Mean Business

I am reminded of a routine the black comic Richard Prior used to perform. He began by demonstrating a white man walking through the jungle. He walks tentatively along and nearly treads on a snake. Completely freaked out, he screams and does a little uncoordinated dance. Then he demonstrates a black man who calmly steps over the snake and cooly says, “snake”, and walks on as before. Well you have to see it but nevertheless it is a rather appropriate analogy of what happens in meditation, for we will encounter snakes of all kinds. It is our reaction to them that is important. We should not try to avoid such encounters by keeping to safe and familiar paths, which would involve trying to control our experience. We should be attentive and notice, but we don’t have to make a fuss. How can we do this? As I have said already, the stability is sought in the posture: we sit as though we mean business.