What is “Thisness? What is Big Mind?

(Dialogue with a student) I believe that I have on occasion had a pure big A Awareness experience and felt suffused with well-being and serenity. It seems to me that this is not a thought but a state of mind.

Actually, it is neither thought nor state. It is IS-ness, or THIS-ness, it is “what is” and nothing can describe it. If there is something our minds can grab, then for sure, that it is not IT. Also, be careful about the idea of well-being. For even when we are feeling like crap, there is full Presence, full Awareness, always, at all times.

The Knowing of Awareness "informs" whatever it is we are experiencing. So, whether happy or crappy, this "sense" of Presence/Awareness somehow allows greater acceptance of "what is," but this does not mean a diminishment of the emotion/feeling tone. Indeed, it might even be an enhancement/strengthening while simultaneously releasing into it rather than resisting/grasping/pushing. So, we are learning how to "allow," so-to-speak, whatever is arising in this moment.

I have asked myself what is the meaning of “well-being.” I’m convinced that one cannot teach “well-beingness” but rather can share skills and practices that set the stage for emotional and spiritual health along with a subjective feeilng that is well-being - and perhaps is big A Awareness. 

I would say that "well-being" has an inherent confusion dependent upon the way each person defines what it means to them. One might think that it is a peace of mind, an emotional balance, a settling of the gut, and so forth, however, the problem with these ideas is the implicit goal orientation, which is self defeating, by definition. We simply don't agree with these definitions, and thus, the subjectiveness of the feeling opens up Pandora's Box.

So, I agree, that we cannot "teach" well being. But we can learn how to recognize the difference between small mind (mochin d'katnut), which is our everyday mental state of grasping and avoiding, it is our regular busy mind, and big mind (mochin d'gadlut) which is actually non-dual, without a subj-obj, and is the closest to Awareness/Presence we can know.

The key here is in the idea of "recognition," for we essentially believe that we are always in small mind. We need to learn how to see that this is not true. Then we need to learn how to infuse our lives with opportunities to dwell for shorter or longer periods in big mind, without making effort to do so. This is the training of effortlessness, which begins with a bit of effort; of goal-less-ness, which beings with a bit of goal orientation. This is tricky (and fun). It is what we teach.

From a gestalt perspective, could this be absolute contact between self and environment? Free of all interruptions.

If we can take "self" out of it, then there is no need for "contact," –thus eliminating implicit dualism. Interruptions are a function of the self, which dwells in time. The Absolute does not dwell in time, it is timeless. Thus, Big Mind dwells in absolute timelessness while Small Mind gropes to try to figure things out.

One crucial point here: do not fall into the trap of assuming that big mind is good and small mind is bad. This is huge mistake. We think we want to be free from interruptions, living perfectly calm, tranquil lives, perfectly "peaceful." Wrong! The so-called interruptions are what life is about. Small Mind is how we think!

Thinking is a fabulous gift, when used well. It is a torture, when not. So what! This is the way life is. The point here is not to act as if we can dwell continuously in big mind, rather it is to discover the essence of Awareness as the Ground of Being. In this sense, knowing the Ground, then we can deal with all figures that arise and fall away with much greater skill. We don't avoid life, we enter it even more fully, with greater vitality, because we have a new appreciation of the vastness and clarity of the Ground/Awareness/Presence.