What it is world? 12 coming atcha again from a somber place in my mind. A few hours ago one of modern history’s most revered human beings closed his eyes on this side and woke up in the land of the ancestors. At least that’s how an African traditional spiritual practitioner like myself would phrase it.
Muhammad Ali didn’t die because he constructed an impregnable legacy that can’t be swept away by something as petty as time. As a matter of fact time is his legacy’s ally. I believe that he will become one of those historical figures that become mythological tribal gods after so many years pass. Look up Imhotep and Saint Nick and you’ll see where I’m going with that point.
Anyway, I didn’t want to write this article about the many exploits or the countless accolades that The GOAT tallied up in his seemingly fictional life. There are literally hundreds of thousands of literary works that cover nearly every single moment of his life. If I did that, then I’ll just be taking bits and pieces of every other story that was written about him. That ain’t real.
I instead chose to write about me. Sounds narcissistic I know, but nobody can tell my tale like me. It’s not really about me, but it’s more about the part of Ali’s journey from the Louisville Lip to World icon that I am able to apply to my journey and make it better.
Muhammad Ali IS my hero. Being an African traditional spiritualist I don’t subscribe to the concept of death as we’ve been taught in the European Christian western hemisphere. There’s physical death and spiritual death. Physical death is only a transitional point. It’s like he rode a bus to a transit center and got off to get on another bus. Spiritual death is worse than the damnation of The Abrahamic faiths because it means you cease to exist period. In ancient Egypt you could go on to be one with Asar aka Osiris and have eternal life or suffer the turmoil of being cast down to the monster Ammit which is the equivalent of the the Christian hell somewhat. The difference is that you have the opportunity to repent while in “hell” and eventually have everlasting life. The real bad folk are just erased from existence. No coming back from that. Ali will never cease to exist. So he IS my hero.
I saw most of the movies and documentaries that were produced about him, even the one he starred in himself entitled The Greatest. I know most of the trivia about his life. Here’s a question. What was the first piece of Nation of Islam ideology that a young Cassius grasped on to? Answer… A song that Louis Farrakhan wrote entitled A White Man’s Heaven is a Black Man’s Hell.
Told you I knew the trivia, but again I want to touch on a different subject. I want to highlight how his imperfections made him perfect. People get perfect and mistake free confused all of the time. Being perfect means to behave according to your design. Humans were not designed to be mistake free. If we were then we wouldn’t make any mistakes. We have the ability to reason and rationalize. If we mess up,then we do better next time if we recognize our wrong doing. At least we have the ability to.
Ali messed up all of the time. What made him perfect in those instances is that he recognized his mistakes, called himself out on those mistakes, and went about the business of correcting those mistakes. That’s perfect according to the design of a human being in comparison to other animals.
He looked flawless in many of his in ring battles like the time in the Houston Astrodome when he made Cleveland Big Cat Williams look like an inanimate punching bag, but he wasn’t as pristine as his bravado portrayed.
He was really insecure in his younger days. He admitted that he wasn’t a very good student in school. In fact he failed his draft test miserably. He was classified 1y. He even got on camera and said “I said I was the greatest not the smartest(more trivia). He cheated on his wives which he admitted that he was very weak in that department. He taunted Joe Frazier unmercifully, but he didn’t even know how that effected Joe and his family until years later. He thought it was all in fun, but Joe cried decades later about it on camera. Ali apologized several times to Joe and his family for his selfishness and inconsiderate behavior and they made up before Joe passed from what I read.
There are many more examples of fallible living that I could dig up for a man who lived for 74 years, but I think I’ve made my point. Now on to me. How do I use these things to better my life?
Ali came from being a young black man in pre civil rights Kentucky to being a rich and world famous heavyweight champion by the time he was 22. He’s been in the public eye since that time. So the world saw him grow from a boy to an iconic elder. He fell short right before the people’s eyes like any person would do. I choose to emulate his strength to admit my faults, admit that I’m weak when I’m weak, admit I’m scared when I’m scared, admit I’m wrong when I step out of line, and then have the fortitude that it takes to correct my short comings.
I choose to remain steadfast in my pursuit of my ultimate goals no matter what the world throws at me. Obstacles don’t make me change my goals they only make me find another path to them. Like Ali when he was banished and lost his title without being beaten in the ring, I’ll continue to fight the smartest fight possible in order to have my hands raised at the end of it all. Even if my skills aren’t the same as they were before the obstacle knocked me down I’ll find and employ a strategy that works for me so that I can be victorious.
That’s all that matters. Ali IS my hero and I’ll continue to draw from his spirit and legacy as I move forward along my path. #RhymeInParadise Champ.
#12 will be in touch