The title for chapter 15 is The Holy Instant. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Two Uses of Time, The End of Doubt, Littleness versus Magnitude, Practicing the Holy Instant, The Holy Instant and Special Relationships, The Holy Instant and the Laws of God, The Needless Sacrifice, The Only Real Relationship, The Holy Instant and the Attraction of God, The Time of Rebirth, and Christmas as the End of Sacrifice.
The holy instant is an interesting concept that sounds great on paper but I have found difficult for myself to consistently live by. The holy instant is that moment in time when you are living in the present, no fear from the past and no fear of the future because you realize that the past and present do not exist, every moment is a now moment. “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.” (whenever this book uses the term “Son of God” it is referring to us, all the people God created).
The chapter then goes on to describe what relationships look like when they are built on this idea of the holy instant. Our minds are open to both give and receive and realize that we are all part of the collective mind of humanity communicating together. There are no private thoughts, much like the telepathic communication of heaven where everyone can easily read the thoughts and emotions of those around them. At first this sounds like a scary concept; my thoughts are not always kind and loving! And I fear the judgement or rejection of people toward my thoughts and feelings. ACIM teaches: “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. Every thought you would keep hidden shuts communication off. 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.” When we love ourselves and each other in the present moment, we can accept both the good and the perceived bad parts of ourselves and others, rather than responding toward them with judgment. This is what communication is supposed to be like.
We are taught that sacrifice is a form of love. We all long for love but we fear what we have to “give up or sacrifice” in order to receive love.
- That we are to sacrifice our needs and desires for our spouses and children so their needs and desires can get met instead.
- That I lack something so I need you to fill this perceived lack in me but I fear you will not be able to do this so I hold something back so if you choose to reject me, I still have a part of me to hold on to.
- That God so loved the world that he sacrificed his son.
This type of thinking that we have been conditioned to believe and live by is based in scarcity and fear and comes from the ego. ACIM teaches how absurd this idea that sacrifice is love really is. “Christ comes demanding nothing. No sacrifice of any kind, of anyone, is asked by Him. In His Presence, the whole idea of sacrifice loses all meaning. You who believe that sacrifice is love must learn that sacrifice is separation from love. What is not love is always fear, and nothing else. Sacrifice is so essential to your thought system that salvation apart from sacrifice means nothing to you. Your confusion of sacrifice and love is so profound that you cannot conceive of love without sacrifice. And it is this that you must look upon: sacrifice is attack, not love. If you would accept but this one idea, your fear of love would vanish. For if there is sacrifice, someone must pay and someone must get.” We fail to understand that we have the presence of God living within us and everything we need is here, waiting for us to acknowledge and manifest. We don’t need to use other people to get a perceived need within us met. “You have so little faith in yourself because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect love is in you. And so, you seek without for what you cannot find within.”
In the holy instant, the condition of love is met, for minds are joined in love rather than fear, In God rather than ego, in the present rather than in the past or future.
We are now half way through this book and I want to thank all of you who have shared with me how much these blogs have challenged, encouraged and helped you.