Understanding Present Time
I had an insight on present time that I thought I would share with you.
I think there is a lot of confusion over the teachings of A Course in Miracles on time, especially quotes such as this:
“Time is but an illusion” T-13.I.5 “Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist.” T-15.I.8
But then we are told that there is one aspect of time that is real and eternal which is present time:
“The present is the only time there is.” W-pI.164.1 “Your mind cannot grasp the present, which is the only time there is.” W-pI.8.1 “The only aspect of time that is eternal is now.” T-5.III.6 “The present now remains the only time. Here in the present is the world set free.” W-pI.132.3
Because of this strong emphasis on time, as we understand it, not being real, but the present is, many students see time, and especially the past, as not even having an existence for us, even in this world.
This is obviously not literally the case as you could not even be reading this if the past in this world were non existent. We rely on our memory of the past to function and without some reality in the past we would not even remember how to read, write, or even talk. You wouldn’t even remember how to walk.
A conundrum occurs when we look at a person with serious dementia or Alzheimer’s. Some lose almost all access to the past and cannot function at all. They are close to 100% in the present time, but it is indeed no heavenly experience for them. No one caring for such a person would want to be in that situation, yet we are told that this will be our lot in heaven.
How then could heaven be a great place if only the present exists there? How could we possibly function?
The truth is revealed in this text:
“The Holy Spirit is the only Healer. He teaches that the past does not exist, a fact which belongs to the sphere of knowledge, and which therefore no one in the world can know. It would indeed be impossible to be in the world with this knowledge. For the mind that knows this unequivocally knows also it dwells in eternity, and utilizes no perception at all. It therefore does not consider where it is, because the concept “where” does not mean anything to it. It knows that it is everywhere, just as it has everything, and forever.” T-13.VIII.1
We are told then that this nonexistence of the past “belongs to the sphere of knowledge, and which therefore no one in the world can know.”
This “sphere of knowledge” is in heaven itself and cannot be fully understood in this world “therefore no one in the world can know” it in fullness. Therefore, anyone in this world who claims to have no past is deceived for this can only be experienced in heaven. The best we can do here is take our attachment off the past, or in a holy instant catch a glimpse of the eternal present.
Next it says:
“It would indeed be impossible to be in the world with this knowledge.”
If we fully understood what it would be like to be in the present with no past we could not even stay in this world.
“For the mind that knows this unequivocally knows also it dwells in eternity, and utilizes no perception at all.”
This is a very interesting statement telling us that in the eternal present there would be no perception. Think about it. All of our ability to perceive depends on seeing the past so we have not really escaped the past until we no longer perceive through the senses.
Finally, the passage ends with this major key of understanding:
“It knows that it is everywhere, just as it has everything, and forever.”
This explains why we can gloriously function in the eternal world with no past and only be in the present, for in the present there we know we are everywhere and have everything. Because we share the mind of God and are omnipresent and have awareness of everything, we will need no past memories.
Memory as we know it will not be necessary there for if you have all the answers in your awareness at all times, then you need no memory, and therefore no need to access any past time. All things are present before you.
That is a lot different state than the Alzheimer’s patient who lacks awareness of both this world and the next.
Here we need memory of the past to function but when we return home, we will share the mind of God and have access in the eternal present to all knowledge.
I find this very enlightening to contemplate for it also sheds light on other controversial statements made in the Course.
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