"Meditation more than any other factor has been the secret to whatever success I've had," Ray Dalio, founder of the world's largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, told financial journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin at a David Lynch Foundation event on Tuesday evening.
The David Lynch Foundation hosted a panel discussion entitled Meditation: Creativity, Performance & Stress, which was led by Sorkin, and featured Dalio, along with HuffPost President and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington, celebrity chef Mario Batali, researchers Dr. Norman Rosenthal and Dr. Pamela Peeke and more.
Dalio said that Transcendental Meditation -- a technique that involves sitting silently and repeating a personal mantra for 20 minutes twice a day, which he's been practicing for more than 40 years now -- has revolutionized his approach to work and life.
"If there's stress sometimes, I'll just break away and go into meditation and it just washes off," Dalio told Sorkin. "With meditation, you just come into equanimity and you know things are going to come at you, and you accept that."
Meditation has also transformed the corporate culture at Bridgewater. Dalio pays for half of the fees for any employee who's interested in learning TM, and the office features meditation rooms and group sessions. The company is also known for its "brutally honest" meetings, and Dalio says meditation helps his employees to adopt an attitude of calm equanimity that helps them to engage in a productive dialogue without reacting emotionally.
"The ability to have disagreement without emotion… to know what your weaknesses are so that you can guardrail yourself about the weaknesses, which is essential to success," says Dalio, "I don't think we could do that without a calm equanimity."
Huffington, who also practices meditation and offers it to her employees, agreed that meditation can boost productivity and help us to operate from a place of deeper wisdom and perspecive. When we're in touch with ourselves, we're less likely to sacrifice our health or relationships in the relentless pursuit of success -- and more able to see the big picture of life, Huffington said.
"We've been having a lot of conversations [at the Huffington Post] about what is a good life? What matters in life?" said Huffington, explaining that we often tend to focus on things like money and power, which don't seem to matter much at the end of life. "I think it's important to put everything we're saying about meditation into the larger perspective of 'What is our life about?' As the Onion headline put it, 'Death Rate Holds Steady At 100 Percent.' So are we going to live our eulogy, or our resume?"