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The Boxer’s Nature

January 26, 2012

I admit it: I’m not a boxing fan. About the closest I’ve ever come to enjoying the very idea of boxing is in listening to the Simon and Garfunkel song “The Boxer.” The words are incredibly simple and yet profoundly powerful all at once.

But on my recent trip cross country, I had my choice of watching “Contagion” again (while good, I only need to take a ride on that hypochondriac’s wild dream once) or “Real Steel,” a futuristic boxing movie. While I’ve never been a boxing fan, I’m often a sucker for Sci Fi movies. And how can a woman refuse a film with Hugh Jackman? As long as I don’t think about him singing and dancing in his one-man Broadway show, I know I can’t.

The movie itself was OK. There wasn’t that much boxing. It was more of the story of a boy and his robot. And how the boy led his father back to the very passion for which he’d given up everything.

The most moving scene came during the culminating fight, but it wasn’t when the equivalent of David (a small, old robot) took on Goliath (the new, shiny, advanced robot). It was actually the moment when the girlfriend and son of Charlie Kenton (Jackman) looked over and realized that the man they came to love was finally living the life he was always meant to.

See, there is a concept that people excel not when they are simply toiling away to earn their next dollar, but when they are doing something that aligns most closely with their nature. It’s not exactly like choosing a job you love. It’s simpler than that. In “The Book of Awakening,” Mark Nepo shares it the following way:

“We are born with only one obligation — to be completely who we are … A flower in its excellence does not yearn to be a fish, and a fish in its unmanaged elegance does not long to be a tiger. But we humans find ourselves falling into the dream of another life.”

Kenton’s fall into another life turned him into little more than a puppeteer. He found himself again when necessity forced him to raise his fists and return to his true nature — that of a pugilist.

I’ve often wondered what my true nature is. I feel as though it is part knowledge-seeker, part teacher with a whole lot of writer mixed in (and who can forget the sarcasm?). But I get bored and frustrated with those things enough to often question those beliefs.

And so, the quest continues …


The Boxer

“In the clearing stands a boxer,
“And a fighter by his trade
“And he carries the reminders
“Of ev’ry glove that laid him down
“Or cut him till he cried out
“In his anger and his shame,
“‘I am leaving, I am leaving.’
“But the fighter still remains.”

From → Observations

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