I was asked to write an article for ‘A Course in Miracles’ magazine on the topic of the present moment. In response, I submitted an essay on the Holy Instant and the Peace of God titled Give Peace a Chance. While the magazine editor liked the essay, he felt it really didn’t fit the topic requested – the present moment. So, I asked Jesus to help me understand the present moment and the Holy Instant. Was there something I was missing? Were there defining differences between the now moment and the Holy Instant? If so, then what are they? I could sense a miracle behind this experience and I wanted that above all else.
Let’s look at the present moment. The term itself still pertains to the illusion of time while the Holy Instant collapses time. The “now” moment is really all that is occurring at any one moment in the dream of separation. If we truly desire to awaken from the dream, we must transcend the belief that we are bound to bodies and time, by moving into the realization that we, as the Christ Self, are not in the dream at all.
The real questions we need to ask in this area are, 1) Are we presently aware of only the now-moment, or are we lamenting the past and/or fearing the future? 2) Which “self” is it that is present (perceiving)? Is it the false self concept, or is it the Holy Self? and 3) What are we using this now-moment awareness for?
The present moment can be used by both the ego and the right-mind. In my own experience, awareness of the present moment is beneficial when I recognize that it is ripe with potential if given to the Holy Spirit to use on our behalf. The real purpose of now-moment awareness is to access the choice point through which we consciously invite Holy Spirit (Holy perception) to do our seeing and correct our perception.
Before going further, the highest teaching-learning (and thus healing/awakening) possible in the entire dream of space-time is quantum forgiveness of the profound split between fear and Love in our mind. This is the same mind-split that projected the entire realm of consciousness as perception itself.
A Course in Miracles teaches us to welcome, receive and extend the overarching forgiveness of our deep-seated and habitual belief that we are separate from each other and God, as well as the belief that we are each imprisoned by separate bodies that can appear to victimize us. The split mind also contains another formidable yet erroneous assumption – that we each have private minds with separate agendas that can conflict with one another.
Yet through our own consistent devotion to forgiving all our projections of pain, we eventually reach comprehensive awakening from the realm of consciousness (perception) through what Jesus terms as “true perception.” From there, God takes the last step of lifting us out of the realm of consciousness (shifting perception, space and time, the birth and death cycle, etc.) and back into the changeless realm and certainty of Knowledge, as Heaven. Note: See the diagram Realms of Knowledge and True Perception featured in Awakening – Separating Truth from Illusion (Volume II) or in Nouk’s Blog here: https://nouksanchez.com/nouks-blog/awakening-separating-truth-from-illusions/
Because our mind is seemingly split, the ego, as the separate self concept, has placed us on a horizontal timeline in which it only ever views the present moment based upon the past. The ego projects the past in every moment to ensure that we are never available just now to access the Holy Instant. This deliberate deception makes certain that since we only see our brothers and sisters based on our past, we do not truly recognize the blazing light and innocence of their majesty, and therefore, our own. Viewing others through our own past filters guarantees that we will continue to project judgment and prolong the separation.
It is imperative that we go within and ask “which mind” is actively observing in any one moment. Which mind is present, or is aware? Of itself, the present moment is simply one that is pregnant with potential. Its potential is only realized if we surrender the present moment to Holy Spirit. If not, then it is largely squandered by the ego and misused for its purposes of hidden guilt and fear.
Our alertness to which “self” is witnessing the present moment, as well as what it is using it for, will greatly assist us in experiencing the blessings and Atonement within the Holy Instant.
To summarize, “now” moment awareness and the Holy Instant are not the same. Now moment awareness can help us to become more non-reactive in a stressful or difficult situation. It possesses within it the potential for a Holy Instant of healing. Now moment awareness can be consciously taken to its next step by giving it to Holy Spirit so He can bring our awareness into the Holy Instant, where He repurposes and reinterprets everything through forgiveness and healing.
For most, including those of us on the spiritual path, the perceptual mechanism of mind is still largely run by the ego. When we attempt to bring this mind into mindful presence, we discover that it can only be present to what will not threaten its perceptual scope, its fundamental beliefs and its past, which are underpinned by separation (sin, guilt and fear).
Because the ego thought system is fear itself, its greatest threat is changeless Love; the memory of our shared and unified Holy Self as incorruptible innocence. It does not recognize our Holiness as our shared innocence. This is the literal power and divine dominion that we share with God over all the ego’s chaotic laws including sin, sickness and death. Awareness or presence in this unopposed state of Love and Holiness is the ego’s certain annihilation – as the healing of our split mind.
“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 may be attempting to follow a very long road to the goal you have accepted. It is extremely difficult to reach Atonement by fighting against sin. Enormous effort is expended in the attempt to make holy what is hated and despised. 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.” T-18.VII.4.
What the ego mind regards as the present moment is comprised of its own projections, which obscure our access to the Holy Instant. In contrast, the Holy Instant can only be accessed by the right-mind (Holy Self). While the ego can seem to witness the present moment, it is never in the Holy Instant. There is no experience of the Holy Instant apart from our right-minded awareness of it.
“Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist.” … “For what is time without a past and future? It has taken time to misguide you so completely, but it takes no time at all to be what you are. Begin to practice the Holy Spirit’s use of time as a teaching aid to happiness and peace. Take this very instant, now, and think of it as all there is of time. Nothing can reach you here out of the past, and it is here that you are completely absolved, completely free and wholly without condemnation. From this holy instant wherein holiness was born again you will go forth in time without fear, and with no sense of change with time.” … “Time is inconceivable without change, yet holiness does not change.” T-15.I.8:2,9:2-7,10:1
The present moment can be whatever the ego determines it to be. The spiritual ego can dress up the present moment in a dazzling array of veneers. However, if the Holy Instant of the Peace of God (changeless peace) is missing, then nothing shows-up on God’s Radar. This is why it is so important to ask ourself first, are we approaching the present moment by consulting with our false self or our Holy Self?
“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 seem real. Time controls it entirely, for sin is never wholly in the present. In any single instant the attraction of guilt would be experienced as pain and nothing else, and would be avoided. It has no attraction [now.] Its whole attraction is imaginary, and therefore must be thought of in the past or in the future.” T-18.VII.3.
The Holy Instant
Of course, the now moment is a useful practical tool as we learn to recognize and catch the ego’s incessant judgments of others and self. We can learn to watch the ego like a hawk, however if we don’t actually give those mistakes – judgments – to Holy Spirit in exchange for the divine correction (Atonement) then we will continue to carry the burden of feeling responsible for them. We may not be conscious of this but we will feel a heightened sense of anxiety or threat.
When we actually accept this divine correction there is a deep sense of peace because we have unburdened our self of guilt (as self-attack) and we can now trust that our awareness has been returned to guiltlessness as our incorruptible innocence.
“The holy instant is the Holy Spirit’s most useful learning device for teaching you love’s meaning. For its purpose is to suspend judgment entirely. Judgment always rests on the past, for past experience is the basis on which you judge.” T-15.V.1:1-3
The Holy Instant is a circuit-breaker. In this Instant the mind is purified of its ego interpretation. Even though present moment awareness may open the mind to spaciousness or expanded awareness, it is still frequently limited by the ego’s sense of separate identity apart from others. Whereas the Holy Instant’s purpose is to completely surpass present moment awareness by shifting our mind to an inclusive, unified perception. It shatters the bounds of present moment awareness because its purpose is to transcend the ego mind’s interpretation of a personal, separate sense of self apart from others.
The mistaken perception that we each have a separate body and personal mind with private thoughts apart from our brothers is erased in the Holy Instant. Suddenly, the darkness of the mind’s addiction to separation is flooded with the light of true communication – all minds are joined in light.
“The holy instant is a time in which you receive and give perfect communication. This means, however, that it is 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.” … “How can you do this when you would prefer to have private thoughts and keep them?” T-15.IV.6:5-7
The Holy Instant is never for our self alone. Unless this Holiness (innocence) is shared with our brothers then it’s the ego using the present moment. The Holy Instant is the restoration of true union to our awareness, which is the opposite of separation and is mostly experienced by sharing, forgiving or extending it to others. Through our heartfelt willingness to extend forgiveness, gratitude or blessing we open to receive it.
“You will never give this holy instant to the Holy Spirit on behalf of your release while you are unwilling to give it to your brothers on behalf of theirs. For the instant of holiness is shared, and cannot be yours alone. Remember, then, when you are tempted to attack a brother, that his instant of release is yours. Miracles are the instants of release you offer, and will receive. They attest to your willingness to [be] released, and to offer time to the Holy Spirit for His use of it.” … “The Holy Spirit gives their (your brothers) blessed instant to you through your giving it. As you give it, He offers it to you.” … “In the crystal cleanness of the release you give is your instantaneous escape from guilt.” T-15.I.12,13:4,7
The Holy Instant is true communication, being the return of changeless union with our brother to awareness. In the Holy Instant the clear light of vision is found in which the Christ in us looks upon the Christ in another. Fear, blame, shame, guilt, and judgment, together with the past, merely vanish as we behold our deeply cherished memory of God right there in their place.
“The whole reality of your relationship with Him lies in our relationship to one another. The holy instant shines alike on all relationships, for in it they [are] one.” … “The holy relationship is the expression of the holy instant in living in this world.” … “In the holy instant the condition of love is met, for minds are joined without the body’s interference, and where there is communication there is peace.” T-17.IV.16:7-8, T-17.V.1:1, T-15.XI.7:1
The Holy Instant is the portal to healing that may otherwise have taken thousands of years. Our real healing occurs as we learn to forgive (release) all those, past and present, who have seemed to betray, abandon, or attack us. But here is the real nugget, the epiphany that will surely heal our own unconscious self-attack. We learn to release these people from the slavery of their illusions (which are also ours) – by forgiving them for the illusions of difference (blame, guilt, judgment, etc) that we perceive in them.
We are the ones who offered them illusions (projection of our own unconscious guilt and self-attack). The ego did this by using them to appear to attack us. Only by forgiving our own mistaken perception of our brothers can we ever learn that we are eternally innocent and therefore, invulnerable. Thus is our Holiness that reverses all the laws of the world returned to our awareness.
“Release your brothers from the slavery of their illusions by forgiving them for the illusions you perceive in them. Thus will you learn that you have been forgiven, for it is you who offered them illusions. In the holy instant this is done for you in time, to bring you the true condition of Heaven.” T-16.VII.9:5-7
While we desire to keep our thoughts private, we must continue to value separation and pain. Jesus tells us that having only pure thoughts is not the necessary condition for the Holy Instant, but that we must willing to have no such thoughts that we would keep apart from Him.
“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.” … 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.” … “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.” T-15.IV.8:1-2,5-6,9:1-2
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