Contemplative Organizations: The Business Program

Welcome to our Program Archive

This page is part of our archive of past program activities.

The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society works to support the contemplative dimension of teaching, learning and knowing in higher education. We invite you to learn more about our current initiatives.


Overview

For more information on contemplative practices within organizational settings, see our past programs on Social Justice and the Contemplative Net Project.

In 2008, the Center began working with Google to develop “Search Inside Yourself,” an employee training program on mindfulness-based emotional intelligence which is now an ongoing course on Google campuses worldwide.

Our Business Program began in 1996 when the Center worked with Monsanto to develop the first program in the country of in-depth insight meditation within a large corporation, including off-site retreats as well as on-site courses in meditation, full-day retreats in silence, and a dedicated meditation room at each corporate location. The program included discussions of personal and professional responsibility and visionary leadership among scientists and managers faced with critical decisions in agricultural and pharmaceutical biotechnology.

In 2003, the Center hosted an insight retreat for executives from Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc. at Medway, a historic home near Charleston, South Carolina. Other companies served include Hearst Publications, National Grid, and Plantronics.

Also in 2003, the Center collaborated with Spirit Rock Retreat Center in a program at Stanford Business School for students and professors. Speakers were Bob Shapiro, former Chairperson of Pharmacia; Rachel Remen, Co-Founder and Medical Director of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program; Charlie Halpern, Chairperson of the Center and former President, Nathan Cummings Foundation; and Jack Kornfield of Spirit Rock, who facilitated the day and led meditation practice. In 2012, Mirabai and board member Jeremy Hunter, professor of management at the Peter F. Drucker School of Management in Claremont, CA, taught a pre-conference workshop on mindfulness in business at the Academy of Management annual meeting.

A Testimonial from the Hoffmann-La Roche retreat:

“Every participant raved about the caliber of [Mirabai Bush’s] and Steven’s [Smith’s] instruction. We heard comments about how highly skilled you both are, how easy it was to be in the presence of two individuals who were so obviously well educated, experienced, traveled and exposed to a variety of settings with a variety of people…and yet possess such an extraordinary ability to create a context where it is so easy to learn, absent of judgment, so in touch, so touching. A wonderful and safe place to explore…

And did I mention the humor? To paraphrase one comment about Mirabai, [she was] described as possessing “unique intellectual levity”. It was clear that no one had anticipated the benefits of such levity but that we found the light heartedness allowed us to see, amongst other things, how seriously we had been regarding so many relatively unimportant issues…which interestingly now allows us to take ‘more’ seriously the issues that warrant such attention. What a difference this distinction has begun to make for our lives, including how we relate to business situations.

…What you are doing, is helping us learn to mindfully keep ourselves grounded in our principles…”

Further Resources

Working With Mindfulness Working With Mindfulness, a new CD/digital download by Contemplative Mind’s Founding Director Mirabai Bush. Learn more.

 

Suggested Books for the Contemplative Workplace

Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Reinvention of Work by Matthew Fox
The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of Soul in Corporate America by David Whyte
Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity by David Whyte

 

Articles

Mindfulness at work: What are the benefits? Gill Crossland-Thackray, The Guardian, Dec. 21, 2012

Mindfulness at Work: An Interview with Mirabai Bush. Elisha Goldstein, Mindful.org, Nov. 26, 2012

Mindfulness at Work: An Interview with Mirabai Bush. Elisha Goldstein, PsychCentral, Nov. 2012

The Mindful Office Mindful.org, Nov. 2012

Be More Mindful for a Better Workplace. Jen Weigel, Chicago Tribune, Aug. 21. 2012

Google Searches Barry Boyce, Shambhala Sun, September 2009

Wall Street Bosses, Tiger Woods Meditate to Focus, Stay Calm Nadja Brandt, Bloomberg.com, October 22, 2008 (Although we are not mentioned by name in the article, we co-designed Google University’s “Search Inside Yourself” program; Bob Shapiro is a past member of our Board; and the retreat for Monsanto employees was organized by the Center)

How to succeed in business: Meditate  by Oliver Ryan, Fortune, July 20, 2007

Meditation goes to work H.J. Cummins, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, January 20, 2006

Meditative practices promoted in workplaces Daily Hampshire Gazette, Monday, February 2, 2004

Out of the Monastery and Into the Boardroom Spirituality & Health Magazine, May-June 2003

Contemplating Corporate Culture Helen Tworkov interviews Mirabai Bush, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Summer 2001