One of the tricks of meditation is to gently bring one’s mind back from the various thoughts that seem to spring eternal, as if from some internal thought fountain, each time they wander. The goal (if tricks and goals can be applied to meditation) is attentiveness. To be fully conscious of the moment – without letting thoughts break that attention… such as what you’re going to eat later, or if that’s your car alarm going off, or whether you’ve managed not to think about anything for longer than ten seconds.
Meditation is about focusing and developing that initial desire – it is about calming the mind. It is about bringing yourself back to that simple starting point whenever you stray.
We should remember why we began…
I often look up an important article on the web then see an interesting link, which reminds me to share something on Twitter, then Facebook and before I know it, I’ve entered into a half-hour loop, which has taken me further and further from the initial intention. Many sites, advertisements, applications and so on are designed exactly with that in mind – to capture your attention. It is no wonder we find it so hard to focus and concentrate when billions of dollars are spent to try to seize morsels of our consciousness at every turn.
It’s not just the micro-pieces, but also the macro. Sometimes we forget why we started dating someone, or why we left a job to begin a new business. We can be so caught up in an argument with a partner, or the desire to reach the next level of our business targets, that we even forget the reason for our being there.
To a CEO trying to buy another billion-dollar business to be the CEO of an even bigger business to achieve even greater profits and even greater cost reduction – you have to ask, “Why?” Why did this character first get into business? Like our friends in the book Barbarians at the Gate, have these titans of business, or ‘big swinging dicks’ become so lost that they’ve forgotten that they started in business to earn a fair wage, or change the world for the better?
In the tech start-up world, valuations have created billion-dollar companies within a few years – yet how often do the creators of remarkable programming languages, or social media platforms stop to wonder about the why? Why did we start inventing things? The fastest growing company in the world EVER was Groupon, a company that helps sell things you never knew you needed more quickly. Is that important? Surely, a company discovering a cure for tuberculosis, or a social enterprise should have been a quicker hit? Sadly not.
When you get on a plane and you wander through business class into the rabble at the back, past the overweight people trying not to feel self-conscious in business class, you have to wonder if they are there because it’s important that they’re there, or because they’ve become gently accustomed to the luxury, like the proverbial boiling frog.
As my new venture takes shape, please come and twock me round the head if I start talking about wanting to be the ‘biggest’ if I cannot substantiate the statement with a rationale that make sense from a world-improving, spiritually-conscious point of view. I want to make a difference to people’s lives, my own included. Yet I hope I never lose sight of why I begin / began, because:
- I love building things (but I’d make a crap architect)
- It’s wonderful to conceive of something that can change the way things work and actually create it and see it grow to be bigger than any human part
- A ‘good’ business has more potential to make an impact than a ‘good’ charity (in my view)
- It pays the bills and it’s fun. Bonza. My first business, was begun because we’d been enjoying doing it free and wanted to do it for longer
- I like to break bad rules / traditions
- It’s good to hire people better than yourself
- You can be free to set your own direction
- It’s hugely challenging
So take some time to focus, harness that attention. Set your direction then continue to realign it so you’re not distracted by the news, your peers or marketeers. Rather than hit targets, realise your intention. Unless of course you started to beat others and get rich, in which case start again.