I am a New Saint. (I am also a queen. However, that may be subject matter for another book!)
Traditionally, people do not ordain themselves saints unless they are leaders of a cult. Whether or not someone is a saint (or cult leader) is up to others to discern. In the case of a saint, a spiritual community recognizes the divine qualities of a person and their extraordinary activities, usually after their death. Cult members are not so good at recognizing that they are in a cult or that they have a cult leader. Those labels are applied by others outside of the cult, who are actually members of larger cults that have become mainstreamed and normalized, like academic institutions, pop star fan/stan communities, political parties, royal families, or our favorite online retailers whose products magically appear on our doorstep when we press a button on an app.
This is not a book about cults . . . yet.
I am not a New Saint because I feel divine or extraordinary. I am a New Saint because I have chosen to give a shit about myself and everyone around me and because I have figured out much of the work I need to do to help people experience the freedom to be their most authentic selves, I do that work, and I keep showing up to do that work.
This may sound extraordinary, but I don’t want it to be because I need you to join me on this path. We no longer have a choice. I want you to become a New Saint so that we can together make this work ordinary and accessible. Just as many of us are trained to do simple tasks to function in our lives, I want us to train to free each other from suffering while we train to reduce our own suffering.
This book is about how to do that. But first I should explain where the notion of New Saints came from.
Let’s start with something fun and light, like the apocalypse.
To begin with, we are not experiencing the end of the world, but we are experiencing the end of some provocative and desperately enduring lies we have told ourselves. With the end of lies comes the awakening of truth. And so we are living in a period when we are confronting truth—truth about ourselves and our relationship to death and dying, to systems and institutions of violence, to transhistorical trauma, to the health of our planet, to capitalism, and, ultimately, to the fact that we can no longer continue living like we have in the past.
Real truth is unrelenting, like the sun piercing the clouds on an overcast day, and it doesn’t go away just because we can’t handle it. Truth uncovers everything—all the shit that we have spent our lives running away from. And when something is uncovered, even if it’s the most intense individual or collective trauma, it demands to be taken care of.
Excerpted from The New Saints: From Broken Hearts to Spiritual Warriors by Lama Rod Owens.