We are a thought leader within the insurance services industry and the business community in both our core line of business and our philosophical approach to running Cove. We are committed to integrating meditation and other healthful practices into our day-to-day operations, and our environment is conducive to bringing out the best in everyone here. We believe that by being more present and focusing on improving ourselves at the individual level, we develop healthy, positive attitudes and become more effective at our jobs. We can then put our best foot forward at every opportunity and grow personally and professionally in a friendly, supportive environment. By helping ourselves, we help each other, our clients, and our partners.
Health in our Workplace
In 2016, we went through a transformation — new logo, new tagline, an office renovation, and a new attitude. We decided that we needed to tell our story and celebrate our mission.
Our office renovations involved converting our boardroom into a yoga and meditation room. We already had a workout room, so adding this new dimension expanded our exercise capabilities to include our minds as well as our bodies. We wanted a special place to retreat to at any time to relax, recharge, and meditate during our work day.
This space gets more use than it ever did as a boardroom, and it brings a much greater value. With our new brighter space, we are inspired to continue developing our skillful habits.
The basis of the meditation that we practice at Cove is centred around the breath. It is based on the original methodology that was discovered and taught by the Buddha over 2,500 years ago.
The practitioners who continue to maintain the Buddha’s original teaching and practices are nuns and monks of the Kammatthana (or Thai Forest) Tradition of Buddhism. Their contemporary inspiration comes from the teachings and practices of Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta Thera, a monk who dedicated his life to reviving the sometimes-austere practices of the Buddhist monks of old. He lived in Thailand between 1870 – 1949 and was the inspiration for the new wave of forest tradition monasteries that dot the globe, and whose lineage of accomplished teachers left their mark for others to follow.
Our connection to Ajaan Mun is through the lineage of monks who dedicate their lives to following his example. We are fortunate to have access to the Buddha’s teaching through a prominent teacher of this lineage, American born Thanissaro Bhikkhu, (Ajaan Geoff) abbot of Wat Metta in Valley Center, California. Ajaan Geoff has created an incredible library of translated works that we draw from on a daily basis. He is fluent in Thai and Pali Sanskrit, the languages of the Buddha and the great teachers of Thailand, the latter of which he had the opportunity to study under. He continues to translate and provide commentary on the original canons of sutras passed down to the present day.
We have compiled an extensive library of his works at Cove in our meditation room and are happy to offer these books to anyone who would like to read them. The books are provided to us free of charge under the tradition that there should never be a charge for the dissemination of the Buddha’s teaching, a tradition which is strictly adhered to. There is also an extensive selection of recorded talks and eBooks that are available for free download at www.dhammatalks.org.
At Cove, we integrate a meditation practice into our workday. Our internal practice consists of a 20-minute group meditation during our weekly office meeting, followed by 10 minutes of reading from an inspirational book. (If we are going to open our minds, why not pour in something useful before we bombard it with work?).
We challenge each other to continue a practice during the week and make a commitment of a minimum of 5 minutes of meditation first thing in the morning when we come into the office. The meditation room offers a quiet getaway from the phones and activities to recharge any time we feel inspired.
We believe that it is important to have a healthy body to support a healthy mind. Yoga has been proven to bring relaxation and other health benefits if practiced regularly. With our new yoga room, we are able to bring in a yoga teacher once a week to guide us through an hour-long routine. The time we spend together doing yoga is so beneficial, bringing us together in a common pursuit of something healthy.
Our focus in yoga is for everyone to be able to do the 23 basic poses as outlined by Swami Shivananda, a highly regarded old school yoga master from India. During Bernie’s travels, he was exposed to many different teaching styles and found this style to be one free of frills that can detract from profound benefits and based on long-held highly regarded yogic principles.
It is important to be able to learn a routine of poses that you can do on your own. In order to extract the greatest value from doing yoga Asanas (poses) is to be able to practice regularly. Learning a set routine means you don’t need an instructor to do your thing. After all, yoga and meditation are meant to make you self-sufficient, not dependent on a teacher. – Bernie
When we first moved into our space in 2009, we created a space to work out. We have a treadmill, stationary bike, weights, and a shower. This room gets used every day (Bernie and Christie can testify that it provides a warm convenient place to pack on the biking and running miles even during the cold, dark winter months), and we all take advantage of these often-tedious activities, but you know what? Better to be bored and fit than be unfit!
The great thing is that running on a treadmill or riding a bike indoors makes hitting the trails, once the days get longer, a treat that we look forward. The bonus is that we don’t have to build up our base on those days because we are fit and ready to go.
The purpose of our efforts is one and the same, regardless of the activities we undertake: we want to live healthy lives free from stress with a happiness that is not based on things and money. (Don’t get me wrong: money and things are important, but they are just not the best source of happiness.)
Our health program at Cove gets us closer to that goal when we approach health from this holistic perspective. If you think about it, we spend almost 2/3 of our life focused on work activities. Doesn’t it make sense to make those hours as enjoyable and stress free as possible?
We are happy to share our experiences and stories on how we make this work, if you are interested in learning. Speaking of learning, the 55 minutes on the treadmill every morning has introduced Bernie and Christie to some amazing documentaries that they say they never would have watched under other circumstances. Exercising is making us smart, too. How about that?