Can we see that the idea we have problems is itself the problem? That it is itself the separation? We have all these problems and they are all outside of us and they each require their own special solution. It seems like this is true. There is war here and starvation there. I am lonely here and fearful there. And the little spots of peace and joy – writ large or in my own experience – are brief and temporary and not curative at all.
When we have many problems, time enters. Time becomes real. It becomes real because problems always need to be solved in the future. I don’t have enough money today but I might tomorrow. My house is too small today and so I will have to buy a larger one and that can only happen in the future.
Perhaps if that was all I did with time it would be okay. Perhaps. But it’s not all I do with time. The solution to problems is always connected to the idea of becoming. It is always personal. There is a centralized self – the ego, in ACIM terms – and it wants to improve. It wants to get better. It is going to figure out how to earn more money. It is going to market its particular take on spirituality and God. It is going to learn how to live in a smaller space by learning how to accept suffering as a virtue.
I think this is true for all of us, even though it is hard to see. We are always projecting the solution into the future, and the solution always has to do with us becoming something better than what we are now. It is pernicious and destructive, because the future never arrives in the sense of completion, of conclusion. We get the money and we get the house and we are not satisfied. Or we are for a little while and then something else creeps in. Our car always breaks down. It would be better to use solar energy to heat the house.
That dissatisfaction – which can be as big as confronting death or as small as wondering whether it’s okay to eat cheesecake instead of an apple with peanut butter – ruins us. It really does. It’s how we avoid seeing what we are in truth. The belief that we have to do something – take some right action – to know ourselves is the separation. Let go of that one idea and the world will literally be transformed. Time will end and you will know yourself as God created you.
I don’t think this is a complicated idea. But I think it is very hard to realize. It can’t be forced. That is my experience. We have to show up and be willing and one day it happens. And it fades away but then it comes back. Then it starts to become natural. And all along, we aren’t doing anything. We aren’t causing anything.
Salvation does not ask that you behold the spirit and perceive the body not. It merely asks that this should be your choice. For you can see the body without help, but do not understand how to behold a world apart from it. It is your world salvation will undo, and let you see another world your eyes could never find. Be not concerned how this could be (T-31.VI.3:1-5).
We work out the basic concepts the course teaches and then as much as possible get out of the way. That’s really it. Our separation from God ends the moment we are willing to end it. But we really have to have that willingness.