A Course in Miracles

Chapter 18 - Dream and The Reality

The Little Willingness

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 precedes its coming. You prepare your minds 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 unto 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.

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.

Humility will never ask that you remain content with littleness, but it does require that you be not content with less than greatness which 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 intefering with His Will. You do not need the strength of willingness to come from you, but only from His Will.

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 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?

You merely ask the question. The answer is given. Seek not to answer it, but merely 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.”

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 yourselves to Him Whose function is release. Do not assume His function for Him. Give Him but what He asks, that you may learn how little is your part, and how great is His.

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. And it is very hard for you to realize that it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirit’s are so extremely disproportionate. You are still convinced 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 that you cannot give right now.

Forget not that it has been your decision to make everything that is natural and easy for you impossible. What you believe to be impossible will be, if God so wills it, but you will remain quite unaware of it. 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 minds, which thought it did, is its undoing needful.

 

 

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 18 - Dream and The Reality

The Happy Dream

Prepare you NOW for the undoing of what never was. If you already understood the difference between truth and illusion, the Atonement would have no meaning.

The holy instant, your holy relationship, the Holy Spirit’s teaching, and all the means by which salvation is accomplished, would have no purpose. For they are all but aspects of the plan to change your dreams of fear to happy dreams, from which you waken easily to knowledge. Put yourself not in charge of this, for you cannot distinguish between advance and retreat. Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success.

Never approach the holy instant after you have tried to remove all fear and hatred from your mind. That is its function. Never attempt to overlook your guilt before you ask the Holy Spirit’s help. That is His function. Your part is only to offer Him a little willingness to let Him remove all fear and hatred, and to be forgiven. On your little faith, joined with His understanding, He will build your part in the Atonement, and make sure that you fulfill it easily. And with Him, you will build a ladder planted in the solid rock of faith and rising even to Heaven, nor will you use it to ascend to Heaven alone.

Through your holy relationship, reborn and blessed in every holy instant which you do not arrange, thousands will rise to Heaven with you. Can you plan for this? Or could you prepare yourselves for such a function? Yet it is possible, because God wills it. Nor will He change His Mind about it. The means and purpose both belong to Him. You have accepted one; the other will be provided. A purpose such as this, without the means, is inconceivable. He will provide the means to anyone who shares His purpose.

Happy dreams come true, not because they are dreams, but only because they are happy, and so they must be loving. Their message is...

“Thy Will be done,” and not, “I want it otherwise.”

The alignment of means and purpose is an undertaking impossible for you to understand. You do not even realize you have accepted the Holy Spirit’s purpose as your own, and you would merely bring unholy means to its accomplishment. The little faith it needed to change the purpose is all that is required to receive the means and use them.

It is no dream to love your brother as yourself. Nor is your holy relationship a dream. All that remains of dreams within it is that it is still a special relationship, yet it is very useful to the Holy Spirit, Who has a special function here. It will become the happy dream through which He can spread joy to thousands on thousands who believe that love is fear, not happiness. Let Him fulfill the function that He gave to your relationship by accepting it for you, and nothing will be wanting that would make of it what He would have it be.

When you feel the holiness of your relationship is threatened by anything, stop instantly and offer the Holy Spirit your willingness, in spite of fear, to let Him exchange this instant for the holy one which you would rather have. He will never fail in this. But forget not that your relationship is one, and so it must be that whatever threatens the peace of one is an equal threat to the other. The power of joining and its blessing lie in the fact that it is now impossible for either of you to experience fear alone, or to attempt to deal with it alone. Never believe that this is necessary, or even possible. Yet just as this is impossible, so is it equally impossible that the holy instant come to either of you without the other; and it will come to both at the request of either.

Which ever is saner at the time when the threat is perceived should remember how deep is his indebtedness to the other, and how much gratitude is due him, and be glad that he can pay his debt by bringing happiness to both.

Let him remember this, and say:

“I desire this holy instant for myself that I may share it with my brother, whom I love. It is not possible that I can have it without him, or he without me. Yet it is wholly possible for us to share it NOW. And so I choose this instant as the one to offer to the Holy Spirit, that His blessing may descend on us, and keep us both in peace.”

 

 

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 18 - Dream and The Reality

Dreams and the Body

There is nothing outside you. That is what you must ultimately learn. For it is the realization that the Kingdom of Heaven is restored to you. For God created only this (the Kingdom of Heaven), and He did not depart from it, nor leave it separate from Himself.

The Kingdom of Heaven is the dwelling-place of the Son of God, who left not his Father, and dwells not apart from Him.Heaven is not a place nor a condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect Oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else; nothing outside this Oneness, and nothing else within.

What could God give but knowledge of Himself? What else is there to give?

The belief that you could give and get something else, something outside yourself, has cost you the awareness of Heaven, and the loss of your Identity. And you have done a stranger thing than you yet realize. You have displaced your guilt (over this) to your bodies from your minds. Yet a body cannot be guilty, for it can do nothing of itself. You, who think you hate your bodies, deceive yourselves. You hate your minds, for guilt has entered into them and they would remain separate, which they cannot do.

Minds are joined; bodies are not.

Only by assigning to the mind the properties of the body does separation seem to be possible. And it is mind that seems to be fragmented and private and alone. Its guilt, which keeps it separate, is projected to the body, which suffers and dies because it is attacked to hold the separation in the mind and let it not know its identity.

Mind cannot attack, but it can make fantasies and direct the body to act them out. Yet it is never what the body does that seems to satisfy. Unless the mind believes the body is actually acting out its fantasies, it will attack the body by increasing the projection of its guilt upon it.

In this, the mind is clearly delusional. It cannot attack, but it maintains it can, and uses what it does to hurt the body to prove it can. The mind cannot attack, but it can deceive itself. And this is all it does when it believes it has attacked the body. It can project its guilt, but it will not lose it through projection. And though it clearly can misperceive the function of the body, it cannot change its function from what the Holy Spirit establishes it to be. The body was not made by love, yet love does not condemn it and can use it lovingly, respecting what the Son of God has made, and using it to save him from illusions.

Would you not have the instruments of separation re-interpreted as means for salvation, and used for purposes of love? Would you not welcome and support the shift from fantasies of vengeance to release from them?

Your perception of the body can clearly be sick, but project not this upon the body, for your wish to make destructive what cannot destroy can have no real effect at all. And what God created is only what He would have it be, being His Will. You cannot make His Will destructive. You can make fantasies in which your will conflicts with His, but that is all.

It is insane to use the body as the scapegoat for guilt, directing its attack and blaming it for what you wished it to do. It is impossible to act out fantasies, for it is still the fantasies you want, and they have nothing to do with what the body does. It does not dream of them. And they but make it a liability ,where it could be an asset, for fantasies have made your body your “enemy,” weak, vulnerable and treacherous, worthy of the hate which you invest in it.

How has this served you?

You have identified with this thing you hate, the instrument of vengeance and the perceived source of your guilt. You have done this to a thing that has no meaning, proclaiming it to be the dwelling-place of the Son of God, and turning it against him.

This is the host of God that you have made, and neither God nor His most holy Son can enter an abode which harbors hate, and where you have sown the seeds of vengeance, violence and death. This thing you made to serve your guilt stands between you and other minds. The minds are joined, but you do not identify with them. You see yourself locked in a separate prison, removed and unreachable, incapable of reaching out as being reached. You hate this prison you have made, and would destroy it. But you would not escape from it, leaving it unharmed without your guilt upon it.

Yet only thus can you escape. The home of vengeance is not yours; the place you set aside to house your hate is not a prison, but an illusion of yourself. The body is a limit imposed on the universal communication which is an eternal property of mind. But the communication is internal. Mind reaches to itself. It does not go out. Within itself it has no limits, and there is nothing outside it. It encompasses you entirely; you within it, and it within you. There is nothing else, anywhere or ever.

The body is outside you, and but seems to surround you, shutting you off from others and keeping you apart from them. It is not there. There is no barrier between God and His Son, nor can His Son be separated from himself except in illusions. This is not his reality, though he believes it is. Yet this could only be if God were wrong. God would have had to create differently, and to have separated Himself from His Son to make this possible. He would have had to create different things, and to establish different orders of reality, only some of which were love. Yet love must be forever like itself, changeless forever, and forever without alternative. And so it is. You cannot put a barrier around yourself, because God placed none between Himself and you.

You can stretch out your hand and reach to Heaven. You whose hands are joined have begun to reach beyond the body, but not outside yourselves, to reach your shared identity together.

Could this be outside you where God is not? Is he a body? And did He create you as He is not, and where He cannot be? You are surrounded only by Him. What limit can there be on you whom He encompasses?

Everyone has experienced what he would call a sense of being transported beyond himself. This feeling of liberation far exceeds the dream of freedom sometimes experienced in special relationships. It is a sense of actual escape from limitations.

If you will consider what this “transportation” really entails, you will realize that it is a sudden unawareness of the body, and a joining of yourself and something else in which your mind enlarges to encompass it. It becomes part of you, as you unite with it, and both become whole, as neither is perceived as separate. What really happens is that you have given up the illusion of a limited awareness and lost your fear of union.

The love that instantly replaces it extends to what has freed you, and unites with it. And while this lasts, you are not uncertain of your identity and would not limit it. You have escaped from fear to peace, asking no questions of reality, but merely accepting it. You have accepted this instead of the body, and have let yourself be one with something beyond it, simply by not letting your mind be limited by it.

This can occur regardless of the physical distance which seems to be between you and what you join; of your respective positions in space; and of your differences in size and seeming quality. Time is not relevant; it can occur with something past, present or anticipated. The “something” can be anything and anywhere; a sound, a sight, a thought, a memory, and even a general idea without specific reference. Yet in every case, you joined it without reservation because you love it, and would be with it; and so you rush to meet it, letting your limits melt away, suspending all the “laws” your body obeys and gently setting them aside.

There is no violence at all in this escape. The body is not attacked, but simply properly perceived. It does not limit you, merely because you would not have it so. You are not really “lifted out” of it; it cannot contain you. You go where you would be, gaining, not losing, a sense of self. In these instants of release from physical restrictions, you experience much of what happens in the holy instant; the lifting of the barriers of time and space, the sudden experience of peace and joy, and, above all, the lack of awareness of the body, and of the questioning whether or not all this is possible.

It is possible because you want it. The sudden expansion of the self which takes place with your desire for it is the irresistible appeal the holy instant holds. It calls to you to be yourself, within its safe embrace. There are the laws of limit lifted for you, to welcome you to openness of mind and freedom. Come to this place of refuge, where you can be yourself in peace. Not through destruction, not through a “breaking out,” but merely by a quiet “melting in.” For peace will join you there simply because you have been willing to let go the limits you have placed upon love, and joined it where it is and where it led you, in answer to its gentle call to be at peace.

 

 

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles

I Need Do Nothing

You still have too much faith in the body as a source of strength. What plans do you make that do not involve its comfort or protection or enjoyment in some way? This makes it an end and not a means, in your interpretation, and this always means you still find sin (guilt) attractive. No one accepts Atonement for himself who still accepts sin as his goal. You have thus not met your one responsibility. Atonement is not welcomed by those who prefer pain and destruction.

You have made much progress and are really trying to make still more, but there is one thing you have never done; not for one instant have you utterly forgotten the body. It has faded at times from your sight, but it has not yet completely disappeared.

You are not asked to let this happen for more than an instant, yet it is in this instant that the miracle of Atonement happens. Afterwards, you will see the body again, but never quite the same; and every instant that you spend without awareness of it gives you a different view of it when you return.

At no single instant does the body exist at all. It is always remembered or anticipated, but never experienced just now. Only its past and future make it (the body) seem real. Time controls it entirely, for sin (guilt) is never present. In any single instant, the attraction of guilt would be experienced as pain and nothing else, and would be avoided. It (guilt) has no attraction NOW. Its whole attraction is imaginary, and therefore must be thought of in the past or in the future.

It is impossible to accept the holy instant without reservation unless, just for an instant, you are willing to see no past or future. You cannot prepare for it, without placing it in the future. Release is given you the instant you desire it. Many have spent a lifetime in preparation, and have indeed achieved their instants of success.

This course does not attempt to teach more than they learned in time, but it does aim at saving time. You are attempting to follow a very long road to the goal you have accepted.

It is extremely difficult to reach Atonement by fighting against sin.

Nor is a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body necessary.

All such attempts will ultimately succeed because of their purpose. Yet the means are tedious and very time consuming, for all of them look to the future for release from a state of present unworthiness and inadequacy.

Your way will be different, not in purpose, but in means. A holy relationship is a means of saving time. One instant spent together restores the universe to both of you. You are prepared. Now you need but to remember you need do nothing. It would be far more profitable now merely to concentrate on this than to consider what you should do.

When peace comes at last to those who wrestle with temptation and fight against the giving in to sin; when the light comes at last into the mind given to contemplation, or when the goal is finally achieved by anyone, it always comes with just one happy realization...

“I need do nothing.”

Here is the ultimate release which everyone will one day find in his own way, at his own time. We do not need this time. Time has been saved for you because you are together. This is the special means this course is using to save you time. You are not making use of the course if you insist on using means which have served others well, neglecting what was made for you.

Save time for me by only this one preparation, and practice doing nothing else.

"I need do nothing”

is a statement of allegiance, a truly undivided loyalty. Believe it for just one instant, and you will accomplish more than is given to a century of contemplation, or of struggle against temptation.

To do anything involves the body, and if you recognize you need do nothing, you have withdrawn the body’s value from your mind. Here is the quick and open door through which you slip past centuries of effort, and escape from time. This is the way in which sin (guilt) loses all attraction right NOW, for here is time denied, and past and future gone. Who need do nothing has no need for time. To do nothing is to rest, and make a place within you where the activity of the body ceases to demand attention. Into this place, the Holy Spirit comes, and there abides. He will remain when you forget and the body’s activities return to occupy your conscious mind.

Yet there will always be this place of rest to which you can return. And you will be more aware of this quiet center of the storm than all its raging activity. This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent. For from this center will you be directed how to use the body sinlessly.It is this center, from which the body is absent, that will keep it so in your awareness of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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