A few days ago, I read the most empowering ACIM lesson so far which I cannot wait to share with you here. It can literally change your life.
Here I will copy its text in italics, and comment on most of the passages.
If I defend myself I am attacked.
This is the title of the lesson.
Who would defend himself unless he thought he were attacked, that the attack were real, and that his own defense could save himself? And herein lies the folly of defense; it gives illusions full reality, and then attempts to handle them as real. It adds illusions to illusions, thus making correction doubly difficult. And it is this you do when you attempt to plan the future, activate the past, or organize the present as you wish.
When we try to protect ourselves, we as though prove that the protection is justified. So we make the threat more real in our lives.
It’s sometimes hard to understand that even planning is a form of defense. Some defenses are obvious, such as securing a house, and some are not so obvious. The text will go more into detail about why planning, controlling the present, and focusing on the past are the forms of defense.
You operate from the belief you must protect yourself from what is happening because it must contain what threatens you. A sense of threat is an acknowledgment of an inherent weakness; a belief that there is danger which has power to call on you to make appropriate defense.
The world is based on this insane belief. And all its structures, all its thoughts and doubts, its penalties and heavy armaments, its legal definitions and its codes, its ethics and its leaders and its gods, all serve but to preserve its sense of threat. For no one walks the world in armature but must have terror striking at his heart.
Isn’t it true that the reason we plan is fear-based? It’s to protect us from the unknown, or from the threats that the mind thinks are waiting for us. And we would never protect ourselves unless we thought we were weak. Identification with the body indeed makes us feel weak, because the body is not immortal, and it can be hurt.
Defense is frightening. It stems from fear, increasing fear as each defense is made. You think it offers safety. Yet it speaks of fear made real and terror justified. Is it not strange you do not pause to ask, as you elaborate your plans and make your armor thicker and your locks more tight, what you defend, and how, and against what?
Here the text says that the more you try to protect yourself, the more fearful you feel. That’s because you make the threat more real by taking action to defend yourself against it.
Let us consider first what you defend. It must be something that is very weak and easily assaulted. It must be something made easy prey, unable to protect itself and needing your defense. What but the body has such frailty that constant care and watchful, deep concern are needful to protect its little life? What but the body falters and must fail to serve the Son of God as worthy host?
Here we meet with Christian terminology. It is frustrating to go through the text with such phrases (unless you are a Christian), but I hope you will continue reading, as the information is priceless. This text was written to awaken Christians, in my opinion.
Yet it is not the body that can fear, nor be a thing of fear. It has no needs but those which you assign to it. It needs no complicated structures of defense, no health-inducing medicine, no care and no concern at all. Defend its life, or give it gifts to make it beautiful or walls to make it safe, and you but say your home is open to the thief of time, corruptible and crumbling, so unsafe it must be guarded with your very life.
If the body is given its rightful place, it would never be considered our true self or our home. But when we identify with the body, then fear arises as we know it’s corruptible, and we try to protect it because we think it’s actually us.
Is not this picture fearful? Can you be at peace with such a concept of your home? Yet what endowed the body with the right to serve you thus except your own belief? It is your mind which gave the body all the functions that you see in it, and set its value far beyond a little pile of dust and water. Who would make defense of something that he recognized as this?
It’s our own selves that identified with the body. And we assign to it tasks it’s incapable of doing, such as to never age, or to give us happiness. When it gets sick and frail, or fails to satisfy our cravings, we get upset. But this would never have happened if we kept the body in its rightful place, which will be explained later in this text.
The body is in need of no defense. This cannot be too often emphasized. It will be strong and healthy if the mind does not abuse it by assigning it to roles it cannot fill, to purposes beyond its scope, and to exalted aims which it cannot accomplish. Such attempts, ridiculous yet deeply cherished, are the sources for the many mad attacks you make upon it. For it seems to fail your hopes, your needs, your values and your dreams.
We make the body sick ourselves, by trying to accomplish through it what it can’t. Like Eckhart Tolle explains, the body gets sick because the mind is sick. Of course, even if the mind is harmonious, with time the body will get weak and it can get sick because it’s mortal. But it would be much healthier if the mind is healthy.
The “self” that needs protection is not real. The body, valueless and hardly worth the least defense, need merely be perceived as quite apart from you, and it becomes a healthy, serviceable instrument through which the mind can operate until its usefulness is over. Who would want to keep it when its usefulness is done?
Since our true selves are non-physical, unlimited, and immortal, we don’t need any protection. But when we mistakenly identify with the body, we perceive ourselves in need of protection as the body is limited, susceptible to injuries and death.
Were we not to have this attachment, we would never have impossible hopes of the body never aging or living forever. But when we are convinced that the body is us, of course we will do all we can to keep it protected and living as long as possible.
Defend the body and you have attacked your mind. For you have seen in it the faults, the weaknesses, the limits and the lacks from which you think the body must be saved. You will not see the mind as separate from bodily conditions. And you will impose upon the body all the pain that comes from the conception of the mind as limited and fragile, and apart from other minds and separate from its Source.
Our perception of the mind as weak is reflected in our need to defend the body. We project on the body the weaknesses we see in our minds. But those weaknesses are not true – we simply think of the mind as separate and weak because of our belief that we are separate from God. (It seems that in this text the mind equals spirit, but I could be wrong.)
These are the thoughts in need of healing, and the body will respond with health when they have been corrected and replaced with truth. This is the body’s only real defense. Yet is this where you look for its defense? You offer it protection of a kind from which it gains no benefit at all, but merely adds to your distress of mind. You do not heal, but merely take away the hope of healing, for you fail to see where hope must lie if it be meaningful.
When we drop separative consciousness and perceive ourselves as connected with the whole, the body will naturally heal.
A healed mind does not plan. It carries out the plans that it receives through listening to wisdom that is not its own. It waits until it has been taught what should be done, and then proceeds to do it.
It does not depend upon itself for anything except its adequacy to fulfill the plans assigned to it. It is secure in certainty that obstacles can not impede its progress to accomplishment of any goal that serves the greater plan established for the good of everyone.
This message was so timely for me. I was getting stressed because of planning the extension of my hut and general work I will need to do on my land once I’m there. I could clearly sense that planning made me unhappy. And then I got this confirmation.
This was such a relief. I do not need to plan anything at all. I just need to be in tune with the Universe, to hear the messages of what to do next, and then to act on them. This removes so much responsibility. God is in charge, the Universe already has a plan for us. All we need to do is listen.
A healed mind is relieved of the belief that it must plan, although it cannot know the outcome which is best, the means by which it is achieved, nor how to recognize the problem that the plan is made to solve. It must misuse the body in its plans until it recognizes this is so. But when it has accepted this as true, then is it healed, and lets the body go.
The uncertainty of what will happen next makes us create plans. But the text says to simply listen to the messages of God, and then to act on them. This will take much burden off the body and it will naturally heal. Isn’t it one of the most empowering spiritual messages you’ve ever heard? This makes me so happy.
Enslavement of the body to the plans the unhealed mind sets up to save itself must make the body sick. It is not free to be the means of helping in a plan which far exceeds its own protection, and which needs its service for a little while. In this capacity is health assured. For everything the mind employs for this will function flawlessly, and with the strength that has been given it and cannot fail.
Here it says that when we use the body for our own egoic purposes, it cannot be fully used to do the will of God. Then its health starts failing. But if it’s used for the divine purpose, not only it functions really well, but it’s given extra strength.
It is, perhaps, not easy to perceive that self-initiated plans are but defenses, with the purpose all of them were made to realize. They are the means by which a frightened mind would undertake its own protection, at the cost of truth. This is not difficult to realize in some forms which these self-deceptions take, where the denial of reality is very obvious. Yet planning is not often recognized as a defense.
If we perceive ourselves as separate from others and alone, out of defense we will plan our future. But when we know that we are connected with everyone, and that God guides us, we can surrender to knowing that we will be taken care of. This assures bodily and mental harmony.
The mind engaged in planning for itself is occupied in setting up control of future happenings. It does not think that it will be provided for, unless it makes its own provisions. Time becomes a future emphasis, to be controlled by learning and experience obtained from past events and previous beliefs. It overlooks the present, for it rests on the idea the past has taught enough to let the mind direct its future course.
It’s so easy to attempt to control the future. This need stems from separative consciousness, the deep belief that we are alone in this life, and so we must plan to take care of ourselves. Most people fully rely on their limited minds with their limited experiences and beliefs inherited from parents. Many have the false belief that they really know what’s best for them, and what action to take next.
The mind that plans is thus refusing to allow for change. What it has learned before becomes the basis for its future goals. Its past experience directs its choice of what will happen.
And it does not see that here and now is everything it needs to guarantee a future quite unlike the past, without a continuity of any old ideas and sick beliefs. Anticipation plays no part at all, for present confidence directs the way.
This is such an important passage. It says that the reason people suffer from monotony and boredom is because they rely on their limited minds. Were they truly in the present moment, and acting spontaneously, this would assure fresh experiences and truly meaningful existence.
Defenses are the plans you undertake to make against the truth. Their aim is to select what you approve, and disregard what you consider incompatible with your beliefs of your reality. Yet what remains is meaningless indeed. For it is your reality that is the “threat” which your defenses would attack, obscure, and take apart and crucify.
We think that being led by our likes and dislikes assures a better future, but the text says that this prevents us from experiencing real life.
What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good? Perhaps you have misunderstood His plan, for He would never offer pain to you. But your defenses did not let you see His loving blessing shine in every step you ever took. While you made plans for death, He led you gently to eternal life.
This ties in with the article I’ve recently written about my belief that the future has already been written, that there is no real free will. This text confirms this, and what’s more, it says that the future that is planned for us is beautiful.
This is something I wasn’t sure of. I was ready to accept any kind of future that’s written for me because I know this reality is not real, it’s just a school for my soul. Yet here it says that the Creator could never wish us anything ill, and so each person has a beautiful future planned for him or her.
We create our own problems and pains by directing lives ourselves. Yet when we use our minds to direct the body to act on the plans given by our Creator, the life proceeds in a harmonioius way, with fresh experiences and days filled with purpose.
Your present trust in Him is the defense that promises a future undisturbed, without a trace of sorrow, and with joy that constantly increases, as this life becomes a holy instant, set in time, but heeding only immortality. Let no defenses but your present trust direct the future, and this life becomes a meaningful encounter with the truth that only your defenses would conceal.
This is so powerful. If we, instead of thinking of ways to protect ourselves, place trust in the Universe alone, this will assure our greatest protection. This reminds me of the life of a woman who called herself Peace Pilgrim.
She left her secure life when she started aging, and wandered the USA for 28 years with the message of peace. You can watch her lecture here.
She had a life full of the most interesting experiences, and she never felt unsafe. She even slept in a car of a man who had the intention to abuse her. Yet her total trust in her safety completely disarmed him, and he couldn’t touch her.
Without defenses, you become a light which Heaven gratefully acknowledges to be its own. And it will lead you on in ways appointed for your happiness according to the ancient plan, begun when time was born.
Your followers will join their light with yours, and it will be increased until the world is lighted up with joy. And gladly will our brothers lay aside their cumbersome defenses, which availed them nothing and could only terrify.
It’s our nature to be trusting of God, but it’s covered up by the fearful ego. When we remove our defenses, we get in tune with the whole Universe and we will always be provided for. Also, we will set an excellent example for others to follow, thus increasing freedom and joy in the world.
The lesson continues with tasks to do, but here I’ve quoted the main text. I hope you’ve found it inspiring and assuring. I wish you to live a life free of bondage and full of meaning and happiness.