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When you are afraid of anything, you are acknowledging its power to hurt you.

Remember that where your heart is, there is your treasure also. This means that you believe in what you value.

If you are afraid, you are valuing wrongly.

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Course in Miracles
Original Edition
Workbook for Students
Part 1
Lesson 17
I see no neutral things.
1 This idea is another step in the direction of identifying cause and effect as it really operates. 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 really 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.

2 In applying today's idea, say to yourself, with eyes open:

3 I see no neutral things because I have no neutral thoughts.

4 Then look about you, resting your glance on each thing that catches your eye long enough to say:

5 I do not see a neutral _____, because my thoughts about _____ are not neutral.

6 For example, you might say:

7 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.

8 As usual, it is essential to make no distinction between what you believe to be animate or inanimate, pleasant or unpleasant. Regardless of what you may believe, you do not see anything which is really alive and really joyous. That is because you are unaware as yet of any thoughts which are really true and therefore really happy.

9 Three or four specific practice 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 practice period may be reduced to less than the minute or so which is otherwise recommended.
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Course in Miracles
Original Edition
Chapter 2
The Illusion of Separation

II. The Reinterpretation
of Defenses
par 18-35
18 When you are afraid of anything, you are acknowledging its power to hurt you. Remember that where your heart is, there is your treasure also. This means that you believe in what you value. If you are afraid, you are valuing wrongly. Human understanding will inevitably value wrongly and, by endowing all human thoughts with equal power, will inevitably destroy peace. That is why the Bible speaks of "the peace of God which passeth (human) understanding." This peace is totally incapable of being shaken by human errors of any kind. It denies the ability of anything which is not of God to affect you in any way.

19 This is the proper use of denial. It is not used to hide anything but to correct error. It brings all error into the light, and since error and darkness are the same, it corrects error automatically. True denial is a powerful protective device. You can and should deny any belief that error can hurt you. This kind of denial is not a concealment device but a correction device. The "right mind" of the mentally healthy depends on it. You can do anything I ask. I have asked you to perform miracles and have made it clear that miracles are natural, corrective, healing, and universal. There is nothing good they cannot do, but they cannot be performed in the spirit of doubt.

20 God and the Souls He created are completely dependent on each other. The creation of the Soul has already been perfectly accomplished, but the creation by Souls has not. God created Souls so He could depend on them because He created them perfectly. He gave them His peace so they could not be shaken and would be unable to be deceived. Whenever you are afraid, you are deceived. Your mind is not serving the Soul. This literally starves the Soul by denying its daily bread. God offers only mercy. Your words should reflect only mercy because that is what you have received, and that is what you should give.

21 Justice is a temporary expedient or an attempt to teach man the meaning of mercy. Its judgmental side arises only because man is capable of injustice if that is what his mind creates. You are afraid of God's Will because you have used your own will, which He created in the likeness of His own, to miscreate. What you do not realize is that the mind can miscreate only when it is not free. An imprisoned mind is not free by definition. It is possessed or held back by itself. Its will is therefore limited and is not free to assert itself. The real meaning of "are of one kind," which was mentioned before, is "are of one mind or will." When the will of the Sonship and the Father are one, their perfect accord is Heaven.

22 Denial of error is a powerful defense of truth. You will note that we have been shifting the emphasis from the negative to the positive use of denial. As we have already stated, denial is not a purely negative device; it results in positive miscreation. That is the way the mentally ill do employ it. But remember a very early thought of your own—"Never underestimate the power of denial." In the service of the "right mind," the denial of error frees the mind and reestablishes the freedom of the will. When the will is really free, it cannot miscreate because it recognizes only truth.

23 False projection arises out of false denial, not out of its proper use. My own role in the Atonement is one of true projection; I can project to you the affirmation of truth. If you project error to me or to yourself, you are interfering with the process. My use of projection, which can also be yours, is not based on faulty denial. It does involve, however, the very powerful use of the denial of errors. The miracle worker is one who accepts my kind of denial and projection, unites his own inherent abilities to deny and project with mine, and imposes them back on himself and others. This establishes the total lack of threat anywhere. Together we can then work for the real time of peace, which is eternal.

24 The improper use of defenses is quite widely recognized, but their proper use had not been sufficiently understood as yet. They can indeed create man's perception both of himself and of the world. They can distort or correct depending on what you use them for.

25 Denial should be directed only to error, and projection should be reserved only for truth. You should truly give as you have truly received. The Golden Rule can work effectively only on this basis.

26 Intellectualization is a term which stems from the mind-brain confusion. "Right-mindedness" is the device which defends the right mind and gives it control over the body. "Intellectualization" implies a split, while "right-mindedness" involves healing.

27 Withdrawal is properly employed in the service of withdrawing from the meaningless. It is not a device for escape, but for consolidation. There is only One Mind.

28 Dissociation is quite similar. You should split off or dissociate yourself from error but only in defense of integration.

29 Detachment is essentially a weaker form of dissociation.

30 Flight can be undertaken in whatever direction you choose, but note that the concept itself implies flight from something. Flight from error is perfectly appropriate.

31 Distantiation can be properly used as a way of putting distance between yourself and what you should fly from.

32 Regression is an effort to return to your own original state. It can thus be utilized to restore, rather than to go back to the less mature.

33 Sublimation should be a redirection of effort to the sublime.

34 There are many other so-called "dynamic" concepts which are profound errors due essentially to the misuse of defenses. Among them is the concept of different levels of aspiration, which actually result from level confusion. However, the main point to be understood from this section is that you can defend truth as well as error and, in fact, much better.

35 The means are easier to clarify after the value of the goal itself is firmly established. Everyone defends his own treasure. You do not have to tell him to do so because he will do it automatically. The real questions still remain. What do you treasure, and how much do you treasure it? Once you have learned to consider these two questions and to bring them into all your actions as the true criteria for behavior, I will have little difficulty in clarifying the means. You have not learned to be consistent about this as yet. I have therefore concentrated on showing you that the means are available whenever you ask. You can, however, save a lot of time if you do not extend this step unduly. The correct focus will shorten it immeasurably.
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Sarah's Workbook
Lesson 17
I see no neutral things.
Sarah's Commentary:
This Lesson continues to look at the relationship between what you think (cause) and what you see (effect). The truth is that people, objects, and events outside of ourselves are not the cause of our reactions. What we see is determined by our thoughts. What we see and experience are the effects of our thoughts. We project what we are thinking and believing onto people, situations, and events in the world. Now we see our thoughts reflected there. Yet we don’t realize the cause of everything we see starts in our own minds. We think the world is the cause of how we feel, and we see ourselves as the effect. Thus, we feel like a victim of this world and helpless in the face of events, people, and circumstances acting on us.

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Love and blessings, Sarah

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Allen Watson's
Workbook Commentaries
Lesson 17
I see no neutral things.
Allen's Commentary:
Allen Watson joined Robert Perry to form the Circle of Atonement in 1993 in Sedona, Arizona where Allen led retreats and workshops and authored many books based on “A Course in Miracles.”

One of his most popular books is: A Workbook Companion: Vol I and II.

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