At Compassionate Technologies, it is a part of our mission to develop compassionate business methods to nurture human and technological growth. To do so, we aim to balance our heartfelt feeling with rigorous analysis. This requires mindfulness: the practice of integrating our heads, hands, and hearts. To gain more insight on how to approach organizations mindfully, Olivia Jeffers, our Executive Director, spent a weekend in March attending LA Insight’s First, Do No Harm:Working Skillfully with Meditation-Related Challenges workshop along with over 100 mindfulness teachers, facilitators, and therapists specializing in trauma.
Olivia was initially inspired to start Compassionate Technologies after her first 10-day silent meditation retreat. She began to notice, however, that certain elements of Western scientific and Christian thought did not mix well with certain elements of Eastern meditation techniques. She noticed in herself and others, a series of mental and physical difficulties, such as severe insomnia, painful hypersensitivity, dissociation, and loss of conceptual meaning– that were surprisingly well-documented across cultures in ancient meditation texts such as the Pāli Cannon and Christian contemplative literature – but were not discussed or disclosed in popular meditation practice. While Olivia was fortunate in receiving an extremely rigorous scientific education, and benefited from a mixed Asian and Western background, which gave her the skills and perspective to investigate and navigate her difficulties without guidance – many others were left unsupported as they began to experience painful transformations of their minds and bodies.
“Observing pain can lead to insight,” says Olivia, summarizing her transformative experiences, though she adds, “but it can be destabilizing without support from teachers or guidance of those further along in the practice.” For these reasons, Olivia is passionate about bringing mindfulness practices into the world of science, technology, and business – but mindfully, with skill and awareness.
- St. John of the Cross“Dark Night of the Soul”
- Pali Cannon
- Meditation Safety Toolbox (Brown University)