Buddhism in Business Part 3 - Understanding Attachment To Your Views
In part 3 of this look at Buddhism in business, I continue my struggle with getting to grips with meditation. There was also the rather interesting insight into how our attachment to our views can shape our beliefs and behaviour – and the importance in understanding these attachments.
“Everything depends on what went before it”
Releasing Ourselves From Goals, Attachment to Views and More Meditation!
I must admit my enthusiasm for meditation had seriously taken a nose-dive by the time the third class came around. I know this was down to two main reasons. Firstly – I kept forgetting and therefore lost a bit of momentum. Secondly – I have to admit to a bit of ‘avoiding’. I continued to struggle to break through the five minute mark without a feeling of being overwhelmed, caused by my resistance to letting go the tension I felt within my body.
That said I was still looking forward to the class, mostly for the group conversation and learnings about the Buddha and his teachings – and renewing my theory that I was the Buddha 2 ?!
Straight away the teachers led the discussion into the juicy kind of suffering that we are all at the mercy of; our cravings and desires which underpin much of our motivation and reasons for working. It was suggested that we should let go of fixed goals to help reduce the potential suffering.
Should You Let Go Of Your Goals?
Whilst I understand the meaning behind this concept, I’m not sure I agree. I have always believed the obsessive pursuit of goals is what predominately results in achievement and success and the accompanying recognition and reward. That said, it is vital that there is an element of flexibility in goal setting to accommodate a changing situation and possible setbacks.
As we discussed our cravings the conversation rolled into my favourite subject, “attachment”, and in this case it was our attachment to our views which took centre stage. I found this very interesting as the teachers asked us to question the attachment to the view rather than the view itself.
The Attachment To Views
This attachment to views is extremely interesting especially around the current situation. We are in the middle of the biggest political polarising of opinion in years with the infamous – “remain or leave?” (Brexit) continuing to divide dinner tables.
The underlying driver of this attachment is our Ego’s need to have an identity and embrace and hold on to a culture, religion or set of values that we have adopted unknowingly or without consent.
When you can start to observe your attachment to your opinion then it allows for a calmer approach to your business meetings and finding an agreement which is beneficial to both sides. Of course, the strength of the attachment is always determined by the amount of emotion involved which is linked back to basic human needs.
This exploration of attachment to views was summarised with the question, “How do we change our minds?”
The Dreaded Meditation!
As the first discussion was coming to an end, I could feel the tension rising as I knew a meditation was looming and we were about to embark on a Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation for 20 mins.
This meditation again involved a series of counts on the inward and outward breath to help keep focus slowly letting go of the count to settle into the mediation. This was certainly the most challenging time I had meditating perhaps because of the day I’d had. I found myself losing count numerous times, opening my eyes on occasion and literally praying for time to pass!
After a break we entered into a truly fascinating discussion which covered questions like – what are all the conditions that lead to the arising of; teamwork, a small business and difficulty with a colleague. As we listed a range of actions, emotions and situations it occurred to me that the common thread around the development of solutions, is suffering.
I was reminded of a speech I gave at Toastmasters – the public speaking organisation – where I highlighted that without the pain of suffering there would be no joy of achievement. Therefore it is important that we maintain a focus on achieving, because otherwise we are only left with the pain of suffering.
Perhaps I would now add to that, that we should perhaps let go – not of fixed goals, but of fixed outcomes. Suffering is often associated not with having goals, but with not achieving the specific outcome we want.
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