Yesterday at spiritual service, I heard a woman yell out “Jesus Christ is my personal savior” as she left the building in the midst of the sermon. Now, it could have been that the sermon was being delivered by a woman that so incensed this person, but as that was apparent from the beginning, it seems unlikely. No, something tells me that when Ms. Mason declared our synonymous spiritual state with the divine and that we are therefore our own saviors, that this crossed the line.
For those unaware of my background, I grew up fundamentalist Christian, wholly sold to the system of belief that stated my intrinsic nature was sinful and an affront to the divine, redeemable only because a part of that very divine had subjected himself to torture and death for the purposes of providing an avenue for eventual reunion with him in glory. I was to believe that the innermost aspect of my being was a cesspool of spiritual deplorability, fit only for eternal destruction. For those who neither attempt to teach their children this way of thinking, unconsciously noting that to do so would lead I believe to actions on the wrong side of emotional child abuse, nor practice it themselves, acting instead that at some level they really are good people who make bad decisions because of circumstance, this focus on the supposed depraved nature of humanity may come as a surprise, albeit one with a niggling amount of internal discomfort. However, commitment to such thinking seems inevitable for purposes of consistency, if the aforementioned assumption is believed.
Hearing that woman cry out reminded me of that thinking, for years now relegated to the trash-heap of ideological notions, a place reserved for any and all thoughts that at their core about taking away personal power, achievement and love. Thankfully, and entirely unbeknownst to the woman, her statement brought a smile to my face upon reflection. While she may feel a vehement desire to retain a belief in her own lack, the truth, liberating in its naturalness and all-encompassing in its focus on the interconnectivity of the universe, that we are not powerless, that salvation is not an end-goal to achieve but a current reality to more fully experience, washed over me anew.
Once one admits to the truth of spirituality, wholly natural in its home of cognitive transcendence, being an intrinsic part of the human experience, the power lies in realizing that to fill up that space is a choice we each have before us. Upbringing may instill a sense of spiritual failure, of a need to constantly pit oneself against the forces of evil running the world, of personal destruction through martyrdom as a means of indicating one’s dedication, the continuation of these beliefs are not necessary. Like the butterfly caccooning itself, so each person can withdraw within to see the beauty that makes life worth living, the power that drives each of us, despite the seemingly unlimited obstacles before us, to continue down a path that began amongst the millions of sperm seeking that egg, and, with that realization shed our thoughts of lack and spring forth to let the butterfly wings of our spirit take flight.
Yes, Jesus may be considered a savior, but in the same sense that, as a fellow human being, we all are. Practicing that understanding will lead less to verbal expulsions of outrage and more towards symphonic vibrations of joy.
© David Teachout