A few days ago we had a TED-evening here at yoga-link. We listened to and watched many inspirational videos, and I will describe them shortly in a later post (UPDATE: here). Already now, however, I can say that we watched a video we have watched also at an earlier event: a video by Barry Schwartz. He there speaks about the importance of virtue, and of celebrating moral heroes. I think that almost everybody nowadays agrees that Nelson Mandela is one of those moral heroes. He led South Africa, not only from apartheid to democracy, but towards healing and forgiveness. One of the my favorite Swedish politicians, Hans Corell, said that we need more statesmen in the world. Corell, who has worked as a top UN official directly under Kofi Annan for many years, then went on to say that "In my life I have met only a few real Statesmen, people who can lead an entire people through their unshakable integrity, sincerity and charisma. Nelson Mandela was one of them." As it turns out, he is now dead, since a few hours back. It is therefore up to us to become new Statesmen. New inspirers. To take his cape, and realize that we only live a short time here. That Mandela's time is over. And that our time has begun.
I therefore end this short post, to Mandela's honor, by celebrating a quote that often is associated with Mandela, one that has been hanging since many years on a wall directly to the right when you enter yoga-link. A quote that it is often said that he spoke in his inaugural address. This quote is one of my favourite quotes, and the fact that it actually wasn't said by him, makes it even more appropriate now: because it means that it will be easy for us who remain in our bodies to keep producing quotes like this. And to follow the spirit of them.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
A Wikipedia picture of Mandela from 2008, the year that the US finally admitted that he wasn't a terrorist. That in itself, should tell ús something about our fear of terrorists, and about our blind belief in the governments' abilities to decide who they are.