Chapter Eighteen: The Dream and the Reality
V. The Little Willingness
32 The holy instant is the result of your determination to be holy. It is the answer. The desire and the willingness to let it come precedes its coming. You prepare your minds for it only to the extent of recognizing that you want it above all else. It is not necessary that you do more; indeed, it is necessary that you realize that you cannot do more. Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego unto Him and confuse the two. He asks but little. It is He Who adds the greatness and the might. He joins with you to make the holy instant far greater than you can understand. It is your realization that you need do so little that enables Him to give so much.
33 Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough. But trust implicitly your willingness, whatever else may enter. Concentrate only on this and be not disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them, you would not need the holy instant. Come to it not in arrogance, assuming that you must achieve the state its coming brings with it. The miracle of the holy instant lies in your willingness to let it be what it is. And in your willingness for this lies also your acceptance of yourself as you were meant to be.
34 Humility will never ask that you remain content with littleness. But it does require that you be not content with less than greatness, which comes not of you. Your difficulty with the holy instant arises from your fixed conviction that you are not worthy of it. And what is this but the determination to be as you would make yourself? God did not create His dwelling-place unworthy of Him. And if you believe He cannot enter where He wills to be, you must be interfering with His Will. You do not need the strength of willingness to come from you, but only from His Will.
35 The holy instant does not come from your little willingness alone. It is always the result of your small willingness combined with the unlimited power of God's Will. You have been wrong in thinking that it is needful to prepare yourself for Him. It is impossible to make arrogant preparations for holiness and not believe that it is up to you to establish the conditions for peace. God has established them. They do not wait upon your willingness for what they are. Your willingness is needed only to make it possible to teach you what they are. If you maintain you are unworthy of learning this, you are interfering with the lesson by believing that you make the learner different. You did not make the learner, nor can you make him different. Would you first make a miracle yourself and then expect one to be made for you?
36 You merely ask the question. The answer is given. Seek not to answer it, but merely receive the answer as it is given. In preparing for the holy instant, do not attempt to make yourself holy to be ready to receive it. That is but to confuse your role with God's. Atonement cannot come to those who think that they must first atone, but only to those who offer it nothing more than simple willingness to make way for it. Purification is of God alone and therefore for you. Rather than seek to prepare yourself for Him, try to think thus:
38 And that is all. Add more and you will merely take away the little that is asked. Remember you made guilt and that your plan for the escape from guilt has been to bring Atonement to it and make salvation fearful. And it is only fear that you will add if you prepare yourself for love. The preparation for the holy instant belongs to Him Who gives it. Release yourselves to Him Whose function is release. Do not assume His function for Him. Give Him but what He asks, that you may learn how little is your part and how great is His.
39 It is this that makes the holy instant so easy and so natural. You make it difficult because you insist there must be more that you need do. [You find it difficult to accept the idea that you need give so little to receive so much.] And it is very hard for you to realize that it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirit's are so extremely disproportionate. You are still convinced your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth and makes it what it is. Yet we have emphasized that you need understand nothing. Salvation is easy just because it asks nothing that you cannot give right now.
40 Forget not that it has been your decision to make everything that is natural and easy for you impossible. What you believe to be impossible will be if God so wills it, but you will remain quite unaware of it. If you believe the holy instant is difficult for you, it is because you have become the arbiter of what is possible and remain unwilling to give place to One Who knows. The whole belief in orders of difficulty in miracles is centered on this. Everything God wills is not only possible but has already happened. And that is why the past has gone. It never happened in reality. Only in your minds, which thought it did, is its undoing needful.