Mercedes and Mindfulness | Connecting with Culture
The Mercedes F1 garage is the last place you’d expect to find a group of engineers sitting in a room chanting ‘om’, but in a recent interview Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes’ motorsport programme, revealed the organisation has recently rolled out meditation across the team of over 1,000 people.
Though initially doubtful as to how many of his engineers would take up the opportunity, Wolff was surprised to see that even those who felt meditation to be ‘nonsense’ engaged with the practice. Even amongst ‘hardcore, stubborn’ science-types, meditation ‘worked’, and so was seen to be a worthwhile use of time.
In addition, take the number of ‘mindfulness’ or ‘meditation’ apps now available on the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store to see this in action. Although many of these apps and meditative practices draw from Buddhist philosophy, it’s unlikely that the Mercedes F1 engineering staff – and the millions of others who have downloaded such apps – have become practising Buddhists. Instead, they seem to be content to go along with what they feel is helping. It would seem that people are less concerned with the underlying philosophy of meditation and more focussed on finding something that makes them feel at ease. Or, to put it another way, could it be that people today care more about the method of life than they do about its meaning?
Why is this? There are doubtless plenty of reasons. Perhaps the information overload offered by the internet means that one of the fastest ways to sift what’s ‘true’ from what isn’t is to see if it works in practice. Whatever the cause, it is clear that people are searching for moments of peace and rest within their busy schedules. Jesus knew that when he said ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’
This is a promise that Jesus makes to all, regardless of age, location, or circumstance. In a culture where the temptation can be to care more for things that ‘work’ rather than those that are true, there is a chance to speak to our overworked and under pressure colleagues and friends about the one who gives respite to the overworked and rest to the heavy-laden. And – if it’s appropriate – we can offer to pray for them… not just because prayer ‘works’, but because it is grounded in the reality of the loving God who has revealed himself in Jesus.
Chris is the Student Worker at St Michael le Belfrey Church, York.