Tuesday, 13 October 2020

A melancholy vapor

If a manager's leadership style is to express little trust that they can do the job without constant oversight and prodding, how is that likely to make the individual staff feel? More than unempowered, they are likely to feel useless and without any value to the organization. The time you take to experience restful awareness will yield immediate rewards. You will notice relaxation during the meditation and increased energy and creativity during your day. If you have not meditated before, start with the So Hum meditation technique. After you have practiced this procedure for a while, we recommend you learn a more specific and personalized process called Primordial Sound Meditation (PSM), taught by one of our certified instructors. PSM uses individualized mantras that are based on the time, date, and place of your birth. There are now over five hundred certified Primordial Sound Meditation teachers in the world. See the appendix for information on finding a PSM teacher in your area. So Hum Meditation Sit comfortably, where you will not be disturbed, and close your eyes. Take a slow deep breath through your nose while thinking the word So. Some people will really love the counting technique for breathing and will come to rely on their birth partner to count for them, coaching them through each surge. If this works for you, then that's brilliant. Practise with your birth partner - it's a great way for them to be involved. Other people might prefer the room to be quiet or to listen to music or relaxation readings. If you don't find the counting relaxing or you don't have someone to count for you, then another way to pace your breathing is to use a visualisation. It's a good idea to use an upward visualisation to accompany your up breathing. For example, you might like to imagine a hot air balloon: as you inhale, the balloon fills with air, inflating until it's a big round balloon. Then, as you slowly exhale, imagine the hot air balloon gently rising up into the sky and drifting off into the distance.

You might prefer to imagine the sun rising over the horizon as you inhale, then, as you exhale slowly, picture it moving upwards to its midday position above your head. Imagine feeling the warmth of the sun as it rises upwards. We knew that feeling each day in childhood but, for the most part, not since--even though we are all still the same human beings, with the same basic emotional needs, as we were back then. When I was a child my mom would send my four sisters and me out to play on summer days. Don't come back until dinner were her parting words as she ushered us out the door. We spent our days discovering and creating big adventures, building forts, riding bikes, jumping rope, singing silly songs, chasing butterflies, hiding in cornfields, picking flowers, making mud pies. We used our imagination, we played, we created, we found wonder in everything, and we discovered, experimented, invented, laughed, felt accomplishment, and lived in the moment. I loved those unstructured, carefree days where everything about life and being me was filled with possibility. Play rejuvenates and revitalizes us. It helps us see the world from different points of view. It rekindles our optimism, encourages experimentation, and renews our ability to be flexible and make meaningful connections as we continually adapt to our changing world. One of the most wonderful by-products of play is laughter. The inefficiencies caused by a micromanagement style are just as self-evident as the morale issues it engenders. If a manager is putting his or her nose into every detail of a task, when can the manager do more strategic or innovative activities? In contrast to the Theory X approach to managing others, McGregor describes a more people-friendly and empowering approach to leading others that he labels Theory Y. A Theory Y approach assumes that: Theory Y managers insist that people are assets that can be nurtured for the talent they bring to the organization. Employees are not reluctant or indolent resources that need to be prodded to function in a manner that the organization wishes--rather, they want to do rewarding work! What a concept! Ron Willingham, author and chair of the management consulting firm Integrity Systems, uses a term he calls The People Principle to describe how important human relations approaches are to organizational management.

Willingham states his beliefs about managing people as follows: All people have unlimited potential that has been largely unrecognized and untapped. Exhale slowly through your nose while thinking the word Hum. Continue breathing easily, silently repeating, So . Whenever your attention drifts to thoughts in your mind, sounds in your environment, or sensations in your body, gently return to your breath, silently repeating So . Continue this process for twenty minutes with an attitude of effortlessness and simplicity. When the time is up, continue to sit with your eyes closed for a few more minutes before resuming your daily activity. When practicing this technique, you will have one of several experiences. Regardless of your experience, have an attitude of no resistance. Relinquish your need to control or anticipate what is occurring during the practice. Any of the following experiences are indications that you are meditating correctly: Your attention is on your breathing as you silently repeat the mantra So Hum. Alternatively, you might like to imagine a party balloon inflating and expanding as you inhale, and then, as you exhale, feel all the air releasing as the balloon shrinks quickly in size. Choose a colour for your balloon as this will help you with your visualisation. For down breathing, people tend to use opening visualisations. For example, as you exhale you could imagine all the layers of a rose bud unfolding and opening. Some women will use visualisations with which they are already familiar - from yoga classes for example. A common one is the `golden thread' visualization: as you exhale you picture a golden thread running from your lips and extending out towards the horizon. If you break your breath you break the thread, an image that might help you remain committed to that longer exhale. Some women during the down stage of labour will visualise their baby moving down the birth canal and focus on the fact they will be meeting their baby very, very soon.

Perhaps they will consider what their baby's face might look like, whether they are a boy or a girl, or perhaps they will imagine the moment they introduce their baby to siblings or other family members. It's nice to allow yourself to be distracted by these happy thoughts. Laughter is inner jogging. Research shows that laughter lowers blood pressure, reduces the release of stress-related hormones, increases muscle flexibility, and boosts immune function. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, our body's natural painkillers, and results in a general sense of well-being. Laughter is an instant vacation; Living Skillfully will encourage and inspire you to reconnect with your enthusiasm and your passion. Play will again become a joyful part of each day; I know a mom with four teenagers still living at home who was tired of complaining about the never-ending river of clothes spilling out from her small laundry room into the hallway. So she got creative. Now every Sunday, each family member washes and dries one or two loads, and then they all gather together in the TV room with popcorn and a movie for a family fold-a-thon. Another woman I know turns up her stereo as loud as she can on Saturday mornings before proceeding to dance her way through vacuuming the house to the blaring, soulful sounds of Aretha Franklin. When discovered and accessed, this potential can lead them to far greater levels of productivity than they ever imagined. Willingham implies that this growth is connected to self-actualization and that a people-focused strategy yields incredible benefits for the employer organization. He offers a valuable message: People are more important than processes. Willingham bemoans the wasted resources spent in American industry on technology and organizational strategies that reinforce the Theory X mindset, rather than looking for ways to tap into human potential factors to improve productivity. Willingham might ask, If you had your druthers, would you rather dedicate time, financial, and people resources to writing a comprehensive process manual, or to developing systemic ways to tap into the full potential of employees whose talents are under-utilized? Which of these offers the best opportunity for adding tremendous value to the organization? The latter is obviously his preference. Companies are often consumed by work processes and administrative minutiae, leading to activities that often take precedence over a focus on how to unleash people's natural interests and talents.

When organizations choose the latter, the performance-enhancing opportunities are nearly limitless. This message has particular relevance today, as workforces have been shrunk to the bare minimum in order to cut costs and improve per-unit productivity. Your mind drifts off into a stream of thoughts. Sometimes these thoughts will be almost dreamlike and other times you may feel that you are just thinking with your eyes closed. In either case, when you remember that your attention has drifted away from your breath and the mantra, gently return to it. Occasionally at first, and more regularly after a while, you will have the experience of a thoughtless state. Your mind is silent and your body is deeply relaxed. We call this going into the gap, or the experience of timeless mind. With regular practice, the inner silence you experience in the gap will infuse every aspect of your life. There may be times in your meditation when you fall asleep. Because meditation is a gentle, natural process, if your body is fatigued, it will take this opportunity to sleep. Listen to this message from your body and commit to getting the deep rest you need. It's a really a case of whatever works for you and helps you to maintain the in-for-four and out-for-eight rhythm of the breath. Whatever you choose is fine. Just take some time each day to practise the breathing whilst using a visualisation. Doing a few repetitions each evening before you go to bed is ideal as it will help you relax into sleep, but do also practise whenever you think of it during the day. At first you will probably find that you still count silently in your head whilst breathing and trying to follow the visualisation. After a bit of practice, you will get used to the rhythm of the breath and what four and eight counts feels like, and will be able to pace yourself, focusing on your visualisation without counting. Practice really is key. Even if you plan on having your birth partner count for you, it's a good idea to also have a backup visualisation you can use if your birth partner is having to talk to a midwife or doctor, or if you pop out of the room to go to the toilet.

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