from Reincarnation Through Common Sense by Doug "Ten" Rose                                        Return to Chapter List

Why the Monks and Nuns Are Who They Are - The Big Brain Thing

“In the cultivation of the mind, our emphasis should not be on concentration,
but on attention. Concentration is a process of forcing the mind
to narrow down to a point, whereas attention is without frontiers.”

J. Krishnamurti

The locals visit our Temple often. Some come on to the grounds screaming, crying, angry, depressed, or agitated. After a half hour of talking with our Wisdom Professionals, the formerly forlorn usually leave smiling.

Why do so many people come here to see the robe wearers, and why do all these visitors leave feeling so much better than they did upon arrival?

Why are the residents of this Temple so much fun to be around?

What makes the Monks and Nuns who they are?

There must be some reasons I’ll never know, but a few are obvious. The first is The Big Brain thing, and the team spirit it entails. The second is reincarnation—but probably not the kind of reincarnation you are used to hearing about. These two meet at so many crossroads that it is often hard to separate them, but let’s try to take them one at a time—starting with The Big Brain thing.

* * *

Everybody’s got a brain and a mind. Many people consider these to be different words for the same thing. Technically, the brain is just a biological organ while the mind is something deeper and more inclusive, but if it makes you comfortable we can use these words interchangeably. It won’t hurt anything. The words soul or spirit might also be accurate, and consciousness is actually what we’re talking about—but some folks think of these terms as abstractions. Let’s use the more familiar words mind and brain for now. Many folks find those references more comfortable.

It is widely known that any human uses only a small percentage of his or her mind/brain at any given time. Exactly how much gets used and what those percentages pay attention to have always been very important matters.

The Monks and Nuns believe that each individual carries a responsibility to focus the greatest possible percentage of their mental facility on the best attitudes and functions they can produce. Fulfilling this responsibility is not optional. It is mandatory for them, as it probably should be for all of us. They recognize this responsibility as a necessity because it affects all individual, familial, societal, and planetary relationships as well as our survival. Directing the use of our minds toward constructive positive ends is not an esoteric or saintly activity. It’s a practical and logical one. Material and emotional satisfaction are most comfortably born of mental satisfaction. Happy and compassionate people don’t usually steal from or kill each other.

Whether conscious of it or not, we always think of an action before we do it. It seems there are major advantages to thinking consciously. The residents here know that any action should be avoided if it doesn’t help. Blind emotions lead many folks to destructive actions. There are no blind emotions here. By quieting mental turbulence, these folks clearly see what they are thinking, and then steer it. Everything they do is done on purpose. Nothing ever gets away from them.

The sub or unconscious type of thought and action is usually fueled by instinctive reactions or habitually programmed mental reflex reactions.

The most basic are survival instincts and callous self-interest—animal reflexes. All of us live at least partially under direction of such instincts. Our DNA has carried these base instincts since the caveman days.

There are other characteristics and instincts that we have inherited through training and information we have been given. These are the behavioral patterns we have observed and absorbed since birth—conditioned reflexes.

These biological and historical patterns coexist as what can be called the little brain. A lot of human actions could more accurately be called knee jerk reactions. Many people spend most of their lives controlled by mental patterns that they are not even aware of.

* * *

But we have all floated into The Big Brain Thing on occasion.

The Monks and Nuns live there. Their conscious focus is on the mind and life that we all share in our involuntary coexistence with all other creatures— animal, human, and divine. They are of the opinion that the similarities and relationships between us all are more deserving of attention than the differences. They believe that the mutually beneficial goals that this Big Brained point of view dictates outweigh personal goals in importance.

This concept of humanity sharing a mutual and universal mind resembles Carl Jung’s Collective Unconscious theory—except with the Temple folks it is conscious, it has been around several thousand years longer, and it is considered fact, not theory.

This makes a big difference.

The drop/ocean metaphor is often used to explain this.

Most of us think of ourselves as an individual drop of humanity. The people here in the Temple think of themselves as an integral part of a vast ocean. Both views have truth in them. This “ocean” attitude may seem a little esoteric or even weird to many of us, but it has advantages. Individual problems and personal pains recede when you are paying attention to the bigger picture. The freedom and security that the power of an ocean offers is much greater than that of a single drop of water, or a singular human.

Like most of us, the Temple residents have good intentions. They are more committed to their good intentions than most of us are to ours. They make that commitment functional by donating their motivation for achievement toward improving life for all of their fellow creatures. They constantly work on improving their little drop (self), but that process is always based on how their drop can become a better drop in order to become part of a better ocean (how their lives can improve all lives). They do the dancing with their own legs, but a force much bigger than any individual is always playing the tune. All ways.

To put it another way, these Wisdom Professionals have trained their little brains very thoroughly in the concern for all little brains. This puts them on the same wavelength with, and keeps them tuned to the same station as, that bigger force that both contains and is concerned with the well being of all the little brains—The Big Brain. They have, through dedication and severe effort, actually become a conscious cell in and therefore a co-creating partner with The Big Brain.

In this sense it can be said that they have become the Big Brain. Call it God, Dharma, The Force, the Collective Unconscious, the Unified Field. Whatever you would call an all-inclusive divine resource, they are now part of it. Their loyalties and actions are as concerned with the ocean at large as they are with their own individual drop. This affiliation with and incorporation into the Big Brain governs the lives of the Nuns and Monks, and the choices they make. It directs them as surely as any commander directs his troops.

* * *

For a few minutes after figuring this out, I wondered why these folks weren’t a bit more uppity. Merging with God seems like it would give one bragging rights. Why is there no pretense? Why no arrogance? There is no “I’m so great because I do this.” Just a whole lot of “I’m a person just like you.”

With just a little more thought it became obvious to me why modesty has to be a part of their package. When one lives by the idea that we are all one big interdependent unit even more than we are our individual bit of self, it is hard to feel superior or snooty. If you are thinking in terms of everybody instead of somebody, then you have an automatic empathy with all and cannot be more (or less) important than anyone else. If you hit anybody, you are hitting your own body. If you mistreat or take undue advantage of anyone, you are also mistreating and unduly taking advantage of yourself. The Nuns and Monks walk humbly in this knowledge and they carry a great consideration for all forms of life.

As a trained and dedicated part of a much bigger whole, they can often rise above what would be thought of as the usual human limitations. We all reach this state and the power it holds on rare occasions and in varying degrees. We all know stories about folks tapping into some greater power. We’ve heard the tales of superhuman strength, of lifting a car to save someone trapped underneath.

We all work through days when we feel dog-sick and tired and it should not be possible to even get to work, much less stay through the day. But we reach deeper for strength because the kids we love need to be fed, or someone else we care about depends on us to bring that paycheck home.

Where does this magic come from? It comes from an attitude brave, concerned, and smart enough to travel past the point of view that makes us each individual drops instead of an ocean. It comes from considering your loved one to be as important as yourself, and from believing in that strongly enough to erase the boundaries between. It comes from floating the little brain into The Big Brain.

The Monks and Nuns live in this bigger context full time. Anyone is everyone to them. Their concern is universal.

* * *

Another reason why the Monks and Nuns are who they are is that they consistently reflect upon the benefits of compassion and make effort to keep compassionate thoughts in mind. The major part of this reflection is the intent to help any living thing that needs help. By means of this constant intending and reflecting (and then acting in accord with those intentions and reflections), a habitual pattern of going past the self-interest, self-referral way of thinking is built intentionally. Being aware of their own thoughts and consciously piloting their own actions allows these people to direct their efforts toward entraining benevolent behavior as habit.

Not consciously directing one’s own thoughts and actions, not being aware of the quality of those thoughts and actions, steals from the person performing those actions the ability to consciously entrain that behavior as habit—to tell the little brain that this is a Big Brain thing, we like doing these aware-and-benevolent sorts of things, and we should stay awake to opportunities to do them more often.

Things that are done on purpose carry greater weight.

Another key point for entering The Big Brain seems to be fearlessness—a confidence in one’s ability to grow more inclusive, to include others into your world view, and to realize the equality of everyone in that we are each as deserving of happiness as the other. It can be scary to step past your borders in the face of maintaining the necessary ego strength for intelligent survival. These Wisdom Professionals accomplish fearlessness in the same way they accomplish most things—through extensive training in compassion. They foster a concern for others that both overrides and accomplishes their own personal needs.

It’s easy for people to forget personal fears when they are helping others, or even thinking about helping others. While busily extending themselves for the benefit of everyone, Nuns and Monks rarely suffer personal drama, trauma, or distress from any discomfort they may experience. Some types of pain happen to everyone, but the suffering that is a byproduct of that pain can be minimized. Within the bigger and more altruistic picture, a smaller and more personal problem can’t gain the gravity of a major concern. Imaginary, intangible, and exaggerated fears cannot take hold.

Many universal abilities ride along with this universal concern. It is an instant antidote to reckless selfishness and the disasters that selfishness can foster.

Benefits including contented kindness and increased mental power come from being in this oceanic state of mind. These benefits grow in proportion to how much concern we have for each creature in the metaphorical ocean and how wisely we use that concern to benefit creatures. “You’ve got to be a friend to have a friend.” Amoebas, whales, heroes, villains, ants, eagles, enemies, allies, and anything else that is alive are each considered important parts of the much bigger picture.

* * *

The Temple residents have faith in the abilities of humanity. They believe we can each get bigger than our present selves, redefine “normal,” and achieve greater happiness consistently. We have the internal technology. There is no doubt in the mind of anyone who lives here that you and I can do this. They believe that every one on Earth has the potential to improve their own lives in a way that will improve all the lives around them. They believe any person can ignore this positive potential and become evil, or compliant with evil. They also believe that any one of us can take this positive potential to its ultimate destination and become a buddha him or her self. It is just a matter of consistently choosing to exercise the best options and opportunities available.

Another quality that makes these Temple residents who they are is gratitude. They are aware of and grateful for how much other people are constantly doing that benefits them, and they know that each of us is dependent upon all of us for what we eat, drink, wear, and how peacefully or not we get to live. We are all part of this interdependent bigger picture whether we are aware of it or not. They are.

* * *

Thoughts like these are the exercise that Monks and Nuns use to accept all living things into their field of concern. This concern was the seed motivation for many of them to enter the clergy. It is now the final destination for all of them. They believe that we all move a step closer toward Big Brain, big happiness, and big constructive power every time we do, pray for, focus on, or even simply remember things that include good intent and no harm.

* * *

By the time a Monk, Nun, or anyone else gains enough familiarity with these ideas to metabolize them, so-called magic and synchronicity can become pronounced and obvious.

That may sound a little far fetched to many Western minds. It did to mine, at first. But the longer I stay here at this Temple, the more obvious it becomes that the Monks and Nuns are onto something of universal importance and incredible potential.

What they do and who they are is similar to a very good doctor. They develop the skill, experience, and intuition to diagnose and treat more effectively by studying every aspect of treatment and practicing a continuous concern for each individual patient. The spiritual doctors here don’t push drugs or surgery. They cause no harm to anyone and show no preferential treatment for the wealthy. This adds legitimacy and strength to their healing abilities. Genuine universal inclusion has power.

We don’t have to be a Monk, Nun, or Dr. Schweitzer to take part in this process. This is not a Santa Claus eligible fantasy story where only “special people” succeed. It is a proven scientific process of utilizing a potential we all own. There are specific methods that will work for anyone who practices them long and diligently enough. Anyone making effort can expand happiness in their own lives and any other lives they touch.

* * *

When a person desires to help everything and dedicates his or her life to that purpose, it is in every thing’s best interest to help that benevolent person succeed. The world will then become a cooperative partner. Life is on that person’s side. Life itself and these Wisdom Professionals have a common and mutually beneficial purpose. They assist each other to accomplish mutually beneficial goals.

This cooperation is the root system of magic.

The folks here are driven to deeds of goodness as a natural result of being goodness. That is the kind of people they decided to be, and what they have become through their training. That is why they are who they are.

Welcome to the Big Brain Team. Altruism is not optional. The system doesn’t work without it. (Don’t get nervous about your little personal things as you give your efforts to the whole. The ocean will take care of the drops that take care of the ocean. It’s a physics thang.)

“To embody the transcendent is what we are here for.”

Sogyal Rinpoche

“Matter is less material and the mind less spiritual than is genuinely supposed.
The spiritual separation of physics and psychology, mind and matter,
is metaphysically indefensible.”

Bertrand Russell

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