SPIRITUALITY, FAIR TRADE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
19
November
2013

work as a spiritual practice

text:1 "The Buddha's core message is that human nature is not fixed".

I found this to be very interesting, yet rather controversial. Sure, some people can act against what people find to be human nature--and do great things because of it--but for a society as a whole, I'm not sure its possible. We can see that many Utopian visions, ideas that work out perfectly in theory, disintegrate in practice because not enough people can truly go against primal instincts to optimize themselves, even if it is at the expense of others. I don't mean to say that humans are innately bad, or selfish, but when it comes to our performance, we are certainly a little prideful. If this is a good or a bad thing, some times it is difficult to tell.

text 2

"People in the World's emerging nations may need to have their three televisions and two cars long enough to assure themselves that these luxuries are not the be all end all of human existence"

I actually really enjoy this quote. I think it perfectly describes a part humanity's flaws. We all like to think that the grass is greener on the other side. People in emerging nations see our wealth, and they want it. However, there are people in America who see the simpler lives of those in emerging markets and yearn for the days when everything was simpler and did not seem so profit driven. I'd like to think that there is a balance, as there is with almost everything else in life. There has to be a middle ground where the majority of people on Earth have access to at least basic commodities, so that they are comfortable, yet no one is overconsuming because an advertising agency told them to. In this middle ground is where I feel people will be the happiest

Write comment now Author: lucasaleone Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:28 am
19
November
2013

“Work as a Spiritual Practice” and “The Crest-Jewel of Wisdom”

“Is it possible to imagine a world where we can expect to make more than a living, to find not just necessity in our work but joy as well?”

As the fall semester of my senior year comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on some of the decisions I have made. Have I accomplished everything I hoped to? Have a taken advantage of all of the opportunities I was given? How can I make the most of the next semester? Am I going to be happy in the path I have chosen after graduation? I feel it is important to do things because you enjoy them and not simply because it is something on our to do list. I sometimes find myself overwhelmed with things such as my RA position and being on the cross country team until I remind myself that I do these things because I love them and while it does help financially pay for my education, if I did not enjoy it, I would find another way to finance my education and be happy. I feel this is something I will constantly need to re-access as I move onto life after college.

“His spiritual awakening began when he realized that all his wealth and power could not provide him with true happiness.”

I would say that I grew up in a family where we were comfortable; we most definitely had enough money to live and do the things we love but were most certainly not able to take yearly vacations to travel the world or eat at fancy restaurants every night of the week. When I came to Fordham, I soon realized that this was not the case for everyone. A lot of students here have been given their ‘happiness’ through money. Even some of my closest friends cannot understand why I talk to my parents everyday or why I look forward to returning home but for me, this is where my true happiness lies. I often find it difficult to be friends with someone whose happiness is made my owning the latest fashion trend or iPhone model rather than by spending time with family and friends. I consider myself very lucky and truly blessed to have been given a life where I am able to value more than just the things money can buy.

“Knowledge is gained by discernment, by examining, by instruction”

I felt that this quote related to one of our missions as a Fair Trade class. Though we do staff the cart with the hopes of selling items, we are also staffing the cart to create a presence and an opportunity for students to learn about the meaning of Fair Trade. The knowledge and expansion of Fair Trade is not going to be grasped by simply purchasing items, you need to hear from someone about the value of your purchase so the next time you chose better Fair Trade and not Fair Trade, you choose Fair Trade.

Write comment now Authorin: Shannon McKenna Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:37 am
19
November
2013

Nov 19th: Crest Jewel of Wisdom

-The Crest Jewel of Wisdom is a story where a person is asking what seems to be God numerous questions, and getting answers. These questions are about oneself, freedom, how to act, etc. The story starts out with the verses that talk about four perfections, and the wise setting the standards for what these perfections are.
-This piece was hard for me to follow. It took me a few times to understand what was happening, but I thought some of the questions by the man were very interesting. There were also other sentences that I thought were good and thought provoking. For instance, the idea “an honest confidence in the teaching and the teacher;--this is that faith by which the treasure is gained.” I like this quote because I think it is true. A person needs to be able to trust what and whom they are learning from in order to get the most out of it. This, I feel, is part of having faith in those around you.

-“The moon’s form must be seen by one’s own eyes; it can never be known through the eyes of another.”
-This quotation stuck out to me because it seems to be talking about interpretations. When I read this I thought the person was saying that you must always look at things for yourself, and that you will never see something exactly the same as another person. I am not sure exactly how the moon is involved, but I think the meaning behind it has to do with seeing things on your own and in your own way.

Write comment now Authorin: vmcal Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:36 am
19
November
2013

Work as a Spiritual Practice

Actual Text #1:

Organizations and societies are the sum total of all the individuals in them. To transform one person is to begin the process of transforming many people. If our modern workplace is to become more humane, caring and devoted… and less obsessed with the short-term efficiency and profit, then that larger transformation must begin one person at a time.

Response #1:

This is a very important statement to look at because we all greatly contribute to the well-being of society and our world whether we realize it or not. If you look at Kant’s universality, you can see that if one person is not looking out for the well-being and progress of everyone then the system will not work. In order to create great monumental change we need everyone working on themselves individually and for the greater good of all. It will not make things different over night, but treating everyone as ends, rather than means to an end, will create a huge difference.

Actual Text #2:

Our consumer society is based on the premise that it is, that any human desire worth having is worth fulfilling.

Response #2:

When looking at this statement, it is clear that we are directly at the heart of most if not all problems in society. We can blame it on external sources, but it is internally within ourselves that we feel like we are entitled to so much more than we really are. We are constantly always wanting more and never fully satisfied. It is a sad reality, if we can not recognize that its our thoughts and actions that are having a global effect on everything then we will continue to harm ourselves and our planet one day at a time. We somehow think that power, wealth, and material things buy you a good happy life but that is not true. You can full your life with excess products and frills but that will only mask your real internal happiness. Happiness comes from having meaningful conversations and enjoying the simplicity of being in your own skin, being loved, and having just the bare necessities.

Write comment now Authorin: sgostiguy Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:47 am
19
November
2013

Jewelcrest of Wisdom

Actual Text #1:

A steady intentness of the mind on its goal;--this is Restfulness.

Response #1:

To me, this quote meant that we all have goals that we set for ourselves but in order to attain them and full appreciate the achievement we must be able to be patience. We have to take a step back and rest/reflect on what we want. We are constantly working and busy with the events of every day life but our mind cannot full reach its goal without taking time to rest now and then.


Actual Text #2:

An honest confidence in the teaching and the Teacher;--this is that Faith by which the treasure is gained.

Response #2:

Transparency is key when teaching. If students can see that a professor is truthful in what they are trying to teach their students, then the class will have more faith in attain greater understanding of the course. Treasure is only gained when we have the ability to expand our minds pass the actual text we are reading. Confidence is learning more comes from an honest teacher and eager students in an open and effective learning atmosphere.

Write comment now Authorin: sgostiguy Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:44 am
19
November
2013

Blog #10 – 11/19/13

First Steps on the Path (The Jewelcrest of Wisdom)

Text 1:

“Health is gained by the sick who follow the path of healing: health does not come through the acts of others.”

Response 1:

What I got out of this quote is basically that we cannot expect others or ask others to heal us as people. It is our desire to be better and our devotion to be better that will make us better people. Becoming a better person isn’t done by others because others cannot have that craving inside of them for us to be better like is required inside of our own hearts.

Text 2:

“Through information, digging, and casting aside the stones, a treasure may be found, but not by calling it to come forth.”

Response 2:

This quote is basically saying that it is not without hard work that one finds success. When I read the “calling it to come forth” part, it made me think of how many students I encounter, sometimes including myself, just expect things to happen for them. They expect to get good grades, acquire the one internship that they apply for, and to eventually make plenty of money. These things don’t just happen and they didn’t happen for those people in our lives that we look up to and want to be like. It is important that we don’t solely assess the outcome of hard work but instead understand the process.

Write comment now Authorin: ninajanel Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:33 am
19
November
2013

Blog #11 – 11/19/13

The Transformation of Work (Work as a Spiritual Practice)

Text 1:

“It is not that I don’t want to see organizations change, but I’m not sure how to do it in a way that lasts.”

Response 1:

I think this is something that we have been struggling with as a class; I know it’s something that I’ve personally been struggling with. Through sharing our midterms as well as the discussions we have (especially including our first trip to Rodrigues), we definitely all have a common goal. We all want to see change and recognize that the current structure of our economy and the world’s economy isn’t producing fair results worldwide. However, is fair trade the answer? I think that question is still unanswered. Is fair trade currently working? It seems as though it is. Is fair trade a long term and sustainable solution? I don’t know. How do we find answers?

Text 2:

“Another problem with capitalism is that while it rewards success, it does not protect against failure. In fact, the nature of the game is that for there to be winners, there must be losers.”

Response 2:

As someone who has grown up as an athlete and just an overly competitive human being, I am a proponent of competition. I think it breads creativity and progress. Without competition, there would be much less incentive for growth. But that’s where my thinking comes to a halt – I was about to say, that without growth, we would have much less. However, is that a bad thing? I am not answering the question, I am just wondering if progress that means the winners win more and the losers lose more and have less and less of a chance of ever winning again is our idea of progress? Because I am definitely a fan of winning, but I do appreciate that when I lose and start over, things go back to the beginning. In a card game or a board game or even a game of soccer, each player starts with an equal number of cards, or number of pawns, or each team starts with the same number players, usually with comparable talents and abilities. If you lose a game of spades, you shuffle and start again. The rules don’t include you getting all of the bad cards automatically. If you lose a game of chess, you still start with your queen on the board. If you lose a game of soccer, the score still starts at 0-0 next game. How can we have competition like this? Where losing or winning doesn’t determine the outcome of the next match?

Write comment now Authorin: ninajanel Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:13 am
13
November
2013

Building On Faith

Text: "I believe that the most valuable asset that congregations and other faith-based organizations can leverage is faith. The core of this faith is the belief that there is great love at work in the universe that seeks justice, mercy, peace, and joy. Our various faith traditions and practices teach us how to stay open to that love, tap into it, align ourselves with it, and be empowered by it."

Response: I really liked this part of the reading because it used something intangible, such as faith, as the most valuable asset! I feel like when talking about assets a lot of people try to equate that to tangible things like buildings and such. This is a really nice way of talking about something that creates value and actually unites all on a ground level.

Text "The emphasis on relationship and community inspires the leadership to see the needs of the whole person and want to help."

Response: This is a great point! If there is a commitment to a community which is formed through a relationship then there is a deeper need to do better. There is a want to help in the best way possible because there is that foundation of a relationship. This, in my opinion is essential to a successful change in any area of life. If there is no relationship, there is no real commitment that pursues another's best interests.

Write comment now Authorin: JBlasl Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:42 am
13
November
2013

Building on Faith

Text 1: The core of this faith is the belief that there is great love at work in the universe that seeks justice, mercy, peace, and joy. Our various faith traditions and practices teach us how to stay open to that love, tap into it, align ourselves with it, and be empowered by it.

I really enjoyed this part of the passage because it emphasizes how faith is much more than just religion and how faith is something that brings about justice, mercy, peace, and joy. By tapping into that faith and love, we are able to help out others and be in communion with people and dedicate ourselves to helping others regardless of our differences.

Test 2: The tensions were between our own needs and the needs of others, between the present need and a future need. Inspired by the power of community, the generosity of Jesus, and the connection we felt to each other, we shared, and not only were our physical needs met, our spiritual needs were met, too.

By recognizing that our needs and the needs of others are similar and by sacrificing some of our things to help others, we are able to pool together resources that we may not be willing to share unless we realize that our needs all correlate and by helping others we in turn help ourselves spiritually by sharing love and faith with each other.

Write comment now Authorin: Natilombana Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:25 am
13
November
2013

Packard, Building on Faith by Ryan Ennis

Text #1
"First, there is a focus on relationships and community. There is an emphasis on building relationships and partnerships and accruing a deep understanding of the surrounding community."

Response #1
This is a crucial element of providing community service. Often times there can be a disconnect between community service programs and the community. that's not to say they still aren't beneficial, it's just that programs are best when they have a pulse on what is going on in the community and what specific issues need to be addressed. The best way to do this is by relationship building. Building relationships with community leaders like religious heads, political figures, and store owners along with the citizens can help an organization become an incredible support system as well as a community builder. Building these relationships takes patience and serious effort. It is important gain the trust and respect of these leaders so that the organization can have a lasting impact as well as the ability to bring change that is supported by the community. Trinity seems to have a firm grasp of this concept which is allowing them to bring change to their community.

Text #2
"College entrance and completion statistics describe a generation of young men with very little chance of social mobility. An African-American boy in the ninth grade in the Boston schools has a 7 percent chance of graduating from college."

Response #2
The demographics of college students is unacceptably unequal compared to the demographics of our country. The government has failed to provide an educational system that gives everyone a fair chance. Public School endowments are based off of the town you live in's tax profit. therefore poor communities have less money to use and therefore worse teachers and resources. The government has attempted to help these communities out but there is still a staggering difference between upper class public schools and lower class public schools. Kids that are born in these lower class communities have to achieve at a higher rate and fight against a current of inequality. The kids in the upper class towns have the unequal privilege of a paveway to college. they have to actively screw up in order to not be able to attend college, whereas the lower class towned kids have to excel at a high margin above their classmates. This unequal system causes America to have an educational standstill where the upper class families stay rich and educated, while lower class families are poor and under-educated. This is unacceptable and needs to be changed.

Write comment now Author: Ryan Ennis Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:22 am
13
November
2013

11/12/13 BLOG POST:

Text #1: "5 loaves, two fish, 5000 people fed, no denarii changing hands, no government contracts, no fund-raising, no earned revenue"

Response: Only in a perfect world, and only to meet everyone's minimal need. In the situation, this miracle, is only to feed people. We don't take into account personal gain or greed. In an imperfect world like ours, people want more, It always seems as if people just won't stop wanting more. The more we gain the easier it becomes to consider that wealth as common, we can't take being complacent, therefore we try to achieve more. If people actually cared about the community as a whole two may be possible, yet he like in a world where our opportunities are limited so were programmed by the environment and our parents to always achieve more. Achievement is almost biological. Overall we need to fix the system before we can move forward.

Text #2: "I found myself saying two things. One, there aare enough resources in Boston to solve Boston's problems. Two, if we all got to know each other, this would be a different city."

Response: I wish this was possible. Although i support personal gain, I also support building community and using the resources we have to better the community. Although i believe this, just because we have "enough" resources doesn't mean we can solve all of our problems. That's almost like saying if a person has a bow, arrow, and target that they will get a bullseye. You have to curb the idea of the people in Boston to solve the problems. We tend to make complex problems into basic mathematical problems when they aren't. If we can't accept that, and continue viewing the world through censored lenses then we will never change anything.

Write comment now Author: anguyen16 Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:11 am
13
November
2013

Week of 11/5 Post: Downward Mobility

-The section I liked the most was the short passage about faith. It says “to seek security through control of our surroundings dehumanizes us and destroys our environment. The alternative strategy is faith, by which we abandon ourselves to God’s care. Faith allows us to let things go and share what we have.”
-The last sentence of this paragraph stands out the most. I think it is a good way to look at things, and shows why people should have faith. Faith is partially about trust, which is a necessity. I think there needs to be some control in a person’s life in order to feel secure, but a person must also be able to let some control go. I also liked this passage because presents a different view from the harshness presented in beginning of the article.
-The parts of this piece I did not appreciate were the sections talking about the social ladder, and the importance of people. The social ladder is about how some people are considered valuable, while others are not. The people who are “important” are of a certain type, and get to determine who is “unimportant” based on their need for them. If an important person does not identify with another they are normally considered unimportant.
-The idea of the social ladder is honestly just sad. I think it bothers me because it is true, but seems morally wrong. I don’t see how one person can be considered more valuable than another or why someone should be able to decide that. Everyone is important to someone, so I don’t see the need for the categories.

Write comment now Authorin: vmcal Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:01 am
13
November
2013

Building on Faith

Text 1:
The first piece of text that stood out to me was the faith of the Trinity Boston Foundation. The core of their faith is described as "the belief that there is a great love at work in the universe that seeks justice, mercy, peace, and joy."

Response1:
This definition of faith stood out to me because I think its important that there is a foundation such as the Trinity Boston Foundation that is working towards a greater good by trying to change the Boston community. I think it is admirable that they are a small foundation that is really trying to make a difference even if it may only be in their own community. After reading about the Trinity Boston Foundation it occurred to me that there needs to be more organizations/people working towards justice, mercy, peace, and joy. I especially enjoyed the fact that they used the words "great love" because it shows that the people working towards peace and joy are passionate about their cause.


Text 2: The second piece of text that caught my attention was the last line of the reading. This stated the tagline of the Trinity Boston Foundation which is "Together, let's change the odds. But unless we get the together right, there's no way we will succeed."

Response2:
I really loved this quote because I think that in order to move towards a greater cause, people need to come together as a community. The fact that the Trinity Boston Foundation is recognizing that they need to come together means that they are going to be successful. This tagline applies to all aspects in life when trying to make a change because people must appreciate one another and be able to share ideas before making a change towards a greater cause. Groups/Organizations will not succeed if they do not respect one another because then ideas will clash and no change will be made.

Write comment now Authorin: Alexa Mancuso Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:00 am
13
November
2013

Building on Faith

Text 1: "Leverage existing assets...We need to get good at deploying what already exists as we are creating something new."

Response 1: I really liked this concept and the comparison to the parable of Jesus with the loaves and fishes. We live in a society that always tells us that we need more, and what we have is not good enough. It is extremely wise to look back to Jesus' time and note how he lived in the moment, and did not focus on what he did not have, but what he did have, namely the 5 loaves and the 2 fish. I think that people are afraid to tap into their own resources and leverage what they already have because of a belief that it is inadequate. We could save ourselves a lot of money, time, and energy if we just used what we have and see how we can improve it.

Text 2: "Our tagline at the Trinity Boston Foundation is 'Together, let's change the odds.' But unless we get the 'together' right, there's no way we will succeed."

Response 2: I really liked how the Trinity Boston Foundation places a strong emphasis on building relationships and community. Change begins when a group of people rise up to influence others in a positive way. Without unity, this doesn't happen. If everyone got together and pooled their resources, imagine all of the positive change that could occur in this world. The power that individual communities have is amazing. These are the strongest places to begin, for without a foundation, there is nothing to stay grounded in.

Write comment now Authorin: mmcguire Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:49 am
13
November
2013

Downward Mobility / Rumi

Posted on November 5, 2013 by jblasl

Community Of Equals “The solution to our global social crisis is not that the poor become rich, which is neither feasible nor desirable, but that the rich join with the poor.”

I liked this part in particular because a lot of ignorant people think that its about giving the poor the money of the rich. However, it is more about collaboration in the sense that we are all human and at a basic level no one person is greater than another. Just because you have money does not mean you are rich and just because you lack money does not mean you are poor. Everyone needs to look out for one another on a basic level of human rights, clothing, food, water and shelter. No one should be disrespected because of their finances. Every human being deserves the same treatment in order to live a life of true freedom and enjoyment. This needs to be a team effort everyone needs to connect in order to put everyone on an equal playing field, and again this has nothing to do with money but with rights!

RUMI- “Wanting wealth, power, and more tasty food have made you drunk. When you can’t have what you want, you get headaches. That hungover disappointment is proof that what made you drunk was desire. Let a more measured necessity govern the intensity of wanting.”
This is very relevant in the world we live in today swallowed by consumerism and the “need” to have “things”. This desire to want more and more has left us hungover and disappointed when we cannot get more of the more we already have allotted. We already have so much more stuff then necessary that this desire grows and feeds itself to a point where I do not think many people can ever find satisfaction, especially just within the simple beauties of life itself. We miss out on the actual “stuff” and “things” that do not leave us hungover such as beautiful sunsets, sunrises, ocean tides, stars, love and why? For what? because we need to have the newest IPhone to record everything we see or think we are “experiencing”. You cannot experience life stuck behind things that “capture” the moment. You are living through technology and with all the advertisements technology has you are beginning again the perpetual cycle of consumerism. Meaning, now you need the newer version because the old one was not good enough so you throw it out and buy again what you need. Meanwhile, you forget to just live and experience I mean actually feel and experience the world. You are left drunk in a haze of materials that you “needed” so badly.

Write comment now Authorin: JBlasl Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:42 am
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