The sole purpose of today’s lesson is to encourage us to give up attack.
First, the lesson helps us look with clarity at why we attack. It’s because we are afraid, and we think we can protect ourselves through attack. (Note: Our attack could be acted out, like raising our voice with someone, or it could be internal, like thinking attack thoughts about someone.)
Second, the lesson points out that when we attack, fear is protected, not escaped. This is the same teaching as in The Untethered Soul. It says, “You’re locking your illness inside yourself, and it will only get worse … if you protect yourself, you will never be free. It’s that simple.”
Finally, the lesson recommends that we save ourselves “more delay and needless misery than you can possibly imagine” by giving up attack.
Attack is a habit, and like any habit, it isn’t easy to give up. However, we can give up attack. I am writing this as someone who has successfully given up that particular habit, and the habit of attack was as strong in me as it is in anyone. In fact, this workbook lesson was my least favorite workbook lesson, because I thought I was cruel. I thought cruelty was at the base of my nature. It wasn’t. There is no cruelty in my nature, and there is none in yours. All attack comes from attachment to thought.
How do we give up attack? First, we need the desire to give it up. Once we have the desire, we follow-through by doing our best each and every time the energy of attack arises in us. If we keep trying, eventually the habit of attack dies.
Remember, when you give something your attention and belief, it is increased. When you take away attention and belief, it dies. This means the more you give in to the energy of attack, the more the energy of attack arises. As you begin to resist the urge to attack by watching the energy with a centered state of mind, it weakens. If you keep up the practice of resisting attack as the observer, that energy eventually dies.
The desire to give up attack has to come first. It needs to be a heart-felt desire, not merely another thought. One way to evoke a heart-felt desire to give up attack is to pay more attention when you do attack. Pay attention to how you feel when you attack. Pay attention to the general energy that is occurring in the relationship when you attack. Is this the feel you really want in your life?
It’s important to look at attack with reason and to ask, “Is this what I want?” We attack because we think it serves us. We need to realize it doesn’t serve us. We want to be infused with the joy of God, not the feelings of attack.
It is also helpful to inquire to discover what is at the root of our attack episodes. For example, let’s assume we’ve done a root cause inquiry and found our sense of unworthiness at the root of one episode. Whatever we give our attention and belief to is energized and increased. Or as The Untethered Soul puts it, we lock that illness inside of ourselves, and it will only get worse. Is that what we want to do, energize and increase our sense of unworthiness? If not, we need to learn not to give in to it.
This is one example of how the movie, Little Buddha, was important to me. When rage would rise in me, and I felt the urge to attack, I would remember Buddha sitting under the tree watching all of the fury that Mara threw out at him. Buddha didn’t give in to those energies, and he didn’t run from them. He silently watched them. He watched them with the awareness that the energies were not his nature. He watched with the knowledge that he wanted to be free (purified) of those energies.
It’s important to realize that there is no cruelty in you. Attack is not a part of your nature. It’s an effect of attachment to thought. Learn to abide as your Self, the centered watcher, and the impermanent energy that was born through belief and involvement will die. Patience, compassion, wisdom and love, which are your nature, will arise naturally in its absence.
Here’s a 14-minute synopsis of the movie, Little Buddha. The inspiring scene that is mentioned above begins at 10 minutes and 30 seconds: