I’m travelling in South Africa right now and can’t help but be constantly reminded of the power of Nelson Mandela.
Below is from an article in the Telegraph:
It was not an easy path to choose – or to travel. Mandela, as he himself has proclaimed, is not a saint. He fell into moments of hatred against his jailers and oppressors even as he walked out of jail in 1990.Bill Clinton, the former US president, told the United Nations in July 2013 how he (Clinton) had raised with Mandela his decision to invite his jailer to his inauguration and bring white opposition parties into his government. Mr Clinton asked Mandela: “Tell me the truth: when you were walking down the road that last time didn’t you hate them?”
Mandela answered: “I did. I am old enough to tell the truth ....I felt hatred and fear but I said to myself, if you hate them when you get in that car you will still be their prisoner. I wanted to be free and so I let it go.”
It’s that last line that is so powerful for me, “I wanted to be free and so I let it go.”
It is always our choice to be free or to blame others. It is always our choice if we hate or if we love, if we forgive or never forget.
The practice of meditation helps us realize that we can choose our response. Just as we notice our thoughts and feelings in meditation and we make a choice how we respond.
For this new year, I hope we can always realize that it is always our choice, always.