I feel conflicted about the growing popularity of meditation and mindfulness on Wall Street. I wonder if these practices will help heal Wall Street’s systemic flaws or simply help the participants in the system to profit from its flaws with greater equanimity and less concern for collateral damage.
Last month, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Deepak Chopra described the usefulness of meditation for people on Wall Street. Speaking about a friend who manages a hedge fund, he said, “His entire staff meditates. I know many others now on Wall Street that we teach, actually. It makes them much more productive, because they’re centered, they’re not distracted.” Chopra was appearing on TV to promote a free twenty-one-day online meditation course that he offers with Oprah. Its theme is “Manifesting True Success.” Meditation, like yoga before it, has been fully assimilated into corporate America. Aetna, General Mills, and Goldman Sachs all offer their employees free in-office meditation training. In January, the Times reported on a packed panel at Davos where members of the global élite “professed that meditation gave them a competitive advantage.” ….[READ]