Staff with a certain something – that’s what Bründl is famous for. An own academy looks after the development of human resources. Amongst the top-class events: a seminar in the seclusion of the Trauner- Alp, close to the 3800 metres high Großglockner. We asked the course instructor, Dr. Kai Romhardt, to acquaint us with the contents. From A for attention to W for walking meditation.
Everything that happens, happens in the present. Only in the present we can create our future. All too often, our thinking circles only around past and future. In this way we lose a great deal of energy and miss what is happening right in front of our eyes. Attention is the capacity to recognise clearly and without prejudice what is happening in the present moment. Training our attention is the starting point for training our minds.
Burn-out, fears, frustration, aggression and irritability. By staying with the breath during an emotional attack, we can accept unloved emotions, hug them and look deeply into them. We see what an emotion tells us without becoming dominated by it.
We eat in silence and practice watchful eating. To notice each bite consciously, chew at least thirty times and not be distracted from our meal by thoughts that arise. Putting down the fork after every bite. This is difficult. We are not used to concentrate on eating. While we eat, we normally do many other things. To honour the food and the community of the eaters and to know when enough is enough, this can give us impulses in various different areas of life.
Our life is the sum of many little steps. Walking meditation teaches us that we can decide about the quality of our steps ourselves. We relax our body, follow our breath and synchronise our steps with breathing in and out. We can walk in a driven or free manner, upright or stooped, consciously or unconsciously, joyously or sadly. Walking meditation has changed my life by teaching me that every step and every moment has its values, its dignities, its special qualities and its inevitable effect.
We think constantly. And our knowledge builds on our thinking. Our mind produces constantly new thoughts with which it plays in endless variations. We should take care of our thoughts. Our thoughts are not fleeting and without consequence, but initiate emotions and actions. In the Buddhist psychology, thoughts are therefore regarded as deeds. Teachers of meditation agree that 95 percent of all thoughts in the untrained mind are unnecessary and sap our energy, gives us headaches and confuse us instead of blessing us with peace of mind and clarity.
Impatience, dissatisfaction, aggression, greed and competitive thinking. These and other unwholesome mental states have been turned into virtues by many companies over long periods of time. If we look at these closely we can see that such mental states lead to unhappiness for us and our surroundings, and moreover, represent the source of conflicts.
Happiness is neither a matter of luck nor something that we can force by external success, by possessions, power or any other external condition. Happiness is rather a quality of being which we can cultivate by training the mind. By paying attention we can recognise the effect of our words, thoughts, emotions and physical deeds on us and others.
Impulse distance is the capability to recognise a physical or mental impulse clearly, to observe its rising and falling, without being compelled to follow the impulse. Impulse distance is the foundation for human freedom and allows us to estimate the outcome of an action and make a decision with a clear mind. We are not swept along; we don’t act spontaneously in the wrong sense of the word. One to three conscious breaths can suffice to create a new space for us, to touch the new and dare to take steps into the unknown.
Concentration is the capability of our mind to keep the attention on an object over a period of time. This capability is becoming increasingly important in the age of multitasking and constant interruptions. If we concentrate, our effectiveness increases steeply. Thoughts are completed. We avoid producing loose ends or “unfinished business” which catch up with us time and time again, and pull us out of the present process of creation and learning.
Our life is infused with economic processes. But does this economy serve our deepest needs? Does our current economic system contributes positively to our joy of life? Our work, our consumption and our money can and should serve us on this path. Economy must make and create sense. That should be our claim. If we develop attention, we will question established economic terms and concepts such as growth, returns, profit and success in a natural way, and highlight where these fall short.