Whether or not the latest wave of self-helping meditators or corporate practitioners of ‘mindfulness’ know it, the spiritual enlightenment sweeping America has strong ties to Buddhism, thanks in part to one huggable ex-monk in California.
Over the last decade, without much fanfare, the core tenets of Buddhism have migrated from the spiritual fringe to become widely accepted techniques for dealing with the challenges of daily life. Feeling overwhelmed? “Watch your breath,” “stay present” and focus on “mindful action.” Grappling with difficult emotions? “Seek awareness” and “acceptance.” Dissatisfied with life? Surely you’ve heard the idea that dissatisfaction is endemic to the human condition. While not always labeled as such, these are, in fact, the key principles of Buddhist teachings. And they couldn’t have come at a better time, when so many Americans are overscheduled, overstimulated and generally in need of anything that might cultivate a sense of internal calm.
Beyond the beliefs, the practice of Buddhist mindfulness-centered meditation is also undeniably having a moment. Corporate mindfulness programs, such as General Mills’s pioneering at-work meditation program, in which participating employees begin the day listening to the sound of bells ringing, are increasingly popular. Google’s seven-week course for employees, “Search Inside Yourself,” is oversubscribed. Similar programs have begun to crop up in universities and public schools, as well as in the United States Marine Corps, to help deal with stress. (MORE)
Source: NY Times