"Meditation more than anything in my life was the biggest ingredient for whatever success I've had." -- Ray Dalio, Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Bridgewater Associates
"The Power is given to you from God or whatever you believe and power meditation allows you to channel it and use it...building your inner strength and core." -- Danyaal Hasan, Banker in London
"The biggest change is that self-confidence comes back and positive thinking opens up lots of channels of success. The powers within yourself open up and attract people towards you". -- Sworup Dutta, Founder of Power Meditation.
Although a growing number of "successful" business people make meditation part of their lives, very few of them speak that openly about it. I came across the name of the hedge fund wizard, Ray Dalio, on a blog by the late free-internet hero, Aaron Swartz entitled: "Leaning into the Pain."
In this blog he cites Dalio writing:
Gaining strength is the adaptation process of the body and the mind to encountering one's limits, which is painful. In other words, both pain and strength typically result from encountering one's barriers. When we encounter pain, we are at an important juncture in our decision-making process.
One way that Dalio approaches dealing with all of this is through meditation. Dalio asserts :
"Meditation has given me centeredness and creativity...it's also given me peace, health... I go into a subconscious state basically and it opens my mind and relaxes me and when I carry that... through the day it gives me an ability to look at things without the emotional high jacking without the ego with a clarity and gives me an open-mindedness... and that is where the creativity comes from..."
My first deeper experience with meditation, and how it could completely change one's life, was when I met Sworup Dutta, who had come to Paris from India last October. Several business and personal acquaintances had learned about power meditation, a kind of meditation focusing on willpower and one's own strength through personal willpower, and I had witnessed it changing their lives. Not only did these people feel better, their professional lives were enhanced, and more "successful."
Failure, competition, and ultimately business is all about human experience. Power meditation can be done daily in 15-20 minutes, and goes beyond mindfulness into actually boosting self-esteem and effectiveness. I spoke with Danyaal Hasan, who has a very busy schedule working in private banking in London. He gets up around 5 a.m. and is not home until 8 or 9 p.m. and has very little time to focus on his family. He met the founder of the power meditation technique, Sworup Dutta years ago through his wife's family. He began discussing and doing meditation seven years ago but then Sworup introduced him to power meditation last October. Danyaal's experience was very similar to my own experience with Sworup.
"I try to do power meditation a few times a week, or at least on the weekends. It helped when Sworup was physically present to lead the meditation, in that I had the same feeling I have when I am in a holy place, feeling calmer, slowing down... the body posture and clearing of the mind are what I picked up on..."
"It gives you more confidence, generally as I am younger and less experienced than many of my colleagues, I feel I have to work harder... there was extra pressure and self-doubt. Now, when I am in a meeting, I feel more confidence. Power meditation helped me to really enjoy my work. I love what I do."
But what is the difference between meditation in general and power meditation?
Danyaal describes it like:
Power Meditation allows you to focus on your willpower. It is about focusing on a single point and not thinking about anything else other than building your will and inner strength. Everything one must do on a day-to-day basis becomes focused on this will. There is a confidence in interactions with others and how one deals with tricky situations in the financial world. Power meditation is very effective for people in this turbulent industry.
I would add that, when applying power meditation to one's personal life as well, to deal with emotional and relationship difficulties, that building one's willpower allows us to see and act more clearly, with a kind of cool distance, while still remaining present. This ability to focus and to feel the strength and confidence, which comes from focusing one's willpower, also helps us to make decisions, even split second ones, with more intelligence and wisdom.
After three days of power meditation sessions, when confronted with a personal situation which I felt was disrespectful and which called for an immediate decision to be made, however painful, I was able to make that decision firmly and stick with it.
There was no doubt I had made the correct decision and the self-confidence I felt, even alongside the pain of an ending of a relationship, helped me to move ahead and ultimately look back and know I had done exactly the right thing. Even during the most trying and sad moments, I never doubted that the power meditation and the strength I had inside myself to enforce my own integrity and my own boundaries, were opening new doors towards a more successful and authentic future. Putting both professional and personal experiences into perspective, allows us to redefine success. The time taken to meditate creates clarity about what success truly means.
Failure is a learning experience. The ability to center and channel one's willpower through meditation helps us to step back and see that failure is actually part of our success. It simply becomes part of life, one strand in the richness of human experience. I was able to share this power meditation with my teenage daughter who felt a strong change after a short session.
"If you believe in yourself, you can achieve great things." -- Danyaal Hasan
Sworup Dutta adds that when he is able to personally be present during a power meditation session, that it is like water falling on a tree and then those drops falling from each leaf producing results. "When your body and signals being sent to the super conscious mind then penetrate and help wake up your unconscious mind, you perceive life in a different fashion."
This is what I experienced with power meditation. It went beyond what I had known through practices of mindfulness, yoga and other meditative work. There was something so powerful that I can honestly say it was life changing. Power has shifted in my life, and others I spoke with agree that after beginning power meditation, everything changed.
It only gets better. If more people in the financial world were able to step back and look clearly at what they are doing, finding strength and confidence within themselves to do the right thing, not simply what appears to be "successful," they would find deeper and more lasting success. I encouraged Danyaal to speak openly about his power meditation as Ray Dalio does about his practice of meditation, as the more comfortable the business world becomes with these practices, the healthier and more sustainable our economies will become.
This is something we should be talking about as it transforms how you do business. A lot of issues in the financial sector are really about how we have done things and how we need to focus on people and not just ourselves. The more people who conduct themselves in business with positive energy, the more it rubs off and creates positive outcomes.
The funny thing is that as each person slows down and takes that time to focus on their own willpower, through meditation, it benefits the whole. Economies are ultimately about human beings. Being able to create the most positive environment in which business to operate will have a lasting impact on the future of how we live and create more sustainable societies. Perhaps individual meditation can be seen as a kind of bottom up "anti-fragile" way of doing business. It is obvious that something needs to be done differently in order to learn from failure, and create more success for a greater number of people. I believe meditation is part of the answer.