By now everyone has heard of the death of Nelson Mandela. Every word of praise and reverence for this man won’t do his incredible life justice. He was a giant. A giant in the field of heart and love.
In the Alternatives to Violence work I do in prisons we have a thing called Transforming Power. Transforming Power is an intangible experience where a person faced with a potentially violent situation uses compassion, connection and other tools to defuse the situation and transform it into a positive and peaceful outcome.
Mandela’s decades long prison sentence, brought about by racism and the most insidious forms of separation could have led to him becoming vengeful and out for revenge. Unbelievably, it did the opposite. He came out with love and forgiveness in his heart. Then he went to work. Breaking barriers and making connections….spreading love and changing the world. It is one of the best examples of Transforming Power there has ever been.
Ever since I learned about the ancient art form of the mandalas of Hinduism and Buddhism, I have connected them to Nelson Mandela. Here is a description of a mandala I found online,
“The Mandala, Tibetan sand painting, is an ancient art form of Tibetan Buddhism. The mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning cosmogram or “world in harmony.” Mandalas are drawings in three-dimensional forms of sand. In Tibetan, this art is called dul-tson-kyil-khor which means “mandala of colored powders.”
Sand painting is an ancient Tibetan art form. The sand mandala is carefully constructed from dyed sand particles to represent the particular esoteric, textual traditions of Buddhism. It is a transient art form, thought to have originated in India and been transferred in the middle ages to Tibet. The sand mandala is constructed as a vehicle to generate compassion, realize the impermanence of reality, and a social/cosmic healing of the environment.”