You who feel threatened by this changing world, its twists of fortune & its bitter jests…attend this lesson well. The world provides no safety. It is rooted in attack, and gives rise to defensiveness. For threat brings anger, anger makes attack seem reasonable, honestly provoked & righteous in the name of self-defense. Yet is defensiveness a double threat for it sets up a system of defense that cannot work. The mind is now confused, and knows not where to turn to find escape from its imaginings. It’s as if a circle held it, wherein another circle bound it and another one in that, until escape no longer can be hoped for nor obtained. Attack & defense become the circles that bind the mind in heavy bands of steel…there seems to be no break nor ending in the tightening grip of the imprisonment upon the mind. Defenses are the costliest of all the prices, which the ego would exact. The world encourages a deep sense of threat. Defenselessness is strength as it testifies to recognition of the Christ in you; defensiveness is weakness as it proclaims you have denied the Christ & fear His Father’s anger. Look past dreams today, and recognize that we need no defense because we are created unassailable. In defenselessness we stand secure, serenely certain of our safety & salvation. It is the function of God’s ministers to help their brothers choose as they have done. Learn that light has come to you, and your escape has been accomplished. For you will not see the light until you offer it to your brothers. God’s ministers have come to waken him from the dark dreams this story has evoked in his confused, bewildered memory of this distorted tale. God’s Son can smile at last, on learning that it is not true. In time, with practice, you will never cease to think of Him, and hear His loving Voice guiding your footsteps into quiet ways where you walk in true defenselessness. Heaven goes with you. Remember His strength abides in you. Call upon His strength each time you feel the threat of defenses undermining your purpose. The ministers of God can never fail, because the love, strength, & peace that shines from them to all their brothers come from Him. These are His gifts to you. Defenselessness is all you need to give Him in return. You lay aside but what was never real, to look on Christ & see His sinlessness. – WB 154
Ken Wapnick, PhD
The ego’s purpose for its two-tiered defense (the secret dream of sin & punishment, and the world’s dream in which our sins are seen in others) is to ensure that the Son of God never changes his mind in deciding he made a mistake in choosing the Holy Spirit by rendering him mindless. The ego tells the Son he has singed against God & deserves to be punished. The only way to escape his fate is to make a world & body with problems with which he must deal. The Son becomes preoccupied he does not deal with the terrifying “reality.” Thus the ego makes up a problem in the mind, the wrath of God, and then the world as a maladaptive defense against the nonexistent problem. The ego causes the Son of God to take his perceived sin against God, the attack thought he has rendered unconscious, and project it so he now perceives sin around him, but not within. Thus the Son believes he has to defend himself against everyone else’s sinful attacks.
Jerry Jampolsky, MD
When we perceive another as attacking us we usually feel defensive and find a way to attack back, directly or indirectly. Attacking always stems from fear and guilt. No one attacks unless he first feels threatened and through attack he can demonstrate his own strength, at the expense of another’s vulnerability. Attack is really a defense and preserves the problem. Instead of seeing others as attacking us, we can see them as fearful. Fear is really a call for help. Are we teaching Love or are we demonstrating attack?
Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
Our power comes from saying, “I will step back & let Him lead the way.” The Christ within us can handle any assault because it is not affected by lovelessness. Only our belief that we are affected by fear can make it affect us. Defense is a way of agreeing with the attacker in the power of his attack, and so making it real in our experience. It takes courage & strength to hold on to our center during great times of hurt. It takes wisdom to understand that our reactiveness only fans the flames of false drama. Love creates a mystical shield around us, protecting us from chaos. When we are in the midst of loss, betrayal or crisis of any kind: “Be still and know I am.” Truth can never be destroyed. Ther is no loss except in time, and the Course says that time does not exist.
Circle of Atonement
We feel our bodies can be defended through external attack which gives us safety, strength, freedom & self-preservation. Withdraw defense by forgiving the external world with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. See attack as a call for love, and respond with love. Show your brothers your invulnerability. Teach only love.