Why did you choose Awareness in Action as the name of your organisation? What does it mean for you?
My work is all about increasing awareness in the workplace—awareness of yourself, awareness of others, awareness of what is really going on around you. Many people think that awareness can only be developed while sitting down and meditating, whereas we aim to show how that, with the right perspective, all our work activity can contribute to increasing awareness. The more we do this, the more we have to bring to our work.
What motivates you to do this kind of work?
Everyone has to work for a living and it can be creative and exciting but there are also times when it can also be a tremendous source of worry and stress. The very fact that we spend so much time at work, and often spend more time with our work colleagues—who we rarely choose—than we do with our friend and family makes it fertile ground to work with our emotions, habits, attitudes and so on. We may receive education and training for our jobs but we do not get much help in understanding and working with our minds. Our working life can be different with a different mindset.
What kind of services do you offer and where do you run them?
We offer in-house trainings on a range of topics specifically designed for the needs of your organization and workforce. We can follow these trainings up with coaching by SKYPE for teams, or individuals. Recently we started developing online courses and we can design one for your staff to follow after a training, to assist integration. We work mostly in Europe but are available for work wherever it presents itself.
Go here to see an overview of our approach and a selection of topics for workshops.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your background.
I was born in London and grew up and was educated in the UK. My professional background, after completing university, is in education. In 1994 I began to work full-time for Rigpa International as part of a four-person executive board to oversee all the work of the organization. It was while doing this work and travelling to talk to and work with groups in Europe, the USA and Australia that I received personal training on how to bring awareness into my work. I learnt that work is an expression of how my mind is and that unless I worked with my mind, my work was always going to be limited. Conversely, the challenges of my work were showing me places where I needed to reflect and look into old patterns and habits.
You’ve written a book called Reducing Stress, what approach does it take for reducing stress?
My book shows that it is possible to understand and reduce stress through applying meditation and compassion techniques. It presents a step-by-step guide for integrating these techniques into one’s life and presents current scientific research which examines their effectiveness.
Have you written any other books and/or are you planning another one? If so, tell me about them?
I am planning another book—this time on applying meditation at work but it is still in the planning stages.
Do you have a special angle on your work, anything that makes you different to others doing the same or similar things? How does your Buddhist study and practice assist you in your work?
Perhaps I can answer this with the last question as well. It is because of my Buddhist training that I feel that I can offer this work. Because I went through a rigorous training in applying these methods at work myself, I feel I can offer input for other people that is authentic and reliable. My work is thoroughly rooted in the teachings and my own study and practice. Added to that—I take care to try and stay up-to-date with the science. I bring a lot of humour and practical advice to my workshops, which are person-centred and highly interactive.
Thanks Maureen for letting me have the opportunity to find out more about you and your work.
An interesting point to note is that the initials for Awareness in Action are the same as those for Awesome Independent Authors as for AIA Editing and Publishing.
What do you think of what Maureen offers? Could you use some ideas for making your workplace an easier place to be?
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