Genpo Roshi - "Big Mind" - A Process For Dealing With Our Selves
Former American Zen Master Dennis Merzel aka Genpo Roshi developed the "Big Mind" process which builds on the insights of traditional Zen practise and the Voice Dialogue therapy developed over many years by Drs Hal & Sidra Stone.
It doesn't take too much self awareness to recognise that we are quite complex and that the totality of what we conventionally refer to as "my self" is an amalgam of many different aspects of our "self" which are also know as "sub-personalities" or "selves".
Big Mind emerged from Genpo Roshi's experiences with Voice Dialogue Therapy
"Until we understand the workings of our mind in unwanted moments, the only thing that can change for us is who or what will be blamed the next time we run into a similar event." [Guy Finley]
Drs Hal and Sidra Stone have developed Voice Dialogue therapy over the past 40 years and one of the main insights of this approach is that not only are we made up of many "sub-personalities" but more critically we identify and acknowledge some of these and reject or deny others.
From a therapeutic context the Stones came to see that an over-identification with some selves and rejection of other selves creates imbalances within us which are often reflected in our resistance to certain situations and certain people and especially to change.
Genpo Roshi spent many years working with the Stones and began to see potential applications of Voice Dialogue for zen practice.
Those who choose to follow the traditional Zen path will spend extensive periods of time in "zazen" - sitting meditation - to train their minds to stop thinking and quieten down.
They will also engage in the study and contemplation of "koans" or riddles [normally in the form of a sentence or short story] designed to challenge the practitioner.
Koans cannot be resolved via logic or "left brain" thought processes and their sole purpose is to drive the practitioner- in a sense quite literally - "out of their mind" and into a place of realisation of transcendent states of consciousness.
Having worked with the Stones over a number of years, Genpo Roshi came to realise that their process of accessing and giving voice to the selves (especially the denied or disowned selves) could be adapted to allow non Zen practitioners access to transcendent states and to do so more on less on demand.
Genpo Roshi explaining the "Big Mind" process
As noted and discussed in my article "Hardware reasons why we think the way we do", the neurological impact of traditional meditation techniques take a very long time as all of these practises involve literally a reprogramming of the brain to achieve a balanced brain state.
Experiencing Genpo Roshi's Big Mind Teaching
My personal experiences of Genpo Roshi's Big Mind
As with everything I am recommending to you on this site, I use Genpo Roshi's process regularly and find it very simple and very powerful and you can read about this in my article "Big Mind experiences"