Lesson 16 & 17: I have no neutral thoughts

Lesson 16: I have no neutral thoughts.
Lesson 17: I see no neutral things.

Muttering under my breath, I scowled at the article I was reading. How could that imbecile have been made president! How could so many people in that country think he was good! The world had gone mad. It has no sense of right or wrong, good or bad. What happened to people’s common sense!

Gayatri bought the steaming coffee and placed it on the table. But neither the sight of it nor its fragrance brought a smile to my face today. I looked up and saw my wife look at me with a curious smile on her face. “What happened today? You look upset,” she asked, before picking up her phone.

“What nonsense policies that man produces? Wants to build walls and separate people. Now he is trying to keep students away! There is no sense in anything he does.” I picked up the coffee and sipped it. As its warmth slid down my throat, I felt my temper cool down a bit.                                 

“Say no more, Shankar,” she said. “I read it too. But I still don’t know why you get so bothered with international news.”

I muttered some more under my breath. “How do I not react to this! All calm is knocked out of my head when I read something like this! It is difficult to not judge someone like him or be neutral about something like this. I am a professor for God’s sake! I don’t know how you can be so neutral to this.”

“I am not neutral. I simply choose not to react. You can’t be neutral. No one can be neutral. Every thought you have will bring either peace or war. Love or hate,” she whispered.   

I loved how Gayatri steered me into conversations that examined the mind. She was so wise. Sometimes I hated her wisdom. Sometimes I loved it. Today I was neutral. But wait, she was saying I cannot be neutral. I looked at my wife and waited for her attention. Seeing I was in the mood for a conversation, she put down her phone and looked at me.

“What do you mean I can’t be neutral? I am neutral about many things. Including your choice of a maid for our home.”

“Ah. You are not and you know it. If you really were, you would have not mentioned it,” she chuckled. I scowled. “It is true,” she continued. “Just think about it. We have no neutral thoughts. Whatever we look at, we can never look at it without a previous judgement. Just look around you. Everything is good or bad, useful or useless, colourful or plain, painful or joyous. There is an adjective, a judgement you can attach to anything and everything. That is what thought does. It is responsible for what you see and how you see it. It is never neutral.” Saying this Gayatri picked up her phone, leaving me to muse on what she had just said.

At first it felt like a whole load of nonsense. As I sipped my tea and swallowed my resistance to her words, it seemed to make sense. I thought about what she had said, and I was not neutral about it. It made me feel something. I looked around me. Good chair, useful slipper, dirty dustbin, intelligent wife. Be it people or things, I do not see anything neutrally. “Where did you read that?” I asked her as I kept the empty cup down and picked my phone again.

“A Course in Miracles,” she said with a wink.

Ah that book. She was a changed woman since she began reading it. I picked up the phone and resisted an urge to scowl again as I saw the still open website with the news I had been reading. I am glad I had no neutral thoughts about that man! Fool!

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