What can a Buddhist Monk Teach Entrepreneurs?
Gregory Burdulis to present at SVN fall conference
Monday Oct. 29, 2012 -- Kristian Partington
A calm voice of reflection, mindfulness and self-awareness will greet those who attend Gregory Burdulis’ presentation at this year’s Social Venture Network (SVN) fall conference, and the experience he gained over many years of meditation in a quest for spiritual understanding will be fully offered.
Slow down, he suggests.
Pause and consider before reacting.
The enjoyment of simplicity can be the antidote to the stresses of everyday life.
When Burdulis speaks, these seemingly simple concepts emerge from the calm wisdom he earned over several years of deep meditative reflection.
Burdulis has become a voice of reason in a hectic world.
Since returning to the United States after his time oversees living as a contented monk in intensive meditation, he has worked with several people and organizations helping others discover the art of mindfulness and self-awareness.
After meeting SVN executive director Deb Nelson at an event earlier this year, he received an invitation to present at the conference.
“I’ll be doing about an hour-long presentation for about 150 people and my hope is that during that time I can create a safe environment where people are willing to investigate their own difficult emotions and establish a different kind of relationship to them,” Burdulis explains.
The life of an entrepreneur is one of constant challenge and the burdens can be many, yet the difficult emotions of life — fear, uncertainty, anxiety, stress — these are all aspects of the human condition.
Burdulis’ role is to help others respond to these emotions with grace and skill.
“Sometimes it feels to me that people are really stressed and are living in their own personal infernos of hell, and part of my self-appointed job is to be a cooling presence,” he says.
He draws upon the wisdom of a Vietnamese monk named Thích Nhat Hanh, who said: ‘Mindfully dealing with fear is like taking the hand of a little brother.’
“That is such a different relationship than what most of us have,” Burdulis says.
It’s a relationship that can cool the infernos of stress, fear and uncertainty.
The importance of understanding how difficulties can be perceived as opportunities for personal growth emerges through even short conversation with Burdulis, and his presentation to SVN members will draw these concepts into the open.
“At its core, I’m helping people to facilitate to expand their own ability to be aware of themselves, mentally physically and spiritually, but also of their surroundings, which include other people,” he says.
“That kind of awareness, it makes sense in the business world because a leader is so much more effective at what he or she does when they’re not reactive, they’re able to pause and consider.
“They’ve got an ability and a desire to foster . . . the goodness of the people on their team.”
It is with great excitement that Burdulis looks forward to the conference, for he sees it as a wonderful learning experience for him.
After spending more than a decade out of the U.S. and being entirely out of contact for seven years as he practiced his internal quest for peace and understanding, he says he’s still learning what changes have taken place in the wider world.
When he hears of the burgeoning social business movement and the work of groups like SVN and the American Sustainable Business Council, his voice slips beyond calm tones to those of excitement.
“It’s actually thrilling,” he says. “It’s truly exciting for me to see people with this kind of orientation making a difference in our world, and I would be honored to work side by side with them.”
These connections will take place as the conference unfolds in Rye Brook, New York Nov. 14-17. Click here to learn more.
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