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What Would You Do If You Knew You Couldn't Fail?

Lesson 136: The Defense Against the Truth

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From last year’s writing which looks at how sickness is a defense against truth (trying to use the body to solve problems). A long post, but a good one!

Aim of Defense

Aim of Defense

I love when pieces fit.  There I was at church this morning, holding high watch, and through the fog of my meditative state, I gleaned that the sermon, today’s A Course in Miracles’ lesson, Sickness is a defense against the truth, and latest book I am reading The Way of Mastery ~ Part One: The Way of the Heart all intertwine nicely.  Today’s inspirational reading came from the Course:

5All aspects of fear are untrue because they do not exist at the creative level, and therefore do not exist at all. To whatever extent you are willing to submit your beliefs to this test, to that extent are your perceptions corrected. In sorting out the false from the true, the miracle proceeds along these lines:

Perfect love casts out fear.
If fear exists,
Then there is not perfect love.

6 But:

Only perfect love exists.
If there is fear,
It produces a state that does not exist.

Believe this and you will be free. Only God can establish this solution, and this faith is His gift.

It’s a little weird because it’s hard for those of us in the physical to dismiss sickness as unreality.  In church, the book this quarter is Joel Goldsmith’s The Art of Spiritual Healing which is about realizing that if we see sickness, it is ourselves we must heal.  Goldsmith says, “Your enemy is never a person; your enemy is always an appearance— every appearance of sin, disease, discord, lack, and limitation. There is only one way to pray, and that is to ask yourself, “Do I believe my eyes or do I believe the mystics of the world, those people who have had an intuitive contact with God and who have had the revelation that evil does not exist as a reality and that there is no law of sin or disease?”

As Practitioners, we are taught to “turn away from conditions.” What came to me clearly during this morning’s high watch was that when someone comes to me with a “problem” and asks me to heal it, quite often, the first thing they do is try to get me to buy into their fear.  The fear is what caused the problem.  If I believe in it, then they have garnered sympathy.  If they truly don’t want it, then what they are seeking is someone to correct their thinking.  Frequently, the whole reason for seeking outside help is that the person has no earthly concept as to how to fix the problem themselves.  The “problem,” whether it is illness, or poverty, or lack of harmony in a relationship is always a defense.  It is a means for trying to make the separation real, and sometimes, in the process, make the responsibility for its existence someone else’s fault.

Yeah, our philosophy isn’t for sissies.  They don’t let you get away with that shit.  If you can’t put on your big girl panties and own your part, you probably won’t stick around.

This lesson says, “Sickness is not an accident. Like all defenses, it is an insane device for self-deception. And like all the rest, its purpose is to hide reality, attack it, change it, render it inept, distort it, twist it, or reduce it to a little pile of unassembled parts. The aim of all defenses is to keep the truth from being whole. The parts are seen as if each one were whole within itself.”

I thought about my husband (who has a “sugar-project;” he’s diabetic); my niece who has Lupus; my sister who has Thyroid Eye Disease, the friend who died of cancer – on and on.  I have my own little aches and pains and all I can think of lately is the unreality of it all and I find myself torn between the reality of the manifestation and the realization that sickness is created as a defense.  Our egos create them as a means of shielding us from truth.  “When this is seen, healing is automatic.” 

This lesson says, “Sickness is a decision. It is not a thing that happens to you, quite unsought, which makes you weak and brings you suffering. It is a choice you make, a plan you lay, when for an instant truth arises in your own deluded mind, and all your world appears to totter and prepare to fall. Now are you sick, that truth may go away and threaten your establishments no more.”

I found myself wondering about healing and this is where I found myself grateful for The Way of Mastery, which says, “For your way begins with the illusory and insane assumption that you are a separate being from the Mind of God and must, therefore, direct your own course.  For if you are sick and diseased and not at peace, why would you decide that you know how to create peace? It requires great humility to accept the first step of the path: I have done all this; I must undo it.  But I have no idea how I did this.  Therefore, I must surrender to something else.”

I’m actually really enjoying that book (I was guided to it by my Tuesday night ACIM group).  It’s like a more user-friendly version of the Course.

Today’s lesson:

Lesson 136

Sickness is a defense against the truth.

No one can heal unless he understands what purpose sickness seems to serve. For then he understands as well its purpose has no meaning. Being causeless and without a meaningful intent of any kind, it cannot be at all. When this is seen, healing is automatic. It dispels this meaningless illusion by the same approach that carries all of them to truth, and merely leaves them there to disappear.

Sickness is not an accident. Like all defenses, it is an insane device for self-deception. And like all the rest, its purpose is to hide reality, attack it, change it, render it inept, distort it, twist it, or reduce it to a little pile of unassembled parts. The aim of all defenses is to keep the truth from being whole. The parts are seen as if each one were whole within itself.

Defenses are not unintentional, nor are they made without awareness. They are secret, magic wands you wave when truth appears to threaten what you would believe. They seem to be unconscious but because of the rapidity with which you choose to use them. In that second, even less, in which the choice is made, you recognize exactly what you would attempt to do, and then proceed to think that it is done.

Who but yourself evaluates a threat, decides escape is necessary, and sets up a series of defenses to reduce the threat that has been judged as real? All this cannot be done unconsciously. But afterwards, your plan requires that you must forget you made it, so it seems to be external to your own intent; a happening beyond your state of mind, an outcome with a real effect on you, instead of one effected by yourself.

It is this quick forgetting of the part you play in making your “reality” that makes defenses seem to be beyond your own control. But what you have forgot can be remembered, given willingness to reconsider the decision which is doubly shielded by oblivion. Your not remembering is but the sign that this decision still remains in force, as far as your desires are concerned. Mistake not this for fact. Defenses must make facts unrecognizable. They aim at doing this, and it is this they do.

Every defense takes fragments of the whole, assembles them without regard to all their true relationships, and thus constructs illusions of a whole that is not there. It is this process that imposes threat, and not whatever outcome may result. When parts are wrested from the whole and seen as separate and wholes within themselves, they become symbols standing for attack upon the whole; successful in effect, and never to be seen as whole again. And yet you have forgotten that they stand but for your own decision of what should be real, to take the place of what is real.

Sickness is a decision. It is not a thing that happens to you, quite unsought, which makes you weak and brings you suffering. It is a choice you make, a plan you lay, when for an instant truth arises in your own deluded mind, and all your world appears to totter and prepare to fall. Now are you sick, that truth may go away and threaten your establishments no more.

How do you think that sickness can succeed in shielding you from truth? Because it proves the body is not separate from you, and so you must be separate from the truth. You suffer pain because the body does, and in this pain are you made one with it. Thus is your “true” identity preserved, and the strange, haunting thought that you might be something beyond this little pile of dust silenced and stilled. For see, this dust can make you suffer, twist your limbs and stop your heart, commanding you to die and cease to be.

Thus is the body stronger than the truth, which asks you live, but cannot overcome your choice to die. And so the body is more powerful than everlasting life, Heaven more frail than hell, and God’s design for the salvation of His Son opposed by a decision stronger than His Will. His Son is dust, the Father incomplete, and chaos sits in triumph on His throne.

Such is your planning for your own defense. And you believe that Heaven quails before such mad attacks as these, with God made blind by your illusions, truth turned into lies, and all the universe made slave to laws which your defenses would impose on it. Yet who believes illusions but the one who made them up? Who else can see them and react to them as if they were the truth?

God knows not of your plans to change His Will. The universe remains unheeding of the laws by which you thought to govern it. And Heaven has not bowed to hell, nor life to death. You can but choose to think you die, or suffer sickness or distort the truth in any way. What is created is apart from all of this. Defenses are plans to defeat what cannot be attacked. What is unalterable cannot change. And what is wholly sinless cannot sin.

Such is the simple truth.  It does not make appeal to might nor triumph.  It does not command obedience, nor seek to prove how pitiful and futile your attempts to plan defenses that would alter it. Truth merely wants to give you happiness, for such its purpose is.  Perhaps it sighs a little when you throw away its gifts, and yet it knows, with perfect certainty, that what God wills for you must be received.

It is this fact that demonstrates that time is an illusion. For time lets you think what God has given you is not the truth right now, as it must be. The Thoughts of God are quite apart from time. For time is but another meaningless defense you made against the truth. Yet what He wills is here, and you remain as He created you.

Truth has a power far beyond defense, for no illusions can remain where truth has been allowed to enter. And it comes to any mind that would lay down its arms, and cease to play with folly. It is found at any time; today, if you will choose to practice giving welcome to the truth.

This is our aim today. And we will give a quarter of an hour twice to ask the truth to come to us and set us free. And truth will come, for it has never been apart from us. It merely waits for just this invitation which we give today. We introduce it with a healing prayer, to help us rise above defensiveness, and let truth be as it has always been:

Sickness is a defense against the truth. 
I will accept the truth of what I am,
and let my mind be wholly healed today.

Healing will flash across your open mind, as peace and truth arise to take the place of war and vain imaginings. There will be no dark corners sickness can conceal, and keep defended from the light of truth. There will be no dim figures from your dreams, nor their obscure and meaningless pursuits with double purposes insanely sought, remaining in your mind. It will be healed of all the sickly wishes that it tried to authorize the body to obey.

Now is the body healed, because the source of sickness has been opened to relief. And you will recognize you practiced well by this: The body should not feel at all. If you have been successful, there will be no sense of feeling ill or feeling well, of pain or pleasure. No response at all is in the mind to what the body does. Its usefulness remains and nothing more.

Perhaps you do not realize that this removes the limits you had placed upon the body by the purposes you gave to it. As these are laid aside, the strength the body has will always be enough to serve all truly useful purposes. The body’s health is fully guaranteed, because it is not limited by time, by weather or fatigue, by food and drink, or any laws you made it serve before. You need do nothing now to make it well, for sickness has become impossible.

Yet this protection needs to be preserved by careful watching. If you let your mind harbor attack thoughts, yield to judgment or make plans against uncertainties to come, you have again misplaced yourself, and made a bodily identity which will attack the body, for the mind is sick.

Give instant remedy, should this occur, by not allowing your defensiveness to hurt you longer. Do not be confused about what must be healed, but tell yourself:

I have forgotten what I really am, for I mistook my body for myself. 
Sickness is a defense against the truth. But I am not a body.
And my mind cannot attack. So I can not be sick.

© Foundation for Inner Peace • PO Box 598 • Mill Valley, CA  94942-0598

The bottom line here is that it is only through the realization that defense is the ego’s way of perpetuating its version of reality (which is rooted in fear) that keeps Heaven at bay.  I am learning this.  I am learning not to fight God.  I love that the Course makes it clear that God doesn’t take my rejection personally. “Truth merely wants to give you happiness, for such its purpose is.  Perhaps it sighs a little when you throw away its gifts, and yet it knows, with perfect certainty, that what God wills for you must be received.”

“Perhaps it sighs a little when you throw away its gifts.” I love that.  I know I still have a lot to learn, but there is something comforting about knowing that even the Sickness. Is. Not. Real.

And while it may seem heartless on some level, I’m starting to understand that buying into other people’s illnesses is not doing them any favors.  Goldsmith says, “You cannot pass by or ignore people who are sick, sinful, or dying; you cannot evade your responsibility to lift them up in your consciousness through the realization of the infinite nature of God appearing as individual being. If there is any degree of receptivity, they will feel it.”

I can’t control whether or not someone is receptive to letting go of the error that caused the illness.  That is their path and it is theirs to follow.  Goldsmith says, “Therefore, the person who believes in and practices spiritual healing must be extremely careful that he accords to all others the same freedom which be desires for himself. ‘All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them;’ and if anyone wants to use medicine, surgery, or any other form of material aid, he has a right to it, and he should be set free to find his good in his own way.”

But I can still lift others up; I can see the truth of who they really are.  And when I am having trouble doing this, I can ask for help.

God is, after all, right there with me.  I can’t be separate.  The game is rigged.

Namaste, my friends, Namaste.

Change His Will

Change His Will

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