ACIM Text Reading for August 15
Chapter 26 ~ The Transition
V. The Little Hindrance
A little hindrance can seem large indeed to those who do not understand that miracles are all the same. Yet teaching that is what this course is for. This is its only purpose, for only that is all there is to learn. And you can learn it in many different ways. All learning is a help or hindrance to the gate of Heaven. Nothing in between is possible. There are two teachers only, who point in different ways. And you will go along the way your chosen teacher leads. There are but two directions you can take, while time remains and choice is meaningful. For never will another road be made except the way to Heaven. You but choose whether to go toward Heaven, or away to nowhere. There is nothing else to choose.
Nothing is ever lost but time, which in the end is meaningless. For it is but a little hindrance to eternity, quite meaningless to the real Teacher of the world. Yet since you do believe in it, why should you waste it going nowhere, when it can be used to reach a goal as high as learning can achieve? Think not the way to Heaven’s gate is difficult at all. Nothing you undertake with certain purpose and high resolve and happy confidence, holding your brother’s hand and keeping step to Heaven’s song, is difficult to do. But it is hard indeed to wander off, alone and miserable, down a road that leads to nothing and that has no purpose.
God gave His Teacher to replace the one you made, not to conflict with it. And what He would replace has been replaced. Time lasted but an instant in your mind, with no effect upon eternity. And so is all time past, and everything exactly as it was before the way to nothingness was made. The tiny tick of time in which the first mistake was made, and all of them within that one mistake, held also the Correction for that one, and all of them that came within the first. And in that tiny instant time was gone, for that was all it ever was. What God gave answer to is answered and is gone.
To you who still believe you live in time and know not it is gone, the Holy Spirit still guides you through the infinitely small and senseless maze you still perceive in time, though it has long since gone. You think you live in what is past. Each thing you look upon you saw but for an instant, long ago, before its unreality gave way to truth. Not one illusion still remains unanswered in your mind. Uncertainty was brought to certainty so long ago that it is hard indeed to hold it to your heart, as if it were before you still.
The tiny instant you would keep and make eternal, passed away in Heaven too soon for anything to notice it had come. What disappeared too quickly to affect the simple knowledge of the Son of God can hardly still be there, for you to choose to be your teacher. Only in the past, — an ancient past, too short to make a world in answer to creation, — did this world appear to rise. So very long ago, for such a tiny interval of time, that not one note in Heaven’s song was missed. Yet in each unforgiving act or thought, in every judgment and in all belief in sin, is that one instant still called back, as if it could be made again in time. You keep an ancient memory before your eyes. And he who lives in memories alone is unaware of where he is.
Forgiveness is the great release from time. It Is the key to learning that the past is over. Madness speaks no more. There is no other teacher and no other way. For what has been undone no longer is. And who can stand upon a distant shore, and dream himself across an ocean, to a place and time that have long since gone by? How real a hindrance can this dream be to where he really is? For this is fact, and does not change whatever dreams he has. Yet can he still imagine he is elsewhere, and in another time. In the extreme, he can delude himself that this is true, and pass from mere imagining into belief and into madness, quite convinced that where he would prefer to be, he is.
Is this a hindrance to the place whereon he stands? Is any echo from the past that he may hear a fact in what is there to hear where he is now? And how much can his own illusions about time and place effect a change in where he really is?
The unforgiven is a voice that calls from out a past forevermore gone by. And everything that points to it as real is but a wish that what is gone could be made real again and seen as here and now, in place of what is really now and here. Is this a hindrance to the truth the past is gone, and cannot be returned to you? And do you want that fearful instant kept, when Heaven seemed to disappear and God was feared and made a symbol of your hate?
Forget the time of terror that has been so long ago corrected and undone. Can sin withstand the Will of God? Can it be up to you to see the past and put it in the present? You can not go back. And everything that points the way in the direction of the past but sets you on a mission whose accomplishment can only be unreal. Such is the justice your All-Loving Father has ensured must come to you. And from your own unfairness to yourself has He protected you. You cannot lose your way because there is no way but His, and nowhere can you go except to Him.
Would God allow His Son to lose his way along a road long since a memory of time gone by? This course will teach you only what is now. A dreadful instant in a distant past, now perfectly corrected, is of no concern nor value. Let the dead and gone be peacefully forgotten. Resurrection has come to take its place. And now you are a part of resurrection, not of death. No past illusions have the power to keep you in a place of death, a vault God’s Son entered an instant, to be instantly restored unto his Father’s perfect Love. And how can he be kept in chains long since removed and gone forever from his mind?
The Son whom God created is as free as God created him. He was reborn the instant that he chose to die instead of live. And will you not forgive him now, because he made an error in the past that God remembers not, and is not there? Now you are shifting back and forth between the past and present. Sometimes the past seems real, as if it were the present. Voices from the past are heard and then are doubted. You are like to one who still hallucinates, but lacks conviction in what he perceives. This is the borderland between the worlds, the bridge between the past and present. Here the shadow of the past remains, but still a present light is dimly recognized. Once it is seen, this light can never be forgotten. It must draw you from the past into the present, where you really are.
The shadow voices do not change the laws of time nor of eternity. They come from what is past and gone, and hinder not the true existence of the here and now. The real world is the second part of the hallucination time and death are real, and have existence that can be perceived. This terrible illusion was denied in but the time it took for God to give His Answer to illusion for all time and every circumstance. And then it was no more to be experienced as there.
Each day, and every minute in each day, and every instant that each minute holds, you but relive the single instant when the time of terror took the place of love. And so you die each day to live again, until you cross the gap between the past and present, which is not a gap at all. Such is each life; a seeming interval from birth to death and on to life again, a repetition of an instant gone by long ago that cannot be relived. And all of time is but the mad belief that what is over is still here and now.
Forgive the past and let it go, for it is gone. You stand no longer on the ground that lies between the worlds. You have gone on, and reached the world that lies at Heaven’s gate. There is no hindrance to the Will of God, nor any need that you repeat again a journey that was over long ago. Look gently on your brother, and behold the world in which perception of your hate has been transformed into a world of love.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 15
This is my holy instant of release.
Father, it is today that I am free, because my will is Yours. I thought to make another will. Yet nothing that I thought apart from You exists. And I am free because I was mistaken, and did not affect my own reality at all by my illusions. Now I give them up, and lay them down before the feet of truth, to be removed forever from my mind. This is my holy instant of release. Father, I know my will is one with Yours.
And so today we find our glad return to Heaven, which we never really left. The Son of God this day lays down his dreams. The Son of God this day comes home again, released from sin and clad in holiness, with his right mind restored to him at last.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #808: In answering Question # 566, you stated that the separation is presented in A Course in Miracles as mythology that is meaningful within a framework of Western philosophy and religion. What curriculum is available within a framework of Eastern philosophy and religion? In other words, is there a correction to the Koran , Torah , Bhagavad Gita , etc.?
A: To clarify, the Torah (from Judaism) and the Koran (from Islam) are also part of the dualistic Western religious tradition, with a theology that sees God as the Creator of the entire physical universe, and sin and guilt real. However, unlike Christianity, Jesus is either not a spiritual figure (Judaism) or not the central spiritual figure (Islam) in these two other Western religions. Despite this difference, persons raised within one of these other Western religious traditions certainly may find the Course helpful in addressing limitations they may experience with their own religious training. If they also have a background in Western philosophy (e.g., Plato and neo-Platonic thought) and/or psychology (e.g., psychodynamic theory and process), the Course’s principles may have even greater appeal.
Within the highest teachings of Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions (e.g., Advaita within Hinduism), there already exist many of the concepts and principles that the Course offers as an alternative, and a correction, to traditional Christianity’s dualistic emphasis on sin and guilt and a punishing God. The idea that the world is a dream is a common Eastern theme. The observation that the realm of perception, with the dichotomy between perceiver and perceived (or subject and object), is illusory, and that reality is One, is also well-represented within Eastern traditions. In other words, although the most common practices of these religions by the majority of their adherents may represent an emphasis on form and ritual, and supplication and sacrifice (basic tenets of the ego’s universal “religion,” according to the Course), their scriptures also contain a deeper and more profound perspective on the nature of reality for the genuine seeker. And teachers have arisen from within their communities (e.g., Shankara in Hinduism) across the centuries to provide corrections that have brought dedicated followers back to the deepest spiritual roots of their traditions.
The wisdom of these traditions, like that of the Course itself, is ageless. But from the perspective of illusory, ego-based, linear time, the Western world is in the infancy of its awakening in comparison to the Eastern religions and philosophies. And yet the Course comes in a context that is especially suited to the needs of the Western world, which also allows it to offer some fresh new spiritual insights, building on its particularly Western intellectual tradition, that are not contained in any other of the world’s spiritual teachings — such as an explanation of the mind’s motivation to make up a world and continue dreaming, despite all the suffering and pain that seem to result.
In the end, the good news is that we need not be concerned with anyone’s spiritual path but our own, for there are thousands of genuine paths (M.1.4:1,2) , as the Course points out, but we need only the one that will serve us best (T.18.VII.6:5) . And if the Course is our path, it only makes sense to dedicate ourselves to understanding its principles of forgiveness and putting them into practice.