A Lesson On Time From A Course In Miracles
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A Lesson On Time From A Course In MiraclesAlan Cohen Explains Simple Ways To Have More Time
Editor's Note: Alan Cohen speaks at this year's World Summit about how he relates to ACIM in order to bring it into his daily life. Sign up to listen for FREE.
What would you do if you had more time? What would you do if you had less time? What would you do if you had no time? How would your life be different if time were not a factor?
For most people, time is a problem because we believe we don’t have enough of it. We regard time as our enemy, ticking away precious minutes of life. People get stressed over time, fight over it, complain about it (“I gave you the best years of my life!”), and pay for services by the hour. Things we cherish come to an end. People we love die. Time, invisible yet apparently rock solid, exerts silent dominion over our lives.
In my book, A Course in Miracles Made Easy, I breakdown the lessons in the original Course in Miracles by explaining that time can be viewed in a very different light. It tells us that our true Self lives far beyond time, and “the purpose of time is to enable you to learn how to use time constructively” (T-1.I.15:2). We are here to employ time in our favor rather than let it crush us. Time helps us focus and discover the difference between the minutes that bring us joy and those that bring us sorrow. What is the purpose of a day? Is it to work to earn money and flit about on endless errands? Or is it to savor connection, express creativity, and celebrate blessings?
ACIM suggests, “Each day should be devoted to miracles” (T-1.I.15:1). If you have ever had a miraculous day in which everything unfolded effortlessly, you have experienced the true purpose of a day, to which you have a right every day.
ACIM suggests that time is a story we made up, a game we have agreed to play. An invention of the intellect, time expands or contracts according to the consciousness you hold at any given moment. It is more like rubber than concrete. When you feel fearful, rushed, stressed, or upset, you experience less time. When you are relaxed and in the flow of life, you experience more time. When you are completely in the moment, you do not experience time at all. As you step into joy, you escape the domain time appears to rule.
Lovers Make A Fool Of Time
It is said that “lovers make a fool of time.” When you are in love, you care not about time. All you want to do is enjoy being with your beloved. Who cares what the clock says?
When you are in fear, every second ticks by painfully slowly and the watched pot never boils. So the secret to triumph over the tyranny of time is to stay in love. Not simply romantic love, but the awareness that love is everywhere and you are in its midst.
To immerse yourself in such an expansive consciousness, drink in the ecstatic poetry of God-intoxicants like Rumi, Hafiz, and Kabir.
Indigenous people have a very different sense of time from those of us in more mechanized civilizations. People close to the earth live in the here and now. Time is a largely irrelevant factor in their lives. When I lived in Fiji, a native fellow served as caretaker for our property. I once said to him, “Maybe one day we will build a rock wall over there.” Then he asked me, “You want me to do that now?” The “maybe one day” part of my sentence did not register in his mind, because the only day he was aware of was the one we were in. He didn't have a concept of the future. His only concept was of the now. The Fijians do not know the dates of their own birthdays or those of their children. What does it matter? If it is not now, it is not.
How can a world of time and place exist, if you remain as God created you?
How the Ego and Spirit Each Use Time
The ego uses time as a tactic to delay the experience of one-ness. Everything that has ever existed, does exist, will exist, and could exist, exists now. The universe is holographic. The whole is contained in every part. Everything is here and now. The ego invented time to push away what is already now, as it uses space to distance us from what is already here. In the realm of Spirit, the separations defined by time and space do not exist. Without the ego’s divisions of time and space, we would have everything we want here and now. We would be everything we want here and now. Then there would be no wanting or waiting, because in such a consciousness we have become what we desire.
No Fear in the Now
All fear is of future events. If you are established in the now moment, you cannot be afraid. You can experience reality only now. Since love is the only reality, the only time to find love is now. All other uses of time are distortions that will drive you crazy if you indulge them.
While I was walking on a forest path, I looked down to see that I was about to step on a rattlesnake. Quickly I jumped back. The rattlesnake, no happier to see me than I was to see it, slithered into a bush. When I thought about how close I had come to being injured, a chill of fear rippled through me. But in the moment of seeing the snake and stepping back, there was no fear. I instinctively knew what I had to do and I did it. Only when the mind interceded did fear arise. This experience taught me that fear is never necessary. If you are in a threatening situation, you will know what to do and you will do it. Psychological threat is far more menacing than physical threat because it drags you into a mire of angst that has nothing to do with what is happening at the moment. Should you feel fear, ask yourself, “Am I okay here and now?” Nearly every time, your answer will be “yes.” If you are not okay here and now, ask yourself, “What do I need to do in this moment to handle the situation without letting fear run the show?” Fear and drama are not required or helpful. Trust and connection to Source are your best allies to navigate any situation.
ACIM invites us to step out of time into eternity. Eternity is not a realm you enter after you die. It is an expanded reality that exists now. Now is the closest approximation in time to the experience of eternity. You cannot get to eternity through time. There is no progression of Thursday, Friday, Saturday . . . eternity. Eternity does not start when time ends. It is already here, welcoming us to enter when we are ready.
Why wait for Heaven? It is here today. Time is the great illusion it is past or in the future. Yet this cannot be, if it is where God wills His Son to be. How could the Will of God be in the past, or yet to happen? What He wills is now . . .
Religions teach that you may attain heaven one day if you become good enough. ACIM assures that you have a right to enter heaven now because you are already good enough.