IV. Practicing the Holy Instant
1. The course is not beyond immediate learning, unless you believe that what God wills takes time. And this means only that you would rather delay the recognition that His Will is so. The holy instant is this instant and every instant. The one you want it to be it is. The one you would not have it be is lost to you. You must decide when it is. Delay it not. For beyond the past and future, where 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, for it holds the whole release from littleness.
2. Your practice must therefore rest upon your willingness to let all littleness go. The instant in which magnitude dawns upon you is but as far away as your desire for it. 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. Think not that you can find salvation in your own way and have it. Give over every plan you have made for your salvation in exchange for God’s. His will content you, and nothing else can bring you peace. For peace is of God, and no one beside Him.
3. Be humble before Him, 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, which you must fill 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 tis release from littleness. God would have His host abide in perfect freedom. Every allegiance to a plan of salvation apart from Him diminishes the value of His Will for you in your own mind. And yet it is your mind that is the host to Him.
4. Would you learn how perfect and immaculate is the holy altar on which Your Father has placed Himself? This you will recognize in the holy instant, in which you willingly and gladly give over every plan but His. For there lies peace, perfectly clear because you have been willing to meet its conditions. You can claim the holy instant any time and anywhere you want it. In your practice, try to give over every plan you have accepted for finding magnitude in littleness. It is not there. Use the holy instant only to recognize that you alone cannot know where it is and can only deceive yourself.
5. I stand within the holy instant, as clear as you would have me. And the extent to which you learn to accept me is the measure of the time in which the holy instant will be yours. I call to you to make the holy instant yours at once, for the release from littleness in the mind of the host of God depends on willingness, and not on time.
6. The reason this course is simple is that truth is simple. Complexity is of the ego and is nothing more than the ego’s attempt to obscure the obvious. You could live forever in the holy instant, beginning now and reaching to eternity, but for a very simple reason. Do not obscure the simplicity of this reason, for if you do, it will be only because you prefer not to recognize it and not to let it go. The simple reason, simply stated, is this: The holy instant is a time in which you receive and give perfect communication. This means, however, that its a time in which your mind is open, both to receive and give. It is the recognition that all minds are in communication. It therefore seeks to change nothing, but merely to accept everything.
7. How can you do this when you would prefer to have private thoughts and keep them? The only way you could do that would be to deny the perfect communication that makes the holy instant what it is. You believe you can harbor thoughts you would not share, and that salvation lies in keeping thoughts to yourself alone. For in private thoughts, known only to yourself, you think you find a way to keep what you would have alone, and share what you would share. And then you wonder why it is that you are not in full communication with those around you, and with God Who surrounds all of you together.
8. Every thought you would keep hidden shuts communication off, because you would have it so. It is impossible to recognize perfect communication while breaking communication holds value to you. Ask yourself honestly, “Would I want to have perfect communication, and am I wholly willing to let everything that interferes with it go forever?” If the answer is no, then the Holy Spirit’s readiness to give it to you is not enough to make it yours, for you are not ready to share it with Him. And it cannot come into a mind that has decided to oppose it. For the holy instant is given and received with equal willingness, being the acceptance of the single Will that governs all thought.
9. The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts that are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep. Innocence is not of your making. It is given you the instant you would have it. Atonement would not be if there were no need for it. You will not be able to accept perfect communication as long as you would hide it from yourself. For what you would hide is hidden from you. In your practice, then, try only to be vigilant against deception, and seek not to protect the thoughts you would keep to yourself. Let the Holy Spirit’s purity shine them away and bring all your awareness to the readiness for purity He offers you. Thus will He make you ready to acknowledge that you are host to God, and hostage to no one and to nothing.
Jesus tells us today in our devotional text every single moment is an eternal, holy instant in which we can choose to either lose or put to the purpose of eternity. It is our decision. Our holiness is not in the past or in the future, it is now. Our holiness is our Sonship, and our Sonship is our holiness, it is our oneness with God and all that is. It is Truth and so it never changes from one moment to the next, it remains always the same – we can step into it at any time we choose.
The only thing that keeps our holiness at bay is not understanding it, and therefor not wanting it.
For when we understand what holiness is, we are released from littleness and the world can no longer hold our interest, captivate our senses, or tempt us to give up what we are in God.
Holiness is total devotion to that which is Love, Peace, and Joy. Holiness means letting all things that are not loving, peaceful, and joyful go and allowing Holy Spirit to teach and guide us and through us. In our total devotion to all that is holy, our egos are humbled for we are no longer willing to go into attack, we are no longer willing to stand about and talk trash about others, we are no longer content to be vicious or vile. When we recognize hostility in our minds we let it go and ask for Love. This takes practice, this is a practice, and the practice of holiness does not weary us but rather replenishes us and makes of us bonnie and blithe.
In our daily lives as humans there are calls upon us to live lives that forgo love, peace, and joy. We do a lot of things to impress other people, we weary ourselves with a multitude of unnecessary demands, we lose our peace when we compare what we have with what other people have, we lose our joy when we let the mistakes and shortcomings of others get under our skin. Practicing holiness is putting God in charge of everything we would otherwise believe we have to control. Love does not call for martyrs or sacrifice of any kind. Peace is in quietness and rest, not in one activity after the other and heeding every call from the world. Joy comes with appreciation and the expression of goodwill and recreation.
We are unable to practice the holy instants when we are worried and stressed over affairs in the world. Holy instants are not magical, they are not ecstatic experiences, they are so calm and so quiet that if we are looking for bright, sparkly lights and thrills and chills to fall upon us and wow our human senses, we are going to miss them! Holy instants happen when we give over our plans and ask for God’s plans. When we know God as Love, we know that Love’s plan is as clear and beautiful as pure and living water. We no longer strive to make the outer perfect which wears us out and makes martyrs of us. We accept the plan of Love which is quiet and restful and renews us. When we do that we can claim the holy instant any time and anywhere we choose. God does not withhold the holy instant from us; we just miss it over and over again by being too busy and too caught up in our social media, in sports and other fun activities, in our favorite soap operas, and in our special relationships and professions to meet the conditions.
When we try to find magnitude in littleness we will keep finding more littleness to take the place of magnitude. We will blow things out of proportion. We will waste our time relating stories about nothing. We will get our feelings hurt and make that which has no reality, real in our own minds. Our Sonship is within each holy instant. The very second we let the small, insignificant, melodramatic go and choose the quiet, calm, eternal peace of God – Christ becomes very apparent to us. In this simple recognition of being one with Christ – we know ourselves as Beings of Love, we are eternal, we have God in us and of us and we are like Him because we are His Son. This practice is not dependent upon time, but upon our willingness to accept the truth of what we are.
While Truth is simple – the ego uses complexity to obscure what should otherwise be obvious. Jesus tells us that we can live forever in the holy instant beginning now if we keep our mind open to both receive and give perfect communication. All minds are in communication, and when we truly communicate we seek to change nothing but merely to accept everything. This means we give up control. We lay down judgment and condemnation. We live from the wellspring of the Kingdom – we offer Atonement to all without question, without thinking we have the right to determine who deserves God’s Kingdom and who should be left out of God’s Kingdom. When we communicate perfectly we do not keep secrets or practice deception for when we enter the holy instant we are Spirit, we are transparent, we are born of Light which harbors no darkness.
Hidden thoughts shut down communication. As long as keeping secrets holds value to us, as long we think that there is something worth never coming clean about, never sharing with another, never bringing to the light of truth, we are not ready for perfect communication required by Sonship. Holiness does not come into a mind that opposes the light of truth. The holy instant is given and received only in a mind that is open and clear and exposes all that is human, all that is of the ego, all that would oppose that which is God. When we accept the single Will that governs all thought, we accept the light of truth and in the light of truth there is no darkness.
Are our thoughts loving, peaceful, and joyful? We are holy. Are our activities centered around sharing love and peace and joy? Then we are extending God’s Kingdom and we are holy. When we trade in our littleness for magnitude it simply means we do not sit about saying mean things about others or ourselves. We build others up and we don’t tear them down – and what we do toward others is what we bring to ourselves. Our passing moments will become eternal holy instants when we practice letting all thoughts, words, and deeds of hostility and opposition go and exchanging them for thoughts, words, and deeds of love, peace, and joy. This doesn’t mean that hostile, unholy thoughts will not come to us. It simply means that we do not keep them, we do not give them any place to rest, we do not hide them and indulge in them and pretend we are better humans than other humans. But rather we accept the purity and grace that God offers us through Atonement.
Perfect communication comes when we practice honesty about our human lives. While we certainly do not glory in them, neither do we mistakenly glory in a pretense of holiness we could never possess in the flesh. There is no such thing as a perfect human and there never will be! Jesus tells us not to lie about how saintly we are and how we never do anything wrong or make mistakes or fall into temptation. When someone is suffering from an addiction to inappropriate relationships, substance abuse, or any other sort of unwholesomeness, we do not pretend that we are better than they are and hide our own shortcomings. This is not helpful to anyone – it is deception, and we only deceive ourselves when we practice this kind of hypocrisy.
Holy Spirit prepares us for acknowledging God in us, by first acknowledging our littleness that would oppose Him. When we know that God is in us, there is nobody and no thing in the flesh that can hold us hostage, for we are over the flesh, we put no faith in that which has no holiness, we cannot be shamed by that which has no meaning and no truth. As we accept our Sonship, we practice holiness and in every instant we practice holiness we set ourselves free.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. IV Practicing the holy instant. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com