Introduction, P 1
1 The relationship of anger to attack is obvious, but the relationship of anger to fear is not always so apparent. Anger always involves projection of separation, which must ultimately be accepted as one’s own responsibility, rather than being blamed on others. Anger cannot occur unless you believe that you have been attacked, that your attack is justified in return, and that you are in no way responsible for it. Given these three wholly irrational premises, the equally irrational conclusion that a brother is worthy of attack rather than of love must follow. What can be expected from insane premises except an insane conclusion? The way to undo an insane conclusion is to consider the sanity of the premises on which it rests. You cannot be attacked, attack has no justification, and you are responsible for what you believe.
I’ve got this one down. I never get confused about where my urge to attack comes from. If I feel like attacking someone it is always because I am afraid. I am afraid because I think I am vulnerable to attack and I am justified in defending myself. My attacks these days seldom get past the thought phase because I am good at catching them, realizing my fear is baseless, or at least being willing to be taught that, once again, my fear is baseless.
Here is an example. I went past a turn-off that would take me to a customer of mine. I didn’t take it because he was not on my schedule for that day, but I noticed a pang of resentment toward him, and then I had one of those mental conversations that I sometimes indulge in. Everything he said to me was an attack and everything I said to him was a defense (which is an attack). All of this was in response to a story I made up in my mind about a phone call he did not return.
Giving this to the Holy Spirit, I understand that I perceived his failure to return my call as an attack. Maybe he is talking to my competitor and is thinking of switching suppliers, in which case he becomes my enemy, someone to overcome. I must convince him that I am valuable to him, but because he is now a threat to my income stream, I resent him and anything I say to him will come from fear and not from love. How do I appear valuable to him when I come with sword and shield in hand?
The ego mind is fixated on fear, fear of loss and lack. Maybe I will lose a customer and my boss will value me less. I could lose money and not have enough for all I think I need. I fear not being valued. The ego solution to being afraid is to fight back through whatever means, but always it is some kind of attack and defend strategy in which I am separate from this other person. I see us with different goals and to achieve my goal, the other must relinquish his. Now I am enemy to my customer as well as to my competitor. I feel as if I am surrounded by the enemy.
Of course none of this has actually happened except that he failed to return my call. But as I allowed the scenario to play out in my mind I could see how the ego works to keep separation in place. I feel a pang of discomfort and the ego weaves it into a story in which I am surrounded by the enemy. The ego offers to protect me by giving me ways to defend myself. Now I am making everyone separate and am attacking my brother and so the underlying feeling is that I am guilty, and don’t deserve to win. The ego lies about being able to protect me.
When I offer it to the Holy Spirit for interpretation He reminds me that my customer and my competitor are innocent, just as I am. We are none of us guilty for our thoughts or our actions. He reminds me that we have one common goal and that is to feel safe and happy and we achieve this through forgiveness. As I regain my equilibrium and remember the truth, I remember that this is my function and my only function.
The feeling of being less than, attacked, of loss and lack, all of these are just different forms of believing I am separate from God, and thus cannot be true. All of this is turned around as I accepted responsibility for my thoughts and beliefs rather than seeking someone else to blame. I was afraid because of the meaning I gave a call not returned, not because of anything else.
Even if I was right about the failure to return the call and I did lose that customer, I am the one who decides what that means. No matter what seems to be happening in my story, I give it all the meaning it has for me, and I am free to remember that forgiveness is my only function. When I remember my function and focus on my forgiveness work, I trust the rest to work out as it will. The ego says I must be forever on guard but the ego is such a liar. I am perfectly loved and perfectly protected. When I remember this I am perfectly at peace with whatever is occurring.