The gong sound that brings good fortune
I was listening to the car radio today to the Dutch ‘News of Progress’ programme. I would like to share the following news item with you because it made me feel particularly positive:
“Schools in inner-city problem areas of San Francisco sound a gong twice a day to indicate that it is time to meditate. Pupils and teachers close their eyes and take a moment for themselves. It helps them to deal with the shootings and fights. And it makes them feel safer. What’s more, since the daily meditations have been introduced, pupils have started to perform much better. The number of pupils who have been expelled has dropped by 45%. As many as 20% of the pupils are now admitted to a well-known high school while it hardly ever happened before!”
The gong sound was also frequently heard in Plum Village, the retreat in the South of France where the famous Buddhist Thich Nhat Hahn lives and works. I would stop doing what I was doing and I was silent for 5 minutes. I became aware of what I was doing, how I was doing it and how I was feeling at that moment. The questions that Thich Nhat Than asks are: “Are you doing it with your full attention; are you completely in the here and now; are you seeing things clearly; are you aware of all the beauty that surrounds you?”
When I am working with managers and teams we regularly have a moment for reflection. The questions I ask during this intervention are: “What is happening now? What are you experiencing? How is this conversation going?” In addition, I work with meditation moments in the form of a visualising an inspiring future image. Or a breathing exercise at the beginning of a session to be completely in the here and now, without any distractions.
These moments give the manager I am working with “more resilience, more relaxation and a greater ability to put things into perspective”. At first, the manager had to get used to the idea. But now he is doing it 3 times a day; in the morning, when he drives to work and before he goes to sleep.
Thich Nhat Hahn teaches us: “Be pleased with a red traffic light. It will give you the opportunity to reflect for a moment!”
Personally, a moment of silence helps me to calm down, to return to myself, to the here and now. It also gives me more self-confidence and strength. I become clearer and more creative. I have a daily ritual: a moment of meditating in the morning before the children wake up. And I also use a great App: the Mindfulness Bell.
Would you like to introduce moments of reflection in your life? Then try the Mindfulness Bell App and follow these simple instructions. This is how it works:
Put your alarm clock on 15 minutes. Take a relaxed position, either in a chair or on a cushion on the floor. Just follow the rhythm of your breathing. Follow the intake of air into your lungs and as you exhale again. If any thoughts come into your mind, then let them go again. Focus on your breathing again.