Lesson 135

“If I defend myself I am attacked.”

Who would defend himself unless he thought he was attacked, that
the attack is real, and that his own defense can 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. 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.

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?

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 is
needful to protect its little life? What but the body falters and must
fail to serve the Son of God as worthy host?

Yet it is not the body that can fear, nor be a thing to fear. It has
no need 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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

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.

A healed mind does not plan. It carries out the plans which 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 which
serves the greater plan established for the good of everyone.

A healed mind is relieved from 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.

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 a 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.

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, for the denial of reality is
very obvious. Yet planning is not often recognized as a defense.

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.

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.

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 which is the “threat” that
your defenses would attack, obscure, and take apart and crucify.

What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything
which 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.

Your present trust in Him is the defense which promises a
future undisturbed, without a trace of sorrow, and with joy which
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.

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.

We will anticipate that time today with present confidence, for
this is part of what was planned for us. We will be sure that
everything we need is given us for our accomplishment of this today.
We make no plans for how it will be done, but realize that our
defenselessness is all that is required for the truth to dawn upon our
minds with certainty.

For fifteen minutes twice today we rest from senseless planning,
and from every thought which blocks the truth from entering our
minds. Today we will receive instead of plan, that we may give instead
of organize. And we are given truly, as we say:

“If I defend myself I am attacked.
But in defenselessness I will be strong,
And I will learn what my defenses hide.”

Nothing but that. If there are plans to make, you will be told of
them. They may not be the plans you thought were needed, nor
indeed the answers to the problems which you thought confronted
you. But they are answers to another kind of question, which remains
unanswered yet in need of answering until the Answer comes to
you at last.

All your defenses have been aimed at not receiving what you will
receive today. And in the light and joy of simple truth, you will but
wonder why you ever thought that you must be defended from
release. Heaven asks nothing. It is hell that makes extravagant demands
for sacrifice. You give up nothing in these times today when
undefended you present yourself to your Creator as you really are.

He has remembered you. Today we will remember Him. For
this is Easter time in your salvation. And you rise again from what
was seeming death and hopelessness. Now is the light of hope reborn
in you, for now you come without defense to learn the part for you
within the plan of God. What little plans or magical beliefs can still
have value, when you have received your function from the Voice of
God Himself?

Try not to shape this day as you believe would benefit you most.
For you can not conceive of all the happiness that comes to you
without your planning. Learn today. And all the world will take this
giant stride, and celebrate your Easter time with you. Throughout the
day, as foolish little things appear to raise defensiveness in you and
tempt you to engage in weaving plans, remind yourself this is a
special day for learning, and acknowledge it with this:

“This is my Easter time. And I would keep
It holy. I will not defend myself,
Because the Son of God needs no defense
Against the truth of his Reality.”

Brittany Shawley added:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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