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Have an inner smile

Do you find yourself taking yourself too seriously sometimes? Striving too hard and losing your sense of humour and your perspective?

When this happens, we lose a sense of lightness and joy and fail to appreciate the beauty that is this life.

Having an inner smile means that we greet our experience with kindness, openness and a sense of wonder. As Thich Nhat Hahn says, "You need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow."

Holding an inner smile also reminds us to keep a sense of humor and avoid being too hard on ourselves.

Maintaining an inner smile involves intentionally and gently smiling to yourself. It is more of an inner experience than an outward gesture. Of course, it may spill out from your heart onto your lips, and if it does, so much the better!

Let this smile remind you not to strive too hard or to criticize yourself. Allow it make your thoughts, words, and deeds more gentle and accepting. You may begin to notice how human beings can be rather amusing...

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Foundations of mindful communication – Recap

Today let us remind ourselves about the five foundations of mindful communication that we have discussed.

To practice mindful communication,

1) Get in touch with your intention. Cultivate positive intentions for your communication and remind yourselves of these before you engage in conversation with others
2) Have an attitude of curiosity and compassion. An attitude of curiosity helps us listen better and get to know people while judgmental attitudes block communication.
3) Be willing to learn and to act. Change and growth means that we are open to learning new ways and willing to act on our learning and put it into practice.
4) Practice self awareness. Shine the light of awareness on how you interact with others and be open to feedback.
5) Be mindfully present, which means having your attention in the same place where your body is.

Which foundation do you find the most challenging?

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Practice self awareness

Continuing our discussion on foundations for mindful communication, today let us talk about self awareness.

"Self-awareness" is a phrase we often hear in spiritual contexts. There is a famous Islamic narration which goes: "He who knows himself, knows God". In other words, to become aware of God and His magnificence, we must become aware of ourselves.

So far so good. But what on earth does it actually mean to be "self-aware"?

Self Awareness means having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. It is, in essence, the ability to become an observer of oneself, to consider our own selves from a somewhat objective perspective.

Without self-awareness, we are full of "blind-spots" – we have no real idea of our own strengths or where our challenges lay. Without self-awareness, we tend to have little agency or control over own thoughts and emotions, and live in a reactionary mode most of the time. Without self...

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Recognize the value of the gift of communication

Here is your daily dose of Wisdom for Living Your Best Self!

Our desire to communicate mindfully starts with a recognition that the ability to communicate is a gift – a gift of the Creator who gave us the desire, the knowledge, the ability and the equipment to communicate with others.

Imam Jafar As Sadiq (as) says:
Consider the blessing of speech, bestowed upon him by the Almighty, which is the medium for the expression of his inner thought and his warm feelings springing from his understanding and with which also he understands the inner points of others. Without this faculty he would have been like quadrupeds, neither able to convey his own inner thought to others, nor to understand the words of the speaker.

The physical process of speaking is rather complex and involves four different process which start in the lungs, go to the larynx where there are the vocal folds, then to the pharynx where the air goes up the nasal or oral cavity and finally to the mouth where the...

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Beyond effective communication - Mindful Communication

Today let us expand our definition of effective communication.

The skills of effective communication, which include excellent use of language and grammar, saying what we mean and meaning what we say, are extremely valuable in a professional, public and sometimes personal context.

In personal relationships, however, the skills of effective communication may not be enough to connect authentically with others and to build relationships.

In personal relationships, I prefer to use the term Mindful Communication or Conscious Communication.

Mindful communication goes further than effective communication in building relationships.

Mindful communication is communication that is intentional, purposeful, conscious and compassionate. It is communication that comes from the heart and aims to reach the heart of another. To communicate mindfully means to have a "heart to heart" with another human being.

To communicate mindfully we focus on:

Self-empathy: a deep and compassionate awareness of our...

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Our survival depends upon our ability to communicate

The ability to communicate is related to the survival of the species itself.

Until quite recently, scientists used to think that man survived through the ages based on strength to brave the elements, search for food and build shelters.

But that view has since evolved.

Since the mid 90s brain studies have proven that it is not the strongest of the species that survived the longest but rather those who could best cooperate with one another in their search for food and building shelters. When ancient man communicated and cooperated with other homo sapiens and built families and tribes, all members had a greater chance of survival.

Although we may no longer be fighting for our survival as a species on a daily basis, we can still witness the life and death importance of communication for a newborn baby who learns very early that she has to get the attention of her parents if she is hungry or wet.

The need for contact and communication with the mother is not just for meeting physical...

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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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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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