Posted in administrators, BUddhism, Business, campus unrest, cause and effect, Christianity, discrimination, diversity, education, enlightenment, Ethics, fears, happiness, hate speech, human race, love, meditation, Mindfulness, oppression, planet earth, prayer, protesters, psychology, religion, self-help, sickness, suffering, training, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen, tagged Buddhism, Christianity, creativity, culture, faith, feelings, focus, friends, health, Health and Wellness Fair, humanity, inspiration, Islam, Kaplan University, learning, Lynn University, nature, politics, prayer, questions, rage, relationships, religion, school, Serve-A-Thon, sharing, spirit, stress management, students, The Virtual Difference Makers, thoughts, training, Truth, violence on February 19, 2017|
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For anything new to emerge there must first be a dream, an imaginative view of what might be. For something great to happen, there must be a great dream. Then venturesome persons with faith in that dream will persevere to bring it to reality.
Some ideas whose time has come will spread as in a forest fire. But most need the help of a teacher. I had the good fortune to have an extraordinary one. He dreamed a great dream of how servanthood could be nurtured in the young, and he spent his best years in bringing it to pass (page 9-10).
Where I work at Kaplan University they encourage not only the students to volunteer and make a difference in their communities but they encourage all faculty to do so as well through The Virtual Difference Makers. Here is a list of some of the things they did in 2016: ran a Spring Virtual Serve-A-Thon, hosted a Stress Management Series, a Virtual Celebration of Rio, sponsored their first annual Health and Wellness Fair, held a Fall Serve-A-Thon and more!.
I have been invited to Lynn University to participate in an interfaith dialog and will be back there again in April for another interfaith dialog. The hall was jammed with students! Standing room only! They asked wonderful questions of the panel.
These were the words on the Flyer for the event: Healing the Divide: Interfaith Dialogue.
In a world where religion so often is the cause of hate and intolerance, we stand together at Lynn to create a world where our religious differences are not simply tolerated but celebrated. This event is precisely that; where religious leaders from the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and Atheist traditions will come together in celebration of our diverse faith traditions. Come and be amazed!
Imagine the great education the students are receiving at both Kaplan and Lynn and many other colleges around our country when their faculty and administration support such events.
If you are able to create similar events on your campuses I encourage you to do so. Create a Virtual Difference Makers club for students and faculty, run interfaith dialogues, offer training for faculty on meditation and mindfulness. Be the change you want to see in our world! Be the catalyst for peace, love, and kindness spreading around your campus and beyond! The time has come to spread the message of servant leadership at all levels. Change has always come from the bottom up not from the top down! Be the change you want to see in the world!
Good luck with that! Let me know how it goes!
 Greenleaf, R.K. (1987) Teacher as Servant: A Parable. The Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership: Indianapolis, IN
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Posted in birth, BUddhism, cause and effect, diversity, education, Ethics, fears, happiness, hate speech, human race, love, oppression, prayer, religion, self-help, suffering, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen, tagged adults, art, Arthur Zajonc, Buddhism, children, Christianity, creativity, education, environment, feelings, focus, friends, fun, group exercises, humanity, inspiration, learning, life, Megan Scribner, Parker J. Palmer, questions, relationships, religion, school, science, sharing, students, The Heart of Higher A Call to Renewal, thoughts on February 10, 2017|
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In the book The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal the authors write about this idea of connectedness or lack thereof in our lives, schools, and communities.
Many of us bear the wound of invisibility, believing, not without reason, that no matter how hard or how well we work, no one really sees us. When we invite each other to tell our stories, we have a chance to create community in the simple act of saying “I see you.”
Storytelling can create community at an even deeper level: the more one knows about another person’s story, the less one is able to dislike or distrust, let alone despise, that person. This is a good thing in and of itself, but it serves a larger purpose as well by helping us weave a more resourceful and resilient collegiality. At some point down the road, when we need to solve a problem or deal with a difficult conflict, we are more likely to have woven the fabric of relationships required to do it well (page 139).
As teachers we can offer this opportunity to our students to come out from the shadows, to be really seen and heard with some simple exercises in our classes. By dividing your class in to groups you can help them get to know each other better and become more familiar with the way they may live, their hobbies, their family vacations, favorite books, sports, or movies. They might share stories about their religious and spiritual beliefs. Depending on the age of the groups the topics should be appropriate for them.
After they have shared in the small groups you can invite them to share with the entire class by sharing some of the topics that came up. They might even want to have a member share their story with the entire class. This exercise helps the participants learn to be connected with each other in a personal and emotional way. The students become not just someone they see in class but a real person with feelings and likes and dislikes.
We live a world that is so disconnected any time we are given the opportunity to share in this way as children or adults it opens our hearts and minds to others and we often find that we are more alike than different! We all have a favorite food and a food we hate! I sometimes start the first day in class by getting everyone to share the food they love to hate the most! Then we can divide the class up for group exercises in okra, broccoli, and cabbage haters. This gives them just another way to be connected!
Even though as a Buddhist I am not supposed to pick and choose I’m still NOT going to choose okra! I don’t mind being in the okra haters group! You’re welcome to join me! See you there…
In gassho, Shokai
 Palmer, Parker J.; Zajonc, Arthur; Scribner, Megan; Mark Nepo (2010-06-17). The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal (Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education) (p. 139). Jossey-Bass. Kindle Edition
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Posted in BUddhism, campus unrest, cause and effect, education, fears, meditation, Mindfulness, self-help, Shambhala, training, Uncategorized, Zen, tagged Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, Buddhism, Christianity, Deborah Schoeberlein David, education, environment, feelings, How to Train a Wild Elephant & Other Adventures in Mindfulness, inspiration, Jan CHozen Bays, learning, MD, Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness, mindfulness, questions, relationships, school, Suki Sheth PHD, thoughts, work on December 30, 2016|
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“Mindfulness and education are beautifully interwoven. Mindfulness is about being present with and to your inner experience as well as your outer environment, including other people. When teachers are fully present, they teach better. When students are fully present, the quality of their learning is better. It’s a ‘win-win’ equation that can transform teaching, learning, and the educational landscape (page xi).”
Mindfulness is the newest craze in America, although it has been around for many centuries throughout many cultures, religions, and countries it is becoming more available to the secular world every day.
As a Zen Buddhist priest and college professor I have been incorporating mindfulness exercises in my classes and workshops for many years. Regardless of whether I am teaching a live group in a classroom setting or out doors on an adventure training course or online the principles are applicable.
It really began for me when I was asked to teach developmental English at Broward College. The first day in the classroom I could see the students were scared to death of me and the course. Every student in the room had failed the English part of the entrance exam and thus could not take for credit courses unless they passed my class! Wow. Scared is probably not even a powerful enough word!
I was mindful as the students entered the room and watched their body language, facial expressions, and heard what they were saying to each other. I thought about what I could do to help them get calm and ready to learn and I remembered a simple little exercise that I came upon one day in a great little book of Buddhist exercises—How To Train a Wild Elephant & Other Adventures in Mindfulness by Jan Chozen Bays, MD. “Just Three Breaths” gave very simple directions she wrote:
The Exercise: As many times a day as you are able, give the mind a short rest. For the duration of three breaths ask the inner voices to be silent. It’s like turning off the inner radio or TV for a few minutes Then open all your senses and just be aware—of color, sound, touch, and smell (page76).
I revised it just a little for my classes by leaving out the part about thinking! I never start a class without first taking 3 breaths and I invite my students to participate with me.
Read these steps aloud and do the exercise along with the class. After the exercise is completed get their feedback on how they feel and how it may help them during the class:
- Shake out your hands to release the tension in them then place them comfortably in your lap or on the desk or table where you are sitting.
- Close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing so as it will help keep out the visual distractions. If you are not comfortable with that keeping them open is okay as well. Simply focus your eyes on one small object.
- Take three slow deep breaths counting one on the in breath and two on the out breath.
- Be careful not to breathe in so deeply that it makes you cough.
- Is everyone ready—then let’s begin.
This helps me be a “mindful teacher” throughout the class and helps the students open their minds to learn! Try it and let me know how it works!
 Schoeberlein, D. (2009) Mindful Teaching & Teaching Mindfulness: a guide for anyone who teaches anything. Somerville, MA:Wisdom Publications
 Bays, J.C. (2011) How to Train a Wild Elephant & Other Adventures in Mindfulness. Boston, MA:Shambhala
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