What a Buddhist Monk Taught Google Employees About Stress Management

Google talk Thich Nhat Hanh3

Dear Friends,

I hope you’re really well.

A few years ago, I heard a very touching story about a unique event that took place at Google HQ.

Google wanted Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh to come and speak to their staff.

Here’s the deal. Thich Nhat Hanh is no ordinary speaker. He’s an 88 year old monk who has written over 100 books, and who Martin Luther King called “An apostle of peace”.

After receiving the invitation from Google, Thich Nhat Hanh wisely replied, “I’m afraid I cannot come — unless Google will allow me to have a half day of mindfulness with their employees.”

In an act of leadership, Google granted his request – and something very, very special took place.

For the first-time ever, hundreds of Google employees put their gadgets away to sit with a great spiritual teacher. They practiced meditation. They explored the roots of stress and the seeds of peace. They enjoyed poetry and listened to great wisdom teachings.

During his talk at Google, Thich Nhat Hanh said:

“There is so much worry, fear and anger. We are not happy. Mindfulness is about bringing more space and freedom into your life. To love means to offer space. If you do not have space in you, how can you offer space to others… The most precious gift you can give is your true presence.” 

To top it all off, Thich Nhat Hanh ended the day with having all the Google employees share a silent meal together – simply savouring the food and appreciating the moment.

I hope this story inspires you to follow the mindful path in your workplace. Not only for the obvious benefits to productivity, well-being and performance – but to also promote more peace, care and compassion in our world.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to bring mindfulness into your workplace, you may want to check out the Mindful Leadership Global Forum in Sydney on Sept 1-2.

Thanks for being part of this beautiful community. We’re always growing and evolving and it’s great to have you along for the journey.