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founded by S. N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin

 

 

 

 

 

The Effect of Vipassana on the Work Environment

-By S. S. Joshi

To study the effect of Vipassana on the work environment, we interviewed people who had attended a ten-day Vipassana course.

A questionnaire was given to them. Their colleagues were also interviewed to find out their views about the results of Vipassana.

In general, everyone experienced a positive change in the behavior of Vipassana students and a consequent improvement in the work environment. There was a new dimension of trust, commitment and co-operation with others, and a remarkable rise in goodwill. There was a decrease in hatred or strong dislike towards others, short-temperedness, mental fatigue, jealousy, negative feelings towards others, and confrontation because of jealousy, ego, guilt-feelings, etc.

Now let us look at the interviews of Vipassana students in detail:

Mr. Balle, Manager (R&D) has been practicing Vipassana for the last ten years. He said that his anger and short-temperedness have greatly lessened and he has cooled down considerably. He thinks twice or before answering now, and does not give harsh replies to either seniors or juniors. His subordinates feel free to approach him and the atmosphere has become cordial both in the office and at home.

His trust in people has increased. He feels comfortable with all types of people. For example, while others were having difficulty in dealing with one person in the factory, Mr. Balle was comfortable with him and in due course they became friends.

Because Mr. Balle benefited from Vipassana, he recommended it to his friend, who was clever but short-tempered. After the friend attended a Vipassana course his short-temperedness was reduced remarkably-even his family members were surprised. Later his friend sent another two or three doctor friends for a Vipassana course.

As Mr. Balle has become less angry and more trusting of his subordinates, the commitment of his subordinates to work has increased. During work on a project, normally a direction of work is selected and work is started accordingly. Previously, projects used to reach a lot of dead ends, with new lines of action being chosen and work re-started. A lot of time was wasted. Now after learning Vipassana, Mr. Balle chooses the direction of work in consultation with his colleagues so that the risk of selecting a wrong direction is reduced and time is saved. The result is a direct increase in productivity, i.e., more output in less time.

All Vipassana students and their colleagues agree that there has been a positive improvement in the atmosphere of the workplace. Different reasons have been mentioned by them. For example, Mr. Kulkarni (Executive) says that previously he had very high expectations of results from his subordinates. If these expectations were not fulfilled then it gave rise to anger and tension. Now after he has learnt Vipassana, he looks at the mistakes of subordinates objectively and gives guidance to them to correct those mistakes. His concentration and peace of mind have increased and tension has lessened, which has resulted in more work output each day.

Colleagues of a Vipassana student have reported that after a Vipassana course, he is more co-operative at work and less aggressive. Now, before replying to them, he thinks first and then takes action or not, as appropriate. They say that are now more comfortable with him.

Mr. B. Sitharam (GM) attended his second ten-day course in January 1993. After his first course he stopped using tobacco, paan and alcohol. He practices Vipassana every day for one hour. His wife attended a ten-day course in November 1993.

Mr. N. P. Joshi (Assistant Manager) feels that after learning Vipassana he has become more polite and more considerate towards others. His wife attended a course in January 1994. Her outlook towards life has changed. Now his nine-year-old son is also planning to attend a course in May 1994.

Mr. P. J. Shah (Purchase Officer) practices Vipassana daily for one hour. He says that even if his mind is upset, it becomes fresh and sharp after meditating. His short-temperedness has been reduced. His working efficiency and decision making power have improved and he feels more confident.

Mr. Pathak, a Stores Officer, has practiced Vipassana since July 1992. Before that, he used to sleep during lunchtime; now it is not required since his mind is more fresh. He works more quickly and therefore completes most of his work before the end of the day. As a result he can give attention to other areas, like housekeeping. His subordinates report that Mr. Pathak has cooled down, and is less angry and tense. His colleague, the Purchase Officer, focussed on the term, "reliability". He said that the answers given by Mr. Pathak are more reliable. This shows that his work is more efficient and accurate.

A general observation of all employees is that those who are practicing Vipassana are clearing paperwork daily, with less pending work, showing that they have better concentration and work faster. They have given up the habit of cigarette and tobacco smoking.

Increased trust and co-operativeness have strengthened the attitude of teamwork which is essential for the success of the organization. If we widen this concept of co-operation with people and team spirit, we can see that it will also greatly benefit the society at large.

In a nutshell, we can conclude confidently that Vipassana has a very positive effect on productivity and the work environment.