At no single instant does the body exist at all. It is always remembered or anticipated, but never experienced just now. Only its past and future make it seem real. Time controls it entirely, for sin is never present. In any single instant, the attraction of guilt would be experienced as pain and nothing else and would be avoided. It has no attraction now. Its whole attraction is imaginary and therefore must be thought of in the past or in the future

It is this that makes the holy instant so easy and so natural. You make it difficult because you insist there must be more that you need do. [You find it difficult to accept the idea that you need give so little to receive so much.] And it is very hard for you to realize that it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirit’s are so extremely disproportionate. You are still convinced your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth and makes it what it is. Yet we have emphasized that you need understand nothing. Salvation is easy just because it asks nothing that you cannot give right now.

Forget not that it has been your decision to make everything that is natural and easy for you impossible. What you believe to be impossible will be if God so wills it, but you will remain quite unaware of it. If you believe the holy instant is difficult for you, it is because you have become the arbiter of what is possible and remain unwilling to give place to One Who knows. The whole belief in orders of difficulty in miracles is centered on this. Everything God wills is not only possible but has already happened. And that is why the past has gone. It never happened in reality. Only in your minds, which thought it did, is its undoing needful.

In brief, the past is now your justification for entering into a continuing, unholy alliance with the ego against the present. For the present is forgiveness. Therefore, the relationships which the unholy alliance dictates are not perceived nor felt as now. Yet the frame of reference to which the present is referred for meaning is an illusion of the past in which those elements which fit the purpose of the unholy alliance are retained and all the rest let go. And what is thus let go is all the truth the past could ever offer to the present as witnesses for its reality, while what is kept but witnesses to the reality of dreams

Look at the picture. Do not let the frame distract you. This gift is given you for your damnation, and if you take it, you will believe that you are damned. You cannot have the frame without the picture. What you value is the frame, for there you see no conflict. Yet the frame is only the wrapping for the gift of conflict. The frame is not the gift. Be not deceived by the most superficial aspects of this thought system, for these aspects enclose the whole, complete in every aspect. Death lies in this glittering gift. Let not your gaze dwell on the hypnotic gleaming of the frame. Look at the picture, and realize that death is offered you.

All this beauty will rise to bless your sight as you look upon the world with forgiving eyes. For forgiveness literally transforms vision and lets you see the real world reaching quietly and gently across chaos and removing all illusions which had twisted your perception and fixed it on the past. The smallest leaf becomes a thing of wonder and a blade of grass a sign of God’s perfection.