"“If I defend myself, I am attacked.” Can you bring some clarity to this concept. Many, myself included, has struggled with wrapping my head around it. Thanks."
To put it simply, to believe or perceive that you need to be defended, means you have already attacked yourself and undermined your invulnerability, have seen yourself as weak and vulnerable, and now are in "need" of a defense to try to re-establish protection. Your innocent self is invulnerable.
This ties into "my attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability". But I think to make this clearer we need to talk about what invulnerability is and how it is a reality.
The Kingdom of God cannot be attacked by illusions. Nothing can prevail against it. What we're talking about here is that there is somehow a state of being which is so powerfully clear about what is true and real, that not a single illusion can even get close to it without being dispersed. In effect, light dispels darkness, and with a bright enough light, there can be no darkness at all.
The brilliance of the Light of God, which is an experiential state of being, is so devoid of illusions or separations or blocks to awareness, because the light is so complete in its pervasiveness. There is nowhere that the light is not. And light is awareness. So there is nowhere that God is not aware of. This maintains a state in which there can never arise any illusions which can block that light, for real. The light so pro-actively shines darkness away that it simply blazes like a giant sun, keeping illusions away *because* it fixates on the truth.
This equates also to the proper definition of forgiveness, whereby forgiveness does not MAKE errors. Forgiveness sees with such a forgiving attitude, overlooking all illusions, and also sin, recognizing the truth for what it is. A forgiving mind does not invent illusions and it does not see attack and it does not attack itself. Since all attack is self-attack, and there are no other sources of attack beyond yourself, if your mind is in a purely forgiving state it will not create attack at all, and therefore is completely free of attack. It is invulnerable.
The mind in forgiveness is not invulnerable due to just being very strong, but it is invulnerable because its strength does not create an enemy. This is the same as saying, love has no opposite. Love does not create real opposition. This is also why God is at peace, because nothing real can be threatened. Reality does not create illusions, and illusions are the only place where attack appears possible. Since God is permanently aware of the whole truth, He does not ever slip into a mode of believing in illusions, and so illusions do not exist, and He remains permanently safe. Not safe "from" illusions that exist somewhere, but safe because there aren't any. They are not real.
You have to then realize that anything that you would put into the category of "an attacker" or "something going wrong" or "an enemy" or "war" or any form of suffering to the body etc... all of that exists within illusions only. Not in reality. It is unreal. Part of a dream. Those things in that dream do not have real consequences upon reality. Reality is completely unaffected by them. Reality is impervious to illusions and invulnerable to attack, and as such, God is immortal. And because you exist in God and share in that same perspective of perfect love, you too are sustained with Eternal Life and Real Immortality.
With that said, realize then that IF you were to fail to forgive, you would enter into judgement, which would be self attack. The one mind has no enemy because it is the ONLY mind. But when the mind splits in separation, it comes to believe it has enemies, even though those enemies are entirely within itself as parts of itself. It has entered a state of being at war with itself, and sometimes the illusion of differences between different parts of the split mind are so great that it seems there are multiple enemies or identities with nothing in common, which do not share a mind.
By believing in separation you are believing in attack and are attacking yourself. You now are your only enemy and are acting against yourself. Now your attack thoughts are attacking your invulnerability. Or at least in illusions they appear to do so. There now seems to be an illusion of attackability. Your identity changes from immortal Spirit/Christ, to vulnerable guilt-ridden separate self, which appears to be vulnerable to attack and has been attacked, believing in attack being real.
Having come to believe that you are less than Christ, you have already attacked yourself within your mind, using your mind, and the conscious part of mind is now perceiving incorrectly. It sees enemies and otherness. It does not know who it is. And it believes it is sinful and guilty. Other parts of mind come to attack it, as though separate identities, when in fact it's all part of the one mind attacking itself.
The ego only ever attacks itself, being self attack, so the ego only ever targets or attacks the guilty, the sinful and the fearful. The ego is self destructive, and it should be clear that it is insane to attack your own self. It never actually attacks God or Reality because it cannot.
If you have identified your Self as being the ego self, made of sin and guilt, then that sin and guilt will seem to be targetable and susceptible, vulnerable and attackable, changeable and affectable. It now seems as though you can be victimized - you can be identified as exhibiting symptoms of attack.
If then along comes the illusion of an attacker, which is really just another part of the mind come to attack itself, this ego-identified part of mind, believing in its weakness and vulnerability and lack, will see itself as in need of defenses. It believes its attack on Self is real, and that it is true that you have been diminished and made vulnerable. It believes in your weakness and in your ability to be at the effect of the world. This is of course a perceptual error that isn't true.
The attacker will attack and now the ego self will attempt to put up a defense, and this defense will not really work. To have a defense is only necessary if it is true that you are weak and vulnerable, and you can only be weak and vulnerable if you have already been attacked. Defense, or the need for defenses, thus depends on, confirms, and thus amplifies, the belief that you are under attack and attackable.
So to believe in the validity and need for a defense, increases the belief or makes more real the belief that you are attackable and have been attacked. That belief alone IS an attack on yourself, and thus your defenses are attacking you directly. So as you go to attempt to defend your "self", your ego self, your defense will not work and it will make your attacked state more real and true to you, causing you to experience yourself as attacked even more. Defenses are for the weak, and they undermine strength. The strong do not need them.
Regardless of their ability to keep external attacks away from you, defenses themselves attack you. You would not choose to have a defense if you were strong and confident and believed in your invulnerability. You would not choose to defend yourself against something that is not even true. You wouldn't defend yourself against an illusion of attack if you knew it was an illusion. You would only defend yourself against your own belief that the attack is real, and that means you yourself believe in the attack and are helping the attack to occur in your mind. You are attacking yourself because you do not believe in your immortality.
Those who are certain of the truth would laugh in the face of attack, would demonstrate supernaturally that they are invulnerable and cannot be hurt, would demonstrate no symptoms or effects of attack, would prove that that which is Real cannot be harmed, and would show and teach that nothing real can be threatened.
Those who are certain of truth would have no fear, would not buy into the attack, would not even support or create the attacking the first place, and would bring peace to the situation, causing any threat or likelihood of attack to be dispersed miraculously. Such people would not even create events in which they can be attacked, experiencing a perfectly smooth flow through life. This is what it means by if you seek first the Kingdom of God your way will be made straight. Nothing can happen to Christ against His will, and God supports and protects Him in everything He does.
Those who are masterful over and who have power over illusions do not fall for the *illusion* that attack is real or possible. They know better. They are aware that you can only attack yourself, and that if you do not choose to do so, you cannot experience attack. A whole mind is invulnerable. A guiltless mind cannot suffer. Illusions cannot exist in a mind which is aware of the truth, and therefore such a mind is not in a state of war, but of peace.
It has to be stated clearly here that there really is a supernatural component to this, mainly because this entire world is actually just a thought in the larger mind. So any "attacks" or wars happening in it are really thoughts stirring around in the mind, and if the mind chooses not to support such things, they will not happen.
The only purpose of time is as a teaching device and once it is not needed will disappear. Within the mind, if it chooses to demonstrate invulnerability, even the body will appear to be invulnerable to attack, and will demonstrate that your brother's attempt to attack it has not worked, proving his innocence.
A Course in Miracles actually calls for us to demonstrate this imperviousness by showing that our brother is incapable of changing the truth, is incapable of affecting the Son of God, and that what is Real cannot be threatened. This is a demonstration of miracles, real miracles in the dream, which teach and show examples of the illusion being false, demonstrating that what the ego says is impossible is possible. And that means, demonstrating that real innocence cannot be harmed and thus needs no defending. This cancels the ego's fiction that innocence is harmful and can be hurt.
This means that even in this "world", which is an idea in the mind and just an image in the imagination of Christ, it can be demonstrated that you are utterly invulnerable, you are not a body, you are immortal, you cannot die, and nothing that happens in a dream has any power over the Son of God on any level whatsoever. Even at the physical level.
The secret to salvation is that you are doing this all to yourself. This means you do not have any external enemies. It is just you, attacking yourself. And without you doing this to yourself, there is no OTHER to do it to you, because once you've become ONE, unified in the collective whole of the Sonship, there is no "otherness" that is not you that could come along and act with a will against your own.
If all along it was you that was your enemy, and you stop being your enemy, and there is no-one else, who is going to attack you? No-one. You are invulnerable. You are safe from illusions because you choose not to create them. You are safe from the ego because you choose not to dream. You are safe from death because you made it yourself and can choose to undo it. Nothing can happen to you against your will, and nobody dies without their own consent - or without doing it to themselves by their very own hand.
If you try to defend your "self", that means your "self" is not your Real Self, and you've claimed that it needs defending because of its weakness and its corruption. Any defense of it will not work, it will only confirm its weakness, and make it worse. Defending such a self is in fact defending the EGO, not your real self. Defending the ego leads to death. Defending the ego means you are defending the opposite of God, which means you are defending attack and sacrifice, thus keeping them and increasing them.
The issue here is that whatever you believe is true, you will defend it, even if it is an illusion. If you defend the ego, which is a belief in death, you will destroy yourself. If you defend the ego and side with it and protect it, because you believe that illusions are the truth, you inadvertently end up moving yourself away from Life and away from God, and therefore away from safety and immortality. You become the illusion of mortality, and thus are attacked to death, by yourself. This may show up as an illusion of being attacked by "not yourself", but that IS just an illusion.
Your Real Self needs no defense because it is not corrupt and has not sinned and is completely innocent. In your innocence lies your invulnerability. Real innocence needs no defenses because it cannot be harmed or do harm, unlike the ego's version of innocence which needs maximum defense because it sees innocence as harmful.
Babies for example symbolize the ego's belief that innocence is vulnerable and can be attacked. In truth, real innocence cannot be attacked and needs no defending. It is supernaturally invulnerable and cannot be attacked at all. In the ego's world, its dream is back to front and upside down, trying to make it look like innocence is equated with weakness, vulnerability, attackability and defenselessness.
This redefinition of innocence plays out in the world in various ways, but is completely backwards and a lie. It is a grand illusion that the ego uses to justify building greater defenses, because IF it were true that you really are weak in your innocence, you WOULD need defenses to protect you. It's illusion of a weak innocence teaches you this. But this is not reality. In reality, innocence is not weak, it is extremely strong, and nothing can prevail against it. God, for example, is perfectly innocent, and yet is All Powerful. So can you be.
In the ego's world, its dream world, everything is back to front and a lie, so here, innocence is maximally vulnerable, weak, able to be attacked, and often is. It sees innocence as victimizable and uses it as a decoy to cover up guilt. It is fake innocence, or an illusion of innocence. It claims instead that sinfulness is powerful and cannot be attacked, as though sin is permanent and innocence is temporary. It believes sin is so powerful that nothing can change it, whereas innocence is so weak that anything can affect it. It thus "defends" innocence, which is simply a huge attack and an affirmation that vulnerability is real. It loves this because it wants to see the Son of God as vulnerable.
So it is easy to be confused in this world that if you don't defend yourself you will be attacked, because the body is generally run by the ego's laws unless you have mastery over them. It seems true that if you don't stop someone from physically attacking you, you will be physically attacked and hurt. This is how the ego has set things up in this illusion, so that it *appears* as though you are attackable, and as though defenses are justified and in fact necessary.
This is because it has created the body as something "attackable", knowing that minds cannot be attacked. The body seems thus to be vulnerable and to reverse the laws of God, claiming that its innocence must be defended and that therefore if someone is coming along to beat the shit out of you, you had better do something to defend yourself.
And the fact of the matter is, for most people, they do not believe in the Truth enough to supernaturally be protected from such attack. Instead it would be appropriate for them to "defend themselves", i.e. their bodies, from such attacks. This defense however will not undo the belief in attack, it will merely delay its effects. However, this isn't the only option. It is possible to be invulnerable to attack and to be supernaturally defended by the power of the Mind of God.
For example, I heard a story of a man who was having his car stolen by an armed robber. The robber wanted to steal his car and his clothes and his money. The man however, believed strongly in God and was certain that God's truth was true. He was "strong in the truth" and in his genuine innocence, and stood his ground in the truth. He stated commandingly and with belief that He was a Son of God and that nothing can harm him and that the man will not do what he is attempting to do. The gunman shot at him from a few feet away, very close up, several times. None of the bullets hit him. They all fell to the ground.
He was protected by the power of the mind, which we would refer to as "supernatural protection". His awareness of and belief in the truth and his demonstration of it prevented him for demonstrating vulnerability. He did not defend himself, he simply was strong in his innocence, and would not accept that he could be attacked. And therefore he could not. This would appear as miraculous to most. Eventually the attacker was so overcome by what he was experiencing that he ended up giving up his wicked ways and went to live with the man at his own home.
This kind of thing is possible even in this dream. But it means bringing the power of God, in the mind, into this world. It means being willing to demonstrate miracles and to demonstrate the truth, that the Son of God cannot be harmed by illusions - and all forms of attack are illusions. A strong and real belief, trust and faith in the strength and power of God can protect you, even your body, from harm while hanging out in this dream world.
This has not been my personal experience as yet, because I still have to work through my own false beliefs in being attackable and vulnerable and so on. I have to undo my own belief in the illusion that innocence is harmful and changeable, or that sin has permanence. These are two parts of the same belief system. And until I am stronger in that ability to demonstrate that truth, you can bet I will be "defending myself" where necessary. Bodies are set up in this illusion to be attackers and attackable, so while the illusion persists it is sensible to "defense yourself" as necessary.
But the long term goal is to become truly invulnerable and to demonstrate immortality. That is what Jesus is leading us to with A Course in Miracles, and anything less than that is falling short of what we are capable of as the Son of God.
True innocence needs no defense. The innocent are truly immortal and invulnerable. The ego claims the exact opposite because it believes the Son of God is weak and affected. Do not listen to it. Grow stronger in the truth and you will start to experience that a guiltless mind cannot suffer, and that you too are the Immortal Son of God.