A growing number of major American corporations are offering meditation, mindfulness and yoga programs for their employees, practices that are believed to have originated in pagan Eastern religions.
Last week, the California-based software company Salesforce generated media attention for putting meditation rooms on every floor of the company’s newest corporate office building in San Francisco.
Marc Benioff, who is Salesforce’s CEO and an outspoken proponent of homosexual marriage, said the meditation rooms facilitate “mindfulness.”
“There’s a ‘mindfulness’ zone where employees can put their phones into a basket or whatever, and go into an area where there’s quietness,” he stated, according to “Business Insider.” “I think this is really important to cultivating innovation in your company.”
Fifty miles southeast of Salesforce’s San Francisco office, Google offers a meditation course called “Search Inside Yourself” to workers in its Silicon Valley headquarters. More than a thousand Google employees have been through the mindfulness training course, which promotes Eastern meditation practices.
“It’s not just Google that’s embracing Eastern traditions,” a report from “Wired.com” explained. “Across the Valley, quiet contemplation is seen as the new caffeine, the fuel that allegedly unlocks productivity and creative bursts.”
Google’s meditation routines are designed to help employees “search for meaning and emotional connection.”
Google is one of many technological companies that has come to embrace meditation and mindfulness programs. Facebook, also headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley, provides a meditation room for employees and is actively seeking to infuse Buddhist values into its corporate culture.
“While many other Silicon Valley companies are teaching their employees to meditate, Facebook is trying to inject a Buddhist-inspired concept of compassion into the core of its business,” “Wired.com” reports.
Many other technological companies have begun promoting Buddhist-inspired meditation techniques. AOL Time Warner offers quiet rooms for employees to refresh and mentally refocus. Yahoo! encourages workers to take advantage of meditation rooms. And Apple reportedly allows employees to take 30 minutes each day to meditate at work.
Why are yoga and meditation so popular among corporate giants of the tech field? Some trace the trend back to the early pioneers of computers and the Internet.
“Many of the people who shaped the personal computer industry and the Internet were once members of the hippie counterculture,” wrote Noah Shachtman on “Wired.com.” “So an interest in Eastern faiths is all but hardwired into the modern tech world.”
This interest in Eastern faiths is not limited to California-based tech giants, however; many non-technological companies are also working meditation routines into their corporate schedules. According to recent articles from The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review, General Mills, Target, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs Groups have all started offering mindfulness programs.
“Across the country there’s a loosening up of social mores right now and things like yoga and meditation just are not as foreign or as taboo as they once were,” said David Gelles, author of the book “Mindful Work: How Meditation Is Changing Business from Inside the Out,” in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “Yoga has become extremely popular.”
As meditation, yoga and related practices grow more popular among American workplaces, a number of respected Christian leaders have voiced concerns over the practices’ ties to unbiblical Eastern religions. Dr. Albert Mohler of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary describes yoga as “a spiritual discipline by which the adherent is trained to use the body as a vehicle for achieving consciousness of the divine.”
“There is nothing wrong with physical exercise, and yoga positions in themselves are not the main issue,” Mohler wrote in a blog post titled “The Subtle Body—Should Christians Practice Yoga?” “But these positions are teaching postures with a spiritual purpose.”
“Christians who practice yoga are embracing, or at minimum flirting with, a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives into a ‘post-Christian, spiritually polyglot’ reality,” he concluded. “Should any Christian willingly risk that?”