Spirituality in the Digital Age

 

Now let’s take creative thought and the digital arts, and integrate them with the compassionate and kind life. What arises from this is the Post-digital Path. This term points significantly to our rapidly changed and changing relationships with digital technologies and art forms. It focuses on an attitude that is more concerned not with the digital in isolation but with ways in which digital technology can bring forth with the highest elements of what it means to be a human being human. The Post-digital path defines an ever changing reality that is anchored in enlightenment.

This conversation is important for it helps each of us to define what it means when we say “I’m spiritual, but not religious”> On this path the student must explore ways in which 21st century technology and social dynamics – power, competition, altruism and hierarchy – may affect human conceptualizations of the world. This practice helps us redefine the way knowledge is constructed and used.  This is a real paradigm shift, a shift in the mathematics of a particular reality. Specifically defined, a paradigm is a theoretical and philosophical model, pattern or framework; specifically of a linguistic discipline or a mathematically based or scientific school of thought. The word paradigm was first presented by Thomas Kuhn in his book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.”

Mr. Kuhn’s descriptive word was specifically created to address ideas related to the natural sciences and would not,  in the strict sense of the word, be used outside of a strictly logical or rational model, since to do so is to corrupt the purpose of the definition to begin with. In Postmodernism and Zen there is no rigid view of anything – no paradigm.

You see, the natural sciences are disciplines and schools of thought with specific and definable laws and theories.  They include experiments that might be performed in support of these disciplines and schools of thought, and the laws, rules and guidelines that define them.

The more involved you become in the applying of  Zen, Taoism and post modern thought to creating a life of love, wisdom, compassion, spiritual contentment and happiness many of the distinctions between paradigms, social paradigms, and other forms of belief will disappear while other, more subtle distinctions will become apparent.

 

To paraphrase Joseph Campbell the pioneering anthropologist: The artist is the clergy for the modern age. I think this is even more so ON the Post-modern and post-digital path.

 

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Lewis Harrison the creator of this blog is a radio talk show host, speaker, consultant, practical philosopher and Contemporary Spiritual Teacher. Lewis is a pioneer in the personal development movement The author of nine self help books on human potential he offers a monthly retreat/seminar “How to Solve Any Problem”.  He also and phone based coaching. He is creating a series of ebooks entitled “Ask Lewis…” which will be available on line.

This blog is explored more fully through Lewis E-book “A Primer To Lewis Harrison’s Applied Game Theory”. Lewis’ ebook “How to Predict the Future (Not!) ”,  is available as a $7.00 e-book. You can order it directly from Lewis by calling him at 212-724-8782.

 

Lewis owns a stress management consulting and corporate chair massage company www.eventschairmassage.com

 

Lewis offers phone-based and on-line life coaching services and a monthly workshop/Retreat – a simple program for decision making based on Game Theory, the idea expanded on by John Nash, the Nobel Prize winning subject of the biopick “A Beautiful Mind”.

Leadership Development

Many associations and corporations speak of leadership development but don’t know where to begin. We were recently offering a women’s leadership training, exploring leadership styles in organizations. It soon became clear that one of the most sophisticated skills one can have in Leadership is to recognize the distinction between just following the rules and addressing crises that transcend the rules.

 

Imagine a situation where an emergency that arises. Now an employee sees this happen and acts quickly, with good intentions and solves the problem. Now imagine that this company has a strict written policy that any problem must be reported to a manager immediately and as a result an employee is prohibited from taking action without the managers approval.

In such a situation corporate policy, no matter how well thought out, and good intentioned cannot address this obvious dilemma

All this presents an interesting question. Should the good Samaritan employee be fired for violating the rules or be rewarded for preventing a catastrophe?

The answer is not as easy or as obvious as you might think. Do to social networking it is not the company that decides what to do in the end. It is the large net community that forces the decision. In many cases an individual has been terminated for violating a corporate policy, for the most part an effective and appropriate policy and yet once the story went viral the company had to “spin” the intrepatation of the rule and backtrack on its decision to fire the worker.

There is a lesson I learned during my shamanic apprenticeship back in the 1970s. My teacher said “If you create too many rigid rules, there is a tipping point where you must violate the rules just to function effectively.”

In many situations “personal interpretation” by a manager or team leader will determine what is to happen.  This a real problem. Is the rule to be obeyed strictly so everyone can claim “I only followed orders” no matter how negative the consequences may be? Or does the leader violate the code and suffer the possible consequences for doing so?  Large organizations may have standardized policies but often have little control over how those polices are carried out.

There is no magic formula here. Only a happy ending where happy endings are needed.

Life is not black and white. It is more like 5 billion shades of gray.

In the game of life there will always be rules of play, codes for appropriate behavior and laws that present accountability when violated

Most corporate policies and laws when most effectively thought out, and applied appropriately, limit uncivil behavior such as shouting, shoving, and violence.

But the perfection of an imperfect world guarantees that events will arise that corporate meeting, notices sent from the corporate office, inspections, rules, codes and laws cannot address.

What is the lesson here? My take on it is that rules need not be written in stone and those that interpret them need to be part lawyer, part judge,  wise sage, a well tuned corporate player, a great leader, a humanitarian, and in possession of common sense and street smarts.

If the leadership of an organization is given a bit of an entrepreneurial streak within the corporate culture you will have people in leadership from top to bottom that is capable now and then of going “going out of the box” here and there as needed. All the staff meetings in the world will not create this sense of wisdom. This is a solution to the dilemma of companies that claim to support managers in making wise decision and them having rules and codes and rules that are so rigid that they are unable to do so.

It is all walking the fine line here, creating and supporting leaders and managers who do things like this, but not encouraging them to do it at the same time.

 

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Lewis Harrison is a former association executive and an expert on leadership and stress management. He is a radio talk show host, speaker, consultant, practical philosopher.

 

Lewis is a pioneer in the personal development movement.  The author of nine self help books on human potential he offers a monthly retreat/seminar “How to Solve Any Problem”.  He also and phone based coaching.

He owns a corporate chair massage and stress management consulting company that offer chair massage in New York City (Chair Massage NYC) . Their website is www.eventschairmassage.com

 

The subject of this  blog is explored more fully through Lewis E-book “A Primer To Lewis Harrison’s Applied Game Theory”.  Lewis’  book  “The Art of Leadership”, is available as a $7.00 e-book. You can order it directly from Lewis by calling him at 212-724-8782.

 

Lewis offers phone-based and on-line life coaching services and a monthly workshop/Retreat – a simple program for decision making based on Game Theory, the idea expanded on by John Nash, the Nobel Prize winning subject of the biopick “A Beautiful Mind”.

What is Peak Performance?

Definition: Peak Performance – To fulfill one’s potential biologically and in social, familial and business interactions.

Q. Is there one best approach to achieving this goal?

LEWIS: No. There are many approaches including stress management. In fact I have seen increased productivity from chair massage at corporate meetings and trade shows. One of my favorites is called Learned Industriousness. This approach was developed by Robert Eisenberger.

Q. What is the basic idea behind this idea?

LEWIS:  To explain on a behavioral level the differences in general work effort among people of equivalent ability.

Q. What are Eisenberge’s beliefs?

LEWIS: individuals who are reinforced for exerting high effort on a task are also secondarily reinforced by the sensation of high effort.

Q. What effect does this pattern create?

LEWIS: Individuals with a history of this high effort reinforcement are more likely to generalize high effort to other behaviors.

Q. Is there any research to support this point of view?

LEWIS: It is supported in the literature across a variety of different experimental settings.

Q. Does a person need to be intensely driven to achieve a state of peak performance?

LEWIS: No, however for most of us peak performance does not come about with a clear intention to function at that level. What is needed is “Industriousness”.

Q. How would you define industriousness?

LEWIS:  It is a work ethic, the sense that working effectively, efficiently and with competence leads to peak performance. I have spoken to a number of peak performance experts over the years and they have for the most part agreed that what makes one industrious is a sense of perseverance and determination in completing a task. To this might be added that once one is performing at a high level one must know how to maintain that rhythm or momentum. in performing a task.

Q, Is industriousness a natural quality or is it something that must be learned?

LEWIS: Usually one learns it over time and with positive reinforcement.

Q. How much is learned industriousness tied to one’s attitude?

LEWIS: It is greatly influenced by attitude. Like industriousness a positive attitude can be learned.

Q. Discuss this in greater depth?

LEWIS: Learned optimism is a concept in positive psychology that a talent for joy, like any other, can be developed. It is done by consciously challenging any negative self talk.

Q. Much of what I know about self help is based on having an optimistic attitude. Does this really work or is it some new age mumbo jumbo?

LEWIS: Studies have shown that a those with an optimistic outlook  are higher achievers and have better overall health. Pessimists, on the other hand  are more likely to give up in the face of adversity or to suffer from depression.

Q. How can one change their outlook from pessimist to optimist?

LEWIS: It requires some introspection. To begin with a person with a pessimistic outlook must be willing to make a shift. Without intention most action is simply reaction to negative motivations.  To learn to be optimistic one must  by think about his or  reactions to adversity or events that are perceived to be negative in a new way. This is the ssense of learned optimism.

Ultimately the optimist’s does not see life as success or failure but only as process.  As is often said what is the point of reaching a destination if one does not enjoy the journey. In short the optimist recognizes that whatever happens may unlucky or unfortunate (not personal), and is nothing more than a short-term setback (not permanent). This is one factor or event in many and does not reflect the potential outcome of any other related facor or event.

Q. Is there a way to explore the differences in how pessimists and optimists view events that happen to them?

LEWIS:  Many of the differences between the two are espressed by how people explain events. This is known as  explanatory style. Here some examples:

  • Permanence: Optimistic people believe bad events to be more temporary than permanent and bounce back quickly from failure, whereas others may take longer periods to recover or may never recover. They also believe good things happen for reasons that are permanent, rather than seeing the transient nature of positive events. Optimists point to specific temporary causes for negative events; pessimists point to permanent causes.
  • Pervasiveness: Optimistic people compartmentalize helplessness, whereas pessimistic people assume that failure in one area of life means failure in life as a whole. Optimistic people also allow good events to brighten every area of their lives rather than just the particular area in which the event occurred.
  • Personalization: Optimists blame bad events on causes outside of themselves, whereas pessimists blame themselves for events that occur. Optimists are therefore generally more confident. Optimists also quickly internalize positive events while pessimists externalize them.

Q. Is learned optimism

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Lewis Harrison is a radio talk show host, speaker, consultant, practical philosopher and Lewis is a pioneer in the personal development stress management movement The author of nine self help books on human potential he offers a monthly retreat/seminar “How to Solve Any Problem”. He also and phone based coaching. He is the owner of www.eventschairmassage.com a stress management consulting company

Lewis’ new book on corporate massage and stress management is Hands-On-Healing

Lewis offers phone-based and on-line life coaching services and a monthly workshop/Retreat – a simple program for decision making based on Game Theory, the idea expanded on by John Nash, the Nobel Prize winning subject of the biopick “A Beautiful Mind”.

Reducing Stress Through Boundaries

There is a saying that good fences make good neighbors. This is a blog about creating effective boundaries.

Foundational Principle for this Conversation: To explore how the effective use of influence can bring greater love, wealth, and freedom into our lives.

Definition: Boundary – something that indicates bounds or limits; a limiting or bounding line.

STUDENT: Is there a specific academic discipline that deals with boundaries?

LEWIS: No, however everything we do in life and every choice we make is influenced by the concept of personal and group boundaries.

 

STUDENT: How are boundaries addressed in groups?

LEWIS: Through the exploration of social behavior and cultural behavior. These are expressed in the concepts of “society” and “culture”.

 

STUDENT: Is culture and society different?

LEWIS: Most anthropologists believe so. Whereas society refers to a group of people; culture refers to the inherent genetic based human capacities as well as all of non-genetic human activities.

 

STUDENT: Was this distinction first noted within anthropology?

LEWIS: Most anthropologists would believe so, however Nicholas Roerich the great Russian Painter/Philosopher wrote extensively of primary differences between culture and society.  Roerich pointed out that while culture best refers to the spiritual intentions of man in creative self-expression, a society (what he called civilization) is an external arrangement of human life in all its aspects – political, material, or civil.

 

STUDENT: Please discuss the distinctions between boundaries in a society and boundaries in a culture.

LEWIS: When you are part of a group or society you will seldom have the opportunity to create defined boundaries unless of course you are an authoritarian leader with the ability to define boundaries by force. In a group setting boundaries tend to be set and specifically defined. Though they can change over time, they tend to be understood among members of the group, and those who cross those boundaries risk minor or extreme sanctions.  In groups many of these boundaries are written into law.

Cultural boundaries are different in that, unless imposed through a theocracy culture, they are more flexible, constantly changing, and mobile.  In this setting the boundaries are actually an expression of the group intention, reflecting shared practices, attitudes, values, goals, and an integrated pattern of human knowledge, beliefs, and behavior.  In such an environment there exists some capacity for symbolic thought and social learning that would not be easily available in imposed group boundaries.

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Lewis Harrison offers stress management and corporate massage programs through www.eventschairmassage.com in New York City.