News Travels, Even Among Thoughts

The play Privacy. News travels, even among thoughtsAt one point, the Pharisees and teachers of the law requested to see a sign from Jesus. This illustration was part of his response.

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45, New International Version)

In my mind, it is as if Jesus is saying “What would be the point of my performing a sign? It’s not like it would do this wicked generation any good in the end.” But the claim Jesus made that news travels, even among wicked spirits, went unchallenged by the Pharisees and teachers of the law.

News travels, even among thoughts

In the days of Gunsmoke (see earlier post), Dodge City, Kansas was hardly the only town in the region. Great Bend was (and still is) about 80 miles away. Hays City (now just Hays) was about 100 miles away. I can clearly see in my mind’s eye the various villains, outlaws and no-goods of the region, commiserating in a saloon in Great Bend. One of them says “That <expletive> Dillon ran me outta Dodge City!” Another one says “Oh, I wouldn’t let that discourage you. I believe there’s some opportunity here for a man of your…talents.” Talents such as gun fighting, horse stealing, cheating at cards, etc. News travels, even among villains, outlaws and no-goods.

A Course in Miracles teaches that the very idea of private thoughts is an unidea, non-well-formed, gobbledygoop:

“I have no private thoughts. Yet it is only private thoughts of which I am aware. What can these thoughts mean? They do not exist, and so they mean nothing. Yet my mind is part of creation and part of its Creator. Would I not rather join the thinking of the universe than to obscure all that is really mine with my pitiful and meaningless “private” thoughts?” (Lesson 52 (review of Lesson 10), Workbook for Students)

I don’t know if this is really true, but I have a picture in my mind’s eye of thoughts comparing notes with each other, looking for minds in which they might be welcome. Just as the villains, outlaws and no-goods compared notes regarding how welcome they might be in various Kansas towns. News travels, even among thoughts.

I realize that some people may not see what I see in my mind’s eye. But the idea of the spreading of thoughts has been around for a while. The English biologist Richard Dawkins coined the word “meme” in the 1970’s to describe a thought-complex that commandeers a mind to assist in its propagation. It is similar to the way a virus commandeers a cell to assist in its propagation.

American poet Mary Oliver wrote that “news travels, even among foxes, as you might know, or not know.” I realize I’m not being exactly precise in what I’m saying about thoughts, memes and impure spirits. But I’m here to tell you that news travels, even among thoughts. Why am I here to tell you that news travels, even among thoughts? Because I haven’t said everything I have to say about the Prodigal Son.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Get The Hell Outta My Mind

Dodge City, Front Street, 1870 Get the hell outta my mind The longest running prime-time television series of the 20th century is the American television series Gunsmoke. Gunsmoke was set in Dodge City, Kansas (shown above) in the 1870’s, during the settlement of the American west. The phrase “Get the hell outta Dodge” has entered the American vocabulary. It was the signature admonition of US Marshal Matt Dillon to the various outlaws, villains and no-goods who came to Dodge City.

Get the hell outta my mind

I am writing this because of a meditation practice given in the book Steps to Knowledge. Specifically, the practice was part of Step 142 (of 365), “I will be consistent today.” Parts of the study of the step are two 30-minute meditation periods. The following is part of the instructions.

“In your two meditations, practice keeping your mind steady and focused, allowing it to settle into itself so that it may experience its own nature.”

I believe I followed the directions. What did I get? I saw in my mind’s eye a picture of an episode of Gunsmoke. There were law-abiding citizens in the town, like Dr. Galen “Doc” Adams, blacksmith Quint Asper, and Sam Noonan, bartender at the Long Branch Saloon. There were also various law-breakers who came to town for various reasons. The rule of law was not a well-established concept in that place and time. US Marshal Matt Dillon did his best with fists, guns and wits. He protected the law-abiding citizens. He kept the peace in Dodge City. He observed the law-breakers. He arrested them from time to time. He demonstrated to them in various ways that it might be good to get out of town. Some of the more violent law-breakers ended up in Boot Hill Cemetery. The rule of law was stronger when he left.

Dr. Galen "Doc" Adams, played by Milburn Stone. Get the hell outta my mind

Who are the law-abiding citizens? They are the helpful thoughts, or thought forms or practices. The thoughts that encourage me to exercise a little more. The thought forms that remind me to write that thank-you note to the person who did me a kindness. The thoughts that prompt me to contribute to the world. The practices that spark my soul to build more stately mansions.

Bruce Dern on Gunsmoke. Get the hell outta my mind

Who are the law-breakers? They are the debilitating thoughts, thought forms and practices. The voices that promote obsession, transgression and imbalance. The practices of confusion, judgment and projection of blame. The thoughts that generate the feelings of discouragement, depression and guilt.

Marshal Matt Dillon. Get the hell outta my mind

Who is the Matt Dillon of my mind? For better or for worse, it’s me. Marshal Dillon didn’t have jurisdiction over other towns. It’s not my place to say anything about the thoughts of other people. It is my place to protect the helpful thoughts. It is my place to observe the debilitating thought forms. It is my place to arrest them and tell them to get the hell outta my mind.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.