I. The Two Uses of Time 1-8
1. 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? Yet that is what time is for; to learn just that and nothing more. God’s Teacher cannot be satisfied with His teaching until it constitutes all your learning. He has not fulfilled His teaching function until you have become such a consistent learner that you learn only of Him. When this has happened, you will no longer need a teacher or time in which to learn.
2. One source of perceived discouragement from which you may 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. Time is His friend in teaching. It does not waste Him, as it does you. 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. 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, which is its end. But to the Holy Spirit the goal is life, which has no end.
3. 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 death, it offers you immortality in hell. It speaks to you of Heaven but assures you that Heaven is not for you. How can the guilty hope for Heaven?
4. The belief in hell is inescapable to those who identify with the ego. Their nightmares and their fears are all associated with it. The ego teaches that hell is in the future, for this is what all its teaching is directed to. Hell is its goal. For although the ego aims at death and dissolution as an end, it does not believe it. The goal of death, which it craves for you, leaves it unsatisfied. No one who follows the ego’s teaching is without the fear of death. Yet if death were thought of merely as an end to pain, would it be feared? We have seen this strange paradox in the ego’s thought system before, but never so clearly as here. For the ego must seem to keep fear from you to hold your allegiance. Yet it must engender fear in order to maintain itself. Again the ego tries, and all too frequently succeeds, in doing both, by using dissociation for holding its contradictory aims together so that they seem to be reconciled. The ego teaches thus: Death is the end as far as hope of Heaven goes. Yet because you and the ego cannot be separated, and because it cannot conceive of its own death, it will pursue you still, because in the ego’s belief system guilt is eternal. Such is the ego’s version of immortality. And it is this the ego’s version of time supports.
5. The ego teaches that Heaven is here and now because the future is hell. Even when it attacks so savagely that it tries to take the life of someone who thinks its is the only voice, it speaks of hell even to him. For it tells him hell is here as well and bids him leap from hell into oblivion. The only time the ego allows anyone to look upon with equanimity is the past. And even there; its only value is that it is no more.
6. How bleak and despairing is the ego’s use of time! And how terrifying! For underneath its fanatical insistence that the past and future be the same is hidden a far more insidious threat to peace. The ego does not advertise its final threat, for it would have its worshippers still believe that it can offer them escape. But the belief in guilt must lead to the belief in hell, and always does. The only way in which the ego allows the fear of hell to be experienced is to bring hell here, but always as a foretaste of the future. For no one who considers himself as deserving of hell can believe that punishment will end in peace.
7. The Holy Spirit teaches thus: There is no hell. Hell is only what the ego has made of the present. The belief in hell is what prevents you from understanding the present, because you are afraid of it. The Holy Spirit leads as steadily to Heaven as the ego drives to hell. For the Holy Spirit, Who knows only the present, uses it to undo the fear by which the ego would make the present useless. There is no escape from fear in the ego’s use of time. For time, according to its teaching, is nothing but a teaching device for compounding guilt until it becomes all-encompassing, demanding vengeance forever.
8. The Holy Spirit would undo all of this now. Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist. There is no fear in the present when each instant stands clear and separated from the past, without its shadow reaching out into the future. Each instant is a clean, untarnished birth, in which the Son of God emerges from the past into the present. And the present extends forever. It is so beautiful and so clean and free of guilt that nothing but happiness is there. No darkness is remembered, and immortality and joy are now.
Jesus tells us in our devotional text today that we are to learn perfect peace, to be calm and quiet all the time. This is the Holy Spirit’s use of time. When we learn peace, we remember our Selves, we know ourselves as we were created, we no longer need to be taught and we no longer need time in which to teach us for time could no longer contain or define who and what we really are.
We are not to allow the belief in waste and destruction to discourage us for time does not waste Holy Spirit as it does those who identify with flesh and ego. The ego uses time for destruction, decay, and death. When we identify with ego, time is not kind to us. We learn to fear it, to let time make us anxious, to let time control our lives and ride upon our consciousnesses with worries and concerns. We do our best to control time, to set up goals within time, to judge others and their use of time. We live our lives by the clock, by the years and hours and minutes and we know that in the end we die. To those who identify with ego, our use of time is one of guilt and shame, regrets and disappointment, sorrow and sadness. There is never enough of it. There are things we should have done, could have done, would have done if only we had time to do it over.
The ego does not use time only for destruction and waste in time itself but devises strange religions in which hell awaits in timelessness for those who did not use time in a constructive manner. There is no peace in identifying with ego for we are guilty no matter what we do or who we do it with!
Holy Spirit teaches that the only hell there is what the ego makes of the present. When we accept the guiltlessness of Holy Spirit, we leave all thoughts of hell in the past. We step out of guilt, we step out of vengeance, we step out of division and destruction. Holy Spirit leads us steadily to Heaven – each instant extending its peace forever. There is nothing but joy and light and love – each present moment frees us from the past forever – we simply learn to walk in this beautiful, clear present moment which has no past and no future and is the closest thing to the everlasting we can experience in time.
We will end today’s post with paragraph eight and continue with the rest of the post in tomorrow’s blog. In your personal devotional practice ask Holy Spirit to teach you how to use the present moment. Devote yourself to using time to free yourself and others from the past – letting each single, beautiful instant be a new opportunity to step out of the past, to step out of turmoil, blame, and shame, to step out of weariness, your habitual way of responding to others, and into the Light of blessedness. When we use time the way Holy Spirit uses time, we live in happiness for each single instant is devoted to all that is beautiful, clean, lively and pure. When our minds grasp this concept, the ego cannot tempt us to worry and fret over time for each instant gives us a new opportunity to draw closer to the Light and Love of God. As our bodies age, as our faculties in the flesh grow dim, as time seems to take away our vitality and passion and usefulness, our Spirits are refreshed, we see that which is invisible to flesh eyes, we hear that which cannot be heard with flesh ears. While our earthly brains are doomed to fail us, the Mind of Christ never will. Our most blessed use of time teaches us immortality and the need for time no more.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. I. The two uses of time 1-8. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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