using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : September 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN SepteMBer 2009 36 and has taught within it, “It’s great when contemplative prac- tice comes to any workplace, but it’s particularly meaningful for Google, a fount of countless creative ideas. In many ways, Google is a model place to work; Fortune named it the best place to work in America two years in a row. And Google has had a big influ- ence on all of our working lives. If it works at Google, other em- ployers take notice.” “Let’s Get A smoothIe before we talk,” meng says to me as we wait for one of the many meeting rooms in Building 43 to be vacated at our appointed time. Building 43 is where Google founders Brin and Page have their offices, including a rooftop workspace. It’s in a cluster of four buildings (40-43) that surround a green space, like a quad on a college campus. they are part of the Googleplex, the large headquarters complex in mountain View, California. Buildings 40-43 seem inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. there’s lots of glass and curves and odd angles, and when you’re inside, you rarely feel disconnected from the out- side. Building 43 contains a mexican restaurant, a multiethnic cafeteria, a California nouvelle café (serving a delicate red snap- per when I visited), and kitchenettes all around that fulfill the Google promise that you will never be more than one hundred feet from free food. Lest you gain weight, there are gyms, bikes to ride, volleyball courts, and lap pools in the open air. In the smoothie bar over in Building 40, there are some people who might almost pass for corporate, but one googler is sprawled across a couch with his feet over the back and his head on the floor, his laptop held in front of him, fingers dexterously flying over keys and mouse pad. meng and I carry our smoothies back across the quad to Building 43 and, just in time for our meeting, the team using the room rises and exits gracefully. While Google is very free and loose, with foosball, pool tables, and sleep pods in open view, it’s also quite precise in many ways. It’s an engineer- ing company after all. And being respectful of others’ time and space is part of Google’s “Don’t Be evil” philosophy. employees are given every amenity to make work enjoyable, healthy, and creative, and when you get a feel for the atmosphere, a medita- tion program seems not radical, but sensible. It could only start, though, once someone figured out just what kind of meditation program would appeal to the average googler. When you first sit down with meng, he likes to share “life sto- ries.” how did you get to where you are today? What has moti- vated you? he begins with his own. meng’s life has taught him that persistent intention will bring the dawn of the next big idea. his life had changed significantly several times before the turn- ing point of IPo Day. A dozen years prior, at the age of twenty- one, in a time of fervent searching for relief from the pain of life, he encountered an American Buddhist nun, sangye Khadro, in his native singapore. When he asked her what Buddhism had to say about suffering, she told him that all of Buddhism is about suffering. “It was like suddenly somebody opened the floodgates. I immediately understood,” he writes on his blog. he committed himself to serious Buddhist practice. the next of his epiphanies, or “eureka moments” as meng prefers to call them, came the year before the IPo, when he was strolling around the Google campus on a beautiful summer’s day and “something strange” happened. “A strong aspiration to save the world suddenly solidified in me, for no good reason at all,” he writes. “I just stopped and made a solemn promise to myself that one day, if I achieve financial independence, I will dedicate my life to humanity. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a desire to do something big and important for humanity. It was a thought that existed as a constant, faint background buzz in my mind. It just never really solidified until that lovely summer day.” IPo Day was a day much like any other, meng says. Apart from some high-fives and a “few very embarrassing seconds of victory dances,” little changed. meng wrote code. the magnitude of the windfall didn’t really sink in, and in any case, meng felt that by the time he was permitted to sell his stock, six months hence, it might well be worthless. As time wore on, though, what meng calls “deni- al” began to wear off and, he says, “sometime in early 2005 it hit me. I caught myself thinking, ‘omigod, I actually have real money!’ ” meng has given some of that money away. he donated one mil- lion dollars to the Center for Compassion Research and education at stanford (which received seed money from the Dalai Lama), and he has started his own small foundation. But it’s clear that his deepest aspiration has been, in software engineering parlance, to “make sIY open source.” For that to happen, it had to succeed within Google. menG’s FIRst FoRAY into marrying meditation and Google was mindfulness-Based stress Reduction, but it didn’t attract much attention. “stress reduction didn’t really fly here,” he told me. the hiring process at Google, meng pointed out, is designed to draw out high achievers and idealists who have done something a little different, like hiking in Patagonia or going to war-torn areas to help children. “For high achievers, stress can be a badge of honor, and not many people will sign on for stress reduction, particularly those who need it the most. so I needed to go be- yond stress reduction. I wanted to help people find ways to align mindfulness practice with what they want to achieve in life, so they can create peace and happiness in themselves, and at the same time create world peace.” World peace—expressed with no irony—is the recurring theme for meng, and his contemplations have led him to the firm conviction that meditation is the path to world peace, since all prior efforts, he says, have failed by “imposing social or politi- cal structures on people. they tried to create world peace from the outside in. my idea is to do the reverse, to create world peace from the inside out.” In meng’s view, meditation is the method- ology for creating peace from the inside out. however, meng feels that if meditation is not approached sci- entifically—if it is not “data-driven”—it won’t achieve widespread