Miracles are both beginnings
and endings, and so they alter the temporal order.
They are always affirmations of
rebirth, which seem to go back but really go
forward. They undo the past in the
present, and thus release the future.
The best way of understanding this is
in terms of this diagram. We can think of this path as a carpet that
reflects the entire span of our experience in this world. What the miracle
does is take certain aspects of this experience, all of which are predicated
on the belief in separation or on our guilt (here is where the beginning
and the ending would come from), and in a sense, isolates them as problem
areas that we have to deal with.
Let us say that we are having a particular
difficulty in a relationship. The miracle would cause us to focus on that
relationship and to forgive it. In that sense, the miracle will be a beginning
and an end because it circumscribes what the problem is. When we heal the
problem, which means we forgive the one person who has been the greatest
difficulty for us, or when we truly let go of a situation that has brought
about tremendous feelings of separation, anxiety, guilt, anger, etc., what
happens then is that this whole aspect of time has been shrunk. That is
what is meant by saying that miracles "alter the temporal order."
The Course teaches that when the separation
began, in that one instant, all of time, the entire world of evolution
occurred at the same time. In that one instant that we believed that we
had separated from God, a huge carpet spun out. This is the carpet that
would constitute the entire world of evolution -- past, present, and future.
A Course in Miracles also teaches
that in that same instant that seemed to occur, God created the Holy Spirit,
Who undid the very belief that gave rise to this carpet. It is like the
separation occurred in an instant, and in that same instant it was corrected.
The problem is, however, that we still believe that this world of time
and space that we are living in, which really is a dream, is reality. That
is why the Course speaks of the Holy Spirit as a Voice. He is God's Voice
Who extends into the dream so that He can awaken us from the dream, and
the entire world of evolution is all part of this dream.
One of the ways that the ego has rooted
us in this dream, into believing that the dream is reality, is that it
has made up the notion of time as linear -- past, present, and future.
This is the key stumbling block in trying to understand how the Course
sees time and how the miracle operates. Our minds are so structured in
the belief that time is linear that it is impossible for us to recognize
that time is really holographic, which is a model that quantum physics
has given us. Holography teaches that within each part of something is
contained the whole, which means that within each of our minds, despite
what we consciously believe, is the entire history of the ego, which is
the entire history of not only this planet, but the entire physical universe.
What makes this such a mind-boggling concept is that the mind (and therefore
the brain) has been so severely limited by the construct of time that we
made up, which is a linear view: past, present, and future.
What really happens is that at any given
moment we choose to experience a particular part of this hologram; we dip
into our mind and choose to go through or experience a part of this entire
dream. That is what the Course means when it says that we walk through
a script that is already written (workbook, p. 291; W-pl.168.3,4). This
is the script. The Holy Spirit does not write the script. The Holy Spirit
does not cause things to happen to us in the world. What the Holy Spirit
does do is join with us in this script and teach us there is another way
of looking at it. There is a line in the workbook where the Course speaks
of the Holy Spirit as the One "Who wrote salvation's script in His Creator's
Name" (workbook, p. 316; W-pI.169.9:3).
Salvation's script is the ego script
turned around. Where the ego script had as its purpose to reinforce the
belief in separation, the Holy Spirit uses that script, which means all
the relationships and situations in our experience, so that we can learn
that we are not separate. He uses the world as a classroom; the ego uses
the world as a prison. It is the same world, but the ego's way of looking
at it roots us even further in it. The Holy Spirit's way of looking at
it releases us from it.
What keeps us on this carpet is guilt,
which means that the way that we awaken from this dream, or get off the
carpet, is to be free of this guilt. That is what forgiveness does. The
one claim that the Course makes for itself is that it will save time. It
says this repeatedly. For example, Jesus tells us that if we do what he
says, it will save us time (text, p. 363; T-18.VII.4-6), and many times
he says we can save a thousand years (e.g., text, p. 6; T-1.II.6:7).
A Course in Miracles does not
specifically talk about the issue of reincarnation or past lives, except
in one place, and there it does not take a stand (manual, p. 57; M-24.3:1).
It certainly does imply in many references, however, that this is not the
first time that we have come. When it says that we could save a thousand
years, it is really saying that we could save many, many lifetimes. This
then means that if we have a huge problem of guilt that we have expressed
in a certain area of our relationships, there is something that we are
continually doing that reinforces our own hatred of ourselves and our own
belief in separation. In the ordinary span of time, it may take us ten
lifetimes to work that through, to keep coming back over and over again
until we have worked that through. If, however, we choose to work this
difficult problem out, which means, usually, a relationship or situation
that the world would judge as being very heavy, filled with a lot of pain,
anguish, and suffering, and we could really look at it differently, which
basically means realize that we are not victims of this other person or
victims of ourselves, then in one lifetime we could just take this problem
and erase it. That is what the Course means by saying we could save time
or we could save a thousand years. That is what it means when it says of
the miracle that it abolishes time, or it "alters the temporal order."
It does not abolish the whole span of time; that it does not do. What it
does do is collapse the amount of time it would have taken us to work through
the huge problem of guilt we have.
It is not necessary, certainly, to understand
or even agree with this whole metaphysical view of time. What is necessary
is to realize, when you find yourself in a very difficult and painful situation,
that there is a purpose that you could identify within that situation.
The purpose is that you could learn not to see yourself as a victim, and
to the extent that you learn that, to that extent you will heal all this
guilt in yourself. That is what saves you time.
(continued - go to part 2)