Saturday, 12 January 2019

Loving Kindness Meditation: The Anonymous £40... And Politicians

The definition of loving kindness meditation your introduced to in Robert Wrights book  "Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation & Enlightenment is:

"The mediation starts with you making a point of feeling kindly towards yourself. Then you imagine someone you love and direct some loving kindness toward him or her. Then you imagine someone you like and direct some loving kindness toward that person. Then you think about someone you don't feel strongly about one way or the other. And so on - until you get to an actual enemy. If all goes according to plan, you manage to feel loving kindness even for that enemy.

...It seems only appropriate to say a few kind words about loving kindness meditation, so here they are: It works for some people. But it doesn't work for me"

Robert's writing and his experiences about his attempts at meditation are hilarious... Including his epic fail at attempting to meditate and describing how his mind ends up wandering. Something that I could identify with in my attempts... and something that politicians returning to work most definitely did NOT help with!

A Little Bit of Background - Christmas Vs Back to Work Social Media
I read about this just after:

1) Having secured the amount needed for a rather desperate crowdfund campaign
2) Spending a period of time being unplugged from social media

I also started to draft this post during the Christmas break, following some AWESOME kindness on social media over the Christmas Period (See What if God was One of Us? What Would He be Tweeting About?).

I am glad that I didn't publish it until after the politicians came back to work with the cruelness of Trump, Anna Soubry's Nazis and all the Alex Salmond/SNP drama... and chatting with some lovely #Cybernats about my 'Illiterate Shite' as they put it, before adding nothing further to the conversation except for reaching for the 'Block' option.

On the flip side there has also been kindness with the #LoveThyNeighbourChallenge to help federal workers that Trump says are 'his hostages' (Reminiscent of the kindness of the early #IndyRef supporters with leaving bags of shopping for foodbanks at George Square)

Loving Kindness Meditation: Epic Fail
So I tried the Loving Kindness Meditation as described in Wright's book (AKA the extract above)... and it was an epic fail initially.

One thing that has not been an epic fail is sending positive vibes to the 23 people who assisted with the GoFundMe campaign (Something that I was to find should NEVER have been necessary if it wasn't for ineptitude from the DWP and/or my local council?! More on that at a later date).

I knew who everyone who contributed to the crowdfund... everyone except the last £40.

I both wanted to know who this was ...and tried to find out so that I could send them a thank you message, to no avail.

Loving Kindness Meditation: The Anonymous £40
My second attempt at trying this 'Loving Kindness Meditation' was to think of all the people who this last mystery donor could have been.

The essence of this £40 contribution took on a very different feel, based on... what if:

  • The mystery contributor was ABC person - Someone that I knew and liked
    Reaction: A huge smile thinking about that person.
  • The mystery contributor was XYZ person - Someone that had wronged me in some way and/or where there had been a falling out
    Reaction: Oh My Gosh! I hope it wasn't them!
    They could keep their poxy money!
    I wouldn't want their help even if they offered!
    It's partly their fault that we are where we find ourselves!
So, what if you had a crowd fund campaign for a project that you desperately wanted to see happen and the final amount needed was from an anonymous donor while reading a book that introduced you to the concept of loving kindness meditation?

I can tell you what my pre-Christmas unplugged and post-Back to Work social media experiences have been.

The Day Loving Kindness Meditation Worked

On the 23rd December after being used to being unplugged a month+
Looking forward to Christmas with the family.
Being thankful that we've come through a horrible, horrible year and
Having no problem with practicing loving kindness meditation re: the 22 Crowd Fund contributors.

I tried 'Loving Kindness Meditation' applying this mystery £40 to people that I do not have enthusiastic feelings about which - having not mastered any of the 'Not Self' stuff - feelings that I feel are well and truly justified, at least from my perspective.

And it worked!

For one glorious day, it worked! I was able to think lovely, warm fuzzy feelings towards even the biggest of takers & fakers and/or those who didn't honour financial agreements... people who helped put us into a tough situation, but these

'#Shoulder2Shoulder...Life long family friends' and
'Yes we'll pay you what we said we would' 5 times by 3 CEOs over a 8 month period.
'It may feel like it but you're not alone...You Matter...You have a voice or we would not be connected'

People were nowhere to be seen when we hit hard times... they took my time, efforts and ideas and they were off. But I was able to send them genuine and authentic positive vibes... and it was a great feeling too!

Disaster! Back Online...
If there is one thing that REALLY, REALLY winds me up... it's people's time and contribution not being acknowledged. It's something I'm super careful to always do! I'm also willing to take a stand re: my core values.

The most recent project that I've been involved with has seen any old random thing being made up after working on it for 3 years and putting 6 months hustle into it in 2018.

Compare these two posts (My one in Sept 2017 being written in response to the first one in an attempt to set the record straight!)
When I got back online after having some success at this meditation I spotted the following Tweet

Compare the Tweet above with this one in June 
(And not the only EdChange Global organiser to struggle with their memory! My son has issues with his memory too so I know how challenging it can be... you guys are in my prayers with whatever condition you have). 

Compare this also with the fact that I was sure to acknowledge the conversation that led to me finding out about this AWESOME Chrissy MacKay and the work she does at Be Yonder.

'Right Words,' Social Media and Politicians 
So the 'Loving Kindness Meditation' faltered a little... and the political classes who advocate for civility online didn't help matters this week either.

I've accurately predicted every election since 2014 and on Christmas Eve the SNP made a crass attempt to politicize the festive period, but it only got 2,900 Retweets.

... Stats like this reminded me of Alex Salmond's #GE2017 crowdfunder (65 backers and struggled to reach the £4,000 campaign target amount).

Fast forward to the first week when people are back at work and on the 8th Jan 
  • Alex Salmond starts to trend and the trolls come out in force to back Salmond and threaten Leslie Evans (@PermSecScot)
  • Anna Soubry is trending on Twitter because of Nazis
  • In the wee small hours there is the Trump Address from the Oval Office re: his wall.
NodeXL maps were made up for Alex Salmond, PermSecScot and Anna Soubry

Top Words in Tweet in Entire Graph:

I followed the 3 events on the day as I've had a number of observations and insights on these things over the years... Including blaming politicians for much of the abuse online AND because I don't feel that this negative/violent commentary will necessarily remain the case (But not through anything that the political classes will do to curb the negative, angry and violent sentiment: as Cambridge Analytics and Trump demonstrates).

The 8th of January was a great example of A Day in the Life of the Internet?... Or the Plot to a Toy Story Movie? because in spite of all the hatred we see things like:
  • People demanding that everything from the #TrumpAddress to be Fact Checked
  • The #LoveThyNeigbourChallenge to help US federal employees

But here's the kicker... Following these events on social media the findings from the 'Right Speech' article (re The angry cab driver) in my last post as well as Why Good People Turn Bad Online (Re: You can feel yourself getting snarky) they are100% spot on!

Watching this stuff on your screen for a full day really does affect your mood... and your words and ability to master 'Right Speech'

In addition to this, Marc Smith's comments from 'Voices From the Well' 26 years ago are also 100% accurate... that banning controversy like political tribes from platforms is unlikely to happen.

The outrage like the ones above from 7/8th Jan (Holyrood, Westminster and The White House) is good for business for social media AND the political classes... But for users it's perhaps about as productive as Cesar Sayoc attending a Trump rally.

But when the 'Network Effects,' 'Feedback Loops' and culture is right, it sure has been good for the SNP and Alex Salmond.

But is this a trend that's likely to continue?
Perhaps not... Karma can be a bitch sometimes.

#The45 were not looking simply to put #Team56 into Westminster for 2 years... they were looking for change.

The #ValueEducationValueTeachers and pending industrial action highlights how short of the mark this came... that's before we even get into the #SNPCivilWar or what the data from #ActiveSNP is telling us.

But don't blame me... I voted 'Yes' and tried to bring a number of Digital Citizenship and Community Management events to Scottish education and politics: #GE2017 & The SNP: How the Mighty Fall.

But I'll need to blame myself any time that I find that Twitter and the political trends that I feel compelled to click on if/when they are not good for any 'Right Speech' or Loving Kindness Meditation that I'm exploring.


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