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Managers’ Experiences of Meditation Awareness Training

Abstract

Due to its potential to improve work-related stress and job performance, there is growing interest into the applications of mindfulness in the workplace setting. To date, mindfulness research within occupational psychology has mostly involved First Generation Mindfulness-Based Interventions (FG-MBIs). However, a growing number of researchers, clinicians, and Buddhist teachers/scholars have suggested that FG-MBIs may only partially embody the full potency of mindfulness when compared with its utilisation in traditional Buddhist practice settings. Consequently, recent years have witnessed the early stage evaluation of a number of Second Generation Mindfulness-Based Interventions (SG-MBIs). Although still secular, SG-MBIs are overtly spiritual in aspect and teach mindfulness within a practice infrastructure that integrates what would traditionally be deemed as prerequisites for effective spiritual and meditative development. The purpose of this study was to conduct the first qualitative investigation to analyse the experiences of employed participants receiving training in a SG-MBI. Ten participants were randomly selected from the intervention arm of a randomised controlled trial assessing the effects of meditation awareness training (MAT) on work-related wellbeing and job performance. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to analyse participant experiences of MAT, and six themes emerged from the data-set: (1) changing attitudes towards work, (2) improved job performance, (3) letting go of self, (4) phenomena feed-back effect, (5) wellbeing at work and (6) taking responsibility for one’s spiritual growth. Findings have important implications for the development of authentic mindfulness training programs and suggest that, compared with FG-MBIs, the SG-MBI approach may be tapping into different metacognitive resources.

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Correspondence to Edo Shonin.

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Shonin, E., Van Gordon, W. Managers’ Experiences of Meditation Awareness Training. Mindfulness 6, 899–909 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-014-0334-y

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Keywords

  • Meditation awareness training
  • Mindfulness
  • Work-related stress
  • Job performance
  • Buddhism
  • Interpretative phenomenological analysis