Mindfulness for successful living

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By 2017-03-19

"Turn you attention inward. Become aware of your posture, how you sit on the chair. Notice all your body sensations, notice any tensions that may be present, gently relax those places, relax your whole body, be totally comfortable in your posture...Now look closely for thoughts that may arise in your mind. If they are linked to the past or future just let them go by becoming aware... You might experience a sense of silence and then you will notice that you are breathing. There must be movement for the mind to notice. Please observe the whole process of breathing without interfering, without forcing it in any way...as you do this, whenever you notice that you are thinking of something else please bring your attention back to breathing...keep doing this exercise..."

Following these instructions, the whole audience; a cross section of corporate leaders, experienced the bliss of being totally silent for some time, perhaps for the first time in life during a very unique corporate event organized to launch the book Inward Bound for Mindful Living as a Sarasavi Publication by Deepal Sooriyaarachchi. Deepal is a seasoned corporate executive, now fully committed to the purpose of developing managers while serving on a number of blue chip boards. The Union Ball Room of JAIC Hilton was filled to capacity on 16 February by those who responded to Deepal's invitation to discover how mindfulness, the simple skill of becoming aware of what happens here and now and observing them non-judgmentally, can improve corporate performance and happiness.

It was a book launch with a difference with complete focus on the audience, which echoed the likes of an evening lecture series organized by a professional institute. The formal presenting of the book was replaced by a lineup of excellent presentations by eminent speakers.

Having referred to the origins of mindfulness in the Buddha's teaching, Dr. Tara De Mel educated the audience on how in the last decade the scientific community had discovered immense benefits of the practice of mindfulness with undisputable evidence, recorded in over 500 peer reviewed articles in leading scientific journals. Referring to a large number of scientific research publications she took the audience through as to how the practice of mindfulness definitely affects all the systems of the human physiology with positive benefits. She used the secular definition of mindfulness popularized by John Kabat-Zinn of USA "Paying attention on purpose in the present moment non-judgmentally" in sharing the various scientific aspects.

She went on to say how the mindfulness revolution began when His Holiness Dalai Lama challenged Professor Richard Davidson (Neuroscientist - Founder of the Centre for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison) to research about the positive emotion and its impact on the human brain. Accordingly mindfulness has gained recognition and has got introduced to many fields including medicine, education, management and business. One of the key points that took the audience's attention was the 'Mindful nation' policy that has been adopted by the British Parliament in a bipartisan move.

"Deepal first introduced this book at PIM when it was a UK publication with his adopted pen name Deepal Soori and in fact he has become a shuri (expert) in showing us the importance of a very important aspect we tend to ignore in the hustle and bustle of busy life, which is to be mindful," was how Prof. Ajantha Dharmasiri commenced his presentation. He eloquently argued for the immense benefit of the practice of mindfulness to be effective managers. He iterated that the invitation to travel 'inward bound' is timely as most managers consider being productive by being faster and busier; as a result being more stressful rather than being smarter. He invited managers to consider the four foundations of mindfulness discussed in Sati Pattana Sutta, as the basis for peak performance.

Presidents Council Prasantha Lal De Alwis, an eminent criminal lawyer, structurally reviewed the book to show how insightful, practical, theoretical, readable, and logical it was, while also being affordable. He observed the unusual structure of the book and emphasized that this book has been obviously written by someone who walks the talk as evidenced by the simplicity with which some deep insights are brought out.

Deepal used the opportunity to recall with gratitude all those who helped him to rise up in life and particularly those who helped in publishing the book.He explained how we are distracted, confused and stressed today more than ever and how the simple practice of mindfulness can make a world of difference to everyone who can develop the skill by spending a few minutes a day.
He revealed that he had been practicing mindfulness since 1980, integrating it into his life long before the current awareness on the subject. "In mindfulness we learn to bring our attention to notice what goes on in this moment, the only moment we can observe, without getting involved – just like a CCTV camera." While appreciating all the health and other benefits valued by the scientific community, Deepal said that gaining those benefits through mindfulness is like using a Backhoe Machine to uproot a banana plant! "The real benefit is getting to know yourself. Please read my book, but the most important book you must read is your life," emphasized Deepal. During his presentation he conducted a guided mindfulness practice session as well.

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