While my blogs usually garner some feedback, last week it was crickets. July 4th? Maybe. Maybe not. Time travel is the neural norm so questioning it can be pretty uncomfortable. Don’t worry about how that all went. The seed is planted. And, according to my parenting almanac, a seed planted in the mind today germinates in about four years - so water it from time to time and be patient.
This week's lesson #4 is in upsetting the judgement program. We do this by setting life’s events and experiences to neutral. Though I learned this strategy in the school of hard knocks, it was a game changer.
Years ago, I had some health issues and that led me to adopt a very ‘clean’ (hear the judgment there) lifestyle. I imposed it on everyone around me. It was all consuming. I even made a business out of it. And it worked great for a long while. But then it didn’t. A plateau. Something we all experience in our ventures to self improve, out-run time, and cheat death.
But how can there be a plateau in healthy eating? This makes no sense. If something is healthy it should always be healthy. Instead of really taking this on, Socrates style, we kick the can.
Our solution, when the tried and true yields diminishing marginal returns, is to go harder, get more extreme - make more money, lift more weights, take more drugs. In my case, I delved deeper into food, mood and nutrition. Blessedly, the net result of my deep dive was total confusion. There was (is and will be) no agreement. I was looking for concrete answers in a sea of ever changing opinions. The only constant I found was chaos. Everyone was an expert and all were looking at the same treatment, food, nutrient, supplement, etc.. and seeing different things - all of which was supported by completely contradictory scientific results.
Out of all this confusion came clarity. I realized that what determines the value of any ‘thing’ is simply our interpretation of it. In reality, nothing is inherently good or bad. Nothing has any intrinsic meaning or value. Everything just is. What we do with that blank canvas is up to us.
The function of the brain is to process incoming stimuli. It relies on breaking down data into digestible dichotomies of good and bad, right and wrong, easy and hard. The result is snap judgements, which are arbitrary, based on very little data, and constantly changing. To us, though, they seem fixed, well founded and defensible, but don’t be fooled. Their ever changing nature makes them false because by definition what is true is always true.
Much like presence was not part of the time program, truth is not part of the judgment program. To me that makes the only question really worth asking is 'is this true?'. We all want truth. We all want healing we can rely on but both are a pipe dream while this program is intact.
My efforts to heal post cancer, highlighted that food had always been addiction in my life. Healing at first seemed to be taking that minus and turning it into a plus. But moving from one end of the addictive spectrum to another only served to keep the addiction alive, not heal it.
When food finally failed, I was actually relieved. I knew there had to be another way. This opening led me to ACIM. Through it I have learned what I always knew to be true, that no outer ‘thing’ is the cause or the solution to what ails us. Eventually everything external - a workout, a pill, a diet, a purpose, a paycheck - will cease to bear fruit, by design, so we can go within. If we don’t catch the judgment program, we will hold on to external ‘cures’ past their prime, double down instead of let go, and end up in an addictive cycle.
Setting everything to neutral is a way to challenge our ‘instinctual’ (i.e. learned, programmed) responses. This trains our brain to separate perception from interpretation, thought from emotion and fact from fiction. In doing so we become less reactive, impulsive and dis-eased.
Are we ever done? Not likely. Brain training is a constant practice here on earth. Every day my judgement program triggers and tries to run amok and as often as I can remember I set it to neutral. Catching programs is a game I play with my brain and it makes me smile. Without the unfettered distraction of literally labeling my life there is peace, and this is the required condition for true healing.
Lesson 4: Neutralize your Brain
In life, it is not our circumstances that cause us pain but the interpretation of those circumstances. It is time to uninterpret.
Whenever your peace is disturbed, no matter how slightly…
1) Notice what or who you are judging?
- Getting divorced is bad, staying together is good - Divorce is neutral
- Eating croissants is unhealthy, yogurt is healthy - Food is neutral
- Getting fired is bad, working is good - Getting fired is neutral
- I got a bad grade - Grades are neutral
- I gained weight - Gaining weight is neutral
2) Note that none of these judgements above is true. Believing something doesn’t make it objectively true, it just makes it subjectively true for you.
3) Neutrality must apply to everything not just some things or the program will have exceptions to the rule which keep it intact.
4) Note the feeling that you have when you neutralize your life.
5) If you are having trouble setting anything to neutral, or your peace remains disturbed, look at what you are judging and say, “I could have peace instead of this”.
Ultimately, the choice for peace is yours. Enjoy it!
PS: I know this question will come up so I will address it.
Q: If food is neutral, can’t I just eat anything I want whenever I want?
A: You can but there will be no peace or healing in it. You will end up repeating and deepening a cycle. Lasting peace comes from changing your brain, not from changing your behavior.