Mindful Connection Across Language and Culture: Lessons From Wisdom 2.0 Conference

By March 1, 2014 March 25th, 2020 General

A few days after attending Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, I am still reflecting on the fascinating discussions we had with speakers and other participants from various backgrounds and cultures. The event encompassed an amazing blend of most diverse individuals exchanging their ideas and thoughts, practicing compassion, embracing awareness. One thought that remained on the back of my mind though for the entire duration of the Conference is how to build upon lessons I learned during this eventful weekend and how to evoke mindful thinking and awareness within the multicultural environment, in which we operate on a daily basis.

Exploring practices from various wisdom traditions, from heartfelt meditation and yoga to holistic understanding and awareness, I kept thinking of what we, both as individuals and communities, can do to bring greater compassion and justice to our ethnically diverse world. In one of the panel discussions during the conference, Arianna Huffington mentioned the importance of understanding self and extending this understanding to a deeper awareness of others. Building upon this notion, it would be equally important to understand our own identity and culture, and then outspread this comprehension into a deeper mindfulness of other cultures and ethnicities.

Every day, as individuals, we strive to share our compassion. Imagine reading newspapers with only good news? How about only good news on how people connect across all their differences, across language and culture? The United States is indeed an amalgam of various ethnicities and communities. Each with its own unique understanding of the modern society but all of them united by the common idea of one nation, one people. This diversity is now reflected in workplaces across the country, and it is our responsibility, as leaders, to bring the wonderful practice of mindfulness into each work desk and the entire boardroom.

I have been managing and leading a diverse team of language professionals for over two decades, and I personally make sure that meditation and mindfulness, as well tools to disconnect from the fast pace of business, are readily available on the premises of our company. We invite yoga teachers, inspirational speakers, and Zen Masters on a regular basis — in fact, we started implementing this practice long before mindful businesses made the headlines. In our offices, we also have an interfaith meditation room. Our company’s mission is to connect people across language and culture, and we dedicate our work and life to bridging business and community, raising compassion and awareness, speaking publicly and writing on embracing multiculturalism and diversity.

Upon returning to our offices in Texas after Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, I decided to emphasize amongst our team the importance of being and remaining conscious of our surroundings, and how much it would help us all achieve our business goals and enjoy our personal life more fully. Fundamentally, mindfulness represents moment-to-moment awareness. By slowing down, doing one thing at a time instead of multitasking, and doing it slowly and deliberately, would unquestionably enhance our quality of life, both inside and outside the workplace, reduce stress, improve memory, and decrease anxiety.

These days, every major city and increasingly every workplace, present a colorful mixture of different cultures, customs, and values. It is vital for leaders to manage this diversity in a way that makes the best use of each culture and every background. We are capable of reprograming our mind to think in healthier, less stressful ways. Instead of treating other customs and traditions as different, we can perceive them as tools which help us introduce new ideas, insights, and perspectives. By not labeling or judging the cultures around us, we free ourselves from our desire to react to them. Instead, we embrace, we accept, we coalesce.

When people from diverse ethnic backgrounds interact with each other, mindfulness is vital. Mindfulness connects people across language and culture. Mindfulness increases our chances of building stronger connections and practicing compassion towards others. We can embrace multiculturalism through our awareness of our surroundings, enabling different cultures to coexist peacefully and happily. Events like Wisdom 2.0 not only inspire us to undertake personal transformation but also help us foster professional mindfulness and cultural understanding.

These help us understand that mindful multiculturalism is not something to be avoided – it is indeed what makes our world. The world where we celebrate our differences, practice compassion, and understand each other on a deeper, more mindful level.