A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

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Chapter 18: The Passing of the Dream

Section IV: The Little Willingness

Read ACIM Chapter 18, Section IV (pages 380-82)

What comes with a little willingness to accept the holy instant?

In this section Jesus talks about our need for a little willingness to accept the holy instant. He tells us that the holy instant comes to us with our determination to be holy (or whole). We can only see that we are already holy or whole when we are willing to let go of ideas of separation from holiness. In Chapter 16, Section VII he tells us, “The holy instant is the opposite of the ego’s fixed belief in salvation through vengeance for the past. In the holy instant it is understood that the past is gone, and with its passing the drive for vengeance has been uprooted and has disappeared. The stillness and the peace of now enfold you in perfect gentleness. Everything is gone except the truth.” (T-16.VII.6:3-6)

When everything is gone except the truth, we see every brother as he truly is in eternity. In time we see him the way the ego sees him. In eternity we see the ever constant truth about him. We see that he still is as God created him and that dreams of differences never really happened. We see that illusions of bodies are just that — illusions and nothing more. We acknowledge that these illusions need not threaten us or cause us to be afraid. What is seen as illusion does not need to be defended against. What is really nothing and never existed does not need our constant attention.

In Chapter 27, Section V. Jesus tells us what happens when we are willing to accept the holy instant instead of the past. “The holy instant’s radiance will light your eyes, and give them sight to see beyond all suffering and see Christ’s face instead. Healing replaces suffering. Who looks on one cannot perceive the other, for they cannot both be there. And what you see the world will witness, and will witness to.” (T-27.V.6:5-8) As we are willing to see our brother as he really is in the holy instant, the Holy Spirit brings us the sight of Christ. We see holiness where we once saw weakness and separation from Love. It is here, in the holy instant that we experience true communication, true communion with our brother. In this communion, we witness that our brother is host to God and that we are host to God. We witness what is eternally real and see that there are no differences.

Why is it so important that we learn to overlook error or forgive what never was?

Jesus reminds us often in the Course that we see what we want to see. He also tells us that the whole Course was brought to us to help us become more willing to see beyond illusions to what is true. In the Introduction to the Clarification of Terms Jesus tells us, “This is not a course in philosophical speculation, nor is it concerned with precise terminology. It is concerned only with Atonement, or the correction of perception. The means of the Atonement is forgiveness. The structure of ‘individual consciousness’ is essentially irrelevant because it is a concept representing the ‘original error’ or the ‘original sin.’ To study the error (the ego) itself does not lead to correction, if you are indeed to succeed in overlooking the error. And it is just this process of overlooking at which the course aims.” (C-Intro.1:1-6)

So the content of the Course is to help us to forgive, which means to overlook error. That is why Jesus tells us, “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)

How do we see that nothing has ever happened to change God’s Son?

As our willingness increases to let our errors in thinking be undone, the Holy Spirit takes over and replaces the mistaken thoughts with the truth of our brother’s holiness. We return to the awareness that nothing has happened to change God’s one Son. The Holy Spirit knows that it seems hard for us to let go of our ‘precious’ images of differences. It seems hard to let go of the idea that we have been unfairly treated. That is why Jesus tells us in paragraph two: “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 be disturbed that shadows surround it.” (2:1-4)

We are so accustomed to making bodies and ‘different personalities’ real that it seems difficult to us to see past these images of individuality. Jesus knows that it seems difficult for us to see past bodies to the truth. That is why he asks us to concentrate only on our little willingness. He tells us that if we do only this, it will be enough, because, “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.” (1:8-9) Just our willingness to open our minds to the Holy Spirit in quiet is needed. As we step back and let our busy minds quiet, we are inviting the Holy Spirit to take over and purify our mistaken perceptions.

What holds guilt in place and what releases it?

Jesus knows that along with joining with the ego comes guilt and feelings of unworthiness and self-hatred. We push these thoughts and resulting feelings into the unconscious, but just because we are not aware of our belief in our guilt, self-hatred and unworthiness does not mean that it has gone away. Pushing the effects of joining with the ego thought system into the unconscious does not make the insanity of the ego thought system go way. It just holds it in place. This is why Jesus tells us, “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?” (3:3-4) When we refuse to let the Holy Spirit bring us a touch of Heaven, we are still intent on holding onto illusions of differences. Here we see that this is the same as holding on to belief in our unworthiness and refusing to let it go.

To this Jesus tells us, “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.” (3:5-7) This is very good news for us who have forgotten about our reality in Heaven. We may have wanted to experience separation by making separate bodies real, but our way out of this dream of separation is not of our own making. We have the unlimited power of God’s Will to bring the holy instant into our awareness.

Jesus knows that the common misperception of the sleeping Sons of God is to think that they need to atone for their sin of rejecting God, of trying to change God into an image of our liking. To this misperception, Jesus tells us, “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.” (5:6-13) This last sentence is the essence of what is really needed. We must be willing to let go of our own plan in order to receive His. Our plan has not worked and never will. Thinking we know on our own only prolongs the pain.

Why do we believe the holy instant is difficult to receive?

Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows that we secretly believe that experiencing the holy instant is difficult. That is why he so gently tells us, “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 is gone. It never happened in reality. Only in your mind, which thought it did, is its undoing needful.” (8:2-7) Here again Jesus reminds us that we don’t change anything in the world. Rather, we allow our minds to be changed by the Holy Spirit by stepping back and receiving the truth.

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Reference Keys for
A Course in Miracles Quotes

How to Read References for Quotes from A Course in Miracles

Below are example references to specific sentences using the notation of the Second & Third Editions of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace:

T-26.IV.4:7 = Text, Chapt. 26, Section IV, paragraph 4, sentence 7.

W-pI.169.5:2 = Workbook, Part I, Lesson 169, paragraph 5, sentence 2.

M-13.3:2 = Manual for Teachers, Question 13, paragraph 3, sentence 2.

C-6.4:6 = Clarification of Terms, Term 6, paragraph 4, sentence 6

The above numbering system of the Second & Third Editions is © Copyright 1992, The Foundation for A Course in Miracles.

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