By Amanda Moreno
Somewhere around ten years ago I met a dude who recommended I read Daniel Quinn’s The Story of B and Ishmael. I did and was introduced to many ideas I’d never been able to articulate but that resonated at my own personal level of common sense. One of these was the idea that each of the world’s main religions was a salvation-based religion; religions that had, for one reason or another, been sculpted into dogmas that emphasized the inherent suffering of the human life and the need for salvation, which typically arrived from the outside.
Indeed, the salvation myth seems to be one of those ideas that has taken an insidious and incessant stranglehold on the modern paradigm. Through a god that will come and save us, through alien beings who will either bring the return of light and knowledge or cataclysmic death, through leaders in power who need to be making better decisions, through our children who will have to pick up the slack, through a pill that can regulate blood pressure or mood or ovulation or take away symptoms from a cold so that we can go back to the grind…
Once again, as so often happens in these pieces, I’m aware of the oversimplification of the above statements. Of course, we also have memes in modern culture that support the opposite: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” comes to mind. But the ethos of waiting for salvation from above or from outside seems to mix quite nicely with the psychic overwhelm inherent in modern culture — we tend to shut down, repress or deny rather than deal with the emotions that stem from watching the war state become perpetual, glaciers dying, ignorance spreading like radiation (or radiation spreading like ignorance?)… and on, and on.
It also mixes in a really interesting way with the idea that we are each special, chosen and unique. But what will we do with our uniqueness? Display it on Facebook for personal gratification and then let others do the heavy lifting? Hm.
I recently took off for a few days to spend some time at the very cold, stark ocean of the Pacific Northwest. My intention had been to spend as much time outdoors as possible, but a cleverly timed cold made it clear my recalibration needed to be a bit more…well, internal. I did make it to the ocean each day for a period of time, and I did get to spend time with books and podcasts and writing and cooking. But there were also the hours in the evening when I just allowed myself some fallow time — with The Lord of the Rings and a few episodes of the first season of Heroes.
I definitely have a penchant for fantasy and for super-hero movies and TV shows. For one thing, there’s a level of mindless indulgence that just feels so good, partially because it’s not entirely mindless — these kinds of movies appeal to my own sense of what is possible and feelings of being different (but special, of course).
Here’s the thing, though. Salvation-based religions — Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism — have morphed to teach us that living is suffering and that we are to seek ultimate liberation from that suffering through transcending the human form in some way. Through striving to become something more than human, something purified or supernatural. Something less attached, less sinful, less dense. I suppose I can get on board with the attachment thing, but the ‘sin’ and the density? Isn’t that why we’re here?
Okay, maybe not the entire reason. But in my cosmological framework, at least as it currently exists, we incarnated here to learn about density. As for sin…well, the act of sinning is based on going against moral codes that seem to be quite set in stone — and isn’t morality more fluid than that?
The fact is, in so many of the salvation-based religions, ‘sin’ is bound up in enjoying the flesh, in enjoying being in density. I see where this can be problematic when balance is lost and gluttony occurs, but… well, orgasms sure aren’t linked primarily to procreation. They happen whether or not a baby is being conceived. Furthermore, although I do believe that the pursuit of evolving and elevating consciousness is one of our primary functions, I also believe that we, as humans, get to do that through exploring our bodies and our emotions and how they connect to the heart and the spirit.
In any case, I’m weary these days of the emphasis on external salvation. That’s not to say I don’t have my own fascination with Pleaidians or Atlantis/Lemuria or beings of light (or X-Men or Froddo Baggins) but it’s more in the sense that by learning about these stories and myths I can apply what I learn to my own experience. I can orient myself to my surroundings; whether I consider the myths to be fact or fiction is secondary to the heart-centered lessons I take away. This applies to my fascination with the Egyptian empire, or the Minoan, or the Etruscan. There is something within our history as a species that I want to learn from. But I don’t want to reify it into being more than me, or godlike.
Because, you see, what I realize is that these mythological and fantastical characters are idealized versions of ourselves, even with all of their flaws. And we cannot wait for them, or someone like them, to come save us. We have to learn from the stories, take their lessons to heart, integrate what fits using discernment and instinct, and spit out the rest so that we can become those idealized versions, complete with our flaws and our misgivings and darkness, but well aware of our gifts. So that we can, in fact, be the change we wish to see in the world. So that we can save ourselves from the inside out, or at least realize that we are perfect, in perfect time and perfect place. Whatever the hell that means.
You are special. You are unique — perhaps even the ‘Chosen One’. The thing is, though, we all are. And so we must each take the initiative to uncover and cultivate our unique gifts and bring them out, in the spirit of love and hope and some kind of grounded service. At least that’s where I sit in terms of the “why are we here living this crazy existence?” question at the moment.
Well put, Amanda. Thank you.
Some people’s version of Godliness is unattainable for most of us mortals (all if we’re being honest). That’s why I tend to embrace a version that is rough around the edges, salt of the earth, with a wicked sense of humor. Nice read Amanda, thank you.
Amanda you reach through. You see what can not be expressed. I know that sounds like a cliché but the profound depth of your thoughts are so honest. Words cannot contain what you know. And what you know you can just barely convey, but it is powerful. It motivates those like me onward.
We live in a dense place where every issue is supposed to have a simple solution but rather than black and white – there are a million shades of gray.
Right now I am dealing with my own freedom.
I believe that most beings do what they don’t want to do in order to get what they want. I have taken a radical path that dictates that I do only what I want to do. If I do what doesn’t feel good – then I accept that I wanted to do it – but the question is why? Why, would I do what I don’t want to do? I must want to. The only question is why.
No Saviors – only me. Freedom is a double edged sword. Knowing truth can be a painful adventure. But knowing what I want is the ultimate orgasm.
There is no outside savior – I am the ONE.
still, I feel fear.
Lots and lots of fear, for sure. Hang in there!
Amanda, it’s nice to see somebody else mocking John Mayer’s title for a song that seemed to be a bunch of rationalizations of failure to revolt and win. In my opinion, Yes, people do die in fighting for peace. Some say the coward is the one who gets to live to tell how the brave one died in battle. I think the industry is in our hands because we givie it life with our money. sitting aside will not stop the opposition, that’s a silly notion. John Mayer is waiting on the world to change for him, and isolated tribes in the forests of Brazil fling spears and arrows at new-world contacts, perhaps floating above their main camp to take good photographs. Waiting is irrelevant to this, and many other situations. Some may say I am thinking about this too much, but I would say “Why would I wait for the world to change?”
It’s obvious that singer/songwriters playa role in crafting and saying current social philosophy.
Heh. Sometimes I pick titles that are like little inside jokes to myself, and this was definitely one of them. Shocked that someone recognized it!
That said…there is definitely a wiff of victimization in the lyrics, but by and large I actually relate to them as well, now that I take a look. I’ve definitely had my moments when I’ve muttered to myself something along the lines of waiting til, or even being anxious for the time when the Pluto-in-Leos die off (meaning step down from power positions). Perhaps not the most constructive thinking, but it definitely occurs to me
I get frustrated with my (his) generation as well, for failing to change, for buying in, etc, etc.
And, oh god, I’m gonna do it – lyrics from the first verses are:
Me and all my friends
We’re all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing and
There’s no way we ever could
Now we see everything that’s going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it
It does [somewhat whimsically and simply] illustrate the sense of powerlessness I know I hear expressed among my peers and clients. The generational shifts have speeded up so much with the Pluto in Libra/Scorp/Sag generations that we are essentially headed into the future full speed ahead with little models for the new economic/relationship/political/social realities we are plunging into at the same time as we need to be sculpting them. Hence the overwhelm that makes escape into superhero land so much more enticing.
So in that sense, hell yes we need to get off of our asses and be the change, but…well, again, I totally get the sentiment.
This is a lovely thought provoking piece, Amanda, literary style is very clear, only bias. Not to object to what you’re sending through with such light, only the paradox is there is more to this than what has ever been seen before. With esoteric entrapping, scientology and cult driven fanatics, most likely what Mormons see as saviour desensitises sanity where christianity left off. hence, we are coming back into an anomaly where our particular retaining grace attitude has lift off. lightworkers everywhere are specifically the point in my projection and to prove it you just have to go into any self help, empowering, health, seminar or group these days to ‘feel’ the saviour light in energy. this however, is very different than what the buddha, or now, through tibetan buddhism, the Dalai Lama teaches. I’ve escaped and experienced this madness for the last 25 years and while I am a clearer observer now the groups are pitted upon gates everywhere hoping to be the last man standing. while interesting most buddhist teachings are about moral conduct and compassion, turning in to our own mortality. I can hear it now, by far too long ago when the Aquarius gets us all living out our fantasies to a dream with peace for the theme using lsd and psychedelics to assist with a crazy thought out mind. we had to burst through the industrialised result of wars no doubt and conveniently score better than bearing a colonised whore, freedom was a doubt repressant only now, we have the product of what entails as the score. life existing in coping with strangeness such as developing communities with the likeness of what hitler was compiling has got me reeling even more to what sort of jumble we like to ‘feel’ when the next country is down on their luck and in poverty or slavery or look to the otehr. you just gotta take a step in that book with a bit more persuasion, as I’m definitely not a whore and doing my best to bust through the plantation magic we think is ‘new age’ light and love. it’s transforming who? to what, is my guess?
Oh, Amanda! Once again you put into coherent, united writing what I feel in my muddled, fragmented way. Recognition on so many points, and likes. Thank you!
I like the perspective that WE are the one’s we’ve been waiting for (and opportunity is knocking pretty loudly these days – actually, ass-kicking us).
Thanks for the deep and profound thoughts, Amanda.
LOVE this. Ram Dass has (famously) said Be Here Now. Be in your body, make your mistakes, be present, embrace this life. Start where you are. Let go of the attachment to it, give that to God (or whatever one chooses to call it or identify with). Your transcendence and reaching the light comes from delving into the darkness, from being deliciously human. It’s the paradox/irony of existence. Got to go through hell to get to heaven. Running from, denying and shunning our personal hells is a fool’s errand. We are here to be embodied and spiritual, to be both dark and light and to find a way to integrate the two, taking responsibility for both. We are both dualistic and one. (Another inescapable paradox.) Then we level up. (IMHO) <3!
Laura. Wonderfully said!
Thank you , Amanda. I love reading your essays. I was stuck by your insight here.
Salvation-based religion does not serve the Soul. It serves the coffers of the devoted who seek redemption outside of themselves. But it is the discovery of the Power within and the willingness to let it guide us in our relationship with ourselves and others that we can affect change in ourselves and our world.
(Oh, and by the way, this Pluto in Leo – Moon conjunct – isn’t “dying off” very soon – I’ve still got work to do here while in this form. lol )
Oh, I am blessed to have many inspirational and wise Pluto in Leos in my life.
Yes. Love your comment, Laura!