Dropping the Self

Dear Integral Meditators,

Is there one mindfulness practice that will have an immdiate effect on your sense of inner balance and wellbeing? Try the one below, it might be it!
On the theme of stilling the mind, quick reminder of the next scheduled meditation workshop on 3rd October: Going From Over-whelmed to Over-well: Meditation for Quietening the Mind .
And finally a reminder that the September special offer on Soul Portraits ends this Sunday, 27th September.


Dropping the Self

One of the most effective ways that you can temporarily solve your problems and experience a relaxed, comfortable state of mind is simply to mentally ‘drop your self’ or, put another way, make a conscious choice not to think about yourself for a while. Whenever you feel anxiety, worry, frustration, disappointment, hurt, shame and so on, there is always at the center of the experience a strong clinging at an ‘I’ or self; my problem, my fear, my disappointment, my loneliness, my busy mind. If you take away the ‘I’ at the centre of the drama, then the drama will subside, the idea and the practice of this exercise is as simple as that.

Me & mine
When I talk of dropping the self, I am also talking about dropping the things that the self considers ‘mine’ as well; quite often we spend even more time worrying or obsessing about other people close to us than ourselves; my child, my spouse, my parents, my job. So we are aiming to drop both the I and the mine!

A short exercise in dropping the self
Let’s say I’ve just finished work and I’m on my way home, or perhaps I have a half hour on my Sunday between doing one thing an another. In this space I then decide that for that period of time I’m simply not going to focus on myself, my problems, my worries. I can think about or do whatever I like, but I’m consciously diminishing the size and the significance of the ‘I’ that is thinking and I’m creating lots of room in my mind for other things; other people, awareness of the senses, and so on. I can pretty much do what I like, the only condition is that I am mindfully choosing not to think or worry about my self for that time, I’m dropping my I from the agenda, and relaxing into the inner space and comfort that arises when I do so!

Attending to the self to drop the self
As a counterweight to this practice it can also be good to consciously set aside times in your day where you are consciously deciding to think about yourself; to take care of your feelings, attend to your challenges and responsibilities, plan your approach to life and so on. Attending to the self is a healthy way of mindfully taking care of yourself and your needs. Then, once you have processed the needs and wants of yourself, you then make a mindful choice, “Ok, that is as far as I am going to get with this today, now I can drop the self again!”

Facilitating change through dropping the self
One of the things that I have noticed about this practice (and I have had it confirmed by others who have attended my classes) is that dropping the self can be a very good way of facilitating change in your life; when you stop thinking about a problem, or stop telling someone what to do, or let go of your worry about something, often things start to change without any effort on your part. There is something about the practice of leaving things alone and letting go that sometimes gives us the changes we wanted in the first place!

Dropping the self is not saying our self is not important, it is just realizing that it is only relatively important. It is also a way of discovering the inner joys, relaxation and wisdom that comes to you quite naturally when your I is not sticking its fingers into everything!

© 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 www.tobyouvry.com

Upcoming events at Integral Meditation Asia (Full October schedule coming soon!)

Every Wednesday, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday 3rd October, 2.30-5.30pm – Going From Over-whelmed to Over-well: Meditation for Quietening the Mind – a three hour workshop

Saturday 17th October, 2.30-5.30pm – Meditation & Mindfulness for Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention 3 Hour workshop

Integral Meditation Asia



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