Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Creating Positive Karma

This evening, I was working late in my office when a faculty member rushed in seeking assistance. Her departmental Xerox machine had broken down and she had been unable to reproduce course syllabi. Her class was beginning. I suggested that she begin teaching her class while I reproduced the syllabi and brought them to her classroom. This took no more than 15 minutes.

Here is a quotation from the most important document every CTE staff member receives at our staff orientations in the Fall and Spring. It is entitled “Serving the AU Community and Relating to one Another.” In my presentation to new staffers, I have the entire document read out loud and we discuss each point. CTE staffers know that I take it very seriously and expect them to do so. The quotation follows:

In CTE, every staff member, from the Director to our most junior hourly worker is expected to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, irrespective of their job descriptions. Even more, CTE staff members are expected to proactively and creatively seek out what needs to be done, without waiting to be told. How can I make a difference? How can strengthen the results we produce? How can I improve the quality of work life and the quality of human relationships in CTE? How can I create positive Karma? These are questions we must be asking ourselves every day.

We are creating positive Karma when every person – faculty, student, staff, administrator or unaffiliated drop-in – who enters a CTE space or comes in contact with a CTE professional, completes the interaction feeling more positively about CTE and more positively about themselves.

Positive Karma is a Buddhist concept. Buddhists believe that each of us has a stock of it in the spiritual world, which is increased by good deeds. “Gaining merit” is another way of describing this. One ought to do good deeds for their own sake, not because one expects gratitude from the recipient. In Sri Lanka there are many street beggars and many – not all – treat them with respect and generosity. I know that the privations of some are charades, but it doesn’t really matter. The Karma one creates, via respect and generosity, is quite independent of this.

I believe that accumulation of positive Karma yields benefits in this life, as well as the next – and it is a very satisfying way to go about one’s work, as many CTE staffers have discovered.

Seek out an opportunity to create positive Karma, today… tomorrow… and every day. Its fun and it makes a difference, in the life of the creator most of all.

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