We made it to South Africa! We are teaching at Ashtanga Yoga Cape Town and having the most enjoyable time here with all of the students and our wonderful host Ulrike Lamprecht and her family! Cape Town is a beautiful city, and every day in South Africa reminds me that Beauty is all around - if we have the eyes to see... This is one of the things our yoga practice helps us to strengthen - an inner vision to see God everywhere!
Yesterday we visited Robben Island - a small island off the coast of Cape Town, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years of his 27 year long sentence for his courage to fight for freedom and equality. I cannot even begin to imagine what living 27 years in a prison is like... unbearable. However, when you think about it, in some small way we are living in a prison constructed out of our very own minds! We are plagued by emotions like lust, anger, greed, jealousy, delusion, and pride that keep us from seeing and experiencing the Freedom and Truth of who and what we really are. These negative feelings entrap us within a cocoon of darkness, ignorance, fear and hate.
We practice Yoga so that we can cultivate the strength and courage to gradually, step-by-step, day-by-day, walk our own long road to freedom, and experience the state of being completely unrestrained by this inherent identification with our bodies and minds, so we can emerge from this illusory dream in the full KNOWLEDGE & LIGHT of God within and without. A state of Being that is beyond all that we currently believe to be real. That's a lifetime of work right there!
Visiting this island prison reminded me that the journey is long...
Nelson Mandela is a shining example of someone who never gave up... and didn't just find freedom for himself, but brought an entire nation, and even the whole world, along with him. This should give us some encouragement about continuing along our own path, and the duty we have to uplift those around us as we go along!
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison...
I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”
— Nelson Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom