2nd Edition, Revised Material

Why I Feel My Separateness

"As my perception of the “world out there” changes, my world, itself, will change. As the adage states: “When I change the way I look at things, the things I look at change.” I have viscerally experienced the truth of that adage. This past week I enjoyed breakfast with a member of AA’s Fellowship. We both have amassed a great deal of consecutive 365 days of sobriety. We enjoy speaking / thinking / discussing the more spiritual aspects of life. Somehow, after obligatory pleasantries, we ended up sharing our experiences with being surrounded – or engulfed – by Mother Nature. He was sharing experiences from hunting. I was sharing experiences from working in and around my wet-weather creek that runs through our property. "
~ Donald L. O’Dell

We both ended up recognizing we were awed by our witness of the complete interrelatedness of the natural world. We were also painfully aware that we were the “outsiders.” We were the ones that didn’t seem to “fit” in this interrelated world whose awesomeness we were witnessing. We both had found ourselves feeling like the “outsider.” Each time we had “felt” that way, it was a little discomforting. It felt good and bad at the same time. It felt peaceful and eerie at the same time. We were IN nature while being OUT of nature. It was a little weird.

The realities of Spirit are experienced, not arrived at intellectually. The Truth of Spirit is known on a visceral level, not as a logical conclusion to a series of philosophical arguments.

After the breakfast I began to realize that what we both had experienced was the nub of human existence. According to A Course in Miracles (ACIM), as well as to the theological interpretation of the biblical Genesis stories: We were in a paradise – we were an integral part of that paradise. Then things went very wrong.

The biblical stories indicate we sinned and were cast out of paradise convinced we needed to be punished.

ACIM states that we got too big for our britches and left our paradise yearning to be as the gods.

I believe when Jesus told the parable of the Prodigal Son, He was retelling the Genesis story. We left the comfort of Eden. We left the love of our Father. When we came back after squandering our inheritance, our father didn’t castigate us or discipline us or punish us. There was no “price” to pay (other than what we had already inflicted on ourselves). He just joyously welcomed us home. We had not “sinned.” We had erred. We had corrected our mistake and we were back. That’s all that mattered. It was time to celebrate.

Either way you choose to read it – we were no longer in a paradise. We were on our own and had separated ourselves from our paradise or Source. We had separated ourselves from each other because we came to believe we, in fact, WERE separate things.

As I said, that’s the nub of human existence – the problem – the struggle – the pain – the fear of being human. It can all be summed up by acknowledging our feeling of being separate, both from the world as well as from each other. That’s why we cling to ideas and people who help make us feel a part of something that provides a little meaning to our lives.

That’s why AA has been so central to my life. That’s why ACIM has become so important to me. I first experienced true, honest acceptance in AA and it transformed me. The experiences I have had in AA, but could never thoroughly verbalize, showered my life with miracles – the vanishing of my compulsion to drink; the knowledge gained as to how to live my life with skills I had never understood nor experienced; the blessing of serenity from being “one of the herd” (or NOT feeling separate any more). ACIM, however, was putting words of Truth to the experiential faith I had received from experiencing AA’s Fellowship – words I had never been able to speak.

Having experienced my life change and having understood the words verbalized in ACIM, I now know that I am not a body separate from you that somewhere inside me is a “soul” that is eternal. I am an already-loved eternal spirit that is currently having a human experience. Believing I am a body separate from you and from nature has been an error on my part. I can change my mind and, with the Holy Spirit’s help, can change how I envision my world, which includes you.

As my perception of the “world out there” changes as a result of this realization, my world, itself, will change. As the adage states: “When I change the way I look at things, the things I look at change.” I have viscerally experienced the truth of that adage. 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 my Holy 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. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.

Blessings, Don

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