Divign Thinking is about building our skill set of compassion, creativity and rationale as spiritual leaders. As often as this body of work is embraced, it is thought to be limited to the spiritual + leader part, as if it might relate to only a certain group of practitioners. I have to descibe Divign Thinking as a collection of resources, ideas and conversations about sharing our purpose and passion as we participate in our communities.
What I don't separate out from the elements of Divign thinking is multi/cross/interculturalism. If you're reading this, you are part of a multi-cultural system somehow. Interculturalism means we internalize the thought, "systems don't revolve around me." Let's take a look at where intercultualism shows in the five practices of Divign Thinking:
EQ: knowing the difference between what we we know and what we feel (and how we respond) when confronted with facts or truths beyond our own experience;
Wonder: how we employ our conscience, caring and interest by asking questions of ourselves, another, others and the systems around us about what we don't understand, don't know, and need to;
Creativity: what we try to newly express or solve through disruption of habits, art, invention, etc.;
Collaboration: joining with others to solve problems based on a shared vision (without standing in the middle or on the outside of the circle)
Meaning Making: regularly reflecting on our experiences, new knowledge and wisdom, integrating insights through our personal and spiritual practices Now take our intercultural awareness, experiences and skills.
The term "culture" is broad, actually. We speak of cultural distinctions because within the framework of any particular identity, there are expectations, norms, customs, and something binding that culture together. When we use the definition of culture to include a set of factors that describe similar habits, expectations, norms and functioning -- we can consider how to name or describe a culture.
What is the culture of being from a certain neighborhood?
What is the culture of a workplace?
What is the culture of certain learning styles, gender, careers, institutions?
This is talk in generalities. At some point we can't speak about cultural differences and cross-cultural consideration and we just have to talk about how we make decisions that are inclusive as possible. And rather than ask, "are we being inclusive?" we can be more efficient by asking, "who will be left out" of this decision....of this event....of this policy....of this_______________?" Once we have an answer, we are compelled to ask, "what is the impact?" and "what adjustments are possible?" We can't always include everyone but we can -- and should -- do a whole lot better.
This is still talk in generalities. This premise of this is thinking about how we are gaining intercultural competency, or not. This is not a partisan issue. Interculturalism impacts our communities. Everyone wants smooth functioning of all the systems to save time and money. Intercultural competency requires conscientious curiosity as we examine all the ways our daily lives are impacted by decisions that are just thoughtless -- like, in an absence-of-thought kind of way. If we are curious and ask that question, "is this the best we can do?" we begin to disrupt patterns in our society that just don't make sense.
So, how do we regularly update our intercultural operating system based on data and experience?
First, we accept the fact that processes and problems that naturally appear within an group or organizational context involve individuals from different religious, social, ethnic, and educational backgrounds -- at the least. Then we include in our thinking the culture of gender, ability, learning needs, physical concerns and more. Then, in order to do a good job, we seek to understand how people within any group perceive and interact with the world around them. If we're intelligent, we set out to figure ways to design, teach or adjust the operating system which we are, in a way that factors in these variables.
This isn't about our ideologies or feelings about who belongs where. It is about knowing what we need to do in order to do our part in contributing to efficient and fair participation. After all, compassion and creativity is worth little if it doesn't make sense.
This is still talk in generalities. In the next series, let's take a look at some of the surprising, common places and times when Things Happen, in an absence-of-thought kind of way. What are some that you notice?