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New member
Jun 16, 2009
fort Myers
We've all heard the tale of Saint Peter, that doorman standing guard at the pearly gates in that placed called heaven. For that matter, what are pearly gates anyway? As a child, I will never forget that graphic illustration of St. Peter, overweight wearing a white robe, his bald head with long white beard working the entrance to heaven. Someone certainly had a creative imagination, and I still don't see what this fable has to do with me and my daily spiritual life.

I have great respect for all religions and do not believe in judging others for their ageless skeptical views. Today we have preachers of all shapes and sizes writing articles that attempt to direct us: "Don't go that way, because it's a sin". "Don't do yoga, because that makes you meditate and that makes you take responsibility for your life, also, it makes you start thinking of yourself". I believe that everybody's belief system is right for them. Mine is right for me, yours is right for you, and so on.

My opening reference to St. Peter has surely raised heavenly eyebrows, and a Bible verse offensive is well under way. I'm not trying to pick an argument with the faithful or mock anyone's belief. My intent has alterative motives of opening a spiritual groundwork for those with ALS who are not dwelling or worried of being questioned by St. Peter. Wars and death have been created by religious factions that constantly defend their doctrine against all others. I hold no degree in theology, but do know that ALS patients are consumed in health facts and a daily courage to live life. Spirituality and religion will invariably be held on the comfort side of ALS, but many are hesitant to attend even a simple support group.

A September 2005 Newsweek poll found 8 in 10 Americans do not believe any one faith is the sole path to salvation. So it's no surprise that some are weaving together strands from a variety of faiths to create their own personal religions. If this poll is accurate, what would be the ratio of people coping and dying of terminal illnesses, including ALS?

Remember that church demonstration you did using your little hands and fingers? "Here's the church, here’s the steeple, look inside, see all the people”. As my youthful years went by, I felt that I was on the outside looking at the people. Truthfully, I did not have a wonderful life just because I was dragged off to church constantly. Where's the poll that shows I'm not alone in my disillusion of the church? Some religious groups simply become the rhythm of a routine that lack true spirituality or move you back into your Authentic Self.

This topic brings me to my friend Mike Bougher, a 44-year-old ALS patient diagnosed in 1998. We have never met, are 3,000 miles apart, he on one ocean, me the other. Mike surrendered the control of his deteriorating body, and began to build on that which had a greater growth potential, his mind and spirituality. Mike had a choice! He could have spiraled downward into misery, or used his progression as the ingredient for mental and spiritual expansion. Mike uses a quote that confirms, we have a likeness in thought, including ALS. "The world is a smorgasbord, but most suckers are starving to death".

For me, basically I was not happy with my partial view of my empty faith. I removed those faithless blinders, stirred in portions of Judaism and created my guide to meditation. This is where I found comfort in myself and compassion for others. Spirituality opens the door to your inner intuitions and all living objects in our world. Religion has tried, and I think failed to block this concept. Rather than looking to some outside force to help yourself find the truth, one needs to discover the truth in one's own spirit.

" So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning."

Morrie Schwartz in "Tuesdays with Morrie"
By Mitch Albom
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