The deeper we move into our inner spiritual work, the more we become aware of the subtle temptations of the ego – especially those we would never have thought of as ego-attachments because our cultural conditioning tells us these are good and benevolent traits. For me, this has come more and more fully to light over the past 10 days – a time that has been deeply transformational albeit painful. The ego-attachment that presented itself to me (which admittedly has been presenting itself over the past many years in all its many guises) is that of SAVIOR.
What has hit me upside the head in the most painful and glorious way is the long-standing pattern within me of wanting to and believing I was capable of changing the world (or for that matter, changing anything or anyone around me.). I falsely believed that partially by my efforts, the world would/could become a kinder, gentler place. You know, kinda like Jesus. But the trick is that even Jesus was unable to change the world. By Jesus’ efforts, the world did not become kinder or gentler. Some might even argue that because of the acts done in Jesus’ name, the world became more violent. If the so-called savior of the Christian religion was unable to change a broken world, how could I believe my efforts would prove any more fruitful? As it turns out, they have not.
The threads of this savior-complex in me are long and deep. They reach back across time and generations and are tangled and intertwined with centuries of societal conditioning – the deception that says, “humanity can be saved and it’s your job to do it.” For 53 year I have believed this lie and given my heart and my soul to trying to “save” the people around me while also trying to save the world. I wholly admit that part of (maybe all of) my need to “save” is a projection of constantly feeling unsafe in this violent and fearful world. Instead of finding a way to make myself feel safe, I have turned my efforts outward. Ignoring my own safety needs, I have tried to save (help) others. Time and time and time again this has ended in failure.
As it turns out, it is not my job to save others. It is my job to save myself. I think of this in terms of The Titanic: “If the ship is sinking, the only one you can save is yourself.” (Unless you’re a mother with children, then you definitely risk your own life to save theirs.)
Coming to this awareness, confronting it and letting this attachment go has been excruciating. I’ve raged. I’ve wept. I’ve felt paralyzed by grief. At the same time, a profound liberation is taking place. IT IS NOT MY JOB TO SAVE THE WORLD! And I cannot help those who are unwilling to help themselves. All I can do is uncover what I need to feel safe, fulfilled, joyful, supported and loved in an otherwise broken and violent world, and bring these things into my life (including all the resources and tools I share here). In making and allowing this choice this is what I’ve discovered:
Freed of the burden of savior, space is made available for pure enjoyment, true freedom, and abundant and fulfilling love. Here, I AM enough!