Saturday, May 19, 2012

From Cave to Corporation

Was introduced by a former colleague to an interesting person this week, named Gregory Burdulis. For eight years he was a practicing Theravadin Monk, but he has left his hermitage in Burma and returned to the USA to engage in work I find fascinating: attempting to insert mindfulness meditation into the modern corporation.

Specifically he was invited to work with ad firm CP+B. If you read CopyRanter, you know he calls his own colleagues "lying liars who lie." But I take it as an extremely good sign that one of the principals at the storied firm thought it might be important for their employees to actually live a more contemplative, centered and full life. Of course, the idea is that they will also be more creative. I'll take whatever reason works to get meditation into the modern corporate ethos and keep it there. Once there I have the strong suspicion it will do a lot more to shift the overall culture, stealthily and over time, than might otherwise be accomplished by "outside influence."

Going from a hermitage to an ad firm is kind of like visiting one of the suffering planes -- it's Bodhisattva work to be sure, but that had to be a shock to the system.

Here is Gregory's TEDxBoulder talk:

I love what he says here about sitting in the deep dark morning:
listening to the crickets sing
they were singing a love song...
it was an invitation
Aside from his monk-ness, his other significant street cred includes having done work on The Artist's Way with Julia Cameron, contemporary/ conceptual performance dance, and worked in Hospice care Chapliancy.

Something he says in his bio that I'll be practicing with especially when things get tough on this recovery path: "pain is inevitable but suffering is optional." [On edit: Please see this post by Mystic Meandering about suffering in fact also being real and inevitable, with the clarification that it is the "story" we might weave about the suffering that is optional...]

More of his work here, from the Wisdom 2.0 conference. Go to 51:32 for the start of his panel. [Also on edit: this session is about Mindfulness in the workplace, great panelists, and is also worth watching because you get to see Greg turn the tables on the moderator (twice).]


  1. This part really resonated with me:

    "I was already learning that a thought is just a thought and that a negative mind state is just a negative mind state, it's not reality and it's not who I was"

    1. Yeah, he really has a way of expressing things so simply and clearly (and calmly, but hey we gotta expect that of a former monk, right! ;-).