All text and videos Copyright © Dennis Genpo Merzel.
May not be reproduced or used in any form (including translation) without written permission.
Part 1 — The Dysfunctional Company
Imagine your being, this very body-mind-spirit, as a company, like General Motors, Ford or I.B.M. You’re a company with many employees and not one single employee knows their job title, job description, what the product is, who the CEO is, and what is their function. To make matters worse each employee thinks that he’s the boss, the one in charge, and all the other employees are working for him.
Part 2 — Disowned Voices
What we can do with what I call the Big Mind process is learn how easy it is to shift perspectives. Each one of us has an infinite number of views. I like to say we have 10,000 states of mind. Now if a state of mind is out there in the world—like that of Christ or Buddha or Mother Teresa or Hitler or bin Laden—it is also in me. Every emotion that’s out there is also within me.
Part 3 — Owning Voices
So we need to find a way to own our disowned voices. Sometimes the way we find out how to voice a disowned aspect of ourselves is by listening to others who have not disowned it. I had a voice that was so completely disowned for so many decades that even when I knew it was disowned I couldn’t voice it. It was the voice of pleasure. I had disowned it when I had my first Zen opening in 1971. What I didn’t realize then is that when I had my first awakening I disowned a whole slew of voices. It’s like I fired half the company.
Part 4 — Awakening Voices
Not only do we have voices within us that have been disowned, but we also have voices that have never been owned. In other words, we have aspects within ourselves that have never been awakened. We’ve never opened the door and allowed them out, but they’re there. They’re as much there as anger or fear or jealousy or hatred or joy or pleasure are there. They are just as real. You have within you aspects in your self that go beyond the self, that transcend the self, such as the awakened mind—what I call “Big Mind,” or “Big Heart.”
Part 5 — The Point
By exploring Big Mind we learn to be fully functioning human beings capable of acting from places of true insight and love. And this is what it’s all about. All the Buddhist practices—sitting, Big Mind, and so on—are skillful means, all for the purpose of building character, consciousness, and awareness so that our functioning is coming from wisdom and compassion. This is really the point. It’s the point of Zen, it’s the point of Buddhism, it’s the point of all the great religious and wisdom traditions I know.
Part 6 — Guided Meditation
You can try the Big Mind process on your own. Begin by speaking from the series of voices in the manner described below. After you’ve completed the series once, you can use the much simpler technique described at the end.
Ask to speak to the voice of the Controller within you. Then identify as the Controller.