If you had an hour with a monk, what would you ask him?
That’s the dilemma I had this week, as I was interviewing Buddhist Monk, Gelong Thuben.
Thuben has an amazing bio. He’s just published a book called How to be Human with Ruby Wax and neuroscientist Ash Ranpura. He’s coached the actors from movie Dr. Strange in Meditation. And he’s taught meditation in companies like Google and LinkedIn and many more. He donates the money from his work to build monasteries and other similar projects.
I had a wonderful conversation with him and can’t wait to share the video! If you’re on our email list you’ll be able to watch it for free once it’s out - probably November 2018.
In the meantime, he’s some of Thubten’s insights and tips for us:
Set the right intention in your meditation. Intention is everything. Why are you sitting down to meditate? What’s your motivation for reading this? If it’s just to benefit yourself, fine. But if you set the intention to benefit others too, you’ll find the whole process even more transformative. Part of the cause of all your sufferings is excessive focus on me, me, me. As we consider how our meditation practice can benefit others, the feel of the meditation changes, in a good way.
You can be mindful in 5 seconds. Thubten teaches in lots of organisations and companies, all the time. He’s on a plane around three times a week to teach in yet another location. He started teaching meditation 20 years ago, before all this mindfulness hype. And he encourages staff to be mindful in their everyday lives. To connect with any one of their senses. Feel your feet on the floor. Enjoy one nourishing in and out breath. Look at the sky. It takes just a few seconds to be mindful in any one moment.
Regular long-term meditation in companies changes the culture. Thubten gave a lovely example of a company he went into regularly. They said: ‘Thuben, we expected the meditation would just make us more focused. In reality, we’ve had a benefit we didn’t even expect. We blame each other less.’ This is the power of long-term training in mindfulness, kindfulness and meditation. A kinder culture with less blame and more support towards each other.
Being funny is important! In Thubten’s recent time together with Ruby Wax, he realised the importance of humor in teaching meditation. Ruby’s use of humor helps to engage people, and they are then more willing to do the meditation practice too. Ruby finishes her stand-up shows with a bit of guided meditation, and everyone goes for it. It reminds me of another quote from another monk - make people laugh, and when their mouths are open, you can drop in some wisdom! Hahahaha! If you need a laugh, check out my mindful jokes page - and tell me if you know any other good ones!
Retreat are not easy...but are transformative. Thubten has been on a 4-year retreat. And he was expecting it to be calm, relaxing and easy. But it wasn’t! He described it as facing his own mind with nowhere to escape. But it was transformative in a gradual, gentle way. There was no one big flash of insight. But he learnt so much about how minds work, and uses those insights in his work with others. So go on retreat if you can...even if it’s just for a day. Shorter retreats are less challenging. And if you read this blog regularly, you know what I’ll say - be kind to yourself, don’t force your body and mind to do things it doesn’t want to to do. Take a friendly approach and positive transformation will happen without your volition.
It was a great pleasure to spend time with Gelong Thubten. I felt his inner calm and presence resonated most with me. When you do long-term, compassionate-based meditation, it oozes out of your pores. Thuben has done that work and continues to share meditation not just with companies, but also schools, prision, addiction centres and more. You can download his app here and find out more about his work here:
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Thanks for reading and be kindful out there dear friends!
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