A moment in which we temporarily set aside the past and enter into the timeless present, in which we momentarily transcend identification with illusions and recognize what is real. We enter the holy instant not by making ourselves holy, but by forgetting our normal frame of reference, with its absorption in the past, the future, the body and our own sinfulness. This allows our minds to be still and shift into another state of mind. There we experience the lifting of the barriers of space and time, unawareness of the body, the sudden feeling of peace, joy and love, recognition of our true holiness, and communion with all that seemed to lay outside of us—with all our brothers and with God. In this instant we may be bumped ahead years in our spiritual development, because we experience the endpoint of development (see T-1.II.6). After this instant we will go forth in time carrying a permanent quiet center of timelessness. Our goal is to eventually make every situation a holy instant so that our lives become a permanent holy instant. At that point we will go beyond time into the endless instant of eternity (see T-15.IV.6:3). The Course speaks of various kinds, degrees and functions of the holy instant (which is called an “out-of-pattern time interval” early in the Text; see T-1.I.47:2):
- The holy instant is the birthplace of the miracle (see T-27.V.3). In it our thoughts are healed and this healing then extends out to the world (see T-28.I.11).
- The holy instant can go beyond the miracle and be a revelation, a direct experience of God.
- We will often bring illusions into the holy instant, making the experience a weakened version of the holy instant (see T-16.VII.7).
- We can experience a kind of quasi-holy instant (which may lead to a true holy instant) through joining with music, a beautiful scene, a memory or even an abstract idea (see T-18.VI.12).
- The holy instant is the answer to the special relationship.
- Joint holy instants (ones experienced mutually with another person) are the Course’s special means of shortening our spiritual journey (see T-18.VII.6:3-4). Joint holy instants both initiate the holy relationship (see T-17.V.1) and are crucial tools in its development (see T-18.V.6-7).