Wednesday, 10 April 2013
RIP Baroness Thatcher
I was going to put this on my Campaign for Kindness page as a post, but it kind of grew and grew so I turned it into a blog.
As this is a page about kindness it would seem reasonable to try to examine the events surrounding the death of Baroness Thatcher and see what can be learnt.
Like many I was extremely upset to see some of the truly vile and unkind comments about her passing, comments that paid no heed to her children and grandchildren and those who knew the woman rather than the Prime Minister.
However, let's use kindness to review this situation.
Firstly, David Rowan the Astrologer helped me to see that people were expressing a long buried anger created by a lot of hurt. That helped me to understand their viewpoint better even if I couldn't personally condone the unkindness. Let's face it, I run this page so it would be pretty two-faced if I could.
Secondly, there was a lot of talk about what she did to whom, with only a little talk about the entire situation and her whole legacy. What we can learn from this is that kindness asks us to be as informed as possible and take the whole situation into consideration. The whole is the sum of the parts but the parts alone can never be a whole no matter how much we would wish it otherwise.
What is clear that what happens to 'me' in our society still has prevalence over the whole. We still need to be a bit more Star Trek "the good of the many outweighs the good of the few or the one."
Then think about cause and effect, Baroness Thatcher was responding at the beginning not to a situation of her making but to a situation that was nonetheless in existence. We often forget that when we take an action there will be a reaction, and to paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton "an equal and opposite reaction." So the message here is that we need to be aware of what we're doing and that we might not get the result we desire. You cannot set an angry or hurtful action in process and think that you can control the outcome, you can't. I think Mrs T. wouldn't be that surprised about recent events because she knew that she often took hard and unpopular decisions and stood by that.
Then there's the whole "People in glass houses" scenario. What she did she did on the world stage, what the not-so-famous do is normally done behind closed doors so they get away with it. Whenever we are critical of others we need to ask what have we done that caused hurt? You might say that there are levels of hurt and she took the biscuit, but would the people you have hurt agree with that?
Then there are the people trying to defend her, of which I was one. An action created for the best of reasons borne out of the shock of seeing so much hatred. I think we used a lot of energy and achieved very little. I doubt that we changed one single mind. My lesson from this has been that I will ensure that I put my positive energy somewhere that it will be welcomed, and the rest I will try to achieve by example and gentle teaching. (Mind you, I learn a lot about people and my work from these situations so I have to look at them, I will use my reaction differently next time.)
What about being British? We used to be a stiff-upper-lip kind of race respected for our low key approach. We saw that crack upon the death of Diana and I think that a lot of us are examining at the moment whether we should wear our hearts on our social networking sleeves quite so much. For me I feel that emotional restraint is key to helping the people around you to be more comfortable and allowing them to BE. Sharing of opinions is all very well, but it's how you share rather than whether you share that indicates who you are, and how kind you are.
For Spiritual people we might at times feel 'right' when others are perceived as being in a complete mess, but I would beg us all to remember that some people literally do not know what they do not know. Spirituality and Spiritual living is so natural to us we forget that there are people for whom cosmic order, karma, moving forwards, letting go of anger and hurt, etc., are not discussed. I came from a family who had no clue about anything I've learnt on this path and we must, must, must remember that.
However, and even more MUST, we must get out there and share more. I have been saying in Spiritual churches for a long time that the messages we receive aren't just for us, we need to share them more with others. Going every week for the healing of these lovely services is one thing, but sharing a little here and a little there whenever you can respectfully and appropriately do so is critical to other people beginning to know that there is something they don't know. They won't pick up the life learning messages as we do if they haven't heard the voice.
Then building on the past. Yes mistakes were made but a lot of good was also done. Certainly there has been some learning but not enough, so maybe this explosion of past hurt will be helpful in making our current crop of MPs think more carefully about what they're doing. Good could come from this yet.
A human being, because that's what she was. She did her best, we may not have agreed with that best but it would have been the best she had - think about it, the whole world was watching her!
She was a person of her times, affected by events, by her past, changed from an innocent by her upbringing and life experience. And like everyone else you will ever meet she wasn't all bad and she wasn't all to blame. Your children could one day scream at you about how you ruined their lives, just be grateful that won't happen on the world stage and it will only be a couple of children not a million disaffected voters. What we've learnt from this situation is that people will still believe that they are 'right' and someone else is 'wrong' but that's rarely the case. If you have the courage, and the kindness, always look at yourself and try to be honest about how you got involved in the first place.
Holding on to anger and bitterness is like taking poison and waiting for someone else to die, some people did that and it happened, but what have the years of being so angry done to and for them. There are young people swearing and cursing about her, clearly furiously angry, and they weren't even alive when she came to power. They have learnt the hurt and anger, which means that they have carried a hurt and anger that had nothing to do with them. Yes, job losses will have affected their quality of life significantly, but our beliefs say that it is up to adults to always mitigate the hurt for young people and teach them to battle against their challenges and win rather than battle a past that cannot be successfully fought. That's what parents do, heal hurt and build strength and determination. Perhaps we can learn that too.
I could go on because I think the learning opportunities from this situation are huge, but I will sum it up now.
1. No I don't think I've converted anyone to a path of less anger with this, and I wasn't trying to do so.
2. It's become very obvious that there is a lack of respect for the viewpoints of others and that some people do not mind being cruel and don't care if they cause a great deal of hurt as long as they can speak their mind. A wise person will allow them to do so and turn away, but they will not give up the quest for kindness and they will demonstrate that through happiness and success, and most importantly sharing a gentle truth whenever requested to do so.
3. We can only lead by example, but we must ensure that we are an example and not fooling ourselves that we're doing better than we are. We can only truly share happiness and make it attractive if we are attractively happy.
4. Where you can help with anger, do so. If someone will listen share your ideas for releasing anger with them. Do whatever you can to encourage them onto the path of kindness, respectfully.
5. Kindness cannot be beaten by any of this. It will always exist, and one day I sincerely believe that kindness will be victorious.
6. Think today of all the people who have lost a loved one recently, not just Baroness Thatcher's family.
Wishing you happy days and peaceful nights