Chapter Fifteen: The Purpose of Time
VI. The Holy Instant and Special Relationships
45 The holy instant is the Holy Spirit's most useful learning device for teaching you love's meaning. For its purpose is to suspend judgment entirely. Judgment always rests on the past, for past experience is the basis on which you judge. Judgment becomes impossible without the past, for without it you do not understand anything. You would make no attempt to judge because it would be quite apparent to you that you do not know what anything means. You are afraid of this because you believe that without the ego all would be chaos. Yet I assure you that without the ego all would be love.
46 The past is the ego's chief learning device, for it is in the past that you learned to define your own needs and acquired methods for meeting them on your own terms. We said before that to limit love to part of the Sonship is to bring guilt into your relationships and thus make them unreal. If you seek to separate out certain aspects of the totality and look to them to meet your imagined needs, you are attempting to use separation to save you. How, then, could guilt not enter? For separation is the source of guilt, and to appeal to it for salvation is to believe you are alone. To be alone is to be guilty. For to experience yourself as alone is to deny the oneness of the Father and his Son and thus to attack reality.
47 You cannot love parts of reality and understand what love means. If you would love unlike to God, Who knows no special love, how can you understand it? To believe that special relationships, with special love, can offer you salvation is the belief that separation is salvation. For it is the complete equality of the Atonement in which salvation lies. How can you decide that special aspects of the Sonship can give you more than others? The past has taught you this. Yet the holy instant teaches you it is not so.
48 Because of guilt, all special relationships have some elements of fear in them. And this is why they shift and change so frequently. They are not based on changeless love alone. And love where fear has entered cannot be depended on because it is not perfect. In His function as Interpreter of what you have made, the Holy Spirit uses special relationships, which you have chosen to support the ego, as a learning experience which points to truth. Under His teaching, every relationship becomes a lesson in love.
49 The Holy Spirit knows no one is special. Yet He also perceives that you have made special relationships, which He would purify and not let you destroy. However unholy the reason why you made them may be, He can translate them into holiness by removing as much fear as you will let Him. You can place any relationship under His care and be sure that it will not result in pain if you offer Him your willingness to have it serve no need but His. All the guilt in it arises from your use of it. All the love from His. Do not, then, be afraid to let go your imagined needs, which would destroy the relationship. Your only need is His.
50 Any relationship which you would substitute for another has not been offered to the Holy Spirit for His use. There is no substitute for love. If you would attempt to substitute one aspect of love for another, you have placed less value on one and more on the other. You have not only separated them, but you have also judged against both. Yet you had judged against yourself first, or you would never have imagined that you needed them as they were not. Unless you had seen yourself as without love, you could not have judged them so like you in lack.
51 The ego's use of relationships is so fragmented that it frequently goes even furtherone part of one aspect suits its purposes, while it prefers different parts of another aspect. Thus does it assemble reality to its own capricious liking, offering for your seeking a picture whose likeness does not exist. For there is nothing in Heaven or earth that it resembles, and so however much you seek for its reality, you cannot find it because it is not real.
52 Everyone on earth has formed special relationships, and although this is not so in Heaven, the Holy Spirit knows how to bring a touch of Heaven to them here. In the holy instant no one is special, for your personal needs intrude on no one to make them different. Without the values from the past, you would see them all the same and like yourself. Nor would you see any separation between yourself and them. In the holy instant, you see in each relationship what it will be when you perceive only the present.
53 God knows you now. He remembers nothing, having always known you exactly as He knows you now. The holy instant parallels His knowing by bringing all perception out of the past, thus removing the frame of reference you have built by which to judge your brothers. Once this is gone, the Holy Spirit substitutes His frame of reference for it. His frame of reference is simply God. The Holy Spirit's timelessness lies only here. For in the holy instant, free of the past, you see that love is in you, and you have no need to look without and snatch it guiltily from where you thought it was.
54 All your relationships are blessed in the holy instant because the blessing is not limited. In the holy instant, the Sonship gains as one. And united in your blessing, it becomes one to you. The meaning of love is the meaning God gave to it. Give to it any meaning apart from His, and it is impossible to understand it. Every brother God loves as He loves youneither less nor more. He needs them all equally, and so do you. In time you have been told to offer miracles as Christ directs and let the Holy Spirit bring to you those who are seeking you. Yet in the holy instant, you unite directly with God, and all your brothers join in Christ. Those who are joined in Christ are in no way separate. For Christ is the Self the Sonship shares, as God shares His Self with Christ.
55 Think you that you can judge the Self of God? God has created it beyond judgment out of His need to extend His Love. With love in you, you have no need except to extend it. In the holy instant, there is no conflict of needs, for there is only one. For the holy instant reaches to eternity and to the Mind of God. And it is only there love has meaning, and only there can it be understood.
56 It is impossible to use one relationship at the expense of another and not suffer guilt. And it is equally impossible to condemn part of a relationship and find peace within it. Under the Holy Spirit's teaching, all relationships are seen as total commitments, yet they do not conflict with one another in any way. Perfect faith in each one for its ability to satisfy you completely arises only from perfect faith in yourself. And this you cannot have while guilt remains. And there will be guilt as long as you accept the possibility, and cherish it, that you can make a brother what he is not because you would have him so.
57 You have so little faith in yourself because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect love is in you. And so you seek without for what you cannot find without. I offer you my perfect faith in you in place of all your doubt. But forget not that my faith must be as perfect in all your brothers as it is in you, or it would be a limited gift to you. In the holy instant, we share our faith in God's Son because we recognize together that he is wholly worthy of it, and in our appreciation of his worth, we cannot doubt his holiness. And so we love him.