This article was originally intended to respond to Dr. Dean Ornish's article in the Huffington Post on Transcending the Health Care Debate, but was too long for them. So I've posted it here, in hopes it can provide a counterbalance to all the craziness going on now.
Dear Dr. Ornish:
You have been an outstanding advocate for reversing the lifestyles that have brought us so many health concerns. For all of us, thank you.
However, the most important part of your article was left for the last couple paragraphs, seemingly reflecting a conclusion based on a decade of trying to effect bureaucratic change to adopt sensible wellness reimbursement practices.
Institutionalized bureaucracy has certainly run amok. We all can point to countless instances of frustration dealing with one rigid practice after another, whether in private industry, our schools or religious institutions, or the many arms of our government. And most of us are left exasperated, if not worse.
These bureaucracies though, are in themselves symptoms of an unstated belief that we can't manage our own lives, so we delegate that responsibility to others to do it for us. Whether those "somebodies" are elected officials, bureaucrats who administer their programs, or businesses seeking efficiency and profits as they give us what we want, the result is the same -- individuals are forced to comply with rigid, one size fits all approaches that deny their individuality, if not their liberty and power of choice.
Why do we need a doctor to tell us to get off the couch, exercise, meditate or eat the way we know we should?
Because we refuse to take responsibility for our own health and well-being, just like we refuse to take responsibility for the conduct of our government and those who contest for power while currying the favor of those who try to influence them behind the scenes.
Every person is an individual, endowed with unique perspectives, skills and attributes. They have unique needs in their physical, mental and spiritual health as well. And they have unique ways they influence our world and the lives of others.
Your suggestions are good ones, but they are tied to a system that thinks, as many of us also apparently do, that we should ignore this diversity and turn to one-size-fits-all approaches that somehow will serve us better than ways that can recognize the needs of real, individual people.
Somewhere along the line we must have succumbed to a mindset so terrible that we refuse to even acknowledge it. And that is the belief that we are incapable of acting with clear intention and conscious action in our lives and common affairs. As a result, we continue to emasculate ourselves and hand over our power of choice in a headlong rush toward centralized governance and decision-making by those who think they know best.
It is this turn-over of power that has allowed the beauracracies to flourish. And like the government and institutions behind them, once created they tend to be self-replicating and exist for all perpetuity.
While it is important that we address the important issues you raise, it is even more important that we address our relationship to the conduct of our common affairs, and whether we will remain content to sit on the sidelines and let others decide what's best for us.
Let's not think this is an endorsement for one plan or another. It's not.
The current health care debate is over which such groups will receive that power, rather than how we can empower and inspire the people to assume ever-greater responsibility for this precious gift of life and everything that affects it in the world around us.
Until we wake up and say, "Enough is enough!" they're going to continue playing their games.
And unless we do, the evolution of humanity will no longer be a story of the expansion of our consciousness and what we do with it in the world, but rather one of how we all decided it just wasn't worth the hassle.
The choice can be ours. At least, if we want it to be.
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John is a lawyer and spiritual teacher who holds out a vision of a New World, and how we can move through the problems of today to get there, in the process challenging the beliefs and perspectives of a status quo that no longer serves us. He writes and speaks to awakening audiences globally to lay a new foundation for peace and possibility in our lives and world. You can sign up for his twitter feed @JohnDennison, and read more of his unique perspectives at PeaceOptions.com