Three Instances & Soul

I facilitated a Big Mind session today, and it is always so beautiful to explore segments of this vast terrain with someone else. We both go through the process together, so we both benefit from it – just as with Breema and other practices.

Some of the voices we explored: controller > judgment (fear with discernment and the critic) > discernment > wisdom > soul

Three Instances

When we explored wisdom, what came up was that the self (of the person I worked with) does not trust wisdom when it comes up. She seeks wisdom outside, and uses that as a way to give voice to the inner wisdom, but even then only or mostly gives credit to the outer wisdom.

As we went along, I thought of the Byron Katie inquiries where we sometimes look at three instances, from our own life, where a particular turnaround is true. So I used this at the end of exploring wisdom, asking for three instances – in the last few days, where wisdom has come out. And she had no problem finding them, which was a great relief to her. It showed how wisdom is there, even when she does not recognize it or assign it to an outer source.


Over the last couple of weeks, the topic of the soul has come up over and over. The soul, that part of us that continues between physical lives. That part of us which is the middle ground between our human self and Big Mind. That part of us that give a sense of deep fullness, meaning, purpose, direction, guidance, and – yes, soulfulness, to our lives.

That part of us that is so emphasized in Christianity and other traditions, yet often left out by Zen and other Buddhist traditions – including by the standard Big Mind process. Luckily, the Big Mind instructors (the small number of them) encourage us to explore other voices, including those appropriate to other traditions and worldviews.

So we went to the soul at the end of the Big Mind process. Even as the name had been spoken, we both sensed how the atmosphere in the room changed immediately. There was a very strong presence of the soul, and it is very different from any other voice I have experienced.

What was very clear was the fullness of it and continuity. The sense of no separation from anything, yet of distinctness. The sense of it being impersonal, yet intimately personal. The sense of essence. And for me, the deep sense of nurturing and of coming home.

The reason it is left out of Zen is probably because it can distract us from full awakening, to realize selflessness and the ground awakening – Big Mind. But leaving it out also leaves out an essential source of deep nourishment and guidance.

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