Let Love teach you what You are.
“The peace of God passeth your understanding only in the past. Yet here it is, and you can understand it now”.~ACIM
“'Now' has no meaning to the ego.”~ACIM
Through all the religions and spiritual teachings I have read of the universal curriculum, there is a theme that seems to run through all of them. Though, actually there are more than this one theme that runs through them.
I'm speaking about being present, or being in the now. This seems to be one of the fundamentals that is necessary throughout the universal curriculum. I believe when it comes to this, A Course in Miracles is no different. It emphasizes this again and again. Yet, unfortunately, I have seen many people dismiss this as, “Well that might be good for 'them', but that is NOT ACIM.” In my opinion, this is a travesty for someone trying to undertake the mind training that the course puts forth.
As students, we should remember that the course is trying to correct our thinking from the bottom-up, not from the top-down. Meaning that the course is not trying to correct the mind's errors through “knowledge”, because it is obvious that if knowledge were in one's awareness already, error would not have arisen in the first place.
The course emphasizes again and again that it is a practical course and that it emphasizes experience over theology. Yet, I have seen many people try to study the course from a top-down approach and speak from an “ultimate truth” perspective, that in all honesty, not one of us here actually knows. From my perspective, this seems to take the practicality of the course to be only for “beginners” who are still naïve to the “Truth” that some authors about the course pontificate in theology and people take to be gospel.
Yet, IMO, we should always be beginners. We should always practice the fundamentals, until the fundamentals become as natural as breathing. And for many of us, myself included, this is not the case.
In the beginning of the course, it speaks of being mindful when it says, “You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, and are passively condoning your mind's miscreations. The particular result does not matter, but the fundamental error does.”~ACIM
The course tells us that we are much too tolerant of mind wandering, but where can the mind wander? It can't. The course is obviously not speaking of location as in where, but when. The mind can only “wander” into either the past or the future. This is where miscreations are made. Miscreation cannot happen when the mind is truly in the present moment and the ego needs the past and the future. It does not want the present moment. As the course says, “Now has no meaning to the ego.”~ACIM
The course also adds this line about mindfulness, “It is much more helpful to remind you that you do not guard your thoughts carefully enough. You may feel that at this point it would take a miracle to enable you to do this, which is perfectly true.”~ACIM
This may sound a bit over the top that it would take a miracle to enable us to guard our thoughts carefully or be mindful. Yet, the course also tells us that, "Belief in sin arouses fear, and like its cause, is looking forward, looking back, but overlooking what is here and now. Yet only here and now its cause must be, if its effects already have been judged as fearful. And in overlooking this, is it protected and kept separate from healing. For a miracle is now. It stands already here, in present grace, within the only interval of time that sin and fear have overlooked, but which is all there is to time."~ACIM
We are told throughout the course that there is an inner teacher within all of us that will help correct all of our errors. This inner teacher is The Holy Spirit, which is the mechanism of miracles. This is what the course tells us about the Holy Spirit and time:
“His emphasis is therefore on the only aspect of time that can extend to the infinite, for now is the closest approximation of eternity that this world offers. It is in the reality of 'now', without past or future, that the beginning of the appreciation of eternity lies. For only 'now' is here, and only 'now' presents the opportunities for the holy encounters in which salvation can be found.” ~ACIM
We are also told that the only purpose of this world is healing and if we accept this as our purpose, the course tells us, “If you accept your function in the world of time as healing, you will emphasize only the aspect of time in which healing can occur. For healing cannot be accomplished in the past and must be accomplished in the present to release the future. This interpretation ties the future to the present and extends the present rather than the past. But if you interpret your function as destruction, you will lose sight of the present and hold on to the past to ensure a destructive future. And time will be as you interpret it, for of itself it is nothing.”~ACIM
The course also emphasizes throughout the curriculum what I think most course students identify with more. Forgiveness is the way in which the mind can be corrected. But this is not the usual type of forgiveness the people in the world generally understand. As the preface says, it is looking past perceptual errors. To do this, we need to choose the Holy Spirit/Universal Inspiration/right mind.
Forgiveness is absolutely essential to what the course is attempting to teach. Yet the forgiveness that the course is trying to teach is not just a series of acts, but a state of mind. Trying to practice forgiveness while not guarding one's thoughts and continually letting the mind wander into miscreation will create a circular process in which one will have to forgive the same things over and over again. As the course tells us, “ Miracle working entails a full realization of the power of thought and real avoidance of miscreation. Otherwise, a miracle will be necessary to set the mind itself straight, a circular process which would hardly foster the time collapse for which the miracle was intended. Nor would it induce the healthy respect for true cause and effect which every miracle worker must have.”~ACIM
The course also cautions us about holding our miscreations against correction when it asks, “Would you impose your idle wishes on the present, and hope to find salvation now?"~ACIM
And it tells us the result of this when it states, “No change can be made in the present if its cause is past. Only the past is held in memory as you make use of it, and so it is a way to hold the past against the now."~ACIM
"This is a sacrifice of now, which could not be the cost the Holy Spirit asks for what He gave without a cost at all."~ACIM
The course tells us that the present IS forgiveness and also speaks of the immediacy of salvation. As the course states, “ Now is the time of salvation, for now is the release from time."~ACIM
“The Holy Spirit teaches thus: There is no hell. Hell is only what the ego has made of the present” and that “The Holy Spirit would undo all of this now. Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist. There is no fear in the present when each instant stands clear and separated from the past, without its shadow reaching out into the future. 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.”~ACIM
The Holy Spirit leads as steadily to Heaven as the ego drives to hell. For the Holy Spirit, Who knows only the present, uses it to undo the fear by which the ego would make the present useless."~ACIM
The course also tells us to practice this when it tells us to, “ Take this very instant, now, and think of it as all there is of time.”~ACIM
and, “Start now to practice your little part in separating out the holy instant. You will receive very specific instructions as you go along. To learn to separate out this single second and begin to experience it as timeless, is to begin to experience yourself as not separate"~ACIM
Yes, forgiveness is essential in the course, but without mindfulness and being present and in the now, forgiveness as ACIM defines it deteriorates into how the world defines it. Without the now, there is no salvation, no true forgiveness, no Atonement, no experience. ACIM just becomes another theology to be pontificated, another religion with the belief that this is the “truth” that will set you free.
There is no “getting back home” to God. We are at home in God. But we must remember God, not as in a past event, but as we are now.
As the course tells us, “The Atonement teaches you how to escape forever from everything that you have taught yourself in the past, by showing you only what you are now”.~ACIM
"The Holy Spirit can indeed make use of memory, for God Himself is there. Yet this is not a memory of past events, but only of a present state. You are so long accustomed to believe that memory holds only what is past, that it is hard for you to realise it is a skill that can remember now".~ACIM