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Small Mind vs Magnanimous Mind

Published on 10/04/18
by randy

The small mind is drawn into believing ‘it knows’.  The big mind accepts the vast mystery and is always curious and is respectful of the wisdom, “New shit comes to light” (The Big Lebowski):

“When you do judo, you’re working with the energy of the person.  If you want to go in a certain direction, you wait until the energy of the other person goes that way, too.  If it doesn’t, you wait awhile, knowing that change happens.  As the Dude says, ‘New shit comes to light’, and when it does, you’ll pick it up again.  We wait for the grain to go in the direction we want to go, and then we move with it.  But new shit keeps coming to light, things keep on changing, and we run into another knot in the wood.  So we wait again.  We have a little patience.”  (from The Dude and the Zen Master, p. 99)

The small mind is drawn into action without the patience to get more information and without the humility to know it doesn’t know.  When we draw conclusions from our reactive ego minds we dramatically run the risk for causing harm.  The small mind holds the thought (belief) that we are separate from the vast interconnection of the universe.  It’s insensitive to the damage caused from the wake of our thoughts and actions.  Locking into fixed beliefs, approaching things from our ‘knowing mind’, we engage in our attempts to change things long before the ‘grain’ is going in the direction we want to go.  The magnanimous mind comes from a spiritual guiding light that’s deep within all of us.  Our spiritual teachers have all directed us to ‘wake up’ to this.  The delusion that we’re separate drives our violence.  Our belief that we ‘know’ feeds our pride.  Our lack of patience feeds our wars.

Small minds are susceptible to other small minds who preach fear and greed.  Fear and greed lead us to actions causing harm.  When we ‘think’ we know we’re no longer open to honest, collaborative communication.  We place demands on our enemies before we’ve come to the place of open, active listening for understanding.  Frozen in our thoughts of ‘rightness’, we’re doomed to failure.  Real communication, dialogue, commands that all parties temporarily suspend their beliefs of ‘rightness’, of knowing.  We can only see how the grain goes in the direction we want to go when we move to the bigger, magnanimous mind that recognizes how everything affects everything and nothing disappears.

Today, the small mind seems to be gaining strength.  We don’t seem to learn from the tragic mistakes made from the impatient minds who’ve led us to such destructive behavior.  We went to Vietnam, lost close to 60,000 Americans alone, let alone all the destruction and loss of life to the Vietnamese people.  At over 80, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, came to see how the entire premise for the war was a mistake.  A more patient big mind would have come to see that the war was not about democracy vs. communism; it was a civil war.  ( from the movie The Fog of War).  We repeat this with our military conflict in the Middle East.  Almost every authority on the region advised against it,  loudly proclaiming that once we go in we’ll never get out.  Yet, our small minds lacked patience to get accurate information and we engaged in war before letting ‘new shit come to light’.  The American populace was sold on the slogan, “Liberate Iraq”.  Today, we have a strong contingency of government leaders who believe the US is responsible for the world.  They’ve locked into their notions of ‘rightness’ and seem to have little regard for the harm caused from this fixed belief.  The magnanimous mind would recognize the tremendous value of the rest of the world’s population before making unilateral decisions.

Today we stand on the brink of another potentially disastrous military action without having all the information and without imploring a conversation with the rest of the planet’s leaders.  Our sense of justice and ‘rightness’ has many asking for military action against the Assad regime for use of chemical warfare.  Assumptions are made that it was Assad, yet many other world leaders have motive to get Russia and the US into a continued, economically draining military conflict.  The small mind is drawn into the illusion that there will be a winner.  The magnanimous mind waits, allows the grain to go in the spiritually driven direction, and the illusion of our separateness diminishes.  The foolishness of greed and fear is the new shit that comes up.  The Law of the Universe that speaks to our interconnection is presented and we clearly see how when we hurt another we hurt ourselves.  This only comes to light when we use ‘common sense’ to waking up to a bigger, magnanimous mind.

This ‘waking up’ comes through a variety of experiences, whether spiritual practice or the fully surrendered experience in music, sport, etc.  Many of our astronauts have had this experience and a new National Geographic program has captured their ‘big mind’ realizations as they experience the fragility and oneness of the planet.  In a day where the vast majority of TV programming speaks to opinion and division, this show implores us to be more careful in our actions, to see how what we ‘thought’ was true is not, and to carry a deeper sense of stewardship toward one another, toward this amazing experience on earth we’ve been given.  For sure, our small mind will never settle down.  It’s always wanting a fixed answer.  Certainly, religions and political parties feed on this.  Corporations do their part to ‘sell’ their knowing.  

This isn’t a plea for the empty, ignorant mind.  A bigger mind is always looking to what we know for now, making decisions guided from the premise of ‘not causing harm’.  Yet, it never loses it’s curiosity.  The small mind is closed.  The big mind is open.  Perhaps that would be a better way to label our political and/or religious affiliation.  The current polarization from limited language and labels is broken, frozen in action to the rapidly changing planet.  When we recognize we are each other, we all breath the same air, all want our children to grow up in safety and stewardship to one another and the planet, the folly of trying to change one another to our small minds dissipates.  And then real collaboration and communication can grow.

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