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Big Mind

Posted Aug 26 2008 4:29pm
Sitting with big souls, those who e e cummings called "Delectable Mountains," is certainly an invaluable, irreplaceable experience...but Youtube offers a decent second. It doesn't replicate what happens in the physical presence of great teachers and beings, but it can give you a hit, in addition to getting a different take on people who otherwise would only be known from their writing or from hearsay. (Ken Wilber is a good example of the benefits of online video: many, many people I've talked with have an image of him as an arrogant narcissist, derived from his books and sometimes just photographs. But seeing him speak on video, you get a much different picture, of someone with a deep compassion and wisdom often couched in a genuinely deep sense of humor and play. Here's an example .) People you would have had to travel to various mountain tops to meet, now you can Google-and-click in a few seconds. And as long as we are clear about the difference between video and face-to-face contact, I think the Youtubes of the world are extremely valuable. Of course, you can get lost in tracking down backflipping daschund videos, but all light casts a shadow.

So in this vein, I'd like to point your attention to the work of Genpo Roshi , abbot of the Kanzeon Zen Center (Salt Lake City), who has developed and is teaching what he's named the "Big Mind Process." Big Mind is an extremely clear example of the meeting of Buddhist insight/orientation and psychotherapeutic methods. It seeks to use what's called " subpersonality work," in the form of Hal and Sidra Stone's Voice Dialogue method, to allow you gain an experiential glimpse of the enlightened ("Big Mind") mind. The novelty of Genpo Roshi's approach is that, unlike the traditional muscular approach to ego that is taught in the Zen tradition, he intends to work with the different parts of the psyche, essentially acknowledging them and their value, and then asking them to step aside so that Big Mind might appear. In particular, the part of our mind that is charged with defense, the "Controller," is, like an actor on stage, asked to speak it's piece, and then move downstage to allow other parts, particularly the "non-seeking mind" to move upstage. His idea is that, since Big Mind is always already present (in Ken Wilber's term), and is characterized by non-striving, non-struggle, then having the striving parts of the psyche step aside allows its antithesis to be seen.

Whereas Voice Dialogue is about understanding and improving the relationships between our subpersonalities , Big Mind is about working with ego in such a way that it unlocks itself. You can find Genpo Roshi's demonstration of the process by clicking here (there are 11 clips in the series). Enjoy.

(Resources: Genpo Roshi ( Big Mind Process ); Hal and Sidra Stone ( Voice Dialogue Process ))
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