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Let’s talk about communication

"Effective communication" is a buzz word in psychology and self development literature. A quick Google search on effective communication resulted in about 74,600,000 results in 0.63 seconds - yes that is 74 million plus results!

Clearly this is something that we human beings care about and are concerned about.

At some level, we know that communication is what connects us to others of our species. We can sense that we can meet our human need for connection if we can be understood by, and in turn, understand those who matter to us.

The impact of our communication skills, of course, goes way beyond intimate relationships. In the workplace, in the community, in leadership roles and in the world, our effectiveness as a human being depends greatly on our ability to communicate with others.

Something that is so intrinsically tied to our success and wellbeing should just come naturally, right?

Turns out that while the ability to communicate is a God-given gift, the ability to communicate...

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The Universal Message of Hussain (as)

Today sharing a video lecture by Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr on
The Univeral Message of Hussain (as).

Please note: This week marks the 1378th anniversary of the event of Ashura in Karbala, Iraq where the grandson of the Holy Prophet of Islam along with his children and companions were martyred by the oppressive regime of Yazid. Hussain ibn Ali was a 7th century revolutionary leader who made the ultimate sacrifice for social justice in the face of corruption and tyranny. He gave everything he had, including his life, for the stand for social justice and against oppression. The events of Ashura continue to inspire millions of Muslims all over the world even today.

To honor the wisdom and inspiration from Imam Hussain (as), the Daily Wisdom emails this week will be dedicated to the memory of Ashura and the inspirations from it.
The regular series of Daily Wisdom will resume next week inshallah.

To learn about Hussain and the history of Ashura, please visit https://whoishussain.org

And here...

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Responsible leadership (Imam Ali (as)’s wisdom)

It is sooo much easier to preach rather than practice, isn't it?

It is so easy to see how others need to change their ways and so much more challenging to see our own shortcomings.

This is especially challenging for people in positions of power and authority because they are not subject to much feedback from peers or superiors.

This is why it is especially important for those of us in positions of influence or leadership to engage in self reflection and self growth.

Whoever wants to be a leader should educate himself before educating others. Before preaching to others he should first practice himself. Whoever educates himself and improves his own morals is superior to the man who tries to teach and train others.
Imam Ali (as)

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Recognize the power within you (Imam Ali (as)’s wisdom)

Today's quote has so many layers of meaning . . .

Your remedy is within you, but you do not sense it. Your sickness is from you, but you do not perceive it. You presume you are a small entity, but within you is enfolded the entire Universe. You are indeed the Evident Book, by whose alphabet the Hidden becomes Manifest. Therefore you have no need to look beyond yourself. What you seek is within you, if only you reflect.
Imam Ali (as)

This is so empowering, isn't it? Everything we seek is already here. The answers are within ourselves.

Let us get quiet and listen.

Please scroll down for some books on the spiritual wisdom of Imam Ali (as).

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The wisdom of the young and the mature (Imam Ali (as)’s wisdom)

As we said yesterday, Imam Ali (as) cautioned that
One who imagines himself to be all-knowing will surely suffer on account of his ignorance.

One way to prevent being a know-it-all is to consult others. Reaching out for a different perspective is a sign of courage and maturity.

Imam Ali (as) was a great believer in seeking counsel.

He said:
Nothing helps quite like consultation

and

Nothing is correct if you avoid consultation

He also believed in consulting people of different generations. He said:

If you need counsel about some matter that has suddenly happened to you, then begin by exposing it to the spontaneity of the young, for surely their minds are sharper, and their intuition is quicker; then after that, refer it to the judgment of those who are mature and old, so that they can analyse it, and decide what is best for it, for surely they are the most experienced.

Sharp minds plus the wisdom of experience – what a powerful combination!

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Keep learning - (Imam Ali (as)’s wisdom)

A little knowledge, it is said, is a dangerous thing.

When we first start learning about something, the increase in our knowledge about that thing can sometimes lead us to believe that we know all there is to know.

Imam Ali (as) says:
One who imagines himself to be all-knowing will surely suffer on account of his ignorance.

On the contrary, the more we learn about something, the more aware we become about how little we know.

Here is how Imam Ali (as) puts it:
The man of knowledge is the one who recognizes that what is known is very little compared to what is not known, and as a result he considers himself ignorant, and accordingly he increases his efforts to know more by going out in search of knowledge.

Humility, he also said, is the product of knowledge.

In other words, the more you know, the more you realize how much you don't know.

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Knowing and doing (Imam Ali (as)’s wisdom)

We love learning don't we?

I believe that we have an inherent attraction towards wisdom and acquiring knowledge of what makes sense, of what aligns with the deepest truths that human beings are hard-wired with.

Putting the knowledge into action, however, is sometimes a little more challenging.

Spiritual wisdom often differentiates between surface knowledge and true knowledge.

True knowledge is transformational. When you know better, you do better.

Here is how Imam Ali puts it:
Knowledge is accompanied by action, for whoever knows acts. Knowledge calls out for action: if it responds to the call then it remains . . . otherwise it moves away from it.

In other words, knowledge, if not acted upon, departs.

A great way to remember what we learn is to start acting upon it immediately. Taking baby steps . . .

So, how much of the Daily Wisdom have we acted upon??

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On acquiring wisdom

We will explore the wisdom of Imam Ali (as) in this series of Daily Wisdom.

This is how Reza Shah-Kazemi introduces Imam Ali in his fantastic book Justice and Remembrance: Introducing the Spirituality of Imam Ali:

"To speak of Ali – cousin and son in law of the Prophet Muhammad, fourth caliph of Islam and the first in line of Shi'i Imams - is to speak about the quintessential spirituality of the Islamic tradition. For in this seminal figure of nascent Islam, one finds an integral expression of the two fundamental sources of Islamic spirituality, the Quranic revelation and the inspired Sunna of the Prophet. By his Sunna, we do not mean simply the outward imitation of the Prophet's – a reductionism all too prevalent in our times – rather, we mean the spiritual substance of the prophetic perfection to which the Quran itself refers: "Verily, thou art of a tremendous nature (68:4)"

The Prophet Mohammad (saw) had advised his followers:
I am the city of knowledge and Ali...

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Problems as Opportunities (Quotes to live by)

When we face challenges in our lives, it can really throw us off track and destabilize us. Once we start getting some perspective, we can learn and grow from the challenges and use the challenges as catalysts to propel us onto a path of learning, healing and growth.

Here is how Louise Hay thinks about it:

If we can use our problems and illnesses as opportunities to think about how we can change our lives, we have power.

When there is a problem, there is not something to do, there is something to know.

Louise Hay is the one who popularized positive affirmations as tools for transformation and growth. Used wisely, affirmations can be helpful in changing thought patterns and beliefs that no longer serve us. Here are two powerful affirmations from Louise:

When we want to change a condition, we need to say so. "I am willing to release the pattern within me that is creating this condition." You can say this to yourself over and over every time you think of your illness or problem. The...

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Louise Hay on Self Love (Quotes to live by)

How much of your self talk is about criticizing yourself and giving yourself a hard time?

Women in particular have been somehow conditioned to be way more mean to ourselves than we are to anyone else, don't you think?

This is what Louise Hay has to say about it:

Loving the self, to me, begins with never ever criticizing ourselves for anything. Criticism locks us into the very pattern we are trying to change. Understanding and being gentle with ourselves helps us to move out of it. Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn't worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.

(New research on willpower actually confirms this – that self-criticism depletes the will to change while self-compassion encourages change and helps us live up to the best versions of ourselves – who would have thought!!)

She also said:

Self-approval and self-acceptance in the now are the main keys to positive changes in every area of our lives.

The more we love...

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