Nelson Mandela teaches us about the ‘open mind’ during lockdown

After Nelson Mandela was convicted and sent to Robbin Island, things changed for him.  In the silence and solitude of his maximum cell, he had time to think.

We too have time to think during lockdown.

Thoughts can only go in one of two directions. Positive or negative. Positive thoughts open the mind for deeper understanding, growth development and progress.  

Negative thoughts take us down the path of judgement, condemnation and revenge.

Understanding vs judgement

We too have the choice to move to deeper levels of understanding during this lockdown time. Being judgmental will prevent us from exploring this path.  

Fortunately for us all, Nelson Mandela took the path of deeper understanding.

Just imagine what would have happened to South Africa if he harbored revenge and retaliation

Fortunately for everyone, Madiba decided to keep an open mind.

Madiba kept an open mind

During his imprisonment, Nelson Mandela made it a priority to learn more about the Afrikaner nation, their language, their food, their religion and of course, their love for sport – specially rugby.

Madiba put himself on the road to understand how the Apartheid Government thought. He got to know his adversaries inside and out.

When the time came – he was ready to ‘speak their language’ and negotiate with the government of the time while keeping to his terms.

He won the negotiation battle – because he was prepared.

So, do we need to keep and open and in order to be prepared for the next phase.

The questions are: What is an ‘open mind’? How do we achieve this level of thinking? What is a closed mind? How do we prevent ourselves from developing a closed mind?

The open mind

Mind is consciousness. Keeping an open mind, is a choice to raise awareness and maintain a higher level of consciousness. It includes, deeper understanding, more compassion while developing new levels of mindfulness.

The open mind also comes from the soul.

The open mind is also known as the higher mind, the healed mind, the connected mind, the universal mind or the God mind. It is here we find wisdom and inner guidance to understand the situation and to know what to do next.

We access higher mind, consciousness, through our brain and neuropaths. When we have a look at the map of evolving of the mind below – we can see how Madiba moved beyond tribal thinking, survival and tribal law – to a higher level of inner knowing, understanding, inspiration and wisdom.

We even have a miracle in the middle, a part of us that can create magic and miracles. Madiba’s presence was always inspiring, even magical.

Although Madiba doesn’t give much insight into his inner journey – his actions speak louder than words.[i]

Map of the evolving of the Mind

The question still remains: What is a closed mind and how do we prevent ourselves from falling into that trap?

The closed mind

The closed mind is the opposite of the open mind. It refers to a lack of consciousness, even being mindless. It’s disconnected and stuck in the lower levels of survival. It’s negative angry, abusive, unkind, unloving, ignorant, resentful and judgmental, usually looking for a fight, a drama and/or revenge.

It breaks rather than builds and is part of the shadow ego-self. We spoke about the parts of self in Day 3. Make sure you know the difference.

We can prevent ourselves from falling deeper into the trap of the disconnected, unhealed, mindless, negative, judgmental mind, by stopping and turning our lives around.

Lockdown is an ideal time to achieve this goal. There are many steps you can take now…

And yes…it takes effort. But, just think what would have happened to South Africa, and the rest of the world, if Nelson Mandela had taken the low road of the unhealed, closed mind of the shadow ego-self.

To do list

Here are a few ideas to help you on this path:

  • Do you have an open or closed mind? Why do you say so?
  • Looking at the map of the mind, above: On what level of mindfulness, consciousness, do you think you currently are? Why do you say this?
  • What level do you want to move to?
  • What negativities and judgements do you need to let go of?
  • What parts of self, do you still need to heal?
  • What parts of self can you celebrate?
  • Contact us if you need help, assistance and coaching.  
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Stay safe – stay connected

Have fun


[i] Mandela, Nelson, R. (1994). Illustrated. The long walk to freedom. The            Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Little, Brown & Company: London.