Ask: When we attack aren't we projecting guilt?

We often hear that when we attack another in thought or action we are attacking ourselves. I wonder. Aren't we simply projecting our guilt and in so doing we are avoiding looking at that guilt which in turn reinforces it, thus delaying its release? Or is that the equivalent of self-attack?” – ES

You attack when you feel you need to defend yourself. And you feel that you need to defend yourself when you feel vulnerable. So you must be identifying with a self in a body in a world. This mistake is described in A Course in Miracles as an “attack” on yourself. So in any situation where you perceive that attack is real, whether you are the attacked or the one doing the attacking, the first attack you make is the one yourself. All other attacks then proceed from this first error.


Part of the error of perceiving yourself as a self in a body in a world is to believe that guilt is real. Yes, you are projecting guilt when you attack others. You really believe the guilt is in you but you try to get rid of it by seeing it in others and seeing yourself as an “innocent” victim. This is the ego’s (personal thought system’s) “solution” for the discomfort you feel in guilt. Yes, this is a way to avoid acknowledging that you really believe the guilt is in you. And, yes again, this reinforces guilt in your mind and delays your undoing your belief in guilt. You can only undo guilt where you really believe it is. So delay, too, could be seen as a further “attack” on yourself.

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Comments

ES said…
Thanks Liz for your thorough response to my questions which are contained in this week's blog. It was gratifying to get validated and see that I was on the right track and that I was right in questioning this easily misunderstood topic. More importantly, you filled in the crucial missing piece to my understanding: That the attack on the self which many believe comes as a result of attacking others has already occurred - it is a cause, not a result. I see that many Course students and teachers, not to mention Buddhists, Christians and others will say that we should try to love those we hate and fear; we should try to see the "light" or Christ in them. That's like putting the cart before the horse (imagine a lifeless cart trying to pull a fully energized horse that wants to go in the other direction!) - in other words change the behavior and the beliefs will fall into line. I don't think it works that way. As you have said many times in one way or another - what is needed is an internal transformation not an outward show.
Christine said…
Hear hear!
will said…
ES, It depends on what you are referring to when you say that changing the behavior and the beliefs will fall into line doesn't work. In some cases it is the only way it will work. Discipline involves behavior. Want to be successful in meditation then you have to change your behavior for the rest to fall into place. Set aside a time and place. Want to be successful in your spiritual program you have to discipline yourself to study and the learning will follow. Want to overcome your addiction, you have to stop the addictive behavior long before any progress is noticeable. Want to be a better person, you have to stop the attacks on others before you can even begin to think differently. None of this is an "outward show." It is part of the process. And there is a trap in all this. "Internal transformation" always means changes in the personal mind made by the personal mind unless you are remembering this change can't be done by personal mind.
will said…
You can think of behavior as the horse that is pulling a very unwilling or lazy mind towards a positive goal. In 12 Step they always say "Keep Coming Back." You go to meetings even though you don't want to because that is the only way you will come in contact with the solution to your problem.
nicci said…
thank you will.
ACIM Mentor said…
But, Will, all of those behaviors follow from thoughts. A person "keeps coming back" because they are mentally motivated to come back. The body does not act (behavior) without direction from the mind.

You only ever have to focus on cause, or mind. Behavior is always an effect.
will said…
In the examples I am giving it doesn't make any difference if the behaviors follow thoughts. Behavior is the key to change. You can think about going to a meeting all you want to, how you need to, but if you don't follow through with behavior your stuck. In the world (which is all I'm addressing here)there is cause and effect of which behavior is a part.
will said…
In our own country there are two groups with different approaches on how the country is run. One group would run things using only thought. What they perceive to be good and bad, right and wrong. Behavior never enters into it. Once the thought is set in place no matter what the consequences the thought must be honored. The other group has thoughts too but it is the behavior taken that determines what works and what doesn’t. All of this is just for examples sake since there are never 100%’s in anything.
will said…
Just to clarify, in the second group I use behavior to mean actions taken to achieve a result.
will said…
What results is what we are learning in ACIM. In the group where thought is primary this approach is made up of many, many individual thoughts of right and wrong and good and bad. Over time the personal mind in each person takes on these thoughts as their personal identity. They are no longer primarily thoughts of good and bad and right and wrong, although that is still there, but have become part of the personal minds identification of itself. Anything that threatens these thoughts or beliefs is a life and death threat to the individual personal mind itself. The results of these threats come out as behavior and yelling and emotional stress. All this has little or nothing to do with the individual person. It is the ego. All over the world this same scenario plays out in a thousand different ways in a thousand different places. It is the mind playing out it's dream of having killed God.
will said…
And you thought is was politics didn't you...

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