ACIM Lesson 17 I have no neutral thoughts.
II see no neutral things.
ACIM Lesson 17
I see no neutral things.
1. This idea is another step in the direction of identifying cause and effect as it really operates in the world. ²You see no neutral things because you have no neutral thoughts. ³It is always the thought that comes first, despite the temptation to believe that it is the other way around. ⁴This is not the way the world thinks, but you must learn that it is the way you think. ⁵If it were not so, perception would have no cause, and would itself be the cause of reality. ⁶In view of its highly variable nature, this is hardly likely.
The Thought Always Comes First
By now you are probably not surprised that we see no neutral things because we think no neutral thoughts. If you are like I was, however, you probably need a lot of practice in order to accept this as true or accept it as true all the time. The temptation is to see something and then believe you have thoughts about it. I see someone acting badly and then maybe have judgments about that person based on their behavior.
That’s not really the way it works, though. In actuality, the thought always comes first. If we expect bad behavior, we will find it. If we want to see bad behavior outside ourselves, then we will. You might wonder why anyone would want to see bad behavior in someone else. To understand this, we must remember that the world was made as a place to project our guilt. We feel safer when we find someone or something to blame instead of ourselves. So, that is our motivation.
The problem with this kind of thinking is that we keep the cycle going in this way. We expect bad behavior and so we see it. We think about the bad behavior and so we see more bad behavior. We are always either adding to the problem or the solution. So, the way to end this cycle is to see bad behavior, realize that on some level we have asked for this, and then to choose differently. Instead of judging and seeing guilt, recognize it as a call for love and give love instead.
2. In applying today’s idea, say to yourself, with eyes open:
²I see no neutral things because I have no neutral thoughts.
³Then look about you, resting your glance on each thing you note long enough to say:
⁴I do not see a neutral _____, because my thoughts about _________ are not neutral.
⁵For example, you might say:
⁶I do not see a neutral wall, because my thoughts about walls are not neutral.
⁷I do not see a neutral body, because my thoughts about bodies are not neutral.
3. As usual, it is essential to make no distinctions between what you believe to be animate or inanimate; pleasant or unpleasant. ²Regardless of what you may believe, you do not see anything that is really alive or really joyous. ³That is because you are unaware as yet of any thought that is really true, and therefore really happy.
4. Three or four specific practice periods are recommended, and no less than three are required for maximum benefit, even if you experience resistance. ²However, if you do, the length of the practice period may be reduced to less than the minute or so that is otherwise recommended.
Even the Good Stuff?
Did it come as a surprise to you that even the pleasant things are to be looked at as well? I always wanted to look at only the bad stuff and resisted looking at the good things. But as Jesus tells us, we don’t see anything that is really alive or really joyous. This is because at this point in the lessons, we are not yet aware of our true thoughts and so not aware of our happy thoughts.
I was thinking about this phenomena and how it must be true even if It is not immediately obvious to me. So, I thought about my computer since I am using it right now. I really like my computer for many reasons and appreciate it for the uses I have given it. But it was expensive and I know one day I will have to replace it. This puts a damper on my happiness. Sometimes something goes wrong and I have to call the techs and I dread that. Ah, another damper on my happiness. OK, I can imagine this is true about all things in the world. So, let’s just do the lesson as instructed and trust our Teacher.
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