The idea for today is obviously the reason why your seeing does not affect you alone. You will notice that at times the ideas related to thinking precede those related to perceiving, while at other times the order is reversed. The reason is that the order does not matter. Thinking and its results are really simultaneous, for cause and effect are never separate.
Today we are again emphasising the fact that minds are joined. This is rarely a wholly welcome idea at first, since it seems to carry with it an enormous sense of responsibility, and may even be regarded as an “invasion of privacy”. Yet it is a fact that there are no private thoughts. Despite your initial resistance to this idea, you will yet understand that it must be true if salvation is possible at all. And salvation must be possible because it is the Will of God.
The minute or so of mind searching which today’s exercises require is to be undertaken with eyes closed. The idea for today is to be repeated first, and then the mind should be carefully searched for the thoughts it contains at that time. As you consider each one, name it in terms of the central person or theme it contains, and holding it in your mind as you do so, say:
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of this thought about ________
The requirement of as much indiscriminateness as possible in selecting subjects for the practise periods should be quite familiar to you by now, and will no longer be repeated each day, although it will occasionally be included as a reminder. Do not forget, however, that random selection of subjects for all practise periods remains essential throughout. Lack of order in this connection will ultimately make the recognition of lack of order in miracles meaningful to you.
Apart from the “as needed” application of today’s idea, at least three practise periods are required, shortening the length of time involved, if necessary. Do not attempt more than four.
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.