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PART I

LESSON 4. These thoughts do not mean anything. They are like the things I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].

These thoughts do not mean anything. They are like the things I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].

W-4.1. Unlike the preceding ones, these exercises do not begin with the idea for the day. 2 In these practice periods, begin with noting the thoughts that are crossing your mind for about a minute. 3 Then apply the idea to them. 4 If you are already aware of unhappy thoughts, use them as subjects for the idea. 5 Do not, however, select only the thoughts you think are "bad." 6 You will find, if you train yourself to look at your thoughts, that they represent such a mixture that, in a sense, none of them can be called "good" or "bad." 7 This is why they do not mean anything.

W-4.2. In selecting the subjects for the application of today's idea, the usual specificity is required. 2 Do not be afraid to use "good" thoughts as well as "bad." 3 None of them represents your real thoughts, which are being covered up by them. 4 The "good" ones are but shadows of what lies beyond, and shadows make sight difficult. 5 The "bad" ones are blocks to sight, and make seeing impossible. 6 You do not want either.

W-4.3. This is a major exercise, and will be repeated from time to time in somewhat different form. 2 The aim here is to train you in the first steps toward the goal of separating the meaningless from the meaningful. 3 It is a first attempt in the long-range purpose of learning to see the meaningless as outside you, and the meaningful within. 4 It is also the beginning of training your mind to recognize what is the same and what is different.

W-4.4. In using your thoughts for application of the idea for today, identify each thought by the central figure or event it contains; for example:

2 This thought about ___ does not mean anything.

3 It is like the things I see in this room [on this street, and so on].

W-4.5. You can also use the idea for a particular thought that you recognize as harmful. 2 This practice is useful, but is not a substitute for the more random procedures to be followed for the exercises. 3 Do not, however, examine your mind for more than a minute or so. 4 You are too inexperienced as yet to avoid a tendency to become pointlessly preoccupied.

W-4.6. Further, since these exercises are the first of their kind, you may find the suspension of judgment in connection with thoughts particularly difficult. 2 Do not repeat these exercises more than three or four times during the day. 3 We will return to them later.

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