Why I No Longer Teach Executives How to Meditate

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After 46+ years of daily meditation, I am willing to admit all the positive things they say about it are true. It lowers your blood pressure, boosts your immune system, makes you emotionally resilient, decreases anxiety, and makes you more available to life. If there were a drug on the market that did all of those things and had no side effects, its sales would be in the billions.

I became interested in meditation in college. As a classical guitar student, I wanted something that would lessen my anxiety about performing concerts. I also felt fairly miserable in college, and I needed a break from the churnings of my mind. Meditation seemed to help, at least some of the time.

That was in 1965. By 1979, when I first began coaching executives, my meditation practice had started to provide excellent benefits, and I wanted to share them with my clients. Many of them liked the experience of meditating, but few of them were willing to put in the amount of practice that would yield substantial results. I thought if I could just teach meditation in a more learner-friendly fashion, they would make it part of their daily lives. They didn’t. They had valid objections:

1) They didn’t have the time to practice.

2) The equanimity they felt while meditating didn’t readily transfer into difficult business situations or other challenges.

Many of the meditative approaches come from monastic traditions in which the goal of meditation is enlightenment. Some methods are more suited to solitary retreats where one can progressively deepen one’s immersion in stillness. For my clients, these methods created more of a split between work life and their experience when they meditated.

I finally realized that my clients don’t need to meditate. What they do need is something that helps them make clear decisions, communicate persuasively, listen deeply, and supports their health and longevity. Now, I teach a combination of attentional flexibility practices, biofeedback, cultivation of vital energy, and clarifying intentions. I show executives how to apply the power of these combined elements to achieve their goals and feeling vitally alive at work.

In Dragons at Work, our hero’s coach teaches Dan this system. As you follow along with the story and the supplemental materials, you can learn it, too. It takes very little time to practice, it’s easy to do, and once you learn the system it’s eminently practical and applicable in business contexts.

I look forward to sharing this with you as the story unfolds.

Originally published at

About the Author

Stephen Josephs has coached executives and top performers at some of the world’s most impressive organizations for 30+ years. By applying psychology and transformational methods to leadership development, Stephen brings an integrated approach that maximizes performance and helps leaders find new ways to expand their effectiveness. His book, Dragons at Work, is a seminal text on peak performance and leadership management.

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