"This instant is the only time there is."
The Course's way of looking at time goes counter to our normal way of thinking. Time is an illusion. It does not really flow from the past, through the present, to the future. All there is, is now. Past and future do not exist in reality, but only in our minds. One of the keys to reaching "past time to timelessness" (1:2) is in learning to experience now as the only time there is. This is one way of describing what the Course refers to as the "holy instant." (The teaching underlying this short lesson can be found in reading "The Two Uses of Time," Text Chapter 15, Section I. Read especially paragraphs 8 and 9 in regard to practicing the holy instant.)
"The only interval in which I can be saved from time is now" (1:4). Think about it. What other time have you ever experienced except now? You can't be saved from time yesterday, and you never experience tomorrow. Right now is the only time you can have this experience of being saved from time; this experience of forgiveness. Forgiveness lets the past go and focuses on the present blessing. So right now, this instant, you can enter the holy instant. It can be any instant, and it can be this very instant if you will receive it. Just for this instant, forget the past. Respond to only now. Forget even five seconds ago, what somebody said, what you were feeling. Just be in the moment.
The Course advises us to practice this. I think it means practice in two senses of the word: first, that the holy instant is to be applied, or put into use. Second, the holy instant is to be rehearsed. We are even told to "practice the mechanics of the holy instant" (T-15.II.5:4). The author seems quite aware that we won't get it right the first time, or perhaps not for a long time. So he advises us to practice the mechanics of it, to go through the motions, as it were, until one day our experience will catch up. In other words, rehearse it. The best instructions for rehearsing it are in Section I of Chapter 15, the ninth paragraph.
Taking a short time each morning and evening, at least, to think of this moment as all there is of time is a marvellous exercise. It produces a deep sense of peace when I let myself recognize that nothing can reach me here from the past; that I am absolved of any guilt I may feel about the past, along with my brothers and sisters. And nothing can reach me from the future, either. I can simply be in this instant, free of guilt, and free of fear. There is no past. There is no future. There is only now, and in this instant love is ever-present, here and now.
"Thanks for this instant, Father. It is now I am redeemed. This instant is the time You have appointed for Your Son's release, and for salvation of the world in him" (2:1-3).
Copyright © 1996, The Circle of Atonement, Sedona,
All rights reserved.