Nelson Mandela – Freedom of Spirit

A magnificent light of human spirit was carried by Nelson Mandela to us all. When he walked out of Robben Island prison after 27 years with such dignity, magnanimity and forgiveness he not only created a new South Africa, he illuminated the imagination and hearts of the world. He showed the freedom of spirit that human beings can carry in any circumstances.  His vision was profound……wise, steady and kind. And he had a gracious smile to match his heart. With a hard won understanding and compassion Nelson said, “It never hurts to think too highly of a person, they often act the better because of it.”  Thomas Merton explained it this way, “Saints are what they are not because of their holiness, but because the gift of sainthood makes it possible for them to admire everyone else.”   Nelson Mandela was not exactly a saint, but in some ways more remarkable….a man who chose to willingly and fully enter this torn world and carry high the torch for justice. And then to teach us from his long walk to freedom, through fire and tears and possibility, the greatness of the human heart.

I just finished a Ram Dass retreat, teaching together with Ram Dass, Trudy Goodman, Wes Nisker, Krishna Das and Mirabai Bush. The days of our retreat were filled with a message full of love and grace. The participants have come from all over. Some are here to deepen their spiritual practice. Others because of a cancer diagnosis or the death of their child or to seek renewal after years of working in Haiti or Afghanistan. We joined together to be nourished in spirit.

Ram Dass has talked about his own long journey and how all that matters now is to embody love in all he does. As we sat we honored Nelson Mandela, and later offered our own vows of sacred intention.

Setting your highest intention, making your own vow is a beautiful practice.   It can be as simple as “I vow to be kind” or “I will care for this earth in all I do.

Take time to sit, quiet your mind and open your heart, and then ask …….What could your heart’s most beautiful dedication be?

Poet Mary Oliver asks it like this……What do you plan to do with this one wild and precious life?

May it be something beautiful.

Find Peace


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