Defence Against Bliss

Dear Integral Meditators,

Sometimes it is tough to accept pain, sufffering and disappointment, but wierdly it can be equally tough to accept bliss, love and wellbeing. The artlcle below offers a personal reflection on why this can sometimes be so.

Beneath the article there is some information on the Schumman Holophonic Meditationfrom I-Awake. It is the original track that got me into meditation technology of this sort. It is on special offer at the moment, and I recommend it throughly!

Beneath that are the dates for your diary for classes and workshops in May, full details to follow shortly!

In the spirit of accepting bliss,


Defence Against Bliss

When I was a few months away from being ordained as a Buddhist Monk back in the early 90’s I had a peak ‘love’ experience in my meditation. It started out in a sitting session as a feeling of overwhelming and impartial warmth and affection  for all living creatures, and then stayed with me for the next few days as a heightened awareness where my heart felt like it was completely open, my body felt full of blissful energy, and the world around me felt ‘alive’; the grass and the trees seemed to sing, simply sitting on a park bench felt like a heavenly experience, animals seemed to smile at me and so on…It was kind of a classical peak love experience.

Coming out of this peak experience I travelled to Seattle, Washington in the US where was going to a Buddhist festival of sorts. By the time I landed at the airport I was feeling fairly ‘normal’ again, but the feeling of bliss in my body and heart had been replaced by a kind of claustrophobic sense of darkness, I had the song ‘Don’t box me in, which is a kind of brooding young man’s song of anger and discontent playing in repeat in the background of my mind. It felt as if there was a part of me that resented the blissful experience of love that I had had, that felt threatened by it, and that wanted to destroy it. This experience persisted for the duration of the festival, four or five days.

Over the next couple of years it felt as if there was a ‘dark’ part of me that was fighting against a ‘light’ part of me; a limited small self against an open, bright self. One of the main take-aways of this experience for me was that it is actually as difficult for us to accept expanded states of bliss, happiness and joy as it is for us to accept suffering, disappointment and sadness. BOTH are as much of a threat to our limited ego and everyday self as the other. As a result our established ego seeks to defend itself against not just suffering but also from too much happiness, joy, pleasure, bliss, as these things threaten our inner status quo, challenge our perception of reality quite as much as pain does.

Be aware of the bliss that is available to you and what it offers
So then an awareness practice that you can use to explore your own experience of bliss, love and pleasure if you like; just ask yourself the question ‘What bliss, happiness, pleasure is available to me right now, in the present moment?’ Investigate what bliss you may be able to find in your body, you mind, in your feelings, your relationships. Then ask yourself the question ‘What is preventing me from accepting and enjoying this bliss?’ See what answers come back to you.

It’s is not either the small or the big self
How did I end up resolving my inner battle between my small ego and my bright, expanded self? Essentially by understanding that I could integrate them both together; The small self felt threatened by the big self, so I needed to re-assure and acknowledge it. I spent time letting  it know that it was still valued, still had a purpose and function within me. Once it understood that it could still exist within the context of this new and expanded blissful state, then the conflict subsided. Now on the whole I think they get on very well together! The principle here is that when the different parts of self communicate with each other effectively most inner conflicts can be resolved harmoniously.

Related articles:
Dreams, Meditation and Working with the Bright Side of Your Shadow
Re-Awakening to Your Bliss
Nine Factors to Connect to Bliss and Ecstasy in Your Relationships

Shadow Coaching with Toby

© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website


For a Centering, Grounding, and Refreshing Meditation
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Discount Coupon Code: (apply during checkout) NEWSAPR25OFF
Good until April 30, 2015

Dates for your diary in May (Full details shortly)
Friday 8th May, 7.30-9pm
– Integral Meditation Class – Focus, appreciation and awareness -A grounding in the basics of Integral Meditation

Saturday 16th May, 9.30am-12.30pm –  Exploring the Roots of Mindfulness – The Essential Meditation of the Buddha

Saturday 16th May, 2.30-5.30pmMeditations for Activating, Healing and Awakening our Ancestral Karma

Wednesday 20th, 7.30-9.30pmGoing Beyond Happiness (and resilience?) – Using the Wisdom of Paradox to Find a Deeper Level of Fulfilment and Wellbeing in Your Life

Friday 29th May 7.30-9.30pm – Integral Medi classes – Travelling deeper into the present moment

Saturday 30th May, 2.30-5.30pm – Enlightened Flow: Finding the Ultimate Relaxation and Release from Stress

Integral Meditation Asia

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