The monks that advise Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff give tips for mindful work meetings

Brother Seck Kai sits
peacefully in the Mindfulness Zone at Dreamforce on

Becky Peterson/Business

  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has a close relationship
    with the monks and nuns from Plum Village.
  • The monastics, as they’re known, visited San Francisco
    from around the US and France this week for Salesforce’s
    170,000-person conference, where they have a tent set up to
    share mindfulness and meditation practices with conference
  • One of those monks, Brother Fulfillment,
    shared his tips on how to bring mindfulness practices into
    weekly work meetings. 

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has a head for meditation and

Dreamforce attendees sit
in conversation with one of the monks at Dreamforce on

Becky Peterson/Business

Benioff’s love is so great, in fact, that he has formed
a close relationship with a
French monastic community called Plum Village,
whose members have inspired him to spread peace of mind
add meditation rooms on each floor
of the new Salesforce
Tower. He’s
even hosted the monks
at one of his homes in San

This week, for the second year in a

some of these monks and nuns
were back in the foggy city to host
a mindfulness station at Salesforce’s 170,000-person
conference, Dreamforce. During his keynote address on Monday,
Benioff even had the monastics stand up from their seats in the
audience for a round of applause. 

Plum Village, as it turns out, actually uses Salesforce to
manages clients for the retreats it holds. They’re one
of the many non-profits that Salesforce team members train for
free. But at Dreamforce, the monks and nuns were there to do more
than just learn about customer relationship management

Brother Fulfillment, a
monk at the Blue Cliff Monastery in New York, shared how his
community brings mindfulness practices to weekly

Becky Peterson/Business

Situated in a tent just outside of the main conference
halls, the monastics offered a get-away amidst the chaotic
conference for attendees just looking for a quiet place to chill.
They also led meditation sessions and gave life advice to anyone
who asked.

One of the monks, Brother Fulfillment, traveled to Dreamforce
from a monastery in New York called Blue Cliff, which is part of
the greater Plum Village network. 

He shared how the Plum Village philosophy — influenced by Zen
Buddhism as well as scientific and other non-religious approaches
to mindfulness — can be applied in a work setting to decrease
stress and increase communication between coworkers. 

Just like everyone else, the monks and nuns also have to sit
through weekly meetings. Here is what Brother Fulfillment
said are the key strategies to keeping meetings mindful:

  • Brother Fulfillment said his community holds its
    meetings in a circle
    , so that everyone at the table is
    on equal footing. 
  • The community starts every meeting with
    , to put people in a calm state of mind.
  • Each meeting has a facilitator, whose role is
    to ensure that everyone at the meeting has the chance to speak
    and that the otherwise organically-flowing meeting is
    productive. Brother Fulfillment said that it’s important that
    these facilitators have mindfulness training, so that they can
    set the tone for the whole room.
  • It’s also important that each person in the room speaks in a
    way that is respectful of one another. Brother Fulfillment said
    that these meetings should have
    no interruptions, and that speakers should
    only share one idea at a time. He also said that
    it’s important for the speaker to phrase ideas in terms
    of how something makes them feel
    , which will open
    up space for people who disagree.
  • Though Brother Fulfillment’s community recognizes seniority
    of the more experienced monks and nuns, most decisions
    are made by consensus
    . Consensus means everyone in the
    room has come to an agreement. If everyone doesn’t agrees, then
    the proposal is changed until a compromise is met. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *