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.
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.
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.
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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