Chade-Meng Tan is a Google engineer who with the assistance of some Zen Masters and some friends, devised an extraordinary mental program: Search Inside Yourself. Chade’s work at Google has been science-based, developing the incredible programs that go on inside Google headquarters. Google has long been at the forefront of creativity, thinking of new ways to do things. This easy-going, unpressured work-environment has led to many of the innovations from Google.
Daniel Goleman the author of Emotional Intelligence went to Google headquarters to give a talk on that subject. He was surprised that so many engineers and technical people turned up to listen to his talk. Chade saw that at the heart of emotional intelligence was knowing yourself. And the best way to know yourself — what goes on inside your head — is through mindfulness meditation.
Google executives approved of this development, and it has become a regular part of the Google culture. Chade wanted the public to experience the benefits of this course, and so with help from some other experienced meditators, developed the program explained in this book.
Chade became interested in meditation after reading about tests that revealed all the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of meditation. He decided that, with the approval of his Google leaders, to introduce a method of releasing the mind from artificial restraints.
The basis of this program is Mindfulness Meditation.
Even if you just read this book, you would learn a lot of useful mental techniques, but by following the Mindfulness Program, you will develop your mental skills, and at the same time, lay a foundation of calmness, objectivity, and inner knowledge.
Chade writes: “Meditation, at its simplest, is the training of attention. With enough meditative training, one’s attention can become unwaveringly calm and focused. With that enhanced quality of attention, one’s mind can easily, and for extended periods, become highly relaxed and alert at the same time. With that combination of relaxation and alertness, three wonderful qualities of mind naturally emerge: calmness, clarity, and happiness.”
You will soon see the benefits of following this practice. Chade gives lots of simplified ways of doing the meditation, which can be done sitting, walking, or listening. You can start by just doing a one-breath meditation each day. As simple as that.
This book contains a lot of little cartoon drawings related to the text. I found them a bit distracting, and not particularly useful, but someone else may find them amusing. Don’t let them put you off the program.
All in all the book is a great introduction to mindfulness meditation, an elementary, well-explained course in a single book.
Search Inside Yourself, has been taught at Google headquarters for the past eight years. No wonder they never run out of new ideas.