Experiencing the Holy Instant

September 1, 2010

It has been a busy spring and summer for me. I have had the privilege of officiating at many weddings of same-sex couples since it became legal in DC. I have stood in the presence of couples who have been together from nine months to 38 years. Couples who are from the DC area, and those who came to DC from Oklahoma, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Delaware—and in September I will be marrying a couple coming here from Australia. I stand in the presence of love in such a palatable, deeply felt way. I bear witness to the stories of men and women who never expected to be legally married within their lifetimes; men and women, who look into their beloved’s eyes and proclaim “I Do, I Will, I Am.”

And in that moment I have a sense that they are possibly releasing guilt or victimhood or difference, and basking in love and acceptance, and my heart is full. And joy runs through me like a river flowing to the ocean. And in that moment there is no fear and no separation, only the vibration of love and authenticity.

And I share this with you for it is where my thoughts first went as I sat to write this message. It is easy for me—perhaps for you too—to be taken hostage by all of the turmoil and despair going on around the world. To feel the hurt of the ocean and the people and animals living in the Gulf; to read of the violence locally, nationally, and globally; to hear stories of how these economic times are challenging so many. So turning my thoughts to love reminds me of what our true nature is. It reminds me of what it means to be made in God’s image. It reminds me that I have a choice of where I allow my mind to wander.

Choice. It’s more than a hotel chain. Choice is the key for how we live our lives. And it is through the power of choice that we experience, what in the Course in Miracles is called, the Holy Instant. The Holy Instant. What do we have in our lives that is instant? There is instant coffee. Instant oatmeal. Instant pudding. Just add hot water and stir—and in an instant we have what we desire. Then there is instant credit and the instant lottery. But a holy instant. Whatever could that be?

According to the Course in Miracles, a holy instant is the instant outside time in which we choose forgiveness instead of guilt, the miracle instead of a grievance, the Holy Spirit instead of the ego; the expression of our willingness to live in the present, which opens into eternity, rather than holding on to the past and fearing the future. Let me repeat that… a holy instant is the instant outside time in which we choose forgiveness instead of guilt, the miracle instead of a grievance, the Holy Spirit instead of the ego. It is the moment that we choose to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice rather than the voice of the ego.
It is a willingness to live in the present, rather than holding on to the past and fearing the future.

Can you remember a time when you experienced a holy instant or when someone you know did? There is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and Moses when he found his voice to confront the pharaoh. Recently the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia forgave the man who, while driving drunk, killed one nun and injured two others. That sure seems like a holy instant to me. And, let’s not forget Dorothy Gale, who experienced her holy instant when she clicked her heels together and repeated, “There is no place like home.” Who knew she was a metaphysician?

We can experience a holy instant numerous times throughout the course of the day. Usually these experiences are in short intervals. And the Course teaches us, that through forgiveness, we can experience the holy instant for longer and longer periods of time. The goal is that this is all we will experience, which means we are in constant communication with God and living in the real world. Not so hard, right?

Well, maybe a little challenging for most of us. There is this thing called ego that keeps getting in our way—just like an iceberg with the Titanic. It’s the ego’s job to have us believe that we are separate from God and from one another. This belief in separation gives rise to guilt, fear, and the belief in attack to defend oneself. The Course says that the ego is the wrong-minded attempt to perceive ourselves as we wish to be, rather than as we are.

What are some steps we can take to open ourselves up to experiencing more and more holy instants? I’m glad you asked that question! To be open to a holy incident is being open to living in the present. To living now. So, let’s use the letters N, O, W as our guide.

1. Be conscious of negative thought patterns.
2. Make an overture to God.
3. Affirm wholeness.

1. Be conscious of negative thought patterns. Marianne Williamson says that there is no such thing as a neutral thought. Every thought takes us into love or into fear, and whichever one we choose casts out the vision of the other. Do we think we are lovable or unlovable? Competent or a failure? A victim or a beloved child of God? We can disrupt the thoughts which don’t serve us and replace them with the truth. Any thought which has us believe we are separate will keep us from experiencing a holy instant. Ya know that phrase, “turn that frown upside down”? Let’s apply that to the thought patterns which keep us stuck, feeling trapped, or uncertain. Release fear. Release guilt. Release separation. Choose love. Choose Oneness. Choose to live and experience a holy instant.

2. Make an overture to God. An overture: an opening or initiating move toward a new relationship, an agreement; a formal or informal proposal or offer. Make an overture to God. This does not mean strike a bargain with God. You know, the “God if you will only do so and so for me I promise that for the rest of my life I will do this and that.”

We don’t have to bargain with God—it is God’s desire to give us everything we need. An overture to God. Perhaps, like the song by Shekinah Glory Ministry says, we could approach God and say, “I vow to praise You, through the good and the bad. I’ll praise You, whether happy or sad. I’ll praise You, in all that I go through, because praise is what I do, cause I owe it all to You.”

And God, I know that as I praise you I raise my vibration and I release anything that is not of you, because I know that there is no separation between you and me. Anything that might hint of that is an illusion. God, I come to you today, right here and right now to forge a new relationship with you that allows me to see myself the way you see me. Perfect and complete. I release the past. I release the stories that my parents told me, that my teachers told me, that my ex’s told me, that my bosses told me, that society told me. I release them and I make an agreement with you to know and live the truth as you know the truth about who I am.

Make an overture to God. Experience a holy instant.

3. Affirm wholeness. Wholeness is the perfect unification of each of us as Spirit, soul, and body. True healing means to make whole. Name it and claim it. Forgive yourself. Forgive all others. Take a dust buster to the thoughts of brokenness, not good enough, unworthy, stupid, or any other belief that stands in the way of us and spiritual oneness. In the void—insert love, insert compassion, insert wholeness. Let’s click our heals and know that there is no place like home—home in the Oneness with God. What we start on the conscious level will move to the subconscious level. As we affirm our wholeness we clear the static out of our being. We focus and fine tune our holy connection. We get connected for a holy instant.

So, let’s live in the NOW:

1. Be conscious of negative thought patterns.
2. Make an overture to God.
3. Affirm wholeness.

Before I close, I thought I’d share a quick story with you.

Two elderly, excited Southern women were sitting together in the front pews of a church listening to a fiery preacher.

When this preacher condemned the sin of stealing, these two ladies cried out at the tops of their lungs, “AMEN BROTHER!”

When the preacher condemned the sin of lust, they yelled again, “PREACH IT, REVEREND!”

And when the preacher condemned the sin of lying, they jumped to their feet and screamed, “RIGHT ON, BROTHER! TELL IT LIKE IT IS…AMEN!”

But when the preacher condemned the sin of gossip, the two got very quiet. One turned to the other and said, “He’s quit preaching and now he meddlin’.”

I hope you don’t think I was meddlin’ here today—cause you know—whatever Spirit directed me to say to you today—was what Spirit really meant for me to hear.

May all of us continue to be blessed with holy instants.


© 2019 Bonnie J. Berger. All rights reserved.