The Measure of Responsibility

The Measure of Responsibility

Moderation in All Things

Moderation in All Things We need moderation in all things—even in our virtues. It is good to have a sense of responsibility, but if carried too far it will destroy our peace.

No man can carry the world on his shoulders. Our responsibility is limited by our capacity. Even our own private world often presents problems, which we cannot readily handle. A person must do his best under all circumstances, and leave the rest to God. When we have done this, we should be content. The outcome is not in our hands; and we cannot assume responsibility for it.

Some of us feel that it is incumbent upon us to safeguard our future, or the future of our children. We want to make plans that will reach far ahead into time and build round our vital interests a fortification, which will make us impregnable to circumstances. In addition, when we discover that we cannot do so, we become disturbed with a sense of insecurity.

Some of us have committed our energies in the service of some good cause, which has come to possess us. We would like to transform the world into the image of our ideal, but we find ourselves frustrated. The world will not listen, will not understand. Then, we may retreat, broken hearted by defeat, or we break ourselves, trying to do the impossible.

However, a man’s responsibility does not extend to such extremes. We were meant to live with a measure of uncertainty. We cannot provide for tomorrow in tomorrow’s entirety. When we have done the best we can, we must have faith that He Who gives us a new day will also give us the sustenance thereof. And we must have faith too that the cause which is so dear to us will not necessarily fail because at present the world appears indifferent to it. There will be others who will try again, another day.

You are not free to desist from the work; but it is not incumbent on you to finish it

Narrowly Defined Customization and Academic Freedom

Narrowly Defined Customization and Academic Freedom Unable to compete with the propinquity of television, cable and then the Internet, newsmagazines have been moving for decades in the focus of analysis, commentary and news-related feature articles. The whole chronicle of humankind shows, that spiritual belief is no inconsiderable rationale of action. In other words, should be flat. An instrument of this kind might be utilitarian in kitchens, to reflect, and thus double the heat of their fires. In this, as in all the rest, we have only to increase the space between the strength and property, to give the man that works the tool greater power: the cause has been already explained at large. Friendships were formed with the other volunteers and master archaeologists as we divided up lunch in the field and dinner at the campground, swapped stories and discoveries, and studied the scientific method and natural history. Journalist Vanessa Spedding writes,

If we belong somewhere, we feel nourished and safe, naturally ourselves, free to receive and to give. If we belong somewhere we are in a relationship with the place and its inhabitants: we develop a sense of affection for it, love even. If we belong somewhere, as Paul Kingsnorth says, we will defend it.

Belonging can provide armory against the heartless travesties of exploitation and destruction meted out by the indifferent, detached institutions and processes of profit and development. Belonging, then, can form the basis for peace, equanimity, and the sustenance of life.

Such narrowly defined customization is of course inconsistent with academic freedom, but exclusively in line with political correctness. The reality is that for many of us family was the incubator of desperation rather than the dependable, nurturing harbor the myth promised. In beautiful nature no capture can they find, the pleasures they follow a sting leave behind. Time unquestionably makes more of a remainder for remedial tasks. How the old man may know he is in health? Those who drink a great quantity of tea, and are regardless in the making it, using a bad kind, and drinking the last dishes cool and palled, will emphatically weaken their stomachs: but this is not the case with such as are more careful. I would not want to be an optimist because when I fell I would fall such a frightfully long way.

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Zen Koan #40: Parable of In Dreamland – Buddhist Teaching on Loving Our Humanness

Zen Koan #40: Parable of In Dreamland - Buddhist Teaching on Loving Our Humanness Just as gainsaying, the linear conception of time establishes an incipient area of ethical responsibility, so in taking up this responsibility we locate ourselves more entirely and firmly in history. On retreat, you are living with many people, which may create an uncomfortable environment. It is from this particular viewpoint that the rationale for this interpretation has developed. To paraphrase lines three and four: As soon as you discard your likes and dislikes, the Way will immediately appear before you.

At the end, recite some males while visualizing that the beams emitted from the prayer wheel purify all the sufferings and obscurations of the sentient beings of the six realms. These absorb into the prayer wheel and all sentient beings, including you, are then liberated, actualizing the whole path and becoming the Compassion Buddha. Others are too relaxed. There are two possible interpretations of the line “One thought for ten thousand years.”

One is that the mind simply does not move. Perhaps you are having a miserable time from day one. Eventually they are married and are very happy together. This concept can be found in both oriental and western philosophy. Indeed, practice can make you more mature, tranquil, and stable.

Zen Koan: “In Dreamland” Parable

“Our schoolmaster used to take a nap every afternoon,” related a disciple of Soyen Shaku. “We children asked him why he did it and he told us: ‘I go to dreamland to meet the old sages just as Confucius did.’ When Confucius slept, he would dream of ancient sages and later tell his followers about them.

“It was extremely hot one day so some of us took a nap. Our schoolmaster scolded us. ‘We went to dreamland to meet the ancient sages the same as Confucius did,’ we explained. ‘What was the message from those sages?’ our schoolmaster demanded. One of us replied: ‘We went to dreamland and met the sages and asked them if our schoolmaster came there every afternoon, but they said they had never seen any such fellow.'”

Buddhist Insight on Loving Our Humanness

In Zen Buddhism, these thoughts can cause your discriminating mode of apprehension of the object, the mind’s being too tight, to lower or slacken somewhat whereby you are better able to stay on the object of observation in humanness. With respect to one object, therefore, as you get used to understanding its non-inherent nature, not only is it impossible at that time to generate love for humanness. The American clinical psychologist John Welwood, who frequently writes about the integration of psychological and spiritual concepts, writes in Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships,

Although perhaps only saints and buddhas embody absolute love completely, every moment of working with the challenges of relative human love brings a hint of this divine possibility into our life. As the child of heaven and earth, you are a mix of infinite openness and finite limitation. This means that you are both wonderful and difficult at the same time. You are flawed, you are stuck in old patterns, you become carried away with yourself. Indeed, you are quite impossible in many ways. And still, you are beautiful beyond measure. For the core of what you are is fashioned out of love, the potent blend of openness, warmth, and clear, transparent presence. Boundless love always manages somehow to sparkle through your limited form.

Bringing absolute love into human form involves learning to hold the impossibility of ourselves and others in the way that the sky holds clouds – with gentle spaciousness and equanimity. The sky can do this because its openness is so much vaster than the clouds that it doesn’t find them the least bit threatening. Holding our imperfections in this way allows us to see them as trail makers of the work-in-progress that we are, rather than as impediments to love or happiness. Then we can say, “Yes, everyone has relative weaknesses that cause suffering, yet everyone also possesses absolute beauty, which far surpasses these limitations. Let us melt down the frozen, fearful places by holding them in the warmth of tenderness and mercy.”

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Review: Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand, Norway—a Grand Tradition of Hospitality

Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand

Kviknes Hotel—this tradition of hospitality at Balholm stretches back to 1752. The Kvikne family, who own the hotel, took over in 1877, marking the start of fast-paced development, which continues to this day. The hotel was built in the Swiss chalet style; the original character of the palace has been left unchanged despite several new buildings, rebuilding, and extensions.

Waterfront of Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand

Kviknes is a modern hotel with soul and atmosphere, and is one of the largest tourist hotels in Norway. The hotel has 190 rooms: 25 rooms in the historic Swiss chalet-style building and 165 in the modern building from the 1960s (in the Late Modern style). The hotel has a long list of prominent guests and has amassed a collection of works of art and treasures that adorn the hotel and contribute to its unique style.

Distinctive Furniture and Fjord Views

Historic Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand

Activities and special features: Fjaerland and Norwegian glacier museum, the Flam railway, the Naeroyfjord, magnificent walking terrain in the mountains. Beautiful biking and walking along the fjord. Free use of rowing boat and fishing gear, good bathing facilities for residents. The Aegir Bryggeri Pub & Microbrewery is in Flam.

Activities around Balestrand Kviknes Hotel

Balestrand’s Kviknes Hotel: Named “Best Historic Hotel of Europe by the Water 2014”

Kviknes Hotel - The Jewel of the Sognefjord

Kviknes Hotel is the classy Grande dame of Balestrand, dominating the town and packed with tour groups. The picturesque wooden hotel—and five generations of the Kvikne family—have welcomed tourists to Balestrand since the late 19th century.

Kviknes Hotel - Picturesque Wooden Hotel

The hotel has two parts: a new wing, and the historic wooden section, with 17 older, classic rooms, and no elevator. All rooms come with balconies. The elegant Old World public spaces in the old section make you want to just sit there and sip tea all afternoon.

Kviknes Hotel Balestrand - Swiss Chalet Style

Part of the Kviknes ritual is gorging on the store Koldtbord buffet dinner—open to non-guests, and a nice way to soak in the hotel’s old-time elegance without splurging on an overnight.

Balestrand Kviknes Hotel Buffet

Kviknes Hotel offers a splendid store Koldtbord buffet dinner in a massive yet stately old dining room. For a memorable fjord-side smorgasbord experience, it does not get any better than this. Do not rush.

Koldtbord Buffet at Kviknes Hotel

Consider taking a preview tour—surveying the reindeer meat, lingonberries, and fjord-caught seafood—before you dive in, so you can budget your stomach-space. Get a new plate with each course and save room for dessert. Each dish is labeled in English.

Old-fashioned Furniture and Fjord Views at Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand

After dinner, head into the rich lounge to pick up your cup of coffee or tea (included), which you will sip sitting on classy old-fashioned furniture and basking in fjord views.

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Glimpses of History #12: Judaism

Judaism is a monotheistic, scriptural religious conviction that evolved from the religion of ancient Israel during the Second Temple period (516 BCE–70 CE.)

Two fundamental beliefs shaped the attitude of Judaism toward nature and toward the systematic study of nature (that is to say, science):

  1. that God is the creator of the universe
  2. that God revealed God’s will in the form of Law—the Torah (literally “instruction”)—to the chosen people, Israel.

Judaism: History, Belief and Practice

Biblical accounts and archaeological findings are roughly in agreement: there were once two adjoining kingdoms, Judah in the south and Israel to the north, sharing the same monotheistic belief. Whether, as the Bible asserts, Judah fell on account of tolerance of other gods is unidentified: modern thinking is that it was a vassal state of Assyria. As a result, Babylon’s king Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Judah’s capital, Jerusalem (and its temple) around 600 BCE, with a fraction of its inhabitants taken into captivity. This separation motivated the formalization of the Tanakh, Jewish scriptures: much had already been written, but the canon was set at this period and shows signs of Babylonian cultural domination.

Much of the populace, though, had been left in Israel, causing dispute when Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great took Babylon and allowed the exiles to return to the Levant and rebuild their temple. Subsequently, Israel and Yehud (past Judah) would become more and more self-reliant, gaining independence again in the second century BCE under the Maccabees (the Selucid empire, who had succeeded the Babylonians, were failing). After the celebrated general Pompey invaded in 63 BCE, the area became Roman.

Following a great Jewish revolt, the second temple was destroyed in the Roman sack of Jerusalem in 70 CE, but Jewish opposition to the Roman empire continued sporadically until 136 BCE, when the Bar Koziba rebellion against the aggressively antisemitic Emperor Hadrian led to the disbanding of Israel and the Diaspora (pan-European migration of Jews). Others had moved eastwards in Roman times, becoming convenient contacts for the Abbasid caliphate and Convivencia-era Spain, and later Venice and the Ottoman empire.

Talmudic observations and rabbinical lore would become vital foundations of a faith without a homeland. Christianity, for the meantime, was regarded as an derivative of Judaism until Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea in CE 325.

As Europe adopted Christianity, emigrant Jews became opportune all-purpose hate-figures; the Black Death was blamed on them and Tsarist pogroms forced many from east Europe and Russia to America and east London in the late 19th century. This movement, culminating in the Holocaust, led to the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948.

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Yes Minister Christmas Special Sketch: “Christmas at the Ministry”

Yes Minister Christmas Special Sketch: Christmas at the Ministry

A two-minute Christmas-themed television sketch, featuring Paul Eddington as the Rt Hon. Jim Hacker, Nigel Hawthorne as Sir Humphrey Appleby, and Derek Fowlds as Bernard Woolley, was broadcasted on BBC One as part of a Christmas special named The Funny Side of Christmas.

Sir Humphrey has a special end-of-year message for the Minister, delivered in what is even by his standards an especially circumlocutory style. His message is transcribed here:

Jim Hacker: Are there more, Bernard?

Bernard Woolley: Before you go home for the holiday, Minister, Sir Humphrey has something to say to you.

Sir Humphrey: Oh thank you, Bernard. Minister, just one thing. I wonder if I might crave your momentary indulgence in order to discharge a by no means disagreeable obligation which has, over the years, become more or less established practice within government circles as we approach the terminal period of the year, calendar, of course, not financial, in fact, not to put too fine a point on it, Week Fifty-One, and submit to you, with all appropriate deference, for your consideration at a convenient juncture, a sincere and sanguine expectation, indeed confidence, indeed one might go so far as to say hope, that the aforementioned period may be, at the end of the day, when all relevant factors have been taken into consideration, susceptible of being deemed to be such as to merit a final verdict of having been by no means unsatisfactory in its overall outcome and, in the final analysis, to give grounds for being judged, on mature reflection, to have been conducive to generating a degree of gratification which will be seen in retrospect to have been significantly higher than the general average.

Jim Hacker: What’s he talking about?

Bernard Woolley: Well, Minister, I think Sir Humphrey just wanted to crave your momentary indulgence in order to discharge a by no means disagreeable obligation…

Jim Hacker: Alright, alright, Bernard! Hum…but Humphrey…

Sir Humphrey: At the end of the day, Minister, all due things being considered…

Jim Hacker: Hum…don’t, don’t, just forget the…

Sir Humphrey: Yes, Minister?

Jim Hacker: Are you saying “Happy Christmas”?

Sir Humphrey: Yes, Minister!

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Seven Root Causes for Poor Employee Engagement

Seven Root Causes for Poor Employee Engagement

Here are seven root causes-factors that cause employees to disengage and leave:

  1. They found the job or workplace to be different than what they had expected when hired.
  2. They were not well matched or challenged in the jobs for which they had been hired, or to which had been assigned or promoted.
  3. They received too little coaching and feedback from their supervisor.
  4. They perceived few prospects for professional growth and advancement.
  5. They felt undervalued or underrecognized, either through lack of informal acknowledgement of their contributions, feeling underpaid, not feeling “in the loop,” not having their input sought, not having the right tools.
  6. Feeling stressed or burned-out due to overwork or life-work imbalance.
  7. Loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders.

These seven causes are not the reasons most employees give in exit interviews. Departing employees typically respond with the answers their leaders prefer to hear-better pay or opportunity. Through such denial, managers never learn what they need to avoid or correct the real causes of disengagement and turnover.

Most managers believe employees leave mainly because of “pull factors”-pay and opportunity. However, Saratoga’s research concludes that 80 percent are motivated to leave because of these seven “push factors.”

Managers and leaders may not want to acknowledge the real reasons employees leave-since all seven are factors they can influence directly.

The good news is first that some turnover is desirable. Second, between the time employees become disengaged and the point when they leave, there is time and opportunity to re-engage them. Third, if we know why employees disengage and leave, then we also know why they stay and engage. Fourth, since only about 12 percent of employees leave mainly because of their pay, the things we need to do to re-engage most employees are relatively inexpensive, requiring mostly the time and attention of direct managers, the support of HR, and the commitment of senior leaders.

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Glimpses of History #11: Unified Egypt

History of Unified Ancient Egypt

In one of the most important occurrences in the history of Africa, the first steps toward food production were initiated in its northeast corner. The area, now occupied by Egypt and Sudan, was the ground for initial attempts to keep cattle from an African stock. It was also the area that hosted the beginnings of cultivating cereals and of herding sheep and goats introduced from Southwest Asia.

Once agriculture arrived from Mesopotamia, Egyptian civilization evolved rapidly. It centered around the predictable regular flooding of the Nile River, which provided both irrigation and fertile silt. The Pharoah, treated as a living god, was thought to ensure both sunrise and river tides through various rites, recorded in hieroglyphic (‘priest-script’) texts. Two major kingdoms established: Lower Egypt around the Nile Delta, and Upper Egypt, bordering Sudan. Traditionally, the two were unified by the Pharaoh Menes around 3000 BCE. Menes founded Egypt’s First Dynasty (of 31 in total). Shortly afterwards, a new capital, Memphis, was built. Dynasties came and went recurrently, with major regional conflicts and civil wars defining the Old, Middle and New Kingdom periods.

The first step pyramid, built by the brilliant architect Imhotep about 2630 BCE, was a natural progression of the mastaba tombs—Khufu’s Great Pyramid, built a thousand years later, is the sole survivor of Herodotus’s Seven Wonders of the World.

Rituals and Rites of Ancient Egypt

The beginning of kings and chiefs was linked to the development of a belief in cosmic forces responsible for the generation (birth) and regeneration (resurrection) of life. Cows, already sacred in the African Sahara as indicated by elaborate cow burials, became life-giving deities, and kings became identified with bulls. The iconography of deities on decorated Nagada II pottery showed the cow goddess at the top of the palette associated with Narmer (5,000 BCE), the founder of a unified Egypt. Cows ultimately came to represent many of the earliest Egyptian goddesses, who were symbols of birth, nurturing, and protection. Local political centers in the Nile Valley were, moreover, identified with local cult standards and centers. Many of these centers developed into towns with large graveyards.

Pyramid building was a prominent characteristic of the Old Kingdom. The first pyramid was the Step Pyramid at Sakkara, built by King Djoser (c. 2667-2640 BCE) in the Third Dynasty, the first example of a pyramid and also of monumental architecture in stone. The Step Pyramid Complex developed out of the earlier royal burials at Abydos, where a squared mound covered the burial and a separate, large, rectangular enclosure provided space for royal rituals. By the Fourth Dynasty, the stepped pyramid had developed into a true pyramid, as seen best in the famous pyramids at Giza.

In the Fifth Dynasty, pyramid building persisted, although on a much reduced scale. Rather than a massive pyramid protecting the king’s body for his afterlife, each Fifth Dynasty king also built a sun temple complex, connecting his afterlife with the eternal cycle of the sun. By the time of the Sixth Dynasty, pyramid texts carved in the burial chambers of the royal pyramids guaranteed that the king awakened from death and joined the gods in heaven.

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Books: Delights for the Heart and Mind

Books: Delights for the Heart and Mind

Books are Human Too

Books are Human Too Did you ever pause to marvel at the telephone, the phonograph, or the radio? I do not mean the intricate mechanism by which these devices operate, but the marvel of the service they render. These inventions enable you to escape from the limitations of time and space, so that you can hear and see people who are not physically present. Books are like that too. They are a recording of what some of the world’s greatest masters have to say to us.

We cannot bring back to life a Moses, an Isaiah, a Lincoln, or a Spinoza. Yet these great people can still speak to us; reveal to us some of their innermost thoughts, by means of the printed page. A book enables you to roam freely in space and time and enter the company of the greatest people who walked this earth.

Some of us are afraid of great people, lest they are superior to us and we are unable to feel at home in their presence. For the same reason many of us shy away from great books, but when you get to know them, great people are human. It once took a little girl great courage to ask Albert Einstein to help with her arithmetic. He not only agreed, but they began a firm friendship.

Books are human too. Not all books can entrance you with the very first page. You have to give them time. You have to live with them, and read them. Allow them to develop their thoughts. Gradually you will fed their power and fall in love with them. The treasures of the printed page are like the treasures hidden in the earth, you have to do a little digging before you can bring them up to the surface.

Some of the greatest delights for the heart and mind can come to you through books. If you have no books in your home, then bring them in. Every book is a window on the world, so why live in die dark when you can reach out for the light? In addition, if you have books in your home, resting on the shelf, take them down and use them; don’t let them collect dust. Books can be great friends. Take them with you on your journey through life.

Human Ingeniousness Can Make a Machine

Human Ingeniousness Can Make a Machine So every species and degree of pleasure, and of bodily and genial contentment which we enjoy in this world, are only the radiation or emanations of this elementary principle, namely, accord or health. This book is of so much real importance to the health and happiness of each individual among the populace, that though it contains more matter or reading than most Two-British shilling pamphlets, it is ordered to be sold for only two pence. He was always more interested in hiring somebody who wanted to learn more and work hard than someone who just sounded good. The greatest part of the food of a ship’s company is inevitably salt provision. Human ingeniousness can make a machine, which may simulate vision exactly; but nothing that the art of man can form is found to gain sounds so much in so small a compass as the human ear.

To which is added, an account of the composition, provision, and properties of the three great medicines prepared and dispensed at the temple of health, Adelphi, and at the temple of maidenhead, pall-mall, Greater London. American author and spiritual activist Stephen Jenkinson once said,

Our culture doesn’t know how to feel sad. …. The inability to be sad is a culture-wide dilemma. You try to get the word sadness into a conversation, you try to surface the idea of sadness. It’s dismissed very quickly. And why is that? … It’s determined as a kind of a useless thing to feel. You can’t do anything with it. You can’t turn it in to anything. But anger, hell yes, you can turn that into stuff, in a hurry. It’s very hard to act on sadness.

Those who have rigorously put those methods in practice know how effective and infallible they are, and exact attention is necessary, as a single infected man, or any part of his garment, will spread sickness through a whole ship’s company. I do not mind making mistakes. All the same, that is only because mistakes do not inevitably connote incompetency. In fact, competent people make them all the time, whether due to lack of attention, working too fast, or being too tired. Although one thing competent people do not do is make mistakes because they do not know what they are doing. If this, still, were the case, all bodies with a smooth surface would be capable of reflecting sounds, which we know, by experience, they are not.

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Zen Koan #39: Parable of Sleeping in the Daytime – Buddhist Teaching on Surrendering to what is

Zen Koan #39: Parable of Sleeping in the Daytime - Buddhist Teaching on Surrendering to what is The Dharma being the collection of Universal Laws, is worthy of knowing whether one is a Buddhist or not. However, to follow your own nature, in this sense, is not the same as following your personal habits or whims, as in the expression “be natural?” Nature here refers to your self-nature, or Buddha nature. Maybe the light will only stay on for a minute, but at least you can see some of the problem areas. You may be disturbed by the noise of children, visits of friends or stress at work.

Opposition implicatively insinuates duality. Everything has been decided already in store consciousness. At that moment, we are caught; we are not free people. Our sense of beauty, our sense of liking or disliking, has been decided very certainly and very discreetly on the level of store consciousness. The enlightened individual does not see things as bad, good, coarse, or fine. If so, why are we unable to attain it? Another reason why we cannot see our Buddha nature is that we are burdened with ideas.

Do not be fearful when your mind is scattered; just recognize that it is temporary. The unity of self and universe is a joyous experience. The next day there was heavy rain and the river rose to a higher level. Thus, we cannot verbalize of one or two.

Zen Koan: “Sleeping in the Daytime” Parable

The master Soyen Shaku passed from this world when he was sixty-one years of age. Fulfilling his life’s work, he left a great teaching, far richer than that of most Zen masters. His pupils used to sleep in the daytime during midsummer, and while he overlooked this he himself never wasted a minute.

When he was but twelve years old he was already studying Tendai philosophical speculation. One summer day the air had been so sultry that little Soyen stretched his legs and went to sleep while his teacher was away.

Three hours passed when, suddenly waking, he heard his master enter, but it was too late. There he lay, sprawled across the doorway.

“I beg your pardon, I beg your pardon,” his teacher whispered, stepping carefully over Soyen’s body as if it were that of some distinguished guest. After this, Soyen never slept again in the afternoon.

Buddhist Insight on Surrendering to What is

Giving with an expectation of reward is giving, but not the perfection of giving. Again, the prince Buddha began to think profoundly and ask himself if it really was so, that all the attractiveness and beauty of the shows of life all have something at the back of them that is not pretty and beautiful at all. This is the natural state, eternally unborn. Then out of our fear comes aggression through surrendering to what is. 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,

Hard as this may be to grasp, the Buddha, or awakened mind in each person, is whatever we are experiencing in the moment – the wind in the trees, the traffic on the freeway, the confusion we are feeling – if we but surrender to it. Surrendering to it means experiencing it fully, giving it our full attention, without struggling against it or trying to make it something other than it is. In opening to what is, without strategies or agendas, we touch what cannot be grasped – a moment of nowness, sharp and thin as a razor’s edge. And walking on this razor’s edge cuts through the struggle between self and other that separates us from a more immediate presence to life.

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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 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.

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