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.
That 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.
I love this lesson because it tells us so much about the power of our thoughts. It is because of this lesson I became earnestly vigilant for my thoughts. It is easy to dismiss our ego chatter, the constant barrage of idle thoughts that cross our mind all the time, and to think of them as unimportant. I know I used to. I told myself they were just nonsense because they didn’t matter to me and because I didn’t seem to be directing them.
But Jesus says that there are no idle thoughts. He says these thoughts give rise to the perception of a whole world. Yesterday we learned that our thoughts are images we have made. And today, Jesus is telling us that ALL our thoughts make these images we think of as our world. He says that everything we see is the result of our thoughts and that there are no exceptions to this this. The first time I truly understood the import of this, I was stunned!
I also became afraid of my thoughts, and felt guilty when I began to pay attention to those thoughts and realized what I was doing. That is the natural ego response, designed to keep us stuck in the ego world of guilt and fear. After awhile, the Holy Spirit helped me to see that I am always innocent and that guilt is not real, just another effect of the separation idea.
He tells me all the time that guilt is never helpful and I am to let it go. What helps is to notice the thoughts that are forming this world we think of as real, but to look without guilt. He says that I should just notice, realize how my thoughts are making these images and decide if that is what I want to keep doing, or do I want Him to correct these thoughts.
Here is something else that came as a surprise to me. There are no neutral thoughts. This means there are no neutral results. Every thought I have is bringing either peace or war, love or fear. Every thought. This helped me to understand that I was measuring my thoughts in error. I was thinking that some thoughts were important and some not, some were especially bad and others meaningless.
But now I understood that all of that was not relevant. Either the thoughts are real or they are unreal. That is the only criteria that I can use to measure them. The question I now ask myself is this; is this thought making the world I see a more loving world, or is it adding to the ego world of fear? If it is a fear thought, it needs to be turned over to the Holy Spirit for correction rather than dismissed as unimportant.