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Peace (and safety) come from within

By Lauren Smith

If you had 10 days alone with your thoughts, what might cross your mind?

I recently attended a 10-day meditation course. I spent the entire course in silence (Noble Silence, as it’s referred to). I had zero communication with anyone for 10 days—not even my roommate, who I had just met—and I willingly handed over my phone for the duration of my stay.

Completely disconnected from the outside world and alone with not much more than my thoughts, I welcomed the experience with open arms.

center-vipassana-meditation

Image source: globalpagoda.org

 

So what does this have to do with safety?

While on this mindful journey, one of the things I observed about myself were the seemingly little (but ultimately big) ways I was mindful about safety before and during the course.

  1. Send help!

Before I left, I let my friends and family know the location of the course and how they could reach me. This wasn’t in case I wanted to be rescued. I wanted them to know where I was and how to reach me in case of an emergency.

Same goes when working offsite at a new location, especially if you’re working solo. It’s always a smart idea to let your supervisor know exactly where you are and how to get in contact with you, just In case there’s an emergency.

  1. Escape plan

This wasn’t a precaution if I couldn’t hack it the full 10 days (although the thought of breaking out crossed my mind a few times). On the first evening of the course, before Noble Silence took effect, the course managers introduced themselves, and gave us a rundown of the evacuation procedures and the locations of the emergency exits. Afterwards I familiarized myself with the exits and also where I could find the managers as they were our go-to people for emergencies.

Anytime you’re working in a new location, it’s always crucial to familiarize yourself with the nearest exists in case you have to evacuate. It’s also important to know who you should turn to in the event of an emergency.

  1. Limits to my silence

The Noble Silence we were expected to observe during the course was a rule I took very seriously. Challenging myself to not speak and turn all my energy inward was one of the reasons I signed up for the course. However, during the first couple days, I realized I would have zero reservations about breaking Noble Silence if I needed to warn someone of danger or help someone who was hurt.

I believe the same goes at work. There are rules and protocols to be followed, and often they’re in place to keep you safe. But it’s also important to trust your gut—if something doesn’t feel safe, it probably isn’t. When your instinct goes against something you were told, don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s best to double check with your supervisor if you think following a specific protocol could be unsafe.


Final observation

Thankfully the course went smoothly (aside from my sanity being challenged at times) and there were no emergencies. But, as I reflected on earlier, it’s always a good idea to be prepared when it comes to your safety. Keeping safety top of mind is one of the best ways to stay safe, wherever you are on your journey.

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