Meanwhile Back at the Valley

Fitter, Happier, More Productive: Silicon Valley Just Can’t Get Enough Inner Peace

Meditation is all the rage.
(Photo By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Do you ever look at a centuries-old spiritual practice and think, “Huh, how can I use this to make myself a better employee of Google?” Apparently someone does: Wired reports that meditation and mindfulness are the hottest thing going in Silicon Valley.

Googlers are signing up in droves for “Search Inside Yourself” training, and the company has instituted “mindfulness lunches.” Facebook and Twitter apparently have “regular in-office meditation sessions and arranging for work routines that maximize mindfulness.”

Meanwhile, bigwigs turn out for Wisdom 2.0 conferences (previous speakers include Evan Williams and… Arianna Huffington?).

It’s almost like a form of prosperity gospel designed just for the Valley!

But this is a little different from the approach of ascetic monks and those friendly, silver-haired ladies that audit college courses in comparative religion. “Entrepreneurs and engineers are taking millennia-old traditions and reshaping them to fit the Valley’s goal-oriented, data-driven, largely atheistic culture,” according to Wired.

In other words, the tech biz has finally gotten around to disrupting inner peace:

Forget past lives; never mind nirvana. The technology community of Northern California wants return on its investment in meditation. “All the woo-woo mystical stuff, that’s really retrograde,” says Kenneth Folk, an influential meditation teacher in San Francisco. “This is about training the brain and stirring up the chemical soup inside.”

Wonder what the Buddha would make of the Facebook IPO, anyhow?

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com