I have no neutral thoughts.
Prompted by today’s lesson, I wanted to know just how many non-neutral thoughts we actually do have in a day, hour, and minute. If you research online the number you will most likely run into is 70,000 thoughts per day. That breaks down to 3,000 per hour and 50 per minute, with, thankfully, one thought getting just over a second of our attention. As I was in my first practice period for the day, I was betting that I had more than a thought a second as I found myself rapidly repeating, “This thought about _______ is not a neutral thought.” Thus, this statistic I found online put my monkey mind at ease as just over a second per thought gives me at least some reprieve. If our thoughts create the image we see, today shows us how quickly this happens, and leads us deeper into the journey of correcting the habitual chain of reacting we seem to be in.
“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 (ACIM Lesson 16 2:1-2).”
In Yoga theology there is the idea of becoming aware of the space between the thoughts. It is finding that space that is a tad over a second long, just before the next thought begins. It is the same as being aware of the space between the inhale and exhale; the exhale and the inhale. This is an example of how our breath and our thoughts go hand in hand. We begin to slow down to the speed of awareness and “recognize that every thought [we] have brings either peace or war; either love or fear. A neutral result is impossible because a neutral thought is impossible (ACIM Lesson 16 3:1-2).”
The idea that our numerous thoughts bring either peace or war, or, love or fear can sound discouraging but it is anything but. The good new is that we have a choice and when we slow down to the speed of awareness, that moment between thoughts is our moment of choice. Although our thoughts may not be neutral, our reaction to them and our experience of them can be.
We have used the example before in Lesson 10 that our thoughts are like clouds that pass through the sky. This same analogy can be used today except with an example that a thought is as arbitrary as a color,
*This thought about writing is not a neutral thought. This thought about writing is like seeing a blue cloud cross the sky.
*This thought about wronging someone is not a neutral thought. This thought about wronging someone is like seeing a pink cloud cross the sky.
*This thought about not being worthy is not a neutral thought. This thought about not being worthy is like seeing a yellow cloud cross the sky.
The thoughts I have may not be neutral but I can experience it as various colors of clouds that pass through the sky not getting attached to any but just enjoying the shapes that pass along the infinite blue sky behind it. Do I want to focus on the clouds or the infinite blue sky? Again, there is choice. If we focus too much on the cloud we go into the story, we go into reaction, and thus we overlook the opportunity that lies between each thought.
Another piece of good news is that even if we choose the opposite of truth, illusion, there is still no harm:
“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 tend it by doing so (ACIM Lesson 16 2:3-4).”
If we take our own knowledge of the rules of multiplication that we learned in school, (yes, some things we learned as children to assimilate to this world can actually be the exact knowledge to help us deconstruct the world to see only Truth), we recall that anything multiplied by zero is zero. We can multiply any number we can think of until we are blue in the face but, still, it will be zero. It does not extend to a greater number, it merely stays at zero. Such is the same with our thoughts of illusion, they cannot multiply in the ether. We are free to keep thinking them but we will still get zilch, in the end. On the other hand, thoughts of truth are like multiplying 5 times 5 or 10 times 10, the number just gets bigger and bigger. The numbers extend as truth extends. I never cared too much about math when I was learning the times tables but seeing it in the light that illuminates truth, that is an enlightened math I can get into.
Leave no stone unturned today in the practice period. Let any and all thoughts come up. Watch with awareness the rapidity and for the moments of choice. We will have more practice with this concept in days to come so just get used to the idea and try not to get too bogged down.
Finally, feel empowered by your steps in this walk of miracles as you recognize the power that lies within your awareness and choice. And just to add another point, if you are created in Her likeness, the only choice you have is love. Thus, welcomes the idea of the choiceness choice. This is where the walk gets really interesting, as though it isn’t already.
As we close today, I leave you with a quote by Jim Carrey.
“You will only ever have two choices: love or fear.
Choose love and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.”
Here’s to multiplying…