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Working Samadhi – The way of the mindful warrior

“With working samadhi, all our actions an expression in one form or another of the confidence, generosity & compassion that arises from meditative presence in action”

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article explores a practice called ‘Working Samadhi’ which for me is one of the most compelling ideas in meditation! If you enjoy it then do check out  the new meditation program beginning in April:  The Way of the Mindful Warrior – Meditating with the Warriors creed. Details below, or just click on the link for the full write up.

This weeks Tuesday and Wednesday evenings meditation session, is the annual Spring Equinox balancing & renewing meditation. you’re welcome to join us,  live-in-person, or online.

In the spirit of the mindful warrior,

Toby


Working Samadhi – The way of the mindful warrior

Why meditate?
Meditation in its most simple definition means to hold a focused, relaxed space of awareness. This state of awareness sits in the middle of two extremes:

  • On the one side, there is being distracted and lost in thought, or conceptuality
  • In the other side there is sleep or inertia

So, with meditation we are in a state of relaxed presence, in the moment. We are alert, undistracted and relaxed, avoiding the extremes of thinking or sleep.
Initially we meditate using simple objects like the body and breathing, but we can really build a meditative state around a wide variety of objects. Meditation enables us to achieve what I like to call singularity; the ability to gather all of our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual energy into a single energy or presence in the moment. It gives us the strength of calmness, but also acts as the basis for a whole range of empowering states, from joy to compassion, self-trust, confidence and so on…

Working samadhi – Combining singularity and movement
The ability to hold a meditative state whilst sitting or standing takes some work. As our practice develops, if its trajectory is healthy, we find ourselves able to hold the state of singularity more and more in our daily activities. This eventually leads to a state called ‘working samadhi’.  Genuine working samadhi means, to quote John Daido Lori:
Working samadhi (means) we’re able to stay with what we are doing and not disconnect from the moment by chasing thoughts, pre-occupied with something other than the activity at hand, wishing we weren’t there. This single-mindedness on any and all facets of life is working samadhi…. It’s our aliveness and presence, moment to moment. Each instant is lucid and complete.
Within that working samadhi, karuna – real compassion – begins to appear. Compassion is wisdom in action. It is not merely doing good.”

Experiential learning in the moment
With working samadhi, our life becomes our meditation, and all our activities become an expression of the meditative state. This then enables us to find meaning and learning in all our activities, whether they are superficially ‘spiritual’ or ‘mundane’. Everything becomes an expression in one form or another of the confidence, generosity & compassion that arises from our ‘meditative presence in action’.

The mindful warrior
Unless you are careful, there is no guarantee that your sitting meditation starts to translate into working samadhi. For some, meditation can become an escape from daily life, or even an addiction that winds up in them not really being able to function normally without regular periods retreating into solitary meditation. To step into working samadhi takes a lot of confidence and courage, and an ability to skillfully embrace our messy chaotic reality whole-heartedly.

Yourself as a mindful warrior
With your capacity to sustain singularity, not just in formal meditation but in complex daily life, our path opens up into that of the ‘mindful warrior’. Someone who trusts themselves enough to start openly expressing their joy, compassion, inner wealth and generosity in the world, without fear of getting burned, burned out or intimidated. To finish this article, I’d like to leave you with a quote from Chogyam Trungpa (From ‘Cutting through spiritual materialism’) on the compassion that arises essentially from working samadhi. If you imagine yourself like this in your daily life, it gives a taste of what it’s like:
We could say that compassion is the ultimate attitude of wealth: An anti-poverty attitude, a war on want. It contains all sorts of heroic, juicy, positive, visionary, expansive qualities. It implies a larger scale thinking, a freer and more expansive way of relating to yourself and the wold….it is the attitude that one has been born fundamentally rich, rather than one must become rich. Without this kind of confidence meditation cannot be transferred into action at all.”

Related articleKaruna – Compassion arising from wisdom

Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2022, 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



Saturday April 9th, 9.30-11.30am
 – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

In a sentence: Experience unique Qi gong and Taoist breathing techniques to improve your immune system, energy level, psychological wellness and enhance your meditation…read full details


Starts Tuesday 5th/Wednesday 6th April 2022 – The Way of the Mindful Warrior – Meditating with the Warriors creed

In a sentence: Establish the inner strength, skill and courage needed to make you resilient in the face of life’s challenges, and thrive in both times of adversity and times of peace.

Overview: The Warriors Creed is a poem by an unknown Samurai in the 14th century. It outlines a code of conduct and a state of presence based around a series of inner qualities that can be cultivated through mindful contemplation, then applied to our daily life…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?
Read full details

All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

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)

Ongoing January-March – Zen: The ordinary path to enlightenment – Meditating with the Ten Ox Herding pictures

Saturday April 9th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Starts Tuesday 5th/Wednesday 6th April 2022 – The Way of the Mindful Warrior – Meditating with the Warriors creed

Saturday 23rd April, 9.30am-12noon – Zen meditation deep dive mini-retreat

Tues 17th/Weds 18th May: Wesak meditation


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Books * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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Biographical Enlightened service Inner vision Integral Awareness Life-fullness Meditating on the Self meditation and creativity Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership

Monk socks/Going undercover

Dear Integral Meditators,

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season! Winter solstice coming up next Tuesday, if you are  interested in marking this with a meditation, then you’d be welcome to come along to my online  Winter solstice balancing & renewing meditation (Online only) , on Tuesday 21st December,  7.30-8.30pm, SG time…

I’m at my parent’s place at the moment. yesterday my brother went up to the loft and brought down a bag with several pairs of burgundy socks, mine from my days as a monk back in the 90’s (see picture). This got me thinking about those times, and the article below is one thing that came out!

In the spirit of integration,

Toby


Deep undercover (An ex-monk returning to the market-place)

Some of you may remember the 2002 Hong Kong movie ‘Infernal affairs’ with Tony Leung about a policeman who goes deep undercover in a Triad gang, and then becomes the favourite of the ‘Godfather’ of the gang. The movie then follows his identity crisis as he moves deeper into his criminal role.

“Can I stay in your jail?”
When I was a young Buddhist monk staying in Singapore, I stayed for a number of months in the spare room of a student of mine, who lived in a local HDB apartment. He was a plainclothes policeman who had been undercover for a number of years in the local nightclub and drug scene. Like Tony Leung (but in a different way) he had gone deep into his role, and lost himself in the cars, the booze and the lifestyle of his role. Eventually after losing his marriage and having a bit of a breakdown, he had given up his undercover role, returned to mainstream policing, and become very devoted to Buddhism and meditation practice, which he had used a way of returning to relative normalcy and stability.
My undercover policeman had started coming to my class a couple of months earlier, and I had been staying at a number of different places in Singapore, just improvising really. When I learned that he was a policeman, I figured I could ask him if he had any spare jail cells that I could use to stay in. When I asked him, he looked very serious and thoughtful for a while, then said “No, but I have a meditation room in my apartment, and you can stay there!” And this is how I ended up staying with him.

Coming out of or going back undercover? – Returning to the marketplace as an ex-monk
When I returned to lay life as a monk in 2001, it felt a bit like I was simultaneously coming out of and going undercover:

  • In one way I felt I was coming out of an undercover role, or an alternate reality that I had been living as a monk, and the universe that surrounded that
  • On another level I felt I was going undercover in the sense that I was clearly now coming from quite a different perspective and experience from most of those around me in everyday society. So I was kind of having to ‘look normal’ whilst being quite different in reality!

Transforming but staying the same
Since that time, twenty years ago, I have remained in this situation, in many ways operating according to the same principles that I learned, practiced and created as a monk. Essentially what this means is that my main motivation for being in the world is to help with the evolution of the consciousness of groups and individuals my coaching and teaching meditation and mindfulness. On another level I have changed fundamentally. I am a business owner, I have a couple of kids, I’m married, I have a relatively complex secular life.

The integration is the path, not the problem
To hold these two polarities in places sometimes seems like a tricky process, like holding together two realities that seem to contradict each other. Over the years I have realized increasingly that the task of bringing together these two realities in an integrated way is not in the way of my path, it is my path. The path for me is very much the process of spiritualizing the secular, and secularizing the spiritual, so that together a greater wholeness is created in the world.
In what ways are you ‘working undercover’? And what is the transformation that might be affected within yourself and within society if you were successful in your role?

Related articleAm I happier now than when I was a Buddhist Monk? (Repetition and inner growth)

Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2021, 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   


Tuesday 21st December,  7.30-8.30pm, SG time – Winter solstice balancing & renewing meditation (Online only)

This will be a chance to reflect on the spiritual meaning of Christmas and power of the winter season. We will look at the different ways our own inner light can ‘die and be re-born once more’.

It is a good time to attune to the creative energies within ourselves. We can think about the new year & spring periods that lie ahead of us, what our goals & expectations are, & sow the seeds on an inner level of that which we wish to manifest over the next few months…read full details

 


Tues & Weds 4th & 5th January – 2022 New year & New Moon releasing and inviting meditation

This meditation session is focused upon setting up the 2022 new year energies in a way that invites the best possible experience moving forward. We will be:

  • Releasing and letting go of energies, events and experiences from the past year that may hold us back from moving into our full potential
  • Developing a flexible, soft, ‘beginners mind’, renewed and ready to be ‘born again’ with energy and enthusiasm in 2022
  • Focusing both consciously and intuitively upon the inviting of new energies, aspirations and goals that we wish to bring in and manifest over the course of the new year…read full details

Begins Tues 11/Weds 12th January – The ordinary path to enlightenment – Meditating with the Ten Ox Herding pictures

This series of 10 classes is an introduction to simple, practical Zen and Taoist meditations that can temporarily help us to reduce our stress and thrive joyfully in daily life. They can also, practiced regularly offer us experiential insight into our true nature and help us to answer some of our deepest life-questions and attain a truly stable sense of inner transformation. The sessions can be attended as a complete course in itself, or each class can be taken as a practice in and of itself…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?
Read full details

All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

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)

Tuesday 21st December,  7.30-8.30pm, SG time – Winter solstice balancing & renewing meditation (Online only)

Tues & Weds 4th & 5th January – 2022 New year & New Moon releasing and inviting meditation

Begins Tues 11/Weds 12th January – The ordinary path to enlightenment – Meditating with the Ten Ox Herding pictures


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Books * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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Awareness and insight Enlightened love and loving Enlightened service Essential Spirituality Inner vision Integral Awareness Life-fullness Meditation techniques Mindful Self-Leadership Motivation and scope Presence and being present

Compassionate presence, awakened action

“As your life experience unfolds, often your compassion for others increases because you can relate to them more as you ‘know how they feel’. If we combine this with practicing simply being present every day, then this can make the power of our compassionate presence grow exponentially”

Dear Integral Meditators,

Compassion isn’t always easy. Making room for compassion for others sometimes feels like a tall order, especially when we are struggling to find compassion for ourself. The article below explores how opening to compassion for others can sometimes be the best way to work with our own pain and stress.

In the spirit of compassionate presence,

Toby

 

 


Compassionate presence, awakened action

Compassion isn’t always easy. Making room for compassion for others sometimes feels like a tall order, especially when we are struggling to find compassion for ourself, and to bear the burden of our own stress and wounds. I want to start by inviting an awareness that sometimes (not at all times), opening to compassion and compassionate action toward the world, can actually be the best way to help change our own experience. As Robin Wall Kimmerer says:

‘Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us.’

So, it’s always worth making room for others in our world-view. Its not just sacrificing ourself or ‘being good’, it is an intelligent, wise way of getting by!

Using our own pain
One of the simplest ways to work on transforming our own pain is to use it as a doorway to compassion:

  • If you are suffering from loneliness, you can imagine the millions, or even billions who share this experience in the world. You can find examples in your own life of people you know
  • Your physical sickness can open you to the awareness of the worse and more permanent experience of others
  • Work stress? Oppressive colleagues or bosses? You can bet there are many others who have the same and worse, and you can probably find examples in your own close circle of influence.

If you stopped to think in this way, what would be the main challenges of your own that you can start to mindfully use to develop your compassion for others?

Doing what you can in the face of the limitless
In terms of acting upon your compassionate awareness and impulse, it can feel a bit intimidating. In Mahayana Buddhism, the vow of the Bodhisattva is as follows:

‘However many living being there are, I vow to liberate them all (from their suffering),
However many delusions I have, I vow to conquer them all.
However many spiritual truths there are, I vow to Master them all.’

Well, that can feel like an overwhelming amount to do! One of the best ways to deal with this issue is simply though presence and attention to the presenting circumstances. As Nkosi Johnson says:

“Do what you can,
with what you’ve been given,
in the place where you are,
with the time that you have.”

Ask yourself the question: ‘In this moment, today, what opportunity is there for me to act compassionately and do what can be done to reduce the pain and suffering of others and myself? What can be done, with what I have at my disposal, where I am now, in this moment?’

Awakened, compassionate presence
Often the best response to suffering is presence. To witness and acknowledge the pain in front of us enables us to

  • See it and act if there is something we can do
  • If there is nothing we can do, then sometimes simply acknowledging that we see the pain of others can help them. As a friend of mine the other day said to me ‘Thanks Toby, this helps a lot’. All I had done was say that I saw what his pain, and I believed that in the long term the things that he was going through were forging and forming him, rather than defeating him, and that although he could not see it yet, he was becoming someone stronger than he could imagine!

Compassionate presence comes from practice + life experience
As your life experience unfolds, often your compassion for others increases because you can relate to them more as you ‘know how they feel’. If we combine this with practising simply being present every day, then this can make the power of our compassionate presence grow exponentially. For example, simply practicing ten minutes of my meditation on ‘Sitting like a mountain’ from last week’s article, we can anchor our compassion more deeply in this moment, and in the centre of our being, even as the storms and floods of our life come and go.

Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2021, 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   


August 5th, 6th, 7th, 2-4pm – Mindful Life-skills for Teenagers – A three day course

These sessions are specifically designed to help teens develop their real inner skills that help them be:

  • More effective at achieving their chosen goals
  • Build confidence,
  • Build resilience around stress and
  • Increase their capacity for fun and enjoyment as they learn.

Read full details


Saturday August 21st 9.30-11.30am – Mindfulness for Emotional Intelligence Masterclass

In a sentence: Learn how you can use mindfulness to develop your emotional range and skills

Much of our quality of life depends not so much on what we are experiencing, but the way in which we experience it. Our moods and emotional states to a large degree define the quality of our life experience, at work, in our relationships and in our leisure activities. This masterclass will lead you on an experiential journey to:

  • Understand what feelings, moods and emotions are and how to build an effective relationship to them
  • How to consolidate and expand your existing emotional strengths
  • How to deal with difficult and challenging emotions, and even turn them to your advantage
  • How to increase the diversity/range of emotions that are available to you for enjoyment, pleasure and life-effectiveness! Read full details…

 


Saturday August 28th, 10am-5pm – Meditations for connecting to the Tree of Life Workshop

Overview: The Tree of Life is an ancient and comprehensive system of meditation, personal development and inner growth represented by the diagram of a tree. Although it is best known as a ‘western’ tradition of spiritual growth (Judaist, Christian, Islamic), the fundamentals of the Tree of Life practice can be found in different ancient systems of meditation and mindfulness throughout the world. This workshop is a practical introduction to how to meditate with the Tree of Life in order to:

  • Stimulate holistic and integrated inner growth
  • Consciously develop different levels and states of consciousness in meditation, and learn how to transition or journey between them in the inner world
  • Stimulate the development of your creative, imaginal and visualization skills
  • Make systematic, organized contact with guides, teachers, healing forces and archetypal energies within the inner world
  • Practice different types of meditation to build different strengths, and help you deal with different inner challenges…read full details

 


The Mindful Self Knowledge coaching program

This is eight-month coaching program with Toby is designed to facilitate your own personal mindful self-discovery process. It focuses on:

  • Awareness of how your past experience has influenced who and how you are today
  • Confidence in approaching your present experience with playful fullness and enthusiasm
  • Giving you the inner tools to face your choices and your future in an empowered, dynamic, and authentic manner. Read full details

Watch Toby’s video on the Program


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?
Read full details

All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

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)

Starts 6th&7th July – Integral Meditation from the Perspective of Zen – A 10 week series

Saturday 17th, 24th, 31st July, 2-4pm – Mindful Life-skills for Teenagers – A three week
course

Saturday August 21st 9.30-11.30am – Mindfulness for Emotional Intelligence Masterclass

Saturday August 28th, 10am-5pm – Meditations for connecting to the Tree of Life Workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Books * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

Categories
Awareness and insight Enlightened service Inner vision Integral Awareness Life-fullness Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Mindful Confidence Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership Mindfulness Motivation and scope

Self-responsibility – Becoming a self-determining entity

Dear Integral Meditators,

What is the link between mindfulness and self-responsibility? This weeks article explores the interface of these two.

In the spirit of self-determination,

Toby

 

 

 

 


Self-responsibility – Becoming a self-determining entity

We are surrounded by forces that are attempting to move us in one direction or another, capture our attention, stimulate desire, take our energy. We can experience this directly these days by going on our phone: Social media competes with email and Whatsapp for our attention. Advertisers seek to get our attention to buy their products. Often we go on our phone with one intention, but end up doing another thing! Of course, it’s not just our phone where this happens. Cultural and social forces place pressure upon us to conform, as does peer pressure and the fear of missing out. Amidst all of this what we really want, what will really make us happy, what we really seek to achieve can get completely lost amidst the distraction.
One if the things I find most inspiring about mindfulness is that it enables me to take charge of direction and action in my life. It enables me to become what Nathaniel Branden called a ‘Self-determining entity’.  What this means is someone who controls their destiny and direction, someone who is organised enough to stay focused on the face of distractions. In short, someone who is taking responsibility for their life.

Awareness and acceptance
Before we talk about being responsible, in mindfulness terms we need to talk about becoming more aware and accepting. It’s difficult to take responsibility for our life if we lack rudimentary self and environmental awareness, and if we are continually fighting with our reality rather than accepting it. You can read a bit more about these in my previous articles on self-awareness and acceptance.

What am I responsible for?
One simple guiding question I ask myself a lot is “What is it that I am responsible for in this situation?” I try to discern the things that I need to grasp and direct. For example, I am primarily always responsible for the care of my emotions, thoughts, and physical body. Other people can help and assist, but it is my responsibility. In a team context I need to know what my role is, and what I am responsible for communicating. Questioning in this way helps me to grasp and own responsibility for what is mine.

What am I not responsible for?
A second and often equally important question I ask is “What am I not responsible for here?“, or “What is the responsibility of others here?” Quite often without realizing it we take on responsibility for the problems, emotions and tasks of others without realizing we have done so. For example, I need to be there to support my daughter and what she is going through, but if I try and solve all her problems for her, I am actually denying her opportunities for growth and self-knowledge.
Also, some people are actively (tho often unconsciously) looking to evade responsibility for their challenges, and to push them onto someone else. We can easily find ourselves wrestling with and having our energy taken away by things that are, quite simply not our responsibility.

What do I need to take responsibility for today?
Think about what you face today, or over the next 24 hours. Mindfully frame it within the context of self-responsibility. What is your responsibility to own/solve/carry, and what is not? Your journey to responsible self-empowerment begins today.

Article © Toby Ouvry 2021, 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   

Watch Toby’s short video on taking responsibility: 

 


Saturday 6th & 20th February – Meditations on the Language of Your Shadow – Masterclass and Mini-retreat

Are you interested in learning a form of meditation that will:

  • Help you to get in touch with a deeper level of psychological harmony and wellbeing within yourself?
  • Access new levels of energy and confidence?
  • Discover and heal hidden aspects of your psyche that are currently sabotaging your happiness in daily life and transforming them into something useful and powerful within you?

Read full details


Tuesday 9th & Wednesday 10th February – Lunar New Year Meditation 2020: Developing your stamina, willpower and self-confidence in the year of the Ox This is a meditation to welcome in the lunar new year energies, and attune to the astrological animal of the year, the Ox!
In particular, we will be mindfully aligning with and developing our inner-stamina, willpower and self-confidence, which are personal characteristics of the Ox.
Toby will be leading the meditation as a simple and profound way, with plenty of room for our own personal contemplation, inner healing and positivity building!
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?
Read full details

 

All upcoming classes and workshops for at IMA in December:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

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)

Tuesday 2nd & Wednesday 3rd Feb, 7.30-8.30pm – Bright, Mother and Weaver Goddess meditation

Saturday 6th & 20th February – Meditations on the Language of Your Shadow – Masterclass and Mini-retreat

Tuesday 9th & Wednesday 10th February – Lunar New Year Meditation 2020: Developing your stamina, willpower and self-confidence in the year of the Ox

Starting February 23rd/24th – Meditations for thriving and energy creation amidst Covid – A seven week course (Full details soon)


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Books * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

Categories
Biographical Energy Meditation Enlightened service Integral Awareness Life-fullness mind body connection Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership Presence and being present

Giving back anxiety that is not yours

“Owning and dealing with your anxiety well is an important life skill, However, sometimes the anxiety we experience is not entirely our own, and the solution to it is to recognize this and sometimes simply to give it back.”

Dear Integral Meditators,

What’s the boundary between what you feel, and the feelings of those around you, and in your environment? This weeks article looks at this boundary, and how to become clearer and more aware about it.

If you enjoy the article, then you may consider this Saturday’s Mindfulness Masterclass  3-5pm Mindfulness for thriving with anxiety & uncertainty. If your interested in how to really put your anxiety to good positive use, then this is a great session to attend, you can come live or online!

In the spirit of mindful inoculation,

Toby


Giving back anxiety that is not yours

Owning and dealing with your anxiety well is an important life skill. There are often uncertainties and other causes that stimulate anxiety in our life, so knowing how to navigate this is fundamental. However, sometimes the anxiety we experience is not entirely our own, and the solution to it is to recognize this and sometimes simply to ‘give it back’.

A story
When I first started teaching meditation classes, first as a young layperson, then as a monk I would teach classes in the evening and then return back home. Often, I noticed that when I lay down to sleep that night, my body would feel uncomfortable, I would toss and turn, and I’d be having all sorts of difficult and strange trains of thought. I would have difficulty falling asleep, and often I would wake up in the middle of the night and continue to have difficult and anxious trains of thought, along with uncomfortable body sensations. At first I interpreted these as being all my own, and struggled manfully to resolve the trains of thought and emotions that were coming up. After a while however I started to recognize that actually, because I had been holding space for others in the class, I had absorbed emotional energy from the group, and what I was experiencing was actually empathic emotion and anxiety, that was not actually mine. After realizing this, I changed my strategy, recognizing and letting go of the anxiety that was not mine, and focusing on clearing out the dissonant energy from my body. Now when I do a class or coaching, noticing and releasing anxiety and energy that is not mine is mostly instinctive, but it is nevertheless vital for me to make the recognition when it occurs and is happening to me.

A few examples of when you might need to give back the anxiety

  • If your partner, close friend or family member is anxious or moody about something, and you ‘catch’ a bit of it
  • Certain atmospheres, anxieties and emotion in the office, or in your work team
  • Certain places or neighbourhoods that carry a particular dissonant energy
  • When there is large scale anxiety, such as in the recent Covid crisis, the group  anxiety amplifies and feeds off our own, and they strengthen each other
  • When someone has a type of anxiety that strongly resembles your own, and your identification with it means you absorb some empathically

In all of these cases, the anxiety is not ‘yours’ per-se, but it can infect you if you let it. The main thing to do here is to recognize that and either ‘hand it back’ so to speak, or observe it and release it from your own energy system.

You can apply this to other emotions and states
Of course, this doesn’t just apply to anxiety, it applies to many other emotional states, anger, fear, sadness. It also applies to positive emotions and states. We all have experience of being positively affected by an atmosphere, or a person or a place. When this happens, we can enjoy participating in it, rather than handing it back!

Article content © Toby Ouvry & Integral Meditation Asia 2020. you are welcome to share, but please cite the source, thanks! Contact info@tobyouvry.com

 


Saturday 12thth December 3-5pm – Mindfulness masterclass: Mindfulness for thriving with anxiety & uncertainty (Live & Online)

Anxiety is a natural response to uncertainty and change, but for many of us the experience of anxiety is disturbing, upsetting, draining and stressful. This session focuses on practical ways to change your relationship to anxiety by:

  • Accepting and working with your causes of anxiety
  • Building greater awareness and appreciation of the things that give you stability and security in life
  • Learning to think effectively and wisely around uncertainties and problems that are causing you anxiety

Read full details


Tues & Weds 15th, 16th  December, 7.30-8.30pm – New moon health visualization and envisioning sessions

This session consists of :

  • An opening section attuning to the new moon energy, and return to our ‘beginners mind’ a state of ‘new beginnings’
  • visualization section where we connect to positive imagery related to our own health, and the health of others in our life
  • An envisioning section where we seek spontaneous images and inspiration related to healing
  • consolidation section where we focus on building the power and energy of our images, allowing them to energize and affect our health and healing the greatest degree possible

Read full details


Saturday December 19th, 2.30-5pm – Integral meditation deep dive mini-retreat

These 2.5 hour meditation ‘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, Toby will guide you into deep meditation flow states that…read full details


Tues 22nd & Weds 23rd Dec, 7.30-8.30pm – Winter solstice balancing & renewing meditation

About the class: The Winter Solstice is deepest point of Winter in the northern hemisphere, the point of maximum outer darkness & the shortest day.

In Celtic the name of the winter solstice in ‘Alban Arthan’ of ‘The Light of Arthur’. In this case Arthur refers to the Sun God who, at this time of maximum darkness in the year dies and is reborn in the world of nature and within ourselves…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?

Read full details


All upcoming classes and workshops for at IMA in December:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

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 12thth December 3-5pm – Mindfulness masterclass: Mindfulness for thriving with anxiety & uncertainty

Tues & Weds 15th, 16th  December, 7.30-8.30pm – New moon health visualization and envisioning sessions

Saturday December 19th, 2.30-5pm – Integral meditation deep dive mini-retreat

Tues 22nd & Weds 23rd Dec, 7.30-8.30pm – Winter solstice balancing & renewing meditation

Tues 29th & Weds 30th Dec, 7.30-8.30pm – 2021 New year releasing and inviting meditation

Ongoing – The Men’s Group – The path of conscious manhood


Integral Meditation Asia

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When receiving is giving and giving is receiving

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would happen if you brought your mindful attention to the way in which you currently give & receive? The article below offers a practical way of exploring this. It also suggests a way of deriving sustainable happiness & pleasure from both receiving & giving.

Toby


When receiving is giving and giving is receiving

When we give to receive:
Quite often the reason we give to others or act to benefit them is because it makes us feel good or better about ourselves. If there is something that we feel is broken inside us we can almost look to our acts of generosity as a way of gaining some form of redemption. The fact that we are consciously or unconsciously looking to gain something from our act of giving in this way does not invalidate the act, but it makes us aware of two things:

  • Acts of giving can be as much acts of the ego as any other type of action in our life.
  • Acts of giving are also acts of receiving; by giving to another we receive certain healthy feelings as a “payback”. For example we may feel good about ourselves and/or taking our mind away from the difficulties in our life.

On giving when we receive:
If you are the sort of person who finds it easy to give in the above way, you may also find yourself not allowing others to give to you. Your way of gaining the love and acceptance of others is through giving, so when others act to give to you, there may be a certain resistance to “receiving” their act of giving.  For example, you may feel uncomfortable to be the receiver of, let’s say kindness, consideration or pleasure, rather than the giver of it.
You know how much joy you can feel when you give to others. So, if you think about it, one of the greatest acts of giving that you can provide for others is by learning to receive their acts of kindness and giving toward you with grace and acceptance. By receiving the generosity of others in this way we set up a sustainable cycle of giving and receiving love in our life. This provides a sustainable source of happiness for both ourselves and for others.

A suggested practicum:
For the next week try and do one act of receiving, and one act of giving each day.

  • When you practice receiving, do it gracefully, recognizing that your very act of receiving in this way is an act of giving to the other person.
  • When you practice giving, recognize that this is an act where you benefit as much as the receiver. Extend appreciation for the service that the other person is providing you as the recipient. Also, welcome and enjoy the good feelings that arise in you from your own act of giving, have fun!

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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)

Beginning 14th&15th November – Mastering your mind & thoughts through mindfulness – A five-week course

Saturday November 25th 10am-4pm – Mini ME Retreat #2 : Mindful Eating + Reiki Sound Bath with Tiffany Wee & Elaine Yang


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Books * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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Enlightenment as a chase

Dear Integral Meditators,

Its possible you might think of enlightenment as a process of sitting down, going within and finding your inner peace. But what if it were a chase where you had to run, jump, be alert, be fast, be awake? The article below explores this possibility!

In the spirit of the chase,

Toby

 


Enlightenment as a chase

If you look at the different ideas of spiritual enlightenment you may have, and those that are presented in mainstream spiritualties and religions, you might think of it as a process of sitting down, going within and finding your inner peace. What I want to do in this article is tell an originally Welsh story from the Druid tradition that presents the process of enlightenment as a dynamic chase. The story is that of Taliesin, the poet-saint of the Celts.
In the beginning, before he becomes Taliesin, our hero is a nine-year-old boy called Gwion-Bach. Gwion-Bach is given a task (along with his grandfather). It is given by the Goddess Ceridwen; to tend to a Cauldron containing the ingredients for an ‘elixir of enlightenment’. This elixir is for her ugly son Aggfaddu. Because he is ugly, Ceridwen wants to give her son the gift of enlightenment, hence the cauldron. The cauldron needs to bubble for a year and a day. Young Gwion-Bach has to tend to the fire underneath, and keep it burning. The elixir will work on the first person who tastes it, so Gwion is told under no circumstances to taste it!
On the last day of the year-and-a-day-cycle, Gwion is sitting next to the cauldron as usual. Suddenly, a boiling drop from the cauldron spits out and lands on his thumb. Because it scalds, Gwion instinctively puts his thumb in his mouth and sucks! Accidentally he has tasted the elixir and thus becomes instantly enlightened. He realizes he has made the elixir useless to Ceridwens son! The next moment he realizes he is in big trouble with the goddess, and runs out of the hut….
As soon as Ceridwen realizes what has happened, she chases after Gwoin in a vengeful rage. There then proceeds a chase through the four elements, earth, water, air and fire. Seeing Ceridwen is on his tail, Gwion back transforms into a hare. Ceridwen transforms into a greyhound. She is just about to catch him when Gwion leaps into a river and swims off as a salmon. Ceridwen transforms into an otter and the chase continues. Again, just as the goddess is about to catch him, he leaps out of the water and transforms into a wren (a bird smaller than a sparrow), and flies off! The goddess transforms into a hawk, and pursues him through the air. She is on the verge of grabbing him out of the air when he again transforms, this time into a grain of wheat, falling into a barn full of wheat grains amongst which he hides. The goddess then transforms into a hen, picks him out and eats him!
But the story does not end there. Gwion then transforms into a baby in Ceridwens womb. After 9months he is re-born, emerging from her as an enlightened baby, declaring his name to be Taliesin! She then puts him in a sealed bag and throws him in a river (what a Mum!), where he is later discovered amongst the reads by a queen, who adopts him as her child.
A few points from this story:

  • Here the hero/ine is pursued by the forces of enlightenment (here the goddess), who are relentless and dynamic in their pursuit.
  • S/he is placed under maximum duress by the pressure from the enlightened forces. S/he is forced to develop and evolve herself to the limits of her ability. The hero must use all of her resources and cunning to survive!
  • Once achieved, enlightenment is a beginning, and not an end, the work begins here!

Your life challenges as a path to enlightenment
One possible way of using this tale is to then start to think of the obstacles and challenges in your life that are putting you under pressure as ‘the forces of enlightenment’. Their pressure is an invitation to you to evolve and develop. You must grow your inner and outer abilities, to move step by step, day by day toward the next level of enlightenment in your life.
If you choose to play this game, then be alert, be ready, the path to enlightenment begins right here, in this next moment….

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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)

Starting Tues/Wed September 5th/6th – September & October Five Class Meditation Series: Cultivating Deep Experience of the Present Moment

September 19th/20th: Autumn Equinox balancing & renewing meditation

Saturday September 16th, 10am-5pm –  Shamanic mandala meditation & art workshop

Saturday September 30th, 10am-4.30pm – One Heart Open Day!


Integral Meditation Asia

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creative imagery Enlightened service Inner vision Integral Meditation Life-fullness Meditation and Art meditation and creativity Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Motivation and scope Primal Spirituality

Letting Ideas Grow Mindfully Though You

Dear Integral Meditators,

Why meditate? One reason worth thinking about is that it is a way of keeping yourself creatively energized by learning to tap into deeper levels of our collective consciousness. The article below explores this theme…

Two workshops in Singapore this Saturday, details are immediately below!

In the spirit of

Toby


Letting Ideas Grow Mindfully Though You

“If we surrendered to earths intelligence, we would rise up rooted, like trees” – R.M Rilke

A few people have remarked to me recently how substantial my article and blog output seems to be week-in week-out. They wondered how I keep it up, don’t I run out of ideas? The answer to that question is that no, I almost never find myself short of ideas. I normally have to choose what to write on from 4-5 creative ideas that are present in my mind at any given time. In this article I want to put down a few reasons as to why my creative energy doesn’t run out, and how this relates to meditation & mindfulness practice. With this in mind here are a few points and pointers.

The mediators view of the body-mind is the opposite to most conventional ideas. Rather than our mind being in our body, and specifically in our brain, experienced meditators start to realize that in many ways his/her body is in her mind. The mind is not limited to the body, and has access to a vast amount of creative energy and information that is outside of the individual body and brain. More than this, each of our individual minds are networked into what you might think of as a Universal mind or intelligence, in somewhat the same way computers are all linked to the internet.
This Universal or ‘Big’ mind (I’m using a convenient, simplistic term for something obviously deep and complex here) seeks people to grow and express its ideas through; people whose individual minds are open, receptive, balanced and resilient, and who are motivated to make a contribution to the betterment of the world.
In this sense you might think of yourself as an individual as being like the soil and sunlight in which an idea from the Universal Mind can grow like a plant. If you look at it this way you can see that the idea is not ‘yours’, it has a life of its own, you are just the caretaker and gardener for the idea to grow and enter the outer world.

Meditation – Becoming a terminal for the Universal mind
Looking at it this way you might think of meditation as like connecting a computer to the internet; when you sit still and go within you connect your own mind (the computer) with the Universal Mind (the internet) and consciously allow the Universal Mind to start ‘downloading’ creative ideas into your mind. Some of those ideas will be ideas that you have a unique ability to grow in the garden of your own mind (cue analogy shift back to gardens/plants!), for example I get a lot of ideas relating to meditation and mindfulness because I am already an expert in that domain; my ‘small mind’ is ideal soil and light for new ideas about meditation practice to grow through.

What ideas want to grow through you?
Imagine yourself sitting in a beautiful garden; it is the garden of your own mind. Set your intention; what type of creative ideas do you want to open up to? Business? Art? Relationships? With this intention relax and still your mind deeply as you sit in the inner garden of your mind. Stilling your mind with intention is like connecting it to the ‘internet’ of the Universal Mind. Patiently and without hurrying observe what sort of ideas, images, memories and intuitions start to ‘pop out’ of the stillness; what creative inspirations start to weave their way into the quietness of your garden. This stage is a bit like fishing (I know, yet another analogy!), it kind of like you just sit still and wait for a bite. You can’t push for it or try and control it.

Be playful, patient, be confident! – Once some ideas start to grow through you, how will you continue to grow them? How much time are you prepared to commit? What type of sacrifices are you prepared to make? As the ‘gardener’ it’s up to you how much you nurture your plants, but the more you do the more you’ll find that you are never ever short of creative inspiration in your life and work!

© 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 Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:

JULY & AUGUST 
Saturday 18th July, 9.30am-12.30pm – Growing Your Mindful Freedom – The Essential Meditation of the Buddha: A Three Hour Meditation Workshop

Saturday 18th July, 2.30-5.30 pm – Mindful Resilience – Sustaining effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure through meditation and mindfulness – A Three Hour Workshop

Wenesday July 22nd 7.30-9pm – Integral Meditation Session @ Basic Essence – Meditating with your inner strength of heart & mind

Wednesday July 29th 7.30-9pm – Integral Meditation Session @ Basic Essence – Meditation for connecting to a positive attitude

Saturday 1st August, 9.30am-12.30pm – Finding Simplicity in the Complexity: An Introduction to Meditation From the Perspective of Zen

Saturday 1st August, 2.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self – A Three Hour Workshop

Friday 14th August, 7.30-9pm –  Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *
Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

 

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Mixed Mindfulness Arts, Animals and Starlight

Dear Integral Meditators,

If you look at the martial arts scene these days you will see that a lot of the top guys are mixed martial artists, that is to say that they have trained in and mastered more than one form of martial arts, and this has made them better overall. Similarly training in complementary meditation and mindfulness styles can have a great effect upon your personal growth, more than training in just one.

With this in mind I have edited and updated an older article below on how to meditate with animals and landscape. It is a very old form of meditation that people have been doing for thousands of years, and has a lot to offer us in today’s very urbanized society!

Similarly I would like to sincerely recommend that if you are in Singapore next Sunday 31st September in the morning, then do consider coming along to my meditation workshop The Call of the Wild–Meditations for Deepening Your Inner Connection to the Animal Kingdom and the Green-world where I will be teaching this meditation method in a very practical and relatively easy to apply way.

Finally, another practice that I have gotten a HUGE amount out of over the last year, and that continues to be a great support and strengthener for my mindfulness practice and personal growth in general is the brain-entrainment and bio-field technology tracks fromI-Awake. They have got a new product, Neuroflow out just a few days ago, which I am posting some information on immediately below. As it has only just come out, I have only had it a few days myself, but I have already had a great experience with it!

Yours in the spirit of mixing and flowing,

Toby


Meditating with Animals and Starlight – Shamanic Journeying

Meditating with animals and animal spirits is one of the main practices found in ancient shamanic traditions worldwide. The ancient shamans were really the pioneers of the first meditation techniques and these techniques (which are mainly the technique of “inner world journeying”) are deeply embedded within the psyche of human beings, including you and me. The result of this is that most people who actually try shamanic meditation techniques actually find that they are able to gain some success quite quickly. Michael Harner, one of the pioneers of modern proto-shamanism reports that fully 85% of people participating in his shamanic journeying workshops are able to gain tangible results and experiences from their first attempts at journeying meditation (The only caveat to that would be that these people chose to attend the workshop, so in a sense they may have ‘self-selected based upon their innate aptitude and interest).

As mentioned above, the main meditation “technique” found in shamanism is the “inner world journey” where contact with animal and ancestral spirits is sought for the purposes of gaining guidance, wisdom and healing. When meditating with animals and animal guides the sequence of the meditations would tend to go something like this:

  1. The shaman (or you and I if we are choosing to meditate in this way) goes on a journey, either within his imagination, or actually physically into a landscape to meet his or her animal guide.
  2. Once the specific animal has been contacted, the shaman requests to be taught or shown the wisdom or healing method that the animal has to impart to him.  There then follows a communion between human and animal, trust is hopefully gained and the relationship proceeds. It should be noted that the animal chooses the shaman, not vice-versa. If you are met by an ant or a rat when you wanted a lion you cannot do a trade in! Experience will show you that in reality the animal that comes is invariably the best one for you and for the job at hand!
  3. A series of meditations can then be embarked upon where the mediator then goes on journeys and receives teachings, techniques and insights from the animal. Initially the meditator travels WITH the animal, but over time s/he may feel as if he is merging with the animal’s body and actually BECOMING the animal for periods of time.
  4. Over time a stable working relationship is established with the animal spirit which is mutually enriching for both parties, and the wisdom and abilities of the animal are imparted to the meditator.

What “abilities” and wisdom do you get from an animal guide?
The way in which animal guides impart wisdom is non-intellectual, experiential and mainly done through images. To take an example, if your guide is a spider, and in meditation you experience what it is like to have eight sensitive legs picking up information from all directions around you then this will give you a heightened awareness of your inner sense of touch which you can apply to appropriate life situations and challenges.

Starlight meditation with a pigeon
One animal that I developed a relationship with around the the beginning of 2010 for a period of months is the pink necked green pigeon a number of which used to hang out in the park near my office. My animal journeying-type meditations are mostly spontaneous these days, done whilst napping or just sitting having a quiet moment. Animal journeying really just becomes an integral part of life once you have been doing it a while. So anyway, here a journey that I experienced with the above mentioned green pigeon that I recorded at the time :
I am having a ten minute meditation break in my office. My mind becomes quiet and tranquil. Quite suddenly I feel myself to be sitting in the next door park, staring up at a tree, where the green pigeon is sitting looking at me. After an initial contact we fly up into the sky going high above the cloudline.
With the clouds below us and the blue sky above, I become aware of rays of starlight flowing down from the heavens, bathing our bodies in white light. The rest of the meditation is then spent simply enjoying the starlight, absorbing it and being it. We then fly back down to the park, the vision breaks apart and I am sitting in my office meditating. I say thankyou to the green pigeon and get on with my day!

For many people the idea of meditating in this way may seem a bit far-fetched.

However there is HUGE value for urbanized humans to do this type of meditation, as it re-connects us to a truly living relationship with nature and animals. The other thing that we discover is that it is actually quite not difficult, it is just a matter of re-awakening our visualization and imaginative skills, and pointing them in the right direction.

© Toby Ouvry 2014, 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 

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Biographical Enlightened Flow Enlightened service Inner vision Integral Meditation Meditating on the Self Mindful Self-Leadership

Enlightenment and the Call to Awakened Creativity

Dear Toby,

Those of you in Asia I hope you had a nice holiday yesterday as Wesak, or Buddhas birthday was celebrated. The article below is the result of my own reflections on the creative process of enlightenment, thinking about the Buddha in particular.

Final call for those who may be interested in the 3 hour Mindful Self Leadership Workshop in Singapore this Sunday 18th May, 9.30am-12.30. Click on the link for details!

Yours mindfully and creatively,

Toby

PS: Click on the picture to find out about Buddha shaped pears!


Enlightenment and the Call to Awakened Creativity

I’m writing this article on Wesak day, or Buddha’s birthday, and the occasion has led me to have a go at expressing something that has been on my mind for a little while which is basically this; The great enlightened leaders of different eras for example Buddha, the Christ, Krishna responded to their experience of spiritual enlightenment with courageous creative acts of worldly innovation.

For example one of the things that the Buddha did was to create whole new class of citizen. Back in India 600BC as a man you had three options; either you were of the class of nobleman, or the warrior class or the servant/slave class. If you were in the tiny minority of noblemen, then life would have been good, but if you were a warrior or a slave you really were not operating with much freedom. If you were a woman the choices were correspondingly limited.
So what the Buddha did was to create a new class of citizen – the ordained Sangha – or community of monks and nuns who were essentially able to side step the three class options and live peacefully, supported by laypeople and focus on getting enlightened themselves and being of service to the community at large. It is difficult for us to appreciate fully today what an amazing act of social innovation this was on the part of the Buddha, as today we live in a very different society where, relatively speaking we have very different freedoms and limitations. At the time of the Buddha many, many men and women were socially liberated in the way through the creative this creative act of Buddha.

So then, the interesting thing to me is that while the truly great enlightened people and leaders innovate and act with dynamic creativity, the people that follow them mainly seem just to seek to follow the rules that got set down after their death – they do not seem to feel the imperative to act creatively, to take chances, to innovate, to respond to the genuine organic needs of their life and times.

To become spiritually enlightened means basically this; to be interested in developing your consciousness and to be focused on the process of seeing and integrating your inner and outer reality as clearly and courageously as you can. Spiritual enlightenment is a process with many levels of unfolding. I’m at a certain level of spiritual development; you are at a certain level of development. At each level I believe we have a responsibility not just to gain insight into our reality, but also to respond to that insight with action and creativity. This means to be taking active responsibility for expressing your own enlightenment (on whatever level you are at) in your life. Very often that will mean taking a chance, engaging in something a little experimental.

The main thing is that you get in the habit of expressing your enlightened creativity now, today, at least a little.

Happy Wesak day!