In our packed days, it might seem that we do not have time to practice humility, respect, and peacefulness; yet these practices are at the heart of democratic engagement. People in the fast-paced tech world understand our busyness, but also the need to slow down. To transform a frenetic culture, Chade-Meng Tan brought mindfulness practices to his work at Google. Tan details his journey in the books Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) and Joy on Demand.

Tan describes the practice of mindful emailing, which he calls being intentional about the words you use and the purpose behind sending emails. Emails can be misinterpreted easily. Anger and frustration can be read in a message that was never intended to communicate those emotions. To practice mindful emailing, first think of your recipient as if you were personally greeting him or her. That open attitude sets a different tone as you move forward in the communication. The practice then becomes "to lead with kindness in the first words upon greeting someone," as Tobin Hart explains in The Four Virtues. Taking this small step of emphasizing mindfulness and kindness in emailing, and not communicating from places of reactivity, can make a world of difference.

Kristin Ritzau, Chade-Meng Tan, Tobin Hart in Practicing Democracy Online by Kristin Ritzau