Monday, June 29, 2009

Big Mind, Little Mind and Reality

There are different terms used to describe the dynamic between Big Mind (i.e., the true self, Atman, witnessing conscience) and Little Mind (i.e., the ego, monkey mind, chattering mind) and that which is real. "Reality" is a vast blank slate from which seemingly limitless data is derived. It seems that Big Mind is usually one step removed from perceiving reality directly. This one step is Little Mind, the commentator on reality. Big Mind can choose to perceive reality directly but tends to use the Little Mind as an intermediary. It is a question of what Big Mind chooses to focus its attention on. Big Mind can focus on reality itself or on the often distracting Little Mind. This dynamic suggests that Little Mind is not all bad as seems to be the rap that Buddhism gives it (at least as far as I understand it). It suggests that Little Mind exists as a helper for Big Mind so perhaps there is some useful role for Little Mind to play. However, for most of us (I assume) this relationship is out of balance. Big Mind has abdicated too much of its role to Little Mind. Put another way, Big Mind is sleeping and Little Mind is running the store.

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