One of the things that make A Course in miracles as a spiritual curriculum so hard to learn, is its notion of the totally illusory nature of time, space, and perception. It simply doesn’t feel intuitive to be told that those you live, love and work with are wholly unreal because time, space and our senses are unreal. When actor Jim Carrey recently declared in an interview that he doesn’t believe in separated personalities anymore, he was met with sardonic laughter. People responded that anyone who doesn’t believe what his eyes see, has clearly lost his mind, as various cynical YouTube reaction videos graphically portrayed.
We are all convinced that time winds on regardless of what we think, say or do, from our first breath to our last. As long as we experience ourselves in a body, our thoughts and actions are guided by our perception in time. Even as faithful students of A Course in Miracles, we seriously doubt whether we have enough time in this particular lifetime to get from readiness to mastery (of accepting the Atonement). It is therefore intriguing to read in chapter 7 of the text: “You may think [that] this [i.e., ‘you’ll only be totally confident when you have mastered true forgiveness’] implies that an enormous amount of time is necessary between readiness and mastery, but let me remind you that time and space are under my control.” (T2.VII.7:6) What does Jesus mean?
Jesus certainly doesn’t mean he is watching our doings from way up above, threatening that he could end it all with a snap of his fingers (if he had them). That would be the very opposite of his loving message that we are all Christ, including him and me and you. In fact, Jesus says: “There is nothing about me that you cannot attain. I have nothing that does not come from God. The difference between us now is that I have nothing else.” (T-1.II.10:4). Rather, Jesus is telling us that time, contrary to what we perceive, does not proceed linearly; it is holographic, meaning that the whole is contained in each instant. Everything in time is happening now. Jesus puts it this way: “Each day, and every minute in each day, and every instant that each minute holds, you but relive the single instant when the time of terror [i.e., separation] took the place of love” (T-26.V.13:1). In other words, we constantly tell Jesus to get lost, allowing the ego to manifest a future that turns out the same as the past, convincing us that time proceeds linearly, starting with the big bang some fourteen billion years ago.
Because Jesus states that he and you and I are essentially equal brothers, sharing the same right mind of Christ, he implicitly states that we can control time as well, however absurd this may sound. In fact, at some places he is rather explicit about this: “Each time you practice [forgiveness], awareness is brought a little nearer at least; sometimes a thousand years or more are saved. The minutes which you give are multiplied over and over, for the miracle makes use of time, but is not ruled by it.” (W-pI.97.3:2). And, from the manual for teachers, about the ‘Teachers of God’, that is, anyone who has chosen to learn Jesus’ curriculum of forgiveness: “Their function is to save time. […] Each one saves a thousand years of time as the world judges it.” (M-1.2:11,13).
Although Jesus is obviously using poetic, metaphoric language when he speaks of “a thousand years”, he is telling us two things. First of all, we should not be stressed out because of our fear we won’t embrace Salvation quick enough in this lifetime. Although Jesus doesn’t take a definite stand on the issue of reincarnation, he clearly implies that you and I are not here for the first time, and there will be many more lives to come. In fact, in Absence from felicity we read about the scene where Helen gets near her own tomb of some 1900+ years ago in Israel (do read that book!). When she is tempted to go there, Jesus clearly instructs her not to, saying in effect: “No. Let the dead bury the dead.” (p.357)
Secondly, Jesus is saying to you and me that it is entirely up to us when we choose to accept the Atonement. Each time we succeed in choosing forgiveness, the miracle abolishes the need for more time to learn to undo the ego, and therefore undo time and space. As Jesus says in chapter 4 of the text: “The only message of the crucifixion [i.e, separation] is that you can overcome the cross [i..e, the misery of the ego]. Until then you are free to crucify yourself as often as you choose.” (T-4.In.3:8-9). And, from the introduction to the text: “Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time.” (T-In.1:4). Therefore, it is not a matter of whether we will wake up (we all will eventually); it is a matter of when we choose to wake up. “In this world the only remaining freedom is the freedom of choice; always between two choices or two voices.” (C-I.7:1).
Now we can better understand why Jesus reminds us that “time and space are under my control”. You and I can abolish the need for more time, but we cannot do that without Jesus’ help. Remember: “Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough” (T-18.IV.2:1-2). Abolishing time requires us to admit that we, as separated ego, have been wrong about everything, including our very existence in time, and Jesus is right about our being already safe at home in eternity in the Heart of God, without a distinct personality. Again, as long as we believe we live in a body and perceive a world around us, this message frightens us to the bone, and we won’t accept it. Until the pain of the misery and failure gets too much and we exclaim that there must be a better way. Only once we experience the peaceful effects of true forgiveness are we truly practicing our readiness to accept the Atonement. What Jesus tells us in A Course in Miracles is that each time we succeed in choosing the miracle of forgiveness, we are really abolishing the need for more time, sometimes ‘thousands of years’. “The purpose of time is to enable you to learn how to use time constructively. […] Time will cease when it is no longer useful in facilitating learning” (T-I.1:15)
“What is a hundred or a thousand years to Them [the face of Christ and the memory of God], or tens of thousands?” (T-26.IX.4:1). Once I truly choose the path of the joy of Christ, time becomes irrelevant except insofar as I can abolish the need for more time, with Jesus’ help. Try to practice that most valuable insight in common, everyday situations. For example, if I catch myself at the grocer’s becoming irritated by the queue at the checkout, I can realize I’ve just been given a wonderful forgiveness opportunity. Time really doesn’t matter! So as a student of A course in Miracles, meaning ‘as a teacher of God’, do not become nervous as you fear you won’t reach the top of the ladder to the real world in this lifetime. You’ve been here many times before and will be here again. You and I will accept the Atonement. It is only to the extent in which we allow Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help us, how much time we still choose to take to attain it. So ask yourself regularly: “How long will I be willing to still live in hell? Will I not choose to follow Jesus (or the Holy Spirit) today?”
See also “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com: