There is a poignant moment in the movie, Mandela, when Mandela is talking with his wife, Winnie, after his release from prison. Winnie tells him that the people are angry and this is driving their desire for violence and revenge.
Mandela exclaims that he is angry too, just like the people! Rather than choosing violence, he consciously chooses peace as a way to move forward in South Africa.
Mandela is a terrific example of how a person can choose how to respond to both outer circumstances and inner emotions that can be challenging to handle.
For me, there is an inspiring quotes of Victor Frankl which reminds me of this action that many of you will have seen in my emails. It goes like this: ““Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” Many of you will know that Frankl, while interned in a concentration camp, came to understand one thing about survival. He observed that everything can be taken away from a person except for one thing: the last of human freedoms–to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances.
Like Frankl, Mandela shows that one can choose how to respond to a set of undesirable circumstances.
Why am I talking about this? The practice of mindfulness promotes making conscious choices. It helps to illuminate our circumstances more clearly and shows us that we can choose to respond rather than being driven by automatic pilot, which is often rooted in our deeply conditioned habits and ways of being. Mindfulness will teach you how to handle difficult and challenging emotions like anger so that one is able to respond with wisdom.
It is in this spirit, that I suggest that we move into the new year, 2014, with a resolution to respond to life with conscious choices rather than being controlled or sometime to the point of being victimized by our deeply ingrained habits.
Come out and try a mindfulness class and experience how mindfulness can help you make better and wiser choices for yourself.