[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]
An experience I had during Robert’s CCC holy instant class yesterday filled me with an excitement and a sense of increased energy, which stayed with me all through the day. Before I say more about that, however, let me tell you what led up to this powerful experience.
During the past several days I had been feeling as if something was amiss. I wasn’t at ease, and I felt unsettled. I wasn’t able to identify what it was or what thoughts were behind it. All I knew is that something was off. Yesterday morning I decided to have a talk with Jesus about it, and in my journaling I hit upon what it was all about: a generalized sense of my unlovingness.
It was sparked, I think, by our latest discussion in the Manual class I’m teaching. We were studying Section 17: “How Do God’s Teachers Deal with Magic Thoughts?” In it, Jesus says that we get angry with our pupils when they resort to magical thinking because it reminds us of all the times we’ve done the same thing. Even more than that, it reminds us of the first and biggest magic thought that we had: the belief that we could be separate from God and would be better off without Him. The guilt we feel over that is unbearable; therefore, when we are reminded of it through our pupils, we get angry with them.
Although the section talks about the relationship between teacher and pupil, this concept relates perfectly to any relationship in which we are involved: with a friend, co-worker, spouse, child, etc. What I realized as I talked with Jesus was that I was feeling critical and impatient (that is, angry and unloving) towards certain people in my life whom I saw as engaged in magical thinking, precisely because that was what I was doing. As I continued to journal, I realized the extent to which I was caught up in this.
It’s no coincidence that in the sections we have been reading for the Text Reading Program class Jesus is talking all about how we are trying to oppose God’s Will and do it our way, relying on the ego as our teacher rather than on the Holy Spirit. If that isn’t magical thinking, I don’t know what is. No wonder I was feeling that something was amiss: it was! I had with me the only Teacher who could teach me what I really am, and yet I chose to listen to a false teacher who has no clue about what I am—-or about anything else, for that matter!
This realization really hit me, but it left me feeling that, although it was great, it needed some sort of completion. I shouldn’t have been so surprised when it came a few hours later.
I hadn’t intended to sit in on Robert’s holy instant CCC class because I felt I had already learned so much about the holy instant from him and had experienced it, as well. But, for some reason I did, and that’s where everything came together.
Although Robert covered a lot of important territory, the one thing that affected me most of all was what he said about what stops us from experiencing the holy instant. As he explained, the experience is blocked by the great burden of guilt we carry into the present because of past “sins,” and by our fear of future punishment for them. I saw that was exactly why I had been feeling so unsettled and uneasy: I had been feeling guilty, not only for my unloving thoughts about these magical thinking people, but for my initial unloving thought and all the others since the beginning of time!
Robert also explained that the Course says that we won’t receive the holy instant until we give it, and I saw that I had definitely not been offering holy instants of release to those certain people. Instead I had been seeing them as imperfect and guilty. So, the key was first to see them with the eyes of Christ and forgive them, and next to realize that my past “sins” were past and gone and, therefore, I had nothing about which to feel guilty. Of course, getting in touch with that burden of guilt was a prerequisite for letting go of it in order to experience the holy instant, and I felt that my experience during the morning had put me in touch with it and prepared me for what came next.
I have often done the holy instant practice (from T-15.I.9) through which Robert led us, but never before did it have the effect on me that it had this time. When he said,
Nothing can reach you out of the past,
and it is here that you are completely absolved,
completely free and wholly without condemnation,
tears started to flow spontaneously–tears of relief and release. I actually felt “completely absolved, completely free and wholly without condemnation.” All of my uneasiness had been wiped away. It was as if it had never been there. It was like what Robert recounted in his “Absolutely no difference” blog: “that weight was suddenly gone…the gravity of guilt was suddenly turned off.” All that was there in the space left by it was love and joy and gratitude.
I was so excited about this totally unexpected experience that I could hardly contain myself. I was amazed at how the Holy Spirit had orchestrated the whole thing so perfectly from beginning to end. I also feel His hand in the way all our recent readings, as well as my “undoing suffering” lessons, are collaborating to bring me very powerful learning experiences. It’s not always easy to look at the darkness within, but it’s so great to feel the light shining it away.