We often include a guided meditation in our workshops. One of our favorites has to do with labels. We ask people to imagine themselves covered with labels — some self-assigned, some bestowed by others — and read what they say: mother, student, husband, curious, smart, silly, rebel and so on.
Imagine the labels peeling from your body, we tell them. Watch them drifting into space and disappear. The labels no longer obscure you pure essence — a white light, pulsing with energy. Some call it the divine spark. We call it boundless potential.
We conclude this meditation with the word “Namaste.”
Namaste has worked its way into the vernacular as the popularity of yoga has grown. Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. The literal translation is "bow me you" or "I bow to you."
The essence of namaste is this: “The light in me recognizes and honors the light in you and the divine light that unites us all.”
This sounds esoteric, but it’s really pragmatic, even in the workplace. Imagine your relationship to your work and the people you work with by taking this concept seriously. What would change if people put “namaste” into practical action in service of customers and coworkers? Consider ways you could live this out.
Honoring the light in yourself. You are worthy of the time and attention required to develop your potential and attend to your physical, mental and spiritual needs.
- Commit to a day of noticing your internal conversations. Jot notes as you can, and/or journal about it at the end of the day, to see what you discover. Do you need to change the conversation with yourself? Why? To what?
- List three to five core values that you want to be known for at work. Where did they come from? Why are they important? How do they influence your actions? What obstacles get in the way of you living them out?
Honoring the light in others. People are not their labels, and they make decisions based on what makes sense to them. You honor them by recognizing them for the complex people they are, rather than as objects you can manipulate to get what you want. Authentic relationships are built on telling the truth with goodwill, being open to the truths of others, and recognizing that many things can be true at the same time.
- Commit to a day of noticing your interactions at work. Do you stay silent when it would have served others or the business to speak up? How often do you respond to others’ truth with a “That’s not true,” or “Yes, but...”? When you disagree with someone, what keeps you from making every effort to see it from their point of view?
- Consider a practice of generosity. What changes when you see life from the perspective of abundance rather than scarcity. How would your experience change if you realized that there are enough resources, time, and credit to go around? Take inventory of what you have and create a gratitude list. What do you notice?
Honoring the divine light that unites us all. We are all connected. Surrendering your egocentric desires in order to contribute to the good of the whole is a way of acknowledging that. The best way to serve each other and customers is by understanding and strengthening the interdependencies required to further the work.
- What does “surrender” means to you? What feelings does the word evoke? Are they positive or negative? How does your perspective affect your decisions and actions?
- What are you attached to at work? People? Things? Outcomes? List the ways you are attached. How would cultivating a healthy detachment alter the ways you see yourself, others, and your work?
Beliefs and values influence the way we work. How do your beliefs help or hinder you? Hoping that the work environment or culture will change on its own will most likely create a cycle of frustration and disappointment. Recognizing and honoring your light and that of others can help you see that you have everything you need to make changes.