How To Be A True Hero

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How To Be A True Hero

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You’ve seen it hundreds of times. Some guy is being interviewed by the local news after he helped prevent some crime or rescued someone in distress. The reporter asks, “Do you consider yourself a hero?” Apparently, this question must be asked in order to test whether or not said person is in fact a hero. According to local news rules of heroism, the man is only a hero, if and only if, he claims to not be one. Most people, knowing this rule, go on to say that they don’t consider themselves to be a hero because they just did what anyone in their situation would’ve done. The reporter then cuts back to the anchorpeople who disagree with the man’s assessment. Feeling that the hero test was passed, they comment about what a true hero the man is while a colorful “local hero” graphic displays besides them. Personally though, I agree with the guy. He’s not a hero.

The modern-day notion of the hero harks back to the silent film era. A beautiful woman, tied to the railroad tracks, screams for help as a train approaches in the distance. Off to the side, a dastardly villain twirls his mustache with glee. But then, an attractive man approaches, and frees the woman from the tracks moments before the train would’ve crushed her. (Apparently, train engineers are not allowed to stop for damsels in distress.) The damsel plants a kiss on her savior’s cheek and exclaims, “My hero!” Except, he’s not a hero. A guy will do just about anything to get a guarantee lay from a hot babe. Now if it were an obese woman with a hairy lip, bad teeth, and a unibrow that the man saved, then, I might consider him a hero. But you never see that.

The fact is, humans are selfish creatures. No matter how it appears on the outside, we are almost always motivated by personal gain. Politicians, policemen, firemen, doctors, nurses, teachers, scientists, activists, volunteers, philanthropists—all admirable professions—yet, most do not enter these professions in order to better mankind. They do it for power, money, or prestige. They do it to feel important, to change something they personally don’t like, or to be admired or even loved. Even if they are doing it to make a difference and help people, as I attempt to do with this blog, it still isn’t the stuff of true heroism. So, how does one become a true hero according to my strict interpretation? An answer can be found in the book millions consider to be the be-all and end-all on truth—the Bible.

“Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” Why is such a seemingly conceited statement attributed to Jesus as he’s on the cross? Can you imagine someone on death row, about to be executed, saying something so cocky? Not only does it assume that you have a personal connection to God that others do not have, and that you know better than everyone else, but that you believe that your request can persuade God about a decision He might not have made otherwise. No wonder this dude got crucified. If he was so enlightened, he could’ve just made this request on a telepathic level, or kept the thought to himself until meeting with God in the afterlife. Of course, had he done either, we wouldn’t have heard it. I believe that the message wasn’t truly about God forgiving us at all, or about the grave mistake that humans were making by killing their savior, but to teach us what it takes to be like this enlightened being. It teaches us about the ultimate sacrifice, and I’m not just taking about the death of the body, but the ego.

The ultimate sacrifice is not only to be a martyr for a cause, but to do so while going against the beliefs, standards, and mores of one’s peers. It is to risk being unpopular, foolish, or even hated in order to do something that would benefit these very people. Doing this task must be outside your comfort zone. It must involve leaving behind that which you are familiar—to let go of the ego’s need for approval, its need for respect, admiration, glory, honor, even love. In short, we must be someone who becomes the enemy of that which we hope to save, and we must suffer for doing so. Do this, and you are a true hero in my book. Do anything less, and you are just a good Samaritan. And according to history, the Samaritans were sinful, idol-worshipping, iniquitous people, so being a good one, much like being a good person in general, didn’t take much: to see someone who was robbed, beaten, and left to die on the street and, dare I say it—actually help them for example.

The parable of the good Samaritan, told by Jesus, teaches us how we should behave towards others—even those that are not our friends or neighbors. But his request to God after being crucified is how he demonstrates how to be like him—a true hero. He was okay with being hated and crucified for a cause, so much in fact that he didn’t want those doing it to be punished. He was able to see the big picture that they were not able to see, and so had to become the enemy for a greater good. What most people don’t seem to really think about is that had Jesus never been crucified, there’d be no Christianity today, and so Jesus’s words and stories would’ve likely been lost to antiquity.

With apologies to those who take the Bible literally, I see it as a book of myths—which may or may not have been based on various real events—that contains wisdom about how the world works. To me, worshipping Jesus is no different than worshipping King Arthur, Robin Hood, or Luke Skywalker—and I don’t mean that as a belittlement of those fictitious characters. Quite the contrary, they all carry truths hidden within their cloaks, crowns, and quivers. In fact, all mythic stories contain archetypes and wisdom that provide answers to the mysteries of life. Take Batman for example.

In The Dark Knight, when district attorney Harvey Dent turns villainous, Batman makes the heroic decision to take the fall for his crimes, hoping to empower Gotham in the name of Harvey’s legendary crime-fighting character. In fact, Batman had saved commissioner Gordon’s family from Harvey “Two-Face,” but felt that revealing what Harvey had become would leave his city disillusioned. So, he decided instead to become the bad guy. This decision reveals that Batman is not driven to fight crime for any kind of adoration. In his specific case, he does it out of his own personal compulsion based on his childhood trauma, but the message for us looks beyond that.

When we go outside our comfort zone to do something for others without credit or even recognition, that’s truly heroic. True heroes don’t need to be seen as heroes. And the only true test is whether they would continue trying to initiate positive change even at their own expense. At some point in our lives, all of us have probably done something to fit this definition, only it’s usually something we prefer not to think about because we believe that we may have done something wrong. Because those we admire or consider as equals may not approve of our actions, we may feel uneasy or even ashamed about what we’ve done, while in truth, it should be celebrated.

Back in July 2012, I wrote a post titled, “Why Forgiving Others Makes Life Better For You.” The article didn’t evoke a huge reaction from readers on my site, probably because most of my readers are spiritual types and the post was in line with most spiritual philosophy. However, the reaction was much different on one of the sites where the article was syndicated—The Good Men Project. Here, the reaction (fueled mostly by one person), skewed vehemently negative. I’ve dealt with vulgar online critiques before, but that was mostly about opinionated subjects revolving around politics or television. In this case, it was taken personally by someone who had been physically and sexually abused, and so the stakes felt much higher.

The back and forth comments went on for many days. So it wasn’t surprising that, towards the end of the drama, it had snuck into my subconscious in the form of a dream. In the dream, I was trying to help a troubled soul by using the books and information I’d gathered over the years, when a man intruded on our private conversation. I felt as though the man was going to discount or argue with what I was telling this person, and it really annoyed me. I was about to ask the man if he could give us some privacy when I woke up. It’s funny because at the time I thought that the angry comments were written by a woman, but a few days later came to learn that it was from a man—just as in the dream.

While not stated directly in the dream, it provided a revelation for me that gave me a whole new outlook on what I do and why I do it. The revelation was that…

To read the rest of this article and find out what it takes to be a true hero, click below: http://thelaymansanswerstoeverything.com/?p=2255

Author’s Bio: 

Marc Oromaner is a spiritual author and speaker who teaches how we can discover our destiny using clues found in the media and in our lives. His book, “The Myth of Lost” (www.themythoflost.com) deciphers the hidden wisdom of the hit TV show and explains how we can use this wisdom to overcome our own challenges.

Marc’s twenty years of experience working in advertising and promotion has given him a unique insight into what makes products–and people–tick. He graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Television & Radio and went on to complete a two-year advertising copywriter program at The Creative Circus in Atlanta. Working in on-air promotions at Lifetime Television and CBS News, and then in advertising with clients such as NASA, The New York Botanical Garden, and Affinia Hotels, Marc developed a talent for uncovering the soul of a brand. This skill was sharpened after he began studying at The Kabbalah Centre in New York and exploring many other spiritual philosophies including The Law of Attraction.

Today, Marc lives in New York City where he combines his background in advertising and spirituality to help people and brands find their path in an increasingly convoluted world. His blog, “The Layman’s Answers To Everything” (http://thelaymansanswerstoeverything.com/) points out the patterns that run through all great stories including our own. These patterns are clues which are meant to guide us towards a life full of love, light, and fulfillment.

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Emily DeCarlo
Emily DeCarlo (Spiritual Growth)

This article gave a different, perhaps unconventional even, definition of what a hero is. The author very successfully made the point that there are actually very few real heroes. He pointed out that most actions taken by others to supposedly help are not always as altruistic as they appear.

Marc Oromaner
Marc Oromaner (Life Purpose)

Thanks for your comment Emily! Hope it helped you to question what many take for granted and be a bit more open for alternative ways of thinking.

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