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Mumia Abu-Jamal Gives New Meaning to the Word Happiness

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A rare, recent interview with Mumia Abu-Jamal by Margaret Prescod on Pacifica Radio (KPFK-FM in Los Angeles) gave me pause. Happiness has been eagerly reflected upon by many on HuffPost when Dr. Mona Ackerman's column premiered on the site. I read through some of the comments and thought about how fortunate I am that back at the young age of 21, I met my teacher, Maharaji, who introduced me to a new way of looking at the true meaning of happiness -- a condition which does not rely on externals (because their nature is fleeting), but only on the internal state (i.e., peaceful solutions can only come from a place of peace). And then I heard Mumia (as he is affectionately referred to by complete strangers) talk about what "keeps him going" after 25 years on death row for a crime which, as all evidence seems to indicate, he did not commit. New facts substantiate ongoing racism at its worst as the main culprit behind the incarceration of an ideal candidate for a new trial. Lately, I so often feel like running outside on the street where I live, screaming "No justice, no peace!!" Or running to an open window and shouting, "I'm mad as hell and I don't know what to do about it!!" (I obviously need to go inside more.) And here is someone kept in solitary confinement 22 hours a day with nothing to do but read, write and think. Yet he remains a positive, optimistic, well-balanced person with generosity of spirit. And when asked how he maintains this disposition, his response is [to paraphrase] the love and support of his well-wishers around the world. Maybe I need to rethink the importance of the outside world...

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