Dare to Be Happy
By Daniel Tipton*
CLOSING THE GAP
[as it appeared in the April 2012 Newsletter]
CLOSING THE GAP
There is a gap we all experience but may not always be aware of. It is the gap of time between a grievance and a miracle. It is the time spent in hell. It is the time spent on the cross before the resurrection. It is this period of time that the Course is trying to get us to pare down to the holy instant.
“I seem to have problems only because I am misusing time. I believe that the problem comes first, and time must elapse before it can be worked out. I do not see the problem and the answer as simultaneous in their occurrence. That is because I do not yet realize that God has placed the answer together with the problem, so that they cannot be separated by time. The Holy Spirit will teach me this if I will let Him.” (OrEd.W.90.5)
By practicing A Course in Miracles, we are attempting to close the gap between grievance and miracle (or forgiveness). We start with a grievance at the beginning of a period of time and have to struggle to reach the miracle at the other end. As we all know, this period of time can be minutes, hours, days, or even years. All the while, we allow ourselves to suffer in that period of time.
 Let miracles replace all grievances.
5 “By this idea do I unite my will with the Holy Spirit’s and perceive them as one. By this idea do I accept my release from hell. By this idea do I express my willingness to have all my illusions be replaced with truth according to God’s plan for my salvation. I would make no exceptions and no substitutes. I want all of Heaven and only Heaven, as God wills me to have.” (OrEd.W.89.5)
The time spent in unforgiveness is the time we are attempting to do away with. It is the only reason we have time in the first place. No matter how big or small grievances seem to be, God would not have us misuse time in this way. We attempt to close this gap by being mindful (Mind the gap! 😉 ) and practicing the Course. The gap will eventually shrink down into nothingness, which I believe is the holy instant. We can track our progress by how long we stay with a grievance. It may be particularly helpful to compare the times spent with similar grievances.
“Do not be concerned with time and fear not the instant of holiness which will remove all fear. For the instant of peace is eternal because it is wholly without fear. It will come, being the lesson God gives you through the Teacher He has appointed to translate time into eternity.” (OrEd.T.15.17)
“This course is not beyond immediate learning unless you prefer to believe that what God wills takes time. And this means only that you would rather delay the recognition that His Will is so. The holy instant is this one and every one. The one you want it to be it is. The one you would not have it be is lost to you. You must decide on when it is. Delay it not. For beyond the past and future, in which you will not find it, it stands in shimmering readiness for your acceptance. Yet you cannot bring it into glad awareness while you do not want it, for it holds the whole release from littleness.” (OrEd.T.15.35)
“The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts which are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep. Innocence is not of your making. It is given you the instant you would have it. Yet it would not be Atonement if there were no need for Atonement. You will not be able to accept perfect communication as long as you would hide it from yourself. For what you would hide is hidden from you.” (OrEd.T.15.43)
My favorite thing about the Course is that is has all responsibility fall on us. How long do we want to stay in hell? It is our choice. This is not saying that forgiveness becoming immediate is easy, but it is saying that it IS possible if we want it. Yet our wanting it is the little bit of willingness that Jesus asks for. All he wants is for us to lay down our swords and our shields, and ask him: “Jesus, there must be a different way. Please, show me”. That IS all.
“The Holy Spirit asks only this little help of you. Whenever your thoughts wander to a special relationship which still attracts you, enter with Him into a holy instant and there let Him release you. He needs only your willingness to share His perspective to give it to you completely. And your willingness need not be complete because His is perfect. It is His task to atone for your unwillingness by His perfect faith, and it is His faith you share with Him there. Out of your recognition of your unwillingness for your release, His perfect willingness is given you. Call upon Him, for Heaven is at His call. And let Him call on Heaven for you.” (OrEd.T.16.69)
I think we can track our progress by being aware of the time we spend with a grievance. It can be anything but it might help to choose something we are faced with over and over. (The re-occurrences are probably a sign that it’s time to move on anyway). For instance, I used to get pretty upset when my roommates were sloppy. It was more or less a grievance I carried around with me all the time, and one I used to deploy passive mental attacks. As I prayed and progressed, I noticed the time spent being bothered became less and less. It started only coming and going. Then, it would only last about an hour. Then, a few minutes, until I got to the point when I was able to shake it off almost immediately. It comes. I see it. I shake it off. This lasts maybe 3 seconds now. I say “shake it off” because I usually shake my head to take me out of that thought and onto whatever else. This is not a form of denial because I address the issue if I feel I need to. It is ridding myself of unnecessary attack thoughts.I hope to apply this to all areas of my life. There are many I’m still working on, but I have noticed as I focus on them, and pray, I do progress. There is always something I can work on. It’s not hard to find new projects once one has been brought to a comfortable level. May we all shorten the time distance to miracles. May we all close the gap.
Blessings to all.
*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of the Course in Miracles Society study group. He is in his second year of the 2 year ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the Community Miracles Center; Daniel attended the 2011 Annual ACIM Conference in San Francisco and is currently working on a masters degree in Counseling at UNO. He will be assisting at the 2013 ACIM Conference which will be held in Chicago. More Conference Information here