S1, E 24, Lesson 16: “I Have No Neutral Thoughts”

Welcome, my friends to Episode 24 of “A Course in Miracles for Social Justice Activists.” My name Is Mike Rivage-Seul and I’m your host for this series.

Today’s central teaching in Lesson 16 of A Course in Miracles Workbook for Students is “I have no neutral thoughts.”

Before we get to that, let me remind you that my podcast’s approach to ACIM is different from most interpretations. As seen in Episode 3, it’s taking the position that A Course in Miracles ‘authorship, literary form, historical context, language, and content all indicate that Jesus’ revelation there was intended not primarily for humankind as a whole, but for North Americans living specifically in the belly of the beast of the U.S. system of white supremacist, capitalist, imperialist patriarchy that is waging a war (i.e., attacking) the world’s non-white poor majority. ACIM’s overall appeal is to stop the attacks.

Put otherwise, ACIM implicitly recognizes that our world is engaged in a bloody class conflict in which we must take sides. We’re either on the side of the poor or the world’s aristocratic oppressors. Neutrality is impossible. And since our world is shaped by white supremacy, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy, those who claim to be neutral end up on the side of the dominant aristocrats. Not to decide – not to take sides – is to decide in favor or the given order.

With all of that in mind, here are the most salient assertions of Lesson 16 which is the focus of today’s episode:

  • Everything you see is the result of your thoughts.
  • Every thought you have brings either peace or war
  • Therefore, none of your thoughts are neutral or idle.
  • Instead, they are either true or false.
  • Peaceful thoughts are true and come from love.
  • Warlike thoughts are false and come from fear.

Please pause over those assertions and see if they resonate. Even if they don’t, nonetheless, give them serious and prayerful thought.

Personally, I can think of no better commentary on this lesson than the famous “Twin Verses” from the Buddhist Dhammapada.  I learned them years ago from my meditation teacher, Eknath Easwaran who recommended spending even up to half an hour going slowly over the verses’ words:

Of course, you don’t need to go that far today. But please give them serious thought anyhow.

Here they are:

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: we are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfish thoughts cause misery when they speak or act. Sorrows roll over them as the wheels of a cart roll over the tracks of the bullock that draws it.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: we are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy whenever they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.”

Please try to recall today’s ACIM teaching throughout the day: Remember, neutrality is impossible in this life characterized by class conflict. In questions of war and peace, you must take sides. If you refuse to do so, you’ve already taken the side of the imperial warmongers who are driven by fear rather than love.

It’s the goal of A Course in Miracles to have our every thought, word, and deed driven by love.

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Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog

Emeritus professor of Peace & Social Justice Studies. Liberation theologian. Activist. Former R.C. priest. Married for 45 years. Three grown children. Six grandchildren.

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