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The Ego System of Humanity and Ecosystem for Humanity

Presentation at the “Intersection of Faith and Health Symposium” at SUNY School of Public Health in Renssalaer, NY on April 26th, 2012 sponsored by the Department of Health of the State of New York

We live in a world of point counter point.  Everyone is focused on protecting their turf, promoting their agendas and feeding their egos.  This is the “ego system” on which tracks we are destined to crash, cash in, or simply live in the chaos of bettering each other rather than working together to make the world a better place.

Take your fist, squeeze it, then squeeze it even harder until you cannot squeeze it any more then let go, quickly.  Feel the energy surge from letting go of the part of you that has to hold on to your turf, your ego, your importance.  There I more power in letting go that holding on.  Clashing fists perpetuate frustration and conflict. The result is we all get  head aches.  It is good that we all have our points, our distinctive, our contributions to the health and faith of our communities.  What is not good is when our ego-system demands that we devalue or make less important the other and thereby, we depreciate the very value we have.  What we do gets lost and what we refuse to do.            

Faith claims it can heal and there is no need for science and medicine.  Science and medicine claim that reason and science are real and faith is superstitious and inconsequential.  We knock heads to prove our points and the only point we prove is our own and the system of healthcare and the people of our land are hurt not helped by this turf war.

If we open our hands, unclenching our fists, we can join our hands together in a partnership.  We can shift from an “ego-system to an Ecosystem”.  An eco system values everything and everyone as part of the team of health care and of global community.  Instead of a point counter point system that perpetuates ego-centricity we today shift to an eco-system that is propelled by ecumenicity.

Today, we come together to inaugurate a new day.  Today is a day not of conflict, chaos and counterpointing but a day of cooperation, collaboration and community.  We set aside a=our competing agendas and take up our shared task:  the well being of humanity.  This is true faith in action.  Not self-serving faith that perpetuates a particular brand of faith.  This faith is non-sectarian.  It simply sees what no one else sees and works to build toward its becoming a reality.  Hats off and hands up for those who conceived believed and worked to make this day happen.  They saw not the obstacles and they acted not with obtrusiveness but with inclusiveness.  They called together members of the medical community, the educational community, and the religious community to partner together as an ecosystem of faith to work toward sensitivity to all, in partnership with all, and toward a just and effective healthcare system for all.

This ecosystem had three distinct components.  They are honoring, honesty, and humility.

When we honor all parts of all disciplines and all people regardless of anything we invite true community.  When we are wiling to be honest about our part in the problems and change our focus from ego to eco we work toward true collaboration.  When we are willing to humble ourselves and value the other, we become a cooperative, collaborative community which profits everyone.

It has been said that “it is surprising what we can accomplish if we do not care about who gets the credit”.

Imagine if all the cancer research centers decided to cooperate and share all their research and findings with each other not caring who discovers the cure for cancer but only imagining a world that is cancer free.

Imagine if all the religious institutions decided to cooperate and collaborate as communities of faith instead of protecting their turf or promoting their distinctive, but worked together to end violence, poverty, hunger, and war.

It would take three things:  serenity, defined as letting go of all agendas and conditions and being at peace with what is, surrender, defined as surrendering our ego systems to our ecosystem, and ecumenicity and sacrifice, defined as the willingness to embrace all disciplines, all practices, all beliefs, all behaviors, and all people as having one essence of loving presence for all.

The internal family systems model of therapy in which I have trained for the past 8 years and which I now assist in the training at CCSU, provides an ecosystem of care for physical, emotional, and spiritual parts inside of all of us.  Every part is welcome and cared for while the system of parts is imbued with compassion, calmness, courage and creativity from the core of care to the parts of the system.  Imagine a circle around the core of your body.  The circle would begin at the head and circle around the midsection back to the head.  Inside the circle are three organs: the brain (body), the heart (soul/emotions) and the lungs (spirit/breath). Each of them have two parts that could ego polarize the system or they could work together in a partnership for the system.  When the parts are open minded, open hearted, and open spirited then work as a cooperative ecosystem.  When they are ego/parts driven they work against the system.

Nearly 30 years ago as a pastor I was preaching on Spiritual discipline like reading scripture, praying and meditation, which I was an expert in, so a part of me said.  While preaching I sensed the voice of God saying, “You got to be kidding me, have you looked in a mirror lately”.  My first or fist-ego response was, “God, do not bother me can you not see I am preaching!”.  Then I stepped into the sacred space of hearing and realized that God was putting a sensitive caring finger on that fact that I weighed 300 pounds and was preaching on discipline.  I humbly dismissed myself in front of the congregation from ego preaching and went to the altar.  The next day I got up and went for a run like when I was in college, 10 years and 120 pounds ago and nearly died.  Over the next two years I lost a hundred pounds, ran my first marathon.  I committed to run NYC marathon every year as I knew it would force me to keep caring for the body or I would die running the marathon.  So the needs of body, soul and spirit have become partners in healthiness of living and believing ever since.


Every blade of grass in every field, every drop of water in every ocean, every stone on every mountain, every molecule of oxygen in the expanse of sky, every human being on earth living life all cooperating and collaborating in an ecosystem that bay faith sees more than the ego can see.

Then every hospital, catering to the physical needs, will become also a place where the spiritual needs of connectedness and community are respectfully cared for. Then every house of religious traditions, catering to the spiritual needs, will become also a place where the nutritional and physical needs are respectfully and responsible cared   Instead of a parts war propelled by an ego system that focuses on “the survival of the fittest” there would be a parts welcoming propelled by an ecosystem that welcomes all parts and focuses on “fitting together for the health of all”.

So today faith and health intersect for the good of all and the healthy functioning of the system.  Compassionate hearts, Cooperative minds, and Coalescing spirits unite for the good of humanity, global peace, and personal health.

This is transformative care to which we all contribute.  We join hearts, minds, and hands to work together to make healthcare not just a concept but a reality for all.

Rev. Dr. Donald L. Paine, LCSW, AAMFT, D.Min.Psy.
©Donald L. Paine, Parakalein Inc. April 26, 2012

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