The Present in This World and the Eternal

The Present in This World and the Eternal

I asked this question a few days ago which was:

If a person has memory loss with dementia or Alzheimer’s, is he in the same type of consciousness of the eternal present as an inhabitant of heaven?

My wife and I took care of my mother-in-law, who had dementia, for about ten years, and in her last couple years her memory loss was nearly complete as she did not even recognize her own daughter.

Though she was living as much in the present as much as possible while in the body it was certainly not a state that anyone I know would desire to replicate.

I will say this, however – that her situation was not all negative.  When she earlier had her full mental capacities, she was a big worrier and a lot of small things bothered her, but when she lost her memory, she worried over nothing and nothing bothered her. She couldn’t remember anything to be concerned about. She did live out the last couple years in a certain state of peace.

Even so, this was certainly not a situation that anyone I know would aspire to.

On the other hand, if one superficially reads A Course in Miracles, it would appear that this state of just being in the present is where we will be after we awaken and enter heaven.

When one witnesses the life of one with severe memory loss, then, is it any wonder there are fears about leaving this world and letting go of time as we know it?  

To allay those fears, it is of great importance that ACIM students understand what true present time in the eternal world really is, and how it is different from memory loss as we know it.

The primary difference is in awareness. The person with disabled memory in this world has very little awareness of this world, let alone the eternal one, and thus the life has a low or diminished quality. Our memory in this world is linked to perception and the Course says that “perception involves partial awareness.”  Then it goes on to say that “Knowledge transcends the laws governing perception, because partial knowledge is impossible.” T-3.V.8

The one with memory loss is this world is unaware of not only this world, but the eternal one.  Those in heaven are aware of all things that have a real existence. For instance: In the Eternal World we will be one with “the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception.” T-5.I.5

This knowledge includes a full understanding of the love of God, eternal peace, our true self, our oneness with God and our brothers, the will of God, and, above all, the power we share with God to create.

This quote from the Course gives us a good idea of the awareness of master souls who are awake and are in the real Eternal Now.

“No one can call on them in vain. Nor is there anyone of whom they are unaware. All needs are known to them, and all mistakes are recognized and overlooked by them.” M-26.2

Sounds like a fully awake soul indeed has an awareness which is different than a forced focus of the present through memory loss.

Let us contemplate the differences between the experiencing of present time in this world and the eternal one.

In addition to memory loss, some grasp of present time can be had by students with normal memories. This happens in what the Course says is the “holy instant,” which is “a miniature of Heaven, sent you from Heaven.” T-17.IV.11

But because we are in this world governed by time it seems almost impossible to stay in the present, as noted here:

“The experience of an instant, however compelling it may be, is easily forgotten if you allow time to close over it. It must be kept shining and gracious in your awareness of time, but not concealed within it.” T-17.V.12

It sounds like the best we can do while still in the body with an “awareness of time” is to keep our focus on the present of the holy instant as much as possible while still functioning in time. After all, most of us need to use our memories of the past to function and survive in this world.

In the eternal world we do not have to deal with the distraction of time with three aspects, but in an eternal reality, where there is no past or future as we know it, but only present time, there are no distractions and our focus is only on the Eternal Now.

In addition to being aware of the Eternal Now we are aware of all things in real creation as well as share and communicate with all the Sons of God.

Sounds like the present apart from time will be much more complete than it is in this world as noted here:

“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.” T-13.IV.7

In this world, even after enjoying the Holy Instant, we only grasp an “approximation of eternity” but in the true reality we will not have the distraction of the past. We will not need the past for all knowledge will always be available at all times.

Copyright by J J Dewey

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