Course in Miracles
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
- its penalties and
- 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
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
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
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
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.
1A 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 cannot
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
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
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 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
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.
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
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.
1. For 15 minutes
twice today, we rest from senseless planning and from every thought
which blocks the truth from entering our minds.
2. 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?
3. 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.
4. 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.