PART II. SECTION 7. What is the Holy Spirit?
Lesson 289 The past is over. It can touch me not.
- Unless the past is over in my mind, the real world must escape my sight. For I am really looking nowhere; seeing but what is not there. How can I then perceive the world forgiveness offers? This the past was made to hide, for this the world that can be looked on only now. It has no past. For what can be forgiven but the past, and it if is forgiven it is gone.
- Father let me not look upon a past that is not there. For You have offered me Your Own replacement, in a present world the past has left untouched and free of sin. Here is the end of guilt. And here am I made ready for Your final step. Shall I demand that You wait longer for Your Son to find the loveliness You planned to be the end of all his dreams and all his pain?
In order to survive in the ego-made world of fear, shortages, and limitations, we believe that we must hold on to the past. The past informs our minds of all our former dealings with people – this one picks up things that do not belong to him; this one stretches the truth; this one cannot be trusted with your lover, spouse, or secret crush. We remember the ones that blab our secrets, that do not reciprocate favors, that clog our toilets, and never reach for the bill when we share a meal in a restaurant! How stupid it seems to our egos to forgive and forget the past, for remembering it keeps us on guard from those who are jealous, spiteful, dangerous, and cruel. Hauling our brother’s past up in our mind, keeping their hurtful behavior and wrongdoing fresh in our minds, never forgetting a slight, a slur, a shameful act, helps us to protect our selves from it happening again – or so we are led to believe.
Conversely, our ego loves to ride upon its vain glories from the past. Awards and accomplishments that we received years ago for our efforts in our field of expertise would still provide a hook which to fasten our egos, to fill us with a sense of privilege and pride, to excuse our current indolence. If we are not caught up in our past to cherish its sufferings, we will often get caught up in our past to distance ourselves from our present glories.
Jesus teaches us today that even the joys of the past, blind us to the joys and beauty of our present. We all know people who cherish their losses and bring them up every chance they get in order to remind us of their former glory and their current suffering. I have an acquaintance whose husband is handsome, kind and hardworking. He waits on her hand and foot; he built her a beautiful home, he has a quiet, humble relationship with Christ. And yet every chance she gets she mourns her first husband who died decades ago. Everyone who knows her wishes that she would let it go and recognize how blessed she is to have had the privilege to have not one, but two super-nice husbands. But nope, she elects to stay in the past and be miserable.
Our egos will often glorify a former special relationship making it appear that the shallow roots that held that fragile alliance together provided us with delights that gratified our every desire – when the reality is that ego had blinded us to the sacrifices we made and idolatry we committed to keep that special relationship chugging along for as long as it did.
When we hold on to the past, we will mourn the death, the loss, the empty spot at the table and be blind to the richness that is being given to us moment-by-blessed-moment as we journey through time. Instead of accepting our sojourn in this world as the dream it is, we often get so caught up in the story of it that we fail to see our brothers for who and what they really are in Christ. We think of them as their human story and when their human form dies, moves away, develops interests and friendships that do not include us, it is a cause for sadness, sorrow, shame, accusations, and unreasonable expectations. In my own life, if I did not accept that my daughter Manda only died in the flesh, that her spirit lives on in God’s Kingdom, which is within me and all around me, I could easily miss the joys and blessings that surround me every single moment of every single day – the precious grandchildren, the loving son and daughters that remain, the loving husband, the healed and holy relationships, not to mention the gifts of home, hearth, and happiness that envelope my mind with His goodness as I become reacquainted with my Holy Self.
Today let the past be over! Do not let your memories keep you from seeing the real world and your real and holy Self. Your memories from the past serve as a mirage; nothing is there; they are not based on reality; you made them up! Our sojourn in time is a ruse that keeps us in a state of separateness from God, keeping us so wrapped up with each other’s images that we do not hear our Holy Selves, our Holy Spirits, calling to us to remember, to return, to reacquaint ourselves with the Divine which is Love which is God.
Pray the prayer Jesus offers us in our lesson today in your own words and in your own way:
Dear Heavenly Father: Today I let the past go. It is not there. I take what You have for me instead – this present moment which is free of the past and the idolatry it offers. The end of all guilt has come! My brothers are innocent and so am I. And knowing this, I am ready for the final step to You. I will not ask for extra time or delay my return to You for nothing in this world could compare with the loveliness You made to end this dream of pain and madness. In the name of Jesus with Whom I am one. Amen.
 A Course In Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 289. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). p. 442.
Audio credit: the friar patch @ http://www.eckiefriar.com