Acceptance & Forgiveness – The Difference

Dear Integral Meditators,

In some situations it seems like we are faced with a choice of either forgiving and letting go of something difficult that has happened to us, or holding onto it and continuing to experience anger, grief and negativity about it. But is there a third option? The article below examines the relationship and difference between forgiveness and acceptance, and how we can go about using them consciously and skillfully in our mindfulness practice and life.

Yours in the spirit of skillful acceptance,

Toby


Acceptance & Forgiveness – The Difference

To accept something is to accept the reality of what has happened, how you feel about it and what can or cannot be done about it.
Forgiveness is a choice we make to let go of judgment and feelings of blame (and sometimes vengefulness) toward another person/people or ourself regarding something that has happened.

Acceptance and forgiveness are not the same thing, and it can be a really good thing to get this clear in our own understanding, for example:
If my business partner causes us to lose a deal through a genuine mistake or lack of experience, then I may feel anger or loss initially, but I can forgive him and let it go because the nature of his mistake was genuine and his intention was not malevolent.
Similarly we can forgive our children, partners, friends and ourselves many things and this is entirely appropriate and helpful.
Let’s say however a business partner of mine consciously and deliberately embezzles money from the business and then runs off. Because this is an act of deliberate harm done intentionally, for me it does not seem appropriate to forgive , but I am still faced with the problem of a bunch of angry, frustrated feelings within myself; “How could he! How could I be so naive! I thought I knew him!” And so on…
I this situation I can move to resolve the feelings that I have through acceptance

  • I accept the reality that what has happened has happened, and I cannot turn back the clock
  • I accept the reality the he has done what he has done
  • I accept the way in which I feel, and I allow myself to acknowledge and feel those feelings in order to process them and then let go of them
  • I don’t forgive, because as the situation stands I don’t think it is appropriate, but nevertheless though acceptance I can resolve my feelings, let go and move on from the situation without being unduly bothered by it, and hopefully have learned the lessons that are appropriate.

Of course if at some time in the future my business partner then expresses remorse, returns the money and have a genuine change of heart, I would probably forgive him, but not before that point, because as a human being with intelligence he is accountable for his actions.

You can resolve a lot of difficult things and past hurts through acceptance, and find your peace. Where appropriate you can forgive.

Mindfulness Question: What past or present circumstances or relationships do I most often find myself revisiting with bitterness, anger or blame? Which of them is most appropriate to deal with through acceptance, and which are most appropriate to approach with forgiveness?

Related article: The Way to Deal With Feelings  is to Feel
Related Blog Section: Positive Anger

Find out about: Stress Transformation Coaching with Toby

© 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 in March:

Saturday March 28th 2.30-5.30pm  – Mindfulness and Meditation For Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention 
Friday 3rd April, 7.30-9pm – Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre

 


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The Laughter of the Young and the Ancient

Dear Integral Meditators,

What if when something in your life went seriously wrong, the first thing that you did was laugh open-heartedly? Perhaps there is a part of us that already does, and the article below explores how to connect to him/her/it!

This Saturday if you are in Singapore we have two meditation workshops, do scroll down to the ‘upcoming courses section’ below to find out more.

In the spirit of ancient lightness,

Toby


The Laughter of the Young and the Ancient

What if when something in your life went seriously wrong, the first thing that you did was laugh open-heartedly?
What would happen if the next time you lost some money, or a big business deal feel through you winked knowingly at the first stranger you met?
What would happen if you could respond to the most ‘serious’ parts of your life with playful and spontaneous creativity?

I really enjoyed the movie version of the Lord of the Rings books, but the one thing I was slightly disappointed about was that they left out a character called Tom Bombadil. Tom Bomabadil interests me because, of all the characters in the story, he is the only one who is immune to the evil, corruptive influence of the ‘ring of power’. All of the other characters are afraid of the power of the ring, which upon contact causes them to immediately start fantasizing about delusions of power and dominion. However, when Tom puts on the ring it has no effect; to him the all corrupting ring is an object of amusement, a trinket, with no real practical use.
We hear in the story of the lord of the Rings that Tom Bombadil was the Oldest of the Old (‘the oldest and fatherless’) who walked the earth before both elves and men. Essentially he seems to be a nature spirit of sorts, coming from a time and existing within a mental framework both before and outside of our human paradigm of good and evil, a time when harmony, laughter and song were a natural state of being, were perhaps the law of being.

As my own practice of meditation and mindfulness develops, I find myself coming across and connecting to an inner place within myself that lies beyond the daily struggle of good and evil, of striving or laziness, achievement versus failure. It seems to be an innocent state of being that is naturally laughing and humorous, naturally light and strong, naturally comfortable and balanced despite the comings and goings of fate and fortune in my life. This state of mind seems to me to be a little bit like my ‘Inner Tom Bombadil’, the part of me that walks on the earth as one with nature, that lives truly in the primally presentmoment, that sings and laughs with child-like and yet very old spontaneity, comfortable in the world but not of the world.

Connecting within yourself to a time before good and evil
Spend a few moments now connecting to that part of you that is fatherless and motherless, the oldest of the old as well as the youngest of the young.  S/he is beyond any struggle for human power, beyond shame or pride. s/he is primally humorous and celebratory; the wise fool, the innocent sage. Bring your inner Tom Bombadil out into the world to play and celebrate. See what starts to change in your life when you do!

Related articles: The Four Types of Present Moment Awareness
Locating Your Deep Centre
Connecting to Your Spiritual Fool in the Mirror World

© 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 :

Tuesday March 10th – The Mindful Salesperson – An Evening Exploring the Relationship Between Mindfulness, Sales and Marketing

Saturday 14th March 9.30am-12.30pm – Living Life From Your Inner Center – Meditations for Going With the Flow of the Present Moment

Saturday 14th March 2.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self – A Three Hour Workshop

Saturday March 28th 2.30-5.30pm  – Mindfulness and Meditation For Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention 


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The Way to Deal With Feelings is to Feel

Dear Integral Meditators,

Our relationship to our feelings is one of the dominant factors that determines our quality of life. The article below offers a few mindful pointers for how we can develop a good long term relationship to the way we feel, even in the face challenging and difficult emotions.

Yours in the spirit of deep feeling,

Toby


The Way to Deal With Feelings is to Feel

One of the great keys to mindful living, to dealing with stress and to being at home with yourself in life is to know how to deal with your feelings. To deal with your feelings effectively means understanding that feelings seek resolution primarily by being felt. Whenever we deny our feelings, whenever we refuse to accept them, whenever we resist experiencing them, then they cannot find resolution.
Conversely, whenever we acknowledge, accept and consciously experience a feeling or emotion, its energetic force can be naturally discharged and thus it can find resolution and we can move on from it.

It is the same with all feelings and emotions:

  • The solution to anger you feel begins by accepting the reality that you are angry (who me?), and proceeding from there
  • The resolution to the emotion you feel when you have fallen in love with someone begins by acknowledging and allowing yourself to feel that love
  • The solution to the anxiety that you feel about the uncertainty surrounding your business begins by accepting and experiencing that anxiety without denying or repressing it

Accepting a feeling is more than intellectual acknowledgment
Sometimes we can intellectually acknowledge that we have a feeling without actually accepting it experientially. Intellectual recognition alone is not enough to process a feeling, it has to be accepted experientially and truly felt.

Entering more deeply into the moment through feeling
Think of a situation in your life right now that is causing stress, anxiety or inner discomfort.  Notice how as soon as the uncomfortable feelings start to arise, your mind will start to get busy trying to find a way of ‘solving’ the situation; trying to think its way out of the problem.  Now what I want you to do is deliberately stop trying to solve the issue mentally and instead just focus on acknowledging, accepting and experiencing the feelings and emotions that you have. Simply sit with them, be aware of them, allow yourself to feel them and breathe with them, without trying to change them.
Sometimes (not always, but sometimes) when we are able to truly accept the way we feel, we discover that the problem we thought we had was not really a problem. The genuine and deep acceptance of the feelings makes the circumstances we find ourselves in actually perfectly ok.

Related Article: The Absence of Resolution

Find out about shadow self coaching with Toby

Related workshop: Saturday 14th March 2.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self – A Three Hour Workshop

© 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

 


 

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Choosing to be on Your Own Side

Dear Integral Meditators,

Are you for yourself or against yourself? This is one of the most productive mindfulness questions to ask yourself, every day. The article below explores how we can begin to truly be a force for ourself, every day.

In the spirit of the power we find within ourselves,

Toby


Choosing to be on Your Own Side

When you take a creative chance in your business and it does not come out ideally, do you berate yourself for being stupid, or do you congratulate yourself for your creative courage and learn from what you did and what happened?

When you are experiencing a difficult emotional state, do you take the time to express support and warmth to yourself or do you just try and bury the emotion and distract yourself from what you are feeling because of the discomfort?

When you are tired do you let the physical fatigue turn into a series of negative thoughts about yourself, your life and those around you, or do you consciously extend support to your tired body and make the effort to create a positive inner dialogue to help cope with the fatigue until you can get some rest?

When you ask someone you fancy out for a date and they say no, do you make a point of feeling good that you had the emotional courage to ask, or do you cringe with self-embarrassment and wallow in self loathing?

Are you for yourself or against yourself? 
This is one of the most productive mindfulness questions to ask yourself, every day. Each day in many ways, in thought and deed, in subtle and not so subtle actions, we are either expressing warmth, support and friendship to ourself, or we are expressing the opposite; coldness, judgment, self-loathing, self-sabotaging, self-isolating and so on.

To be for yourself is not negatively selfish, it is simply to recognize the your most important intimate relationship is ultimately with yourself; you are the one you have to spend 24 hours a day with, if you get your relationship to yourself right you are setting the stage for success in your life on multiple levels.

No one else can make your relationship to yourself right for you, you have to tread the journey to being truly for yourself alone. You can receive help and advice of course (this article pointing the way for example), but the moment to moment effort to be on your own side can only be exerted by you for you.

Today are you going to be the one supporting and encouraging yourself to the next level of creative expression in your life, or are you going to be the main thing that is holding you back, keeping you scared?

Be on your own side, be for yourself, not against youself. You do have a choice, it is up to you.

Related Article: Life-fullness

Handle Stress and Have Peace of Mind – Personal Coaching with Toby
© 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 


 

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Mindful Work Effectiveness Secrets (From an Ex-Monk)

Dear Integral Meditators,

Coming to the world of business from being a monk was not easy for me. The article below explains a bit about how I started to use what I had learned as a monk to become effective in my daily work as a business person running my own company.

Yours in the spirit of the timelessly time-effective,

Toby


Mindful Work Effectiveness Secrets (From an Ex-Monk)

How can you get a lot done at your work without getting over-stressed or exhausted? And how can you do this not just in the short term, but over a long period of time?
When I left my life as a Buddhist monk and went into my own business I actually found it very difficult to pace myself well. There were so many things that I had to do, that I had to learn, it all felt a bit overwhelming. I found myself going through periods of intensive working, then burning out, then getting emotionally discouraged and then procrastinating/wasting time that I could be spending productively. I’m sure you have an idea of what I mean, it is a very human experience!

Make like a Buddhist monk  – Split your day into six sessions
I found a really helpful solution to my challenge by looking at the way in which I used to structure my day as a Buddhist monk. As a monk  my waking hours would be split into 6 parts, two in the morning, two in the afternoon and two in the evening/ at night. During each session we would begin with a prayer and a few minutes of mindfulness, and then return to our allotted tasks. Using this basic template I applied it to my working day, but in a slightly different way.
My day is still divided into six parts, but each section is only one hour long. In that one hour I spend 45minutes focusing really intensively on one work task; emails, accounts, writing articles, marketing etc… At the end of 45 minutes I then spend the remaining 15minutes relaxing; doing some stretching, getting a coffee, doing a few minutes mindfulness, generally re-finding my centre and balance.

Achieve something in each session
In each session I come out having really worked in an intensive way, and feeling like I have achieved something. Because of the focus I bring to it, the work itself feels like a meditation practice, with the object of mindfulness being the work itself. It also helps me deal with stress because in that period I am not thinking about my life or work as a whole, but just the process of achieving that task.
There is a saying in the texts that I used to study as a monk ‘small drops of water in a pot will eventually make it full’. Each of my 45 minute sessions is spent just focusing on the ‘pot’ of my business, putting in drops one after the other gradually making it full.

Each session does not have to be about work
During the 15 minutes at the end of each session, I get back in touch with how I am feeling. If I sense that my body-mind is getting close to exhaustion, I make a point of taking one of my sessions off, that is to say 45 minutes of deliberate relaxation, meditation, soializing or sleep. There is also plenty of time around each of the sessions to do other things
Sometimes of course the pattern breaks down, I go out for an evening with friends, I spend the morning with my daughter at the swimming pool, I have a meeting that goes overtime. But as soon as I return to my routine I am always thinking about my day in terms of these six periods, and how to use that structure to do some focused, productive work.

So now you know how an ex-monk structures his time using a mindful, process-focused approach that he find helps him achieve more. You might like to try it out, or a variation of it that will work for you!

Related Article: From Distraction to Intuitive Imagination (Meditation secrets for running a business)

Check out the Mindful Goals Coaching with Toby

© 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


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Egotistic or Strong Ego?

Dear Integral Meditators,

When we tell ourselves to ‘get over our own ego’ what exactly do we mean by that? Its an area that it is very easy to get mixed up and confused around! The article below explores the difference between egotism and a strong ego. We really need one, we really need to drop the other.

In the spirit of inner strength,

Toby


Egotistic or Strong Ego?

‘There’s a tremendous difference between a strong ego and an egocentric ego; the latter is always weak. Individuation, that is the attainment of ones potential, can’t take place without the strong ego’ – John A Sandford

The Ego is
…the unifying centre of our awareness, it is the sense of self that ties together the disparate collection of physical, emotional and mental habits and characteristics that together makes us a unique human being. A strong ego is vital for success and happiness in our life; it has characteristics such as confidence, self-esteem, ethical awareness, competency and capacity for enjoyment.

To be egotistical is
…to believe and act as if we were more important than others, as if we were the central fulcrum of the functioning universe, and/or without adequate concern or empathy for the happiness or wellbeing of others

Ironically a lot of egotistical behaviour is stimulated by having a weak ego. If I feel inadequate, incompetent or inferior it can be very tempting to try and compensate for that feeling by asserting myself unskilfully, selfishly and or inconsiderately. Conversely if I have a strong ego I can have people behaving selfishly, unskilfully and/or inconsiderately around me, but because I have a strong sense of ego, of who I AM it can be relatively easy to remain in my own integrity and not be influenced by my company.

Experientially knowing the difference between a strong ego and being egotistical is a great mindful journey in itself, and it is an area that many people are deeply confused about.

Take a moment
To imagine yourself with a truly strong ego; confident, trusting in yourself, liking whom you are, able to forgive yourself for your flaws whilst at the same time holding yourself accountable for them, centred and balanced in your sense of whom you are. Strong enough to be vulnerable and take chances, socially aware, aware you are no more important than anyone else, but also and crucially that you are no less important than anyone else. That’s a strong ego.
If you stay with this sense of having a strong ego you’ll find it is quite a lot easier and more natural to behave with benevolence & consideration for others as well as to be playful and creative in your life, even when under pressure. Sound like fun? It is!
Does that last paragraph sound like the opposite of an egotistical selfish person? Yup, pretty much.

To transcend your egotism, first begin by mindfully building your strong, functional and creative ego.

Related articles: Balancing the development of your ego and spirit

Fulfillment of the Ego, Fulfillment of the Soul, Fulfillment of SpiritHandle Stress and Have Peace of Mind – Personal Coaching with Toby

© 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 


 

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Your Inner Fitness Trainers

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would happen if you treated the most difficult people and circumstances in your life as ‘inner fitness trainers’? This weeks article explores this theme and mindfulness practice.

Yours in the spirit of the useful in the difficult,

Toby


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia :

March courses nearly ready!!


Your Inner Fitness Trainers

The function of a good physical fitness trainer is to push you to the limits of your physical flexibility, strength and stamina in a safe and secure way by giving you specific physical tasks and challenges to focus upon.
If we are serious about our own inner mindfulness training, then we should be looking at the people or circumstances we find most difficult and challenging in our life as being like our inner fitness trainers. Their function is to push us to the limits of our mental, emotional and spiritual flexibility, strength and stamina by giving us specific challenges that push us to those limits.

But the people and circumstances in life that are hurting me aren’t trying to help!
When you are being trained by a (good) coach physically you engage in the exercises they set for you because you understand that they are trying to help. But people giving you a hard time in my life aren’t trying to help, nor is the illness that you have! So there is a conscious choice that you are making here to adopt people and circumstance as your trainers, despite their bad intentions, or despite the unfairness of the circumstances. It is a personal, empowering choice you make based around a recognition of the benefit that can be gained from adopting such a perspective.

Get clarity – How and for what are these people/circumstances helping me?
Pick the top three most difficult and/or unpleasant circumstances that you are going through right now; the ones that make you manifestly uncomfortable, or inwardly scream at the unfairness of it all. List them and then answer these two questions with regard to each one:

  • How is this person or circumstance helping me to develop, expand and strengthen  my mind and consciousness?
  • What is the specific approach and perspective that I need to keep in mind when I am with this person or dealing with this circumstance that will help me transform them into an ‘inner mind trainer’ for me?

The answer to these two questions gives you your basic mindfulness practice for each of your specific challenges. If you focus your awareness, intention and attention mindfully upon these questions, you may be surprised at how quickly and creatively you can come up with approaches that you can start to work with right away.

Feeling thankful
These days most of us have heard of the idea of a gratitude log or journal; a notebook where we keep a list of all the things that we appreciate and feel grateful for in our life. If you can start integrating your ‘inner fitness training’ into your daily mindfulness practice, then you may find yourself able to add the worst people in your life and the most difficult challenges that you face to your own gratitude log!

Find out about Toby’s Stress Transformation Coaching

Related Article: A Butterfly in the Wind

© 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



I-Awake Track of the Month –
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The Absence of Resolution

Dear Integral Meditators,

What happens if instead of trying to solve your problems all the time you simply try and experience them mindfully?  The article below explores this idea and practice.

Final reminder that the special offer on the online course ‘The six stages of love – romantic love as a path to healing and enlightenment‘ lasts until the evening of Thursday 19th Feb. Click on the link to find out more and listen to the free meditation….

In the spirit of the journey,

Toby


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia :

Courses for March coming Shortly!


The Absence of Resolution

To practice the absence of resolution is to temporarily stop seeking to resolve the issues that we face in our life, and instead sit with the emotions and thoughts that we are experiencing in the moment around these issues. We focus upon experiencing and witnessing them rather than trying to solve them.The aim of practising the absence of resolution is (amongst other things):

  • To make us inwardly stronger and at the same time more tender and sensitive to our life experience.
  • To learn how to sit with our experiences and feelings long enough to see them clearly and deeply without flinching or running away from what we see.
  • To feel more deeply and intimately in touch with life as it arises from moment to moment, thus improving the quality of our life.

Why we need to practice the absence of resolution
There is never a time when all our problems are solved;

  • If we are lonely we solve the challenges of being lonely by getting in a relationship, which in turn leads to the challenges of being in a relationship
  • If we are without a job we have the challenge of a lack of income, but if we get a job to solve this, then we suddenly find ourselves with the problem of a relative lack of freedom and of time scarcity
  • Getting away from temptation and excitement can lead to the  challenge of boringness and predictability

If we spend every moment of our life trying to solve our problems, no time is spent relaxing into and enjoying life as it is, imperfections and all.

How to practice the absence of resolution
Sit mindfully with a situation in your life where you can feel your anxiety calling you to come up with a solution NOW. Let go temporarily of trying to find a solution, focus instead on seeing and experiencing the feelings, thoughts and emotions that you have in and around your circumstances. Don’t try and solve anything, simply sit and be present with what you find.

How the absence of resolution helps you resolve your problems
Often in the rush to ‘solve’ our problems we fail to see clearly what it is that we are actually facing and experiencing. By temporarily stopping our ‘solving’ mind, and sitting with what we are actually experiencing, we start to see it more clearly. Because we see it more clearly, we can then start to see what really needs to be done in order to resolve it successfully in a balanced manner.
In this way practising the absence of resolution in the short term actually increases our capacity to find long term solutions to our problems.

Related article: The Absence of Reference Points

© 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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The Absence of Reference Points – The Evolutionary Advantage of the Meditator

Dear Integral Meditators,

Every day we look for reference points, markers in our life that give us security, familiarity, a feeling of safety. The article below explores the process of meditation as learning to get comfortable with an absence of reference points, and the freedom that it gives.

This Saturday afternoon; Meditations for Creating A Mind of Ease Workshop, final reminder. Also, last two days of the special offer on the Online Mindful Resilience Program. Finally, for those interested in using technology and sound to develop your inner resilience, check our the Transformational Resilience Program 1.0 from I-Awake.In the spirit of the journey,Toby


The Absence of Reference Points – The Evolutionary Advantage of the Meditator

Meditation as the absence of reference points
One way of describing meditation is to say that it is about getting comfortable with the absence of reference points. It is about learning to sit in an open, empty space where we temporarily let go of our sense of self, our sense of trying to control, our sense of structure. It is about relaxing deeply into that place of pure awareness that lies beyond our physical body and senses, and beyond our thinking and feeling mind. It is about relaxing into formlessness.

Sometimes people don’t stick with meditation because
Temporarily and for a short time relaxing into the empty space of awareness can be pleasant and relaxing, but if you do it for an extended period of time it starts to shake up your idea of who you think you are, of how your world functions. It exposes you to the exiting possibility and profound discomfort of real personal transformation and change. Sometimes when we stop our meditation practice we tell ourself  it is because we don’t have time or energy, or that it is too much effort. But the real and underlying reason is that we have become uncomfortable with the absence of familiar reference points as we sit in the open space of meditation, and the freedom & responsibility that this absence of reference points gives us.

The increasing absence of static outer markers in our life
In these days of the information age and the impact that it is having on our work and leisure, we can see the world is changing at an ever faster rate. There is an ever receding number of reliable outer reference points around which we can securely base our life.

The evolutionary and creative advantage of the meditation
A meditator who is making a little bit of effort each day to get comfortable courageously sitting in an inner space without reference points is naturally going to start feeling more comfortable with the reality of outer change in their life. We can start to get comfortable with the continuous change that surrounds us, to enter into the flow of it, to embrace it, and take advantage of the opportunities that arise from it. This gives the meditator a creative advantage over others, both in terms of his/her personal happiness, but also in terms of the other aspects of their life, such as when going through relationship changes, or in professional or business development.

Practicum
Try sitting for a while each day and deliberately connect to that part of your mind that is open, spacious and without reference points. You don’t have to get rid of your thoughts, or even close your eyes. This open spacious place is present in the here and now, whether your mind is full of thoughts or not. Relax into that open space, allow yourself to get lost for a while, forget who you are, forget where you come from. Get comfortable with that part of you that is and always has been liberated from the limitation of reference points.

Related article: Six Kinds of Loneliness by Pema Chodron

© 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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Happiness is Getting What You Want?

Dear Integral Meditators,

The article below explores the idea of mindfulness in relations to our wants and desires and how being mindful of what we want can make a huge difference in relation to our personal happiness.

Yours in the spirit of getting what you really want,

Toby


Happiness is Getting What You Want?

What is it that makes you happy? You can read a lot of books on this topic, but from a mindfulness perspective the best way to investigate this is to observe from your own experience the things that make you happy and the things that make you unhappy, and then proceed to do more of the former and less of the latter.
But it goes a bit deeper than that; as Zig Zagglar said “The chief cause of unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now”. From this we can start to understand (and see from our own experience) that getting what we want in the short term can be a huge obstacle to getting what we really deeply want in the long term.

  • We can put off the difficult conversation with our partner/spouse because we want peace in the short-term, but the long term consequences of doing this repeatedly will leave us with (and possibly stuck in) a relationship that we don’t want to be in
  • We can take the job that brings us cash in the short term, but it takes all the time and energy that we need to start the business that we really want to do in the long term
  • We want and desire to change our body weight/shape/fitness, but we continually become distracted from our long term desire by our short term appetites for unhealthy food
  • We deeply want to find a relationship, but we keep giving into our short term desire for safety and non-embarrassment, so we never ask someone out

And so it goes on….

Focusing on what you want and desire as a mindfulness practice
So a really good daily object of mindfulness is the question “What do I truly, deeply want and desire in my life?” Sit with this question for a minute or two. Maybe write down the answer.
Then ask yourself the question “What step, big or small can I take today to move toward that goal?” Follow up your answer to this second question. If you like do this exercise for a month, see what changes.

Each day in unconscious and imperceptible ways we sacrifice our deepest long term desires and wants for short term convenience and small time wish-fulfilment. If you practice being mindful of what you really want, and honour the wisdom that starts to come forth from your heart when you do, you will find that your life will become happier. Not easier, happier.

Related article: Mindful of our conflicting desires

© 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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