Lesson 16 2021

Lesson 16

I have no neutral thoughts.

W-pI.16.W-pI.1. The idea for today is a beginning step in dispelling the belief that your thoughts have no effect. 2 Everything you see is the result of your thoughts. 3 There is no exception to this fact. 4 Thoughts are not big or little; powerful or weak. 5 They are merely true or false. 6 Those that are true create their own likeness. 7 Those that are false make theirs.

W-pI.16.2. There is no more self-contradictory concept than that of “idle thoughts.” 2 What gives rise to the perception of a whole world can hardly be called idle. 3 Every thought you have contributes to truth or to illusion; either it extends the truth or it multiplies illusions. 4 You can indeed multiply nothing, but you will not extend it by doing so.

W-pI.16.3. 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. 2 A neutral result is impossible because a neutral thought is impossible. 3 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. 4 We will practice this idea in many forms before you really understand it.

W-pI.16.4. 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. 2 This is quite difficult until you get used to it. 3 You will find that it is still hard for you not to make artificial distinctions. 4 Every thought that occurs to you, regardless of the qualities that you assign to it, is a suitable subject for applying today’s idea.

W-pI.16.5. 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:

2 This thought about _____ is not a neutral thought.
3 That thought about _____ is not a neutral thought.

4 As usual, use today’s idea whenever you are aware of a particular thought that arouses uneasiness. 5 The following form is suggested for this purpose:

6 This thought about _____ is not a neutral thought, because I have no neutral thoughts.

W-pI.16.6. Four or five practice periods are recommended, if you find them relatively effortless. 2 If strain is experienced, three will be enough. 3 The length of the exercise period should also be reduced if there is discomfort.


Yesterday, Jesus told us that we don’t really see with our eyes, but rather we use them to show us what we want to see. That is, our eyes were made to show us the images we make with our thoughts. This is how we made the world of illusion that we have come to think of as reality. There is something to see, something real, but we don’t see it with our eyes.

Today, he tells us that our thoughts are not neutral.

2 Everything you see is the result of your thoughts. 3 There is no exception to this fact.

We made this world with our thoughts, and we keep it in place with our thoughts. If we lost interest in the world and quit thinking it, it would disappear. Each thought we have contributes to the world we see with our eyes.

He emphasizes this when he tells us we have no idle thoughts. The true thoughts create in their own likeness and the false thoughts make in their likeness. Those are the only two categories of thought, true or untrue. Jesus goes on to tell us that we are always either bringing peace or war with our thoughts, that is, thoughts are never neutral and so what they bring forth is not neutral either.

These ideas are what convinced me to become vigilant for my thoughts. I watch my thoughts like a hawk and when I see untrue thoughts, what we call ego thoughts, I immediately look at them with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to correct my thinking. I have learned through doing this that I can change my experience of the world.

I don’t know if we ever change the story, though I suspect that if enough of us were to place our awareness on the truth about something, the story would change. That would seem to make sense to me since we made the world together and so we will undo the world together. What I do know for certain is that I can change my experience of the world by changing my thoughts about it.

I have had troubled relationships that were transformed overnight simply because I decided that I wanted peace of mind more than I wanted to be right. This happened at work more than once. At one time, I worked with a young man who seemed to get on my nerves no matter what he did, and he didn’t like me much either. I tried to change this relationship by changing how I spoke to him and by being helpful. I was trying to change it by working on the outward appearance. In other words, I was trying to change the image when I should have been changing the thought that made the image. It ineffective and very frustrating.

Eventually, I realized my error and I asked the Holy Spirit to help me with my thoughts, to correct them so that my mind was healed of the belief that this man was my problem. The Holy Spirit always responds to our appeals for help. The dislike, the anger and frustration that had been the driving force behind this relationship dissolved instantly. I said nothing to him about any of this, but the next morning he and I started talking to each other as if we were friends and we were. It was a beautiful example of the power of our thoughts.

One more thing that Jesus tells us is that fear thoughts are not neutral either. We should not dismiss them as simply being unreal. He says that it is essential we recognize them all as equally destructive, but equally unreal. So just because something isn’t real doesn’t mean it isn’t destructive. To see this just look at our nation. Both sides of the divide are driven by fear thoughts.

Some of you may be old enough to remember McCarthyism or have read about this era in history books. People were so afraid of communism that they allowed Senator Joe McCarthy to ruin the lives of perfectly innocent people in the name of protecting them. As A Course in Miracles says in Chapter 3, frightened people can be vicious.