
August 2014 (8)
July 2014 (10)
June 2014 (8)
May 2014 (9)
April 2014 (8)
March 2014 (9)
February 2014 (9)
January 2014 (7)
December 2013 (7)
November 2013 (4)
October 2013 (5)
September 2013 (4)
August 2013 (4)
July 2013 (3)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (4)
March 2013 (3)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (2)
December 2012 (4)
November 2012 (4)
October 2012 (5)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (3)
July 2012 (2)
June 2012 (3)
May 2012 (2)
April 2012 (3)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (3)
January 2012 (4)
December 2011 (4)
November 2011 (3)
October 2011 (4)
September 2011 (5)
August 2011 (4)
July 2011 (2)
June 2011 (3)
May 2011 (3)
April 2011 (4)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (3)
January 2011 (1)
December 2010 (3)
November 2010 (3)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (2)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (4)
June 2010 (2)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (5)
March 2010 (5)
February 2010 (1)