Silhouette of person seated cross-legged taking pause to watch sunset

Many Americans highly value professional achievement, which is reflected in such democratic virtues as the pursuit of excellence, determination, assertiveness, and love of learning and knowledge. At the same time, momentarily setting aside an achievement orientation helps us tune into deeper currents of wisdom that strengthen democratic virtues like adaptability, honesty, humility, integrity, and social conscience. In Be the Change by Ed and Deb Shapiro, meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn shares a story about starting a business workshop with ten to fifteen minutes of sitting quietly with no agenda. Many of the participants had powerful and moving experiences as they shifted from a focus on doing to just being. To integrate a habit of pausing at work, begin each meeting with a few minutes of silence. Whether at work, at home, or in the midst of daily chores or errands, hold silent-space sessions at various times during your day.

In partnership with our friends at Spirituality & Practice, we are sharing practices to help us all “practice democracy” from the inside out. This practice is from their free, downloadable guide, Practicing Democracy at Work.” Visit Spirituality & Practice's The Practicing Democracy Project for more practices and a wide array of resources.


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Spirituality & Practice (S&P) is a multi-faith website devoted to resources for spiritual journeys. While respecting differences among traditions, S&P celebrates what they share in common.