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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 18 The Passing of the Dream

IV. The Little Willingness

1. The holy instant is the result of your determination to be holy. It is the answer. The desire and the willingness to let it come precede its coming. You prepare your mind for it only to the extent of recognizing that you want it above all else. It is not necessary that you do more, indeed it is necessary that you realize that you cannot do more. Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego to Him and confuse the two.  He asks but little. It is He who adds the greatness and the might. He joins with you to make the holy instant far greater than you can understand. It is your realization that you need do so little that enables Him to give so much.

2. Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough. But trust implicitly your willingness, whatever else may enter. Concentrate only on this and be not disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them, you would not need the holy instant. Come to it not in arrogance, assuming that you must achieve the state its coming brings with it. The miracle of the holy instant lies in your willingness to let it be what it is. And in your willingness for this lies also your acceptance of yourself as you were meant to be.

3. Humility will never ask that you remain content with littleness. But it does require that you be not content with less than greatness that comes not of you. Your difficulty with the holy instant arises from your fixed conviction that you are not worthy of it. And what is this but the determination to be as you would make yourself? God did not create His dwelling place unworthy of Him. And if you believe He cannot enter where He wills to be, you must be interfering with His Will. You do not need the strength of willingness to come from you, but only from His Will.

4. The holy instant does not come from your little willingness alone. It is always the result of your small willingness combined with the unlimited power of God’s Will. You have been wrong in thinking that it is needful to prepare yourself for Him. It is impossible to make arrogant preparations for holiness, and not believe that it is up to you to establish the conditions for peace. God has established them. They do not wait upon your willingness for what they are. Your willingness is needed only to make it possible to teach you what they are. If you maintain you are unworthy of learning this, you are interfering with the lesson by believing that you must make the learner different. You did not make the learner, nor can you make him different. Would you first make a miracle yourself, and then expect one to be made for you?

5. You merely asked the question.  The answer is given.  Seek not to answer, but merely to receive the answer as it is given.  In preparing for the holy instant, do not attempt to make yourself holy to be ready to receive it. That is but to confuse your role with God’s. Atonement cannot come to those who think that they must first atone, but only to those who offer it nothing more than simple willingness to make way for it. Purification is of God alone, and therefore for you. Rather than seek to prepare yourself for Him try to think thus:

I who am host to God am worthy of Him. He who established His dwelling place in me created it as He would have it be. It is not needful that I make it ready for Him, but only that I do not interfere with His plan to restore to me my own awareness of my readiness, which is eternal. I need add nothing to His plan.  But to receive it, I must be willing not to substitute my own in place of it.

6. And that is all. Add more, and you will merely take away the little that is asked. Remember you made guilt, and that your plan for the escape from guilt has been to bring Atonement to it and make salvation fearful. And it is only fear that you will add if you prepare yourself for love. The preparation for the holy instant belongs to Him Who gives it. Release yourself to Him Whose function is release. Do not assume His function for Him. Give Him what He asks, that you may learn how little is your part, and how great is His.

7. It is this that makes the holy instant so easy and so natural. You make it difficult because you insist there must be more that you need do. You find it difficult to accept the idea that you need give so little, to receive so much. And it is very hard for you to realize it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirit’s are so extremely disproportionate. You are still convinced that your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth and makes it what it is. Yet we have emphasized that you need understand nothing. Salvation is easy just because it asks nothing you cannot give right now.

8. Forget not that it has been your decision to make everything that is natural and easy for you impossible. If you believe the holy instant is difficult for you, it is because you have become the arbiter of what is possible and remain unwilling to give place to One Who knows. The whole belief in orders of difficulty in miracles is centered on this.  Everything God Wills is not only possible but has already happened. And that is why the past has gone. It never happened in reality. Only in your mind, which thought it did, is its undoing needful.[1]

The holy instant is the answer to the part we play in God’s Plan of Atonement.  It is our acceptance of Sonship, it is our acceptance of mutuality, it is our acceptance that I find my holiness in your holiness even as you find your holiness in mine.  

When I am willing to come to the holy instant and bring you to the higher mind of Holy Spirit, setting us free of our past, extending only the desire for God’s Kingdom to you, recognizing our mutuality in flesh and in Spirit – we are saved.  I do not have to plead the blood of Jesus over you.  I do not have to pay extra money to the priest to say special prayers or make special concessions for you.  I do not have to speak in tongues or jump up and down and flail my arms about in the air.  I can simply bring you to my inner altar and forgive our mutual past in the flesh and bless our eternal Brotherhood in Christ. I give you and me to Holy Spirit.  And nothing more. 

It is that easy and that natural.  This is how we practice the holy instant.  We bring each one of our special relationships to Holy Spirit; we bring each of our interactions; we bring all of our past to our inner altar, and we give each particular person, place, or thing to holiness.  We do not concern ourselves with shadows.  Yes, certain thoughts will conflict with our desire for holiness.  I may think you do not deserve forgiveness for what you did or what you said.  I may think that I am not worthy of forgiveness in that particular incidence.  I may think that the cards were stacked against me.  I may be jealous of all your privilege.  I may still sting over your hypocrisy.  There may be a grudge over how you threw me under the bus in order to spare your own reputation.  There are all kinds of shadows lurking about – and we are to ignore them.  This is our determination.  We are asking to be saved from our humanity, from the ego, from the cycles of birth and death, sorrow and despair.  We want to go Home.  We miss our Heavenly Father.  We miss the holy Sonship.  And so we bring our willingness.  The shadows may come as well, for if we didn’t have the shadows we would have no need for salvation; we would already be Home, we would have never fallen asleep and had the mad dream of loneliness, emptiness, and despair.  So bring your shadows. 

The worst thing we can do is think that we must get rid of our shadows before we come to the holy instant. We must not dream up stipulations for the holy instant.  We do not have to pray any special prayers or say the rosary or do any kind of penance.  We must not pay money to the church or give up anything we enjoy before we come to the holy instant.  We do not get to make the conditions of salvation.  It is our willingness that we bring.  Our determination that we want only the best for each other, that we want only God in each other, that we are not in this for ourselves alone. 

When we bring our little willingness to the holy instant we are unleashing all the power in the universe for each other.  We are setting each other free from the past.  We are releasing all that would hold us in ongoing cycles of sorrow and death and uncertainty.  Only arrogance would assume that we must do more than this; only in our humility would we realize we are giving up nothing in exchange for everything.

In your personal devotional practice today, contemplate the last paragraph of this section.  Know that every relationship, every circumstance, every event that looms from your past and wreaks havoc upon your sense of well-being is that which you have been unwilling to bring to the holy instant.  Do not believe for one moment that you must understand God’s Plan of Atonement in order to practice God’s Plan of Atonement.  Ask Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind and free you from holding on to all desire for specialness, egoism, and unholiness in your relationships in and with the perceptual world.   Practice the holy instant with the people, places, and things that come forth, placing all your hopes, fears, desires, and memories – both helpful and hurtful – before the Holy Spirit.  In this instant devoted to all that is holy free this person, this place, this thing from your ego, from the things you hold them accountable for, from your expectations, bitterness, guilt, and specialness of any kind.  See each person as your brother, mutual in human frailty, mutual in Sonship, mutual in the Brotherhood of Christ.  See each situation with forgiveness which erases all that is unholy and impure. 

Through the practice of the holy instant our minds are freed of all that would corrupt them.  Our minds, as one with the Mind of Christ, wills with God and His Kingdom.  Here nothing is impossible for we ask only for the happiness and goodwill that is God’s Will for His Son.  Here there is nobody that is too evil, too sick, too lost in deception to be saved for here there is no level of difficulty in miracles.  Here we are free from the worries and concerns that plague our human relationships and our human interactions. Here we learn to trust in God, we learn to come to God; we learn our way to God.  The holy instant is God’s answer to the question.   


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 18 The passing of the dream. IV The little willingness. 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

Filed under: ACIM, Teaching and Learning

About the Author

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Coming up on sixty, my love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at eckief@yahoo.com.

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