If I defend myself I am attacked.
Perhaps nowhere does A Course in Miracles make so clear the power of mind to choose peace over conflict, happiness over sorrow and healing over sickness than it does in this lesson. Any one lesson can awaken us from the dream of separation; this is the clarity of A Course in Miracles for those for whom it is the way.
I receive this lesson as a gift, not a burden. It is a joy, not an obligation. And it is very very hard to understand and practice.
It seems reasonable that when we are attacked we should defend ourself. Yet Lesson 135 upends this logic, reversing the world’s idea of cause and effect: it is only when we defend ourselves that we are attack. Defense precedes attack. How can this be?
Ideas of attack and defense arise in a mind that has chosen to identify itself with a body that is vulnerable in a world that is vicious, cruel and unpredictable. This is an error; we are not bodies (W-pI.199.8:7-8). Therefore, every defense we make reinforce the original mistaken belief, effectively attacking the mind that has forgotten what it is in truth.
Defend the body and you have attacked your mind. For you have seen in it the faults, 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 (W-pI.135.9:1-4).
The body is an instrument (W-pI.135.8:2) the mind uses to communicate with other minds (T-6.V.A.5:5), all in service of God’s Plan for Salvation, which is simply remembrance of the peace and justice inherent in oneness (W-pI.135.18:1). In and of itself it is neutral; only the mind establishes its value and its function.
Thus, the question becomes: to whom does the mind turn for guidance?
The suggestion is that when we allow our minds to be still and we stop insisting on their assocation with bodies, that we will remember their abstract nature, and see clearly the futility of minds *being embodied. Communicating through bodies, for a time? Yes. But actually being bodies, subject to the entropy and eventual death of bodies? No.
Lesson 135 challenges us to bring these ideas into application by looking at our habit of planning. “A healed mind does not plan” (W-pI.135.11:1), but you and I plan a *lot. Can we look at this? Can we consider another way?
Plans are always a form of defense, and thus an attack on our integrity as creations of God, who is Love. They represent the ego’s insistence that we are vulnerable and in charge of our own protection. We must build walls, store provisions, forge alliances, declare enemies and forever be on the lookout.
The course suggests that when we plan, we are essentially admitting that we are weak, alone and unsafe. To admit this is to deny God as our creator and to assert that God’s creation can be dangerous and chaotic.
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 the body all the functions that you see in it, and set its value far beyond a little pile of dust and water (W-pI.135.6:2-4).
As always, we are doing this to ourself (T-27.VIII.10:1).
If we can see the connection between the mind’s decision to identify as a body and our fearfulness, then we can ask for help in choosing a new identity. This is really another way of saying, we are asking for help in discerning between what is true and what is false.
Defenses are the plans you undertake to make against the truth. Their aim is to select what you approve, and disregard what you consider imcompatible with your beliefs of your reality. Yet what remains is meaningless indeed (W-pI.135.17:1-3).
It is meaningless because reality exists apart from our judgment of it. Our ideas about reality are not reality. Our interpretation of those ideas are not reality either. Therefore, our plans – which are defenses against an unknown future, using the past as a guide – can only hurt us by obscuring, dissembling and crucifying our reality which is incapable of threat (W-pI.135.17:4).
Thus, the invitation is to rest without plans and allow the Plan of God – which is Truth, Reality and Love – to be revealed to us. Indeed, the revelation is of more than just a divine plan – it is our identity as Christ, which is God’s Creation, creating like its Creator.
Without defenses, you become a light which Heaven gratefully acknowledges to be its own. And it will lead you on in ways appointed for yur happiness according to the ancient plan, begun when time was born (W-pI.135.20:1-2).
Let us let go – for five minutes, an hour, a day, a life even – of our plans for our happiness, benefit and abundance. Let us empty ourselves of all our goals and agendas and come empty-handed unto our God who has not forgotten us (W-pI.135.25:1). Let us remember God together today, joining our little lights, so that we might make plain our identity in love.
… ah, as a planner I can appreciate this lesson. I both want to shy away from it and delve into it with gusto. When I have a good outline of what should be done, then life seems to just run along smoothly, so planning seems like a prudent idea. When I plan too many details, I lock myself into too much routine and miss out on guidance because I have made too much definition in my plan — and then when it doesn’t go as I planned, I am confused and frustrated. Somewhere in the middle is the ability to plan for my basics (roof over my head, job, where to live) and then let myself be guided. Still, the questions abound on the line between taking care of myself and locking myself into a belief that “something may happen, so I had better plan.” Certainly this lesson will be brought to mind over and over again. Food prices are going up! I’d better stock up … but do I … or is that my fear. A friend had to live in a not-so-nice assisted living home — do I need long-term care insurance — or is that my fear I will not live out my years being cared for by my family. This lesson is good food for thought when I have these fears come up for sure!
Yeah . . . I want to plan my planlessness 🙂
There is a line in the urtext – I can’t find it right away – that says something to the effect of “planning ahead in the world makes sense but the divine plan is in better hands.” I think of it that way, sometimes. Just trying to be a good father, husband, brother, friend but letting the chips fall when and where they will. God knows better than I do 🙂
That link to fear is so important – seeing the way that plans are basically a defense against fear (which is always just confusion about what we are in truth). Sometimes that’s enough – just seeing the fear and realizing it’s okay to be gentle with myself, patient and kind.
And then sometimes I’m just nuts 🙂
Thanks for reading and sharing, Julia. Whatever else happens to us all, the company is good 🙏🙏