Donald O'Dell holds a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and an undergraduate degree in history from North Texas.
As an ordained United Presbyterian minister, he served as a street gang minister in Trenton, NJ. In addition he had two separate pastorates in Oklahoma, where he also served as Chaplain in a county hospital. He continued to serve smaller congregations after he joined the private sector in business.
Today he enjoys a semi-retired living in North Carolina. He also remains an active in networking with groups and organizations in new thought and critical thinking strategies.
Several days ago I did Lesson 121 in A Course in Miracles (ACIM).
In ACIM the act of forgiveness is understanding there is no “sin” against God. After all, I am truly an already-loved eternal spirit living in the mind of God, I am not a separate human being that houses, somewhere, an eternal soul. There is only error based on false egoic perceptions. AA old-timers state: “The easiest way to forgive is to not blame in the first place.” I think it’s the same essential message.
LESSON 121: Forgiveness is the key to happiness
1 Here is the answer to your search for peace. Here is the key to meaning in a world that seems to make no sense. Here is the way to safety [from] dangers that appear to threaten you at every turn, and bring uncertainty to all your hopes of ever finding quietness and peace….
2 The unforgiving [egoic] mind is full of fear, and offers love no room to be itself; no place where it can spread its wings in peace and soar above the turmoil of the world. The unforgiving mind is sad, without the hope of respite and release from pain. It suffers and abides in misery, peering about in darkness, seeing not, yet certain of the danger lurking there.
3 The unforgiving mind is torn with doubt, confused about itself and all it sees; afraid and angry, weak and blustering, afraid to go ahead, afraid to stay, afraid to waken or to go to sleep, afraid of every sound, yet more afraid of stillness; terrified of darkness, yet more terrified at the approach of light….
4 The unforgiving mind sees no mistakes, but only sins. It looks upon the world with sightless eyes, and shrieks as it beholds its own projections rising to attack its miserable parody of life. It wants to live, yet wishes it were dead. It wants forgiveness, yet it sees no hope. It wants escape, yet can conceive of none because it sees the sinful everywhere.
5 The unforgiving mind is in despair, without the prospect of a future, which can offer anything but more despair. Yet it regards its judgment of the world as irreversible, and does not see it has condemned itself to this despair. It thinks it cannot change, for what it sees bears witness that its judgment is correct. It does not ask, because it thinks it knows. It does not question, certain it is right.
6 Forgiveness is acquired. It is not inherent in the mind which cannot sin. As sin is an idea you taught yourself, forgiveness must be learned by you as well, but from a Teacher other than yourself, Who represents the other Self in you. Through Him you learn how to forgive the self you think you made, and let it disappear. Thus you return your mind as one to Him Who is your Self and Who can never sin.
Yet, I fight this concept at times. I just don’t want to do it. Why? What do I have to give up to get this kind of peace and serenity? Perhaps …
- The joy of blaming
- The fantasy of winning the lottery or achieving fame and glory
- The self-righteous superiority I feel when I believe I’m right
- The belief that my anger, fear and distrust are justified because I see anger, fear and distrust (not understanding that I’m just seeing what I’m projecting).
The Lesson goes on to instruct me to go inward and bathe in the light and peace I find there. While at that place, forgive someone I dislike and notice how the light of forgiveness “splashes” onto me as well. Then do the same with someone I like.
So, I went to my “holy” place within me and stood in front of the calming white light that I know is my True Self. I have done this before, but – for the first time – I sensed a connection with a Being – not just the Light and its Peacefulness. I also sensed He communicated with me: I sensed Him smile.
I said, “Hello,”
He said, “I wait for you.”
I said, “What do you do?”
He said, “I am.” Again, He smiled and said, “I wait for you.”
Then I smiled.
I noticed that in earlier lessons and visits to this holy place in me, I remained something/someone different than the bathed-in-Light-Self I encountered. But, for the first time I felt like I and He were both face-to -face and alive. I know I am not finding the correct words to use – but I wasn’t “alone” in front of Him. I was together “with” Him.
After this short meeting with my Self, I promptly dozed off.
I still get goose-bumps when I think of this. I found it very enjoyable. I was very relaxed.
I just wanted to share this experience with you.
As I’ve stated before, “I have to understand, on a visceral level, who the “Me” or “I” really is when I am speaking or thinking. The “I” that says to myself, “I really need a newer, more reliable car” is a different “I” than the one that says to Spirit, “I can’t do this anymore; help me perceive things the way You see them.”
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening to me and getting to know me – warts and all. As always, feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.