“For many years I awakened each day inside the story of separation. It was nothing more than an illusion but it was the context of my life, defining who I was and determining how I lived. It held a lot of staying power because I attached God to the story, essentially making God the author.
Jim Palmer: Separated (the story of one man’s struggle to find God, love, peace, wholeness, life and liberation)
Yep – that was the book. I was the protagonist, fighting my way through life striving to attain what I imagined I did not have. The story has a strange twist. I turned to religion to solve this dilemma, not knowing religion was the antagonist. It was a case of sleeping with the enemy.
When I tugged on one thread of the story, the whole thing started to unravel. The first thread for me was, God is love. The security of God’s love banished my fears and I kept pulling on the threads of the story, one after another, before I finally got to the truth that there is no separation. Separation is an illusion and lie. I am not separated from God, love, peace, wholeness, life and liberation.
This knowledge required a major transformation of my identity. For many years I showed up in life as “Jim, the separated one,” and lived accordingly. It was something altogether different to show up in life as “Jim AS love… AS peace… AS wholeness… AS life… AS liberation… AS humankind… AS the image, likeness and being of God. I finally understood the significance of Jesus in a way I had never quite gotten before. Jesus said, “I AM the truth.” In other words, the underlying, unchanging and fundamental essence of Jesus was the underlying, unchanging and fundamental essence of me.
The truth had always been right under my nose but religion kept me distracted inside a story of separation, absorbed in fixing a problem I never had. The truth was always Jesus himself – who and what he was, his identity. And now I saw that this was my truth, this was who I am.
But you don’t just go to bed one night as “Jim, the separated one” and wake up the next morning as the other Jim. You can’t turn around the Titanic on a dime. That old way of thinking of being had a truck load of habit energy behind it.
So, I realized I just had to start living as if it were true – that I was not separated but united with God, love, peace, wholeness and liberation. One of the first places I started was with my language. I had adopted a language of separation that reinforced the illusion and lie at every turn. So, I adopted a new language, which included replacing “have” with “is.”
If I “have” something, it is distinct from me… like an object or thing… and it can easily be lost or taken away. If you give me a book, I “have” a book. It’s an object I have. It could be stolen. It could be misplaced or lost. It could even be destroyed or thrown away. Whatever the case may be, there’s no security in “having” something, I could just as easily “not have” it.
What I discovered is that God, my real Self, love, peace, wholeness, life and liberation is not something I “have” like an object. It’s something I am. I don’t “have” Jesus in my life – Jesus IS my life. I don’t “have” love, peace, wholeness, life and liberation; I AM love, peace, wholeness, life and liberation. The kingdom of God is not something I “have” in me; the kingdom of God IS me. There is no separation. God, my real Self, love, peace, wholeness, life and liberation – these can never be misplaced, lost, taken away or destroyed, and I can never be separated from them. Why? Because they are not something I “have”; they are something I AM. You can lose something you “have” but not something you “are.” Even if you don’t know or forget who you are, it still doesn’t change who you are.
So, I started writing a new story with a new language. It was a first step but a critical one in putting to bed the story of “Jim the separated one,” and writing the new one.”
– Jim Palmer, Notes From (over) The Edge