Thank you Madiba for this lesson.

We live in a world of paradox, and when we realise that the paradox or great contrast we experience is necessary, we begin to realise that this paradox allows us the freedom to choose.

We could not experience light without darkness, joy without sorrow, health without sickness and abundance without lack.

When we look out into the world, we sometimes feel despondent or disappointed at what we construe as negative contrast, and wish for sameness. Yet, it is the very contrast that creates desire in us. When we have spent time unhappy or witnessed unhappiness, we desire happiness more strongly. When we experience ill health, our desire for health increases.

We witness the contrast around us, and it creates within us desire. We are then free to choose which of the contrasting experiences we wish to create.

Mandela’s desire for justice was born out of injustice. His desire for peace and love was born out of the contrasting violence and hate he witnessed.

Through the contrast he experienced, he was courageous and wise enough to choose love and peace and forgiveness, and be all the more passionate about creating it.  In the process he changed a nation and inspired the world to emulate his example.

We should not fight or hate the contrast and paradox in the world, but rather know that it provides the opportunity in each moment for us to choose and ask the question. “Who do I wish to be in relation to this”. We can choose the darkness or the light, the negative or the positive, the low road or the high road.