One of the fabulous things about teaching yoga with YYoga is the opportunity to attend the weekly teacher development sessions they hold. The topics covered in these sessions are very diverse (from anatomy to philosophy to the Feldenkrais Method), and the trainings also provide the opportunity to connect with and learn from other teachers in the community.
I recently attended a session led by Lisa Gibson called Big Mind Meditation. While even my own understanding of the Big Mind approach is likely still limited, I offer an introductory sentence from their website:
The Big Mind Process, created by Zen Master Genpo Merzel, is a combination of Eastern non-dual wisdom and Western psychological understanding to transmit the essence of Zen in a way that is readily accessible and relevant to the modern day.
The Big Mind process that Lisa led us through involved engaging with different voices, or different aspects of our consciousness. She first asked us to put our named sense of our self aside (so imagine “Sarah” on the other side of the room), and asked to speak to “The Controller.” She then led us to develop our own sense of the voice of “The Controller,” as she asked about what we did, what our role was, how we helped our named self (in my case, Sarah) and how we hindered her.
Lisa then asked “The Controller” permission to speak with different voices. All Controllers in the room said yes, so she moved on to speak with The Skeptic, The Innocent Child, The Damaged Self, The Protector, Fear and a number of other voices.
(If I am losing you completely, this Wikipedia article outlines the technique with more depth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Mind )
One of the voices I was able to speak from with ease was The Seeker. I am very connected to my seeking self – to put it mildly. But, when Lisa shifted us from the voice of The Seeker to the voice of The Non-Seeker, I was stumped.
She asked the group of Non-Seekers questions about being a non-seeker, and I couldn’t answer because I couldn’t relate to not seeking. While I’m not always seeking things that are commonly lauded as things to seek, I’m always seeking. When I sit in meditation, I am seeking peace, insight and ease. When I sit on the couch and watch my favourite TV show (How I Met Your Mother), I am seeking laughter and light-heartedness.
I wasn’t the only person in the room who felt the lack of a non-seeking voice. A couple people commented on their struggle with the concept, and finally I said, “I don’t think I have a non-seeking voice.”
Lisa directed her attention to me and repeated, “I am speaking to the Non-Seeking self,” a few times.
And, then it hit me.
Only for a moment – maybe two, I was completely present.
I experienced a level of presence that I have never experienced before, and I realized that the non-seeking voice is only accessible when I am completely present. As soon as I start to reflect on the non-seeking voice, I am no longer in it because I am looking to the past.
My mind was metaphorically blown.
I usually have a sense of what my blog posts offer to people, but with this one, I’m not certain what – if anything – I am offering. I am still processing this mind-blowing, “Aha” moment of sorts, but my gut tells me there is something important here.
Maybe I’ll write about that next week…