Archive for the ‘business’ Category

The Process of Critical Reflection

April 11, 2010

The process of critical reflection of assumptions empowers one and many to view influencing details that determines the ability to find consensus and harmony in any situation. Harmony does not mean the absence of conflict, merely the creative use of it to resolve issues that inhibit cooperative and collaborative relationships in professional and personal environments.

The article presents perspectives of human patterns and the avenues available to establish collective understandings of beliefs, intentions, values and feelings to facilitate a ‘common’ reality that is workable for everyone. Critical reflection of assumptions is used to enter into a discourse to assess alternative beliefs, predicated on universal principles. CRA is used in Transformational Theory, Assimilative Learning, Objective Reframing, and Subjective Reframing for adult learning.

Transformational Theory

Transformational Theory (Mezirow, 1991,1995, 1996), which uses reflection, maintains human learning is promoted in communication through assessing intentions, values, moral issues, and feelings which requiring the use of critical reflection of assumptions. Transformational Theory holds that CRA is not a panacea or provides some transcendent experience to resolve conflict. Rather, it presents the process as a ‘best practice’ compared to other options that have been used in the workplace.

Assimilative Learning

Assimilative Learning, as used by psychoanalysts, pertains to adjustment or accommodation to a difficult situation by accepting it as conforming to one’s desire. This process moves one to act according to regulative principles, a way of thinking or behaving deemed more functional or acceptable. This seems to characterize the way adults learn to adapt to change, using tacit judgment to move forward to constructive results.

Objective Reframing

Objective Reframing examines established definitions, theories, and practices to better understand the paradigms influencing decision-making. Using critical reflection of a premise and defining a problem can lead to transformative redefinition and ‘problem posing.’ The objective of this process, in the all its facets, is to improve performance.

Subjective Reframing

Subjective Reframing examines psychological or cultural assumptions to reveal conceptual and psychological limitations.

In all of the above situations, critical reflection of assumptions is used in discursive groups to assess and manage flow of communication relative to outcomes desired within those same discursive groups that are commonly found within the workplace environment. The task for a manager is to creatively translate the use of critical reflection of assumptions and discourse to effectively facilitate conflict resolution in the workplace.

Questions:

What are the tools available for creating an atmosphere where critical reflection of assumptions can be used effectively? How can one facilitate the use of such tools in environments where human communications are predicated on form, fit and function of critical path assessments?

Potential Answers:

Human resource development programs using a combination of psychoanalytic assessment tools and facilitation training for employees are one possibility. Cultural diversity and sensitivity training for managers is another, as they can then affect communication in their respective departments. Team building or collaborative alliance training outside of the company’s environment is yet another possibility that offers professional development through reliance on others as well as self.

Critical path assessment, defining the basic fundamentals of production, can be introduced through various scenarios involving critical reflection of assumptions. One such opportunity would involve discovering the logic path used to streamline production processes, eliminating wasted resources and labor costs as a functional goal. Another would use interpersonal skills development to better affect communicating goals and objectives to a diverse population within the workforce.

Personal ethics statement:  I will to do good for all, desiring to serve humanity in the highest and best use of my mind/body/spirit complex, in the facilitation of a new world order of harmony among people and planet through the development of a state-of-the-art model community and website that promotes this endeavor.

Reordering Our World

March 5, 2010

When looking at systems we need (imho) to keep in mind they are, hopefully, designed to serve people in life-friendly if not life-enriching ways. We are experiencing the results of the ignorance of conscientiousness. Suffering is a reality in the lives of many, but how does it reflect on the rest of us?

I think the best place to start is by asking what people need, maybe confirming what we believe we know…or not. Then take what we (think) we know and ask or discover the better questions necessary to lead us to what we need to know. Lao Tzu said it best, “To lead the people walk behind them.” From this perspective we can learn much and guide our evolution as a society with greater efficacy.

Too often we rely on what we believe and know, but forget that neither nor both cover the extent of possibilities. I think there was a gentleman who once said that fixing things with the same tools that built them is folly, or something like that. Taking a fresh look, which may mean including others without the belief or knowledge, may serve the process better.

Understanding the significance of suffering is one thing, but to grasp even a fraction of what a greater intelligence might want us to understand about ‘longsuffering’ could take us to a leading edge vantage point. What else might we need to know that is beyond our belief or knowledge? Every question has an answer. Are we asking the right ones that lead us toward harmony and understanding?

Zen Benefiel is a multi-degreed transformational life coach and possibilities coagulator.

Master Teachers for the New Millennium

February 11, 2010

The quest for the zest in the cosmic conundrum of our evolution towards some kind of harmonious mutual living space begins in our understanding of pedagogy. Because of many changes in the presentation of information, it is the opinion of the author that pedagogical constraints are only compounded by the existing delivery systems for education. Quantum relationships in humans form the process of our evolution rising to the level of collective Beingness. Now, what does that really mean?

We will be reflecting on this process from the ideal place of a master teacher, one who empowers the students to use critical thinking skills to self-assess and grow into the new living awareness that integrates the data of discussion, whether classroom activities or life in general, into a cohesive usable knowledge base. In the face of pedagogical changes, and important question about change in general arises: What keeps us afraid, angry, ignorant, and immobile? Education has some relevancy in the discovery and exposing of answers. The balance of this paper will explore the process of pedagogy and potential advantages of a holistic educational shift.

In the most accepted delivery system developed by Madeline Hunter, an educator uses a defined set of instructional behaviors. This begins with the introduction of the ‘anticipatory set’ to the students. This includes the concepts and ideas that will be learned in this class, session or whatever. In our case, it is the introduction of the concepts of God/Goddess in human form. The concept is a simple premise that seems to be the ‘goal’ of nearly all major religions. Of course our assumption is that sons and daughters of God do eventually grow up.

We know that as with any learning process, there will be resistance and reluctance toward change. In this type of education (drawing out of knowledge), the anticipatory set could evoke very strong resistance due to the pre-patterning of most Western minds. This is human nature based on the belief systems at the root of the culture, which is unfortunately mainly fear, guilt, and shame ridden. We view the world from our previous databank of experience and knowledge. How has this view served our society to make it exemplary of our belief systems? What needs to change to evolve the society to where we believe it needs to be in order to achieve a standard of healthy relationships?

This flows into the next piece of the process of education, recalling past learning. We all have it, yet it is obviously not all the same. So how do you draw out all this past knowledge to serve our current purpose? There is a databank deep within the depths of human consciousness and the psyche that can drawn out. Examples of this are past life regressions on one hand and a more recent ‘new’ presentation such as John Edward’s bridging communication between worlds. In a classroom environment we process so that it is all on the table, so to speak, and each one has the opportunity to listen to, or observe, each other’s database. In this way we all see where each other is, with no conditions as to the ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ of the learning to date. It simply IS.

This is similar to Dale Carnegie’s method of idea development. It could even be adopted for use within the realms of DeBono’s Six Hats as well. So, we can delve into the depths of our past knowledge to seek the understanding of how things relate in a common language like Science, for example. The leaders in this educational process are saying that science does prove our ability to grasp the capacity of changing our reality through choice; simply choosing to change and doing so. It is a gross understatement to say that this choice is not easy nor clear as we confront old worn out patterns that no longer serve the greater good.

Now, the ‘essential question’ is asked. Our assumption is that a creator is one with their creation. In this case let us ask, “How does one become aware of their ONEness?” There is an accepted ‘knowing’ that each one of the students has some understanding or experience of their own path to enlightenment. Sometimes we have to dig deep into the recesses of our memories to find instances. However, most people have had an experience of such serendipitous synchronicity and connectedness as to be undeniable in critical reflection of assumptions. So each shares the most pertinent piece of their journey in recognition of the awareness of their connectedness, however great or small.

The mind usually wants to obsess over this for a while while the heart consciousness (said to be much the greater of the two) remains open to further confirmations. All of the information is shared without criticism, condemnation or judgment. It simply IS. Opening the door to this kind of sharing of information would probably trigger some deeper reflections as well, facilitated by the instructor (master teacher) who is already prepared to usher them into their seat for this particular movie. A recently released movie creates a bridge for a layman to understand quantum physics, science and mysticism, explained through fact and nonfiction fantasy. The mind is awakened to the presence of I AM within. Supposedly we knew this long ago and have forgotten the way home.

Zen Benefiel is a multi-degreed transformational life coach and possibilities coagulator.

Rising Out of Duality?

December 21, 2009

Let us move on to another interesting convergence toward harmony. Science and spirituality are closer to being united in ‘The Secret’ and even Oprah has released the information through national television as a possible alternative to our current consciousness and daily living practices.

Other authors have espoused such philosophies for centuries and spiritual masters’ core teachings are full of anecdotes that reveal a greater being within us all. Futurists explore how ergonomics, infrastructure and material specifications combine with energy flow and sacred geometry in developing new structures for business and community development.

Systems thinking is a corporate philosophy now. Moving beyond egocentric paradigms is quite the challenge, though. What is in it for me? After all, I am the center of my world. Change management? We still tend to see the process in a dualistic framework – magnetizing positive aspects and eliminating negative ones. Such is the path to balance and freedom…from the head to the heart.

It has long been said that this journey from head to heart is the longest one will ever make. We are thetanic (Thetan: Greek for ‘thinker’) beings by nature and yet our hearts are as pure and innocent as a child initially. Our life’s experience, rather our choices in it, dictate our reality and the experience of a lifetime. A mind aligned with and agent of the heart is most powerful.

What is the sense of panic or disconnectedness many feel and sense at times when in a change of critical path consciousness or structural design? Is it the shift in letting go of an intellectual stronghold that allows us to gently settle into the stream in our quest for ‘flow’? What is our measure? What is a man now? What is a woman now? What is a family now? What are relatives? How do we treat them? How do we best utilize recent discoveries in all the fields of future study toward a harmonic convergence of scholar and student?

The dualistic mindset is a pattern that is so deep in human consciousness there is little room to ascend the ladder to Oneness. Yet ascend we must if we are going to heal ourselves of dysfunctional and incongruent patterns of behavior that have led to human atrocities in current world activities and events. How can we move toward a better understanding of ‘what is’ without emotional projections that spin out of control?

The Tao provides at least a partial answer in the ‘what is’ notion of positive and negative forces in a constant balance. Far too often we deny feelings of malcontent simply to ‘keep the peace’ instead of creating peace by dealing with the articulation of the malcontent. What about the concept of Yin and Yang? Each is constantly spinning into the other and lines are blurred through ‘viewpoints.’  So, can we engage the gray matter in a healthy way?

It is quite revealing that a cross-section of our DNA helix viewed in black and white (light pulsing on and off) looks quite similar to the yin/yang symbol. Could this be a sign placed for our recognition, similar to the primer in the movie ‘Contact’?

We have the key to creating a union between homo and sapiens, right here on Earth. Could another similar sign, the ‘666,’ denote a scientific union… the number of man… carbon? We have all condensed into physical form to be here now, as consciousness in a body.

Yet today in many metaphysical gatherings, the ‘Ascension’ is probably the most present notion of the new millennium and the projected result of the alignment with the Galactic Center in 2012. What does that mean? To them we rise out of 3rd dimensional reality – duality of war and peace.

Zen Benefiel is a multi-degreed transformational life coach and possibilities coagulator.

The Connection Conundrum

November 21, 2009

We know, or at least some have a sense, that all things are connected – a holistic model of consciousness permeates creation. Quantum sciences are pointing toward this as fact now. We still choose to separate ourselves from others today, though.

Fear is being promoted at the very top of national leadership across the world. Even when prompted to contact or communicate with another, our ‘logic’ often prohibits the interaction due to fear of misunderstanding, rejection or threat of appearing less than what we think we should.

Can we affect change where primary belief systems seem diametrically opposed? Can we offer a solution? Do we really want solutions? It has taken us centuries to arrive at the present conditions. Can or will it change in a few years? Will we rise above fear and embrace a new way?

How can we open our minds to something we’ve never experienced? What if we were able to acknowledge the obvious? Our minds and hearts are still in opposition, we fear what we do not know or have not experienced.

Oftentimes a new experience brings such a ‘rush’ of energy that we confuse it as a threat rather than a thread in the fabric of our evolution. We lock up – the fight or flight syndrome so common in psychology.

Are these our only choices? Do we have yet another choice yet unexplored? We can rise in consciousness but we actually take the mandatory rollercoaster ride to get there. It is our unconscious patterned desire for continued separation that inhibits our ability to connect, a pattern so deep and in such conflict with self/Self that wars are fought across the planet because of it.

Ancient Mayan and even Sanskrit terms in use today indicate we might want to consider some alternatives. ‘In lakesh’ (I am another you) and ‘Namasté’ (internal and external obeisance to thee) both acknowledge the oneness in self and others.

The humble bow of recognition that is part of many cultures moves us closer toward a sense of unity or at least understanding. It is more than respect. I am challenged to see and sense myself in another, even with the extensive experience and knowing of this truth and an attitude of gratitude. What about those unaware?

The Internet brings us closer in communication and yet further apart from physical communion with others. What do we really want anyway? The hot new belief system says we can attract what we want by identifying what we desire, giving it attention, and allowing it to happen.

Easier said than done, yet it warrants further consideration for sure. Implementing an action plan that creates the magnet for the desire to manifest is the key that we seem to ignore, thinking that we can defy known scientific rules: potential energy remains at rest until acted upon.

Conversely it is an obvious strain in feeling and logic to eliminate the concept of identifying what we don’t want in order to move closer to what we do. Still the objective is to create, co-create or construct new thoughtforms of a stronger magnetism that allows matter and spirit to coalesce in accordance with this new living awareness. I’ve heard it called ‘structural tension’ as an element in the creative process. How do we make the process simple?

Simplicity of being, doing and having is the goal for all spiritual seekers, allowing the greater consciousness to permeate their worlds and guide their daily movements. Simple gratification and validation is also the goal of most individuals in daily living, unconsciously desiring to love and be loved in the spirit of oneness. We talk a good line, but the result is tainted with pushing or pulling energy to move as many mountains as possible with as little effort as we can muster.

This is not to say that humans are lazy, yet they do tend to avoid the stretch to actually make things simple in their daily lives, let alone shift into a heart-centered awareness. Once a heart-centered awareness is achieved, though, the knowing moves us toward more prudent paths.

Our perceived intelligence often convinces us not to listen to the still small voice within, even after a so-called ‘spiritual awakening.’ We rarely challenge the notion of duality, yet it is the stumbling block laid before us in our quest to find balance and harmony.

Even science and religion strive to find harmony in their expressions of reality and thousands of books have been written on the subject of Unity… unified field theory to universal love, M Theory to The Masters of the Far East and much more. How can we simplify?

Would it be easier to simply look at the existing systems in our global economy, for instance, and focus on developing life-friendly processes and protocols? How can we better manage our resources, both human and material, while promoting a sense of unification without subjugation?

We are faced with choices on a moment to moment basis, pushed and pulled by this or that to make a decision about our lives, great or small. Granted some do not want to choose, they simply want to follow or be told what to do so they do not have to be accountable or responsible for their actions. It is far easier a path to be led than to lead. It is a challenge to think, let alone change.

Zen Benefiel is a multi-degreed transformational life coach and possibilities coagulator.

Personal Ethics and Fresh Choices

November 15, 2009

It has been said that values, morals and ethics are inextricably tied together. Values are what we learn from childhood; the ‘stuff’ we absorb from our parents and immediate surroundings. Morals are the intrinsic beliefs developed from the value systems of how we ‘should’ behave in any given situation. How are we doing?

Ethics, on the other hand, are how we actually do behave in the face of difficult situations that test our moral fiber. In his book, “How Good People Make Tough Choices,” Rushworth Kidder notes four basic paradigms of ethical decisions: justice versus mercy; short-term versus long-term; individual versus community; and truth versus loyalty.

He goes on to define the concepts further:

  • The point behind the justice-versus-mercy paradigm is that fairness, equity, and even-handed application of the law often conflict with compassion, empathy, and love.
  • Short-term versus long-term, or now versus then, reflect the difficulties arising when immediate needs or desires run counter to future goals or prospects.
  • The individual-versus-community paradigm can be restated as us versus them, self versus others, or the smaller versus the larger group.
  • Truth versus loyalty can be seen as honesty or integrity versus commitment, responsibility, or promise-keeping.

Expressing one’s personal grasp of ethics and life may not always be understood in the context of the world at large, the immediate environment, or even amongst the intimate others in the household. This is usually due to the fact that every person has some difference, small or great, in the development of their belief systems.

Belief systems are established early in life through environments of home, church, school, and social gatherings which help to mold and shape these beliefs. Most of these beliefs and patterns of behavior are established through the unconscious observations and experiences of childhood in the aforementioned environments. These I refer to as ‘outer’ experiences which are akin to the ‘nurture’ piece of the ‘nature-nurture’ developmental processes. Allow me to use my own ‘outer’ experience as an example.

I knew that I was adopted by the time I was five. My adoptive parents were ideal by some standards, demonstrating honesty, integrity, and willingness to address conflict with style and grace even in the most difficult of situations. Dad was a tool and die machinist, building plastic injection molds for General Motors optical division and was also a 32nd Degree Mason. Mom was an educator with a master’s degree in Music and English and taught middle school English and Literature.

They were a formidable team for an adolescent with growing pains, encouraging me to challenge and explore my world. My parents taught me that honesty was the best policy, even when the details may not be too favorable. They taught me the meaning of trust which was not being afraid even when I felt vulnerable. Of course that does not mean that I am able to apply that wisdom always, although age does have its advantages. They encouraged me to think and ask questions, even when they are unpopular.

I grew up in a Christian framework and didn’t explore other religions until an NDE spurred me explore and hopefully discover the common thread that simply must be at the core of them all. There is a spiritual and material convergence in the fabric of life, if indeed all things are connected. Where we’ve [humans] held ourselves back has been the enigma, the cosmic conundrum of how to live in harmony with the natural world and therefore creation as a whole.

There are  discoveries of natural laws, scientific ‘breakthroughs’ demonstrated by experiments at Los Alamos, for example. Some educators scramble to include these discoveries in their lesson plans and current event discussions. It often confronts superstitious belief systems that have plagued religions for millennia. Have we found new truth?

These discoveries and information sharing  exponentiates as millions of people share with each other through social networks, blogs, newsfeeds, etc. Where is it taking us? Or rather, where do we want to go? Do we really have to let religious confusion trump common sense?

 

Zen Benefiel is a multi-degreed transformational life coach and possibilities coagulator.