Notes on Self-Defense

These notes were culled from today’s newsletter on the Peace of Christ.

I want to notice the inclination to defend myself. I want to give attention to the experience of self-defense. Where does it arise in the body? What mental fantasies does it evoke? What family memories arise? Where in the culture is it most easily justified? Where is it most effectively challenged?

I want to see and feel and hold the whole skein of the urge to defend myself against the attack of another.

Sometimes when I do this I realize how silly attack and defense are. There are so many moving parts – not only in me but in literally everyone in the world, really literally the whole cosmos – that it is impossible to say with certainty what is happening, let alone what the best course of action is in a given situation (e.g., T-14.XI.6:7-9).

Oddly, this insight – that there is no justification for action – doesn’t mean that there’s no decision to be made, no choice to be exercised. It just shifts the choice to a simpler, more abstract level.

I.e., since I can’t interpret this situation on behalf of love and peace, am I willing to let the Holy Spirit interpret it for me?

The Holy Spirit always chooses in favor of happiness. In the context of separation, we experience this as calm and quiet, as contentedness and communion. We can breathe; our nervous system slows down; we aren’t in a terminal state of high alert. In this state, we naturally cooperate with one another, coordinating our thinking in order to consistently and sustainably act from love and not from fear.

Therefore ask: what behaviors make you happy? Make you calm? Facilitate dialogue?

For me, helping others helps. If I can’t help them, then at least not hurting them. Connecting with others in non-dramatic ways – saying hi, asking how the weekend was, checking in. Playing well and sharing, also known as sandboxing. Taking care of myself, taking care of others whose care is entrusted to me. Keeping it simple.

Being at least willing unto all of the above . . .

We have to be careful. Ego will cheerfully translate “happy” into a state in which we get revenge on everyone who ever did us wrong, current company not excluded. Ego is very skillful with language.

The truest happiness to which I can attest means realizing we are no longer in conflict because we have let the cause for conflict go. We are surrendering control of what happens to the Teacher of God, the interior voice that speaks always for our Father in Heaven, Who our brother Jesus heard and obeyed, becoming the Christ, and is thus our model for living peacefully and happily in the world.

Jesus lived exactly the way you live when you know – not believe but know – that your Father in Heaven holds every thing and every one in love and there is nothing – not even crucifixion – to fear.

Our only work is to consent to be held by love – in love and for love – and this is not a doing, nor even an undoing, but an acceptance. It is a state of stillness and quiet so tender that in its presence even the hardest and cruelest of hearts must melt.

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  1. Thank you Sean as always. I cried when I read this post and the newsletter post “The Gift of Jesus is Peace.” Your words are so beautiful and the message so clear. It was like everything I’ve been feeling for the past month or so. I cried in frustration because I wish everyone on earth could hear and practice these teachings. To see all the rage fall away to peace. If only! Then I took a breath and remembered “let the cause for conflict go…” Conflicts AND conflicted thoughts ABOUT conflicts! All of it – everything. “The state of stillness so quiet and so tender…” I cried a bit more with tears of joy. “It’s all too beautiful.”
    Thank you again.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Andra. I appreciate you reading and sharing. And yes – ALL of conflict, including conflicting thoughts – thank you for saying it that way! That’s it!!

      Thanks again 🙏🙏


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