Essential Spirituality Inner vision Insight Meditation Integral Meditation Meditating on the Self Meditation techniques

Connecting to Your Big Mind

Dear Integral Meditators,

Where is your mind? In your body, in your brain, somewhere else? The article below offers a meditators perspective!

In the spirit of the Big Mind,


Connecting to Your Big Mind (Is the Mind in the Body or the Body in the Mind?)

A contemporary, conventional view of the mind is that it is inside our body, most often the assumption is that it is in the brain. Our mind sits in our brain, and if we can just figure out our brain, then we will be able to figure out our mind. Right?

The Big Mind
If you have been meditating or practicing mindfulness for a while you will notice that there are times when your mind and energy seem to become open, spacious, almost limitless, transcending the mere experience of your physical body and brain. Even if we are not meditators we will have experienced times where our present moment experience seems to transcend our physical body and brain; perhaps when in love, when in the presence of a beautiful sunset, when we have experienced a profoundly moving work of art, or during a dreaming experience.
In Zen the awakened mind or mind of enlightenment is sometimes called the ‘Big mind’; an experience of a formless, timeless beingness that is without limitation, beyond time, beyond the body and brain,  and beyond the conceptual mind.

The body in the mind
From this point of view our body, and indeed the physical world and universe all exist within the limitless space of our Big Mind. So rather than our mind being in our body, our body is actually contained within our mind! Our brain is seen as a filter that filters out all of the infinite information contained within the Big Mind, enabling us to function operationally as an individual human being in the physical world. If you think about your brain as a computer, and the Big Mind as like the internet, this gives you an idea; the computer helps you to find the information you need from the internet, filtering it out from all the other information on the net.

An Exercise: Experiencing your body and brain in your Big Mind
Sitting quietly, imagine your mind becoming as big as possible; expanding our beyond your body and brain, out into the landscape around you, up into the sky and stars above you, and down into the earth beneath you. Let it become as big as you can, enter into the Big Mind experience. Then think about your body and environment as being contained within your Big Mind; everything you sense, think of and experience is all contained within your Big Mind; it is the context in which everything else is experienced.

Why does this matter?
Spending a period of time each day relaxing into your Big Mind can really change the way in which you experience yourself, your life, your challenges and your joys. Instead of being stuck in your body, you gain access to a bigger, stabler identity that enables you to experience the ups and downs of your life with stability, lightness, creativity and humour.

A final point; your small mind and small life still matters, and looking after it is still important, it’s just that it is contained within a bigger, more spacious identity and context!