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.
Spring is already starting where I live in East Tennessee. But it’s only early March – there’s still more frost coming. This phenomenon will lead to another “Oh! My!” set of moments wondering if the early-budding trees and shrubs will be able to deal with another early Spring anomaly.
Well, of course they will!
These plants and trees have forgotten more about dealing with an early Spring than I’ll ever know. But, since our house is back on the market and my job is to stop living here and to become, instead, the groundskeeper and caretaker, I’ve already found myself worrying a tad. I would love to tell you I’m so spiritually mature that it’s been years since a worry crossed the threshold of my mind. But I’d be a flaming liar if I told you that.
Why do I worry? About my landscaping? About the state of our country? About my financial legacy – or lack thereof? About the utter lack of leadership in our Congress that is willing to – apparently – jeopardize our Country’s welfare and the integrity of our political institutions for short-term political goals or for party affiliation?
But the good side of worrying is that it has proven to be the most reliable feedback mechanism my True (spiritual) Self can receive informing me that I have relinquished my True Identity for the petty, false identity of my ego – which I have named Felix.
At a recent AA meeting I had shared that my serenity depends a lot on which of the two “me’s” is in control: The spiritual me that is an already-loved eternal spirit currently having a human experience or the me that believes I am a body inside of which resides an eternal soul. If I’ve been thinking of myself as a body with a soul, then my serenity is always pretty shaky. If I am aware of my Self as an already-loved eternal spirit, my serenity is as secure as Fort Knox.
Following the meeting, a friend asked me if I really believed that. I said yes, I do. He asked me to explain it. I tried – but it was harder than I thought. So, I’m trying to sort my thoughts out with this post.
A Course In Miracles (ACIM) talks about having a higher and lower mind. It talks about the role of the physical body. It talks about physical sight (via eyeballs) as opposed to spiritual vision, which only occurs with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. It talks of REAL life as being one of the Spirit, but we think of “real” life as that which we can see with our eyes.
One of the more succinct statements in the ACIM about this is from the Manual for Teachers, Section 27, What Is Death? The text reads:
“1 Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem. Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end? We have asked this question before, but now we need to consider it more carefully. It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die. This is regarded as "the way of nature," not to be raised to question, but to be accepted as the "natural" law of life. The cyclical, the changing and unsure; the undependable and the unsteady, waxing and waning in a certain way upon a certain path – all this is taken as the Will of God. And no one asks if a benign Creator could will this.
2 In this perception of the universe as God created it, it would be impossible to think of Him as loving. For who has decreed that all things [will end] in dust and disappointment and despair can but be feared. He holds your little life in his hand but by a thread, ready to break it off without regret or care, perhaps today. Or if he waits, yet is the ending certain. Who loves such a god knows not of love, because he has denied that life is real. Death has become life's symbol. His world is now a battleground, where contradiction reigns and opposites make endless war. Where there is death is peace impossible.
3 Death is the symbol of the fear of God… The grimness of the symbol is enough to show it cannot coexist with God. It holds an image of the Son of God [i.e., humankind] in which he is "laid to rest" in devastation's arms, where worms wait to greet him and to last a little while by his destruction. Yet the worms as well are doomed to be destroyed as certainly. And so do all things live because of death. Devouring is nature's "law of life." [Within this perception of the “real world] God is insane, and fear alone is real.
4 The curious belief that there is part of dying things that may go on apart from what will die, does not proclaim a loving God nor re-establish any grounds for trust. If death is real for anything, there is no life. Death denies life. But if there is reality in life, death is denied. No compromise in this is possible…. God did not make death because He did not make fear. Both are equally meaningless to Him.
5 The "reality" of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God's Son [humankind] is a body. And if God created bodies, death would indeed be real. But God would not be loving. There is no point at which the contrast between the perception of the real world [Spirit] and that of the world of illusions [my egoic perceptions] becomes more sharply evident….”
I am an already-loved eternal spirit. That is who I am. That is how God made us. Felix sees through my physical eyes and shows me a world of fear that is illusionary. My worrying is directly proportional to the degree I let Felix run my life.
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.
#1 Mar 2017