I’ve noticed a curious thing since Nelson Mandela’s death three days ago— astounding grace occurring for both my friends and myself. It’s the kind of grace that doesn’t necessarily make “things” better but rather opens the clouds of patterned oppression revealing insights of loving-kindness, generosity and acceptance—correcting course from obstructive thinking to open heartedness. It is as if all that love, patience, and compassion that lived in the one man, Nelson Mandela, was like a dandelion flower. When he passed from his worldly form all the little winged seedlings were cast abroad over the world.
I heard a speech that Nelson Mandela delivered in Britain right after his release from prison. With his deep soulful smile he said to the British people, “I love every one of you.” He wasn’t just saying I love you collectively as “a people” he was speaking into the heart of each individual. He was a true Bodhisattva. In Judaism there is a principle called Tikun Olam—to mend the world. We are not obliged to complete the job, neither are we exempt from trying, from doing our part in making a better world. Nelson Mandela’s part in mending the world was very large.
Here is an idea to honor the legacy of Nelson Mandela. Decide for one day to look into the eyes of every person you encounter as if you are looking into the eyes of Nelson Mandela. See them as Bodhisattvas, as loving menders of the world, as one who through patience and loving-kindness can and has changed history for the betterment of thousands of people. Notice how you feel.