How to Increase Employee Commitment and Engagement

How to Increase Employee Commitment and Engagement If employee allegiance no longer has a metaphysical basis in a culture, people are left with only two values—personal peace and personal affluence—and these values diminish loyalty with their self-absorbed focus. Employees who long only to be left alone to follow better possessions and better experiences have no room for loyal relationships.

To increase commitment, managers focus on employee ownership and retention, either by giving employees equity in the company in hopes that if they own it, they will give more commitment so that their equity will increase in value; or by giving project control in hopes that if the employees own the project, they will give the commitment that is needed for the project’s success. Employee ownership, however, is a deficient substitute for employee loyalty.

Employee Engagement Strategy Examples

Managers who try to encourage loyalty through employee retention soon realize that this too is inadequate to build loyalty. These programs tend to focus on employee self-fulfillment rather than earning and retaining loyalty to the values, purposes and people of the organization.

Our survey indicates that the top five drivers of employee commitment are:

  1. management’s recognition of the importance of personal and family life;
  2. opportunities for personal growth;
  3. satisfying customer needs;
  4. communications about benefits; and
  5. skills keeping pace with job requirements.

These drivers deepen employees’ commitments, but only on condition that some other prospective employer is not providing them more fully or with better pay. Gaining employee commitment by nourishing the need for self-fulfillment is another example of loyalty for personal gain rather than loyalty to the values, purpose and people of the organization.

'The Truth About Employee Engagement' by Patrick Lencioni (ISBN 111923798X) The problem with trying to win loyalty through ownership and retention plans is that these are attempts to buy what must be warranted. Loyalty means to be steadfast in one’s allegiance to a person, cause, or company and to beliefs, practices, and relationships that benefit all involved. A culture that wins loyalty is built by exemplifying high values and right purposes, by assuming constituents to live these high values and right purposes, and by rewarding them when they do and challenging them when they do not.

Four Implications for Employee Loyalty

Managers and employees who take sincerely the need to build loyalty must see four consequences.

  1. Building loyalty to the values, purposes and people of an organization is swimming against the tide of current trends. It will entail time and energy.
  2. Managers need to either commit to building employee loyalty or quit criticizing about the lack of it.
  3. Employees will likely reap what they sow in terms of loyalty. If they do not learn the lessons of loyalty now, they will not know how to earn and build loyalty when they become managers.
  4. Managers need to vet potential employees as to their prior commitment to organizational values, purposes and people rather than just personal gain.

In terms of employee loyalty, managers can choose to either curse the darkness or light a candle.

Tagged
Posted in Management and Leadership

25 Great Quotes On Thinking New Ideas

  • If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.
    Albert Einstein (1879–1955), German-born Physicist & Philosopher, Author of Out of My Later Years
  • Every time you meet somebody, you’re looking for a better and newer and bigger idea. You are open to ideas from anywhere.
    –Jack Welch (b. 1935), American Business Executive & Author of Jack: Straight From The Gut and Winning
  • 'Stop Playing Safe' by Margie Warrell (ISBN 1118505581) The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.
    –Mark Twain (1835–1910), American Author & Humorist, Author of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • The rewards in business go to the man who does something with an idea.
    –William Benton (1900–73), American Publisher, Businessman, Politician
  • Try this for a week: Each morning, spring out of bed at the first hint of light and focus first on the new and wondrous things that are just waiting to reveal themselves that day. Let curiosity well up inside of you. Let your mind open up to new ideas. Forget that you already know everything.
    –Donna Kinni (b. 1961), American Author
  • The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth-century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging, and hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen.
    –Carl Ally (1924–99), American Advertising Executive
  • When it comes to organizational imagination, everyone is a point of light, inwardly afire with excellent ideas for making our companies work smarter, faster, leaner, and better. But as business leaders, we too seldom tap into our most valuable resource—the brain trust of our employees—to discover new pathways of progress and profits.
    –Charles Decker (1961–2012), American Publisher
  • Inventors and men of genius have almost always been regarded as fools at the beginning (and very often at the end) of their careers.
    –Feodor Dostoyevsky (1821–81), Russian novelist, Author of Crime and Punishment
  • Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.
    –John Steinbeck (1902–68), American Novelist and author of Of Mice and Men
  • 'Crossing the Chasm' by Geoffrey A. Moore (ISBN 0062292986) Keep on the lookout for novel ideas that others have used successfully. Your idea has to be original only in its adaptation to the problem you’re working on.
    –Thomas Edison (1847–1931), American Inventor
  • No idea is so antiquated that it was not once modern. No idea is so modern that it will not someday be antiquated.
    –Ellen Glasgow (1873–1945), American Novelist, Author of In This Our Life
  • To stay ahead, you must have your next idea waiting in the wings.
    –Rosabeth Moss Kanter (b. 1942), American Academic, Author of Challenge of Organizational Change
  • Brainpower is now the greatest commodity we can contribute to the world. Democracy was never intended to be a breeding place for mediocrity. We must engage in the business of stimulating brainpower lest we fail in producing leaders of consequence. In a period of speed, space and hemispheric spasms we dare not treat new thoughts as if they were unwelcome relatives.
    –Dean F. Berkley (1925–2009), American Academic
  • If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself. Also, you will have betrayed your community in failing to make your contribution.
    –Rollo May (1909–94), American Psychologist
  • New ideas come from differences. They come from having different perspectives and juxtaposing different theories.
    –Nicholas Negroponte (b. 1943), Greek-American Architect
  • Invention is the process by which a new idea is discovered or created. In contrast, innovation occurs when a new idea is adopted.
    –Everett Rogers (1931–2004), American Sociologist
  • The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.
    –Linus Pauling (1901–94), American Scientist
  • Ideas are a capital that bears interest only in the hands of talent.
    –Antoine de Rivarol (1753–1801), French Journalist
  • The power of an idea can be measured by the degree of resistance it attracts.
    –David Yoho (b. 1946), American Business Consultant
  • An idea is salvation by imagination.
    –Frank Lloyd Wright (1869–1959), American Architect and author of The Natural House
  • '13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do' by Amy Morin (ISBN 0062358308) Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.
    –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), German Poet & Statesman, Author of Maxims and Reflections
  • If you can dream it, you can do it.
    –Walt Disney (1901–66), American Entrepreneur & Entertainer
  • There is no prosperity, trade, art, city, or great material wealth of any kind, but if you trace it home, you will find it rooted in a thought of some individual man.
    –Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82), American Philosopher and Essayist, Author of Self-Reliance
  • A great idea is usually original to more than one discoverer. Great ideas come when the world needs them. Great ideas surround the world’s ignorance and press for admission.
    –Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844-1911), American Author of A Singular Life and other books
  • I’d climb into the car as it went down the assembly line and introduce myself. Then I’d ask for ideas.
    –John Risk, American Automotive Engineer
Tagged
Posted in Education and Career Mental Models and Psychology

Temples on the Panaromic Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, Capital of the Vijayanagara Empire

Panaromic Hemakuta Hill, Hampi

Hemakuta, literally meaning gold hillock, is one of the most charming hillocks in Hampi. It is dotted by over fifty structures of different types—including temples, mandapas, galleries, and gateways of various dimensions.

Though Hampi itself is characterized as a garden of boulders, the Hemakuta hill takes a major share in this compliment. Every boulder here tells a story of mythological and folk nature and takes the visitor to an era of religion and romance. Shiva and Parvati become closer to the visitor at this hill and it gives a rare experience of unalloyed joy.

Actually, it is a fortified area, which has three entrances in east, north, and south. Originally, some of the temples of this hill were taken to be Jain basadis but now it has been proved beyond doubt that they are Shaiva temples. In fact all the temples of this area are Shaivite ones. Another point of interest is some of these temples were built in the fourteenth century (early Vijayanagara period).

Mythological and Folk History of Hemakuta Hill, Hampi

Located to the south of the famous Virupaksha temple, which has one of the tallest gopuras (170 ft), the other temples at Hemakuta are smaller ones and one can easily see a contrast. Thus, there is might and elegance side by side on this hillock.

Another interesting feature of this area is the presence of one celled (ekakuta), double celled (dvikuta) and three celled (trikuta) temples near to each other. These temples though small in dimensions arrest our attention by the northern type (nagara) sikharas almost in a cluster.

Ekakuta, Dvikuta, Trikuta - Celled Temples in Hemakuta Hill, Hampi

  • A ekakuta temple has a garbhagriha, antarala and a navaranga. The navaranga has kakshasana (stone bench) on the three sides. It is a granite temple with Kadamba Nagara sikhara.
  • The twin temple has two garbhagrihas, two antaralas and two navarangas with two entrances. The sikharas belong to a type called Kalinga Nagara. It was built by Kampilaraya of Kummatadurga.
  • The third temple is a trikuta (three celled) and it was built by Kampilaraya, son of Mummadi Singeya Nayaka. It has three garbhagrihas in three directions, with a common navaranga and a mandapa. Nearby is another trikuta temple also built by Kampilaraya.

Shaiva Architecture of Panaromic Hemakuta Hill, Hampi

All the garbhagrihas originally had Shivalingas. Thus, the Hemakuta hill presents a panoramic view of Shaiva architecture of a unique type.

Tagged
Posted in Hobbies and Pursuits Travels and Journeys

A Dalai Lama Reading List

The 14th Dalai Lama, Lhamo Thondup, Gejong Tenzin Gyatsho (also Tenzin Gyatso,) is called Sku ‘dun (pronounced “Kundun”) out of respect, which means literally “the presence before us.” He spent his early years between the Potala and the Nor bu gling kha summer palace, studying Buddhism under the supervision of scholarly Dge lugs pa monks. This altered suddenly in 1950 when, at the age of fifteen, a political predicament forced the Tibetan government to ask him to undertake both political and spiritual authority.

When Mao Zedong declared Tibet an integral part of the Chinese homeland and China’s Red Army marched in to Tibet, easily defeating the badly equipped Tibetans in 1950 at on the traditional border between central and eastern Tibet. In despondency, Tibet’s political leaders invested the young Dalai Lama with full political authority. In 1951 China forced a totally conquered Tibet to sign the Seventeen Point Agreement in which it was declared that Tibet had always been a part of China.

The Dalai Lama finished his traditional studies in 1959. Soon after, when the Chinese army suppressed a Tibetan uprising in Lhasa protesting tightening Chinese control, the Dalai Lama fled as a refugee to India. He was eventually followed by about 100,000 of his people. Now he travels widely, giving explanations of Buddhist teaching and exchanging ideas with scientists and leaders of other faiths.

  • 'The Art of Happiness' by Dalai Lama (ISBN 1594488894) The Art of Happiness (2009) … In the Dalai Lama’s best-selling tome, he sits down with Dr. Howard Cutler to investigate the keys to happiness in the face of life’s complications. From anxiety, anger, and discouragement to relationships and loss, the Dalai Lama presents how we can find inner peace amongst the problems of modern life.
  • Ethics for the New Millennium (2001) … The Dalai Lama offers a moral philosophy based on universal rather than religious principles. Its definitive goal is happiness for every individual, regardless of religious beliefs. Reasoning for basic human goodness, he points out that the number of violent or dishonest people is tiny compared to the great majority who wish others well.
  • For the Benefit of All Beings: A Commentary on The Way of the Bodhisattva (2009) … The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva is one of the best-loved texts of Mahayana Buddhism and a distinct preference of the Dalai Lama’s own Buddhist tradition. With this classic text as his guide, he shows how all of us can develop a good heart and aspire to become enlightened for the sake of all beings.
  • The Essence of the Heart Sutra (2005) … The Heart Sutra is a core text of Mahayana Buddhism, declaring its central doctrine that all things are empty of self. The Dalai Lama offers his interpretation on the Heart Sutra and places the text in historical and philosophical context. Since the Dalai Lama’s Gelugpa school concentrates in the philosophy of emptiness, this is an authoritative discussion of one of the world’s foundational religious texts.
  • 'A Profound Mind' by Dalai Lama (ISBN 0385514689) A Profound Mind: Cultivating Wisdom in Everyday Life (2012) … In Buddhism, wisdom is defined as the realization of non-self. The Dalai Lama unpacks the Buddhist view of emptiness and explains why it helps us lead a more meaningful, happy, and loving life. Using the arduous logic for which he is famous, he takes us on a step-by-step journey to understanding the reality of unselfishness.
  • My Land and My People (1997) and Freedom in Exile (2008) … The Dalai Lama’s first autobiography, My Land and My People, was published in 1962, just three years after he reinstated himself in India and before he became an international celebrity. His second autobiography, Freedom in Exile, was released in 1990. The Dalai Lama regards both as accurate and reissued My Land and My People in 1997 to coincide with the release of the film Kundun, saying, “The sense of immediacy and urgency in my writing then would be difficult to recreate today.”
  • The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality (2006) … Discussing Darwinism, quantum mechanics, neurobiology, meditation, and the study of consciousness, the Dalai Lama draws substantial parallels between the scientific and contemplative examinations of reality. His conclusion is that these different approaches to understanding ourselves, our universe, and one another can be brought together in the service of humanity.
  • Toward a True Kinship of Faiths (2011) … Interfaith harmony, the Dalai Lama argues, does not require accepting that all religions are fundamentally the same or that they lead to the same place. He shows how believers can be pluralist with regard to other religions without compromising their commitment to their own faith.
  • 'Beyond Religion' by Dalai Lama (ISBN 054784428X) Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World (2012) … The Dalai Lama is one of the world’s most famous religious leaders, yet he often supports a nonreligious path to an ethical, happy, and truly spiritual life. Transcending the religion wars, he outlines a system of ethics for our shared world and makes a stirring appeal for deep appreciation of our common humanity.
  • Stages of Meditation (2003) … The Dalai Lama explains the principles of meditation in a practice-oriented format especially suited to Westerners. Topics include the nature of mind, developing compassion and loving-kindness, and how to establish a union of calm abiding and insight. He draws on a favorite text that he calls “a key that opens the door to all other major Buddhist scriptures.”
  • Dzogchen: Heart Essence of the Great Perfection (2004) … The Dzogchen teachings are the heart essence of the ancient Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Exploring this mysterious subject in print for the first time, the Dalai Lama offers comprehensions into one of Buddhism’s most profound systems of meditation. He discusses both the philosophic foundations and practices of Dzogchen and explains why it is called “the pinnacle of all vehicles.”
  • How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life (2003) … Buddhism is often described as the practice of samadhi, prajna, and shila—meditation, wisdom, and morality. The Dalai Lama breaks down the Buddhist path into a series of distinct steps we can take to practice these three components of enlightenment. This accessible book will help you open your heart, refrain from doing harm, and maintain mental tranquility.
  • 'The World of Tibetan Buddhism' by Dalai Lama (ISBN 0861710975) The World of Tibetan Buddhism: An Overview of Its Philosophy and Practice (2005) … In this book, the Dalai Lama delivers a survey of the entire Buddhist path that is both concise and profound, accessible and engaging. He writes, “I think an overview of Tibetan Buddhism for the purpose of providing a comprehensive framework of the path may prove helpful in deepening your understanding and practice.”
  • Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions (2017) … The Dalai Lama joins with American Buddhist nun Thubten Chodron to map out the convergences and the divergences between the Mahayana and Theravada schools of Buddhism. They examine the different ways these traditions treat foundational Buddhist principles such as the four noble truths, meditation practice, and the meaning of enlightenment.
  • How to See Yourself as You Really Are (2007) … The Dalai Lama explains how we recognize and dispel misguided notions of self and embrace the world from a more realistic—and loving—perspective. Through step-by-step exercises, The Dalai Lama helps readers see the world as it actually exists and explains how, through the interconnection of meditative concentration and love, true altruistic enlightenment is attained.
  • An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life (2002) … How does one actually become a compassionate person? What are the mechanisms by which a selfish heart is transformed into a generous heart? In An Open Heart, the Dalai Lama writes simply and powerfully about the everyday Buddhist practice of compassion, offering a clear and practical introduction to the Buddhist path to enlightenment.
Tagged
Posted in Faith and Religion

The Ego Cannot Proceed Without Restraints

The Ego Cannot Proceed Without Restraints

Frustrations May Indeed Be Acts of Genuine Love

Frustrations May Indeed Be Acts of Genuine Love The greatest of all arts is the art of love. We seek the well-being of those who are the objects of our affection. But how can we achieve this? Showering gifts on a child and allowing him to have his way at all times will not serve his well-being. It may even corrupt him and make him a mean and contemptible creature. On the other hand, thwarting him unduly may destroy his sense of security and cripple him emotionally for the rest of his life.

We need affection and the things it provides. However, affection is not a green light permitting the ego to proceed without restraints. It expresses itself in giving, but also in denying, in caressing but also in rebuking. The instinctive self-seeking of the child will grow into the irrational compulsions of the adult unless as a child he learns that his will was meant to have reason as its master. By reason, I mean that which teaches a man to walk through life with humility.

He who has never been frustrated will become an insufferable brat whatever his age. Occasional frustrations are good for the soul. We cannot live in a civilized society and give vent to all the impulses that exist in our natures. Some of them must be vetoed; some of them must be frustrated; and some must be vetoed and frustrated at particular moments. Thus parents who frustrate their children’s whims are not necessarily violating their love for them. In the right proportion, such frustrations may indeed be acts of genuine love.

What you will not find, all the same, is the one thing you are looking for your own happiness, peace of mind, and educated nature.

Politeness Should Be Reciprocally Valued

Politeness Should Be Reciprocally Valued We ourselves also have moments when our mental attitude to life is like this-moments when our profound humanity is awakened and manifests itself. A body weighed nicely before it is put into the fire, and then weighed again, will be found to be increased in weight very reasonably. Thus the old man, even against the vehemence of this regretful commotion of his life, and all the rest, will live happy: and be ought to value that happiness the more because he will owe it to his own discernment. So that any lady or gentleman of sense and liberalness, may, thus assisted, become self-governing physicians, and often save not only their own, but the life of a friend or of a fellow creature, when manifestly at the point of death—and when given over by even the best physicians. British author, editor, and social entrepreneur Dougald Hine once wrote,

A harnessing of desire such that to be a good economic citizen became to work hard today for a deferred reward and in that you lose the festive culture where a surplus is an excuse for an animal experience of a feast rather than a surplus being something that is rationally reinvested. … Victorian morality … is the playing out …. of the relationship between time and desire which is inaugurated by a economic culture which is orientated around deferred gratification. And then at a certain point of time in the developed countries to be a good economic citizen begins to shift from being a good producer to being a good consumer, so what you have is that you spend on your credit card today and worry about how you are going to pay for it tomorrow …. an abstract contortion between desire and time

Nobody learns anything if politeness is not reciprocally valued. Many arts have been tried to make saltwater fresh and potable; the welfare of which would be, that in long voyages, when a ship’s company wanted fresh water, they might make use of seawater as a very easy interchange, by freshening it according to art. Sometimes being modest about our ability to genuinely operate oeuvre every facet of our life is good; it means we can focus instead on reacting vigorously to life’s stochasticity. Therefore, humanity is awakened to serious rumination. The greatest object lesson in life is to know that even fools are right on sometimes. We tend to equate ourselves with others and to wonder if we have enough to proffer in a relationship. However, were the knowledge of religious belief merely wondering, though’ the conjecture must be allowed to be noble, yet less could be said of its importance. Much of this work is conducted without much cognizance of its particular failings, difficulties, and critiques.

Tagged
Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

The Maxims of Epicurus, Greek Philosopher and the Initiator of Epicureanism

The Maxims of Epicurus, Greek Philosopher and the Initiator of Epicureanism

Diogenes Laertius (third century CE) is the chief source for the writings of Epicurus (341–270 BCE,) the Greek philosopher and the founder of Epicureanism. Diogenes Laertius tells us that Epicurus was the most productive author of his time (having produced approximately 300 papyrus rolls). Unfortunately little survives. Diogenes himself preserves three short letters summarizing Epicurus’s physical theory, ethics, and clarifications of celestial phenomena, though doubts exist that the last is from Epicurus’s script. Kuriai Doxai, a collection of passages quoted by Diogenes, and a parallel collection enduring in another manuscript, Sententiae Vaticanae, were seemingly intended to remind believers of Epicurus’s key teachings.

Diogenes Laertius ends his biography of Epicurus with four authentic documents, three of them letters to disciples in which, among other things, he presents purely mechanistic explanations for various natural occurrences. The last document is a set of Epicurus’s maxims to direct a person seeking a happy life. .

  • Epicurus, Greek Philosopher and the Initiator of Epicureanism What is happy and imperishable suffers no trouble itself, nor does it cause trouble to anything. So it is not subject to feelings either of anger or of partiality, for these feelings exist only in what is weak.
  • Death is nothing to us, for that which is dissolved has no feeling whatsoever, and that which has no feeling means nothing to us.
  • A person cannot have a pleasant life unless he lives prudently, honorably and justly, nor can he live prudently, honorably and justly without a pleasant life. A person cannot possibly have a pleasant life unless he happens to live prudently, honorably and justly.
  • No pleasure is intrinsically bad, but what causes pleasure is accompanied by many things that disturb pleasure.
  • Vast power and great wealth may, up to a certain point, grant us security as far as individual men are concerned, but the security of men as a whole depends on the tranquility of their souls and their freedom from ambition.
  • 'The Art of Happiness' by Epicurus (ISBN 0143107216) Of all the things that wisdom provides for the happiness of a whole life, the most important by far is acquiring friends.
  • Natural justice is an agreement among men about what actions are suitable. Its aim is to prevent men from injuring one another, or to be injured.
  • Justice has no independent existence: it results from mutual contracts, and we find it in force wherever there is a mutual agreement to guard against doing injury or sustaining it.
  • Injustice is not intrinsically bad: people regard it as evil only because it is accompanied by the fear that they will not escape the officials who are appointed to punish evil actions.
  • The happiest men are those who have reached the point where they have nothing to fear from those who surround them.

Reference: Diogenes, “Epicurus,” The Lives of the Eminent Philosophers. Book 10, Sec. 31. Trans. C. D. Yonge

Tagged
Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Glimpses of History #10: Babylon

City of Babylon is the capital of Babylonia

Notwithstanding its lack of native stone or wood, Mesopotamia gave rise to noteworthy empires from crowded cities such as Babylon, Ur, Jericho, Samara and later Nineveh. Many of these empires are remembered as tyrannical (though of course records such as the Bible are history written by the vanquished).

Babylon was an important city-state of ancient Mesopotamia. Its remains can be found just south of Baghdad in present-day Iraq. Founded as a relatively small town around the beginning of the third millennium BCE, Babylon has been at the center of the rise and fall of a number of important dynasties and empires, including the Amorite, Hittite, Kassite, and Assyrian.

The City of Babylon is the capital of Babylonia and one of the most famous cities of antiquity. The ruins of the ancient city lie about 60 miles south of Baghdad, near the Hilla Canal of the Euphrates.

Ishtar Gate, Eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon Founded by Sumu-abum in 1894 BCE, Babylon rose to imperial status under Hammurabi (1792–1750 BCE). Many features of later cities developed here: written law, schools, taxes, shops and traffic: wheels, initially used for pottery, were now so common on carts that roads were purpose-built. The Babylonian number system, based on divisions of 60, is still at the center of our systems of geometry and timekeeping. Babylon ruled Mesopotamia for over a century, and later (after conquest by the Hittites, and Assyrian rule) was growing under Nebuchadnezzar II (634-562 BCE), when it attacked Egypt and sacked Jerusalem, Tyre and Nineveh. The reassembled city and Hanging Gardens persisted for centuries.

The earliest mention of Babylon comes from the time of the Dynasty of Akkad (2360—2180 BCE). The city of Babylon was well known to Greek and Roman historians. The Greek historian Herodotus, who may have visited the city in the fifth century BCE (or based his account on the reports of observers), wrote that “it surpasses in splendor any city of the known world.” Classical authors also credited Babylon with one of the ancient wonders of the world: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Babylonian Captivity is the detention of the Israelites in Babylon, lasting from their deportation by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 bc until their release by Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE. It is taken as a type of grieving exile.

Tagged
Posted in Hobbies and Pursuits Travels and Journeys

Zen Koan #38: Parable of Gisho’s Work – Buddhist Teaching on Healing Presence

Zen Koan #38: Parable of Gisho's Work - Buddhist Teaching on Healing Presence Zen Buddhism stresses intimacy, while in Theravada and Tibetan forms of Zen Buddhism you will find “mindfulness” and “compassion” to be the salient terms. Yet the ultimately mindful is personally most intimate some of us close space by hammering our point through; others do it by trying to smooth the waters. Recedes are like road repair. We should carry our patience around as if the hermit crab carries its shell.

Our patience will also protect us and help us survive! Please understand that the hermit crab does not live like a parasite, it lives like an orchid. Some Westerners question whether Zen Buddhism is a religion at all. It is identically tantamount with the mind. Probably Zen Buddhism, although the evidence is circumstantial. There is a suggestion that the most likely arrival of the first Buddhists in this continent may have been with the armada of Cheng Ho in the 15th century.

The spiritual friend who teaches the instructions of the four immeasurable is the dominant condition. This is difficult to accomplish without practice. Breath should be smooth, natural, and deep in the belly. When we think we have gotten something, we have not really gotten it and when we think we have lost something, we have not really lost it.

Zen Koan: “Gisho’s Work” Parable

Gisho was ordained as a nun when she was just ten years old. She received training just as the little boys did. When she reached the age of sixteen she traveled from one Zen master to another, studying with them all.

She remained three years with Unzan, six years with Gukei, but was unable to obtain a clear vision. At last she went to the master Inzan.

Inzan showed her no distinction at all on account of her sex. He scolded her like a thunderstorm. He cuffed he to awaken her inner nature.

Gisho remained with Inzan thirteen years, and then she found that which she was seeking!

In her honor, Inzan wrote a poem:

This nun studied thirteen years under my guidance.
In the evening she considered the deepest koans,
In the morning she was wrapped in other koans.
The Chinese nun Tetsuma surpassed all before her,
And since Mujaku none has been so genuine as this Gisho!
Yet there are many more gates for her to pass through.
She should receive still more blows from my iron fist.

After Gisho was enlightened she went to the province of Banshu, started her own Zen temple, and taught two hundred other nuns until she passed away one year in the month of August.

Buddhist Insight on A Healing Presence

We each create our own misery and unhappiness, and even regulate the degree to which we suffer by the prospects we set up, and by the strength and inflexibility with which we hold those expectations. The healing presence is a step in renunciation. Don’t worry about this, try to keep your mind in the present. If everything seems to become indifferent, arouse kindness and meditate on that. The American clinical psychologist John Welwood, who frequently writes about the integration of psychological and spiritual concepts, writes in Ordinary Magic, Everyday Life as Spiritual Path,

In opening to our experience, without holding onto any story about it, we create a compassionate space that allows new parts of ourselves to unfold, and old parts that were cut off to enter the stream of awareness and be included. We can only be healthy and whole when our awareness circulates freely through all aspects of our being. Unconditional presence promotes this kind of circulation, which is the essence of health.

When children are in pain, what they want is this kind of presence, rather than band-aids or consolations. They want to know we are with them in what they are experiencing. That’s what our wounded places most need from us as well – just to be there with them. They don’t need us to say, “Things are getting better every day.” The full presence of our being is healing in and of itself.

Tagged
Posted in Faith and Religion

Traits of Effective Change Leaders

'Facilitating Effective Change' by Patrick Love (ISBN 1505402387) Leaders invest remarkable talent, energy, and caring in their change efforts, yet few see the desired results. There is a good reason. Today’s leaders simply do not have much practice at large-scale change. Few organizations were doing sweeping reinvention 30 years ago, so there is little experience to pass on. The changes undertaken today—producing better products, faster, at lower cost—were inconceivable 30 years ago. Over the next decade, leaders will guide remarkable changes. That is a social and economic imperative.

Leaders exist at all levels. At the edges of the business enterprise, needless to say, leaders are responsible for less territory. Their vision may sound more simple; the number of people to motivate may be few. However, they perform the same role in leading change.

  • They outshine at seeing things through fresh eyes and at challenging the status quo.
  • They are energetic and pervade through, or around, obstacles.
  • People who provide great leadership are also deeply interested in a cause or discipline related to their focus area.
  • Such change leaders also tap deep convictions of others and connect those feelings to the purpose; they show the meaning of people’s work to that larger purpose.
  • The most prominent trait of great leaders is their quest for learning. They push themselves out of their comfort zones and continue to take risks.
  • They are open to people and ideas. Often they are driven by goals or ideals that are bigger than what any individual can pull off, and that gap pushes them to keep learning.

The single biggest impetus for change tends to be a new manager in a key job. It is often a new division-level manager or a new department head—someone with fresh perspective—that sees that the status quo is unacceptable. Producing change is about 80 percent leadership—establishing direction, aligning, motivating, and inspiring people—and about 20 percent management—planning, budgeting, organizing, and problem solving. Regrettably, in most change efforts, those percentages are reversed. We continue to produce great managers; we need to develop great leaders.

Tagged
Posted in Management and Leadership

19 Inspiring Quotes by Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar

19 Inspiring Quotes by Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar

Yoga, an ancient discipline, has become popular worldwide. The selling of yoga and debate over its origins have led to discuss as to whether yoga should be branded at all. Some yoga instructors have gone so far as to patent their variations of yoga; others in the yoga community declare it is a religious and/or spiritual practice and as such should not be declared as intellectual property.

Yogacharya (Yoga Expert Guru) B.K.S. Iyengar was born in India to a family of thirteen children, ten of whom lived. His brother-in-law Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, introduced Iyengar to yoga through the yoga school he ran. Iyengar was not successful in the beginning, and it was only in 1952 when Iyengar met Yehudi Menuhin that he became internationally known.

Menuhin was suffering from sleeplessness and Iyengar showed him an asana which caused him to fall asleep, and wake up so rested that he spent several hours with the yoga teacher and later came to believe that yoga assisted his violin-playing. Iyengar paid frequent visits to the west where his system of yoga was adopted by schools and centers. Iyengar yoga is known for its use of such props as straps, chairs, or blocks in empowering students to accomplish the traditional asanas, or body postures. One of Iyengar’s earliest books, Light on Yoga (1966), is a clarification for Westerners of Patanjali’s thought.

Iyengar is specifically linked with the idea of yoga as a spiritual activity, and a discipline that he explained as “the quest of the soul for the spark of divinity within us.” In every movement, students should be psychologically aware, as yoga is more than a system of aerobic or flexibility exercises.

Iyengar yoga teachers are among the most meticulously trained in the field of yoga. A teacher must finish two full years of training and supervision to be certified at the introductory level. The New York Iyengar organization requires teacher candidates to be experienced in practicing Iyengar yoga up to Level III and to uphold a home practice.

  • 'Light on Yoga: The Classic Guide to Yoga' by B. K. S. Iyengar (ISBN 8172235011) “The union of nature and soul removes the veil of ignorance that covers our intelligence.”
  • “Yoga allows you to find an inner peace that is not ruffled and riled by the endless stresses and struggles of life.”
  • “Yoga is a means and an end.”
  • “When you see a mistake in somebody else, try to find if you are making the same mistake.”
  • “By drawing our senses of perception inward, we are able to experience the control, silence, and quietness of the mind.”
  • “Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.”
  • “My body is my temple and asanas are my prayers.”
  • “Know your capacities and continually improve upon them.”
  • “It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.”
  • “Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In yoga, they come together in the present.”
  • “As animals, we walk the earth. As bearers of divine essence, we are among the stars. As human beings, we are caught in the middle.”
  • “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”
  • 'B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health' by B. K. S. Iyengar (ISBN 1465415831) “Words cannot convey the value of yoga—it has to be experienced.”
  • “The supreme adventure in a man’s life is his journey back to his Creator.”
  • “Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.”
  • “The art of teaching is tolerance. Humbleness is the art of learning.”
  • “Be inspired but not proud.”
  • “Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice.”
  • “It is while practicing yoga asanas that you learn the art of adjustment.”
  • “Body is the bow, asana is the arrow, and the soul is the target.”
  • “When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world. When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God.”
  • “Life means to be living. Problems will always be there. When they arise navigate through them with yoga—don’t take a break.”
  • “True concentration is an unbroken thread of awareness.”
  • “Action is movement with intelligence. The world is filled with movement. What the world needs is more conscious movement, more action.”
  • “Yoga allows you to find a new kind of freedom that you may not have known even existed.”
  • 'Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali' by B. K. S. Iyengar (ISBN 0007145160) “When I practice, I am a philosopher. When I teach, I am a scientist. When I demonstrate, I am an artist.”
  • “Focus on keeping your spine straight. It is the job of the spine to keep the brain alert.”
  • “How can you know God if you don’t know your big toe?”
  • “Do not stop trying just because perfection eludes you.”
  • “Breath is the king of mind.”
  • “Spirituality is not some external goal that one must seek, but a part of the divine core of each of us, which we must reveal.”
  • “Your body is the child of the soul. You must nourish and train that child.”
  • “There is no difference in souls, only the ideas about ourselves that we wear.”
  • “It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self, and intelligence.”
  • “Illuminated emancipation, freedom, unalloyed and untainted bliss await you, but you have to choose to embark on the Inward Journey to discover it.”
  • “The hardness of a diamond is part of its usefulness, but its true value is in the light that shines through it.”
  • “Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame.”
  • 'Iyengar Yoga: Classic Yoga Postures For Mind, Body And Spirit' by Judy Smith (ISBN 0754830764) “One’s spiritual realization lies in none other than how one walks among and interacts with one’s fellow beings.”
  • “Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.”
  • “Willpower is nothing but willingness to do.”
  • “Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul creates the symphony of life.”
  • “You exist without the feeling of existence.”
  • “Confidence, clarity and compassion are essential qualities of a teacher.”
  • “You must purge yourself before finding faults in others.”
  • “Do not aim low, you will miss the mark. Aim high and you will be on a threshold of bliss.”
  • “You do not need to seek freedom in a different land, for it exists with your own body, heart, mind, and soul.”
  • “Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.”
  • “Yoga is the golden key that unlocks the door to peace, tranquility and joy.”
Tagged
Posted in Faith and Religion Health and Fitness