Friday, December 6, 2013

Let there be light

I'm thinking about Nelson Mandela, of course. I honor him in this way.

He was clear as a bell, came into this lifetime with all his wisdom intact. He was a great master of light. He was pure.

Not everyone is capable of, or meant to be so pure and clean, utterly wise. In fact most of us are meant to struggle, behave badly at times, become completely confused about our soul's mission. If we didn't have to struggle, how would we ever learn anything?

In this form, we work through so many things. My sense is that the "brief, greedy, sugar high" that is a human life is a very productive experience. Oh yeah.

We need some bright lights to help us, though. I think of Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King. Pope Francis appears, in my mind's eye, not completely clear, but he's pretty shiny. Some of the clear light people have nothing to do with politics or religion. Mr. Rogers, for instance, was a great master of the clear light, he surely was!

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be so clear. In all honesty, I'm relieved to be among the great majority of those who strive and struggle, try their best, sometimes foolishly, sometimes with misguided intentions. The majority of us falter and fumble, make mistakes. Our machinations are interesting, a sacred drama continually unfolding. Sometimes we learn from our mistakes. When that happens, it's satisfying - and provocative. Every now and then, most of us experience a moment of clarity. It is pure bliss! But then something happens and we find ourselves back in the fray.

What good would the radiance of men like Nelson Mandela be if we could all be like him? The people who come to earth to shine need somewhere to put their light. They need us and we need them. It's a partnership.

A deep bow of respect and love for Mr. Mandela's commitment and purity, for my gratitude that his light was so bright. May his spirit fly high.


Waiting for taxis outside Union Station.


ellen abbott said...

This would be a very different place if we all shined with clear light.

Steve Reed said...

I do think Mandela was a clear light. I don't think he was pure, though. No one is pure.

Reya Mellicker said...

What's the difference between clear and pure? Interesting to think about.

Kerry said...

Nelson Mandela was such a luminary in the world's history. People that shiny have an internal compass and an external drive that I'm in awe of. It's a beautiful reflective tribute that you've written.

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, I admit it's kind of a vague distinction. To me the word "pure" carries moral connotations, and while I certainly can't fault Mandela on any specific moral front, I think all of us have failings that prevent us from being truly pure. I guess what I'm resisting is the tendency after someone has died to sanctify them -- when in reality they were a person, struggling like all of us struggle, though Mandela handled his struggles exceptionally well and serves as a worthy model.

Does that make sense?

Cindy said...

Reya, I treasure your insights, whether they come through words or images. Maybe Nelson Mandella was able to sweep away the human struggles and stay longer in the moments of clarity than most of us can. His life was forged in a powerful fire, forcing the unneccesary to fall away- and concentrating his light.
Ray Flynn of Boston quoted a conversation he had with Mandela. Mandela said. "I am not a Saint. Unless a Saint is a sinner who keeps on trying."

Anonymous said...

I've been struggling to write a piece about my reaction to the death of Mandela, and it was good to read yours. I agree with the comment about him not being pure which I think is what made him and the others great. It does bother me that there aren't women on the list. Not that there aren't women of equal greatness, but there are fewer opportunities for them to be lifted up. Some of the recent women leaders in Latin America merit being on the list. And not to brag, but I actually met Mr. Rogers a few times and am happy to report that his public personae was not an act -- he was exactly the same in private.

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes, Steve - makes sense.

I never said he was perfect. Pure is a way to describe his energy.

Reya Mellicker said...

I never meant my list to be complete - just named a few shiny ones that came to mind.