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Posts Tagged ‘self-esteem’

Emerson: “All the great speakers were bad speakers at first (page 43).”[1]

Zen of Rthe-teachings-of-ptahhotep-book-coveroger Shikan Hawkins Sensei: “When we allow ourselves to open deeply to our spirit of inquiry, we find the motivating force in our lives is the infinite spirit we all are, beyond the limits of what we can imagine (page xiii).”[2]

Ptahhotep: “Teach the great what is useful to them (page 28).”[3]

Greatness is in the eye of the beholder and can be something as simple as becoming a great mentor, friend, or parent and as mind blowing as being the person who invents the cure to a dangerous infectious disease saving millions of lives.

Making a difference in a positive way through your words and actions can make life altering changes in someone and you may not even know it.  Did you help build someone’s self-esteem, knowledge, or talent today?  Or did you say and do something that tore them down or belittled them?  When you do the latter you are tearing down yourself as well.  As I’ve said before life is a boomerang what you give out comes back to you quickly.

Be great even in small things. I love the quote from Emerson because every student who has been forced to take a class in speech knows exactly what he was referring to!  The fear associated with making that first speech can be overwhelming and even cause a panic attack!  But once the first speech is made each subsequent speech gets easier and easier!  I share a 3 breath exercise with all of my students and just taking those three slow deep breaths before the talk can relax your body, send oxygen to your brain, and quiet down the monkey mind.  When that happens you are ready to move ahead, make your speech, and do a darn good job at it!

Greatness comes one “baby step” at a time as the psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin (played by Richard Dreyfuss) told Bob (played by Bill Murray) in the great movie, “What About Bob?”.

Baby steps, baby steps!  Being great in something small can help you discover the spirit within you…that sleeping giant as some say.  And when it does all things are possible in your life. Sharing that compassion, understanding, talent, or knowledge with others will help them find the greatness within them.

Go beyond the limits of your imagination. Be the person your dog thinks you are! Try it I think you’ll like it!

In gassho,

ingassho

Shokai

 

[1] Floris, O. Inspiration & Wisdom from the pen of Ralph Waldo Emerson. www.odeliafloris.com

[2] Hawkins, R. (2010) Great Doubt the Spirit of Self Inquiry  Black Mountain NC: Cloud Cottage Editions

[3] Hilliard, A.G., Williams, L., Damali, N. Editors (1987) The Teachings of Ptahhotep The Oldest Book in the World. Blackwood Press

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Today we take the opportunity to think about the second of the Eightfold Path taught by Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), “Say nothing to hurt others.” I began my day this morning thinking about an old friend whose friendship had broken up due to hurtful words that had been spoken by her that I observed. I decided then and there that she was not the person that I had grown to know and love then one thing led to another and we, to this day, have not spoken.

Sitting in dokusan [1] with one of my teachers I shared this story with him and the power that those words, both hers and mine, had had in my life. I felt sad about it and wondered what good it had done.

Today I picked up from my bookshelf this wonderful book on ethics co-authored by Norman Vincent Peale and Kenneth Blanchard entitled The Power of Ethical Management (1988). I was curious as to what they had to say about ethics and the power of the word since it had been many years since I had read the book. And to my delight the very first paragraph in the introduction were the exact words I needed to hear.

In writing a book on ethics we are reminded of the story of a young Englishman who had just been elected to Parliament. When he entered the halls for the first time, he approached one of the sages and asked, “Tell me, sir, do you think I should participate in the debate today?”
The old man looked at him with piercing eyes and said, “To be honest, young man, I would recommend that you keep silent. It’s better that people wonder why you didn’t speak than wonder why you did.”

I wonder why I had spoken all those many years ago the way I had and maybe I could have handled the situation in a different manner and we would still be friends. So the Buddha says, “Say nothing to hurt others.” But when someone says something to hurt others in front of you what should you do? How should you handle it? Once handled should you talk about them in a negative way to show how “right” or “righteous” you were to speak up and set her “straight.” I will let each of you, my dear readers, make up your own mind about that, to think about how you have handled similar situations in the past and will handle similar ones in the future.

The authors go on to say:

Both of us agree that ethical behavior is related to self-esteem. We both believe that people who feel good about themselves have what it takes to withstand outside pressure and to do what is right rather than do what is merely expedient, popular, or lucrative.

Dealing with such a topic is like untangling a fishing line. The more you get into it the more complicated it becomes.

So these blog posts I’m writing on ethics will challenge me, expose me, and help me think through what I think, believe, and know about “Zen and Ethics in Business and in Life.” It will help me think before I speak so as not to “say anything to hurt others.” I hope you will take on this assignment for the week and let me know what happens.
In gassho,
Shokai

ingassho

1. Meeting of a Zen student with his/her master in the seclusion of the master’s room. Dokusan is among the most important elements in Zen training. It provides the student an opportunity privately to present to his master all problems relating to his practice.” The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen (1991)

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All of us are teachers in some way or another.  Some of us teach as parents, some teach as grandparents, some teach the very young in Head Start and Montessori, others may teach K-12, and still others may teach in higher education arenas such as vocational/technical schools, community colleges, state colleges, and universities.  Some teachers are called coaches and they work in the community in all the sports from baseball, to football, to basketball, and soccer, and even cheer leading.  Some are teachers at the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, or with the scouting organizations, or at Sunday school, the temple, or the Mosque, but teach we do in a thousand different ways.

More importantly we all teach by our example whether we are at work, at play, on vacation, in the store, or walking the dog.  We teach good habits and bad ones.  Remember the old saying that a child learns more from what you do than what you say.  I watched my father smoke cigarettes as I grew up and so in high school I took up smoking.  Fortunately for me, I quit early on when they went to 50 cents a pack. I told my girlfriend that the price was way too high and did she know what I could do with that 50 cents!

One of my favorite books on teaching and learning is by Robert Leamnson titled Thinking about Teaching and Learning Developing Habits of Learning with First Year College and University Students. In his introduction he says that philosophy influences our pedagogy or how we teach.  So he ends the introduction chapter with his “own personal minimal list of elements that should go into a philosophy of teaching and they are as follows:

1.  Develop a clear and explicit concept of what learning is.

2.  Language is at the heart of the matter.

3.  Beware the “preposterism.”

4.  Know the clientele.

5.  Believe that what you do makes a difference.

6.  If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

7.  Helping implies loving (pages 7-8).

To discover what some of these mean you’ll have to get the book, but for now I want to share my thoughts on three of them:  4, 5, and 7.

For me number four “Know the clientele” is imperative.  He says “Students must be known as they come to us and not as we would like them to be.  Knowing includes their culture, their level of preparedness, and their intellectual and emotional needs (page 7).”  In South Florida we have students enter our colleges from all around the world.   From every nation and culture and religion and they are all welcome.  So knowing each of their cultures, traditions, and religious beliefs is not an easy task, but it is an important one.  That is if you want to be able to help your students learn and grow and develop as thinking, caring, human beings who have mastered your subject matter, while at the same time be someone who will be able to move our country and the world to a better place in which to live.

For number 5 “Believe that what you do makes a difference.”  Leamnson writes, “What we do is different from what we know.  How we present our discipline to students is as important as what we present (page 7).” So how are we presenting the material?  Are we just boring them to death with our words, lectures, and Cliff Notes?   Or are we getting them involved in real life experiences to help them learn the subject.  Are we immersing them in the issues, rules, theories, and principles in such a way that they can see them in living breathing examples within their world?  Or are they just learning and remembering enough to pass your final exam and get on to their next class?

Lastly, number seven “Helping implies loving.”  Here Leamnson writes, “We work hard and go that extra mile for those we love.  We will go about our teaching more seriously and energetically if we love our students (page 8).”  I love my students and I am so honored to be able to stand in front of the classroom whether I am teaching developmental English at Broward College, or medical transcription at Kaplan University, or business writing, mindfulness, or ethics for a corporate client.  I know that if I can just share with them one tip, idea, theory, or principle that will help them communicate more carefully, fully, and correctly it may help them get a great job, gain that promotion, impress their boss, teacher, or family member.  And maybe—just maybe—it will help them to love and appreciate themselves more.  And when they do that it will help them get better grades, get that promotion, and move up their level of self-esteem, pride, and self-worth.

If each of us does that it will allow us to watch this world grow and become a better more compassionate and loving place to live.  Teaching is not just a philosophy—it is a way of life.  I challenge you to teach those positive attributes that you have learned throughout your life.  Teach them to everyone you meet by your example and together we can watch the planet transform.

Teach your philosophy by living  your philosophy!

 

 

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