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
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
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
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
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
meditation, 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.