By Robert Perry & David Sunfellow
For millennia people have pursued the mystical experience, the timeless/spaceless/imageless
experience of union with God. The experience that follows is a different
kind of mystical experience. It is an example of what A COURSE IN
MIRACLES calls a "holy instant."
A COURSE IN MIRACLES is a modern spiritual teaching that emphasizes
that we awaken from the dream of time and space primarily through
releasing our judgmental view of other people. In the classical mystical
experience, our union with God is usually a solitary one, often the
result of intensely personal prayer and meditation. THE COURSE, on
the other hand, emphasizes a holy instant with an interpersonal focus.
This kind of holy instant begins with our forgiveness of another human
being and then leads to an experience of uniting with our brothers,
sisters and God.
What follows is a riveting account of the kind of holy instant THE
COURSE describes. We believe John Hutkin's experience is especially
important in two ways: First, it offers us a glimpse of a new kind
of mystical experience that is based on interpersonal relationships
and; Second, we believe John's experience may be a foreshadowing of
what we, as a race, are presently evolving towards.
A Holy Instant
By John Hutkin
Many times as a COURSE student I have asked that I might forgive
this person or situation and see it with vision. But I know somewhere
in the back of my mind was my desire to have the situation changed
to something more acceptable to me, as well as a desire to hold onto
my concept of right and wrong.
One time I did ask to forgive with no strings attached--it seemed
like a very minor forgiveness--and I received a "holy instant," which
goes to show that the COURSE asks very little and gives so much in
return. As I look back, the single key that opens all the doors is
that when we ask to forgive, we must truly turn it over to the Holy
Spirit without any other consideration of how it should be.
I had attended a COURSE IN MIRACLES class on Tuesday evenings for
over four years. The leader and host of the group, Sally, always gave
a 20-30 minute meditation at the beginning, before we read from the
COURSE. I always had a problem with these meditations, for I felt
that 90% of them had nothing to do with the COURSE and in many cases
were embedded in what the COURSE calls "magic." I saw them for the
most part as her ego trip, and as a result would really judge her.
I remember coming into class one night. It was right before the meditation
was to start. I said to myself just before I came in the door, 'I
am not going to judge Sally today. I'm just going to do my (COURSE
Workbook) lesson.' I don't even remember what the lesson was. I do
remember very vividly that I was perfectly clear in my decision not
to judge Sally. Looking back, I see there have been many other times
when I've said I'm not going to do this or that, but I don't remember
ever being as clear about it as I was this time. It just seemed that
that's what I really wanted to do. I was absolute in my intention
at that moment. It didn't feel weighty, like I had to do it or had
been forced into it. It was a decision that came from within.
When I sat down on the floor the lights were very low. I think there
were at least six people in this room, besides myself. Sally started
the meditation. I closed my eyes and repeated in my mind that I was
not going to judge Sally. And I started doing the lesson. I wasn't
expecting anything to occur, except that I might feel better if I
weren't judging Sally today.
Almost immediately after closing my eyes I saw Sally--the Real Sally.
And I was seeing her with the Real John (that's me). Neither one of
us were in the bodies that we normally would recognize. She was not
in the body that I'm used to seeing her in, but I absolutely knew
it was her, there was no doubt about it. The description that comes
to me now is that she was an energy form that I knew to be her. At
that moment I recognized I was seeing a high, pure part of Sally,
I could say the Christ Self now, but I'm not sure I really thought
any of those things at the time. And my sense of myself was different.
I did not feel that I was in my body, but I was very conscious of
my being, even more conscious than I am while in a body. It was me
in a "purified," "Higher Self" version. It's interesting, I was thinking
these things about Sally and myself simultaneously. I didn't really
make a differentiation or comparison between us. What I recognized
in her I also recognized in myself simultaneously.
The thing that struck me right away is that I felt more love/joy
in being in Sally's presence than I have ever felt before. There was
no other concept in my mind except love/joy/ecstasy in being in her
presence. It was an experience of pure, absolute bliss in coming into
contact with someone. And I know that she felt the same about me.
There were no words spoken. All of this was just clear. I felt a love,
a sense of love, that surpassed any concept of love that I have experienced
on a conscious level. I have been in love; I've had many male/female
relationships, and in looking back it was no comparison, because it
was so much greater than anything that I had ever experienced. And
I said, "This is love."
Not only did I meet Sally in this way, but I then started to meet
another person that was present in the room in the same way. Again
recognizing their individuality, but at the same time recognizing
the same level of love that I had with Sally; still distinguishing
individuality, but the love was the same, of the same magnitude. That
didn't change, it didn't go up, it didn't go down, it just was the
same. And this happened with each person that was present in the room.
At this point when I was meeting everyone in the room, I felt God.
And my sense was that He was smiling on me. I say on me, because it
felt like the sun when you're basking in it, when it is not too hot
and just warm enough to have this wonderful warm feeling all around
you. I felt I was basking in this smile. And I just was aware that
it was God. It was not like the normal description of God, there was
no physical aspect. It was more spherical and smiling.
This whole process was happening without any sense of time in it.
It truly was timeless, eternal; there was no sequence or concept of
time passing. But the weird thing that started happening immediately
in meeting Sally and then the other individuals is that I was giving
everything that was in me to them and I was receiving everything from
them, simultaneously. There was nothing being held back. I was fully
giving of myself, which I can never remember doing. I'm always feeling
a sense of some holding back or some consciousness of myself and what
would be appropriate or inappropriate to give. Everything at that
moment was absolutely given, freely without any thought of what it
was. There was no need to give it, just the absolute joy in doing
it. It was just an enhancement, but there was no need. And there was
no reason to withhold anything. The only thing was to give it. And
I was receiving. I was totally aware that I was receiving totally
their consciousness. And it was happening simultaneously. I don't
know how I can explain that, other than saying that my thoughts were
given and their thoughts were received at the same moment, without
having to discuss them or interact or in any way comprehend. It was
just happening. And again, it was pure joy.
And as we were getting closer and closer in space (if there was any
space between us--I guess I did have some sense of space), it was
like a heart beating, where every beat was totally received and given
at the same time. And when the whole gap between space closed we were
as one and intermingling. Again there weren't physical bodies, but
we were intertwined; we came together and moved through each other.
And that I would have to say was a combination of laughter and orgasm,
but of a much more intense level. I say orgasmic, but it was different.
It's not something I really can describe. I'm just using the word
to try and capture some sense of it. We were laughing hysterically,
laughing in pure ecstasy, like when you're out of control laughing.
You're not thinking or judging your own laughter, you're just laughing.
That was going on as part of a totally relaxed course of events. And
we were very appreciative of each other. There was a definite honoring
of each other, an appreciation of coming into contact, but not a solemn
one. It was just full of laughter and joy.
At this point, because I had this experience with these people, I
remember asking myself, "Where is everyone else?" And in that thought
I was aware that everyone else that I knew on this conscious level
(or that I thought I knew) was present. But not only that, everyone
was present, and I don't know how I knew that, but I just knew. If
you had asked me is everyone in the world there, I would have said
"yes." Was everyone that was ever in the world there? I would say
"yes." Was there more than everyone in the world past or future there?
And I would say "yes." I felt like I was in the middle and this expanded
out farther than I could see. But I was perfectly aware that everyone
was there. And then I remember asking, "Could I ever be alone?" And
in that moment I was totally alone. Then I asked about traveling.
"Could I be anywhere?" In that moment I was traveling through something.
I don't know if they were planets or stars or something, but it seemed
that I was crashing into things. And I had this interesting sense
that I was absolutely safe. It dawned on me that you couldn't be harmed,
because I wasn't. I felt my energy crashing into things and there
was no consequence. I felt absolute safety. And I was realizing that
everything was happening in a thought. I could be anywhere, with anyone,
doing anything, in a thought.
Meanwhile, Sally's meditation had been going on. I had never even
heard any of the words. But at some point very near the end of the
meditation something was said that I started to hear. At that moment
I felt that now we were all at the same level, that the consciousness
of Sally's meditation had joined me where I was. And then I remember
hearing the words that were coming out of the meditation, something
about seeing water--however those meditations end. And I started to
feel my being being scrunched back into my body, which I had been
completely unaware of during this entire episode. I had no sense of
my body. I don't remember feeling any sensations one way or the other.
I didn't even notice it. It just wasn't there. But all of a sudden
I noticed it. And it felt like I was bringing my consciousness back
in and was stuffing myself back into my body. And that was how it
(John Hutkin is a COURSE student from St. Louis)