IDLE THOUGHTS

Published in Miracles magazine (Jon Mundy, publisher).

by Celia Hales

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, W-16.2:1-2)

You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, thus tacitly condoning your mind’s miscreations.  (ACIM, T-2.IX.5:6)

You who have so filled your mind with senseless wanderings and thoughts that think of nothing that is real, rejoice that there is a way to end this chaos.  (ACOL, C:5.2)

It is a decision to choose to discipline the mind in each moment, to teach only Love, to hold only loving thoughts, and to recognize that there is no such thing as an idle thought, since each thought or perception held in the mind immediately generates your experience.  (WOM, Lesson 20, Page 239)

            When we let our “monkey mind” (as they say) rule us, we are lost indeed.  We recognize that what we focus upon tends to materialize.  And when we lapse into idle thoughts, Jesus is telling us that we are veering off track in a major way.

            I often say Jesus’ words almost as a mantra when my busy mind won’t slow down, “You are much too tolerant of mind wandering.”  I say this when I am trying to go to sleep, and just can’t quite drift off.  But the actual damage begins during daylight hours, when we focus on things that are substandard and not worthy of us.  These substandard things come to pass because even social scientists know that a self-fulfilling prophecy is at work here.

            We might best remedy this situation by a deliberate attempt to bring mindfulness into our daily round.  In my estimation, mindfulness means deliberate action, not necessarily slow, but definitely not rushed.  I find mindfulness most often in the kitchen.  (We all have our favorite places, and cooking is a hobby of mine.)  Actually, mindfulness is necessary in every situation.  It is easier than meditation, for in mindfulness we can give our minds something to hold on to, the actions that we are undertaking.  Meditation, at least traditionally, is particularly hard to practice if we are frenetic Westerners.

            But meditation has its place, and stilling the mind, letting the heart speak, is healing.  We certainly aren’t letting idle thoughts rule us when we are meditating. 

            Listen to Jesus’ words, said in all of his best-known channeled works.

            Let him speak to us, and our mind will slow down enough so that we listen with our heart.  Idle thoughts will diminish, peace will reign.

No Idle Thoughts

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“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. (W-16)”

Affirmation: “May I stop my mind wandering today.”

Reflections:

1 – Mind Wandering

I have been guilty of mind wandering, and this mind wandering does form illusions that, on some level, have a form of their own. These are idle thoughts that are actually not “idle” at all. We need to stop such displays whenever they occur. Just saying “Stop!” can do more than might be thought.

2 – Essence of Salvation

Jesus would not have us destroy our good mind with images of illusions. We live in a dream, at least until the real world is seen, but to us this world is quite real already. How can we navigate through this world best? We need to ask for guidance. We cannot do it alone, nor should we. The best advice that Jesus gives is included in the Manual, when he recommends giving up judgment to follow the guidance that comes to us. This alone will save us. It is the essence of salvation.

3 – Misuse of Time

Perhaps we all might recognize that mind wandering and “idle” thoughts are a misuse of our good time. We need to live well in this world, and we usually only succeed in scaring ourselves when we indulge in such fantasies. May we drop this foolishness from our repertoire of emotions today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for guiding me to the understanding that following Your guidance is the only way to live a life well. And I do try, though often I fall on my face. Help me to pick myself up and try again. Always to try again.

May I understand and act on the guidance that comes to me as it unfolds. May I never substitute ego-oriented thoughts, emotion-drive thoughts, instead of what is really best for myself as well as everyone I touch. May egoic thought die in me. Thank You for having the patience to show me the way when I am capricious and headstrong. Such attitudes have no place in my communion with You. I know this, and I pray to act upon this knowledge today and every day.

Amen.

Leave Off Fantasies and Obsessions

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“. . .[T]hese are the basic rules of the art of thought:  First, to experience what is and to acknowledge what is, both as a fact of your existence as a human being and as a gift of the Creator.  Second, to acknowledge the relationship inherent in the experience, the call for a response, and the nature of all gifts as being given to all.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.19)”

Affirmation:  “May I create rather than ‘make.'”

Reflections:

1 – Abstract Passage

This passage is not easy to understand because it is so abstract.  We, who so recently have been of the ego-mind, are used to concrete terms, and Jesus leaves out concrete terms when he channeled A Course of Love, especially the Treatises and the Dialogues (the latter two volumes of this trilogy).  What can we make of this difficult passage?

2 – House of Truth

We need to recognize solely “what is,” which is another way of saying that we will not be lost in illusions or in dreams any longer, but will dwell in the House of Truth.  We will not fool ourselves about what we are experiencing, lost in fantasies that bring only fleeting pleasure.  We will not be lost in fantasies at all.  Neither obsessions.  We will confront what is before us with wide-open eyes, not in the physical sense, but with the inner eye.  The Self/Christ within will be our lodestone.

3 – All Gifts Are Given to All

All gifts are given to all, not at the same time, but eventually.  We know that all gifts are shared, and that we are not “special” in any sense at all.  Or,  conversely, we are all special, but specialness is an attribute that A Course in Miracles downplays.  We are not actually special in that we possess anything that others do not also possess on some level.  Right now gifts seem to vary among people, but this will not always be the case.  In eternity all is shared; all gifts are shared.

4 – A Call for Response

What we experience calls for a response from us.  And this response practices the art of thought.  We do not feel a responsibility for others, to do for them what they can do for themselves, but we do respond when they are in need.  The need is, after all, only temporary, for all needs are met immediately.  It is only wants that are not always answered, and perhaps that would not be a good thing.  The solution is always with the problem.  We need not fear.  God is within, answering our every need.  And from this point of certainty, we respond to Him and to others.  We give of ourselves in this transaction, and we are not fearful in the giving.  We know that giving and receiving are one.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would try to experience, directly, what is–not what I might wish for in fantasies or obsessions.  What is, is the art of thought in one of its main components.  Thank You for the clarity that today’s passage gives to this new concept.  May I take it unto my heart and walk a clear pathway back to You, a clear path with clear vision to see my way.

I have gifts, and this is not ego.  So does everyone else.  And these gifts right now vary, but ultimately all gifts will be shared with each other.  And there is no ego in this.  I need to be all that I can be for my brothers and sister, and I ask Your help to keep my Christ/Self perking away, with the go ever-withering, disappearing entirely.

Thank You for the benefits that Jesus has pointed out to us in A Course of Love.  May I comprehend with my wholeheartedness, and may my mind no longer try to dominate my heart.

Amen.