The Black Panther movie has been hailed as one of the best for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for its brilliant cinematic display and, off-course, for breaking several box office records. In addition, it has received praise for costume design, moral story line, direction, action sequences and its immense cultural impact.
The movie is based on a fictional nation of Africa called Wakanda that has never been colonized. It is highly advanced with a sophisticated technology based on a metal known as Vibranium. One of the things I find exciting about the movie is that the Wakandans have their own meditation system.
The movie showed one of the Dora Milaje (special forces) in the lotus meditation posture.
Further, there is a section in which a meditation ‘procedure’ was used to send a newly crowned ‘Black Panther’ to the land of the dead so he could commune with his father. The first procedure was conducted by Zuri (Forest Whitaker) but after Killmonger killed Zuri another official was responsible. The meditation involves drinking some portion followed by inserting the Black Panther into an Earth chamber filled with red sand. Simply put, the meditation system was designed to help someone communicate with a dead person. More realistically, the meditation system is designed to help someone find peace with someone who is deceased. It is funny and ironical that the ‘procedure’ entails immobilizing a living person in a sand filled chamber. Perhaps, the idea is to make the bereaved understand that the dead cannot move.
It is fascinating that most commentators have not stressed the importance of this meditation system, yet the meditation explains the conflicts in the movie from the beginning to the end. In the beginning, a conflict between Tchalla’s (Black Panther 1) father and Killmonger’s (Black Panther 2) father led to the death of the latter. Ideological differences between the two men eventually led to a confrontation between the two Black panthers. To better understand why Killmonger’s father was killed, both Black panthers had to go to the land of the dead to communicate with their parents and obtain advice that helped reinforce their current ideological positions.
In real life, the inability to communicate with a dead person can be frustrating especially when there are lingering questions that only the deceased can truthfully answer. It is, therefore, not surprising that an advanced civilization will attempt to devise ways to communicate with a dead person. Realistically, however, the design of such a meditation should focus on helping the bereaved find peace with the current situation so they can move on with their lives fully.
Death is a very stressful event and meditation could be useful in helping ameliorate the distress associated with the death of a loved person. The Black Panther movie helps underscore the importance of meditation and how it could be used in bereavement.
Acknowledgement; Black panther featured image by Mariah Tarawally.