“To take hold of our enjoyment we need to be conscious enough to direct attention toward our opportunities for enjoyment, and be ready to work our way patiently through the obstacles to that”
Dear Integral Meditators,
Is your happiness and wellbeing an accident, or is it on purpose? The article below looks at how you can pre-dispose yourself to good experiences using meditation, and why you might consider it a worthwhile investment.
If you enjoy the article, the subject is covered in my latest class series, An Adventure in Consciousness – The What, Why & How of integral & engaged meditation practice that starts on 16/17th August, and can be participated in live, online or using the recordings.
Also, this Saturday I will be facilitating the monthly Zen deep-dive mini-retreat where we will be focusing on deep meditative flow states that create the experience of a calm, unified, harmonized, resilient body, mind & heart.
In the spirit of being battle-ready!
Pre-disposing yourself for enjoyment (& being battle ready)
Consolidating your inner strengths
One way of thinking about meditation is as an activity where we train our mind systematically to focus on positive-objects. By a ‘positive object’ I mean an object that when we focus upon it causes our awareness to become calm, strong, balanced, warm or otherwise positive and healthy in some way.
A meditator is a person who is committed to systematically developing their inner strengths and wellbeing by growing these strengths daily, perhaps a little bit like an inner gym-rat!
Train when things are going well! The need to be ‘Battle-ready’
One of the key insights a meditator has is that its best to train your mind to be inwardly strong before you start to suffer to much or encounter an emergency. This way when you do hit an emergency or encounter pain, you are ready for it.
When I was in the UK recently, I met an old friend and colleague from my Buddhist monk days. Although both our lives were going well in many ways, we could both enumerate a number of critical challenges that we and our family members were going though. The challenges were laced with various forms of pain and suffering. These sufferings were really in the nature of life itself and were unavoidable; old age, sickness, loneliness, economic challenges. The existence of the challenges was not within our ability to control. All we could could/can control is our mindset and way of being present to them. This in turn relies upon our inner strength, our capacity for things like acceptance, confidence, letting go, perseverance, love and so forth.
So, to be ‘Battle-ready’ for the sufferings that present themselves in our life, we can use meditation as a way of building and consolidating our inner strengths. Challenges in our life can always be opportunities, but if we are not inwardly robust and confident enough when we face them, the pain often shuts that opportunity down. So, we need to arrive prepared.
Pre-disposing ourself for enjoyment
Using meditation as a way of building our inner strengths also pre-disposes us to recognize and take our opportunities for enjoyment. Amidst the difficulty and tribulation of life there are many opportunities each day for fun, pleasure, happiness and fulfilment. If we are pre-occupied with our pain or feeling overwhelmed by life however, we will often not even recognize these opportunities.
So, for example, opportunities for enjoyment for me today include:
- Taking pleasure in the presence of my daughters
- Enjoying the familiarity of my home after a holiday away
- Appreciating that I have enough work set up this month not to have to worry
- Taking pleasure in giving (my older daughter’s birthday present)
- Appreciating the memories of the trip that I have just returned from
- Simple enjoyments in the form of food, coffee and so on
- Working on setting up the new projects for the second half of the year
- Being grateful for the presence of some childcare in the form of our helper to take the load off my shoulders
- The opportunity to exercise and meditate
These are all in my grasp, but I’m also feeling jet-lagged, sleep deprived and, as a result somewhat dis-oriented. To take hold of my enjoyment I need to be conscious enough to direct my attention toward my opportunities for enjoyment, and be ready to work my way patiently through the obstacles to that. My ability to do that relies to a large degree on the capacities that I have previously built up to focus on the positives, and not get thrown off balance by the obstacles. This, in essence is what this dimension of meditation practice is about.
In case you missed my previous article: Adventuring with attention (What is a Meditator?)
Starts Tues 16th /Weds 17th August – An Adventure in Consciousness – The What, Why & How of integral & engaged meditation practiceOverview: Life is an adventure in the experience of being conscious. To meditate and to be a meditator is to engage in this experience full-bloodedly, with the intention to get the very most out of the opportunity that we have been given, both in terms of enjoyment, and in terms of our potential to achieve worthwhile goals that are congruent with our inner values. This is a dynamic meditation course that covers…read full details
Saturday August 13th, 9.30-12noon – Zen deep-dive mini-retreat
Session overview: These 2.5hour Zen ‘mini-retreats’ are a chance to go into much deeper meditation states than you would be able to in your own personal daily practice, or even if you came to a one-hour class. Using sitting meditation methods in combination with breathing techniques and gentle stretching/mobility exercises Toby will guide you into deep meditative flow states that create the experience of a calm, unified, harmonized, resilient body, mind & heart…read full details
Life-fullness – The Integral Life-Coaching Program with Toby
Are you looking a coach who can help you to:
- Meet the challenges, stress and changes that you face in a more effective and mindful way
- Become happier within yourself, in your relationships and at work
- Be actively accountable for finding a sense of balance/well-being in your life and fulfilling your personal potential?
- Guide you to find and operate from a deeper sense of meaning, motivation and connectivity in your life?
All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:
Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)
Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (East Coast)
Saturday August 13th, 9.30-12noon – Zen deep-dive mini-retreat
Starts Tues 16th /Weds 17th August – An Adventure in Consciousness – The What, Why & How of integral & engaged meditation practice
Saturday August 27th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat
Integral Meditation Asia