Mar 28, 2009
T15.4 Practicing the Holy Instant

Good evening. And welcome to everyone who’s joining us on the Internet.

It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve been together and there’s a point that we discussed last time where everyone still is.

It’s this wonderful sentence:

If you are wholly willing to leave salvation to the plan of God, and unwilling to attempt to grasp for peace yourself, salvation will be GIVEN you.1

Now, I said everyone is still at that point. That’s not through neglect on anyone’s part. It’s very simply the point where all of you will be until you Wake up. It’s really the threshold … it’s the simple threshold.

If you are wholly willing to leave salvation to the plan of God, and unwilling to attempt to grasp for peace yourself, salvation will be GIVEN you.

Every moment between now and the moment in which you Wake up, will be the moment where you can make the choice to be willing to leave salvation to the plan of God—the point at which you can decide to be unwilling to attempt to grasp for peace yourself. At no point is the “process” going to get more complicated than that.

Just let that sink in for a moment.

Remember, we spoke a few weeks ago about the fact that it’s not appropriate for you to be the center of your attention, it’s appropriate for God to be the center of your attention. And also, that it’s not appropriate for your problems to be the center of your attention, but for truth to be the center of your attention.

Now, when you’re willing to let God be the center of your attention, you are allowing yourself to be in a frame of mind in which you are not bringing forth an agenda of your own—an agenda for your salvation, an agenda for your success, an agenda for your health, an agenda for your safety—because you’re not the center of your attention.

And why would you have God be the center of your attention? Because God is where truth is to be found. And truth is what you want to know. Because when you know the truth you’re not experiencing ignorance any longer, nor are you suffering from ignorance any longer. You’re in your right Mind, with your mind reflecting all that is true about God’s Mind because you’ve let God be the center of your attention and you have invited in the conscious awareness of truth.

You see, the truth is really simple. But you are all wanting to make it more complicated. And you are wanting to make it more complicated because you think that is what will give you credibility—your ability to carry out complex tasks, your ability to think in complex ways. These are means by which you develop in the minds of others a respectable countenance, a respectable presence … you think. And you think that it does that and it’s necessary because without doing it you’re not respectable yet—which is not the truth. And I’m not going to harp on that over and over again tonight.

Now, this new section, the heading is entitled:

Practicing the Holy Instant

This course is not beyond IMMEDIATE learning, unless you prefer to believe that what God wills takes time. And this means only that you would RATHER delay the recognition that His Will is so.

Now, if you’re not having a problem, you can read that sentence and you can possibly find it very interesting and stimulating and find a willingness to contemplate what it means in all its ramifications. But if you’re having a problem [chuckle] and you’ve been asking for help and you’re not experiencing the resolution of the problem yet, then these sentences here are not at all satisfying:

[repeats] This course is not beyond IMMEDIATE learning, unless you prefer to believe that what God wills takes time …

… and you sitting there with your problem that’s unsolved—a need that’s requiring immediate attention—and you’re not getting an answer even though you are desiring to have immediate learning. You’ve done everything I’ve said. You’ve stepped back, you’ve said, “Father, what’s the truth here?” And you’ve listened. And perhaps you have heard, and the need is still present—the need is still apparently as aggressive as it was in the beginning.

This course is not beyond IMMEDIATE learning, unless you prefer to believe that what God wills takes time.

“What do you mean, unless I prefer to believe? I don’t prefer to believe that what God wills takes time. Why throw that at me when I’ve been sitting here today desiring to know the truth that heals—desiring to know the truth that eradicates or neutralizes or corrects this problem?”

And then it continues and says:

And this means only that you would RATHER delay the recognition that His Will is so.

That’s a real slur if you’re in a middle of a problem and you have been honestly and earnestly desiring to know the truth.

“Whatdaya mean? It means only that I would rather delay the recognition.

“I wouldn’t rather delay anything!”

You know, when we’ve talked about small-mindedness and littleness—littleness is when you’re using your mind for your purposes without being joined. And when you sit there in a state of reaction because you haven’t yet seen evidence of your faith or your trust or of your willingness to know the truth, your reacting constitutes a presenting of littleness—a reassertion of what? Of your willfulness!

“What do you mean … I this and I that? What do YOU mean … who in the hell do YOU think YOU are? I know who I am. And because I know who I am I can say, ‘Who the hell do you think you are?’ And I can argue with you and I can bitch at you and I can be frustrated at you …”

You see, all of that is you reverting to littleness right in the face of your having been willing to abandon privacy and self-authorized thoughts, so that you might join with the Father because you have been told. And you have faith that what you have been told is true—that if you will let the Father in and if you will abandon your willfulness, you will see the results of ignorance dissolving, fading, being corrected, being erased.

Now, I’ve brought out before the statement that, “You are neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing toward it. You are at that point and you must understand yourself therefrom.” Now we can equally say that truth is neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing toward it. It is at that point and must be understood therefrom.

So I want to describe something to you here. I want you to imagine that there are, like, two rooms: One is the room you’re in that has the characteristics of you being an independent thinker—an authorizer of thoughts, an authorizer or creator of orderly thoughts. And in this room you have conflict, you have problems that you have to solve and you’re even glad to have the problems to solve because that gives you purpose. There’s another room in which Reality is going on, in which truth is available and present to be known.

Now, you all have the tendency to stand in the room where you are a private authorizer and for you to sort of reach into the other room where the truth is so that you might get hold of the truth to change the circumstances in the room you’re in.

But the saying doesn’t say that. It says, “Truth is neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing toward it.” In other words, it partakes of nothing of the nature of the room of independent thinking and the conflict and problems that necessarily accompany independent thinking.

And so you reach for truth to bring it back to the room you’re in so that you can exercise authority. In many ways, this is the way you approach your healing. It’s the way in which you do the two-step. You step back and stop thinking and you ask the Father, “What is the truth here?” so that you think you might be able to have the truth in your possession and apply it to the situation in the room that you’re standing in.

But truth can’t be understood in that room. And so when you’re asking to know the truth, you’re asking to have your mind shift from the room of independent thinking and the conflict always associated with it, into the room or arena of truth in which truth is neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing toward it, and therefore neither are you and the truth that is revealed to you does not become something to apply to the you that was standing in the other room.

And that’s why the discovery or uncovering of truth is called a miracle. Because it’s a sudden shift of perception: From the room of independent thinking to the context of truth, to the context of Reality in which nothing is getting better, in which nothing is having truth applied to it so it is transformed into something better.

Now, when you are learning about this and when you are learning to use your mind in this way, meaning not to use it to make something happen, but to use it to pay attention—to get out of the way in the sense of personal self-assertion and to let yourself be filled with the truth—when you’re learning how to do that so that the fact that you’re not behind the point of perfection and you’re not advancing toward it can register with you, you have to be careful not to let your old-time thinking come into play that says, “Well this is taking a long time” or “This isn’t working!”

Oh-h, well how do you know it’s not working?

You just say, “It’s not working according to my timetable!”

That’s littleness! That’s old habits! Those are the thinking processes that you have used forever and haven’t allowed for healing and transformation to register with you—for you to find yourself moved out of the orphanage into the Kingdom of Heaven or from the room of conflict into the context of the Kingdom of Heaven and harmony.

Now it says:

This course is not beyond IMMEDIATE learning…

Okay … that’s great news. It’s wonderful. No argument there.

This course is not beyond IMMEDIATE learning, unless you prefer to believe that what God wills takes time.

Well, where on earth would that idea come from, that God’s Will takes time?

Well it comes from thinking. [chuckling] It comes from using faulty imagination. And another way in which it comes into play which isn’t a matter of a thought process, is that you don’t really care what God’s Will is. Because at the moment all you care about is your will. And your will may be very profoundly wonderful: “My loved one is in pain and I want my loved to be relieved of pain. I know that my loved one’s Birthright is perfect harmony and the experience of perfection and by damnit, I’m going to think this absolutely flawless thought with such intensity and such confidence that it will, because of its truth, transform my loved one’s experience!”

Whew! No two-step there. No question, “Father, what’s the truth here?”

It’s an expression of arrogance isn’t it. As we discussed last week, arrogance is the one thing that can take your inspiration away.

Hey, what is inspiration if it isn’t the influx of truth—that which happens when you actually say, “Father what is the truth here?” … and you do care what the Father’s Will is—and you’re not caring more about what your will is no matter how well founded, how well placed or how perfect and beneficent it is.

This means only that you would RATHER delay the recognition that His Will …

… the Father’s Will …

… is so.

You’re gonna try your will first. Your gonna try to be the best damned metaphysician—the best damned spiritual healer you could be, the clearest channel of the Father’s healing power. By damnit you’re going to be the best! “I’m gonna be the best … I’m gonna be the best! I’m going to apply myself with the foundation of truth itself to do a holy work.”

When you do that, it means only that you would rather delay the recognition that His Will is so, that God’s Will is the only One that is, the only One that exists, the only One that is embedded in you as your will, as your purpose which is waiting to be fulfilled when you yield to it.

But oh-no, you’d rather yield to the will you’ve imagined you have instead of the will the Father has placed in you which is His Will and which you won’t discover the fullness of until you forget about yourself and say, “Father, what is your Will?” And invite it in and make room for it by not having any alternative plans for salvation yourself.

You know, what other plans of salvation might you have?

Oh well, let’s see … Let’s say your loved one’s problem is an inconvenient problem. What if your loved one’s problem is getting in the way of something important you have to do. What if your loved one’s problem, which of course, the Course has taught you is the result of his or hers ignorance which he or she has brought upon himself or herself, and so therefore it’s up to them to correct it and it’s not your problem, really … you know. So, “I can’t let my loved one’s problem interfere …” With what? “Taking care of No. 1.”

“Oh-h … you know… if I were going to make my loved one’s problem of primary concern to me because I truly love my loved one, that would tell everyone else who’s expecting to be the center of my attention, that they aren’t the center of my attention. That my wife or my husband is and that I’m willing to neglect them for my wife or my husband—my significant other. And I will lose respect, because by damnit, they expect me to follow through on whatever I’ve promised them I will do, or whatever I have convinced them I am capable of doing for them so that I might have their allegiance. In other words, their respect.

So there are strange ways of deciding that what the Father’s Will is, is not important to you. And that you do not really want to know the truth about your loved one’s problem so that your loved one will experience healing because it will cause you to lose face with others.

Tell me this: If you are going to become so convoluted in your mind (and you love complexity), before long you’re going to be obligated to many in many different ways because of what you promised this one or that group or those people. And pretty soon it’s going to be hard to keep straight what you promised to whom and how you’re going to keep up a good front, all as a means ultimately of saying to your loved one: “Don’t have a problem that’s inconvenient for me. Don’t have a problem that requires me to be with you out of my devotion to you because I love you. Don’t have an inconvenient problem [chuckle] which would cause me to have to embody the fact that I don’t value you as much as I value everyone else’s adoration or respect or approval!”

Now, what I’ve been saying … I’ve used a loved one as the example, but it could be anyone, anyone who’s calling upon you for attention that for one reason or another you don’t want to give because of arrogance that you have that says, “I shouldn’t have to do this, you’re having a problem at an inconvenient time. I shouldn’t have to bend over backward or put forth any conscientious effort because right now it’s inappropriate!”

Remember, we said last time we read:

Call forth in everyone only the remembrance of God, and of the Heaven that is in him.

Well that’s great [chuckle] if the call for the remembrance of God that’s occurring doesn’t happen to be inconvenient for you. If it’s inconvenient, then you say, “I really don’t have the willingness to call forth in you only the remembrance of God and of the Heaven that is in you.”… selfishness.

Call forth in everyone only the remembrance of God, and of the Heaven that is in him. For where you would help your brother be, there will you think YOU are.

Now here’s the key:

Hear not his call for hell and littleness…

… when your brother is voicing his frustration, his pain, his suffering, he’s being unpleasant. He’s expressing littleness, he’s expressing fear, he’s putting forth a call for hell and littleness. “Feel my pain … feel my pain … hear my pain … hear my pain … give your attention to me … give your attention to my pain, etc.”

Hear not his call for hell and littleness, but only his call for Heaven and greatness.

Because you have the means to discern what his behavior actually is. Is his unpleasant obtuse negatively focused energy a call for hell and littleness or is it a call for Heaven and greatness?

And can a call for Heaven and greatness really be an inconvenience to you? Can it happen truly at an inconvenient time? Is there any time that is not appropriate for you to call forth in your brother only the remembrance of God? Is there any moment in which it’s inappropriate for you to call forth within you the remembrance of God so that you can be with your brother consciously in that frame of mind? No.

Well, what if you answer your brother or sister with the truth that you hear, because you did the two-step, and your brother or sister refuses to hear you and persists in complaining and stating that the lie is the truth—that he has this terminal disease and he is dying and there’s nothing that can be done about it and no matter what you say it can’t be changed, and fights and fights and fights for the lie.

Well, [chuckling] you know, it was all right the first time you did the two-step, you know … it wasn’t too inconvenient … you were able to take the time. But now your brother is kicking you in the face so-to-speak and rejecting the gift and saying that, in so many words, the truth that you’re sharing is nonsense and you have presented nothing that justifies his abandoning his conviction—that he has no choice but to suffer and die.

So the question boils down to: At what point does your brother’s need constitute a justifiable inconvenience to you so that you can say, “I cannot help you any further, because I have things to take care of for myself.” At what point is the abandonment of Love, as the proper use that your mind is to be put to, justifiable? At what point does fulfilling your function become truly inconvenient and inappropriate?

It’s a good question. Because if there is a time limit, if there is a point at which it is appropriate for you to withdraw your willingness to call forth in everyone only the remembrance of God, then there is a point at which it is appropriate for you to abandon your function and lose the opportunity for a miracle.

You’re neither behind the point of perfection, nor advancing toward it. You’re not in the room of progress, of development, of becoming better or becoming worse, you are at the point of perfection in the other room and must understand yourself therefrom—which means that when there is a problem to be solved, you must be willing to go into an arena that doesn’t seem to make any sense, because you’re asked to abide by a knowledge of truth that you will find yourself infilled with without being able to take that truth and use it, which it is your habit to do.

Everything that goes on in your mind is a thing to be used—a thing to be used for your safety, a thing to be used to create invulnerability, a thing to be used to reduce stress and help remove you from inconvenient demands so that you might find peace without resolution. And that’s not what it’s about.

Now if a brother is behaving negatively and in a harmful way, and if that brother won’t stop no matter how clearly you share with him the very truth that would allow him to abandon his misunderstanding, if he insists on behaving in a way that would be harmful, you must, as I’ve said before, do whatever it takes to disallow for the harm to occur. But you cannot afford to treat the brother as though his problem is an inconvenience to you that provides a justification for abandoning your intent to call forth in him only the remembrance of God.

And as I’ve said before, if someone is brought into a hospital and there is a total lack of self-control and he or she would harm those attending to him, he or she is strapped down so that no harm can be done, and then care is provided—so the correction occurs.

Now, I’m going to go back to where we began.

This course is not beyond IMMEDIATE learning, unless you prefer to believe that what God wills takes time. And this means only that you would RATHER delay the recognition that His Will is so.

And I’ve just gone thought various examples of how you justify a delay in the recognition that His Will is so, and not yours.

You have many ways of justifying governing yourself and your behavior towards your brothers according to your will, without violating your will, without letting your will be modified in any way.

The holy instant is THIS one …

… this instant …

… and EVERY one. The one you WANT it to be it IS.

The instant what? The instant in which immediate learning can occur. The instant in which a sudden shift in perception—a miracle—can occur.

The holy instant is THIS one and EVERY one. The one you WANT it to be it IS.

It’s the simple truth. But if you’re struggling with personal authority or personal affront and you’re questioning whether it’s still appropriate for you to call forth in your brother only the remembrance of God, this moment will not be the one in which the miracle occurs.

The one you WANT it to be it IS. The one you would not have it be is lost to you.

It’s very simple.

YOU must decide on when it is. Delay it not.

And again I want to come back to you when you have been diligently and devotedly wanting to know the truth—God’s truth—so that your brother might be blessed who is in pain or whatever. And you read it and it says …

YOU must decide on when it is. Delay it not.

And you have a reaction, “I’m not delaying it. I don’t want to delay it. I’ve been earnestly and patiently and without any attempt at coercion to make it happen faster—being open to the truth that would heal.

“So don’t tell me that I must decide on when it is and to delay it not. I have decided on when it is. And I’m not delaying it. Now is when I want it. Now is when I desire it because I love my loved-one.”

If the correction hasn’t occurred, then somewhere you are still holding out for your will, somewhere you’re saving face or somewhere you’re saving your ass, you’re not going to bring it out into the full open center stage. But in some way the call for your willingness to help uncover the truth is colored by an agenda you have and a distress that what is happening is a little inconvenient for you and therefore not appropriate. The simple definition of arrogance—the exercise of authority that you don’t have.

The holy instant is THIS one and EVERY one. The one you WANT it to be it IS. The one you would not have it be is lost to you. YOU must decide on when it is. Delay it not. For beyond the past and future…

… or we could say, separate and apart from the past and future …

… in which you will not find it, it stands in shimmering readiness for your acceptance.

What does? Well the truth does. But in this case it’s referring to the learning that the Course makes available and encourages and nurtures—learning, growth, you might say, transformation, the miracle that constitutes the sudden shift of perception where ignorance is replaced by knowledge or Knowing.

For beyond the past and future…

… separate and apart from the past and future …

… in which you will not find it, it stands in shimmering readiness for your acceptance. Yet you cannot bring it into glad awareness while you do not want it…

“Oh, but I do want it. But damnit, it’s such inconvenient timing. And how am I going to deal with these others who were expecting something from me at the very moment that I’m called to be here. It’s not fair.” Ewe … there’s all that littleness again. The private thinking that constitutes the opaqueness of your mind that doesn’t let Reality shine into it.

Yet you cannot bring it into glad awareness while you do not want it, for it holds the whole release from littleness.

Your practice must therefore rest upon your willingness to let all … your willingness to let all littleness go.

What does that mean, all littleness? Remember, littleness is constituted of thoughts you are originating in the absence of being joined with the Father, in the absence of being joined with the Holy Spirit, which is nothing more than your right Mind.

The instant in which magnitude will dawn upon you is but as far away as your DESIRE for it.

Again, that sentence will make you mad if you think you have been desiring it and you are frustrated because you haven’t seen the results yet.

The instant in which magnitude will dawn upon you is but as far away as your DESIRE for it.

“Well, whatdaya mean? I’ve had the desire for it all day. It sure seems to be further aware than my simple desire for it. And I’m pissed off. And it’s not fair. Oh, boy.” You see, all of these sentences are expressions of littleness, they are expressions that don’t take into consideration the divine one that you Are, the one that is neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing toward it. It doesn’t take into consideration that of you which isn’t little and which isn’t subject to thoughts that are not thoughts of God. Now, I don’t mean thoughts about God, but thoughts that God is having.

As long as you desire it not…

… what? Magnitude. Magnitude is the opposite of littleness. So magnitude would be God’s thoughts. Magnitude would be that Mind which you are supposed to let be in you, which is God’s.

As long as you desire it …

… magnitude …

… not, and cherish littleness instead…

… as long as you want to throw out all these short sentences that express your frustration and unfairness and blah, blah, blah.

As long as you desire it not, and cherish littleness instead, by so much is it far from you. By so much as you want it will you bring it nearer.

And so you must be careful. You must watch your mind to see how you’re willing to use it. Because you will easily slip back into cherishing the littleness of mind that is constituted of your asserting your right to express and believe and base your actions upon the thoughts you’ve made up rather than the thoughts that are God’s thoughts about His creation, which constitute your ability to see truth in everything. In other words, everything as it truly is.

Think not that you can find salvation in your own way and HAVE it. Give over EVERY plan that you have made for your salvation in exchange for God’s. His will content you, and there is nothing else that can bring you peace. For peace is of God, and of no-one beside Him.

Whew … the sooner you’re willing to consider that any ideas you have come up with on your own about how things work cannot possibly be the truth, because you came up with them on your own, as an orphan, as an independent entity that it’s impossible for you to be.

You will make it impossible to experience a miracle. You will make it impossible for there to be a sudden shift of perception. The fluidity, the willingness for change will not be present. There will be no invitation for what? . . that which stands in shimmering readiness for your acceptance—Reality as it is, wholeness where disease seemed to be, beauty where all that you had seen was turmoil and ugliness.

Be humble before Him…

… God …

… and yet great IN Him. And value no plan of the ego before the plan of God. For you leave empty your place in His plan…

… you see. Every moment you spend going for the gusto of what you will to be, you’re leaving your place in His plan empty, like a student in a schoolroom who’s daydreaming, and so his presence in the class is lost to the class.

… value no plan of the ego before the plan of God. For you leave empty your place in His plan, which you must fulfill if you would join with me, by your decision to join in any plan BUT His.

Again …

For you leave empty your place in His plan…

… by your decision to join in any plan BUT His.

I left out a subjunctive clause there for it to be more easily understood. I’ll read it again wholly:

For you leave empty your place in His plan, which you must fulfill if you would join with me, by your decision to join in any plan BUT His. I call you to fulfill your holy part in the plan that He has given to the world for its release from littleness. God would have His host …

… all of you …

… abide in perfect freedom. Every allegiance to a plan of salvation that is apart from Him diminishes the value of His Will for you in your own minds. And yet it is your mind that IS the host to Him.

Now, you’re not used to letting your mind be host to God. You either occupy most of the space with your own thoughts about yourself, or if you have become acquainted with God and you have invited God in, you still reserve space there for you to be your own independent, willful presence, accomplishing things that you feel are worthy of being accomplished without asking God, “What’s the truth here?”

So, you’re not used to thinking in terms of a shift from the room of independent thinking and the conflict and the surmounting of conflict that are characteristic of it, for the context or room in which the experience of truth is available, and from which it is your Birthright to be experiencing not only truth but your Self.

And so, the call is for you to be willing to do what seems not to make sense, so that a new sensibility can begin to register and grow and substantiate itself in your mind. Which means that you must be willing to call forth in everyone only the remembrance of God no matter how unpleasant they’re being, no matter how resistant they seem to be to receive the truth that would heal them, no matter how slowly the healing of pain seems to take, because ultimately if you don’t stay with the desire to know the truth you will abandon the one element that triggers transformation and you will continue to be stuck in the status-quo.

You cannot afford to let your mind be distracted from your decision to let God be the center of your attention, not yourself, and for the truth to be the center of your attention, not your problems.

[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, I love you, and I love you, and I love all of you who are watching. And I look forward to being with you next week.

  1. T15.4 Practicing the Holy Instant ↩︎

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