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!
Existential Crisis # 874. I have spent my whole life working toward saving the world. I think it started with a dream, but I believe this desire was present long before the dream. Somewhere inside me has always been this feeling that something is wrong. Something wrong with the world. Something wrong with the people around me. Something wrong with me. So, for 53 years, I have tried to fix that “something wrong.” Trying to fix this “something wrong” has been directed at myself, at those around me and at the world. Finding my way into ministry, spiritual counseling and then developing courses in support of people’s journey toward self-actualization (you know…the journey of “getting better”) fit perfectly into this inner drive to save myself, the people around me, and saving the world. For 26 years, my identity, my work, my creativity has been directed toward this idea of saving the world. But much of this, it seems, has come to an end (or is it a fulfillment?)
Yesterday, as I was sitting in the void which follows the end of what has been, facing down the consequences of the mission to which I have dedicated the last 26 years of my life and trying to find the fruits of these 26 years of really hard work (a few books, some happier people, some great relationships), I came upon a profound question:
What if there is nothing wrong and therefore nothing and no one to save?
Then my brain exploded.
Or did it?
When I look at this question from the perspective of the journey toward self-actualization, I find I might have come to the end (of course there’s never really an end) to my own journey. If the “goal” of self-actualization is Union with our true self and Union with the world, then it seems logical that in that place of Union all duality falls away. All perceived separation is brought together as one. In this, there is no “Us” and “Them,” we are all one in this journey we call life and we are all here to support each other’s awakening and journey toward wholeness. In this place of mutual support, there is no judgment. There is nothing wrong. Every single person is simply where they are on their journey. Period. As such, there is no one and nothing to “save.” When we think there is someone who needs saving, or we get our undies in a bundle over things of this world, it is because we remain in separation. When in Union we know and trust that all that is unfolding is doing so for the highest good and we are able to find peace and contentment within that unfolding (or at the very least, equanimity) and we realize that nothing is in need of saving.
That being said, there are tools that help us along the way and until I am shown otherwise, I am happy to share the tools that came through me and have worked for me in finding release from the perceived separation that has made me want to save a world that as it turns out, doesn’t need saving.