Nothing except your attack thoughts can attack you
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQzGVPanbH8&list=PPSV
Transcribed by Laura - deepest gratitude to Laura for her patience and love blessing for transcribing this talk from YouTube dated 27September2020.
Welcome everyone. This is a little recording with a small group of ACIM students. Thanks, Kevin V, for asking me to come on and have a little talk with everyone.
First of all let's just quieten in our minds. You can take a deep breath if you like. Just let your fingers and toes go soft. If you've got your fingers scrunched up in fists, you can just let them out. Just let the thoughts be still in your mind. When your thoughts have just stilled a little bit, it's a bit easier for the message of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to get through to us.
Today's recording is based on lesson 26, “My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.” And just reading it, you can really not hear anything because it can sound like “blah blah blah.” So I'm going to spend some time breaking this lesson down, because it's an important lesson. When I was studying the course, I didn't really understand what He (Jesus) meant by “attack thoughts,” or I didn't know where the attack was.
Remember we've only got two thought systems, and there's no Cate, Kevin, or Penelope. There's only the ego thoughts, and we, as part of that thought system, we label ourselves as “Kate,” “Penelope,” and “Kevin.” We give a label to a thing that we think we are. We somehow think we are this body. We look down and we see a thing that we wouldn't even know is our body, but the thoughts say, “this is a body,” so it's a self-concept that's being made. We have to believe that we are a body, and the thoughts that say, “this is my body.” We have projected this body, and so it seems to be.
Part of what we've done when falling asleep and going into a world of separation is think that pain is in our body. We might have a pain in our hand or in our back or in our foot, but it's never in the body, because the body is a lifeless thing. It has no life. It doesn't have a being-ness on its own. The pain is always from the guilt in the mind, and when the guilt is healed the body will not experience any pain or sickness.
That's why once you get this – even if you don't get it, you don't understand it, but you hear it, (and this teaching is right through the Course) – once it's identified that the cause of all your suffering is the thoughts and the grievances and the fears and the attack thoughts and once you know that's the real problem, then every time you feel pain in your body you can tell yourself, “I've got some grievances that are causing me to feel pain in my body,” or “I have fear in my mind.” Pain in the body is an indicator straight away that I have a grievance or a resentment or something, some block in my mind to the awareness of Love's presence.
This is such a key aspect to the Course's teachings because it means that you give up trying to seek out solutions in the world for things of the body. A lot of people like me spent years and years doing diet and vitamins and different things to heal the problems of the body. When I came to the Course and I finally understood the message, I just threw out the vitamins. I gave them away or just ate them up over time –it didn't matter. I let go of all the beliefs that somehow this particular food or drink was going to heal my body aches and pains and tiredness and fatigue, and I started going to the cause.
Jesus says the cause of all your suffering is the guilt in your mind. The guilt is from thinking you're separated from God, but I couldn't relate to that to start with. Eventually that was revealed, and I saw the guilt in my mind, but at first it was all covered up. So just work with where you're at, work with exactly what's happening for you, where you're at today, where you're sitting now. What grievance do I have right now? That's your forgiveness work. That's it.
Then every day becomes my forgiveness work today. My life is now to undo all the grievances, resentments, and fears in my mind. Jesus says the body will be perfectly healthy as you undo the egoic mind. All those grievances –they're just thoughts and beliefs. And what happens is that eventually you see that all those thoughts and beliefs create the sense of a separate self, a “me,” what we call a “me.” They actually perpetuate the idea that there's an “I” or a “me,” a real separate self to be hurt and harmed. And that has to go because once you've seen through all those beliefs, once you've just let go and you've seen the false as false, there's nothing left but God's mind of Love.
Then the body is just used as a conduit for that Love, and that's it. It says the Holy Spirit's just going to repurpose your life – your body, everything in your life, anything that you have, any abilities, anything you own. This is all going to be about Love –that you are Love, God is Love, everyone is Love. And here I am in the world just liquid Love, liquid Love of God, pouring out from me, pouring out to you, and that's it.
He says in the Course that we're like a big mirror, so God shines on us, and we're just holding up a mirror and just letting that light come through us and shine to everyone. And that's it. Just Love. That's really the final thing –just seeing that I am Love, everything is Love, God is Love. God is the most beautiful Love.
It is the happy dream then because there are no goals, no personal goals. There's nothing to get, nothing to do, nothing to be. Because in seeing that I am Love and everything is Love, well, what would you say? “I want to work really hard to be more Love.” How can you be more Love than you already are? If you're all-encompassing Love, you are Love. There's nothing to get because you've already got Love.
So all the goals and all the idols of the world have fallen away, and you're just sitting in Love, and your purpose now is really directed by the Holy Spirit. His directions are just like a new GPS from the voice in your mind now. It's not the ego’s – it's the Holy Spirit’s voice – and it just says, “Go here,” “Do this,” “Say ‘yes’ to this,” “Go here,” “Say ‘no’ to that,” “Get up now,” “Go for a walk,” “Get on a group,” “Do this lesson,” “Say this,” “Express this.”
You don't have to worry about anything in the future. The past is gone from your mind, and you don't have to worry about the future because you realize there is no future. There's only now, and now is the only time to be happy. It's always now, so happiness is always now. You're missing the now – where happiness is –when you're worrying about the future and lamenting about the past. You're literally in a [hypnotic] state when you are not happy in the now, because the past isn't here – the past is gone. The future's not here. You're basically thinking about nothing and going into a state of upset which need not be.
You need not be upset if you just trust the Holy Spirit. Honestly, just learn to trust, develop that trust. Really be vigilant and trusting.
That's my little talk to remind everyone how we can be in the world, but not of it.
I talk to a lot of people that have these attack thoughts, and they're really not aware of the cause of the suffering. So I really want to go through lesson 26. It’s a really good lesson for helping you identify attack.
“My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.” (ACIM, W-26.1:1-2) Some of the words that we're going to really focus on in this lesson are the word “attack,” “attack thoughts,” “vulnerable,” and “invulnerable.”
“It is surely obvious that if you can be attacked you are not invulnerable.” (ACIM, W-26.1:1) I'm going to go through it really slowly, line by line, because this is how you have to go through those lessons line by line you have to look. He's telling us that if that if I can be attacked, it has to be that I am not invulnerable. So in other words, let's consider this: do I think that I can be attacked? I have to be honest. And if I say, “Yes, I think I can be attacked,” then he says that I am taking myself to be something that is not invulnerable. In other words, I have to be taking myself to be something that is vulnerable – if I’m not invulnerable, then I'm vulnerable. I'm taking myself to be something that can be hurt and harmed.
The reason why we go through this slowly is because the idea about being attacked is really one of the central themes of the Course. He’s getting us to do inquiry. We're going to do this really slowly so we can inquire. We have to tell ourselves that if we think that we can be attacked, then we must be holding the belief that we are vulnerable. It has to be that one thing leads to the other.
“You see attack as a real threat.” (ACIM, W-26.1:2) So we have to say to ourselves when we read this lesson, “Okay, well, if I saw someone coming towards me with a knife going to stab me, I would see that as a real threat.” Right? You have to be honest with yourself as you're going through these lessons, because the only way you get to actually be free is really being honest.
“That is because you believe that you can really attack.” (ACIM, W-26.1:3-4) In other words, if I were wielding a knife, I would see that I could attack. If I was holding the knife and someone else was coming up to me, I would have to believe that if I stabbed them, I could really attack, right?
“And what would have effects through you must also have effects on you.” (ACIM, W-26.1:4) So if the effect of me stabbing someone else or speaking nasty words to hurt someone – if they could have effects through me – and if I see my harmful words or my stabbing hurting someone, I'm saying that my words or my actions through me can attack. Therefore, someone else saying nasty words to me or stabbing me would have to attack me, as well.
“It is this law that will ultimately save you, but you are misusing it now.” (ACIM, W-26.1:5) What He's saying is that the undoing of this law is what's going to save us, because we have to look at what we believe about attack. We have to slow it all down and really look. This is what he's asking us to do.
“You must therefore learn how it can be used for your own best interests, rather than against them.” (ACIM, W-26.1:6) Okay, so this law of attack – of someone attacking me and me being able to take them – we're going to learn how this law is going to help us. The “best interest” is to how it's going to get undone, how it's going to be used, how the change of this law is going to be used to help us free us.
“Because your attack thoughts will be projected, you will fear attack. ²And if you fear attack, you must believe that you are not invulnerable.” (ACIM, W-26.2:1-2) Let's just have a look at those first couple of lines. “Because your attack thoughts will be projected” – let's have a look. When we imagine saying something unkind to someone or stabbing someone, they're just thoughts. And when we imagine someone saying something unkind to us or coming towards us with a knife, they're just thoughts. They're just thoughts and images in our mind. They're nowhere else except in our mind.
What He's doing in the first paragraph is establishing what we believe. He's asking us to really look at what we believe, and then He's really saying this is in your mind. These thoughts are in your mind –nowhere else.
“Because your attack thoughts will be projected, you will fear attack.” Say I feel angry with someone, and I think, “I’m going to give them a piece of my mind. I'm going to say this, this, and this, and I'm going to put them in their place. I'm going to remind them of something they've done or something they've said, and I’m going to …” You go through these scenarios in your mind. What happens is we get caught up in all the, “yeah, they said this, and they shouldn't have. And I'm going to say that, and then I'm going to say this, and then and then…” We might even have this thought that somebody has said something nasty to us in the past, and we think about it.
When we're in that, we're actually focused on attack. We don't realize the mind's caught up in all this attacking. You don't say to yourself in that moment when you're really caught up in the story, “I have a belief in attack.” That's not something that you hold. So the mind is whirling and whirling around in the story of attack – “Here they said this, and then I'm going to say that, and if they say this back, then I'm going to go there, and I’m going to call the police.” We go into this whole story.
Jesus is asking us to really get below that story and just tell ourselves that, if we see somebody seemingly attacking us, then we will see ourselves attacking them (in words or some other way). It's a belief in attack. They're actually attack thoughts.
“Attack thoughts therefore make you vulnerable in your own mind, which is where the attack thoughts are.” (ACIM, W-26.2:3) So this whole scenario that you're going on about is actually happening in your mind. That's the belief in attack. This lesson is going to go a bit deeper than that, but that's the most important thing here to understand. He's telling us to look in our mind. We've got attack thoughts in our mind, and those thoughts of attack hold something underneath.
When we're going through these lessons, what we’re doing is looking. Jesus is our teacher. He's giving us an inquiry lesson. Just see every lesson as someone giving you an inquiry process. You don't have to go to a retreat to sit in front of a teacher to do inquiry. You just sit in front of Jesus and hear his words. This is an inquiry, so He's asking us to have a look in our mind. Stop. Just stop for a minute when you're in all this big story of “he said, she said, they shouldn't.” Just look and say to yourself, “That whole story –I have to believe in it. I have to have the belief that I can be attacked and that they can be attacked.”
It must be held in my mind. If I say, “Right, I'm going to go to the police,” or “I'm going to do this,” or “I'm going to say that and make them realize this,” or “I'm not going to speak to them” – what underlies all that stuff is a deeper meaning that attack is possible. What He's really saying in this lesson is that those are attack thoughts. The attack thoughts which I’ve been talking about are this top-level story — you know, being annoyed with someone and “I'm going to say this,” and “I'm going to stop speaking to them,” or “I'm going to confront them about this.”
All those thoughts are the attack thoughts, but what He's asking us to get is that below all those thoughts, which is hidden, is the belief that I can be attacked and so can they. There's a belief that I can hurt them, and a belief that they can hurt me. That's what those thoughts really hold; that's what's behind them. I wouldn't go up to someone and say anything unless I thought I could hurt them. You know –“I'm going to put them in their place” is to hurt them. And “well, they did this to me, they said this,”— this means they hurt me.
I hold the belief that it's possible to attack. He's trying to say all those thoughts hold the idea that you can attack someone, and they can attack you. That's what those thoughts generate – the idea that I can attack, and they can attack me. That's what's being held in our mind. That's what's underneath those thoughts.
He's saying attack thoughts and invulnerability cannot be accepted together. We cannot have a feeling of being invulnerable while we have attack thoughts in our mind. They can't meet; they cannot be accepted together.
So if I have even the slightest belief that I can attack someone, or that they can attack me, I cannot experience myself as invulnerable. I’m holding the belief. It’s hidden in the story, the original thoughts. I don't see them as attack thoughts. “I'm going to go and tell that person,” or “I'm not going to speak to that person because they did this to me.” That's what you hear everyone saying here, but all they're really saying is “I believe that I can be attacked, and I believe I can attack.” I have that belief, because I think that their words can attack me, that I am this thing that can be attacked by words or a knife.
Where are those thoughts? In my mind. There's nothing else except thoughts in my mind because, remember, I can only be affected by my thoughts. The story in the mind holds the belief that I can be attacked and so can they. Then underneath that, the next step down, is that I have to be a thing that's vulnerable to attack. I have to be something that is vulnerable to some type of attack. I have to hold the belief. That story holds the belief that I’m this very fragile, tiny thing that can be attacked at any minute from anything anywhere. So, therefore, with that thought, that hidden belief that I'm this vulnerable thing – in other words, all that belief and all that story – I cannot have this idea or this thought that I'm invulnerable, that I am spirit, whilst I’m maintaining of those thoughts and beliefs. That's really what He's saying –that they can't meet up. Your True Self can't get a look in while you're holding a story of attack and the thoughts of attack.
“The idea for today introduces the thought that you always attack yourself first.” (ACIM, W-26.3:1) Why would I always attack myself first? What does he mean by that? Why? Because I'm attacking myself by believing that I can be attacked. That is the attack – the belief that I am something that can be attacked. That's what is the attack on me – the thought that I can be harmed.
I’m just going to let you rest on that because that can be a bit of a mind bender. You might blank out a little bit on that one. I'll just let you rest for a few minutes, right? The belief that I can be attacked is the attack thought, the attack upon myself. What's hidden underneath the story is the belief in attack, and what's hidden under that is that I’m a vulnerable thing. The belief that I can be attacked and vulnerable is an attack.
Let's bring in this idea that you are spirit, something that can't be harmed or threatened.
As Spirit, if you have a thought – “I'm vulnerable/I can be attacked” – that thought is an attack on your Self, Spirit. Do you see? That is what takes you away from the idea that you're invulnerable. That belief that I can be attacked is an attack on your experience of being Spirit.
“If attack thoughts must entail the belief that you are vulnerable, their effect is to weaken you in your own eyes.” (ACIM, W-26.3:2-3 As Spirit, we're limitless. We're this beautiful, limitless Love. If we then, as Spirit, have this thought, “Oh, I’m this little thing that can be attacked,” and “Look over there … they're a little thing that can be attacked,” that underpins the belief that I’m a vulnerable thing. Then I feel weak. I've got a belief – “Oh, I'm this little vulnerable thing, and I can be attacked.” And now I’m very weak because if I believe I’m this thing that can be attacked, I will experience myself as weak, rather than strong.
“Thus they [the attack thoughts] have attacked your perception of yourself.” (ACIM, W-26.3:3) So the belief in attack, the belief that I am this thing that's vulnerable, actually attacks our perception of ourselves because our True Self is Spirit.
“And because you believe in them [because you believe in those thoughts], you can no longer believe in yourself. ⁵A false image of yourself has come to take the place of what you are.” (ACIM, W-26.3:4-5) So a false image – a body, a little self, a little bit of skin and hair and eyes – this false image has come to take the place of myself, my True Self, limitless, formless Spirit.
“Practice with today’s idea will help you to understand that vulnerability or invulnerability is the result of your own thoughts.” (ACIM, W-26.4:1) Nowhere else. My thoughts. That's it. Whether I feel vulnerable or invulnerable is nowhere else except my own thoughts. If I believe that I can be attacked or can attack, they are thoughts, thoughts in my mind. Those thoughts attack my belief in being invulnerable. “Nothing except your thoughts can attack you.” “Nothing except your thoughts can attack you.” Remember He says those thoughts about “I'm going to harm them,” and “they can harm me” or “something can harm me” – they're just thoughts.
“Nothing except your thoughts can make you think you are vulnerable.” This is why we have to deal with our thoughts and look at our thoughts and undo our thoughts, inquire into our thoughts, give them over to the Holy Spirit, let them go, have them replaced, accept the Atonement…all thoughts.
What is the ego? A thought system, a fear thought, a guilt thought – all thoughts. The ego's not a thing. It's just a thought. The Holy Spirit is the answer to the thoughts. So, what are we? Mind. Where are our thoughts? In our mind. Where is the mind? You can't know. A thought has no form. The mind has no form. It's not in the brain because it's like saying my thoughts are in my hand. Thoughts don't happen in the brain. Where are your thoughts? Where's your mind? There're nowhere. You can’t find them. So, where are your thoughts? These are really good things to think about because they really help you undo.
“Nothing except your thoughts can make you think you are vulnerable. And nothing except your thoughts can prove to you this is not so.” (ACIM, W-26.4:3-4) With that last sentence –“and nothing except your thoughts can prove to you that this is not so” – He's saying that the Holy Spirit will bring thoughts in. It'll help you undo this.
“Six practice periods are required in applying today’s idea. ²A full two minutes should be attempted for each of them, although the time may be reduced to a minute if the discomfort is too great. ³Do not reduce it further.
The practice period should begin with repeating the idea for today, then closing your eyes and reviewing the unresolved questions whose outcomes are causing you concern. ²The concern may take the form of depression, worry, anger, a sense of imposition, fear, foreboding or preoccupation. ³Any problem as yet unsettled that tends to recur in your thoughts during the day is a suitable subject. ⁴You will not be able to use very many for any one practice period, because a longer time than usual should be spent with each one. ⁵Today’s idea should be applied as follows:”(ACIM, W-26.5:1–6:5)
Now what He's going to is ask us to bring in a situation. And then He's going to ask us to list the distressing possibilities that our thoughts say about that situation. So, remember 1) the situation that we come up with, a situation in our mind, and then 2) the possibilities, the distressing possibilities associated with that situation.
If you've got pen and paper, if you'd like to, just write down one situation (“reviewing the unresolved question whose outcomes are causing a concern”). Just write down, “I am concerned about…” It could be something like getting coronavirus or not having a job or not having enough money to retire – whatever it is you're concerned about.
“Then go over every possible outcome that has occurred to you in that connection and which has caused you concern, referring to each one quite specifically” (ACIM, W-26.7:3) So He wants us to get really specific here, right? I am afraid such and such will happen.
I'm afraid –
…. I will die,
…. that death might happen,
…. that I might get sick and be in hospital.”
It'll always be about something to do with the body. It's always about you as a body. So, let's write down what we're afraid of. I encourage you, if you're watching this video or if you've done lesson 26 before, we're going to do all these lessons properly.
Really allocate time to them because you've got to remember that Jesus is the highest teacher you can have. And this is His inquiry. He's come up with this inquiry for us. Don't overlook the value of this inquiry that He’s giving us here in this lesson. It is coming from the Christ mind, outside time and space. Therefore, it would be the highest level of inquiry. This is not something that you can overlook. You cannot downplay the value of what He's asking us to do here. It is very, very important not to skim over these inquiries. It is extremely important not to skim over these things. These are a way to be free. These are given to us by the highest mind. Take your time to really dedicate yourself to sitting quietly and doing this inquiry.
The reason why we have to write this out – and I would encourage you to write it, not just say it, but write it out – is because you probably don't even know what you're worried about and all the things that you're afraid will happen from that concern. You're probably not even aware of it. It's fantastic to get it out on paper.
“If you are doing the exercises properly, you should have some five or six distressing possibilities available for each situation you use, and quite possibly more. It is much more helpful to cover a few situations thoroughly [so maybe just three or four] than to touch on a larger number.” (ACIM, W-26.8:1-3 They're all the same. They all have the same beliefs in them. Why He wants you to do three or four is because He wants you to get an idea – you're going to get an “aha!” moment at some stage that they're all really saying the same thing.
“As the list of anticipated outcomes for each situation continues, you will probably find some of them, especially those that occur to you toward the end, less acceptable to you. Try, however, to treat them all alike to whatever extent you can.” (ACIM, W-26.8:3-4) In other words, we try to hide. I know when I first did those things, I wanted to hide like, “oh no, I don't want to write that down.” He's asking us to write everything down, even the silliest thing that you could think of. Because what's happening – all these thoughts are in our mind. They're looping around. That's the ego, right? But we're so in the ego we have no idea that we're not the ego at this stage. These are the early lessons.
He's really trying to get us to look at the thoughts in our mind, to write down what's in our mind. He's asking us to look at them, get them down on paper, so we can see them and go, “wow, look what I'm believing. Look at all these beliefs. Look at these situations, and this is what the ego is saying about them.
After you have named each outcome of which you are afraid, tell yourself:
²That thought is an attack upon myself.
Why is that thought an attack upon myself? Because it is a belief in attack, and the belief in attack attacks the invulnerability of Spirit. It has to. It's the belief that I am this thing, as a body, that can be attacked. It attacks my invulnerability or Spirit. The idea that I am Spirit –it attacks this idea. In other words, it erases the idea that I am Spirit. It comes in and overrides the idea that I am Spirit.
When I first did this lesson, it took me a long, long time to really understand what it was trying to point me to…years. I'm hoping I can shed a little bit of light of what it means. It just sounded like gobbledygook when I first read this. But that's why we’re just going slowly and explaining it a little bit clearer. Those thoughts like “I am afraid that I will get sick” – this is an attack thought because it attacks the idea that I am something that can't get sick, right?
When I say “attacks the idea” sometimes it's better to use a term like it “dissolves” or “erases” the idea that I am invulnerable and Spirit. We have to see how we tolerate those thoughts like “I am afraid such and such will happen” so much. We tolerate them. We think they're normal. We talk to each other: “Yeah I'm afraid this will happen,” “Yeah, I'm afraid that'll happen, “Yeah, this situation I find myself in… I'm scared of this and this and this. I might die. I might get sick. I might be in hospital. I might never recover. I might have lung problems. I might have heart problems. I might have leg problems.”
Every single thought is an attack, or dissolves the idea that you're invulnerable, that you’re Spirit. And that's why holding an attack thought, or holding the idea, is an attack on God's plan for salvation. God's plan for salvation is that you experience yourself as something that is invulnerable. We have to see that those thoughts are the problem. We're tolerating those thoughts.
He actually gives us the answer in the following lessons coming up after that, the way out. “Above all else I want to see.” (ACIM, W-27). “Above all else I want to see things differently.” (ACIM, W-28) In other words, above all else I want to look at this situation differently.
So, we just say, “I'm concerned about getting a coronavirus” for example. That’s a pretty topical thing here right now in the world. “I'm concerned about the coronavirus, and then I'm afraid I'll get sick. I'll be disabled in some way forever. I might die. I might spread it to others.” It is all about bodies, all about bodies and sickness. My thoughts. So “above all else I want to see things differently.” I want to see this situation differently.
“You will not question what you have already defined. And the purpose of these exercises is to ask questions and receive the answers. ³In saying, ‘Above all else I want to see this [corona virus situation] differently,’ you are committing yourself to seeing.” (ACIM, W-28.4:1-3) In other words, receiving. You are committed to having other thoughts [from the Holy Spirit] come into your mind.
I'm not going to go through the remedy today. I just wanted to go through the idea of attack, and I just want to keep you there in that lesson, so you can see that the belief in attack – the belief that I can be attacked, and others can be attacked – the belief in that is the problem. That's the problem, not the story. The story hides the belief.
We have to think below. What is my belief? We're coming up in the inquiry with all our beliefs, and then we go on to say, “Okay, Holy Spirit, above all else I want to see all this differently.” And we wait for answer.
I wanted to put a little answer in towards the end, because but the following lessons are going to help:
“God is in everything I see.” (ACIM, W-29)
“I am not the victim of the world I see.” (ACIM, W-31)
“I have invented the world I see.” (ACIM, W-32)
“There is another way of looking at the world.” (ACIM, W-33)