"It's Not Who You Are Underneath. It's What You Do That Defines You."
"Why Do We Fall, Bruce? So We Can Learn To Pick Ourselves Up."
Blessings! I hope you had a chance to join me live this past Sunday on Facebook or YouTube for our Spiritual Perspective session on the Batman Begins movie. I am pleased to bring you the recap today!
Recap from the Live Stream, July 2, 2023
In 2005, I was living in Los Angeles, a newly ordained minister soaking up spiritual meaning wherever I could find it. The movie Batman Begins was a huge source of inspiration for me that year and ranks for me, right up there alongside the story of Seabisquit. I have been focusing my talks on Spiritual Perspectives and this gem of a movie offers a few worthy of exploration.
I am loving working with perspectives because in our philosophy, faith, and way of life we hold as true that there is a self-evident connection between mind and forms, between thought and effects. The founder of Science of Mind, Dr. Ernest Holmes, was known for saying “change your thinking change your life”. We each have our own perspectives which comprise our views on life and the world. Some perspectives lead to peace and some lead to war. Some lead to happiness and some lead to suffering. Peace, war, happiness, and suffering are not in the world waiting for us to form a perspective about them. The metaphysical idea is that they reflect the perspective held by us as individuals and a collective. A very powerful and impactful understanding.
The world is such a crazy place on so many levels right now. Since July 1st, (4 days as of this writing), there have been 9 mass murders in the United States which resulted in the death or injury of 82 souls. I can’t be the only one that sees the need for a transformation of how society thinks as well as the perspectives being held in mind.
For those of you who have not seen Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne, played by Christian Bale is the only son of the wealthiest and most powerful family in Gotham City. The opening scene finds Bruce, a young adult, languishing in an Asian prison inconsolable, a drunk, and full of rage. The reason for Bruce’s dire predicament are the traumas of his childhood. Around the age of ten Bruce falls into a deep well where he is physically injured and stirs up a cave full of hundreds, if not thousands, of bats which terrify him as they flap around his face. In addition, shortly thereafter Bruce is attending the opera with his parents and something in the opera triggers his lingering bat anxiety. His parents take him outside for a breath of fresh air where Bruce witnesses his parents shot and killed by a mugger. Bruce Wayne enters adulthood a complete and total mess!
Liam Neeson plays the character of Henri Ducard the leader of the League of Shadows, an organization which exists to purge the world of criminals and corruption. He scoops Bruce Wayne out of prison and proceeds to help him channel his pain into revenge. This rendered Bruce strong, fierce and fearless so that he would join the League of Shadows and be a part of the purging of the evil of the world beginning with the annihilation of his home, Gotham City, and all of the people in it.
At the end of Wayne’s training, Ducard brings a man before him, asking him to prove his allegiance by executing the man on the spot for his criminal behavior. Wayne declined. He refused to be an exterminator. He refused to follow the path of revenge and rather chose to follow the path of justice.
Bruce frees himself from the League of Shadows, leaving Ducard alive, and heads back to Gotham City where he returns home to the family mansion and the caretaker played by Michael Caine. In the process of figuring out his strategy to save his city, he realizes that as Bruce Wayne, a mere mortal, he will not be able to do it. He needs a persona which will give him anonymity and super-powers.
What happens next is the most awesome and spiritually meaningful aspect of this story. In the search for his spiritual super-hero identity, Bruce Wayne did not choose Dolphinman, Birdman, or Eagleman. He chose a persona which arguably reflected one of the most traumatic experiences of his life. The past that almost destroyed him became transformed into a future that allowed him to serve the world. He became Batman!
The movie proceeds with a great deal of violence (after all, it is Hollywood), but in the end the criminals are gone and the city is saved.
What are the spiritual perspectives that we can explore and apply that might serve our journey as we navigate from being a mere mortal to taking on the cloak of our own power and divinity?
Spiritual Perspective #1: The necessity to transcend our past seems to be a universal requirement
Though few of us have such a dramatic story, with few exceptions most of us slide into adulthood inconsolable to some degree, having survived our traumas big and small. Because we were not raised by spiritually aware parents or in a spiritually evolved world, most of us experienced a degree of abuse or neglect. It is useful to understand that we share this common story. You are not alone in the consequences of whatever your personal experiences were.
Because this is true, there is comfort in knowing that If happiness and fulfillment in life only results from wealth, power, or a trauma-free life, then happiness, joy, meaning and fulfillment would be experienced by a rare few. But as Abe Lincoln said, “I reckon that happiness is a choice,”. It is why we do our spiritual study and practice, so that we undo what the world has done and step into a more hopeful future. Or as we shall see later, we begin to comprehend the purpose of the world and use it to architect the future we intended.
Spiritual Perspective #2: Choosing love over hate, spirit over the ego and justice over revenge
It is not possible to evolve spiritually when we are holding onto anger, unforgiveness and revengeful thoughts. You cannot wish another harm and expect to succeed in finding happiness for yourself or bringing happiness to others. Note that Bruce Wayne left Ducard alive because he declared himself not an executioner! This question of justice is an interesting perspective in today’s world because we ask what should spiritual people do about mass murderers? What do we do about the people who harm other people, animals, and the earth. Is the proper response to turn the other cheek or to seek an eye for an eye? Or is there a third choice? Ducard was committed to destroying the City of Gotham and everyone in it which included the innocent people and animals. Bruce wanted to save his city and its citizens while getting rid of the criminal element. The question pondered here asks if in the name of love and justice is violence, okay? I don’t have an answer for you. But I tend to think that if we act out of love and the highest good for all, we can’t go too wrong.
Spiritual Perspective #3: When you accept your identity as a Spirit, your past will pivot from a curse to a blessing. Our past, rather than the reason our life can’t be amazing becomes the reason it can.
If we assume that we are spirits having a human experience then it feels right to me that I, not as Denise, but as a Spirit, thoughtfully chose this journey on earth. This would include all the particulars, so rather than happenstance, my gender, location, parents, and everything else, would have been thoughtfully considered. If this is held as self-evident, then the idea that whatever our childhood was for us, was necessary to get us to the point where we could bless the world with our gifts and achieve our spiritual intentions for coming here in the first place.
A beautiful book by Patrick Harbula, “The Magic of the Soul”, posits this idea. Our past, whatever it might have been, whatever was missing our lacking in our upbringing, is exactly what was needed to prepare us to live those spiritual intentions and gain the important soul growth which must ultimately be the purpose.
I embrace this idea because I can feel that it lifts me out of victimhood into a consciousness of responsibility and power. It is hard for me to believe that a universe so intricate in its intelligence and harmony could support a theory of chaos and accidents.
Aside from the theatrics of Batman Begins, though real life also has its share of theatrics, this gem of a movie, when viewed from a spiritual perspective offers us a few interesting insights. Epic movies with good hearts and intentions almost always resonate with us and become box office hits. We all love great hero movies because in truth we are all great heroes.
Can you imagine the day, when your story of pain and suffering, becomes the very thing that blesses you and the world? Regardless of who you have been in the past, or how you show up in life today, there is a persona within you, willing and ready to come forward to make this world we live in a better place. When this happens, everyone wins. Don’t be afraid!
So ends today’s Spiritual Perspective on Batman Begins. Join me this coming Sunday for our Spiritual Perspectives on Cinderalla, specifically on the Fairy Godmother! ~ Love, Rev. D