- What comes to mind when we hear the word Spiritual?
- Is there such a concept as becoming spiritually learned?
- And if so what are the criteria for becoming spiritually learned?
- What will be the benefits of becoming spiritually learned to the individual?
- What will be the benefits to society?
- How would spiritually responsible education change the process and outcome of education?
- What aspect of the human psyche is most targeted and affected as a result of spiritually responsible education application?
- what are some examples of perception, thought, feeling, intention, and action of spiritually learned individuals or communities?
- The curriculum for the Palomares Spiritual Empowerment Program was designed and implemented with all the questions listed above.
- The inspiration and hope behind it were guided by the following passage from Abdu’l-Baha in Secret of Divine Civilization.
Lesson Five: Nonverbal Communication Skills & Benefits
- Improved relationships.
- Increased understanding of others.
- Higher awareness of different communication styles; both in spirit and form.
- Better awareness of self and how we communicate with others; in spirit as well as form.
- Become a more critical consumer of mass media and how it affects our thoughts, views, feelings and actions towards self and others.
- Improved ability to resolve conflicts and cultivate unity and harmony.
- Check positive feelings as a measure of spiritual balance while we interact with the world.
- Identify a person who stands out to you as a spiritually learned and follow their example.
- How would you best explain the empowering aspect of the concept of “Fear of God” with an example?
- Is there such a thing as universal knowledge? Where do we turn to acquire it? How do we recognize it? What do we expect to accomplish by learning it?
The following passage from the Secret of Divine Civilization by Abdu’l-Baha is where we tap into to ground our curriculum in the universal spiritual ground.
Nonverbal communication can include the following:
Direct students to pair up, and ask student pairs to stand back to back. One person will talk for 30 seconds about what he or she did last weekend while the other person listens. Then the two will change roles. Students can’t look at each other, make physical contact, or ask each other any questions.
- What did this feel like?
- Did this way of speaking feel natural or fulfilling? Why or why not?
- Did you feel like there was something missing in the way you were connecting and communicating? Did this activity make it difficult to fully understand the other person? Could you explain?
- Is it important to make eye contact and see the other person’s facial and body language as you’re talking to them? Why or why not?
Definition and Content.
- Facial expressions
- Eye contact
- Leaning forward
- Open body posture
- Hand gestures
- Appropriate encouragers (uh-uh, oh, no, ok, yeah)
- Showing empathy
Ask for two volunteers to come forward. Explain to them that the class will observe them having a conversation about their plans for the summer. Ask these students to wait outside of the room (or in any place out of hearing range) for a few seconds. While they’re out of hearing range, explain to the rest of the class that they’ll be observing the body language of both volunteers. Ask the volunteers to come back inside. The class forms a large circle around them, and the volunteers proceed with their conversation.
Processing for the class
- What body language did you see?
- What was the effect of that language?
- What kept the other person talking?
- What shut the other person down?
- How do you know that the listener was actually listening to the person speaking?
Processing for the two volunteers
- When you were talking, what did the other person do to make you want to talk more?
- When you were talking, what did the other person do to make you stop talking?
- Many times, nonverbal cues are more important than what is actually being communicated. None verbal cues communicate the spirit of our communication while our words are about the form.
- Paying close attention and observing the nonverbal cues tells you a great deal about what is really happening. The nonverbal cues teach you about the spiritual effects of your communication on you and the listener. The key is keeping our eye on the ball of understanding and desire to create unity.
- Check in to see if the verbal and nonverbal cues match. If not, ask the speaker to clarify. An angry spirit while someone is telling you they love you needs some explanation.
I like to thank Eddie and Roxana for doing a wonderful job in teaching the above lesson. I also like to give credit to Fairfax County Public Schools for their very helpful conflict resolution curriculum.
A loving spirit is extended to all of our students and administrators at Palomares Academy of Health Sciences for giving us the opportunity to learn what it takes to implement a spiritually responsible curriculum.
A licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for over 20 years, specializes in using the Bahá’í Teachings to identify theories, techniques, and approaches that produce the best results for her clients. She is the founder and executive director of the Center for Global Integrated Education, a non-profit Bahá’í-inspired educational organization.