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Interview with Pandit Dasa

Pandit Dasa is an expert when it comes to mindful leadership and well-being at work. He keeps himself updated on the topics and always presents current data and research. Read his interview and learn more about living as a monk and the benefits of mindfulness.

How would you explain “mindfulness” to someone who is hearing it for the first time? 

Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts and emotions and bringing your mind to the present moment. It’s the act of getting in touch with one’s self. This is especially important if one is in a leadership role so that one can question their motivation for leading and ask themselves whether they are leading to serve others or to be served by others. Mindfulness can help us manage our emotions and ego, boost emotional intelligence which can help us understand other peoples perspectives.


Why should everyone practice mindfulness and/or meditation?

According to research, those who practice Mindfulness can reduce their stress and anxiety levels and improve focus and productivity. It can help raise self-awareness and improve our ability to recognize unconscious biases that we may have towards others. Simple practices can help us press pause when the mind drifts towards negative thoughts and it gives us the ability to see the positive perspectives during difficult situations.


What do you gain personally from being a public speaker?

I love being able to give positive messages and helping people change their perspectives on life. It is deeply satisfying to teach people about mindfulness, meditation and mindful leadership because these messages help them not only in the professional life but also have a deep impact in their personal life as well. The teachings of mindfulness can be applied to practically every situation in one’s life.


Who or what inspires you most?

I’m inspired when leaders I’ve worked with tell me that they’ve actually implemented mindfulness in their approach to their work and workforce and how it has helped them personally and has improved their ability to understand other peoples perspectives.


What was the hardest part about living as a monk in NYC?

New York is the epitome of distractions. My monastery was located on First Avenue on the Lower East Side and was surrounded by night clubs, bars and even a tattoo shop right next door. There was traffic on the Avenue 24 hours a day and constant construction. Needless to say, this was challenging. Simultaneously, living with a dozen other monks in a communal space can also have its challenges. However, all of these challenges have strengthened me and taught me how important mindfulness and meditation are for those living a busy, hectic and stressful life. If it wasn’t for these experiences that I had in New York, it’s possible that I wouldn’t be able to relate to the fast-paced high-achieving, type-A corporate personalities that I often work with. Transitioning out of the monastery, after living that life for 15 years, also wasn’t easy, however, I’m excited about the new phase of my life.


What is the most unique experience you have had as a result of your job?

Once, after speaking at a large HR conference, one lady who attended my talk, ran up to me as I was heading towards my gate at the airport. She told me that she was very skeptical about the whole mindfulness and meditation thing. However, after hearing my talk and practicing the simple techniques that I taught, she has become much more open to it and now she is telling all her colleagues about me. I have this experience after most of my speeches. There’s always one person who has a transformative experience and that is extremely satisfying.

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