Working in the communications industry can be a whirlwind of brainstorms, pitches, sell-ins and launch events. Days are fast-paced, fun and fabulous and most of us thrive on the adrenalin rush that comes with a win – whether that’s a piece of new business, a piece of coverage or happy client.
Always looking, thinking, immersing… we’re challenged to come up with new ideas, to make different better, to turn the norm on its head. Ultimately, we need to cut through all the noise and appear in the right place at the right time, that beautiful sweet spot where our audience is quietly thinking about making their next purchase decision.
As part of our ‘Be Kind to Your Mind’ initiative, a dozen or so of us at 3 Monkeys Zeno took part in a 6 week ‘Zenability’ course to study the art of Zen meditation, Zazen, the practice of sitting in quiet stillness. For a group of excitable and at times overly articulate individuals, our first session posed what felt like an impossible challenge: to keep our bodies still and quiet and our minds empty for 10 whole minutes. It was easier to focus on the sound of the traffic outside the window, the chatter from colleagues in the next room and the inevitable to-do list for tomorrow.
Over time the practice became easier each week; we developed helpful techniques in letting go of unnecessary thoughts and how to cut through our own internal mind chatter. We learned that it doesn’t matter for how long you sit or how often, but that creating the space for stillness is what’s important, and finally came to understand that ‘Zazen is neither about trying to think nor trying not to think – just sitting with no deliberate thought’.[i]
There is something powerful in achieving stillness and using that time to tap into your own inner resources to find calm during stress, allow solutions to form and to let creative thoughts play. It’s certainly helped this monkey tame her mind and reignite a creative mindset.
[i] Dogen in Fukanzazengi