Then, of course, there are times during any good crisis when we will need to fight back. But how do we do this without hatred or ill-will? My answer is with a little snort. I will explain. I grew up in the days of Henry Cooper, who fought for the world heavyweight boxing title against the great Muhammed Ali. Although he lost he was a bit of a national hero, he was such a courageous, nice guy. I remember watching the fight, along with everybody else, when I was about five years old. Whenever the boxers landed a punch the gloves make a puffing sound as the air was expelled from the glove’s padding. Aged five I thought that the boxers were making these sounds as they punched. After the fight I danced around the room, shadow-boxing, trying to imitate Muhammed Ali, snorting through my nose as I landed every punch.
Of course later, when I found out my mistake, I began to find it funny to repeat my imitation and shadow-boxing became a good laugh. As I grew up I sensibly forgot about all this until I was living in South London. One day I was walking feeling rather irritated, trying to meditate on the breath to calm down as I went. There is a pub on the Old Kent Road called ‘The Henry Cooper’. Walking past the pub my mind went back to the fight and to my shadow-boxing. I snorted a little in remembrance and to my amazement my unruly mind-state was dispelled. It was a breakthrough.
I had been taking my meditation too seriously, I realised.
After so many years of meditation on the breath now the inner demons, when they come, can be clearly seen trying to fight their way into my attention, my concentration, at the end of my nose. This playful little snort with its fighting spirit can so often be enough to fight back. When I find myself in a corner I only need to snort a little to bring up a fighting spirit and keep it light and fluffy.
There is something so delicious too about a such universal response to the battles of life, inner or outer. It keeps the inner demons where they rightly belong, out there.
I offer this for your reflection