Lesson 16: I have no neutral thoughts.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

This lesson says everything that I see is the result of my thoughts without exception.  There are only true or false thoughts — there is no such thing as powerful/weak thoughts.  There is no such thing as idle thoughts … because thoughts have given rise to the dream of the world, and every thought we have makes something happen … in our mind … which seem to appear here, in the “world.”

I might consider daydreaming idle thinking … laying on my back in a meadow on a spring day gazing up at the clouds.  This kind of thinking can be aligned with the Holy Spirit and used to extend the truth, or aligned with the ego thought system and multiply illusions.

Every thought I have contributes to my belief in God’s Truth or the illusion of the world.  Salvation requires that I become aware that every thought I have brings either peace or war, love or fear.

Fear thoughts, those that make me uncomfortable enough that I minimize them, dismiss them, deny them, sweep them under the rug … those are the thoughts that need scrutiny.  I need to understand that fear thoughts are all equally destructive no matter how “big” or “small” because they choose for the ego.

Thankfully they are also equally unreal, but that takes time to fully trust and know.  That is the right use of time — to use it to unwind the dreaming mind, which leads naturally to awakening.

It will be hard at first to avoid making “artificial distinctions,” meaning I am so used to prioritizing some needs over others that what is obvious to me, e.g., not having a job is much worse and bigger than breaking a coffee cup, is going to have be undone in my mind.  Both are equally fearful in that they indicate the ego is doing the thinking when accompanied by distress at any level.  Here goes:

This thought about what am I going to eat for breakfast is not a neutral thought.
This thought about it being cold outside today is not a neutral thought.
This thought about having a vet give my cat an annual checkup is not a neutral thought.
This thought about getting all my work done by deadline is not a neutral thought because there are no neutral thoughts.

LESSON 16

I have no neutral thoughts.

The idea for today is a beginning step in dispelling the belief that your thoughts have no effect.  Everything you see is the result of your thoughts.  There is no exception to this fact.  Thoughts are not big or little; powerful or weak.  They are merely true or false.  Those that are true create their own likeness.  Those that are false make theirs.

There is no more self-contradictory concept than that of “idle thoughts.”  What gives rise to the perception  of a whole world can hardly be called idle.  Every thought you have contributes to truth or to illusion; either it extends the truth or it multiplies illusions.  You can indeed multiply nothing, but you will not extend it by doing so.

Besides your recognizing that thoughts are never idle, salvation requires that you also recognize that every thought you have brings either peace or war, either love or fear.  A neutral result is impossible because a neutral thought is impossible.  There is such a temptation to dismiss fear thoughts as unimportant, trivial and not worth bothering about that it is essential you recognize them all as equally destructive, but equally unreal.  We will practice this idea in many forms before you really understand it.

In applying the idea for today, search your mind for a minute or so with eyes closed, and actively seek not to overlook any “little” thought that may tend to elude the search.  This is quite difficult until you get used to it.  You will find that it is still hard for you not to make artificial distinctions.  Every thought that occurs to you, regardless of the qualities that you assign to it, is a suitable subject for applying today’s idea.

In the practice periods, first repeat the idea to yourself, and then as each one crosses your mind hold it in awareness while you tell yourself:

This thought about ______________ is not a neutral thought.
This thought about ______________ is not a neutral thought.

As usual, use today’s idea whenever you are aware of a particular thought that arouses uneasiness.  The following form is suggested for this purpose:

This thought about _____________ is not a neutral thought, because I have no neutral thoughts.

Four or five practice periods are recommended if you find them relatively effortless.  If strain is experienced, three will be enough.  The length of the exercise period should also be reduced if there is discomfort.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.