Oct 26, 2008
T15.0 The Purpose of Time: Introduction
Well, it might seem like a rather abrupt jump from what we’ve been talking about, to the subject of time. And yet, if the Course is an intelligent flow of stimulus for learning, there must be an order to this.
We’ve been talking about learning how to abandon your insistence upon being in charge. We’ve been talking about learning how to be willing to stop thinking and how to experience peace. And, that peace is the threshold of the learning experience, the influx of enlightenment and consequent understanding. In fact, the last time we were together, it was brought into such focus, that it would have been impossible for anyone not to see that if you choose to be unequivocally in your peace, absent thinking, absent any subconscious agendas, you will experience Atonement. It is you, no longer functioning out of your right Mind that constitutes the experience of Atonement. Nothing could be clearer. That’s how simple it is, that’s how uncomplicated it is.
Well, all of you say, “Well, I didn’t experience Atonement since you mentioned it last week … Oh-h, I grasp it. I like the idea, but I haven’t experienced it yet.”
Well, that could make it seem complicated, couldn’t it. That could make it seem as though there’s a process, couldn’t it. That could be discouraging, couldn’t it. And yet it’s still as simple as was stated. All you really have to do is to let yourself be still and be willing to nestle into it, be embraced by it, want the experience of it and nothing else, and to be present in your world with each other in that environment, and from that environment of stillness. It’s still that simple. And it’s still important for there to be enough self-discipline to persist in doing that utterly simple thing.
Now, why might it be of value to talk about time at this point, where such a magnificent realization is registering with all of you? The reason is, that time interferes with yielding into the silence.
Now, this Chapter is entitled, “The Purpose of Time.” But I’m going to suggest that time doesn’t in itself, have a purpose. Purpose is given to time. You apply purposes to time. But time itself is a by-product of something—it’s not an actuality. It is a by-product that exists only as long as something else is occurring. And the something else that must occur in order for this thing called time to be experienced, is for those who are experiencing time to have decided to make decisions to be authors in their own right.
In peace, where no self-assertion is occurring, but pure abiding in the presence of peace and experiencing existing—experiencing Being from there. This is an experience of Wholeness. This is an experience like one that most of you have had at least once in your lifetime, where Revelation occurred and suddenly you were provided with what you would call a whole block of information, full of myriad details, all clear as a bell, that you grasped and embraced and experienced [snaps fingers] in a flash—in a moment. But which, if you go to explain it to someone else, might take you days to express in the fullness of the detail and the fullness of the meaning.
When you step outside of the peace in which this is the conscious experience of Being, you might envision it like being in a gently flowing river that you are inseparable from. And there’s just movement. And you’re experiencing it and you’re experiencing it in its totality—in its infiniteness.
And then you say, “But wait a minute, I’d rather make some decisions on my own. I’d rather determine what everything is, instead of just letting the Movement of Being reveal Itself to me on Its terms.”
And so, it’s as though you try to pull back out of the river and as you do, because you can’t ever really become separate from it, you begin to find that whatever this is of you that is moving back out of the river, has long tendrils and threads of what the river’s made of, extending from you and behaving as a pull, if you will, what you would call a resistance to your movement away. And if you insist on moving away, this tension becomes what you call, time. Because there has to be something to describe the difference between the Movement of Creation that you’re in separable from, and this thing that you’re making of yourself by trying to pull back from it.
The resistance to that is experienced as time. And what is time? It’s a space in which to feel uncomfortable. It’s a space in which to feel this tension that’s not normal to you.
Now, you’re feeling the tension because you’re doing something you can’t actually succeed at doing. But you’re insistent, you’re willing to accomplish this act of independence—willfully causing it.
This can only be described as an experience of being wrong. Of being you, like, out of your skin … of being not normal, of being abnormal. And it doesn’t feel good. It feels as though you’re doing something wrong. And because there is great insistence upon continuing to become more and more separate, a purpose emerges. And the purpose that emerges is for you to make yourself “right,” to manage to shake off the feeling of being wrong—the experience of being out of your skin.
So, time and righteousness go hand in hand. And one of the things that seems extremely difficult to cope with in your process of wanting to experience Atonement, in your wanting to experience Awakening, in your wanting to come back into your right Mind, you find yourself called upon to choose for your peace. And if you’re going to choose for your peace, you have to abandon your ingrained habit of making yourself right, and the experience of peace becomes a threat.
If you want to experience your peace, then the potential for being proved wrong will raise its ugly head and you will become vulnerable. Why? Because the purpose of time is to make yourself right. And the purpose of peace is to be Whole. They’re two different things. One is real and possible, the other is unreal and its potential is pure fantasy.
Time is the by-product of an act of independence from Wholeness. And a purpose has been applied to it by those who have felt uncomfortable in the act of independence. And that purpose is to make yourself right when you are not.
Let’s go into the Book.
Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time?1
Well, the mean-spirited tendency of the ego is to take those words, “but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time” and twist it into a suggestion of boredom, of inactivity, of lying on a grassy knoll or a sunny beach and that’s all there is to it? And watch the waves lap up and roll out, and lap up and roll out in perfect peace? That’s what it suggests. It turns what is actually an experience of Wholeness into a meaningless state of inactivity.
I will tell you something and you know it already: Creation arises out of perfect peace. The Movement of God occurs in perfect peace. What does that mean? It means, no conflict, no opposites, no dissonance. It means harmony. It means beauty. All of those incredibly awesome things that cannot possibly exist when any form of chaos is present.
The fullness of life … You hear those words? . . The fullness of life is what God promises you. Well, the fullness of life is what is yours if you let Atonement occur. And that means that every involvement you have with every aspect of infinite Creation is vital, is exuberant, is joyous beyond any joy you can imagine so far. It is Meaning amplified, whether it’s a lady-bug crawling along a stem or whether it is a wave lapping up on the beach or whether it is you standing up on the beach and running out into the waves and splashing and falling and rollicking and laughing. Nobody said that couldn’t be done in perfect peace, without any conflict of any kind.
Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet …
… that doesn’t mean to be inactive, it means not aroused in conflict …
… all the time? Yet that is what time is FOR; to learn just that and nothing more.
Why is that what time is for? Because that allowed, that acted upon, that committed to, is what undoes time and releases you from the experience of being wrong that seems to justify an aggressive assertion that has as its purpose, making you right—exonerating you from wrongness.
You say, “It’s so impractical! [chuckle] How could learning to be in my peace be more important than my attending to the affairs of my day which I already know are going to involve antagonisms and a need for forceful assertion on behalf of what’s good?”
Hey, it’s more important. And so, if it’s very difficult for you to do this in the middle of the dynamics, then begin to do it in the parts of your days which are not dynamic so that the atmosphere of it hangs over into your periods of activity longer and longer, making it easier and easier for you to decide that’s it more important than anything at all for you to be in the middle of your daily activities and the dynamics, and to be there in them as consciously as you possibly can from your peace. Why? So that you might access, be in touch with, connected with the place of Excellence in you which is nothing more than your right Mind, or the Holy Spirit, Who, if you are willing to yield into It, will be that Presence in you which awakens in you the awareness of what you divinely Are and Atonement can happen right there, in the Board Meeting, right there on the freeway, right there in the middle of your dynamic of your day.
I will tell you something: Being in your peace and coming from that place of Excellence in you, does not mean spouting spiritual clichés or Biblical references or highly evolved words or concepts. It isn’t what comes out of your mouth. It’s the frame of mind in which you are choosing to be as you act and move through your day. It’s that simple.
God’s Teacher cannot be satisfied with His teaching until it constitutes ALL your learning.
Who is God’s Teacher? The Holy Spirit, your right Mind.
God’s Teacher cannot be satisfied with His teaching until it constitutes ALL your learning.
In other words, until you are gathering all of your information from your right Mind, instead of from a fantasized, independent point called, “yourself making your own decisions,” and behaving in the world according to the habits and the definitions you have come up with.
… the Holy Spirit …
… has not fulfilled His teaching function …
Oh-h, again, let’s come back … Your right Mind …
… has not fulfilled …
… Its …
… teaching function until you have become such a consistent learner that you learn ONLY of Him.
When you’re learning only of Him, you’re just completely irresponsibly, you might say, not giving any attention to your best judgments and your best reasoning and your capacity to figure things out and your ability to come up with new ideas—all independently.
When this has happened…
… when you’re yielding constantly to your right Mind …
… you will no longer need a teacher or time in which to learn.
Time will have disappeared because you will not be trying to stretch your way into independence from the Movement of the river of Creation and creating the tension that you call time—the uneasiness that calls for you to overcome the feeling of being wrong and prove yourself right, and ultimately prove that you are real without being joined inseparably in and as the Movement of Creation.
One source of perceived discouragement from which you suffer is your belief that this takes time…
See, “Well, I listened to what you said last week Raj, and you know, I still haven’t experienced Atonement. It’s got to be more complicated than you said.” No. It simply … it means that you have yet to do the simple thing. That’s all.
One source of perceived discouragement from which you suffer is your belief that this takes time, and that the results of the Holy Spirit’s teaching are far in the future. This is not so. For the Holy Spirit USES time in His Own way, and is not bound by it. And all the waste that time seems to bring with it is due but to your identification with the ego, which uses time to support its belief in destruction.
Oh boy, did we make a left-hand turn there?
And all the waste that time seems to bring with it is due but to your identification with the ego, which uses time to support its belief in destruction.
Oh-h! Strong words out of the ethers. Surprise, surprise. Well, your identification with the ego is your identification with that which must prove itself right, must prove itself real, must prove itself not wrong in spite of the fact that there is this tension from the resistance to your attempt to separate yourself from the Movement of Creation which is impossible.
Now, it says here that …
… the ego, [which] uses time to support its belief in destruction.
“Geez,” you say, “My ego uses time to support its belief in destruction? I’m not a destructive person.” No, you’re not a destructive person, you’re not an ego! But the sense of self that you entertain as you attempt to be independent teaches you nothing but destruction, teaches you nothing but negativity. And it all stems from the basic tension that you experience by trying to separate yourself from that which you cannot separate yourself from.
Now, it is a feeling of wrongness—of being wrong. And being wrong brings with it penalty. And indeed, you find ways to live your days with a certain amount of happiness, knowing nevertheless, that there’s going to be a last day. Come hell or high water, you are going to die. Knowing that in the process, whether you don’t die yet or not, you’re liable to get sick or you’re likely to be injured or you’re likely to be in a failed marriage, or you’re likely to be dealing with someone who’s an unjust character and that you’re bound to have misery.
I can safely say that there’s not one of you who doesn’t succumb to these thoughts of negativity. And that there’s not one of you who truly hears the idea that you’re going to die one day sooner or later and laughs at it, because there is a knowing that this is impossible. You just don’t look at it because it’s too frightening. And you look at other things that are more pleasing and thus you allow yourself a little bit of reasonable pleasure.
You know, what we’re talking about better mean something more than that. It better mean having the experience of never being injured, of never getting ill, of being in circumstances and relationships where needs are beautifully met, because you’re able to be present in those circumstances not from a place of fear, not from a place of guilt, not from a place of overcoming being wrong, but coming from a place where life is the law, not the exception.
The ego, like the Holy Spirit, uses time to convince you of the inevitability of the goal and end of teaching. To the ego the goal is death…
Well, you see, how could the goal be death? It doesn’t really matter, let’s not quibble about words. The end result of all that the ego teaches is death, whether you think of it as being an actual goal or not, it’s the actual inevitable result.
To the ego the goal is death…
… the inevitable end is death …
… which IS its end.
… the ego’s end.
But to the Holy Spirit the goal is life, which HAS no end.
So the ego uses time differently from the Holy Spirit. And the ego uses time to keep you enthralled in the struggle and the thrill of overcoming unreasonable odds, even though no one ever does as long as they engage in the struggle, as long as they don’t allow themselves to yield back into the Movement of the River of Creation, we’ll call it, reducing the tension that causes the feeling of wrong instead of overcoming it. It amounts to stopping the very thing that causes the sensation of being wrong instead of accepting the sensation of being wrong as being actual and finding a way to overcome it.
The Uses of Time2
The ego is an ally of time, but not a friend. For it is as mistrustful of death as it is of life, and what it wants for you it cannot tolerate. The ego wants YOU dead, but NOT itself. The outcome of its strange religion must therefore be the conviction that it can pursue you beyond the grave. And out of its unwillingness for you to find peace even in the death it wants for you, it offers you immortality in hell. It speaks to you of Heaven, but assures you that Heaven is not for you.
“You guilty bastard, you! You poor guilty one, you. You don’t deserve Heaven, but you do deserve to be eternal and suffer eternally.”
How can the guilty hope for Heaven?
In other words, how can the one experiencing the tension caused by attempting to separate yourself from the Movement of Creation … how can the one engaged in that act that causes that sensation hope for Heaven. Well, you can’t as long as you keep doing what causes the sensation. And that’s the mean-spiritedness of this whole ego frame of mind or mentality. Because it takes something that you’re trying to do, that you can’t actually accomplish, and it says for you to keep trying it because you will one day succeed. But because it can’t really override God, it can’t cause the feeling of being wrong to go away. And so, it gets you to exercise your authority to make yourself right, to be a successful independent orphan and to pursue that with exuberance and persistence and dedication. It actually will suggest that Heaven will be your prize, but it knows that it won’t be.
The belief in hell is inescapable to those who identify with the ego.
To those who neglect to relax back into the Movement of Creation and reduce the tension of trying to be separate from It.
The belief in hell is inescapable to those who identify with the ego. Their nightmares and their fears are all associated with it.
Now, there’s something all of you need to know, and that is, that in spite of the twisted, demented sort of mindset that’s called the “ego frame of reference,” aside from the twisted experience of being that you have, there is a Real you that isn’t touched by it—the Holy Spirit. And it is insistent upon doing something. It’s insistent upon bringing you to a point of willingness to embrace It—your right Mind—with no further resistance to It. Why? Just so that you can become an integrated, independent presence? No! Because there’s a larger picture.
There’s a larger picture going on. It’s called Reality. It’s called God Moving. God Being all there Is. And all the time that you’re distracted from God Being all there Is, God is still Being all there Is.
And your right Mind is ignoring time—is not being bound by time—and is able to insert Itself into your awareness, independent of time, bringing what I’m going to call, bits of information, so that what you call tomorrow afternoon, your right Mind may bring something to your attention that is ancient. Because at that moment, that part of Creation, which your sense of time places way in the past is actively present being alive now. And that bit of information can be brought to you in a whole block of information that you can feel the truth of completely and totally. And because It’s shared this with you out of time sequence, It jars you Awake. It allows it to register with you.
Being isn’t right or wrong. Being simply is. And Being is Whole, infinite. When I say Whole, I mean infinite. It is a conscious experience of Being that is all-inclusive now. Being is, for lack of better words, full open consciousness in which the Totality of Creation is consciously experienced down to the minutest detail, without confusion and without overwhelm, and in a constant state of perfect, pure love, in which, as I’ve said before, that which you find yourself loving is loving you—that which you are loving—that infiniteness that you are loving is loving you back infinitely.
You are embraced by the ever-present Movement of God called Creation. And you are included in that Movement as part of that Movement because it’s your capacity and reason for being to be conscious of it, to be the acknowledgement of it, to be that which it registers with, causing you to gasp in awe, to have an experience. And Reality is constantly inserting Itself in you to remind you of the larger picture. And to be an invitation to you to stop pulling back from the River of Creation, creating tension that you call time, which you then use for the purpose of making yourself right because you feel so wrong—all of which is nothing but a side track, a distraction from your being in your right Mind and your being in a state of Atonement.
During this coming week, I want all of you to watch for just one element. I want you to watch for every occasion when you feel called upon to prove yourself right, or conversely to prove that you’re not wrong—there the same thing. When you’re trying to prove that you’re not wrong, you are defending yourself. When you’re trying to prove yourself right, you are engaged in propaganda, you’re engaged in trying to elicit a new response. It’s not self-protection, it’s not defense, but it’s the other side of the same coin.
When you find yourself feeling called upon to defend yourself, notice it, catch it, stop dead in your tracks, realize that you are carrying out a conditioned response, that you are trying to overcome the tension caused by your insistence upon being separate from the Whole, and that proving yourself not wrong is the wrong response.
You’re going to find it very hard to bite your tongue and not defend yourself, or to bite your tongue and not prove that you’re right. But please, for this coming week, do it! And instead of justifying yourself, instead of defending yourself, choose for your peace. Be totally idiotic and do something irrelevant, choose for your peace. Choose for that inner act, which in effect, reverses the act of independence and lets you relax slowly back into the Movement, the River of Creation Itself, in which your Wholeness—not your rightness and not your wrongness—awaits you.
A Wholeness that constitutes your innocence. A Wholeness that feels good. A Wholeness experienced that means, you never again have to imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time, no matter how busy you are reveling in and participating in the movement of life, the Movement of Creation.
Let this be a conscientious practice. Every time you feel inclined to defend yourself, don’t do it. The world will not come to an end. And you’ll find yourself—I promise you—having an incredibly surprising new experience.
[addresses audience] I love you … I love you … I love you … I love you … I love you … I love you … I love you … and you … and everyone who’s joining us on the Internet. And have an incredible week.