Reflections to Encourage Hope in this Process
"The arc of history is long but it bends towards justice" - Obama
If you are inclined to view these words disbelievingly, even despairingly, in the light of current world conditions, it might be well to call to mind also Ben Kingsley’s words in the epic movie, ‘Gandhi’
‘When I despair, I remember that all through history
the way of
truth and love has always won.
There have been tyrants and murderers,
and for a time they can seem invincible.
But in the end they always fall.
Think of it.....always.’
The way of truth and love has always won. Love, in the end, does trump fear!
The key word, however, does seem to be truth. When lies are upheld and perpetuated, there will never be peace or justice, however strongly those in power try to bring ‘troublemakers’ – i.e. those determined to have the truth recognised – under control.
It has long been recognised that history has been written by the victors in any conquest and that scant regard has been paid to the ‘losers’’ side of the story, however overpowered or betrayed they might have felt.
The great historian Edward Gibbon even said – History is little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind!’
Let’s try to do better from now on
Wanting to be Heard
It is remarkably difficult, if not impossible, however, actually to silence voices that want to expose injustice, and especially if lies are told to discredit them. For generations, it seems, their spirits persist in wanting to be heard – they refuse to rest or give up until their stories are believed and witnessed – just like people still alive who may fight miscarriages of justice for decades, showing astonishing resilience in not giving up until they have vindicated their loved ones.
Witness the prolonged fight for justice for victims of the Hillsborough Disaster..........
The old phrase ‘Forgive and Forget’ is never going to be an authentic or satisfactory way to proceed – resulting instead only in suppressed misery and anger in the ‘defeated’ – bound to spill out at some time and therefore never leading to justice, harmony or peace.
In its place, let’s put ‘Remember, Put the Record Straight, and Forgive’ as an altogether better way forward – in other words, a process of ‘Truth and Reconciliation.’
Balance and Compassion
In their wonderful, recently published book ‘Return to Joy’, Andrew Harvey and Carolyn Baker consider that JOY is actually the ultimate nature of reality (the underlying ‘wildwood’), and that its absence lies at the root of our current global crisis. Joy is therefore a subversive force, ‘the most transforming experience of which is Sacred Activism’ – in other words, ‘wise focused, radical action which implements justice, harmony, balance and compassion’.
It can manifest in a multitude of ways, as the authors demonstrate in ‘The Myriad Flames of Joy’ chapter, one of which is identified as ‘The Joy of Truth-Telling and Justice-Making’. It is this joy I am especially aligning myself with in trying to promote Worldwide Ancestral Healing. If individuals and groups come to participate in this progressive programme, it may be that necessary transformations and re-balancing can happen everywhere.........as an idea whose time has decisively come!
Then perhaps people everywhere, playing their part in endeavouring to be love in action in an age of despair, might be able to achieve something comparable to the ‘radical joy radiated in the beaming face of the Dalai Lama, the indefatigable cheerfulness of Desmond Tutu, and the tears of joy running down the face of Martin Luther King, Jr, when he spoke of having been to the mountaintop.’
Truth and Reconciliation is the key.
There is unlikely to be any movement towards reconciliation if old lies are adhered to – the ‘winners’’ old version of ‘history’ which they alone have had the privilege of determining and promulgating. But as soon as a fairer version of what actually happened is conceded, it can be remarkable how readily a solving forgiveness is granted, and ancient enmities can evaporate.
It is the persistence of lies that gives superhuman resilience in the battle, even in the face of ‘defeat’. If the truth, even of monstrous matters – aspects of Shadow in the Jungian sense – is taken responsibility for, acknowledged and regretted, even if not wholly apologised for, there can be a degree of healing. An authentic heartfelt apology and offer of recompense can work even greater wonders.
Goodwill needed on both sides
The ideal would be full Restorative Justice for the victim side – challenging because this demands that Goodwill is sufficient on both sides, so that the need for protest and righteous anger dissolves and concessions are recognised as necessary and agreed to. This is why we are focusing on Ancestral Healing rather than confining ourselves to political activism...
As soon as historical enemies begin to see each other as human beings acting under severe duress – even if finding themselves acting in cruel and destructive ways – they can begin to have the capacity to let bygones be bygones. It is never an easy process but it can be done. Witness how Rwandans have been able to work together even after the ravages of genocide in their country, how the Revd Ian Paisley, firebrand DUP leader in Northern Ireland and his long-sworn enemy, Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Fein politician, became known as the Chuckle Brothers of the Irish Assembly, and how this year in Medellin, Colombia, members of the FARK and those with whom they have been embattled for decades, now work together and can even call one another friends.
On Bank Holiday Monday at the end of may this year, as part of the Hay Festival, Tom Sutcliffe interviewed three distinguished writers who have breathed new life into stories from the past, and they were reflecting on recovery from trauma and moving towards peaceful resolution and harmony. Sebastian Barry spoke most movingly of the healing speech made by Queen Elizabeth – one of the most profound and significant of her long reign – at Dublin Castle on the 18th of May 2011.
At the core of it she said - so much of this visit reminds us of the complexity of our history, its many layers and traditions, but also the importance of forbearance and conciliation. Of being able to bow to the past, but not be bound by it.
Of course, the relationship has not always been straightforward; nor has the record over the centuries been entirely benign. It is a sad and regrettable reality that through history our islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache, turbulence and loss.
These events have touched us all, many of us personally, and are a painful legacy. We can never forget those who have died or been injured, and their families. To all those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past I extend my sincere thoughts and deep sympathy. With the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all.
She concluded her speech with –
So we celebrate together the widespread spirit of goodwill and deep mutual understanding that has served to make the relationship more harmonious, close as good neighbours should always be
They are a reminder that we have much to do together to build a future for all our grandchildren: the kind of future our grandparents could only dream of.
Despite the turbulent history being remembered, Sebastian Barry remarks on the ‘release of grace’ facilitated by these ‘vivid and healing’ words.
Anyone wishing to hear the Queen delivering this speech, or to see its full text can Google The Queen’s Speech in Dublin Castle on Youtube or The Queen in Ireland : Dublin Castle Speech in Full – Telegraph
The essence is being willing to listen with goodwill – with a genuinely sympathetic interest in the experiences of the other, without cutting off, argument or denial; to voice regret about hurt inflicted and received, but also with a preparedness not to pursue revenge or hard feelings any further. This constitutes sufficient goodwill to enable the healing ‘release of grace’ which can allow both parties to move on.
As Queen Elizabeth was able to say - essential for healing are ‘the spirit of goodwill and deep mutual understanding’
Finally, in this section, I should like to draw your attention to an inspiring article published by Alex Ratcliffe in the Huffpost UK, which is very much in line with my thesis in this website; it was called ‘Amidst the Chaos, Seeds of Hope: The United Nations, the Sustainable Development Goals, and World Goodwill.’ The full text can be found in the Articles Section, page 12 Click here
It seems to me that Ancestral Healing of the depth and kind that I have been recommending, could enable each individual to make his or her contribution in support of this constructive vision, promoting the letting go of old competitive patterns and ushering in respectful and co-operative ones in their stead.
Any remnants of old hatreds or antagonisms still remaining can get in the way, and delay or impede the process, but only for a time. Great trust and faith are required, while still engaged in the struggle, to believe that, finally, ‘All shall be well: all shall be well: and all manner of thing shall be well’ (Julian of Norwich)
There is a brokenness out of which comes the unbroken
There is a brokenness
Out of which comes the unbroken
Out of which comes the unshatterable
There is a sorrow beyond all grief
Which leads to joy
And a fragility
Out of whose depth emerges strength
There is a hollow space
Too vast for words
Through which we pass with each loss
Out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being.
There is a cry
Deeper than any sound
Whose serrated edges cut the heart
As we break open
To the place inside
Which is unbreakable and whole,
While we are learning to sing
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