One of the greatest coaches in NBA history, Phil Jackson, famously led the Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers to a combined 11 championships. He discovered that when he had the players sit in silence, breathing together in sync, it helped align them on a nonverbal level far more effectively than words alone.

Through his approach, “One breath equals one mind,”, Jackson cultivated a type of “‘group consciousness”’ and a feeling of interconnectedness with one another.

Similarly, Google’s quest to build the perfect team through its Project Aristotle determined that group performance depends on behaviours that communicate to team members that they are safe and connected. Words, it was found, are often just noise.

In his book ‘Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World’, General Stanley McChrystal outlines the cornerstone of their transformation approach to normalize sharing among people as follows:

“We wanted to fuse generalized awareness with specialized expertise. We dubbed this goal, the state of emergent, adaptive organizational intelligence – shared consciousness. We started to look at team member relationships, as just that – relationships – not boxes on org charts or cogs in a wheel.”

So how do you connect and communicate on a non-verbal level?

Mindfulness is simply a specific word for cultivating greater awareness – awareness of thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness is an embodied practice, not something that you understand but rather a practice that you unfold through the platform of your own body.

When we talk about getting out of your head, and into a place of presence, the kind of presence that connects authentically with self and others, it starts by understanding that intellect, emotions, and body are not separate. It starts with showing up as a whole person.

We can build this body awareness through mindful meditation practices in the same way we build muscle strength, tone or flexibility by working out. It takes some discipline, patience and curiosity, but research has shown that 8 minutes/day for two weeks is the “lowest effective dose” to make a difference.

When you build physical awareness, the body leads, and the intellect follows. Often we have this idea that our best selves come from a place of self, intellect, or ego by directing our attention through a performance to reach our goals. Thinking constantly about an end goal, takes you out of the direct experience of the present moment, or task.

It takes some practice to develop this relationship with the present moment through your body. It involves refining your breathing style through breathwork exercises or choosing a mindful movement (Power Pose) to use throughout the day when extra energy or focus is needed. These simple practices can go a long way to ensure you are in sync with yourself: physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Many theatre exercises employ this technique to develop body awareness, and improv classes can help reduce the inner editor through spontaneous mindfulness practices.

  “Knowledge is power – Shared knowledge is more powerful”

Once we are able to trust the emergence of our best selves, letting go of striving for an outcome, staying present to process, and learning to communicate through non-verbal cues, the true power of being present is revealed – not to mention our full potential.

Learn more about our different programs and recruit us to explore new possibilities through mindfulness.