What is spiritual practice? And why bother engaging in it?

Dear Integral Meditators,

Back in 2010 I did a course on ‘Essential Spirituality’. Below are some edited notes on what spirituality is, and what having your own spiritual practice offers you in terms of  value. It also has a practical meditation at the end that you can start working with!

Live in Singapore this week: The Tuesday & Wednesday evening meditation classes sees the beginning of the new course: Inner Peace, Inner Power – An Introduction to Integral & Engaged Meditation Practice all welcome!

In the spirit of spiritual practice,


What is spiritual practice? And why bother engaging in it?

Many conversations regarding spirituality lack any meaningful substance simply because we have not thought about or defined what it is meant by spirituality and its purpose. Understanding of what the purpose of the spiritual practice is gives us an insight into the benefits to be gained from doing it, empowering us to start doing it consistently in our day to day life!

What do we mean by spiritual practice? 
Spiritual practice means awakening each day to that which is most important and fundamental to our lives. It creates the time each day to reflect upon this and let it inform how we choose to act in our life.
This reflection encourages us to effect meaningful change in our lives, so that we no longer feel like a victim of circumstance. Instead we experience our self as an active participant in our experiences and our destiny.

What is its purpose of spiritual practice? 
Basic spiritual reflection reveals that life consists of the potential for joy, rapture, beauty and ecstasy, within the context of many seemingly unavoidable experiences of pain, suffering and injustice.
Spiritual practice prepares us to meet the challenges, uncertainties and sufferings of life as effectively  as possible, whilst at the same time maximizing our potential for the experience of joy, happiness, ecstasy and rapture.

How does spiritual practice affect practical change in our life?
Spiritual practice aims to affect positive, practical change in our life by improving the integrity and strength of your being. It encourages our body, mind and spirit to work together in harmony to meet life’s challenges and to grow.
Often in daily life our mind, body and spirit are either not communicating, or actively fighting against each other. An example of this might be a busy person whose body gets sick due to work fatigue. Instead of treating her body with compassion, she may get angry with it for malfunctioning, and resist giving it the rest it needs. As a result, the body takes longer to recover, and may even become more sick.
Integrated spiritual practice aims to flag up all the conflicts between the different aspects of our being, so as to resolve them. We can then face the challenges of our life as a whole, integrated and strong individual, who does not break apart under pressure.

Listening to three voices: A basic practice for bringing us back to that which is fundamental to our life.
This is a very simple, practical three stage self-awareness meditation. If you spend two minutes each day on each stage, that will give you a basic six minute spiritual practice!

Stage 1: Listening to the voice of your body: Sitting quietly, tune into your body’s intuitive/instinctive consciousness. Let your body guide you to a pace and rhythm of breathing that will best promote relaxation, healing and regeneration at this moment in time.
Stage 2: Listening to the voices in the mind: Now turn your attention to the thoughts in your mind. Observe the inner chatter in your mind, avoiding getting involved in the discussion. Practice inwardly smiling and extending warmth to the thoughts in your mind, whether they seem to be positive or negative, happy or sad.

Stage 3: Listening to the voice of silence: Now turn your attention from the discursive thoughts in the mind to the space and silence that lies between your thoughts. The space that surrounds them and interpenetrates them. Think of this inner silence in the mind as being like sky, with the discursive voices being like clouds. Relax into the sky-like silence and clarity of your inner being.

© Toby Ouvry 2018, 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 Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Starts Tuesday & Wednesday March 6-7 th – Inner Peace, Inner Power – An Introduction to Integral & Engaged Meditation Practice

Saturday March 17th – Mindful Resilience – Sustaining effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure through meditation and mindfulness – A half day workshop

March 20&21st – Spring Equinox Balancing & renewing Meditation

Integral Meditation Asia

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