In October 2008 I attended my first Big Mind retreat in Salt Lake City. Ken Wilber had talked about Genpo Roshi’s Big Mind practice as a major breakthrough in teaching Zen to Westerners. I was intrigued, and given Ken’s endorsement my wife Carolyn Silk and I decided to have a look.
During that week both of us were very impressed and moved by Genpo Roshi’s Big Mind teaching. Both Carolyn and I were recently retired. Carolyn as COO of Ratcliff Architects, a 100 person Architect firm and myself as Western Director of the National Football League Players Association, the NFL players’ labor union immediately saw the viability and applicability of the Big Mind process to business and sport.
In this regard my first significant experience and insight during the week was that not only do we humans have myriad ‘voices’ or aspects of the self (the 10,000 facets on the diamond) and the self may be a fiction, but most importantly, we have the capacity and can choose to move in and out of our various voices at will (presuming we are aware enough at any moment to make that choice).
What struck me about this realization in relation to sport training is that consciously ‘getting into’ an appropriate voice during training or competition would enhance performance and awareness itself. What I mean by appropriate voice, for example, would be a weight lifter accessing his or her voice of “strength” or “power” while a long distance runner could access “endurance.” Both athletes could access the voice of “effortless-effort.”
If asked of many athletes, “what was going through your mind while you were engaged in your sport, say in training or competing” their response would be, “I don’t know, just lots of thoughts.” The exception is when athletes report dropping into the zone. This is a state of ‘no mind’ when the athlete is fully present in the present, in fact IS the present flow of events.
What this means is most athletes have not been taught the importance of their ‘inner game’ or proper mindset. Other than the classic coaching shibboleths of focus, concentrate, and be tough, for example, athletes are typically not taught HOW to focus, concentrate, or be tough, not to mention taught voices or aspects of their selves that would be appropriate for their sport. Using the Big Mind process optimally teaches HOW to access and fully experience the quality and power of a particular voice.
Former NFL Professional Football Player
Western Director , NFL Players Association (Retired)
Author of Out of Their League
The simple and effective yet profound Big Mind process gives readers the opportunity to awaken to the experience of their own True Nature, Ground of Being or Ultimate Reality. It is open to people of all spiritual traditions and paths. Anyone can do this. I highly recommend Big Mind to all who wish to integrate their regular everyday selves with their unborn, undying, infinite nature and in so doing to realise that they have never been apart.
David Keizan Shoji Scott Sensei
Pres., Uechi-Ryu Karate Association, UK, 6th Dan
author of The Elements of Zen