I am reading Shambhala Sun this evening. There is an article by Barry Boyce, about Chade-Meng Tan, who inspired Search Inside Yourself at Google. Meng heads The School of Personal Growth, a part of Google University. He teaches a course called "The Neuroscience of Empathy." Norman Fischer, founder of the Everyday Zen Foundation, is one of the principal teachers of SIY.
Norman Fischer says: "Many people at Google spend 20 percent of their time on their own endeavors for saving the world through technology. In some sense that's what Meng is doing. He wants to make the world a better place through the "technology" of meditation. He's starting at home, within Google. And it's working. For the people who take the course, it makes a difference in how they operate, how they communicate. They learn that they don't have to leave their emotions at the door when they come to work. That's big. If Wall Street traders, for example, has had more emotional intelligence, they might have realized the crazy derivatives they created were wrong."
Meng asked Mirabai Bush to help design the course. She "tells a story about teaching mindful emailing, in which participants are taught to take three breaths after typing an email, look again, imagine how the other person will receive it, visualizing both their mental and emotional response, and then alter it if need be."
She continues: "One person came back the next week and he was amazed at how much of a difference it made when he was reflective about email. 'I wrote this whole email out,' he said, 'and I knew it was really important for the person to receive it with openness to my ideas. But the message was emotionally loaded, so he might not respond very openly. I looked at it carefully and reflected, and then I did something very radical. I called him on the phone.' Others in the class nearly gasped, and then, he said, 'You know, it really worked!'"
Remember the phone and the ads that said "Reach out and touch someone." Perhaps there is still a time and place for that.