If Bruce Wayne can do it…

By Paul T

A while back I asked you to look to Magneto for tips on living consciously. This week, I ask you to look to Batman – or rather Bruce Wayne. πŸ™‚

Please humour me and watch this 4 minute video – an excerpt from Batman: The Dark Knight Rises: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXxw-zXRqOs

I LOVE this sequence. I watched the movie over a year ago and it still sits with me.

We have Bruce Wayne, trapped in a prison at the bottom of a huge pit. The only way out is up – by climbing the crumbling wall of the pit. To add to the futility of the situation, he has anxiety due to a similar traumatic experience he had as a youth when he spent time trapped at the bottom of a well after falling in.

He attempts to scale the wall, a herculean feat, with only a rope harness to serve as a ‘safety net.’ Needless to say he fails. Multiple times.

Another prisoner sees him struggling and takes it upon himself to offer guidance. He suggests that it is fear of death that will give him the drive he needs to pass this test. He then tells Bruce to make the jump without the harness. Bruce listens to the wise man’s advice even though it seems to be whack. He packs for the journey this time – a sign of confidence. Something in him has shifted.

When he attempts the climb without a harness, he successfully makes the jump. He accomplishes a seemingly impossible feat because of his fear of death.

I can relate to this scene. I see it as an analogy for taking risks in my own life. Two months ago I quit my job, despite not having another job to go to. Kinda like taking a leap without a harness. I have yet to find a new job and yet somehow I am still alive & kicking. I have no idea what’s next, but as my resources run out I feel like my ‘fear of death’, or in this case fear of failure, is helping to focus my efforts. Because I have much to lose I am expending much effort to secure my next job.

Something in me has shifted. While I haven’t completed my jump yet I know I will.

What safety nets are holding you back? Family, friends, a job, money, etc? I think it’s worth reflecting to figure out what harnesses you have that might actually be impediments.

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5 Responses to If Bruce Wayne can do it…

  1. cinova says:

    I am an unashamed fan of ‘super-hero’ movies. I love how they remind us of the ever present possibility of achieving the impossible. The suspension of disbelief provided by the narrative, the capacity for transcendence beyond this mortal coil, the belief in a force for good, the simultaneously conquering, yet flawed/vulnerable hero in us all. The scene you have described here is a powerful metaphor for how we face life and death. If we have a ‘back up’ plan or a safety harness, we are less likely to take giant leaps of faith. We are so readily held back by doubts, insecurities, negative self-talk, and fears of what might happen if we fail and fall. Some fear produces adrenalin, creating movement. This kind of fear doesn’t mobilise us, it weighs us down. In the end, Bruce Wayne realises he is more afraid of dying in that pit, so really, he has no choice but to rise. The advice of the old man liberates Bruce from the imprisonment of his own thinking processes. The climb, the leap, the letting go of expectation, the rise from the well of despair. Fabulous stuff. Thanks for this stimulating post, Paul. Keep your eyes firmly fixed on the opening to the sky and you will reach that destination.

    • pt77 says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only fan of super heroes πŸ™‚

      I love this scene because there are many interpretations, all inspiring. Thanks for your insights.

  2. SB says:

    I liked that scene from Batman too.
    I heard Chris Hedges talk a while ago (video at links below below) and he talked a lot about courage. He’s a journalist who has risked his life and risked arrest going to war zones and protesting, and that’s why people in the audience asked him about courage. It made me think about how there are so many things were are afraid of – especially losing a job, or being out of work, or not having enough to retire on. But what you show, PT, is that if we think consciously about those fears, rather than letting them sit as unexamined fears that silently and even unconsciously hold us back, we can confront them, and sometimes even acknowledge that there are safety nets we can get by without. Knowing that can allow us, like Chris Hedges or like you PT, to take courage and do very daring and necessary things.


    • pt77 says:

      Thanks for the link Sb. Definitely fear on a different scale, but similar idea πŸ™‚ It’s so easy to get paralyzed by fear. We either have to get past it or learn to use it constructively. Or stay stuck where we are.

  3. Pingback: Find Your Spiritual Harness |

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