Do you tend to get defensive when someone challenges you, or you feel is attacking you or your beliefs? If you don't respond this way, I'm sure you know other people who do. It's very common. I'm here to tell you there's another way. You can choose NOT to defend yourself and to live in Peace instead!
Think about it. What are you defending anyway? If someone says something to you that goes against something you believe or think, and you respond defensively, you're defending your thoughts and beliefs.
And what are our thoughts and beliefs? They are what we identify with. Who we think we are. In essence, they are walls we build around our Spirits.
Why are our thoughts and beliefs walls? Because they limit us. They keep others out and keep us in.
We can use our thoughts for good, certainly. But the most peaceful place lies outside our thoughts.
Our fears lie within our thoughts and beliefs. That's why the walls are best to knock down. Let go of the fears. Don't tie yourself so tightly in your thoughts and beliefs because ultimately, that's not you.
But we build these walls, that are our fears, from our thoughts and beliefs. And if we want to truly be free and at peace, we need to knock down those walls.
"Let's say something happens that activates these old feelings of fear, and you decide to walk right toward it. The closer you get, the more you will have the urge to pull back....[T]hat's what we do with walls; we avoid running into them....They become your prison because they are the boundaries of your awareness. Because you are not willing to approach them, you cannot see what is beyond them....[E]very day, the natural flow of life collides with our walls and tries to tear them down. But time and again, we defend them....[W]hen you defend yourself, you are really defending your walls," (Singer, p. 116, "The Untethered Soul").
Responding defensively is a very ego-minded way to respond. That's why it's best, if you can, when you feel yourself being challenged, and the ego is raring up ready to shout out all kinds of defenses, to just let it go. Keep your mouth shut. Rise above the ego, and get behind your thoughts. They're just thoughts anyway. They're not you. They're not your Spirit.
So what if someone thinks something you vehemently disagree with. It doesn't affect your Spirit. Your Spirit is in Peace and Love at all times. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a place I'd much rather be than getting upset and offended in my ego.
I'm not saying this is easy. Certain issues can be very triggering for us. But it's worth the effort. And if you, or I, slip and get defensive and irritated, it's ok. Relax and get back on track.
Another thing I've learned from Michael Singer is to not berate myself for feeling "negative" feelings. Don't get irritated with myself if I feel jealous, insecure, afraid, self-righteous. Accept that those feelings will likely come up from time to time. Just let them go right on by. No need to get mad at yourself for feeling normal, human emotions.
I caught myself doing this the other day. I don't recall what it was in detail, but I remember feeling something like self-righteous, thinking I knew best and whatever the other person was doing was wrong. Then I realized what I was doing. And I felt bad. I had a few moments of saying, "You shouldn't be thinking that way. You shouldn't feel that way. You know better now. It's not good to be that way." Then I caught myself again and was kinder and gentler with myself. I released all judgment -- for myself and the other person. And the situation passed right on by. So much so that I don't even remember what it was right now.
So when Singer proclaims in his book that the way to true peace is to let feelings/emotions/thoughts come up, and then release them, I can now attest that that's true. That's how it works.
Trying to not feel certain things isn't the answer. Feel them. Then let them go. Don't identify with the feelings or attach thoughts to them. Recognize the feeling, and watch it float away.