The Power of Neutral Thinking

My daughter is learning to drive! Here in Spain, where we live, manual shift cars are the norm, so she’s had to come to terms with gears!

And I’ve been pondering the ‘power of neutral’

– especially as the same analogy came up in a great book I’ve been reading recently by Richard Dotts.

Here’s the thing, and of course this goes for automatics too; if you’re in reverse, in order to move forward, even very slowly, you’ve got to pass through neutral first.

Which had me thinking about moving through life and emotions. And about how hard it is to ‘think positive’ when you are in a rage, or sad, or worried, or whatever negative emotional state you are stuck in.

So, this is really difficult:

Think negative  →  Think positive


Try it! If you can. And see how forced it feels, what an effort it requires and how it doesn’t last for very long at all.


But add this extra step and everything changes:

Think negative → Think neutral…….and eventually → Think positive
☹️😐 →→ 😃


Now what do I mean by ‘think neutral’?

It’s a sort of ‘nothing’ state, almost a vacuum.
I may be thinking, but the thoughts are neither positive nor negative.

Like sitting in the car, ‘idling’ the engine. Not moving but not switched off either. The engine is still running, I’m still poised and alert – kind of suspended where I am.

Give it a try now.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself there, in this ‘white’, neutral space.

As thoughts crowd in (and they will) just label them: ‘Negative thought’ (thought taking me backwards), ‘Positive thought’ (thought taking me forwards) or Neutral thought (right here, right now, no feelings attached.)

Stay there for a few minutes. Allow yourself to experience 'neutral'.

And then – and this is where the magic happens –

see if you can detect a subtle ‘Mona Lisa’ smile, a hint of feeling good. Do not force it, that would be going into reverse again. Just wait.

Because, as we all know, ‘Nature abhors a vacuum’ and

nature, the Universe, God, if you like, is all about growth, about creation and expansion.

And given just a tiny opening, that’s what wants to flow in. Naturally. Without us having to do a thing. And boy, it feels good!

As Shakespeare said: ‘There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.’

Allow yourself to use the power of neutral to move from one to the other – it’s a force to be reckoned with.


I’d love to know what ‘neutral’ feels, looks or sounds like for you. Let me know in the comments below – or email me at

Comments 5

  1. Tina T
    October 7, 2019

    Great spin on the topic of being present or in the now Jenny. There is something safe about the idea of being neutral versus being present.

    1. admin
      October 8, 2019

      Thanks for your comment Tina. Yes, I agree on the feeling of safety it produces. I also find it’s actually a very easy way to get to feel present. 🙂

  2. Elaine H MacDonald
    October 7, 2019

    Jenny, this is BRILLIANT! I love the analogy (I learned to drive in a ’52 pickup truck – so this is very familiar territory) Not only do we have to move from Reverse through Neutral into gear, but we need to go through the lesser gears to get up to cruising-speed on the highway of life. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.

  3. Sarah Funk
    November 26, 2020

    I love this! Thank you!

    1. Jenny Clift
      November 28, 2020

      I’m so glad Sarah – thank you so much for commenting. <3

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