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Friday, October 23, 2009


Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Jan 30, 2010 8:08 AM PST

This essay is dedicated to Norman Vincent Peale, who convinced millions of the power of positive thinking. Dedicating oneself to the service of others is the only way to win true friends and influence people to be all that we can be.

Anyone who has read this book of essays from beginning to end can plainly see that I am an incurable optimist. That makes me an outlier in a nation too ready to give up on democracy because too many others have given up power to the playthings of the corporate Puppetmasters. I am quite comfortable in this role, having always viewed myself as something of an outsider. I have never bought into the false divisions between myself and others and so have never fit neatly into any such division. The only “clique” to which I belong is males, and I am happy to call myself that now that I have finally realized that most men really do care about more than football and beer. All divisions other than that of gender are illusory. We all share a common ancestry and are composed of the same elements that were born in the stars. We are bound by our DNA, our common history and if we will allow it, our love for one another.

Until I realized that it is simply cultural that Americans have repeatedly schismed into opposing groups, I lived in a state of constantly warring emotions of deep depression and deeply troubling anger. At times, my anger consumed me to the point that I became irrational. It has only been through the power of my community of faith that I have come to a point that I can confidently state that I will no longer fall prey to the twin traps of anger and depression. I am now calm and confident that I understand the purpose of my life. I have studied Buddhism and the great religions enough to understand that we cannot act in the Universe with deliberation until we have found our center. My rock is my unyielding faith in the essential goodness of Mankind. My community of faith is Mankind.

The Buddha taught us that we are all one, connected by what Christians call the Holy Spirit to the one God spoken of in all great religions and variously referred to as Vishnu, Yaweh, and Allah. If this is the case, then we are all avatars of this one God, acting in the material world. We are born without conscious awareness of where we originated but with the capacity to learn, if we open our hearts and minds to the possibility of God’s existence, whatever its nature might be. I believe that we can all become Gods, in a sense. In my personal “religion,” the only difference between you and a prophet is that you may not have accepted the possibility that we can become one human consciousness by agreeing on the simple precepts that all men and women are created equal, endowed by their creator with inalienable rights and that it is the moral duty of each of us to love one another as we would like to love ourselves.

Most people that I talk to do not believe that it is possible to create a world where we all share these beliefs. To them, I say that they lack the imagination to see that we create our own world not only individually but collectively. We are born with free will and it takes an act of will to act according to our beliefs or to lose our integrity by failing to do so.

Therefore, the question becomes whether or not you choose to believe that it is possible to ensure that "God’s will" be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. If you do so and act accordingly, it is inevitable that its Kingdom will come to Earth as it is in Heaven. We are engaged even now in the battle of Armageddon. I have looked for but not found Jesus astride a white horse bearing a flaming sword. I believe that is because he already taught us and Mohammed reminded us of what Abraham tried to tell us: We are all one people and must act accordingly.

In the immortal words of Sting:

There is no political solution
to our troubled evolution.
Have no faith in Constitution,
there is no bloody revolution.

We are spirits in the material world,
We are spirits in the material world.

Our so-called leaders speak,
With words they try to jail ya.
They subjugate the meek,
But it’s the rhetoric of failure.

We are spirits in the material world,
We are spirits in the material world.

Where does the answer lie?
Living from day to day.
If it’s something we can’t buy,
There must be another way.

We are spirits in the material world,
We are spirits in the material world.

Rick Staggenborg, MD

Portland, Oregon

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