A Practice Story: Awareness

Submitted by a Zen student in the financial services industry in the U.K.

Part of my personal sense of mission around humanity in the workplace leads me to give lectures and sometimes do TV appearances. Anyway, when I got back from your workshop at Tassajara many friends said how calm I seemed. My wife especially noticed. She’s now really keen to have me sit every day. More than just calm, more flowing and relaxed in some way.

During last week I had a particularly tough two days. I chaired a board meeting of my company on Wednesday, did a TV program Thursday morning, and then traveled a 100 miles or so to a college where I gave a closing speech at a conference. Previous to starting meditation practice, any one of these three sessions would have left me drained. Being in the spotlight, the “hot seat,” really focusing my energy, seemed to deplete me.

There has been a change. I’m not sure how to explain it. The best thing to do is to describe what happened last week. We had a good board meeting, the TV presentation was widely appreciated, and more than that, I was relaxed enough to make sure I said what I wanted to say and didn’t get distracted. The conference paper was the best I have ever delivered. The audience and the chairman were delighted and right after I finished, I received two invitations to speak at other events. More than the successes, I did not feel completely drained following these events as I would have been in the past. I did feel tired but really felt I had contained or conserved myself. I’m definitely aware of the changes that others have been telling me about. It seems that with increased awareness comes many other qualities that are certainly being good for me.