At the tender age of nine, Little Johnny Acres witnessed the death of his father. Family, friends, and neighbours labelled what occurred as “passing over” or “going to a greater reward,” but Johnny knew the facts of the matter. He had seen his father die. He had witnessed his father clutch his chest, turn blue, and take his last breath. The father that he loved so dearly was dead and…gone. Afterward, Johnny pretended–as the rest of his family were pretending (he assumed)–that his father was in a dreamy place called Heaven and now at peace and free of pain. But deep in his heart, Johnny Acres knew better. The facts don’t lie.
In the following years, what Johnny Acres had witnessed coloured his attitude toward many of his activities. He chose to live now, for tomorrow you may die. He believed, as the majority of persons still do, that you only live once—so make the best of it! He knew the absolute truth that, indeed, you could be here today, and gone tomorrow–or this afternoon. Time seemed an enemy that could knock any of us down without warning. The world continued to revolve; and as little Johnny matured, he preferred to be known as John. He was a grown up now; but within the core of his being, he was still the little boy subconsciously clutching the childhood wound of his father’s death. He held that piece of history as though it were a tragic prized possession; for keeping the memory was, to him, equivalent of keeping his father close. To set that historic event down would mean giving up on his father; and he wasn’t about to do that anytime soon. Until…
One day years later, John was reading a book entitled The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel. Mr. Haanel was a fascinating man, indeed, for he had studied wisdom teachings of the far east and been successful at whatever business he touched. First printed as a correspondence course in 1912, his book was about the Law of Attraction. John found the book a challenging read, to say the least. Over and over he read it, gleaning what knowledge he could from within the pages. Upon one such reading, a short passage leapt out at him and slapped his awareness in the face. The passage, from Chapter Twenty, reads as follows:
The spirit of a thing is that thing; it is necessarily fixed, changeless and eternal. The spirit of you is — you; without the spirit you would be nothing. It becomes active through your recognition of it and its possibilities.The Master Key System ~ Charles F. Haanel
Over the coming weeks, John re-read The Master Key System several times. With each reading, his understanding grew by leaps and bounds. The tumblers of his previously locked view of the world were clicking into place, unlocking the Truth of his Being. He even noticed a paragraph in Chapter Twenty-Four that referred to the Promised Land, which is another term for enlightenment. What Haanel was sharing was that we are–right here and now–spiritual Beings. Through daily meditation, John realized a deeper dimension of his true nature and learned that, contrary to what the majority of persons believe, Earth–this place that seems so very real–is only relatively real. Finally, John was able to peacefully set down the wound related to the death of his father; for he realized with absolute certainty that his father still lived. With the help of knowledge from other books about spirituality, and the touch of intuitive wisdom, he realized the truth of the following passage from Acts 17:28: “For in Him we live and move and have our being.”
Dear Readers: I know that many of you may have already experienced (or will undoubtedly) the death of a loved family member or friend. Such is the nature of this realm called Earth in which we’ve come to know ourselves. At the time when such occurs, the shock of the experience can send us reeling. The pain can seem unbearable; and all of the expressions uttered by those who care can seem trite beyond staleness. I won’t pretend to know what you are going through; for each of us processes death–and life–in our own unique way. If it feels right to you, please contemplate the words that helped to free Little Johnny Acres from so much emotional suffering: “The spirit of a thing is that thing.” Appearances can, indeed, be deceiving. We are not who we appear to be. We are That–Spirit. This is supported by the following quote from the Bhagavad Gita, one of the Hindu holy books: “Weapons cannot cut It, nor can fire burn It; water cannot wet It, nor can wind dry It.” Let not your heart be troubled.
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2021 – R. Arthur Russell
P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏
8 thoughts on “Little Johnny Acres”
Awesome post Art and lovely words for those dealing with bereavement. Also I love that Charles F. Haanel passage you’ve quoted. Wishing you well, AP2 🙏
Thank you so much, AP2, for your kind words about my article. I’m sure that you may have guessed that “little Johnny Acres” was, indeed, me–only at sixteen. How life teaches us.
I know that some of the subject matter of my articles–even fearlessness in the face of death–may seem quite hard to believe; but please “read” me out. Over the years, I’ve learned a fair bit, some of which has been downright shocking. At the time of my father’s passing, I dealt with it much like Johnny. Here’s some of what I’ve learned since: The ancient sages questioned whether there was really that much different between our night-time “dreams” and the waking “dreams,” which is more commonly referred to as “reality” by the masses. Here’s an opportunity to go deep…very. All that is truly needed to have experience is Consciousness. It’s impossible to have experiences without being conscious, right? Could it then be possible that our human life is but a dream within a dream? When we become still (as advised in the Bible: “Be stil and know that I am God”) through meditation, we can easily see that we can witness (so to speak) our thoughts, sensations, images, and feelings. Such means that the true “You” is apart from them, or how could we know them? That distinct part is Awareness, and it is foundational in nature–not dependent on the body-mind, as most assume. What this is saying is that Spirit comes first and foremost–that that body mind and all apparent object of the “apparent” world are only dreamed. Such is termed idealism, that everything is an idea in mind. I’m attaching the link to a youtube presentation by Rupert Spira, a master in sharing this information (in case it interests you). Thanks again for the nice comment. Wishing you well, too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgcfa0LFKXc&t=194s
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Hey Art – I had an inkling yes. I believe what you have to say although I struggle to live in that awareness much of the time – although I know it’s always there – I seem to get lost in my thoughts all the time. Meditation doesn’t come easy to me! Thanks for the link – I’ll be sure to give it a watch. 🙏
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I “hear” you; and you’re wise to follow your heart and what you know to be true; for “belief” is hollow and won’t take you “there.” I think you might enjoy the presentation. It’s quite short, but very informative. When I first discovered what was being shared, I was amazed. It was a dawning of Truth; and I’m very grateful that it has occurred. Never wishing to push in any way. Only offer. Wishing you a great day!
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I watch it already and I did! Rupert Spira has a real presence about him. Thanks again Art 🙏
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You’re welcome. I feel deeply indebted to Rupert for his ongoing efforts to liberate us from suffering. I’ve actually written to him and several other teachers to extend my deep gratitude.
You’re welcome, AP2. I know this can seem like a “strange” new way of being. Wishing you a great day!
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Thank you, Art. This post came at just the right time for me as I am dealing with profound grief.
I’m emailing you!