Being spiritual doesn’t mean you are a push over

A few days ago, I asked you to think about the issue of not criticising others. It makes you mean, and rarely helps the receiver

As an example, Carnegie cites a letter Lincoln wrote to a general who disobeyed his orders during the Civil War. Here’s a snippet:

“I do not believe you appreciate the magnitude of the misfortune involved in Lee’s escape. He was within your easy grasp, and to have closed upon him would, in connection with our other late successes, have ended the war. As it is, the war will be prolonged indefinitely. If you could not safely attack Lee last Monday, how can you possibly do so South of the river, when you can take with you very few more than two thirds of the force you then had in hand? It would be unreasonable to expect, and I do not expect you can now effect much. Your golden opportunity is gone, and I am distressed immeasureably because of it.”

Clearly, this is  harsh, even  personal.

But the lesson we have  offer is a simple one. The lesson is that Lincoln never sent the letter. It was found among his papers after his death.

Carnegie speculated upon Lincoln’s motive for not sending the letter

“Maybe I ought not to be so hasty. It is easy enough for me to sit here in the quiet of the White House and order Meade to attack; but if I had been up at Gettysburg, and if I had seen as much blood as Meade has seen during the last week, and if my ears had been pierced with the screams and shrieks of the wounded and dying, maybe I wouldn’t be so anxious to attack either. If I had Meade’s timid temperament, perhaps I would have done just what he had done. Anyhow, it is water under the bridge now. If I send this letter, it will relieve my feelings, but it will make Meade try to justify himself. It will make him condemn me. It will arouse hard feelings, impair all his further usefulness as a commander, and perhaps force him to resign from the army.”.

Never the less, after this incident, Mead was closely supervised by Ulysses S Grant. Lincoln didn’t vent his spleen, but he also took action.

MindWod, genuine spirituality and genuine humanity does not mean taking without question whatever the people around you dish out. It means making an effort to understand and solve problems, and not  just to pander to  your knee jerk temper because  its easy.

Mindwod, after reflection,will  require you to be assertive. Sometimes being assertive means closing relations down, asking partners and friends who are bad for you to move on. Sometimes it means taking action that others don’t like.

Remember,  for all his  “coolness”  Lincoln’s  was involved in a bloody conflict.

What I would like to say is this: honour, mindfulness, humanity is your gift to yourself: if someone preaches mindfulness and positivity and immediately links it with a political movement, a business proposition or  a religious idea , maybe treat the messenger with caution.

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