Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Taking Your Spirit to the Workplace

Many people, who have a strong spiritual foundation, have struggled with how to bring that spirit to work and survive the dramas of the workplace. Often times, the pace of the day dictated by the completion of targeted goals sets the stage for chaos to occur the minute we arrive on the job. Long commutes coupled with workplace dramas can leave us shortsighted and short-tempered, which only adds to the chaos of the day. 

While taking a more peaceful spirit to the workplace should seem natural and easy to those who nurture their spiritual nature on a regular basis, we know that it is far easier said than done. When it comes to the workplace, it seems a there are a variety of catalysts that can easily rock us off of our spiritual foundation in a matter of seconds. Subsequently, we react rather than respond, using words and behaviors that escalate the situation rather than bring a spirit of peacefulness instead. 

Perhaps understanding the impact our words and actions can have on others would help us make a more concerted effort to choose more favorable routes to a harmonious workplace. 

During a UCLA study on the impact love can have on pain, it was discovered that the brain was flooded with dopamine when a person saw someone they loved or experienced the feeling of being loved. Most importantly, it was discovered that it takes 5 positive comments to every negative comment to keep the brain in a positive state; demonstrating the impact we can have on others just through our choice of words. 

Think about someone at work that you perceive as having a negative attitude. Now, think about how often that individual receives positive versus negative comments from others each day. More importantly, how many of those favorable comments can be attributed to your efforts? 

The ripple effect of throwing the stone in the water is the same as tossing the first ‘unkind’ or ‘kind’ comment into the workplace. Whether those words are spoken directly to the individual or are shared with others about an individual is irrelevant. Negative and positive comments have an impact that can be far outreaching. 

There’s a wonderful line in one of the songs from Les Miserables that says, "to see another person is to see the face of God." If we were to see the people we work with in this same light each day, we would have a powerful and favorable impact on the workplace. Doing so would make our days easier while impacting the life of another human being. 

The idea is not to imply that lunch hours will be spent singing Kumbaya, but rather, to be realistic in understanding the role you play in the chaos that ensues each day. If you know that positive comments fuel favorable brain functioning in another human being, then choose your words wisely. 

On some level, we all know how our words and actions affect people and how a spiritual approach to life improves the quality of our experiences. But this is about more than that. This is about understanding how our words and actions alter a person’s mind and can in turn affect us favorably. It’s as though you are sending the boomerang of positive efforts out and can count on it being returned. 

Spirituality is defined as "an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of their being;" or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live." An increase in spiritual practices has been proven to have a favorable impact on reducing anxiety, stress, depression and work-related absenteeism. Our decision to show up in a spiritual way each day can and will make a difference. 

There are no guarantees that our positive words and actions will change the way another human being responds to us or to others. However, we do know that it will change how their brain responds and have an improved physical affect. 

What matters most is that we make a conscious choice to bring our inherent good to the world every day and that includes the workplace. Each of us must do our part in order to optimize the impact! 

Reverend Nancy Mercurio is a TNS Alumni, internationally televised speaker, author and executive coach, who has worked globally since 1995 to assist leaders in driving individual and organization effectiveness through improved behaviors. She is President and Founder of Leadership Training SystemsInc. and is the Co-Founder of Together In Peace Inc. a global mission for peaceful practices that launches in November, 2013.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Dr. Theodore Richards Honored

New Seminary's faculty member, Dr. Theodore Richards was honored recently with not one, but two awards for his writing.  Homebound Publishing announced within weeks of each other that Cosmosophia was awarded the Nautilus Gold Medal and that The Crucifixion won the IPPY Bronze Medal.
Theologian and author Matthew Fox said that 
Theodore Richards is a unique and gifted social activist, one with a well nour­ished brain as well as a con­science. His com­mit­ment to inner city youth wounded as so many are by a cul­ture that prefers con­sump­tion to com­pas­sion and preaches couch­pota­toitism over cre­ativity, he has spent years bringing alive the poten­tial of young people in finding their in-​​depth selves and their place in our amazing uni­verse. In a pre­vious gen­er­a­tion someone of Theodore’s depth and integrity might have worked out his voca­tion in a monastery. In our time, he finds his way in the urban world of struggle and promise, despair and hope. He is a philosopher-​​activist who lis­tens deeply and walks his talk.  What he is learning is worth our all lis­tening to.” 
Cosmosophia: Cosmology, Mysticism and the Birth of a New Myth  is a guide for all those who are learning to connect to their inner wisdom. There is no wonder that this book won the Nautilus Gold Medal, an award shared by such notable authors as Deepak Chopra, Barbara Kingsolver, Mathew Fox, Eckhart Tolle and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
 The Crucifixion is "a modern American myth," which takes readers on a journey through the Deep South and into urban America.  This epic journey reflects both Old and New Testament stories, but creates a new, modern perspective from which the reader may relate.
"I was moved emotionally by The Crucifixion. …In today’s rapidly changing world, the ability of individuals, families, and communities to live with hope and purpose is essential, but according to my observations, too rare," said author, Wayne Gustafson, (Community of Promise: The Untold Story of Moses). "The characters demonstrate how ordinary people can live extraordinary lives that exude the power to transform those around them.”  

The IPPY Bronze Medal is an Independent Publishers award, which is given yearly.
Congratulations, Dr. Ted!  

Written by Ord. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas 
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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Just Released: 7 Days With Adam

Rev. James Speights' new book, 7 Days With Adam has just been published.  Many will recognize author,  Rev. Speights, as the Director of The New Seminary; however, he is also a chaplain and spiritual coach.  No stranger to the printed word, Rev. Speights has been a contributor to The Washington Times Online Edition and religionandspirituality.com, "where he provided social, spiritual, and political commentary focused on getting people to interact and relate on a higher level.

What I enjoyed about this spiritual odyssey was the give and take between author and Adam.  The conversation flows naturally and provides the reader with insight into the difficult questions people have in connection to the traditions of yesterday and our visions for tomorrow. I found myself pulled into the story and could easily apply Adam's suggestions to my own life.
I agree that 7 Days With Adam is a "brilliantly crafted work about Adam, the first man, who visits the author and shatters many of his core beliefs about God, creation, the basic nature of humans and this world. He has astonishing revelations about his and Eve's real legacy. After the 7 day visit, he leaves the author enlightened with actual exercises, prayers and meditative techniques that we can all use to access our Divine Inner Power and achieve mastery in our lives. This book is a testament to the value of storytelling in spirituality, and to disciplined spiritual practice, as well as being attuned to the Higher Self and Divine Inner Light that is in all of us."

by Ord. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

Rev. Speights' book is available at 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Days-With-Adam-Jay-Speights/dp/1626202605/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_img_1_3MTK 

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/7-days-with-adam-jay-speights/1114967700?ean=9781626202603

Monday, February 11, 2013

Holy Days of February

February is full of religious feasts  and observances. This is a powerful week. It would be interesting to know what days some of you will observe this week or what day or days you are drawn to. 

For me, I always observe Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. I have strong Roman Catholic roots. The Chinese New Year is also important because we celebrate it in my Kung Fu Community. 

February 10 - Transfiguration SundayChristian - Christian commemoration of the experience on Mt Tabor when Jesus' physical appearance became brilliant as his connection with traditional Jewish holy figures became evident to the disciples. 

February 10 - Chinese New Year - Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist - Begins a fifteen Day Festival for Chinese people of all religions. Family reunions with thanksgiving and remembrance of departed relatives take place. Traditionally a religious ceremony honors Heaven and Earth.

February 12 - Shrove TuesdayChristian - carnival day on the eve of Ash Wednesday which begins Lent, a time of fasting and devotions. Pancakes are often served. It is also known as Fat Tuesday in some places.

February 13 - Ash Wednesday - Lent begins through March 23 - Christian - Christian observance to begin the 40 day season of Lent. Ashes are marked on worshipers as a sign of penitence.

February 14 - Nirvana Day ** - Buddhist - a regional observance of the death of the Buddha. 

February 14 - St. Valentine's DayChristian 

February 15 - Vasant Panchami ** - Hinducelebration dedicated to Saraswati, goddess of learning.  

February 15 - Nirvana ** - Jain - means final release from the karmic bondage.  

February 24 - Purim * - Jewish - Jewish celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish minority in Persia from genocide. Charity to the poor, sharing food with friends, and vigorous merrymaking mark the observance. 

February 24 - Triodion beginsOrthodox Christian - Orthodox Christian time period leading up to Lent. The liturgy involves hymns, odes and scriptures.

An asterisk (*) indicates that the observance begins at sundown the prior evening
Written by Rev. Jay Speights, TNS

Monday, January 7, 2013

Respect : Gone to the dogs?

English: Dog fishes at Tinsley canal Small dog...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, I heard a news report that Buddha was a popular name for puppies in America. This seemed odd to me at first. I was curious about why someone would name a dog, Buddha. So, I did a little research on the subject, and it was true. Not only is Buddha a popular name for puppies, but it is also recommended on several sites on the Internet as a great name.

After some reflection, I determined that this was disrespectful and offensive. There are 450 million Buddhists, which would make theirs the fourth largest religion in the world. I am assuming that for them, the name Buddha, which means "Enlightened One," is spiritually significant; therefore, should be revered.

Now, I have had some smart pooches in my life. One, named Champ, could hold a can of beer in his front paws and roll over on his back and guzzle it down. Another memorable and much loved dog of mine, named Kai, demonstrated an exceptional capacity to comprehend at least 100 words. According to my research, many experts think this is pretty impressive.

My current dog, Snoop, is perhaps the most loving being that I have ever met. I know you could care less about the furry friends in my life; however, point I am trying to make is that no matter how cute, lovable and smart my dogs are or were, I could in no way refer to any of them as "Enlightened One."

I wonder how many Buddhists have named their dog Jesus or Christ. It's a sure bet that if one did this in some parts of America, he or she would know immediately how one's Christian neighbors felt about it. Can you imagine a peaceful, mild-mannered Buddhist in a dog park in some Bible Belt town shouting, "Here, Jesus, come on boy, get over here."

At the very least, he or she more than likely would be subjected to some verbal abuse and in some instances might be physically assaulted.

Why is it so easy for many of us in this country to devalue the sacred values and traditions of others, while assuming that ours are superior? Is it because we are geographically isolated and an overwhelmingly Christian country? Even though the United States is becoming ethnically and religiously more diverse, there seems to be an abiding ignorance by many of us about who and what is occupying the rest of this planet.

This is why the events of Sept. 11, 2001, made it clear to many Americans, for the first time, that some groups and countries have a deep-seated hatred for us, and that our Christian and democratic values are not desired or coveted by all.

We have to realize that the majority of this world is non-Christian and non-white, as well. Additionally, not everybody is jealous of democracy. This vacuum of arrogance and ignorance that we live in has not served us well, rather, has created many of the domestic and global problems with which we struggle today.

We have to learn how to view and operate in this world without our biased filters, and stop assuming that our values and traditions are desired or coveted by all. More importantly, it is thoughtless acts like naming a dog Buddha, or a football team the Redskins, that create unnecessary friction and hostility, which disrupt communities and foster hatred and violence.

— — —

Rev. Jay Speights, is an interfaith minister, Director and main United Nations representative for The New Seminary in New York. You can learn more about his work at  The New Seminary website. His email address is jayspeights@newseminary.org   

© copyright 2007 by Jay Speights

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

We Are the Change

English: New Year's Resolutions postcard
English: New Year's Resolutions postcard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every January 1st, millions of people around the world make resolutions to give up, do without, change, recreate, and/or begin something. They look back on the past year, see the areas in their lives that could have been better, could have been more, could have been happier and resolve to make it so in the year ahead.
One problem, usually, is that most of these resolutions suddenly fizzle out around mid-February. Why?
I believe it is because they are made without the recognition that in order to bring about true change, one must remove the root of whatever it is that is causing the problem. For instance, we can try to lose weight, but, if we don't recognize and change our behavior - i.e., realize that we eat when stressed - then we will only resort back to that behavior.
After fifty some odd years of resolutions, I have decided to approach resolutions from a different angle this year. Instead of changing something about me - weight, attitude, etc. - I would begin by taking away a root of my issues. In other words, I am weeding my spiritual garden.
The best way to do this, I feel, is to begin adding to my time spent in reflection, meditation, communion and prayer. This year, I am creating, mindfully and deliberately, Sacred Space for the observance of Sabbath. As I have already stated in a past post, Sabbath does not have to be observed on Saturday or Sunday. Sabbath is any time you intentionally shut out the world of consumerism and materialism and connect with Spirit.
You see, I hypothesize that by observing an intentional Sabbath, the root of my problems, issues, and/or lack will disappear, or at least become something that I can cope with without becoming filled with fear and despair. The reason for this is that when we connect to Spirit, we are given Grace...this Grace brings Wisdom, Strength, Courage and the ability to do the things we are called to do.
President Obama said, "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” If we spend time with Spirit, with the Divine, with our Creator, then, we will see and have the strength to do those things we must to make this world a better place.
May the year ahead be filled with Light, Love and Laughter. May there be enough rain to create rainbows and bring flowers to life. May storms pass over without lasting damage. And, may each of us see that we are enough, that we are loved and that we have all we need, now.

By Linda M. Rhinehart Neas - TNS 2013

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