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Events

 
 
 
December 17 2012

Is Obama a Man of Destiny?

Category:  SF Gate

By Deepak Chopra, MD, co-author with Rudolph Tanzi of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony)


The historical movie "Lincoln" has struck a deep chord with many people, and it turns on a theme that is rarely met nowadays: the man of destiny. In one scene Lincoln is sitting in the war room from which he oversaw the very mixed fortunes of the Northern armies. There is no one with him except his two young secretaries. He asks one, "Do you think we choose to be born?" the secretary says that he doesn't think so.

Lincoln pursues the topic. "Do you think we are fitted for the times?" The secretary can't quite fathom the question. To the best of my recollection he replies, "I don't know. Maybe you are." In fact, when you look at the historical record, Lincoln was considered to be absolutely fitted to his time. He was Father Abraham and after his assassination a secular saint. The chaotic forces that tore the Civil War era apart were gathered in his hands. He and many around him saw a man of destiny who was fated to end slavery and bend the future to his will.

Heroism still appeals to us, and the saintliness of Lincoln can't be erased, despite the film's accurate portrayal of him as a canny, down-to-earth politician who knew how to broker a deal. But we find it hard to think in terms of destiny. Tony Kushner, the scriptwriter for "Lincoln," chose a more modest phrase: fitted to the times. Kushner wove our present predicament into his screenplay. Chaotic forces are swirling around us; the nation has reached a turning point that feels threatening at the same time. There is a widespread yearning for leadership.

I wonder if President Obama's re-election is a shoulder tap from destiny. Lincoln felt that way about his second term. We see him fiercely focused on abolishing slavery because the Emancipation Proclamation had been tested by the people, as he put it, when they chose to keep him in office. I have a feeling that Obama is gathering his own convictions for the same reason.

This is more than George Bush's notion that his re-election, which was by a slimmer margin than Obama's, both in popular vote and electoral tally, gave him political capital. What we see in Lincoln's time are politicians, heated by partisan fury, milling about in confusion. The heel of history is hard on their necks. Their passions rise and fall with every turn of the war. Lincoln was different. He understood that he was the still point at the center, the one mind whose clarity and judgment must save the day - or it wouldn't be saved.

History proved him right. At the end of the movie we get a flashback to the Second Inaugural Address, the greatest piece of oratory from Lincoln after the Gettysburg Address. It constitutes a heroic, compassionate attempt to shape the future according to the ideals of Christianity and democracy. The final paragraph has long been considered a masterstroke, and it is astonishingly fitted to our times:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Obama has been repeating the theme of tolerance and fairness for four years, and it has mostly fallen on deaf ears. Lincoln was beloved but also reviled; he could have gone down in history as a divisive leader more than a uniting one. The difference wasn't up to him. As he saw it, destiny worked through him. It will be fascinating to watch and see if the same historical force is about to push America forward once more.

Is Obama a Man of Destiny?

Top comments

  • There is a crucial difference between Obama and Lincoln: Lincoln channeled the emotions of the time without judgment. When Secretary of State Stewart insisted on the abolition of slavery early on Lincoln cautioned. Reading about it now, one sees that Lincoln`s foresight was anchored on a genuine acceptance of "malice for none". He never blamed the South for the slavery nor judged them for defending it. Instead he argued that the Union cannot accept slavery. However, Obama often sits on the pulpit of judgment but exercises flexibility for political reasons. In the first round of fiscal challenge, he appeared before the nation and said he cannot make a deal. On the health-care issue, he made crucial compromises. Lincoln style leadership consists of steering the nation towards a set of goal not compromising on core values. If he was heading the nation during the civil war, Obama would have made substantial compromises to stop the war. Something that Lincoln flatly refused. Lincoln had made strong connections with the Being within - and decisions naturally followed as byproduct of that connection. Obama is practical and decisions often are byproduct of reason.

    Drop // 2012-12-17 17:27:03 // //
  • We all with our interpretations of destiny are receiving exactly that what we interprete ourselves. If we are not able to surrender to just that what is we will never discover the creative solutions lying under that simple surrender.......

    YourSoul // 2012-12-17 18:03:54 // //

 

 

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  • No. Deep by name and Deep by nature. It is his responsibility to tell it like he thinks it is. Freedom of speech is lacking these days. Television (news) is a big disinformation machine which has taken over from speaking for the average person. We are lazy if we forget to have an opinion. We are stupid if we leave it up to 'controlled'media.

    Ghita // 2012-12-29 18:56:43 // //
  • You've succeeded in seperating the judgers from the nonjudgers. Your right as always while fear lingers on.

    Michele Tysarczyk Aggers // 2012-12-29 13:10:29 // //
  • Wow, I used to hold Deepak in such high esteem. I respect his knowledge and experience with metaphysics, and meditation, but fear that a balance with reality has been lost after reading this article.

    Jeff Albright // 2012-12-29 12:07:09 // //
  • Deepak: Robin Hood, was made out to be a good thought, to take from a person of abundance & give to the needy, Although putting the thought of a person with wealth out to be a bad thing was a path a lot of people choice `in way of handouts`. It is clearly another thing for a Government to take from people who have earned whatever wealth they see fit for there needs & share their wealth with people that have choosing there way of life. We all know that giving is the best feeling on earth or there would be no Christmas. The way to abundance is threw giving. People will always help others in need, we don`t a Government to demand that right for us or punish us for living the abundant life. God has distilled sharing in us at birth.

    dan // 2012-12-29 11:06:20 // //
  • Is destiny not working through each and every one of us?

    Jon Amato // 2012-12-29 10:43:19 // //
  • Most definitely! I am praying the voice of the people that believe in him and his staff, will be heard this time..

    Rebecca Mae Evans // 2012-12-29 08:26:10 // //
  • Methinks you're being a little over dramatic over a little political opinion. He said destiny is working through the guy. Not that you'd love everything he ever did.

    David Fooks // 2012-12-29 07:48:04 // //
  • Deepak, why do you keep promoting obama as a man of desiltiny? Do you know nothing of the facts surrounding 911? When I see obama speak of these facts and go after the true villains rather than taking credit for taking down a man who couldn't possibly be involved, I will believe you. In th mean time if I see you glorify him again, I will have to accept you a a false proffit and unlike you on facebook, and I will not trust nothing you say anymore,...

    Rick LeDuc // 2012-12-29 02:53:45 // //
  • totaly agree <3 the most beautyfull event so fare while i have been on earth <3 May 2013 bring peace love and more harmony - love lene DK :-)

    Lene TravelSpirit // 2012-12-29 02:36:42 // //
  • interesting, but the comparison is like apples to oranges, they are both fruits and that's about as close as it gets

    Nikki Dunithan // 2012-12-29 01:47:41 // //
  • Goal, good or bad in the world.♥

    Mariann Boda Toth // 2012-12-29 00:08:42 // //
  • Yes, he absolutely is......I believe he's.

    Kazi Kaze // 2012-12-28 23:39:09 // //
  • Yes!!! I believe he is....he is here right when he is supposed to be. To evolve OUR great nation and even the world! He is a man of great integrity, spirituality, compassion, strength & power. He is here to help us and here to raise us up to a higher level as a nation and as human beings. A great man.;-) Thank you Deepak for sharing this!!!

    Lynette Litts // 2012-12-28 21:56:41 // //
  • Deepak: I,too believe Obama is here at the right time. History, destiny if you will, chooses the person who will effect change. Dr. King, Ghandi ji. Jesus, Mohammed; all these figures were placed in time to effect change in a large way. This is Obama`s time. This is OUR time. May we weild this power in a just, compassionate manner. May God guide our thoughts into action. I love how you inspire my thoughts. May God Bless you in your quest to raise our consciousness to a higher level. I truly believe that there is a growing movement towards this goal. Mankind WILL evolve to a better being.

    twitter@Dharmatruth // 2012-12-28 21:13:46 // //
  • Obama, the BROWN eye of the storm. teehee!

    Juliano Bodega // 2012-12-28 21:12:49 // //
  • Obama...the eye of the storm, indeed <3

    Eileen Shelly Revela Inzauto // 2012-12-28 21:01:54 // //
  • 1 man can't up left the land, like Method Man standing on the hands of fans.

    Kashante Che Stroman // 2012-12-28 20:45:29 // //
  • lol

    Davino Labriando Fantastico // 2012-12-28 20:36:38 // //
  • One man can send out the ripples and those who are ready will listen with their heart to what he has to say. Collective positivity will create change, he alone cannot make the change. I trust the people who are ready will help him succeed. Love to all from Ireland xx

    Sharon Keegan // 2012-12-28 20:24:03 // //
  • Obama is about power and control for himself. His idealogies are about socialism. There is nothing democratic about him. I don`t agree with obamacare nor this outrageous spending spree he has been on and wants to continue, increasing the debt and not reforming spending. Not good for this country. Look at Greece as an example.

    mtbuddy // 2012-12-28 20:19:19 // //
  • Or a poet king? Mr. Chopra do you follow those poet kings of history who turn from war to lead societies into golden ages? Nezahualcoyotl, Jai singh? Could there be more again?

    Amy Jackson // 2012-12-28 20:16:22 // //
  • How did you know Obama is on my TV here ... Not my Destiny here ... I do not have a Job here ... Obama page here posted today him throwing him a football . well what happened in Behghanzi ? I sure would Love to know the truth here on this ... Benghanzi , Libya here just posted on my screen here Herarts and hearts and more hearts from Benghanzi , Libya ... and Fox news here just spoke Behghanzi ... Greg and Juan williams here on Fox are talking about Obama and the Fisical Cliff . God Bless 2013 is posting above you here ... Thank You Deepak ...

    Marlene Wood // 2012-12-28 20:15:26 // //
  • I believe that the opinions that some of you have on this article are more political than spiritual. Deeprok is speaking of Obama as well as Lincoln in a spiritual sense. Politics take a back seat on this post!

    Griselda Blanco // 2012-12-28 20:14:55 // //
  • De destino bueno o malo para el mundo.

    Eloisa Herrera Del Angel // 2012-12-28 20:11:57 // //
  • no

    Susan Grosser // 2012-12-28 20:08:12 // //
  • Excellent.

    Cathi // 2012-12-28 18:59:40 // //
  • this is a excellent article and i commend u depak chopra.i have long wondered about the difference between our destiny`s and the free choice god gave us.interesting combination.i haven`t seen lincoln yet bu i am happy this movie is out now to remind us of our roots the constitution moral values and how important they are to follow for success as i see we as america and maybe the world have gone away from these basic values.

    muriel montoya // 2012-12-22 17:27:49 // //
  • Obama is about power and control. His idealogies are about socialism not democracy. And he finds it very easy to lie, hide and deceive us. Bengazi is a good example. His idea of taking from the so called rich and giving to those who don`t want to contribute is very evident. I work hard for my money I am not willing to give it to people who don`t want to work at all and stay on welfare for life.

    obama is about control and power. very ego driven. he is not about democracy but all for socislism. // 2012-12-21 18:26:50 // //
  • I don`t understand why Obama is acclaimed without any reason what did he has proved up to this time as President. Second thing why so much Humanitarianism, Woman rights,Gay rights has been erupted Suddenly in US , Was US a Jail earlier? If not then why now not before Obama??? God has given Humans a power to take his course of action freely, Results are not in his hand but he must not falter in his thoughts neither he should wait for destiny to work........

    Niral // 2012-12-21 13:35:25 // //
  • Are you in SF now? Or in Marin? I'm in San Francisco visiting family as well!

    Carla Thomas // 2012-12-19 16:20:39 // //
  • how such an enlightened man like deepak can see obama as divine makes my head spin. obama is a puppet for the elite who want nothing but absolute power and feed off greed and hate. obama and the elite could not care less about the middle class. obama will never emancipate us americans from the pending tyranny. let`s talk about how americans can be indefinitely detained at anytime for no reason, etc. i can sit here for hours talking about how obama is the complete opposite of divine.

    lizzy c // 2012-12-19 11:51:51 // //
  • I agree and I see the same spirit in him that you do. I think that is why many people like him even though they don`t really know why. He believes that all people are beloved by the creator and does not believe anyone is more special than anyone else. He is very tolerant and inclusive. These are the traits of a truly spiritual man. However, in this country, these ideals are threatening to some. People are drawn to what he stands for because he stands for these divine truths. Others find it threatening because they don`t believe all are created equal and have rights given to all by the Creator. Either way, for some of us, he stands apart as a man of great spirit.

    peacefulwendy // 2012-12-19 01:44:32 // //
  • Making a deal to cut Social Security right before Christmas. What could be more Lincoln-esque than that?

    lambert // 2012-12-18 12:27:44 // //
  • Deeprok should stick to metaphysics and leave politics to shrewder minds.

    mary bess // 2012-12-18 10:22:58 // //
  • I can`t help but think of the Newton shootings and the right to bear arms -- Obama is faced with this very tough challenge of outlawing private gun ownership.

    Lovely // 2012-12-18 09:37:28 // //
  • I thought people vote! How comes the unknown gets in! Its a test for the doer, I wonder how the decision makers bear the result of all those lives they take just by being Commander in Chief! I wish all the politicians see judgement day if it exists! Can u believe all those presidents assasinated in that God loving country with no epic answer, that itself shows the integrity and credibility of a nation. Plz include John Lennon as well.

    Pratima V Bungsee // 2012-12-18 08:40:23 // //
  • Since prior to Obama`s Election and during the inaugural train ride and the 4 years since there have been many writings on Lincoln`s African american dna from his hair samples and variations in personality might be accounted for by lessons learned the first time around (from an incarnation as Lincoln) or at the very least from the timeless soul lessons which always belong to eternity .

    Elan Star // 2012-12-18 00:21:54 // //
  • I have to add that both Lincoln and Obama are men of destiny because they have a very strong connection with God and they live their lives with a deep sense of purpose and deep contemplation.

    miamore // 2012-12-17 23:33:31 // //
  • How is it were comparing the 2 men, if it`s based upon the fact that they both come from nowhere to get elected president against very long odds than you could make the comparison between Obama & Lincoln. Unfortunately for American`s up to this point that is all you could say about the 2 men. Times today are much different it`s much more difficult for Obama in many ways to get done what`s needs to get done. The media and it`s constant scrutiny makes Lincoln`s job much easier, no way with the situation being similar could he been as successful. Lincoln`s stress was immense but it wasn`t based upon constant media pressure it was based upon a vile war. Obama`s stress is from the media and it`s constant questioning of everything about him and his family that the stress is terrible. I wonder if the press will ever allow us a President who can make the decisions necessary to become a hero and a real success like Lincoln.

    Dafirestar // 2012-12-17 22:49:59 // //
  • Great, I knew his character could not be fake, There is a force acting through him, you can feel it... God bless him.

    Susana Azócar Santoro // 2012-12-17 22:21:35 // //
  • I didn`t always think so, but I now think Obama is a scoundrel of sorts, *destined* to carry out a plan not entirely of his own. He`s already worked on taking away our freedoms, lied about Bid Laden`s death, need I say more. We`ve all been making excuses for him. He did inherit Bush`s mess, but is continuing Bush`s disregard for our Constitution. He`s spending more on war and supporting Israel`s bloody agenda. Yes, he`s a man of destiny and is leading the new fascist America. Everyone best get off of mainstream media/TV, because that`s where you will be duped into trusting this man who is leading under the guise of `tolerance and fairness`.

    Artemisbell // 2012-12-17 21:18:28 // //
  • Beautifully written and thoughtful.

    Jeanine Kitchel // 2012-12-17 20:19:40 // //
  • Canada: Cheif Theresa Spence is on day 6 of a hunger strike in Ottawa and has vowed to die if Prime Minister Harper or the Crown (Lieutenant Governor) do not fulfill their legal obligation to consult First Nations, there has been a media blackout as the only response. First Nations across Canada are standing up to protest racist & genocidal legislation and bills being passed currently, strategically to oppress First Nations and strip of Treaty Rights which may (can legally) prevent the pipeline (which passes through many Indigenous Territories and permits small & frequent spillage of Dilbit). The First Nations of Canada have stood up for their Rights and need the rest of the world to join in action!! The Canadian Government does not represent the Indigenous people and this plight is being advanced legally and by other means. Please help spread awareness about this issue!!! San Francisco is having a rally of support, some American Tribes stand in solidarity also and it is growing!!! Please >>---(go to)---> IdleNoMore for more information and share! ♥ this is for all environment lovers!!

    Tayla Paul // 2012-12-17 18:23:36 // //
  • I agree with Idysseus. I don`t think Obamas has the nerve it takes to stand up to NRA for example.

    cocolisa // 2012-12-17 18:12:36 // //
  • You're dumb as snot. This is just empty talk. As the whole article. As always. I wish you all a wonderful evening. And if you Americans stop sometime believe God blesses you more than others, when you come back down to earth reality, forget it. Hope dies last.

    Heimo Alexander Kruschinski // 2012-12-17 18:09:17 // //
  • We all with our interpretations of destiny are receiving exactly that what we interprete ourselves. If we are not able to surrender to just that what is we will never discover the creative solutions lying under that simple surrender.......

    YourSoul // 2012-12-17 18:03:54 // //
  • If you need a leader, I can tell you something about leader, destiny and stupid people. We germans we have made experiences with such an attitude. God bless Germay! He did not. God loves no idiots, why should he change his opinion at US?

    Heimo Alexander Kruschinski // 2012-12-17 18:01:41 // //
  • I agree that it will be interesting to see how far forward President Obama will be able to lead this country. He came to office burdened with so many expecting him to be a transformational “Magic Negro,” who would bring them each personal happiness, while so many others despised him as a failure from day one simply because of the color of his skin. He has accomplished much despite serious opposition and has shown personal and moral strength long absent in America’s leaders. I think if we learn anything from history though, it is that each person has a role to play. It is OUR work to bind up the nation’s wounds. It will be wonderful if President Obama emerges as a great leader. It will be world changing if we all work with him to exceed expectations.

    yelphets // 2012-12-17 17:59:20 // //
  • Yes, this is like a king. God ordained destiny. Why the British are probably gone? A little money also plays a role in these vital questions. But even that is just an opinion. Blissful are the poor in spirit.

    Heimo Alexander Kruschinski // 2012-12-17 17:56:41 // //
  • I had read somewhere that presidents specially in the US are not elected but selected!

    Pratima V Bungsee // 2012-12-17 17:50:40 // //
  • Great article. I have always known in my spirit that Obama wil be a 'Man of Destiny'. There is a reason why God has put in this position of authority.

    Rose Kirkland // 2012-12-17 17:48:55 // //
  • I definitely think Obama is a man of destiny, as Lincoln was. If you look at the same troubled crisis of our times, then and now, both are acting from the core of their heart and soul. That, to me, is living your destiny.

    miamore // 2012-12-17 17:44:11 // //
  • There is a crucial difference between Obama and Lincoln: Lincoln channeled the emotions of the time without judgment. When Secretary of State Stewart insisted on the abolition of slavery early on Lincoln cautioned. Reading about it now, one sees that Lincoln`s foresight was anchored on a genuine acceptance of "malice for none". He never blamed the South for the slavery nor judged them for defending it. Instead he argued that the Union cannot accept slavery. However, Obama often sits on the pulpit of judgment but exercises flexibility for political reasons. In the first round of fiscal challenge, he appeared before the nation and said he cannot make a deal. On the health-care issue, he made crucial compromises. Lincoln style leadership consists of steering the nation towards a set of goal not compromising on core values. If he was heading the nation during the civil war, Obama would have made substantial compromises to stop the war. Something that Lincoln flatly refused. Lincoln had made strong connections with the Being within - and decisions naturally followed as byproduct of that connection. Obama is practical and decisions often are byproduct of reason.

    Drop // 2012-12-17 17:27:03 // //
  • Yes!!

    Tracey's FbPage // 2012-12-17 17:25:52 // //
  • Yesterday you were mentally just before the abyss. Today you have made a big step forward. When Lincoln would reading this, he would voluntarily go to the theater. This is my opinion.

    Heimo Alexander Kruschinski // 2012-12-17 17:25:44 // //
  • !

    Doug Watkins // 2012-12-17 17:22:45 // //
  • I am afraid Obama is a man of political expediency. If he is going to lead us to a saner America, he has to do it now, and risk everything, and I frankly don`t think he has the heart for that.

    Idysseus // 2012-12-17 17:21:19 // //
  • Since Obama was handed a heavy mess on his hands by the departing president as a "Welcome gift" - is it any wonder how Obama manages to come up with innovated ideas?...

    Martha Guyer // 2012-12-17 17:16:39 // //
  • TODO PUEDE SER NO???

    Rosa Velis // 2012-12-17 17:12:26 // //
  • La historia lo dirá....

    Carmen Victoria Morales Anistro // 2012-12-17 17:08:32 // //
  • I hope so.

    Kerri Konik // 2012-12-17 17:08:15 // //
  • I had to barf after reading that crap. Looks like Chopra is still drinking the snake oil.

    Ash Nagrani // 2012-12-17 17:07:48 // //
  • There are five main questions world-wide that each person goes through and is seeking resolution for at the deepest level of their being, at all times, whether they recognize it or not :) : 1. What do I want to do with this possibly one life/one chance, what is the most purposeful, meaningful, and and fulfilling way to live and 'work', etc. In other words the question: what is 'my' calling? Often this can be put as: how do I express what is here, all the potentials, all the gifts to give, all the creativity?... that the individual knows is there. This is the question of 'Happiness'. 2. Who is the 'right' type of partner or mate? Who will 'love' me and who will I 'love'. What is a relationship, really?. What is marriage?, is there a soul-mate?, is there such a thing as real 'fidelity'?, will I always be alone?, how do I really commit?, how do I honor what seems to be the deepest calling for intimacy and love?. This is the question of 'Relationship/Intimacy/Soul-mate'. 3. How do I find peace? With all the stress of life, the anxiety, what is real-peace? With all these people doing yoga, meditation, etc., what is the one thing that will really help and be long-term?, what is the deepest sense of peace possible as a human being?, what is true peace of mind? This is the question of 'Peace & Fear'. 4. How do I not do things which are hurtful?, how do I 'heal'?, how can I 'work on myself'?, how can I not feel so horrible about myself when I do such and such?, how can I get through my past?, etc. This is often framed as: How can I really Love?, how can I open and reach as many people and affect as many people in a loving, warm, and helpful way as possible? - which the individual knows at a very deep level is what really matters more than the various superficial things the culture-society tells them is important like money, fame, sex, etc. This is the question of 'Love'. 5. Lastly, and the Ultimate or most high calling is the question... what has been called for ages upon ages: the Great Quest or the Great Search, a.k.a., the Journey of Enlightenment. Questions such as: what is the 'Truth'?, what is the highest wisdom for how to live life?, where are wise people to guide me through life?, why are we here?, what did the Buddha, etc., teach?, do we just live and die?, is it all just molecules bouncing around?, why do people just work corporate jobs and die?.. isn't there something more?, what is Reality?, who am I?, what is my real/true Self?, who am I if I am not what I thought or think I am? - This is the question of 'Enlightenment & the Truth'. All the support in your unfolding along the Way, Jordan ♥

    Jordan Flesher // 2012-12-17 17:06:00 // //