[acimlessons_list] Lesson 16 - January 16
sue at circleofa.org
Fri Jan 15 13:05:47 EST 2010
LESSON 16 - January 16
"I have no neutral thoughts."
Purpose: a beginning step in learning that every thought has effects and
that each one produces either fear and war or love and peace.
Exercise: 4 or 5 times (3 if there's strain); for 1 minute each (reduce if
* Close your eyes and repeat the idea.
* Then search your mind for any thoughts present. Try to make
no distinctions among them. Try especially not to overlook any "little"
thought. As each thought crosses your mind, hold it in mind and say, "This
thought about______is not a neutral thought."
Response to temptation: whenever you are aware of an upsetting thought
Apply the idea to it using this specific form: "This thought about______is
not a neutral thought, because I have no neutral thoughts." The point is to
make you realize that, by entertaining this thought, you are actively
causing yourself fear.
That none of our thoughts are neutral could seem like a scary idea, but the
main intent is for us to realize how effectual our thoughts are. This is an
empowering idea, not a threatening one, unless we choose to see it that way.
"Everything you see is the result of your thoughts. There is no exception to
this fact." Like many of the ideas the Course presents, this one is
difficult to believe at first because we are so convinced that our thoughts
have nothing to do with most of the things we see. Just in case we let the
idea slip by, the lesson adds that there are no exceptions. True thoughts
create true things; false thoughts make false things, or illusions. There is
nothing to be afraid of here because only the true thoughts create
realities; false thought only make illusions.
No thought, however, is "idle." "What gives rise to the perception of a
whole world can hardly be called idle." Every thought in our mind is
producing <something> all the time, contributing to truth or to illusion.
The Course is a mind-training course, aimed at making us aware of our
thoughts and their effects, and getting us intimately involved in the
process of choosing which thoughts we want to occupy our mind and produce
their effects in the world around us.
We are asked to recognize that no thought is neutral, no thought does
nothing to affect the growth of truth or illusion. Every thought expresses
either love or fear; there is no in between. If I look at the way I treat my
own thoughts I can see the lesson is correct: I really do tend to sluff off
certain thoughts as unimportant and not worth bothering about. Every thought
is worth bothering about; all fear thoughts are equally destructive. <They
are also equally unreal> so that we need not be guilty about them.
Some students of the Course are quick to latch on to the "unreal" part but
very slow to acknowledge the "destructive" side; the Course always maintains
this balance. Just because something is unreal or illusory does not mean it
is unimportant and can be ignored! For instance at once point the Text says
that delay is impossible in eternity but is <tragic> in time. The Course is
not advocating an attitude of indifference to the world simply because it is
an illusion. Remarks such as, "AIDS? It's only an illusion" or "What
starving children; it isn't real" are not representative of the true spirit
of the Course, although you may hear them in some circles. If AIDS and
starvation are in our perception, the thoughts that manifest them must be in
our minds, individually or collectively, and therefore we are responsible
for healing those thoughts. But I digress from the lesson; time to step off
the soap box.
The lesson is pointing out that no thought can be dismissed as trivial, and
no thought is neutral. As you practice the lesson there will be some
thoughts that will easily be seen to be "not neutral." If someone steals
your car it is fairly easy to acknowledge that your thoughts about it are
not neutral. But if you are thinking of which breakfast cereal to eat it is
a bit more of a stretch to believe that, "This thought about 'Wheaties' is
not a neutral thought," that it is expressing either love or fear. Believe
it; it is. As the instructions say, do not "make artificial distinctions."
The mind is like a light bulb, which is either on or off and never in
between; our minds are expressing fear or love, and never something in
between, never both, and never nothing.
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