Spiritual Perspectives From Seabiscuit

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” ~ Richard Bach

You don’t throw a whole life away just because it is banged up a little bit. ~ Tom the Trainer

Spiritual Perspectives
Recap from the Live Stream, July 16, 2023

There is so much value in learning to look at life from a spiritual perspective and not merely from the point of view of the ego. With the ego we look from fear.  With the spirit we look from love. With the ego we are at the effect of the external world. With spirit, we are the architects of our world. Learning to do this provides the way for us to be victorious over the big and small challenges of life and enables us to enjoy an unusually expanded level of peace and well-being. For the most part, the world is organized around mediocrity and in very few places and circumstances are we asked to be extraordinary human beings. It is so easy to use circumstances, conditions, people, places and things to explain, or even justify, why we can't be happy. Why we can't be prosperous, healthy or peaceful. A spiritual perspective on life allows us to understand that all of these qualities (and more) are generated from inside of us and as soon as we generate them - life begins to reflect them in our circumstances. It is why this movie is so meaningful to me and why I love sharing these perspectives with you.  I apologize in advance for the length of this article but I simply could not cut any corners. Enjoy!

This is my 3rd and final week on metaphysical movie interpretation. I saved my favorite movie for last. Me seeing this movie was in and of itself a miracle.  My husband had a love for the ponies and his time and money spent at the racetrack was the source of a lot of grief in our relationship.  It is ironic that this movie, which I resisted seeing because of this fact, has been a source of spiritual inspiration to me over twenty years. The husband may not be with me now  but the movie lives on. Ha!

In summary, Seabiscuit is a 2003 movie about a horse and the three men who saved him.  Or a story about three men and the horse that saved them. Seabiscuit was sired by racehorse royalty and his owners and investors were devastated when he made his appearance as a very small and lazy colt.  An immediate declaration was made upon him! He would and could never be a great horse and that no return on investment was possible.  From that day forward he was treated in alignment with that declaration and was often neglected and made to do things antithetical to what a racehorse might do – like run counterclockwise on the track to help the real racehorses maintain focus. Nonetheless, the story is about this GREAT and magnificent creature, that despite his troubling beginnings, went on to become one of the greatest racehorses in the history of racehorses.

As the movie begins, we meet Seabiscuit for the first time as a young adult. He is cranky, cantankerous, inconsolable, and ornery! He has been purchased by Charles Howard played by Jeff Bridges who himself is broken due to the death of his son. His trainer Tom Smith played by Chris Cooper is broken because his life has no purpose, and his jockey Red played by Tobey Maguire who is broken because his family threw him away. The movie ultimately is about the transformation and success of this horse and about the success and transformation of these characters. Along the way are insights which we can use to further illuminate our spiritual journey.

Four Potent  Spiritual Perspectives

Repudiating the initial declarations on our lives

Each of us experienced declarations layered upon us as children.Some of these were actually spoken and some of them we simply caught hold off based on the behaviors of the adults around us.  Some of them were good ones: ‘she is a miracle baby’, ‘look how beautiful’. Some not so good: ‘she’ll always be sickly’, ‘not as cute as her sister’. Some of them devastating: ‘you were an accident’, ‘I wish you’d never been born’, ‘you will never amount to anything.’

The effect on our adult lives resulting from these early declarations should not be underestimated. Like with Seabiscuit, they can and do create patterns of behavior for the people around us and can be carried, however untrue, or unconsciously, into our future. I would daresay that most of us arrive at young adulthood often inconsolable, angry, and confused – just as Seabiscuit did. It is not our fault nor is anyone to blame really.  It is just the path that human beings seem to take.

In most cases the conscious awareness and re-framing of these formative years can help to free us from the effect of them.  Sometimes it might take a little outside help. For some, depending on the seriousness of what happened, the journey to wholeness can be more difficult. 

Going Off Track

For Seabiscuit it took an outside force to invite this inconsolable, angry, confused horse to move beyond the belief and established pattern that he was small, slow and lazy.  One day while his jockey, Red,  was struggling to get him to run around the track, he either had a brilliant revelation or a moment of giving up.  But either way, Red simply let go of the reins and allowed Seabiscuit do what he wanted to do.  And what Seabiscuit wanted to do was to run really really fast. In that singular moment, the future was forever altered for all.

Regardless of the past and what anyone has said or believes, despite what you might say and believe, there is something within you that is true and real that cannot be destroyed, diminished, or lost.  You are who you were made to be, regardless of how concealed it is. There is within each one of us something so beautiful and perfect, sometimes we simply need to be supported, encouraged, helped, or inspired to find it and live it. That may not have happened in your life yet, but that does not negate the presence of perfection waiting to be expressed by you in the exact and perfect way.

I suggest you Invite yourself go ‘off-track’.  Just because your life is a certain way, doesn’t mean it has to be that way.  Just because you have chosen a career or a path that seems to fit who you think you are or the world might have thought you were, doesn’t mean anything. Follow a dream, start a new hobby, engage in a new career. You could let this simple ‘blog’ be a catalyst to get off the track you are on, make a new one and walk it.  Or run it.

Don’t freeze-frame life on tragedies

There was a moment when Seabiscuit and his jockey both broke their legs. It was by all accounts a real tragedy.  This happened 20 minutes into a 2 hour+ movie so sitting in the audience it very much felt like both the movie and life for them was over.  Horses that break their legs are normally put down or out to pasture.  It is un-heard of that a thoroughbred racehorse can come back from a broken leg to win another race. Which they did.

The spiritual perspective here, is that obviously this is not true. All of us have had tragedy touch our lives. Some of us might even be in the middle of one. This could be the death of a loved one, an illness, natural disasters, fires, getting fired, being betrayed or abandoned or losing connections with loved ones through ancient arguments or other types of separations. And for many people, life takes a downturn at that moment and is never the same again.  I have counseled people who following an early lost love, never loved again. In my own family, a younger brother drowned in his early twenties, and my parents never had another truly happy moment.

Because we are having this conversation from not merely a human perspective but a spiritual one – there is no tragedy in your life that you cannot rise from.  I am reminded of a quote:

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” ~ Richard Bach

Check inside to see if you have been laying low, playing small or feeling puny since some tragedy big or small occurred for you. Seabiscuit and Red had many months on a beautiful farm to heal and comfort each other so you might need to gently put one foot in front of the other too slowly begin to feel better and move into life more fully.  As a spiritual being having a human experience, we are not made to live our lives in sadness or regret.  We are made to shine our light regardless of what life throws at us.  I am not saying this is easy. I myself, have survived and thrived after many really ‘tragic’ personal experiences.  It can be done and in an authentic way.  I am not talking about putting on a good face or pretending to be happier than you really are. It cannot be that the a difficult experience, no matter how awful,  meant that a happy, fulfilling and meaningful life was impossible? 

A reminder of the mythical story of the Phoenix Rising.  The phoenix is a mythical golden bird associated with renewal and regeneration. Rising from the ashes of its previous life, the phoenix is a symbol of hope, of life and of better things to come, born from the knowledge and experience of difficult times and challenging circumstances. The phoenix lives for 500 years and at the end of its life builds a nest and lights both the nest and himself on fire.  From its ashes, a new bird comes forward to live and love another 500 years.

Synchronicity, connection, and Grace

I say that the universe conspires for our greater good - that everything is working itself out on our behalf.  We have one broken horse and a story of how he overcame and became one of the greatest racehorses ever. Is it an accident that this horse and these three men found each other in one another’s company?  Did they save the horse?  Or did the horse save them? Perhaps it is yet another example of how love expresses and how this Infinite, Universal and Eternal power and presence we call God actually works.

This fourth and final perspective is about gratitude and grace.  Things may never actually be what we experience on the surface.  There may actually always be a spiritual underground where connections are being arranged, the dots are being connected, the t’s are being crossed - all on our behalf. Our spiritual philosophy firmly holds that our thoughts, feelings, expectations, behaviors and attitudes contribute to what actually happens in this spiritual under-ground.  The point is you have right and reason to believe in miracles happening for you!

I suppose my closing thought about this week’s Spiritual Perspectives is to keep an open mind and heart so that you can be aware of the moment the invitation to you to go off-track happens. Move forward with hopeful and optimistic expectations about what is possible for you and for the world in the future.  Regardless of history, every story can have a happy ending.

So ends todays Spiritual Perspective on Seabiscuit.

Join me this coming  Sunday for Spiritual Perspectives on “This thing called Love”

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Owner to Jockey: "You could be crippled for the rest of your life." Jockey replies: " I was already crippled for the rest of my life. I got better. Seabiscuit made me better."


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