Little Mind is your personal thinking. It is the thinking that you grab onto and identify with; the subjective, biased thought that occurs to you and results in your own unique view of reality.
Big Mind is…well…it’s not that. It’s something else; something a little less personal and a little less ‘yours’. It’s thinking that arises within you that’s more pure, with a little less of your own particular spin. It’s closer to what we might refer to as wisdom or insight than personal, human thought.
Little Mind and Big Mind—or personal thinking and wisdom—are always at work. Both are always there and you’re tuned into each to varying degrees.
Little Mind produces that internal dialogue that you consider ‘you’. It’s the bossy, easily distracted one that likes to talk a lot. Big Mind produces new thought and guidance, some of which is experienced as a stroke of insight or a flash of wisdom and much of which is experienced as common sense or nothing special.
Because it’s so chatty, Little Mind usually speaks first. And because Little Mind sounds like ‘you’, you tend to listen to and believe what it says pretty naturally.
The thing is, Little Mind is so subjective and biased and slanted and quick that following it sometimes isn’t in your best interest. When your kid does something wrong at school, Little Mind is the chatter that tells you that you’ve failed as a parent and everyone will know it. When you lose an account at work, Little Mind questions your value to the company.
If you jump on Little Mind’s chatter by either taking it as truth or acting on it, you end up somewhere you might not want to be. Judging yourself or yelling at your kid or trying to figure out what the boss really thinks or drinking a bottle of wine to forget the day.
The good news is that Little Mind quiets down if you wait, and that’s when Big Mind tends to step up to the plate. Now, Big Mind isn’t chatty or bossy or loud, so he might be harder to hear.
Big Mind won’t fight for your attention. He’s the cool guy who sits in the back of the bar and waits for the ladies to come to him.
But if you hear Little Mind and simply wait her out, she’ll eventually simmer down and Big Mind might show up with something more peaceful and less “spun”. Often something like “It’s okay” or “Look over there at that beautiful sunset”. What the quiet, cool guy might say.
When you wait out chatty Little Mind and allow the feeling of Big Mind to come into focus, you’re not dragged through the mud. You’re not acting on impulse or reacting from ego. You’re thinking (or thinking less, actually) before you speak. You’re looking before you leap.
Hear Little Mind and do nothing. Be still and wait for what Big Mind has to say. You won’t be sorry.