InFocus Series: Meet Angelene Chan, Singapore

There is nothing like a crisis to put your spiritual practice to the test. In these last few weeks, as the world fights tooth and nail to contain a virus outbreak of a scale that has never been experienced in our lifetime, I find myself having to make many swift decisions amid uncertainties; decisions that will have far-reaching effects on the profitability of the group of companies I am entrusted with, and more importantly, on the wellbeing and livelihood of its 1200 employees. I constantly second guess myself: Am I doing enough?
Am I doing too much? It is stressful, to say the least.

It is in these days that I came to realize how precious my meditation practice is to me. Twice a day, I am able to pause, shut out the noise and bad news, and withdraw inward. Meditation opens the pressure relief valve of my brain to release the steam, this is the best way I can describe one of the most tangible benefits of meditation. Because the pressure builds up over the course of the day, I find that the second sitting in the evening has become indispensable. I am a beginner. My practice began in earnest only in 2016 after I attended a leadership course conducted by Father Laurence in Singapore. In January that same year, I was appointed the CEO of a large company. There were a lot of expectations, not least from myself, to do well. Besides the financial side of business, I want to make my colleagues happy and our company the best place to work in. Listening to Fr Laurence convinced me that contemplative leadership is the way to achieve the goals I have set for myself.

The profession I am in, architecture, is a highly demanding and competitive one that requires intense creative energy and mental endurance. The work life of an architect is very hectic and it is very easy to burn out if we are not careful. Meditation started out as a way for me to find balance and clarity.

By God’s blessings, quite early on in my practice, I discovered an infinitely profound reward – personal communion with God that is deeper than what I had previously experienced. Using meditation as prayer and as a way to deepen my Catholic identity was not my motivation when I started. But I find that the practice has deepened my faith, and my faith is the inspiration for me to persist in the practice. This became clear when I joined Fr Laurence’s Holy Land tour in February. In tracing the steps of Christ, praying and breaking bread with my fellow pilgrims, the shared practice of meditation took us deeper into an inward journey that we were all undertaking.

When we looked into each other’s eyes, sometimes through tears, we witnessed the Divine in each other and in the physical world around us. Through meditation, we acquired the inner silence to experience God. It is His gift to us.

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