Meditation At Work
A training program for developing awareness, composure, and creative response to problems in the workplace

Program Overview

A San Jose Mercury News front-page article described individuals "... racing through the labyrinth of deadlines that define business life in Silicon Valley" and being "squeezed by the inexorable pressure to get onto the next task, to solve the next problem." If your work life fits this description, you may want to explore a simple way for you and your organization to relieve the impacts of working in a "multi-tasking" mode. If so, read on.

The complexity of our modern life has created tremendous pressures for each of us as individuals and for the organizations that we work in. We struggle with long commutes, search for scarce and expensive housing, worry about adequate child care, feel uncertainty about the changing employer-employee social contract, and see our personal life increasingly impacted by the need to respond to shorter cycle times and continually master newer technologies. Companies worry about competition and their survival. Our environment is full of constant distractions with gravitational forces so strong that it becomes more and more difficult to keep our attention focused. How can we meet the challenge of distractions - without burnout, without anxiety about our own well-being and the well-being of our families, and without sacrificing the productivity and quality of our work?

Increased distractions require increased awareness - the capacity to give full attention to the immediate situation and to have the mind be able to quickly return to the present moment when it realizes that it has become distracted. Enhancing awareness - our most important skill - is the best remedy for the pressures of "multi-tasking." Where does meditation come in? How can sitting quietly be relevant to the busy activities of working life? Because meditation is at its core the practice of awareness, it is a way to improve our ability to stay focused in a world of distractions. We can meditate at home by ourselves or at a center established for that purpose. But there is another, more convenient way that fits our busy lifestyles: we can join with others to meditate together at our workplace.

Meditation at Work provides awareness training as well as group discussion of topics that demonstrate how enhanced awareness relates to on-the-job work issues. It's objectives are: to prevent the stress associated with the pressures of busy lives and to enhance decision-making, creativity, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills.

About The Instructor

Les Kaye is intimately familiar with the high-tech, corporate world, as well as with the practice of meditation and its expression in the activities of working life. Starting in 1958, Les worked at IBM in San Jose for over thirty years as an engineer, salesman, manager, and trainer. He has been involved in meditation since 1966 and has been a meditation teacher for the past twenty years. His book, Zen at Work, (Random House, 1997), includes stories of how his own meditation practice enhanced the quality of his life and his work at IBM.

Program Details

Meditation at Work was initiated in early 1997. It has been conducted at a number of diverse regional organizations including Hewlett Packard, Apple Computer, IBM, Netscape, NEC Electronics, Nortel Networks, Silicon Graphics (SGI), Mountain View City Hall, San Jose City Hall, Santa Cruz County, and the Wellness Program, Social Services Agency, and Valley Medical Center of Santa Clara County.

A full course program consists of several sessions where we would discuss topics such as:
  • Meditation, posture and breathing.
  • The principles of awareness.
  • Responding to discomfort.
  • The relationship of awareness to thoughts and the mental process.
  • How enhanced awareness helps resolve the problem of "multitasking."
  • Understanding and responding creatively to stress.
  • The desire for control and its relationship to stress.
  • Gaining a sense of control in a world of distractions.
  • The relationship of feelings and emotions to work.
  • Letting go of anger.
  • Understanding the feeling of resistance and how to overcome it.
  • Understanding the nature of discouragement and how it can be helpful on the job.
  • The role of awareness in communicating and in conflict resolution.
  • The relationship of habits to work.
  • How enhanced awareness improves decision-making and problem-solving.

Simple and economical, Meditation at Work has already proven its effectiveness. Here are some comments from technical and administrative professionals who have completed the program:

  • I listen more to people, rather than putting them off.
  • I find that I don't judge as quickly what someone is saying to me.
  • Rather than staying caught in the emotion associated with a problem, I start to look for solutions.
  • I am more able to focus on important things.
  • I am aware of my own ability to stay present and respond.
  • I feel more confident..positive...focused.
  • Co-workers have indicated that they see a positive change in my attitude.
  • This course couldn't have come at a better time for me. My work situation was becoming intolerable and I was ready to just quit.