Growing up with two older brothers, I had my fair share of exposure to comic books, superheroes, and supervillains. My second eldest brother still has over 8,000 comic books in mint condition stored in his basement. He’s very proud of some early X-Men and Hulk issues. He was most upset when several classic ‘The Punisher’ issues got lost during a move. Too bad he didn’t cash out during the comic book boom from 1985 to 1993. At that time, Marvel and DC comics caused more teenage boys arousal than the newest issue of the Victoria’s Secret catalogue.
I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my big brothers with collecting comic books and comic trading cards, mostly because they forbade my little greasy fingers from touching their long-term investments. I was most fascinated by the stats of the superheroes. I never got sports stats but, man, did I get superhero and supervillain stats.
Hulk: Height 7” 6′ – Weight 1,015 lbs – Strength 100 tons – Nuclear Blast Direct
Spider Man: Height 5” 8′ – Weight 155 lbs – Strength 10 tons – Nuclear Blast 10-mile radius
Beyonder: Height 6′ – Weight Unknown – Strength Without Limits – Cannot be destroyed
I would spend hours reading and memorizing the stats of Marvel Superheroes and Supervillains known and unknown. I was absolutely fascinated with the idea of characters in the Marvel Universe. The most exciting concept was that some who were not born with their powers could still ‘get in der’ and mix it up with the rest of them. It gave me hope that quite possibly I too, could be a superhero.
Who knew Spiderman was kicking ass 3 blocks from my house!
But how to become one?
That question started a 2-year vision quest to become a superhero (come on, I was 11). I read as many comic books, trade journals, and popular mechanics issues I could borrow from the library. I would mastermind with my smarter, older brothers for answers to questions like; how can we produce a web-like substance that shoots from the wrists, is there a breathing technique to give one extraordinary physical strength or stamina, is there currently a reflective material that would make me invisible, would it be better to kill the bad guy and dispose of his body in acid or to stun him and drop him off at the police station? I was in the early stages of learning how to become a vigilante.
I imagined that while my neighbors turned in for the evening, I would be suiting-up in my superhero costume with gadgets to begin my neighborhood watch. Scaling trees, looking through windows, checking the safety of electric transformers and making sure no funny business was taking place. Not on my watch dammit! Or maybe I was really in the early stages of learning how to be a creepy stalker in the woods.
What is a ‘superhero’ anyways?
A superhero is defined as a benevolent fictional character with superhuman powers. Superhuman is defined as having or showing exceptional ability or powers. Who says we can’t be real life superheros with superhuman powers of awareness in the middle of a house fire, or seeing dozens of solutions to a problem where others see none?
My spiritual teacher, Grandmaster Choa Kok Sui, once said, “You can spend 20 years in the Himalayas learning how to levitate your body. But how does that siddhi (yogic power), alleviate the suffering of your fellow-man?”
The common superhero powers of flight, x-ray vision, reading minds, incredible strength and endurance, invisibility, and immortality are cool to think about BUT without the refinement of character and the willingness to do good, so what? Look at the Incredible Hulk—combine his strength with uncontrollable anger and you got a real problem for the neighborhood.
When people are in trouble do they come to you for assistance? Are you seen as a reliable source of superhuman compassion, patience, understanding, and getting things done? Or do you practice your one and only superpower—invisibility, the ability to disappear at will when any crisis arises.
If you want to be a modern-day superhero, here are some suggestions:
- Volunteer at a local food pantry
- Teach an at-risk youth how to read
- Sing at your church choir
- Start a local feeding program for the homeless
- Babysit for struggling parents
- Write ‘Thank You’ cards to your three least favorite people
- Hold a weekly meditation at your house
- Donate money directly to a cause you believe in
- Provide mentoring to someone in need of what you know
You can be as creative as you want. Just take action. There is more opportunity to serve within a 5-mile radius of your home than you ever thought possible.
Here are only some of the benefits to serving others:
- Expanding your heart leading to more inner peace and inner joy
- Increasing your capacity to serve leading to more energy and power
- Developing and honing your superpowers leading to mastery
- Connecting with cool people leading to a larger social network
- Developing a sense of purpose beyond the ego leading to a smaller ‘I.’
- Being recognized as a leader within your neighborhood and community
My challenge to you is to do something…anything…to serve your fellow superheroes and supervillains. Find a form of service that resonates with who you are and try it out for a month. If after a month of serving a child, homeless person, aspiring entrepreneur, or whatever and you realize it was a huge waste of time, then quit. But to make up your mind before ever serving your community would be kind of silly right?
It would be like Hulk shouting, “Hulk hate chocolate ice cream! Too much choc-o-late! Hulk smash ice cream!” I calmly ask, “Hulk, have you ever tried chocolate ice cream before?” Hulk shouts, “NO!” I question, “Wait Hulk, have you even tasted ice cream?” Hulk shouts, “No! Man says Hulk ice cream too sweet ‘n too cold. Man says Hulk not like!” I then slide the bowl of delicious chocolate ice cream across the table to Hulk.
Hulk like. Hulk like very much.
Don’t be like Hulk, try it before choosing whether you love it or hate it.