An Enlightenment Visualization

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article uses a series of six simple images to try and communicate the basic enlightenment experience. In June I’ll be doing a workshop on meditation for cultivating the enlightenment experience, this article is one way of exploring this space.

I’ll be facilitating the three hour Mindful Self-Leadership workshop again on the 7th June for those interested. It will be at the CLIA workshop space on Khoon Seng Road.

Finally, I-Awake technologies are having a 50% Sale on until Monday evening US time, I’ve placed the details at the bottom of this newsletter, do check it out!

Yours in the spirit of enlightenment,

Toby


Upcoming Meditation Classes and Workshops at Integral Meditation Asia in June:

Mindful Self-Leadership: Taking Control of Your Life Through the Practice of Mindful Self-Leadership – A Five Week Online Course (This is ongoing and can be entered into at any time)

Saturday 7th June, 2.30-5.30pm – Mindful Self-Leadership Course at CLIA(Creative Leadership in Asia)

Enlightened Flow: Finding the Ultimate Relaxation and Release from Stress – A Practical Three Hour Meditation Workshop

Free Preview Talk: Tuesday , 17th June, 7.30-8.30pm at the Reiki Centre

The Three Hour Workshop:  Sunday 29th June, 9.30am-12.30pm

Click title link for details of both Enlightened Flow events.
 


Enlightenment Visualization

The following is a visualization process for connecting experientially to the experience of spiritual enlightenment. By Spiritual Enlightenment here I mean connecting to the formless, timeless, unified dimension or reality that underlies both the outer world of our body and senses, and the inner world of our mind.
The best artists use their pictures/creations to connect the viewer to a deeper dimension of their being. Very often a picture or image speaks louder, more clearly and more practically to us than abstract concepts (not always, but often). The point of this visualization exercise therefore is to describe in a series of 6 key images how to connect to the enlightenment experience without giving too much philosophy; the images connect you to the meaning.

Stage 1: Sit quietly for a while, bringing your attention to your body and the breathing. Use your exhalation to release tension from your mind and body and enter as deep and relaxed a state of awareness as you can.

Stage 2: Now imagine that the world around the room or space in which you are seated gradually dissolves in to light, space and emptiness. It is just you and the room surrounded by an infinity of light and empty space.

Stage 3: Now imagine that the room where you are seated dissolves into light, space and emptiness; it is just you, and your body sitting in this living, empty infinity.

Stage 4: Now imagine that your body itself dissolves away into light, space and emptiness so that all you are experiencing is a huge unified space of light and emptiness with no beginning and no end. For the main section of the meditation, rest in this space of formless timeless spaciousness as deeply as you can. This is the initial focus of the experience of spiritual enlightenment as we are describing it in this exercise.

Stage 5: When you are ready, from this unified space of formless timeless emptiness see the barest trace of your body outlined in that space, in lines and points of light. Gradually your room and the whole world around it also appear in this ghostly white framework of lines and points of light. The main experience is still one of spacious light, emptiness and unity, but traced within that timeless space is now your entire world of time and space, with your body in the centre.

Stage 6: Gradually see your body and the world around you becoming more solid and real, filled with colour, texture, weight, sound and so on. See this solid ‘real’ world emerging or arising from the vast infinity of formless, timeless infinity that you have been resting in during stage 4.
The formless timeless unity of enlightenment and the diverse solid and sometimes chaotic world of time and space exist as one, as a mutually supporting unity.

When you are ready you can bring your meditation to a close. When you are out of meditation the practice them becomes to recognize that the real, solid world around you is arising and one with the timeless domain of enlightenment. They are not two different objects, but the same reality appearing in two different ways.

As I mention below, the I-Awake sale is on, with 50% off all tracks until Monday 26th May. The tracks that best support the meditation I have described in this article would be Audio SerenityHarmonic Resonance Meditation and Meditative Ocean.

© 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



Our friends at I-Awake technologies are offering a 50% discount on all digital downloads of ALL their products in their 5 day memorial day sale!
Its a great opportunity to get some amazing products and technologies to support your meditation practice and peace of mind at a great price.
Check out the link for full details!

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A Free Audio Meditation on Self Trust

Dear Integral Meditators,

Goethe said “If you trust yourself you will know how to live”. More than  that, our trust and confidence in ourself directly affects the way in which we experience our relationship to the world at large, as Emerson said “If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.”

This is a short five minute guided meditation on how to develop and sustain deep trust in yourself. Enjoy!

Meditation on Self-Trust
(click to play, right click download)

A quick reminder that the Mindful Self-Leadership Online Course will be beginning tomorrow, beneath this message I have placed some of the feedback from those who attended the live workshop last Sunday, just to give you a feel of what sort of benefits you are likely to experience if you participate in the more in-depth online course!

Yours in the spirit of self leadership and self-trust,

Toby



Audio Serenity

Last couple of days to get 25% off Audio Serenity!

Go on 61minutes of pure and deep relaxation. Enjoy a drug free vacation from stress and anxiety”.

Click on the link, to listen to a free sample.  Just type in NEWSMAY25OFF into the coupon code section of the purchase section to get the discount.

 


Mindful Self-Leadership 3 hour WS 18.05.14 Participant Feedback

I found this workshop excellent. It gives me a nice set of simple tools. Your talk did open my eyes to various issues and concepts, going beyond just the workshop.
Keep up the good work including your weekly blogs!

Good pacing with the right amount of content. Very useful practical mindfulness exercises to complement the content shared. Great handout and online links (to the workshop recordings). Nice venue and small group. Sentence completion exercises very useful, Thankyou!

I felt a connection with Toby straight away.
I feel more hopeful in how my life will proceed.
His (Toby’s) experience, way of speaking, knowledge and methods resonate with me.
Thankyou Toby.

The workshop was excellent! I really enjoyed not only the content, but also the process. I found the explanation and insights to be truly insightful and informative. Thanks so much!

Really enjoyed the whole workshop – The focus that the sentence completion allowed me to have about my views & thoughts and feelings , plus the really helpful practical experience of the meditation exercises.

It has been really useful for me to understand the stages of thought and mindfulness that lead to actual action. Thankyou!


 

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Locating Your Deep Centre

Dear Integral Meditators,

If you are in the centre of the energy of your life, then you are general going to be and feel in control. If you are on the edge of the energy in your life, being pushed around and buffeted by its currents, then things can really feel like a struggle. This weeks article explores a practical exercise in how to find your centre and stay there!

This Thursday 22nd May sees the beginning of the Five Module Online Mindful Self-Leadership Course. You can participate in it from wherever you are in the world, in your own time and at your own pace. I’ve created a special page dedicated exclusively to the online course, do click on the link to have a look!

Finally, our friends at I-Awake have special offer on their track “Audio Serenity” which they describe as “Going on 61minutes of pure and deep relaxation. Enjoy a drug free vacation from stress and anxiety”. Check it out by clicking on the link, if you decide you like it and want it, just type in NEWSMAY25OFF into the coupon code section of the purchase section to get a 25% discount. The offer is valid for a week!

Yours in the spirit of deep centring,
Toby


Upcoming Meditation Classes and Workshops at Integral Meditation Asia:

Mindful Self-Leadership: Taking Control of Your Life Through the Practice of Mindful Self-Leadership – A Five Week Online Course

Course Begins Thursday 22nd May 

Click on the link for full details!


Locating Your Deep Centre

The following is an exercise that you can do at the beginning of a meditation, or anytime you want to balance and centre your body-mind. It can also be done over a slightly longer period of time as a meditation in and of itself.
It can be done when you feel upset or out of balance, or as a method for finding deep stillness.
In general the energy that occupies your bodies centre or core is the energy that will be running your life. This exercise helps you to bring conscious awareness and balanced energy into the core of your being, thus giving you greater autonomy, choice and control over your body, mind and life.

Step 1: Aligning your body – Sit comfortably with your hips, abdomen, chest/shoulders, neck and head stacked one on top of the other like a pile of bricks. This allows the weight of your upper body to travel comfortably down your torso into the hips with minimal effort needed to sustain a vertical sitting posture.

Step 2: Finding your vertical core – Visualize a line of light and energy coming down from the sky through the dead centre of your crown, brain, neck, chest, abdomen and hips, exiting through the perineum (mid-point between the legs) and continuing down into the centre of the earth. This line of energy is your body’s vertical core.

Step 3: Balancing the front and back of your body – Now with small movements of only a centimetre or two, rock your body backwards and forwards. As you do so feel the front and back halves of your body coming into alignment with each other around the vertical line of light in the centre of your body.

Step 4: Balancing the left and right halves of the body- Now rock your body sideways with small movements. As you do so, feel the left and right halves of your torso and body coming into alignment with each other. With the completion of steps 3&4 you now feel that the front and back halves and the left and right halves of your body in a state of balance and harmony with each other around your bodies vertical core.

Step 5: Finding the deep centre of your body – Now look for the deep centre of your torso and body. This will be along the vertical core of your body, somewhere between the chest and solar plexus level. Note you are not trying to find a chakra or anything like that, you are trying to find the literal ‘dead-centre’ or bulls-eye of your body – its middle point.
Once you have found it, visualize it as a ball of light about the size of a golf ball. As you breathe in breathe your awareness into the deep centre of your body, as you breathe out feel light and energy from your deep centre expanding out into your body-mind, bringing stability, poise, balance and harmony to it.

Optional Step 6: Going cosmic – If you want to prod the enlightenment experience a little with this exercise (and why not?) as you breathe into your deep centre feel yourself connecting to the centre of your spiritual self, whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. As you breathe out feel your awareness expanding out from your deep centre into a space of eternity and infinity.

Rest in the awareness of your deep centre for a while, when you feel ready you can return to your daily life aligned and re-centred!

© 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


Audio Serenity

Special 1 week offer, get 25% off!

Go on 61minutes of pure and deep relaxation. Enjoy a drug free vacation from stress and anxiety”.

Click on the link, to listen to a free sample.  Just type in NEWSMAY25OFF into the coupon code section of the purchase section to get the discount.

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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!

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The Benefits of Simplicity

Dear Integral Meditators,

Every now and again I write an article that I like right from the moment of completion. The one on simplicity below is one of them. The practice of mindful simplicity is one that helps us to become more effective at dealing with the ever increasing complexity of our daily lives; by becoming simpler we gain the strength to approach complexity with enthusiasm and resilience.

How to find regeneration through simplicity is the first of the practices that I will be teaching in the  Mindful Self-leadership workshop on Sunday the 18th of May, you can click on the link to read more about that, and to listen to a 45 minute free preview talk and meditation on mindful self-leadership.

Yours in the spirit of simplicity,
Toby


Upcoming Meditation Classes and Workshops at Integral Meditation Asia:

Mindful Self-Leadership: Taking Control of Your Life Direction and Wellbeing Through Awareness, Curiosity, Courage and Care

Sunday  May 18th – Mindful Self-Leadership Three Hour Workshop
Thursday 22nd May – Five Module Online Mindful Self-Leadership Course Begins

Click on the link for full details!
 


The Benefits of Simplicity

One definition of meditation is an activity that tends towards singularity and away from diversity.
Another way of putting this is that meditation can be any activity, accompanied by solid states of mindfulness and awareness, that moves towards simplicity and away from complexity.
So what are the benefits of abiding in a state of mindful simplicity? Here are a few:

  • Your body-mind moves from a state of energy expenditure to a state of energy regeneration and renewal
  • By making your mind and activity regularly simpler, you actually enhance your capacity to deal with the complexity of your daily life more adequately and competently
  • With the clarity that comes from simplicity your natural intelligence is able to function better, both in terms of rational and intuitive problem solving
  • It is easier to access positive states of mind such as appreciation and enjoyment
  • You gain greater wisdom and perspective on your life as you step back from it and temporarily disengage
  • You have the opportunity to become aware of deeper levels of motivation and desire within yourself that are revealed only when your everyday business is reduced
  • You gain the strength and presence of mind to do what you need to do in the longhaul of your life (not just the short term) to lead yourself to the fulfilment of your deepest desires.

Creating a state of mindful simplicity
The great thing about simplicity is that it can be cultivated any time you have a gap in your life. It just means creating a space where you are cutting down on the amount of activity and busyness. For example:

You could go for a walk where the aim is to go slowly and mindfully, to not think about the future, simply to enjoy the moment
You could choose to sit on you office chair for five minutes and simply not engage in any tasks, just come back to your body and breathing
You could choose not to fill an afternoon on your weekend with activities, but rather just allow that time to be focused on keeping things as simple and reflective as possible.

Mindful simplicity is available to you every day if you want it to be. If you know the benefits, then what are you waiting for? Create some space for mindful simplicity each day.

Want some more tangible ideas for mindful simplicity?
Check out these previous articles:
Four Zen Meditations
Dropping Your Conceptual Leaves
Small Focused Mind, Big, Open Mind
Fundamental Zen Sitting Meditation Forms

© 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


Looking for some help to create a space of simplicity in your life? Try these bio-field  tracks from I-Awake:Audio Serenity
Beginners Mind
Harmonic Resonance Meditation
Meditative Ocean

Healing Light
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Mindful Self-Leadership Free Meditation and Talk Recording

Dear Toby,

Last weekend I gave a public meditation and talk entitled: “Mindful Self-Leadership, a contemporary paradigm for conscious, integrated personal growth and wellbeing”. Many thanks to those of you who came along to participate live. If you would like to have a listen to the talk online, just click here:

Mindful Self Leadership Talk and Meditation

The first 20minutes or so is a meditation, the rest is a talk. If you enjoy the it, then you can just scroll down to find out more about the two courses that I will be offering on Mindful Self -Leadership:

  • One live in Singapore on the 18th May
  • One online starting on May 22nd. This is the first time I’ve rolled this course out, and I’m pretty excited about it and what it can give to people. With the online course, you can participate in it literally wherever you are in the world!

Please note that that until the end 9th of May (this Friday) there are some early bird opportunities to get reduced prices on the courses!

Yours in the spirit of the mindful self,

Toby


Mindful Self-Leadership: Take Control of Your Life Direction and Wellbeing Through Awareness, Curiosity, Courage and Care.

Sunday  May 18th – Mindful Self-Leadership Three Hour Workshop
Thursday 22nd May – Five Module Online Mindful Self-Leadership Course Begins

In a sentence: Learn how you can develop deep confidence in yourself, take benevolent control of your life, overcome inner inhibitions such as fear and invite fulfillment and wellbeing into your life through the practice of mindful self leadership.

Overview: The best place to learn how lead is within yourself. Do you agree?

Developing your Mindful Self-leadership is about how you can:

  • Feel increasing levels of comfort and confidence in your relationship to yourself, your life and in your ability to take your life in the direction that you truly want it to go
  •  Develop your self-knowledge and self-understanding so as to find out what will really make you most happy
  • Find ways of being making use of the challenges that you face, by taking responsibility for them and leading yourself to the best solutions to those challenges
  • Learn to communicate with yourself and others in a way that encourages you to express your deeper values in the way you think feel and act
  • Develop a capacity for self-leadership that will be an inspiration to others and encourage them to develop their own self-leadership skills
  • Do all of the above using a set of mindfulness practices that enables you to drop into states of mind that are relaxing, peaceful and regenerative, and that will help you dramatically reduce the amount of negative stress and anxiety in your life.

If you have been answering ‘yes’ to the above points then the course in mindful self leadership is for you!

These courses are suitable for:

  • Those who may be new to mindfulness and who want to learn it in a way that cultivates the self-leadership skills outlined above.
  • People who are already familiar with mindfulness and meditation practice and wish to learn how to use it in a leadership context.

There are two opportunities to participate in the Mindful-Self Leadership training:

  • A three hour Mindful Self-Leadership workshop in Singapore in Sunday May 18th at Basic Essence. For full information see details below.
  • A Five week Mindful Self-Leadership online course that will begin on Thursday 22nd May see below for full details.

What does it cost?:

THE COST FOR  THE MINDFUL SELF-LEADERSHIP 3 HOUR WORKSHOP ON THE 18TH MAY IS SING$130.  TO MAKE PAYMENT FOR BY CREDIT CARD, CLICK HERE 

THE COST FOR THE MINDFUL SELF-LEADERSHIP 5 WEEK ONLINE COURSE BEGINNING 22ND MAY IS SING$190. TO MAKE PAYMENT BY CREDIT CARD, CLICK HERE 

BUY BOTH THE THE MINDFUL SELF-LEADERSHIP 3 HOUR WORKSHOP AND 5 WEEK ONLINE COURSE AS A BUNDLE FOR SING$295 (SAVE $25) .TO MAKE PAYMENT FOR  BY CREDIT CARD, CLICK HERE


Details of the Mindful Self-Leadership Three Hour Workshop:

Date: Sunday May 18th
Time: 9.30am-12.30
Location: Basic Essence, (For location Map click HERE)

This three our workshop introduces four fundamental mindfulness practices that you can take into your daily life in order to develop your capacity for confident self-leadership. These four practices are as follows:

  1. Encountering – Developing your foundation for mindful self–leadership by increasing your capacity to encounter ALL of your reality without being intimidated by it
  2. Accepting – Mindfully accepting all of whom you are in order to lead yourself beyond who you are
  3. Envisioning – Connecting to the values of your personal self-leadership style
  4. Empowering – Taking responsibility for respecting who you are and expressing it appropriately in your life

Each of these practices invites the ongoing development of your own personal self-leadership style and understanding of how it can be integrated into your daily life.
As well as guiding these exercises Toby will here will be giving talks on each of them, and there will be time for exploration of the practices through Q&A.

In addition to the workshop you will receive:

  • MP3 recordings of the practices and talks that are done during the workshop
  • Full workshop notes with all of the mindful self leadership exercises included as well as other relevant articles and materials.
  • All in all you will have a very clear idea of how you can continue your mindful self leadership practice in your daily life after leaving the workshop

Taking Control of Your Life Through Mindful Self-Leadership – A Five Week Online Course

Start date: Thursday May 22nd

Course Outline: This five week online course is an in depth exploration of how you can develop your mindful self-leadership style in order to:

  • Develop increasing confidence and self-direction in life
  • Align yourself with what will really make you inwardly fulfilled
  • Take advantages of your challenges in life to further self-knowledge and discovery
  • Assert values and actions in your life that are congruent with who you are
  • Become the leader you want to be when he going gets tough in your life
  • Combine self-leadership with the daily cultivation of inner peace and wellbeing

Module titles:

Module 1: Getting started; a outline and overview of the elements of mindful self-leadership and how to start cultivating your experience of it on a daily basis
Module 2: Accepting who you are in order to go beyond who you are – Exploring the paradox of mindful self-leadership
Module 3: You can’t practice self leadership if you don’t know where you want to go – Getting to grips with what you really want in life
Module 4: You know more than you think you know – Accessing your inner guidance for the purposes of mindful self-leadership
Module 5: The long leadership journey to where you are – Exploring the spiritual dimension of self-leadership

How it works: Upon registering for the course you will be sent the link to the course webpage together with the password to access it. This will be the place you can go in order to access, listen to and download the course materials. Each week during the five weeks of the course you will be notified when the latest module has been uploaded.

For further details: Please contact info@integralmeditationasia.com

TO MAKE PAYMENT FOR THE MINDFUL SELF-LEADERSHIP 5 WEEK ONLINE COURSE BY CREDIT CARD, CLICK HERE

TO MAKE PAYMENT FOR THE MINDFUL SELF-LEADERSHIP 3 HOUR WORKSHOP AND 5 WEEK ONLINE COURSE BUNDLE FOR SING$295 BY CREDIT CARD, CLICK HERE

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Mindful Consequentialism (Dancing through fear and anxiety)

Dear Integral Meditators,

One of the points of focus for mindful self-leadership is learning how to accept creative responsibility for our choices. This weeks article on mindful consequentialism explores this space.

 

Yours in the spirit of the endless dance,

Toby
 


Mindful Consequentialism (Dancing through fear and anxiety)

You may or may not have noticed that in practical terms, anxiety and fear exist most often when there is uncertainty and choice. For example:

  • If I am trying to decide which choice of school will be best for my daughter, it is the experience of not knowing which choice is best that is directly a cause of anxiety; “What if I make the wrong choice and she suffers?”
  • If I am trying to decide whether to leave my job to seek a better option; “What if I don’t find one and instead I just loose the security of my present paycheque?”
  • If I am ill; “Should I choose the holistic option for treatment that I believe in or the conventional treatment most people use? What if it doesn’t work?”

In countless small and large ways each day the choices we make in the face of our uncertainty defines the direction of our life. So then the question becomes “What is the choice that I truly value, believe in and, deep down I feel is right for me?”

Every choice has a consequence
It can be helpful to contemplate that any choice that we make has consequences. To stay in a secure job gives you (relative) security at the price of your own fulfillment. Pursuing your own passions in business exposes you to the (relative) risk of failure and reduced income, at least for a while. Both options involve some form of discomfort, but which consequence are you prepared to accept to get what you really want?

To make the choices you need to make you need to be able to accept the consequences.

  • To pursue a passion you expose yourself to uncertainty at the gain of creative fulfillment
  • To leave a relationship that is not working for you, you court the consequence of being alone once more
  • To avoid expressing an emotion that you feel you have to deal with the consequences of suppressing or repressing it
  • To help someone in your care to grow you may have to expose them from time to time to the pain of having to deal with something without your help

There is no-one coming to save you
We can dodge responsibility for our own choices in the face of uncertainty, but at the end of the day all this does is prevent us from making the choices that we truly believe in, even if we get it wrong sometimes.
The thing is, every time we make a choice that does not reflect a trust and confidence in our own judgment we undercut our self esteem, our self trust and our capacity to lead ourself along a path in life that is going to lead to the deepest levels of happiness and fulfilment for us.

Dancing with fear and anxiety
I’m not sure you can really get around the anxiety and fear that come from making choices in the face of uncertainty. However, if you can accept the presence of this fear and anxiety, you can consciously build a positive relationship to it. You can learn to dance with it, even enjoy it, accepting of the consequences of your choices; both the nice ones and the challenging ones. This in turn enables you to get progressively BETTER at making the choices that are really right for you.

An image to practice with
If you would like to take the ideas from this article into your life over the next week or so, use the image of a dancer. Every time you feel the fear and anxiety around uncertainty and choice making, bring to mind that image and dance with it; keep light, don’t get too heavy. With a real and mindful awareness of the consequences of your choices, make the choice you believe in and will respect yourself for.

© 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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What is Self-Awareness?

Dear Integral Meditators,

Self awareness is one of the foundation tools for both mindfulness and meditation in general, and Mindful Self Leadership in particular. As the article points out, self awareness is relatively easy to understand, not quite so easy to do!

Yours in the spirit of self awareness,

Toby


What is Self-Awareness? 

Self Awareness is a commitment to be aware of your reality; that is the world of your feelings, needs, desires, ideas, evaluations and behavior. Self awareness acts as the foundation for mindful self-leadership because if it is only by becoming aware and getting to know yourself thoroughly that you will be able to lead yourself effectively by engaging in authentic decisions and actions that will lead to your self-fulfilment.

Self awareness is a challenging task for most of us because we have been training ourselves to see only what we want to see about ourselves for a very long time. We have invested deeply in NOT seeing the things that make us uncomfortable about ourself and/or that threaten our self-image. Examples of what we choose not to see might be:

– If I have a feeling that I have been taught from childhood is ‘bad’ (eg: jealousy), then I will have been training myself not to see my own jealousy for a long time, because to admit to being jealous would to be to admit to being a bad person
– If I have been taught that in order to fit into my social group I need to ‘sacrifice’ my needs for the needs of others, then I (often unconsciously) train myself to deny and not see some of my deepest desires for self fulfillment
– If I lack confidence in myself I may discard or deny my own opinions in favor of what someone else says; I will not value or trust my own perception, instead I will turn away from awareness of it.

So self awareness is about ‘standing naked’ in front of the mirror of your own awareness and accepting all of the feelings you have, as well as the needs, desires, creative power, behaviors and ideas that you have without editing.

Questions for beginning the process of self-awareness

If I am more honest with myself about the way I feel about X (pick your own subject) I might realize that –
If I look more openly at the way I behaved today when X (pick your own life situation) I can see that I –
If I am honest with myself the thing I desire most in my career, relationship, X (pick your own life situation) is –

Sit for a while with any of these sentences. Try and listen to all the answers that come back in your mind without editing or judging them. If you like you can actually write them down. Notice that some of the answers that come back you will feel comfortable with, some very uncomfortable. Sit with them both, sit with them all; be aware of the totality of your experience of your feelings, behaviors or desires.

What might be the consequences of what you discover through self awareness?

© 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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Enlightened Imperfection

Dear Integral Meditators,

Are you on a quest for enlightened perfection? This weeks Integral Meditations article explores what enlightened perfection looks like (or doesn’t look like) and how we can start to use it to embrace our own imperfection and the imperfection of the world.
It is kind of a complementary take to the midweek article on “That Which Solves All Your Problems and None“.

Yours in the spirit of the perfectly imperfect,

Toby
 


Enlightened Imperfection

There is a lot of confusion around the idea of perfection and enlightenment. Many people seem to think that, when you attain a ‘spiritual’ enlightenment you become in some way perfect. Actually, what the realization of enlightenment points out is that there is a part of ourself that is already perfect, they always have been and always will be.

When we realize enlightenment we also realize that all things including ourself are totally imperfect and not just that, they always will be.

Let me explain what I mean, starting with what spiritual enlightenment is. There are three domains or aspects of our moment to moment experience:

  1. Our outer physical and sensory experience
  2. Our inner mental experience based around thoughts and images
  3. The experience of awareness itself which is the formless timeless ‘ground’ upon which the rest of our outer and inner experience is based.

To become spiritually enlightened means to gain practical experience of this third domain of formless timeless awareness, and base our core identity around this experience. Thus, enlightenment has nothing to do with what one believes or philosophizes about, and everything to do with what one discovers through meditation and other related practical methods of investigating our moment to moment experience.

In the state of formless timeless awareness (that is number 3 of the above list) there is perfection and only perfection. This is because in such a state of no-form and no-time there is no-thing that could possibly be imperfect. It is the dimension of each moment of our experience that is perfect, pristine, and flawless. You could be blind drunk, be in the middle of nuclear war or have just married to the person of our dreams, it doesn’t matter; the part of that moment that is simply formless timeless awareness is perfect and always will be.

Classical spiritual enlightenment is a discovery you make about this pristine, formless, timeless state that is already there. You don’t create it, you discover it, and it is absolutely perfect.

As for the rest of you, your life, and the rest of the world, it is completely imperfect. Not just that, it always will be. In the physical world and in the world of our everyday mind there is always imperfection, there will always be difficulties, there is no point of final perfection; there is just a changeable present and future extending to the end of our life, to future generations and to infinity.

To be enlightened is to stop looking for perfection in your life, because you understand that it is already there.

To be enlightened is also to commit to responding to the dance of imperfection in your life in the best way you can with curiosity, courage and care. It means not being afraid to make mistakes, to be vulnerable, and to occasionally and when necessary be seen as a bit of a fool.

Enlightened perfection is not something that you can achieve, it is something that you come to know and recognize. From this space of ‘already perfect’ the challenge is then to launch yourself into the imperfection that will always be there, and commit to making it better.

Over the next week or so if you want to start working with this idea, you can try this:
Simply focus on the statement ‘Everything is already perfect’. Allow your mind to rest in this recognition for as long as you wish. Just relax, let go and feel your way into a space of timeless awareness where everything is always perfect, immutable, pristine. Allow yourself to regenerate your energies in that space.
Now bring your attention back to yourself, back to your world, back to the endless beautiful and tragic imperfection. Now smile to yourself, open to your imperfect reality and commit to participating in the most enlightened way you can.

© 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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That Which Solves All Your Problems and None

Dear Integral Meditators,

All of us crave a final solution to all our problems, a place where we can go and find true peace. The good news is that such a solution it always available to us in each moment.  The challenge is that after we have solved all our problems in this way, we still have to solve all our problems. You’ll see what I mean below.

I’ll be doing a free talk on Mindful Self-Leadership on the 4th May, full information can be found HERE.

Yours in the spirit of problem solving,

Toby


That Which Solves All Your Problems and None

One of the fundamental insights from the enlightenment experience induced by meditation is that, behind every tangible experience that we have there is an experience of formless, timeless awareness which embraces, enables and transcends that experience.

The interesting thing is that, whereas the experience itself may give rise to pleasure and pain, dilemmas, anxiety, elation, depression etc, this formless timeless dimension that lies behind the experience is simply and continuously present to what is arising, witnessing what is going on with both benevolent intimacy and (to our perception), terrifying indifference.

Whereas I, Toby as a body-mind am a distinct person on a personal (hopefully developmental) journey through life, the part of me that is simply formless timeless awareness is already at the destination to that journey, and at the same time has never begun that journey in the first place.

Whilst the Toby in this world works to develop a business, become a better, kinder person, work off the weight that the Easter eggs have put on his waist line, sets goals, suffers, and has successes, the formless timeless Toby has no ambition to develop or to achieve because from its perspective everything has been achieved already, and ultimately there was no-thing to achieve in the first place.

While the Toby in time and space craves resolution to his problems, anxieties and dilemmas, as well as the fulfillment of his deepest wishes, the transcendent Toby has no problems, and even if he did (which he doesn’t) they would be solved instantly in the experience of the timeless present.

So, as I think you can start to see spiritual enlightenment, that is a living connection to the formless, timeless, ever present dimension of reality solves all of our problems ultimately, but in the mean time it solves none of them at all! We are still challenged to face off with our challenges in time and space each day with curiosity, courage and care, and do the best we can.

There is no doubt that many people come to meditation and spirituality as a means of escaping from a seemingly intractable, chaotic and painful world, and it is an easy trap to fall into. I however like to think of the peaceful, problemless space of the timeless present as an invitation to get our hands dirty in the world of time and space, to participate fully, to play the game.

As an exercise for this week if you choose, simply sit quietly and think to yourself “Ultimately all of my problems are solved”. Enter, sit with and breathe in this space where everything is well, and all problems never existed. Recognize this space, let yourself go into it.
As you reach the end of the exercise, let your mind full up again with the intractable messiness, imperfection and vulnerability of your life.

Now, go and solve your problems.

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