Ask: Can you clarify the ego's use of time as hell?
“I just read in ACIM that the ego teaches that ‘Heaven is here and now because the future is hell.’ Then in the next chapter it says ‘the Holy Spirit teaches thus: There is no hell. Hell is only what the ego has made of the present.’ It seems to contradict; maybe you could talk about this in one of your future posts…” – AS
Actually, those quotes are in the same chapter and subsection (The Two Uses of Time) of the Text of A Course in Miracles, just a couple of paragraphs apart. Here is the first quote in context (my underlining):
“The ego teaches that Heaven is here and now because the future is hell. Even when it attacks so savagely that it tries to take the life of someone who thinks its is the only voice, it speaks of hell even to him. For it tells him hell is here as well, and bids him leap from hell into oblivion. The only time the ego allows anyone to look upon with equanimity is the past. And even there, its only value is that it is no more.” (T-15.I.5)
Notice that this paragraph says that the ego teaches that both the present and the future are hell. So there is no contradiction to what it says two paragraphs later:
“The Holy Spirit teaches thus: There is no hell. Hell is only what the ego has made of the present.” (T-15.I.7)
It also says that the ego will “allow” you to look on the past with equanimity. This does not mean, though, that when it is convenient for its purposes it will not also teach you to look on the past as hell. The ego makes hell of time, period. As it says further in that same paragraph:
“There is no escape from fear in the ego's use of time. For time, according to its teaching, is nothing but a teaching device for compounding guilt until it becomes all-encompassing, demanding vengeance forever.” (T-15.I.7)
But the Holy Spirit uses the Holy Instant to release you from time:
“The Holy Spirit would undo all of this now. Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist. There is no fear in the present when each instant stands clear and separated from the past, without its shadow reaching out into the future. Each instant is a clean, untarnished birth, in which the Son of God emerges from the past into the present. And the present extends forever. It is so beautiful and so clean and free of guilt that nothing but happiness is there. No darkness is remembered, and immortality and joy are now. (T-15.I.8)
Are there passages in ACIM that do not make sense to you? Some of my clients like to read ACIM with me. Sometimes they bring specific passages that need clarification; sometimes we just read from where they are in ACIM. This is one of the many ways you can use mentoring to deepen your study and understanding. Learn more about mentoring at www.acimmentor.com.