5 Reflections from the 8th Annual Mindful Leader Summit
By Mo Edjlali
A little over a week ago we wrapped up the 8th Annual Mindful Leader Summit. Leading up to the summit, in what's become something of a pre-Summit ritual, I often find myself overwhelmed with the meticulous details, the pressure of making sure our speakers and attendees are well taken care of, and silently declaring, "This is the last time I do this!" By the time the last echo of applause subsides in our closing session, I'm riding an energy wave, already envisioning the next Summit and ten more!
Though all the previous 7 Summits have been amazing in their own regard this year’s felt unique. It was as if 250 mindful leaders had come together for a heartfelt family gathering. The deepened connections, spirited discussions, and the sharing of fresh perspectives exceeded what I'd imagined. And while these memories are still vivid, I'm compelled to pause, reflect, and share some takeaways.
#1 The Online-Offline Dance
There's an undeniable spark when online camaraderie blossoms into real-life connections. The joy of recognizing an online friend and sharing genuine laughter is incomparable. Nearly 50% of attendees had engaged in Mindful Leader MBSR training, in our Certified Workplace Mindfulness Program, or been active on Meditate Together. Our community is active and alive daily, the Summit has become an annual pilgrimage to strengthen and deepen community connection.
#2 The Quest for Unity
Each conversation brought forward a persistent underlying question: Are we on the same page? The mindfulness community stands at an intriguing intersection, with one path anchored in spiritual traditions and the other in mental health. The choices we make now will shape our collective journey ahead and help us answer questions like: Is it okay to charge for spirituality? How do we ethically navigate our field and move towards legitimate and credible offerings?
#3 The Quiet Celebration of Diversity
This year, the Summit resembled a vibrant tapestry of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. What resonated wasn’t just the diversity itself, but our quiet, implicit celebration of it. It was as if our collective spirit whispered, "You're welcome here, just as you are." Though there is much more work to be done, the spirit of expanding our community to reach people of all kinds was clear.
#4 Gazing at Tomorrow
The realm of mindfulness stands at an exciting yet challenging threshold. While innovations like AI and augmented reality hold immense promise, there's also caution in the air. Icons like the Dalai Lama and Jack Kornfield endorsing and even funding commercial technology companies is a testament to the delicate balance we tread.
#5 Genuine Impact over Fleeting Fame
While some attendees seemed drawn to the limelight, the Summit's 'unconference' style was a gentle reminder: true legacy is built not in the spotlight, but in the shadows of genuine efforts, in impacting lives, and in nurturing a community. We continue to emphasize the importance of the collective intelligence of the community over celebrity gurus and spiritual capitalism.
Reflecting on the Summit, I see more than just an event; it's a beautifully intricate mosaic of experiences and learnings. We're at a crucial juncture, with challenges looming large. Yet, I remain hopeful. For in every challenge lies an opportunity, a crack that lets the light seep in. As we navigate this path, my deepest wish is to tread with purpose and protect the sanctity of mindfulness.
Interested In attending next year’s Summit? You can go ahead save the date, stay tuned for our call for speakers (spring 2024), and sign up for updates on the landing page here.
*The image included in the article is from a previous Summit