Wax on. Wax off.

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In this interview, CHRIS MILLS shares with us his ideas on bringing heart back into corporate culture.



I don’t approach work, family life and spiritual life
as being separate and different from each other.
It’s all part of the same stream.
My meditation and spiritual life interact closely
with my relationships at work and at home.
For me, it’s not ‘material’ or ‘spiritual’
– it’s really just who I am.


ChrisMillsHRQ: Tell us about your everyday working, family life. How do you spend your time?

CM: I am married with two growing children and three poodles that bark a lot. And I’m the marketing director for a large healthcare company, so that means I spend a lot of my time shuffling between work and raising my kids. I am also a teacher and facilitator for Heartfulness meditation, which I have been practicing for over 20 years. And if there’s free time, I like to walk on the beach and spend time in nature whenever I can. I also like to read a lot about spirituality and metaphysics – it’s certainly an interesting time to be alive from this perspective.

Q: You mentioned meditation. Why do you meditate?

CM: The main reason I meditate is because it makes me feel centered, calm and balanced. There is a peace that comes with meditation that cannot easily be explained, but it certainly can be felt. When I started practicing meditation back in the ’90s, within a few weeks I began to foster a feeling inside that was ‘more-ish’ – I simply wanted more and more of that feeling. Back then I also developed this single idea that has never left me: meditation is one of the primary keys to figuring out life. I believe this concept more now than even back then.

With meditation, complexities began to drop off – for instance anger has reduced and I think I’m easier to live with. Meditation has calmed me down and at the same time it’s made it easier for me to get things done. All of this has given me more confidence in dealing with life.


Meditation directly affects the number one issue for the corporate employee,
and that is the cumulative negative effects
from constant pressure to perform in what can be
a very difficult work environment – stress.

Q: For you, is there a duality in having an everyday working life and pursuing self development through meditation? How do they go together? 

CM: There is part of me that would love to run off to a mountaintop and just meditate while over-looking the earth. But we have responsibilities down here at the bottom of the hill. So I don’t approach work, family life and spiritual life as being separate and different from each other. It’s all part of the same stream. My meditation and spiritual life interact closely with my relationships at work and at home. For me, it’s not ‘material’ or ‘spiritual’ – it’s really just who I am. And I think that is reflected in my approach to work. Did you see the original Karate Kid movie? There was a scene when Mr Miyagi had the Karate Kid complete simple tasks – ‘wax on’ and ‘wax off’ – until the boy perfected these very simple movements with poise, love, respect and skill. That is how I try to approach whatever responsibility I have. It may be a presentation to senior executives, building a quarterly budget, or just washing the dishes. Wax on. Wax off. Meditation has made me a bit more ‘Zen’ in my approach to life. I experience the beauty and harmony in relationships and task at work and at home – even if it does not seem perfect on the outside.

Q: What are some of the greatest challenges for the corporate world in the 21st century?

CM: For the past year we have been working with corporations on corporate meditation and relaxation programs. These programs have been very well received by both management and employees. The reason they have been well received is because meditation directly affects the number one issue for the corporate employee, and that is the cumulative negative effects from constant pressure to perform in what can be a very difficult work environment – stress. Most employees are faced with nearly overwhelming challenges. For instance, you take a vacation to relax and you come back to hundreds of emails. And there are constant pressures from competitors, cost-cutting measures and ongoing changes that keep people unsettled. As employees, we are expected to thrive in this culture. I think stress may be the greatest challenge for the corporate employee in the 21st century. But there is one simple practice that can directly reduce stress, and that is meditation. The science is out on that.


I think it is by cultivating love – and by becoming love.
And we learn to do that by connecting with our heart.
And we connect with our heart by meditating on the heart.
Let’s put some love and heart back into work.
That will change the work environment.
It will change our relationships.


Q: The corporate world has a pretty bad reputation for being a place of aggressive competition and heartless self-promotion. How do you see putting heart back into the environment, given that people spend so much of their lives at work?

CM: I immediately think of a quote from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran: “Work is love made physical.” And how do you work with love, particularly in a corporate culture? I think it is by cultivating love – and by becoming love. And we learn to do that by connecting with our heart. And we connect with our heart by meditating on the heart. Let’s put some love and heart back into work. That will change the work environment. It will change our relationships. It will change how we answer the phone… how we check our emails…how we interact with people, and it will change how we interact with our own selves. Wax on. Wax off.



Interviewed by ELIZABETH DENLEY



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