The idea for today is another step in learning that the thoughts which give rise to what you see are never neutral or unimportant. It also emphasises the idea that minds are joined, which will be given increasing stress later on.
Today’s idea does not refer to what you see as much as to how you see it. Therefore, the exercises for today emphasise this aspect of your perception. The three or four practise periods which are recommended should be done as follows:
Look about you, selecting subjects for the application of the idea for today as randomly as possible, and keeping your eyes on each one long enough to say:
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of how I see ________
Conclude each practise period by repeating the more general statement:
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.
A minute or so, or even less, will be sufficient for each practise period.
This idea is another step in the direction of identifying cause and effect as it really operates in the world. You see no neutral things because you have no neutral thoughts. It is always the thought that comes first, despite the temptation to believe that it is the other way around. This is not the way the world thinks, but you must learn that it is the way you think. If it were not so, perception would have no cause, and would itself be the cause of reality. In view of its highly variable nature, this is hardly likely.
In applying today’s idea, say to yourself, with eyes open:
I see no neutral things because I have no neutral thoughts.
Then look about you, resting your glance on each thing you note long enough to say:
I do not see a neutral ________ , because my thoughts about ________ are not neutral.
For example, you might say:
I do not see a neutral wall, because my thoughts about walls are not neutral.
I do not see a neutral body, because my thoughts about bodies are not neutral.
As usual, it is essential to make no distinctions between what you believe to be animate or inanimate; pleasant or unpleasant. Regardless of what you may believe, you do not see anything that is really alive or really joyous. That is because you are unaware as yet of any thought that is really true, and therefore really happy.
Three or four specific practise periods are recommended, and no less than three are required for maximum benefit, even if you experience resistance. However, if you do, the length of the practise period may be reduced to less than the minute or so that is otherwise recommended.
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 recognising that thoughts are never idle, salvation requires that you also recognise 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 recognise them all as equally destructive, but equally unreal. We will practise 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 dosed, 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 practise 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 practise 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.