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During a time when people across the world are struggling hard to manage work-related stress and balance professional and personal lives, Mirabai Bush has helped thousands to harmonize their lives and optimize their outputs through contemplation and mindfulness practices.
She is the co-founder of The Center for Contemplative Mind and Society and teaches contemplative practices and develops programs that apply contemplative principles to organizational life. She had also helped Google create its ‘Search Inside Yourself’ program, and was one among those who introduced Buddhist practices in the West in the 1970’s.
She traces her spiritual practices to her root-teacher, Neem Karoli Baba and other masters in India from whom she learned various Hindu and Buddhist meditation practices. In an exclusive interview with NewsGram she spoke about her life, her work, and her stay in India way back in 1970’s.
Interview with Mirabai Bush- Part 1
Mirabai Bush and Google program ‘Search Inside Yourself’
Speaking about the Google program ‘Search Inside Yourself’ that she had helped create, Mirabai Bush said that it was the first of its kind based on the concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness is one of the parts of the Buddhist Vipasana meditation and in the US, the term is mostly used to mean focused awareness, usually on the breath.
The program aimed at helping people understand themselves better so that they could understand others better and communicate with them in a better manner. She said that the first course was launched in 2008, and has been extremely successful with at least 3000 Googlers from around the world taking the course till now. She added that a book titled ‘Search Inside Yourself’ has also been written by Chade-Meng Tan, who was her partner in the program. A leadership institute has also been started wherein people from outside Google are trained in the program.
Mirabai Bush and the practice of Mindfulness
Elaborating on the concept of mindfulness, Mirabai Bush said: “Mindfulness is taught throughout Buddhism, but in the US, it is usually understood as a way of bringing full focus to the present moment without judgment, or being fully present in the moment without judgment.”
One basic way, she said, by which this mindfulness could be cultivated was by sitting quietly, closing one’s eyes, bringing the awareness to the breathing, and by letting go of the thoughts that arise without any judgment. But, she stressed on the fact that mindfulness is neither an attempt at emptying the mind, nor an attempt at attaining a blissful state. Instead, it is just an attempt at seeing things just as they are. Whenever a thought or an emotion arises, a practitioner will simply let it go and bring back the attention to the breath.
Regarding the similarities between mindfulness practices and the Hindu and Buddhist practices of yoga and dhyana (meditation), she said that Hatha Yoga is a very good practice for becoming aware, if it is properly practiced in that manner. If one becomes aware of the sensations in the body while doing asanas (postures), that is exactly the same thing as mindfulness.
But at the same time, some of the practitioners (of yoga) concentrate on being absorbed in certain states. Mindfulness on the other hand is not about being absorbed into any state, but being present with everything that is happening. Hence, there is a difference between the two. But, mindfulness is more rooted in Buddhist practices.
Many people from the west had gone to India in 1970 and studied Buddhism in monasteries. But, when they came back to the west, they did not bring back the forms of Buddhism that were practiced in everyday life. They only brought back what they learned in monasteries like various forms of focused meditation.
She added that mindfulness in the west is not understood the way it is understood by the Buddhist scholars. In the West, it is a generalized term. Jon Kabat-Zinn was one of the first people to coin the term ‘mindfulness’. While he was teaching these practices to those who were in a lot of pain and stress, he focused on the calming and stabilizing aspect of meditation and called it ‘mindfulness’.
More in the Series:
As house prices and social isolation continue to rise, co-living is the latest buzzword among millennials as it provides them with a desirable house at affordable costs, while providing a much needed communal living experience during such unprecedented times.
With the world embracing a hybrid work and study style, a lot of millennials will look to relocate to their base city but will require better living spaces to ensure that WFH runs smoothly as well. As the world adjusts to a new normal, and with a millennial population of over 440 million in the country, the co-living sector is set to rise rapidly and witness a whole new set of innovations.
Isthara Co-Living shares 5 trends that are set to redefine the co-living space in the coming year:
Enahnced safety and hygiene protocols:
Safety standards have become the biggest selling point for co-living spaces and they are expected to move beyond the standard safety protocols and enhance their hygiene quotient in a big way to build on the momentum. Apart from the standard hygiene protocols, new possible safety measures include safe cleaning and hygiene standards, thermal sensors, which will notify people in case someone is running a temperature, regular fumigations, CCTV cameras in public spaces to ensure social distancing is followed, or facilities like self-cleaning buttons in elevators.
Apart from the standard hygiene protocols, new possible safety measures include safe cleaning and hygiene standards, thermal sensors. | Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Technology led innovations:
As many universities are holding classes online, and work from home is becoming increasingly popular, technology is the way of the future. The co-living players will look to amalgamate cutting-edge technology to cater to the growing work and study needs of millennials. Touchless technology and applications are on the rise in the sector.
Technology is the future, as many colleges offer online courses and working from home is becoming more prevalent. | Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash
Flexible and convenient housing solutions:
Innovations such as flexible lock-in periods, weekly rentals, customised housing services, tailor-made amenities, transfer to the company's co-living space in another city, contemporary workspaces are some of the options that will be explored in an effort to entice today's fast-moving millennial population. All in all, players in the segment will look to create a ready-to-move-in space that is hassle-free for residents. If some housing segment caters specifically to one certain profile or profession, operators may also look to customise the place according to the needs of the profile.
Owners can customise the place according to the needs of their job profile. | Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash
Revamp of co-living spaces:
Revamping space to give houses a more contemporary look focused more on enabling efficient work/study spaces, incubating spaces, and a complete overhaul of amenities. The blurring line between work and living will be a major trend in co-living, to match the evolving work-life integration needs.
The blurring of work-life boundaries will be a prominent trend in co-living. | Photo by R ARCHITECTURE on Unsplash
Increased focus on community living:
People are looking to address the urban isolation situation, and are looking for avenues to unwind and engage with a varied set of people within a community. Co-living operators are set to further strengthen their community ecosystem in the coming year, to ensure that people create meaningful connections and combat loneliness.
People are seeking for ways to interact with a diverse group of people inside a community to combat urban loneliness. | Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash
The pandemic may lead to a complete rethinking of how these spaces will continue to exist, and the sector will continue to provide a fresh new perspective to how young Indians view urban living. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: population, urban, milennials, housing, community, innovation, study, protocols, hygiene, safety, space, Housing Solution, Co-living)
Meta-owned photo-sharing platform Instagram has started testing subscriptions, a new feature allowing creators to offer paid followers access to exclusive content. Currently, only 10 US creators have gained access to the new feature, including basketball player Sedona Prince, model Kelsey Cook, actor-influencer Alan Chikin Chow, Olympic gymnast Jordan Chiles and digital creator Lonnie IIV.
"Subscriptions are for creators," Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said in a video posted on Twitter. "Creators do what they do to make a living and it's important that it is predictable." Followers will pay a monthly fee to access subscriber-only content from creators they follow. Subscription pricing ranges from $0.99 per month to $99.99 per month.
Instagram users who subscribe to a creator will have access to subscriber-only stories, live streams, and other content. | Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
Instagram users who subscribe to a creator will have access to subscriber-only stories, live streams, and other content. Meanwhile, Instagram is also reportedly testing Stories redesign with vertical scrolling in its app. As noted by social media consultant Matt Navarra, some users located in Turkey have received an Instagram update that brings vertical scrolling to Stories.
While Stories from the same user can still be viewed by tapping the left or right side of the screen, jumping to the next user's Stories requires a swipe down. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: subscriber, feature, testing, Instagram, followers, scrolling, users, content creators, stories)
Many stray animals are trying to survive as the temperature in the capital continues to drop. Many strays lose this battle trying to find food and warmth under a scrap of clothing or caged up in the corner of streets. The Perroayuda Welfare Foundation (PWF), a Delhi-based animal welfare organisation, recently held a Mega Stray Feeding Drive in Lajpat Nagar with the goal of feeding all of the area's stray animals. These wonderful Samaritans come from all around Delhi-NCR with one goal in mind: to rescue, feed, and adopt all animals in need.
Many stray animals are trying to survive as the temperature in the capital continues to drop. | Af.Mil
PWF has previously staged feeding drives in Netaji Subhash Place, Connaught Place, North Campus, Delhi University, and other locations throughout the city. A group of 70 volunteers fed over 100 stray dogs in the vicinity and provided water in earthen bowls. To raise awareness about the issue of stray animals, volunteers talked with businesses, local authorities, customers, and hawkers. The actions of this group of young animal advocates were recognised and supported.
"Donations come in from all around the world." To save strays and pay for their treatment, we rely completely on donations. "Every day, our organisation feeds roughly 1000 stray dogs," says Arpit Mathur, the organisation's founder. "Throughout the day, we receive SOS calls. We can only accomplish so much with our limited staff and resources. We hope that more young people, like us, would join us in this cause." In Rohini, the NGO also maintains a recovery centre. Currently, the recovery centre accommodates roughly 40 animals, including cats, dogs, monkeys, and a few unusual birds.
To rescue, feed, and adopt all animals in need is the goal of these people. | Photo by Camilo Fierro on Unsplash
PWF seeks to discover and feed all stray animals in need, as well as provide them with food, care, affection, and medical treatment, and organise Mega Stray Feeding Drives to raise awareness and adoption. "We discover stray animals, pet them, and feed them - no one deserves to be hungry," Mathur adds. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: adopt, feed, rescue, goal, Delhi-NCR, Perroayuda Welfare Foundation, Winter, stray animals, Help, Initiative, volunteer)