The mood here in NYC is brittle and odd.
So many people literally see their fortunes rise and fall with the market -- from the guys who run the coffee carts that line the streets in business districts, to boutique owners, to consultants and financial executives. Charitable institutions, too. I recently heard a figure bandied about: 10% of the city's tax base is dependent on Wall Street. (This seems low, actually.)
People are stressed out.
My friend Marjorie Nass is a former executive. Years ago, she made a career change, and she's now a certified Anusara yoga teacher. Marjorie told me that Equinox Fitness centers have asked all of their teachers to increase the amount of meditation offered in Equinox yoga classes. Read her take on this here.
It's not what "happens to us", it's how we respond. Meditation teaches us how to increase the time between stimulus (what has "happened to us") and response. This gives us more time to choose our response -- and maybe during this time we'll choose a better response, make a better choice.
Many of the Equinox clients serve the NYC financial markets: especially now, they need to be making the best possible choices.
Kudos to Equinox for finding a positive and conscious way to serve clients during this tough time. By doing so, they are also serving all of the rest of us who are dependent on will happen in the financial markets.
(And Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programs are used more and more by businesses and business people -- MBSR is a secular meditation technique that many have found useful. You can find links to instructors at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. Or if you're in the Philadelphia area, check out the wonderful Penn Program for Stress Management, offered via the University of Pennsylvania Health System.)
(Meditation Room by flickr's Joe Schlabotnik. Thanks, Joe.)