Genpo Roshi walks participants through a mini-version of the Big Mind process for a taste of how the technique works. Genpo Roshi (Dennis Merzel), an American Zen teacher, developed the “Big Mind Process” as a specific technique that merges Western psychological techniques (specifically Voice Dialogue therapy) with Buddhist conceptions of self and mind.
Big Mind Process Put to the Test
How does the Big Mind process compare with traditional meditation techniques? Here’s one research study that sought to find out.
Michael Johnson, a researcher at the University of Utah conducted and conducted a randomized clinical trial of Merzel’s Big Mind process. 28 participants with no prior formal Zen or meditation training, and compared for homogeneity received intensive interaction for 1 day with an experienced Zen teacher using a dialogue method to induce a deep meditative state without instruction in formal meditation sitting practice. The study used a number of well-established measures to examine changes in traits associated with subjective well-being, spirituality, and mindfulness. The questionnaires also included state measures based on meditation depth and both attention and consciousness using descriptive characteristics of subjective state.
A repeated-measures analysis of variance showed statistically significant differences between the treatment and control groups for all parameters measured. In addition, the meditative state measure suggested qualities consistent with deep meditation experiences.
An additional notable finding was significant change in the parameter of mindfulness as indicated by the FFMQ. The increase in this measure was partially unexpected as two of the four factor loadings, “act with awareness” and “observe,” are viewed by proponents of mindfulness training as requiring a more active and prolonged attentional training process than would be thought possible because of the short duration of the method used in the current study.
The conclusion of the research paper detailing this study states: “The combined results suggest that a Zen dialogue technique originated by Merzel (2007) is worthy of additional investigation and may represent the revival of more direct early enlightenment approaches that have largely been forgotten or ignored, especially within the framework of the more popular sitting meditation practices. The approach may also be more effective than many older rapid “pointing out instruction” methods because of the use of therapeutic techniques that are congenial to the more “self-oriented” modern Western mind. That such profound effects can be induced in a short time period implies the potential for enormous benefit for not only the spiritual development of individuals in general but most important for clinical populations where prolonged meditation-based interventions may not be practical.” (source: wikipedia)
Learn more about the Big Mind process.