This Has Already Happened

“But this has already happened, right?”

This idea has come up a few times with students lately, always in relation to their life in the world. I think it’s because of this passage from the Manual for Teachers of A Course in Miracles:

“The world of time is the world of illusion. What happened long ago seems to be happening now. Choices made long since appear to be open; yet to be made. What has been learned and understood and long ago passed by is looked upon as a new thought, a fresh idea, a different approach. Because your will is free you can accept what has already happened at any time you choose, and only then will you realize that it was always there.” (M-2.3)

I think what throws off students is the “s” in “Choices” in the third sentence; the idea would be clearer in the singular. There is only ever one choice: Truth or illusion. You can phrase this in different ways: God or personal mind; Oneness or separation; Peace or conflict, etc. Read the passage above in context, and you will understand it much better. Here’s the paragraph that precedes it, and provides the context:

“In order to understand the teaching-learning plan of salvation, it is necessary to grasp the concept of time that the course sets forth. Atonement corrects illusions, not truth. Therefore, it corrects what never was. Further, the plan for this correction was established and completed simultaneously, for the Will of God is entirely apart from time. So is all reality, being of Him. The instant the idea of separation entered the mind of God's Son, in that same instant was God's Answer given. In time this happened very long ago. In reality it never happened at all.” (M-2.2)

You are reliving a single instant over and over again. In that instant is the illusion of time, with all of its diverse forms of choice, which mask the fact that their content is all the same. You seem to have to make new choices, but you are really making the same choice again and again: Are you going to believe in illusions, or recognize that they are illusions, and overlook them? When the Course says this has already happened it is not referring to what happens in the world; it means the whole illusion of separation from God was over the moment it seemed to occur. As a metaphor, if you have a dream when you are sleeping, when is what happens in the dream happening? It is never happening because it’s a dream! It’s over before it has even begun because it is nothing. When you wake up, you realize that what you thought was happening did not happen at all. Only in time do stories about time have meaning. They have not already happened; they have never happened.

Read The Message of A Course in Miracles: A translation of the Text in plain language at


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