[acimlessons_list] Lesson 10 - January 10
sue at circleofa.org
Sat Jan 9 12:00:07 EST 2010
Lesson 10 - January 10
"My thoughts do not mean anything."
Purpose: To show you that all of your current thoughts are meaningless and
are, in fact, not real thoughts at all. Recognizing that you have been
preoccupied with nonexistent thoughts will pave the way for uncovering your
Exercise: 5 times, for 1 minute or so (no more; cut in half if you are
* Close your eyes and repeat the idea very slowly. Then add,
"This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe."
* Then search your mind for all available thoughts. Avoid
selection or classification, seeing your thoughts as an odd procession which
has no meaning to you. As each one crosses your mind say: "My thought
about_____does not mean anything."
Remarks: It is important to stand back from your thoughts and observe them
with detachment. Do not think of them as different from one another in any
real way. You might want to imagine you are watching a strange parade of
disorganized, meaningless objects. Another helpful metaphor (not mentioned
in the Course) might be to imagine that you are watching leaves float by on
Response to temptation: optional-whenever you have a distressing thought
Feel free to apply the idea to any upsetting thoughts you have throughout
the day, using the form, "My thought about_____does not mean anything."
Lesson 4 was, "These thoughts do not mean anything," and it promised the
exercise would be "repeated from time to time in somewhat different form."
Here is the first repetition, a very close parallel to the earlier lesson.
It explains that the reason the idea is true is that "all the thoughts of
which you are aware...are not your real thoughts." That is particularly
difficult to accept at first. How can my thoughts not be my real thoughts?
It explains that we don't have any basis for comparison <as yet>, but that
when we do, "you will have no doubt that what you once believed were your
thoughts did not mean anything." So once again the Workbook is asking us, to
a certain degree, to take this idea by faith for the time being.
A basis for comparison implies that before long we will experience our real
thoughts, and when we do, we will know that what we believed to be our
thoughts were not our real ones. It's like we've been eating carob all our
lives thinking it was chocolate. Once we taste real chocolate, we know that
what we've had until then was not chocolate; but until we have a basis for
comparison, we can only take our teacher's word for it.
The difference between Lesson 10 and Lesson 4 is in the first word: "<My>
thoughts" instead of "<These thoughts>." In addition, the lesson does not go
on to link the thoughts with things around us, as Lesson 4 did: "They are
like the things I see in this room." So the emphasis in this lesson is on
the thoughts themselves: "The emphasis is now on the lack of reality of what
you think you think."
The third paragraph points out the different aspects about our thoughts that
have been emphasized so far:
--they are meaningless
--they are outside rather than within
--they concern the past rather than the present
"Now we are emphasizing that the presence of these 'thoughts' means that you
are not thinking." This repeats the earlier concept that our mind is simply
blank. Before we can have vision, we have to learn to recognize nothingness
when we think we see it.
The exercises given make it clear that what the Course is talking about
closely resembles many Eastern meditation teachings. What is being
cultivated is a kind of detachment from our "thoughts," becoming "the
witness" or taking the position of an observer in regard to our thoughts. We
watch the thoughts as if "you are watching an oddly assorted procession
going by, which has little if any personal meaning to you." One book on
meditation I read (Stephen Levine's "Gradual Awakening," a wonderful little
book) used the analogy of watching a train going by, each car containing a
thought or set of thoughts. "Oh, there goes a thought of hatred! There goes
some worry. There is a carload of sadness." It also used the picture of
watching clouds floating by in the sky, with the expanse of sky being the
mind itself. Levine emphasizes that we do not let ourselves cling to any of
the thoughts or allow them to drag us along with them, but likewise we do
not push them away or resist them. If they are "meaningless," as the lesson
says, we need not respond to them at all.
As you do this kind of mental exercise you become aware of your mind as
something independent of the thoughts that appear to cross it. You
dis-identify with the thoughts. They lose their emotional charge for you.
The thoughts become less and less of a "big deal" to you. You begin to
recognize the vast expanse of mind in which these thoughts come and go, and
to realize that they have no effect on that "sky of mind" in which they
Notice in the practice instructions that the pace is stepping up a bit.
"Five practice periods are recommended" in addition to using the idea during
the day for any thought that distresses us.
The closing added thought can be helpful to reinforce our belief that what
we are doing is really worthwhile. We may need such reinforcement, since the
actual practice of the exercise may induce discomfort at times. It isn't
comfortable to repeatedly tell oneself that, "My thoughts do not mean
anything." It may seem demeaning. So reminding myself that, "This idea will
help to release me from all that I now believe," can be needful to
strengthen our motivation to do the exercises. The Workbook is cognizant of
how entrenched the ego is in our minds, and works with us very gently in its
attempts to dislodge us from our fixed position.
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