Zazen at work, at the Hamburg Publicis Agency

Below, we present an account of an original project by the monk, Georg Kangen Baumewerd, spreading Zen practice at work and participating in the emergence of a new way of looking at modern society.

People are feeling more and more overwhelmed by their jobs. Ever-increasing pressure, working hours on the rise, economic crisis, the anxiety of losing your job: these result in significant dissatisfaction. This is the reason why many people are searching for other ways to overcome this situation, something that will help them in their daily life to reduce stress and more calmly face the pressure they are under.

Some of my colleagues from the advertising agency Publicis Hamburg, where I work, were interested in knowing what zazen was and what a Zen monk does. With the agreement of my master, Olivier Reigen Wang-Ganh, I was able to answer their questions, and suggested we do a meditation session in one of the conference rooms at the agency.

Within nearly two years after this first session, we now have three weekly meditation sessions before work. At the same time, the advertising agency, “d.pole”, located in the same building, also asked me to organise a zazen session. This takes place in the middle of the day and is quite popular.

Publicis and d.pole, as part of their ongoing training programme, finance these meditation sessions at work, and the money collected is transferred as a donation to the religious association of Ryumon Ji Temple.

This set up allows me to practice Zen at work four times a week and share the practice with my colleagues. Yet it is above all the possibility of offering through zazen an experience of values which are necessary to our contemporary society: those of silence and attention to others.

For more information on organising these sessions, go to our Facebook page: “Publicis Academy: zen meditation” or contact me directly:

Georg Kangen Baumewerd