In this post I talked about how the real you is invulnerable. People can mock you, they can make fun of you, they can judge you, but none of that ever even reaches the true you. And knowing that makes your life a whole lot easier. Because let’s face it, we’re all faced with criticism and judgment from time to time. And it could throw us into the deepest downward spiral. But when we know that all people
ever can attack is your physical self while the real you remains unharmed, untouched and shining brightly, it’s way easier to get over these experiences, move on with our lives and be happy again.
But the next question is, how do we respond to attacks like that? What are we supposed to do when we are judged, mocked, ridiculed, and so forth? Knowing that the true you is invulnerable is a lesson I learned from A Course in Miracles. And another insight from the Course that goes hand in hand with this one is the topic of defenselessness. See, no one is asking you to be a doormat. A Course in Miracles merely points out that since the real you is invulnerable, you need no defense.
We need no defense because we are created unassailable.
-A Course in Miracles
You are divinely protected. If any injustice happened in your life, the universe is already on it, and it will restore justice. But that’s not your job. It’s not your job to punish others for their mistakes. Your job, as I explained here, is to “turn the other cheek”, i.e. forgive, let go, move on, be gracious. Furthermore, A Course in Miracles explains that when you do respond to attacks with defensiveness, you’re only creating more drama, because now you have acted unlovingly and will therefore experience unloving effects. Loving thought and action leads to loving/positive results. Fearful thought and action leads to fearful/negative results. That’s why the Course is BIG on this next principle:
In my defenselessness my safety lies.
A Course in Miracles
Defensiveness makes everything worse because it gives meaning to the attack. By responding with defensiveness you make the attack seem real to you, and you’re just stirring the fire of your own AND the other person’s ego. When responding with defenselessness though, it’s like the attack doesn’t even reach you, the bullet drops to the ground before you, and you are safe. Let’s look at a simple example. Let’s say someone tells you you’re stupid. You could react with defensiveness and get a whole thing going, OR you could respond by saying something like, “Yeah, maybe I am.” or “Hey, you might be right.” Boom, offense deflected. Because what does the other person have on you now? Nothing. Conversation over, and no one got hurt. Oh, excuse me, someone got hurt – your ego.
But you see, you are NOT your ego. The ego is just the voice of fear and insanity in your mind. It gives the WORST advice. That’s why a bruised ego is actually a good thing. Honestly you guys, turn the other cheek. Then you can brush yourself off, and move on with your life. Defenselessness is the quickest way to end conflict.
As we said, the real you is invulnerable. All people can attack is your physical self – which is nothing – while the real you remains untouched, radiant, and safe.
And truth stands radiant, apart from conflict, untouched and quiet in the peace of God.
In defenselessness we stand secure, serenely certain of our safety now.
–A Course in Miracles
When we’re talking about defenselessness we’re also talking about impulse control, a VERY important trait in my opinion. The question to ask when we feel hurt or offended by something another person said is, “Should I say something or not?” There are a few different scenarios.
As spiritual students we learn that sometimes when another person says something to us or about us that hurts our feelings, it really had nothing to do with us. The other person was merely projecting their fears and insecurities onto us. In other instances we realize that the only reason we felt offended by what the other person said was because of our own fears and insecurities and there was no bad intention of the other person at all. In both these scenarios we probably don’t have to say anything at all. And it helps to remember that line from A Course in Miracles, would you rather be right or happy? Sometimes in order to be happy, we just have to practice defenselessness and impulse control and NOT respond at all.
The ego does constant battle with the Holy Spirit on the fundamental question of what your function is. So does it do constant battle with the Holy Spirit about what your happiness is. It is not a two-way battle. The ego attacks and the Holy Spirit does NOT respond. He knows what your function is. He knows that it is your happiness.
–A Course in Miracles
But even in instances when through my prayers and my meditation I clearly get that I have to say something, I probably still don’t have to say it right now. A Course in Miracles says, the ego speaks first and loudest. So that reactive urge within yourself that wants to say something right now is probably your ego, and by giving in to that urge you are putting the ego in the driver’s seat, and the ego only ever leads you to chaos and drama.
This is where it gets difficult. And this is where impulse control is so important. Believe me, there have been enough situations in my life when I really wanted to say something RIGHT NOW, but these days I usually have enough impulse control to just wait. I pray about it, and then I try to drop it for a few days. Because in my experience, most issues will dissolve by themselves without my interfering. An embryo becomes a baby and I don’t have to do anything to make it happen. The cut on my arm heals and I don’t have to do anything to make it happen. All I have to do is lean back and let nature do its thing. In fact, my interference is almost guaranteed to disrupt the process.
This same pattern of natural intelligence is active in every situation we find ourselves in. It’s really miraculous how this works. I won’t know what to do or what to say in a certain situation, but if I just wait a few days, the issue will either have already dissolved on its own, or I know exactly what to say, how to say it, and when. The same force that turns an embryo into a baby, and the same force that heals my cut, also applies to every other area of my life. It doesn’t only heal my physical wounds without my interference, it also heals my emotional wounds without my interference, and it also heals all my issues and all my struggles in life if I allow it to, and if I don’t disrupt the process by interfering.
So if you don’t yet know how to talk about a certain issue in a kind and gentle way, then that’s probably a sign that you’re not meant to talk about it (yet). Pray about it and ask for guidance. Either the issue will dissolve, or God will tell you exactly what to say, how to say it, and when to say it.
Impulse control is one of the greatest disciplines we can develop. We can avoid so much unnecessary drama in life if we just take a deep breath, and keep our mouths shut until we get the guidance to express ourselves in a kind and mature way.
We rise up strong in Christ, and let our weakness disappear, as we remember that His strength abides in us. We will remind ourselves that He remains beside us through the day, and never leaves our weakness unsupported by His strength. We call upon His strength each time we feel the threat of our defenses undermine our certainty of purpose. We will pause a moment, as He tells us, “I am here.”
–A Course in Miracles
A Course in Miracles says, everything that is not an expression of love, is a call for love. So when someone acts loveless, remember that the reason they do, is because they’re wounded. We all have wounds. We have them from certain childhood experiences, from past relationships, and what not. Whenever any of us act out in a way that is not loving, it’s because we’re wounded in that place. And the way we can support another person in healing those wounds is by giving them love. Everything that is not love, is a call for love. So giving the other person our love, is like putting a bandaid on their wound.
For you will not see the light, until you offer it to all your brothers. As they take it from your hands, so will you recognize it as your own.
–A Course in Miracles
When you look back on your life you probably have more than enough proof that this is true. Your defenses never did anything but hurt you and everyone involved. They never made you feel strong and they never made you happy. There is so much conflict in the world, but we can do our part in making this world a more peaceful place by being peaceful ourselves. Because “the world” is us, and we are the world. I often heard Deepak Chopra quote that Patanjali line, “When we are firmly established in non-violence, all beings around us cease to feel hostility.” The smallest pebble can create a ripple effect that stretches over the entire sea. And so can you too create a ripple effect of peace by being more peaceful yourself. And you will feel happier and stronger than ever.
If I defend myself I am attacked. But in defenselessness I will be strong.
–A Course in Miracles
Now I would love to hear from you.
What’s your best advice to stay calm in the midst of bewilderment?
And where do you struggle to practice impulse control and defenselessness?
Please share in the comments below.
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