In my defenselessness my safety lies.
We do not recognize how much defensiveness and fear we harbor. We do not recognize the walls we build up around ourselves. We do not recognize the fearful words, even the smallest of ones, that leave our mouths. We have grown so accustomed to our armor, we hardly recognize we are wearing it on a permanent basis. We may think it is our badge of honor or, in some way, is warranted but it does not serve the purpose we believe it does. It actually hinders our spiritual progress rather than aids it. Our Walk in Miracles has been a courageous one, yet, today, are we asked to reflect on the strength that lies within us, without our armor, and in our vulnerability.
When was the last time you looked at a stranger in the eyes and said, “hello?” When was the last time you saw someone who looked rather “homely,” maybe asking for money, and was a little fearful to engage with such a person? How many times do horrific thoughts of what could happen to you or a loved one pass in your mind? Think of all the “what if’s,” how often are those, “What if I actually succeed?” or “What if I am actually really good at something?” Let me guess, you are mostly likely to think, “What if I fail?” or “What if I look stupid?” or “What if others think I am crazy?” or “What if I am actually crazy and I am the one who doesn’t realize it?” Defenses. Defenses. Defenses.
Our lesson yesterday was about responsibility. Today, we own up to the fact that, at times, our shields of fears are very, very cozy. We believe we have the control to protect ourselves from this world. Isn’t it funny, as though we can protect ourselves from the ever changingness of the world. We falsely believe we can prevent someone from hurting themselves or leaving us or moving away or making a bad decision. Once more, as we learned yesterday, “The power of my decision is my own” (ACIM Lesson 152). We believe we can protect others and ourselves but in reality all we are doing is fortifying ourselves even more and getting cozy in our fears.
We have absolutely no control over this world. We have no control over our partners in life, our colleagues, our jobs, our friends, our family, and even our children. It can be alarming how futile our defenses really are. At the same time, there is a lot of strength in realizing that too.
“Defenselessness is strength” (ACIM Lesson 153 6:1).
Letting go, release, nakedness, and vulnerability are all strengths. They are jewels of wisdom. It is the fight to hang on that causes all the suffering and the need to reinforce ourselves. If we could, but only, let each moment go and release into the flow of life, would we find that we are truly safe. We would also find how that release brings much happiness and peace.
Faith. How do we exercise faith, really? Many of us say we have faith. Many of us take on the faith of others as our own. But what about our own valiant faith? I truly love hearing about the faith of others and the courage of humanity. Such stories leave me inspired but such stories do not make up for my faith. They can only point me inward on my journey of living faith, for myself. Just as I cannot make a decision for someone else, I cannot steal another’s faith. These are the moments where I, and we, must take the walk alone in our own unique, soulful way. Defenselessness is scary, at first. Ah, but then comes the liberation of it all. Then there comes the moment when you wondered why you needed to shield yourself from the world at all?
I love, and not so love, the moments of turbulence on an airplane. It always brings my attention back to the fact that I have no control whatsoever. I am at the mercy of the pilot, but then again, I am really at the mercy of something bigger. There is nothing I can do in midair while the plane is bouncing up and down. There was nothing I could moments before and there will be nothing I can do in the moments when it passes and we are back to “normal.” That is just it, there is nothing I can do. I can only be.
Being, requires nothing at all besides presence. It requires no masks, no preparations, no planning, no agendas, and no attachments to outcomes. Being is the nucleus of our existence. It is the reason we are here. To be. To witness. I am reminded of an article I read on Liv Tyler. She mentioned that her father, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, warned her that she needed to slow down in life. To enjoy it. He told her, we are called human beings not human doings. I have heard that quote many times but I love the idea that such a “living on the edge rocker” had come to learn the importance of being and sharing his wisdom, should she choose to take it, with this daughter.
In being, we come to experience that what we are is beyond any sort of body or fortified exterior. Just look at nature and the vulnerability and faith she shows with the changing of each season. Why, as Children of God, would we not be offered the same? Can you imagine the magnificence of what we could be shown if we just let go? Can you imagine the lives of those we loved and how much they would blossom if we but let our protections of them go? Like nature, we are all seeded with greatness ready at a moment’s notice to bloom.
We are offered no less than nature. But we must exercise it to see it. Planning and fortifying only covers up what God wants to reveal to each of us. If we let go, we are not left alone but rather comforted in an unimaginable way. I understand the awkwardness and shakiness that may come with letting one’s defenses down. Be brave enough to let God show up. Be brave enough to take those first few steps towards vulnerability. Be brave enough to jump off the diving board…it is only water below…and it is deep. If you give this a try, you will be surprised at what you see in yourself and others. The smiles you will receive. The kind words. The infectious courage you will share with others. This is how salvation ripples throughout the globe and the universe. It starts here and now with your courage to be vulnerable, free, and untethered.
The toughest thing we can do is show all our cards and display the King of Fear, Queen of Regret, the ever-present Joker who always falters, and Ace of guilt. But trust me, we all have the same deck. We have been playing in a world where it is my fear that is meeting yours, and yours, mine. Once more, we forgot we were just playing cops and robbers and have gone home still thinking we must protect ourselves as we did on the playground that day. You do not have to. You can let go.
I will add once more, the same caveat as yesterday, if you are in a harmful situation, please take care of yourself. Be vulnerable in your knowing that you must make a change and go for it! This Course lesson is not telling you to be defenseless in a harmful situation. It is asking you to trust in the strength that is in your liberation.
You are all bold, courageous, inspiring, capable beings. Be still in our moments of practice today and let God show you this is so. Let down your defenses. Let go of your planning. Release control. And let God’s Will, which is the same as Yours, wash over you. Let it hold you and embrace you. Once you get a taste of it, you will not want to live any other way. I will so boldly say, I dare you to prove me wrong on this.
I send you many blessings today and to those you will meet throughout the day, as you both witness the freedom and peace that comes with pure vulnerability. What you are is beyond body, time, and space. You have come to this world to play and to shine. Bothers and sisters, your purpose and gift to the world is to do it….Let It Out!