"Only an instant does this world endure."
What a great lesson with which to end a series of ten days in which we have been thinking on the section, "What is the real world?"
The basic thought here is the flip side of the holy instant. This world is nothing but the unholy instant. There are only two instants, and we are in one or the other all the time.
The idea for today could be taken negatively. We could focus on the transitory nature of life, "a brief candle" as Shakespeare called it in Macbeth , where our "joys are gone before they are possessed" (1:1). On the other hand, the brevity of this world's existence can be a very encouraging thought! "Yet this is also the idea that lets no false perception keep us in its hold, nor represent more than a passing cloud upon a sky eternally serene" (1:2).
The hallucination that is this world is nothing more than a passing cloud that is crossing the serenity of our right mind. Our false perceptions will endure no more than an instant, and then they will be gone. Like a child on a long automobile trip, "soon" can seem to us to be forever, but our Father knows the end is certain. The clouds of false perception will dissipate, the sun will come out again, having been hidden only for an instant. Our minds will recognize their own serenity once more.
"It is this serenity we seek, unclouded, obvious and sure, today" (1:3).
Let me, then, seek that serenity. Now, and every time today I can remember to do so. Let me open myself to that holy instant, and remember that beyond the clouds that seem to darken my mind, the sun shines uninterrupted. Let me be glad and grateful that "the world endures but for an instant" (2:4). Let me "go beyond that tiny instant to eternity" (2:5). Let me do so NOW. Let me reach to that other state of mind often today.
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