Mediation master Matthieu Ricard takes his message to Davos

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 January, 2014, 11:15pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 January, 2014, 11:15pm


Aside from the business suits, it could be an ashram in the Himalayas. Sixty or so Davos movers and shakers are being urged to gaze at their thoughts by a French Buddhist monk swathed in robes.

"Meditation is about mastering your thoughts," Matthieu Ricard said. "You are not the slave of your thoughts. One way is to just gaze at them ... like a shepherd sitting above a meadow watching the sheep," added the monk, who lectures and writes about being happy.

Eyes closed tight, the delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos have queued for half an hour for the morning session.

The attraction is not just the chance to learn how to meditate by one of the masters of the art, but also to do so in the presence of movie star Goldie Hawn, who is on a mission to explain how children can benefit from meditation.

Those who have queued long enough to get into the room are silent as they receive instruction. They are learning the art of meditation even as Iran's President Hassan Rowhani is pledging in the main hall not to use his nuclear power to create weapons.

Two bits of advice are offered to those gazing at difficult thoughts. Do not try to hide away from the problem and do not try to explode it like a time bomb. Much better to let it melt away - "slowly melting like the frost under the morning sun".

The delegates are told how Steve Jobs of Apple mixed business with meditation. An article in Fortune magazine recently outlined how traders at Goldman Sachs have also been coached in how to train their minds. Forget the Wolf of Wall Street: these guys have got their karma together.

Hawn has been meditating since 1972 and probably needed all the calm she could muster after sharing her experiences at the forum, when she posted pictures of herself with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan - then hastily took them down - after running into a Twitter storm focused on his anti-gay views.

Her session is not just all about the practical side of mediation. Charts flash up - this is Davos after all - showing lines that could be profit and loss, but actually represent brain activity.