I’m used to getting up early, at six, six-thirty. The first hour of the day I then fill with nothing. I meditate, I concentrate on emptiness. It’s probably a concept that most managers can’t relate to. Emptiness?
In our Western culture, we are always busy finding solutions. There is a problem, it goes without saying that the problem requires a solution, and as soon as possible. And then, on to the next solution! But often problems crystallize by simply embracing them. The entire journey is interesting, not only the conclusion.
It all started more or less by accident, thirty years ago, when I lived in a student house where an older boy practiced Zen meditation. I thought: meditation, great, I could use that. I can learn to concentrate better and therefore work better, study better, exercise better. It was purely functional. Gradually, it evolved and I developed a spiritual attitude. Or rather: spirituality developed me. Meditation became an intrinsic part of my life, an essence. I dared to follow new trails.
I used to be purely rationally driven. We are children of Descartes, the seventeenth-century French philosopher: I think, therefore I am. I learned that thinking alone is very limiting. Increasingly, I started to think less, to do less and to sit in emptiness. Don’t get me wrong, that is a positively charged concept. The benefit is that you get in touch with a bigger picture. Emptiness is full of everything.
Early in the morning, I concentrate on my breathing and before I know it, an hour has passed. Surprisingly, I experience that a lot is happening then. After years of practice, I realize the impact. In our culture, we want solutions right away, we want to measure results. But that’s exactly what it’s not about. It’s about embracing and letting go, not having a goal, just being.
That’s when you start being calm instead of restless, kind instead of unkind, honest instead of dishonest. I think that’s super essential.