ACIM Lesson 16 I have no neutral thoughts.
I have no neutral thoughts.
ACIM Lesson 16
I have no neutral thoughts.
1. The idea for today is a beginning step in dispelling the belief that your thoughts have no effect. ²Everything you see is the result of your thoughts. ³There is no exception to this fact. ⁴Thoughts are not big or little; powerful or weak. ⁵They are merely true or false. ⁶Those that are true create their own likeness. ⁷Those that are false make theirs.
We are learning some important facts about thoughts in this lesson. I’m glad this is so since everything we see is an out picturing of our thoughts. We need to understand thoughts and how they work.
What We Have Learned About Our Thoughts
Let’s review what we have learned thus far about thoughts.
- We have already been told that there is a difference between our normal thoughts which are not real and the thoughts we think with God.
- Our typical thoughts, the thoughts we think we think, are meaningless.
- We are preoccupied with past thoughts and this is the reason we don’t understand anything.
- Our meaningless thoughts are showing us a meaningless world which upsets and scares us. This is so in spite of the fact that God did not create a meaningless world. We definitely need to do something about our thoughts.
- Thoughts make the images that are the world we see with our eyes.
- And now, we are told that in spite of the fact our thoughts are meaningless, they are not neutral.
It makes sense, though that they are not neutral when we remember that they make up our world whether they are true or not. The strong implication here is that we need to watch our thoughts and change those that give us effects we do not prefer.
No Idle Thoughts
2. There is no more self-contradictory concept than that of “idle thoughts.” ²What gives rise to the perception of a whole world can hardly be called idle. ³Every thought you have contributes to truth or to illusion; either it extends the truth or it multiplies illusions. ⁴You can indeed multiply nothing, but you will not extend it by doing so.
Again, we see that all our thoughts matter, even those we don’t take seriously. When I read that there are no idle thoughts, I was shocked and at first, overwhelmed. But then, I buckled down and renewed my commitment to staying aware of my thoughts. I did this so that I could forgive the ones that were leading me into fear and choose more often those that lead me into love.
No Neutral Results
3. 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. ²A neutral result is impossible because a neutral thought is impossible. ³There 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. ⁴We will practice this idea in many forms before you really understand it.
It is easy work, really, even though I experienced a lot of resistance at times. It seems that I was attached to many thoughts that were keeping me on the battleground. Also, I often cared more for being right than being happy. Many of my thoughts took me directly into fear and that called for defensive thoughts. When that happened, I would be right back on the battleground. But in spite of all this resistance, I was able to shift my thinking.
I understood that my thoughts were the cause of everything I experienced and how I interpreted the experience. Another important understanding was that all thoughts contribute to my experience, not just some of them. I realized that every thought either brought me peace or war. With this knowledge, I had what I needed to change my thinking. I just had to keep practicing until thinking with God became more natural to me than thinking with the ego. I am still finding ideas that lead to fear, but now it is easier to choose again.
4. 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. ²This is quite difficult until you get used to it. ³You will find that it is still hard for you not to make artificial distinctions. ⁴Every thought that occurs to you, regardless of the qualities that you assign to it, is a suitable subject for applying today’s idea.
5. 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:
²This thought about _________ is not a neutral thought.
³That thought about _________ is not a neutral thought.
⁴As usual, use today’s idea whenever you are aware of a particular thought that arouses uneasiness. ⁵The following form is suggested for this purpose:
⁶This thought about ____________ is not a neutral thought, because I have no neutral thoughts.
6. Four or five practice periods are recommended, if you find them relatively effortless. ²If strain is experienced, three will be enough. ³The length of the exercise period should also be reduced if there is discomfort.
It Took Some Practice
I have to laugh when I think of my earlier attempts at this lesson. My mind was typically chaotic with thoughts. But when I closed my eyes to search for them, they seemed to disappear. It was very frustrating especially since in those early days I was over concerned with the form of the practice. I was afraid of getting it wrong. Little did I know that I would have years to practice watching my mind and that I was going to accomplish my goal as long as I kept trying.
Now watching my mind is such a strong habit that I don’t even have to think about it. It’s also easier because typically, it is not as chaotic as it used to be. It is quieter now, and a happier more peaceful place as a result of doing these lessons. And it is not because I did them perfectly because I never did accomplish perfection. It doesn’t seem to matter. The desire to awaken from this dream of separation ensures that we will as that desire becomes our single goal.
To enjoy the Pathways of Light Insights on ACIM Lesson 16 click here.
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