Bruce Wayne’s first lesson by the League of Shadows was about facing death. As he climbed his way up the mountains of the Himalayas to meet Ra’s Al Ghul he was immediately challenged to a duel to the death upon reaching the League’s base.
He was taught that death comes to us all and there is no bargaining when our time comes to meet our end. Ra’s al Ghul says it aptly in this scene from the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C33pdX1meX4
“Death does not wait for you to be ready! Death is not considerate, or fair! And make no mistake: here, you face Death.” –Ra’s al Ghul
We all know that our bodies would be worm food some day, and yet most of the time we avoid the topic of death. It is as though if we ignore it then it wouldn’t come true. If there’s one thing we can learn from Bruce Wayne’s time with the League is that by acknowledging our mortality can bring out the life force in us.
Bruce’s most important training with the League of Shadows was to prepare him for death. Once you know for a fact that you are going to die no matter what you do in life, there will be nothing to hold you back from your purpose and vision. It was his willingness to act and not his skills that propelled him to the next level.
Bruce Wayne became Batman once he had no fear of dying. His path became clear to him once he shed the fear from his heart, that he was meant to fight injustice in his city as a symbol.
We are all fortunate that none of us have to climb mountains in the Himalayas and train under Ninja Assassins to be aware of our mortality. Just look at the people we know who have left us. All of us must have attended a funeral at least once in our life, or must have at least heard of somebody who has lost a loved one before.
I’ve attended a few funerals myself and not all of them were people of old age when they passed. There were occasions when the person who passed was taken “before their time”. This should reinforce us that our time could come at any second.
Knowing that death is around the corner should be an encouragement for us to live life, be true to our potential and how we can contribute to the world. Bruce Wayne’s legacy was Batman, a symbol to stand against injustice.
What would our legacy be? We would only know this if we have the courage to go out to the world to learn new things, and push our limits. Finding the right path to take can be a grueling process even when we know what we’re meant to do in life. Even Batman who knew that he wanted to fight injustice in Gotham had to go through hell before knowing the path he needed to take.
He climbed mountains, went to prison, slept on the streets, and starved, in his journey. And that was just the beginning of the journey! Once we start on the path it would be a whole new crazy adventure altogether.
Death can free us from worrying about losing the worldly things that we will inevitably lose anyway. Our worldly possessions can be a deterrent to us in reaching our true potential if we are hell bent on attaching ourselves to them. If we are unwilling to go through hardship for something that could be everlasting it is usually because we always settle for our short-term whims and desires.
This life of ours is temporary which makes it both beautiful and tragic. So, this is why we should make it count. Accept our death and find the courage to live to our potential today.