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Going Deeper part 25
Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited to bring clarification to certain points of the dialogue and for easier readability. For this reason, it does not match the corresponding audio mp3 word-for-word. However, the overall content and the expressed ideas remain unchanged.
The Borderland, Time & The Immediacy of Salvation
Speaker: A reading from the Text, Chap 26: The Transition, Section III: The Borderland, paragraph 2.
“There is a borderland of thought that stands between this world and Heaven. It is not a place and when you reach it is apart from time. Here is the meeting place where thoughts are brought together; where conflicting values meet and all illusions are laid down beside the truth, where they are judged to be untrue. This borderland is just beyond the gate of Heaven. Here is every thought made pure and wholly simple. Here is sin denied, and everything that is, received instead.
This is the journey’s end. We have referred to it as the real world.”
So this would be another description of the right mind, of the state of mind that is available when the mind can consistently choose the Holy Spirit, can consistently choose the right mind and has laid aside the desire for the wrong mind.
If we move on several sections ahead to “The Little Hindrance”, page 511 (2nd Edition page 549), we can start to get a grasp of the Course’s outline of time and the meaning of time. We’ll begin with the second paragraph in that section.
“Nothing is ever lost but time, which in the end, is meaningless. For it is but a little hindrance to eternity, quite meaningless to the real Teacher of the world. Yet, since you do believe in it, why should you waste it going nowhere when it can be used to reach a goal as high as learning can achieve? Think not the way to Heaven’s gate is difficult at all. Nothing you undertake with certain purpose and high resolve and happy confidence, holding your brothers hand and keeping step to Heaven’s song, is difficult to do. But it is hard indeed to wander off, alone and miserable down a road that leads to nothing and that has no purpose.
God gave His Teacher to replace the one you made, not to conflict with it. And what He would replace has been replaced. Time lasted but an instant in your mind with no effect upon eternity. And so is all time past, and everything exactly as it was before the way to nothingness was made. The tiny tick of time in which the first mistake was made, and all of them within that one mistake, held also the Correction for that one, and all of them that came within the first. And in that tiny instant time was gone, for that was all it ever was. What God gave answer to is answered and is gone.
To you who still believe you live in time and know not it is gone, the Holy Spirit still guides you through the infinitely small and senseless maze you still perceive in time, though it has long since gone. You think you live in what is past. Each thing you look upon you saw but for an instant, long ago, before its unreality gave way to truth. Not one illusion still remains unanswered in your mind. Uncertainty was brought to certainty so long ago that it is hard indeed to hold it to your heart, as if it were before you still.
The tiny instant you would keep and make eternal, passed away in Heaven too soon for anything to notice it had come. What disappeared too quickly to affect the simple knowledge of the Son of God can hardly still be there, for you to choose to be your teacher. Only in the past, - an ancient past, too short to make a world in answer to creation, - did this world appear to rise. So very long ago, for such a tiny interval of time, that not one note in Heaven’s song was missed. Yet, in each unforgiving act or thought, in every judgement and in all belief in sin, is that one instant still called back, as if it could be made again in time. You keep an ancient memory before your eyes. And he who lives in memories alone is unaware of where he is.”
This is a description that the perceptual world of time and space was over and done a long time ago and that these images, although they are still being called forth, are all past. It is quite a statement. If we move over to the next page, (paragraph 11, sentence 4), we find the statement, “Now you are shifting back and forth between the past and present. Sometimes the past seems real, as if it were the present. Voices from the past are heard and then are doubted. You are like to one who still hallucinates, but lacks conviction in what he perceives. This is the borderland between the worlds, the bridge between the past and present. Here the shadow of the past remains, but still a present light is dimly recognised. Once it is seen, this light can never be forgotten. It must draw you from the past into the present, where you really are.
The shadow voices do not change the laws of time nor of eternity. They come from what is past and gone, and hinder not the true existence of the here and now. The real world is the second part of the hallucination time and death are real, and have existence that can be perceived. This terrible illusion was denied in but the time it took for God to give His Answer to illusion for all time and every circumstance. And then it was no more to be experienced as there.
Each day, and every minute in each day, and every instant in that each minute holds, you but relive the single instant when the time of terror took the place of love. And so you die each day to live again, until you cross the gap between the past and present, which is not a gap at all. Such is each life; a seeming interval from birth to death and on to life again, a repetition of an instant gone by long ago that cannot be relived. And all of time is but the mad belief that what is over is still here and now. Forgive the past and let it go, for it is gone.”
So this is a great commentary on the deepest levels of the self concept, the perception of time being linear, that time goes forward and that the past repeats itself in the future and skips over the present, from the ego’s perspective. But, the Course is telling us that the present and the past do not have a meeting place, that every present instant is a new born chance for the mind to be free of the past completely.
We’ll move ahead to the section titled, “The Immediacy of Salvation” (S: VIII) on page 519 (2nd Edition p. 558), “The one remaining problem that you have is that you see an interval between the time when you forgive, and will receive the benefits of trusting in your brother. This but reflects the little you would keep between yourselves, that you might be a little separate. For time and space are one illusion, which takes different forms. If it has been projected beyond your mind you think of it as time. The nearer it is brought to where it is, the more you think of it in terms of space.
There is a distance you would keep apart from one another, and this space you see as time because you still believe you are external to your brother. This makes trust impossible. And you cannot believe that trust would settle every problem now. Thus do you think it safer to remain a little careful and a little watchful of interests perceived as separate. From this perception you cannot conceive of gaining what forgiveness offers now. The interval you think lies in between the giving and the receiving of the gift seems to be one in which you sacrifice and suffer loss. You see eventual salvation, not immediate results.
Salvation is immediate. Unless you so perceive it, you will be afraid of it, believing that the risk of loss is great between the time its purpose is made yours and its effects will come to you. In this form is the error still obscured that is the source of fear. Salvation would wipe out the space you see between you still, and let you instantly become as one. And it is here you fear the loss would lie. Do not project this fear to time, for time is not the enemy that you perceive. Time is as neutral as the body is, except in terms of what you see it for. If you would keep a little space between you still, you want a little time in which forgiveness is withheld a little while. This makes the interval between the time in which forgiveness is withheld and given seem dangerous, with terror justified.
Yet space between you is apparent now, and cannot be perceived in future time. No more can it be overlooked except within the present. Future loss is not your fear. But present joining is your dread. Who can feel desolation except now? A future cause as yet has no effects. And therefore must it be that if you fear, there is a present cause. And it is this that needs correction, not a future state.”
So this is bringing it back to a metaphysical distinction that the Course in Miracles makes that all of the pain and guilt and discomfort and fear that is ever experienced is not because of something that is happening out in the world. And, further, not because of something that has happened long ago, that is in the past, so to speak, but it is because of a present decision to hold onto a past cause or to hold onto a belief that has no existence in reality and that truly is over and done and gone.
To continue:- “The plans you make for safety are all laid within the future, where you cannot plan. No purpose has been given it as yet, and what will happen has as yet no cause. Who can predict effects without a cause? And who could fear effects unless he thought they had been caused, and judged disastrous now? 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.
The working out of all correction takes no time at all. Yet the acceptance of the working out can seem to take forever. The change of purpose the Holy Spirit brought to your relationship has in it all effects that you will see. They can be looked at now. Why wait till they unfold in time and fear they may not come, although already there? You have been told that everything brings good that comes from God. And yet it seems that this is not so.”
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