Helen Lee Schifter on the Importance of Meditation in Business Environments

What is meditation? There tends to be much mystique about the term; and surely its definitions vary depending on who you ask. As a former arbitrage trade on Wall Street, Helen Lee Schifter has been exposed to the intensity that corporate environments naturally create for employees, executives and professional associates. 

But in her present day commitment to studying the Japanese tea ceremony, she has also been on the other side of exploring life; and enjoying the relaxing components that life has to bring. As she’s written on Medium, in commercial industry, especially in New York City, everyone is working at such a fast-pace with such incredible amounts of chaos surrounding all around them, that it’s difficult for them to even have a moment to spare to reflect on various sources of fulfillment that might even presently exist in their lives that they easily overlook. 

This is not at all a function of these same members of the business world neglecting greater depth or a desire to find greater meaning in life. Instead, it’s a very challenging juggling task to be able to focus on so many things at once, simultaneously. Surely, one’s professional commitments are incredibly important; and there are certain necessities that everyone needs in order to be able to lead an adequately healthy lifestyle. Generating a substantial enough income to be able to provide for one’s family is certainly a priority for any rational and responsible family member. 

Having said that, we as a society have to also consider other avenues besides for professional or career pursuits to provide our fellow citizens with fulfillment and meaning in their lives. Surely, the loud noise on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange; or the incredibly vast speed at which information is dispersed and disseminated through media channels, do not help the cause of helping people slow down to think and consider these important and pivotal elements to life. 

In fact, one can argue that social media platforms like Crunchbase and Facebook have even exacerbated this problem. Sure, it’s important for citizens to have a voice and to be able to express their opinions in coherent ways to the masses. That right is just that. It is a right. Not a privilege limited to cable news tv hosts; or to political contributors on CNN, Fox News or MSNBC who are pontificating on politics. Ordinary citizens have the right to do the same. And with the continued advancements in social media, we have seen an amazing development come to life where ordinary run of the mill citizens are able to share their opinions and even break news stories themselves. 

The same positive elements can be seen with the development of the blogosphere. Citizen journalism has been one of the most impressive and arguably important components to emerge out of all of the advances in digital and social media. The internet can be used for constructive and destructive purposes, just like anything else. Some can use the internet to build, create and innovate. 

For example, there have been tens of thousands of businesses created and developed, that remain active till today, on the internet. These businesses have not only successfully employed hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. They have also been on the cutting-edge of some of the greatest innovation and creativity taking place in the world. They’ve reformed the way many industries operate. Many of these reforms have had incredibly beneficial consequences for the respective industries where the change has actually been implemented. But there are others that have led to enormous job losses, layoffs and cuts. 

We must analyze social media in a similar fashion. We’ve already outlined some of the many  constructive elements that come with affording citizens and any ordinary person the accessibility to certain media properties. Providing a platform for any citizen no matter their race, ethnicity or creed, to have the unique ability to share their views about current events is an extraordinary way of empowering the populace. With so many autocratic countries cracking down on citizens’ access to media, seeing the proliferation and incredible amounts of usage of social media and the blogosphere by ordinary citizens in the West to express their opinions, is a source of great inspiration. 

And surely, on a more basic level there are certain social media properties and companies that have provided real value for consumers to embrace in business and even social contexts. The social media platform  Linkedin for instance, has proved to be immensely valuable for all types of different purposes. Some have even been able to build their rolodexes from home using the site, to the benefit of their businesses; or raising their own media and public profiles as thought leaders and experts in their respective spaces and industries. Others have used the site to be able to apply for jobs and to cultivate relationships and facilitate introductions with employers that they might meet in a more social or professional setting.  

However, the bottom line is that professional and corporate environments can bring immense tension and stress with them. This is a fact of life that we have all grown to recognize as a reality. But how about bringing peace of mind to the masses? In addition to serving as a student of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, Helen Schifter has focused on other outlets that can bring such extraordinary serenity and peace of mind to one’s life. One such outlet has been design and fashion. As seen in Elle Décor, Helen has been passionate about design for many years. She’s brought this passion to not only designing her own homes but helping inspire the sort of peace, composure and serenity that so many of us crave and aspire to achieving. 

As we continue going on with our lives at an ever so-rapid pace, let us not forget the importance of stepping back; considering; thinking; and realizing in a grounded fashion, where we stand in life and where it is that we want to be. This is such an important intellectual and mental exercise that any person in any industry would surely benefit from, greatly.