Are You A Seeker Or A Practitioner?

You know when you have become a meditation practitioner when in times of crisis you turn to the states of mind that you have been cultivating in meditation to find stability, calm and clarity. The fact that you are able to use the mind-states that you focus on in meditation to solve actual challenges in your life indicates that your meditation has become a part of you, and that you are a practitioner of the art of meditation.

You are a meditation seeker if you meditate sometimes but, when the S&*#! really hits the fan in your life you basically revert to the old habits and coping strategies (or non-coping strategies!) that you used before you started to meditate. In this sense a meditation seeker is kind of like someone who is window shopping or superficially dabbling in the idea of changing their consciousness, but has not yet really committed to the process of transformation. As a result their meditation practice remains skin deep, and not effective when you really need it to be.

So, which one are you? What is the next step that you need to take to transform yourself from a seeker into a practitioner?

Thanks for reading!

Toby

PS: Click HERE to read Toby’s recent article on “Starbathing Meditation” on his Qi Gong blog

© Toby Ouvry 2011, you are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Share

Meditating On The Five Levels of Positive Intention, And Learning How To Use Group Consciousness to Support And Enhance Your Own Personal Intention

Here are five levels of positive intention that we can hold, and that we can use as conscious motivators for our meditation and awareness practice, or indeed as full objects of meditation in themselves:

1. The intention to practice non-harmfulness toward ourself and others

2. The intention to heal, nurture our body-mind, and develop it to its fullest potential

3. The intention to contribute in the most meaningful and positive way to our circle of influence, meaning our family, friends, work colleagues and anyone else whom we have a direct, immediate and personal relationship with.

4. The intention to be of active benefit to all of humanity without discrimination

5. The intention to be of active co-operation and benefit to all living beings on the planet, including all members of the plant, animal and mineral kingdoms, as well as all the other classes of living being that there may be.

As you can see, these five levels increase the scope of our intention incrementally. We start with the intention to stop harming ourselves and others (if you can’t help, at least don’t harm), and end with a truly kosmocentric intention to be of benefit to all living beings without exception. This last intention is the most evolved and expansive of all the five, and is really what might be called the loving, fearless and compassionate intention of the Bodhisattva, to borrow the Buddhist expression.

A final note is that each of these intentions is valid and has its own place in our consciousness. For example, just because we may be aiming for the fifth level of intention, we can still hold intentions two and three; to nurture ourself and our circle of influence in a perfectly valid and complementary way.

You might also like to compare and contrast these five levels of positive intention with “The Five Levels of Intention For Effecting Personal Transformation” that I wrote about in a previous article.

Connecting our own five levels of motivation to the corresponding intentions within group consciousness.

It can be very useful to realize that there exists within the group mind of the Planet the collective energy of all these positive intentions. We can learn to leverage on this already existing positive group intention by connecting to it with awareness.

Here is a simple, guided meditation that takes level one, the intention to practice non-harmfulness as an example. Once you understand how to do it with one level of intention, you can easily learn how to do it with the others.

– Sitting comfortably, become aware of the different levels of intention in your mind right now, both “positive” and “negative”.

– Focusing on yourself and your own body-mind, place within you awareness the intention to practice non-harmfulness toward yourself; to stop the self abuse, self hatred, self destructive habits and so on, even if it is just for these few minutes. Sit with this intention for a minute, just holding it gently in your awareness

– Now be aware that you are part of group consciousness that we shall call the planetary mind, or planetary consciousness. This is the collective intelligence of all the living creatures in the world. Be aware that there already exists within the group mind a strong intention to practice non-harmfulness. This energy comes from all the living beings of past, present and future that have held this intention, from the great saints and yogis, to the tiniest animals.

– Feel your mind connecting to this group intention, and feel its energy flowing into your body-mind. If you like for a minute or so you can feel yourself breathing the intention in on the inhalation, and relaxing your awareness deeply into that intention as you breathe out.

Finnish when you are ready. As with all the meditation exercises on this blog this one on intention can be done as a one minute awareness form, or as a more extended meditation according to your time schedule and needs.

© Toby Ouvry 2011. You are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first! Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Share

A Simple Sketch Of Three Simple Creative Meditation Awareness Forms: Appreciation Of the Pleasure Of Simple Awareness, Taking a Third Person Perspective On Your Life, and Finding Your Inner Light

Here are three simple meditation forms that you can do anytime, either as a short 1-5 minute practice in a spare moment, or as a longer meditations when you have more time.

1. Developing appreciation of simple awareness.

One of the main things that we learn to appreciate when we take up a meditation practice is to appreciate how pleasurable the simple act of awareness can be.

Take a minute now and just allow your mind to rest on an object. It could be the sounds as they come and go from moment to moment, or the play of the light across the landscape or cityscape as you look out of the window. Just allow your awareness to rest on that single point of focus for as long as you want. As you do so, feel your mind and body moving into a state of rest and regeneration. Feel how pleasant the simple experience of relaxed, open awareness is.

2. Observing yourself in the third person

We habitually view our daily life and the events that happen in it in a first person, subjective manner. This awareness exercise offers another perspective on our life that we can work on integrating.

Sitting down, imagine that, rather than seeing life through the eyes of your physical body, imagine that you are outside your body, maybe two or three meters away, and observing yourself as you go about your day. Recall the events of the last 24 hours, and mentally see yourself engaging in your activities. As you observe yourself, you may find that feelings and emotions come up. If so that is fine, just allow them to. The thing that you want to try and avoid as you are watching yourself is to start analyzing it or making judgements about what you are seeing. Simply be an objective observer of yourself and try and experience as fully as possible what it is like to be free from an obsessive first person experience of your life.

3. Finding your inner light by relaxing into the darkness of your mind.

Relax your mind as much as possible, as if you are falling asleep. Allow your awareness to be enveloped by the deep, silky darkness that is normally experienced as you start to drift into unconscious slumber. The key here is to ALMOST fall asleep, but NOT to actually fall asleep! Keep a part of your mind alert and awake as the main part of your mind and body relaxes deeply.

Think of the darkness that you experience as you are relaxing in this way as being like the darkness that a baby experiences in the mother’s womb, or like the darkness of deep night when we are all asleep. Rest in this darkness as fully as you can without losing that small element of alertness and awakeness!

After a while imagine that you sense within the darkness a point of light. A little bit like the first rays of sun as it is still beneath the horizon at dawn. Focus on this point of light and allow it to become gradually stronger and more pervasive, like the rays of the sun spilling across the horizon as it rises. Gradually, without trying too hard, let the inner light within your mind begin to fill the darkness until your mind feels bright and radiant like a morning sun.

The key with this exercise is to relax as fully into the darkness before you attempt to find the light, and not to try too hard to find the light. If you relax fully and deeply into the darkness, the light will actually start to emerge in its own time. However you can stimulate it a little bit by imagining the point of light emerging from the darkness as described above.

© Toby Ouvry 2011, you are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first! Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Share

Four Factors That you Need to Make Your Meditation Awareness Integral And Continually Growing, And A Four Minute Meditation to Start Working With Them

Hi Everyone,

One of the main foundations of meditation practice is the development of awareness, but what exactly is it that we should be developing awareness of? The following is a list of four basic aspects of your awareness and awareness practice  that you need to be working with continually in order to ensure the balanced growth of your being on all levels.

It is based around the four areas identified by the authors if “Integral Life Practice” , which is a book I highly recommend (I use it for both my own personal practice and for coaching with clients). Of course there are many other areas of awareness training, but these four really seem to be a stable “must have” set of building blocks for other forms of awareness training as well as integral inner growth and integral service to the world:

1. Awareness and processing of our shadow self – Our shadow self is any aspect of our self or being that is currently denied, unacknowledged or unexpressed within us. These can be aspects of ourself that we are afraid of, such as powerful negative emotions, but they can also be aspects of ourself that are actually powerful positive potentials which have been denied by us due for example, to lack of confidence or self esteem. These positive hidden elements of our shadow are sometimes called our “golden shadow” as they reflect the potential positive, balanced, dynamic person we could be. Shadow awareness practice is the art of becoming aware of that which is hidden within us and bringing it out into the open either to be healed (in the case of negative shadow elements) or brought to their full potential, as in the case of golden shadow elements

2. Awareness of Mind – This is a big area, but the particular aspect of awareness that I want to highlight with the mind is an ongoing commitment to develop awareness of higher, deeper, more complex perspectives. Right now our perspective is limited, biased, and narrow. To commit each day to seeing new perspectives, learning new ways of working in the world and in our relationships, understanding other people’s points of view, expanding the breadth of our motivation are all activities that expand our mental and intellectual awareness, making it more profound, inclusive and integrated.

3. Awareness of Body – Here awareness of body means awareness of your THREE bodies, gross, subtle and causal:

  • Gross physical body training involves physical trainings such as weights, stretching, sports and all forms of gross body fitness training.
  • Subtle body awareness training involves subtle body practices such as qi-gong, tai-chi, prajnayama (breathwork), certain yoga trainings, and so forth.
  • Causal, or stillness body training involves getting in touch with our formless, expansive, universal spiritual body. We contact and develop awareness of this primarily through meditation practices that still and focus our consciousness.

4. Awareness of Spirit – We can develop an awareness of spirit in many ways, but here are three, based around a way of relating to spirit in first, second and third person:

  • Spirit as I (first person) – Developing awareness of the spirit that lives within you (Spirit as “I”) through stillness meditation
  • Spirit as “ Thou” or “you” (second person) – Developing awareness of spirit as something or someone that we pray to for help, guidance, inner healing and communion
  • Spirit as “It” – Developing a sense of wonder and mysticism in our contemplation of the structure and beauty of the Universe. For example when we stand in awae of a beautiful sunset, or a starry sky.

Four Minute Meditation on these four aspects of integral awareness

So, I realize that the above may all seem  bit abstract, so here is a very simple, practical way of starting to experience them all within a short four minute meditation, I think even if you read through it now, slowly and mindfully you will start to get a feel for it:

Minute 1 – Working with your shadow:

Sit quietly and follow your breathing. As you do so, be aware of the feelings and images arising inside your mind. Without either pushing them away or getting totally absorbed by them, be aware of any fears and anxieties that may be running beneath the surface of your awareness. Sit with them.

Minute 2 – Working with the perspectives in your mind:

Continuing to use your breathing as an anchor for your awareness, bring to mind a situation that you are experiencing in your life right now. Within the space of one minute, try and consider it from as many perspectives as you can. See your own personal perspective. Try to see and understand the perspective of another who is participating in the action. What would someone who has no involvement in the situation think? What is the big picture? How would an enlightened being view the situation? What is the significance of it likely to be looking back in a year, 2 years, 10 years?

Minute 3 – Working with your body:

For the third minute, try and focus on relaxing physical tension in your body. Then try and sense or feel the subtle currents of energy flowing through your subtle body. Somewhere within the centre of your torso there is a point of stillness, can you find it?

Minute 4 – Working with Spirit:

For the final minute simply try and let your mind be a still and tranquil as you can, use the breathing if you feel you need a point of physical focus, but otherwise go as deep within the core of your being as you can.

End with a prayer that the energies of your meditation may be a cause for the happiness and wellbeing of all creatures.

Thanks for reading!

Yours in the spirit of integrated awareness,

Toby

PS: Final reminder regarding new meditation classes starting this Tuesday 15th March on “Finding Calmness, Order and Purpose in the Complexity of Modern Life; Meditations for Developing a Fully Integral Awareness” I’m quite excited about it. Do feel free to click on the link for details, if you are not in Singapore but are interested in it, the course will be available as MP3 recordings, so just let me know if you would like copies!

Article ©Toby Ouvry 2011. You are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Share

Harnessing Creative Power; Your Creative Imagination As Your Object of Meditation.

How much time and energy have you spent on developing the power of  your creative imagination and/or of healthy fantasy, and harness that power in a positive way?

Here are three reasons why it is appropriate to do so:

  1. It is the nature of Spirit to be fundamentally creative, playful and imaginative. You can even think of the manifest universe as simply being a playful manifestation of the imagination of the Universal Mind, or God. When we develop a powerful and positively directed creative imagination, we become joyfully creative in our actions. Our lives are never short of joy, passion and excitement, balanced by a confidence that if we find ourself in a tight spot, we can always rely upon our imagination to help us find a solution.
  2. Whether you are consciously aware of it or not, your creative imagination is ticking away in the back of your mind. During the day our mind is creating “fantasies” with regard to what is happening in our life, and these creative images in our mind have a very substantial impact on the way in which we experience our reality. If we have not made an effort to harness the power of our imagination in a positive way, then the only time when we shall really experience its full impact is when it is prompted into action by negative emotions such as fear, negative anger and jealousy. When our negative thoughts and emotions take control of our imagination in this way we become a victim of fear-based fantasy, living in an inner hell created by these negative fantasies.
  3. Our imagination has substantial power to heal or harm not just our inner reality, but also our physical health. Here is a story that reflects this:

“In the 1950’s a man dying of advanced cancer was given a highly publicized experimental drug called krebiozen. After a single dose, his huge cancers  ”Melted like snowballs on a hot stove” and he was able to resume normal activities. Then studies of krebiozen showed it to be ineffective. When the patient learned this, his cancer began spreading again. At this stage his Doctor tried an experiment. He announced there was a new “improved” krebiozen and proceeded to give it to the patient. Once again the tumors shrunk. Yet the Doctor had given him only water.”

( From: Klopfer.B.(1957), Article entitled “Psychological variables in human cancer”. Journal of Projective Techniques, 21,337-339)

Some suggestions to start working with the power of your creative imagination and fantasy power:

  • Firstly, learn to watch your mind, and observe how it is continually fantasizing and imagining things. If you really start to see this you will really appreciate how important it is to start working with it!
  • Secondly when once you have observed its power, start consciously directing your creative imagination in a positive way. If you are worried about something, consciously imagine the best case scenario playing out rather than the worst case scenario. Observe which images make you happy and relaxed when you hold them. Make a note of them and recall them often whenever you have a spare moment.
  • You can develop the power of your creative imagination by engaging in creative visualization exercises such as the simple meditation I outline in my article “Four Types of Qi That we can Attune to and Harness For Self and Planetary Healing”.
  • Read stories that stimulate your creative imagination and visionary power in a good way. Right now I am reading a book of short stories about the ancient Scandinavian Gods Odin, Thor, Freya and others. When I read it many powerful images get stimulated in my mind. Reading books that stimulate your visionary ability is like giving your imaginative power a good workout.

Thanks for reading!

Yours in the spirit of our inner creative powers,

Toby

PS: I’ve got a new series of meditation classes starting next week on “Finding Calmness, Order and Purpose in the Complexity of Modern Life; Meditations for Developing a Fully Integral Awareness” I’m quite excited about it. Do feel free to click on the link for details, if you are not in Singapore but are interested in it, the course will be available as MP3 recordings, so just let me know if you would like copies!

Article ©Toby Ouvry 2011. You are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Share

Your Self-Sense as Your Object of Meditation

Hi Everyone!

Usually when we think of ourself, or reflect on the question “Who am I?” it seems as if there is some form of permanent, fixed, singular self that is there somewhere inside us that remains the same no matter what. However, if we look and observe a little more deeply we start to see that there are many different “selves” that we feel and experience at different times in our daily life according to what is going on, and each of these selves has a very different feel and nuance to it. There are many different ways in which you can begin to categorize these different senses of self, in this article I want to focus on three main ones:

  1. Our personal self-sense, or our “i-self sense”
  2. Our interpersonal self-sense, or “we-self sense”
  3. Our transpersonal self-sense or “I-self sense”

Let’s look at these one at a time:

1. Our personal self-sense or “i-self sense”

This is the many different self-senses that we develop as a person-ality. For example it is that sense of self that we develop when we think  (taking a fictional character “Mark” as an example):

  • “ My name is Mark and I am a corporate strategist”
  • “My name is Mark and I went to X school and collage”
  • “ My name is Mark and I am a extroverted, talkative personality type”
  • “ My name is Mark and I am happy when X happens”
  • My name is Mark and I cannot stand this type of person”

With each of these different statements about himself, Mark will come a different self-sense, a different “I” so to speak, each of them unique.

Like Mark, all of us have many unique self-senses on this level.

2. Our interpersonal self-sense, or “we-self sense”

This is the self-sense that is generated within ourselves whenever we are with someone else. If you observe your self-sense closely, you will see that, with each person you know, there is a unique sense of self that you feel whenever you are with them, and this self-sense is never repeated in exactly the same way with anyone else. It is almost as if a unique self-sense is created within us with every single relationship we have ever had.

To take the example of our fictional character Mark, Mark has a different sense of self when he is with his mother, his father, his siblings, his lovers, his child, his colleagues, his sport and recreation partners and so on.

We generate many, many “we-self senses” in our relationships with others.

3. Our transpersonal self-sense, or “I-self sense”

Our transpersonal self sense I call our “I(capital I)-self sense because it is the sense of self that we develop when we develop a sense of self that is beyond the boundaries of our ordinary self-sense, ego or personality. For example it is the sense of self that we touch on in deeper meditation, when we experience a tangible connection to the Universe and all living beings. Many people have also had “peak-expereinces” or temporary heightened states of consciousness where their sense of self expands to feel as if it is Universal. We can also develop an profound temporary “I-sense” when listening to music, or interacting with beautiful art.

One of the main aims of meditation is to develop a consistent experience of this “Universal Self” or “I-self sense”. Our “I-sense” is one basic way of understanding what our Enlightened Self, or True Self is.

So, what is the use of thinking and reflecting upon all our “self-senses??

“Who am I” is one of the perennial questions that people have been asking in meditation for millennia, some of the benefits of getting practically acquainted with the three types of  self sense mentioned above includes:

  • Understanding that your self-sense is not fixed and permanent. This means that if there is something that you don’t like about the way you view yourself, you can learn to change it for the better
  • You can focus on the self-senses that are positive and beneficial to you, and learn to consciously release and let go of self senses that do not actively serve you and your happiness
  • Each time you reflect on your self-sense you develop more self knowledge
  • You begin to articulate what your True-self or Spiritual self really is.

One minute meditation on the three self-senses

After reading the above article:

Sit down, take a couple of deeper breaths, relax your body and mind.

Let your breathing return to normal. As you breath reflect on how your “i-sense” feels right now, the I you feel as a person-ality.

Then think of a social interaction that you have engaged in, observe for a short while the “we-self sense” that you have developed in relation to another person or people.

Finally let your mind become as open, relaxed and spacious as possible. For a short while observe your “I-sense”, the sense of self that arises when your consciousness is clear, open and expansive.

Finish.

If you do this exercise once a day for the next week, you will begin to get a practical feel for these three I self-senses, and how you can use them for the better in your life.

Thanks for reading,

Yours in the spirit of the journey,

Toby

Share

When You Are Less Distracted, Your Mind Goes Deeper Into Things

We have just cut off our cable TV contract, and so we have no telly at home right now. I have to say I am really enjoying it. It is not that I am vehemently against TV, but the relative silence and absence of easy distraction in the evening has really contributed positively to the quality of my mind.

For example, I have just finished eating my dinner and doing the washing up. Everyone else has gone to bed. I pick up a pink quartz crystal that has been sitting on our coffee table, the evening is so still and my mind is so clear that I feel as if I can feel everything about the crystal; the energy inside it, the texture of its surface on the pads of my fingers. Holding the crystal is a deeply simple, pleasurable and rewarding experience.

In addition to finding time for meditation, it is also worth regularly cutting down on your distractions. Doing so enables you to experience and look into the simple things in your life with depth, clarity and genuine pleasure.

© Toby Ouvry 2011. You are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Share

The Importance of Your Memory as an Object of Meditation

Hi Everyone,

We all know the old saying “You can’t change what has happened in the past”. On an obvious level this carries definite truth, but if we look a little deeper we find that in reality we change the past every time we think about it. To see how this is the case, let us consider a simple example:

Let’s say at work yesterday I made a simple mistake. Today I happen to be feeling generally happy and confident, and so when I remember the mistake I made at work yesterday I find it east to laugh off. When others make fun of me for it, I laugh with them. Life is good, and so my memory of a past mistake and its significance is generally benign and has no power to cause me upset.

Fast forward to tomorrow, I wake up feeling generally out of balance; I sense old fears and agitations in my mind as I go to work. Mid- way through the morning someone mentions the past mistake I made two days ago. Because the general climate of my mind is negative and turbulent, as soon as I remember my mistake mentally I start attacking myself for being so stupid, I feel embarrassed by the mistake. The gravity of my error seems significant enough to knock me further off balance.

In this example we have two different days, two different REMEMBRANCES of the SAME event. Each time we experience the past event in a new way according to our present state of mind. From this we can see that we do indeed have very real power to change the past each time we remember it.

To take our memory as our object of meditation means to be mindful of the power that our mind has to re-invent the past, and to ensure that we are mentally framing past events in a way that is constructive and serving us, rather than a way that is causing us to be trapped in a cycle of misery, pain, discontent and so forth.

Your life is your meditation, and meditating on positive use of memory is an important meditation practice to develop!

Thanks for reading,

Yours in the spirit of the journey, 

Toby

PS: All are invited to the new two part meditation class, Tuesday evenings February 22nd and March 1st: Landscapes Of The Mind: Finding Inner Power and Balance In Your Life Through Meditation on Wild Nature And Landscape” .

If you are not in Singapore, the classes will be available for purchase as recordings.

© Toby Ouvry 2011. You are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Share

Meditations for Spring Time and the Beginning of the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit

Hi Everyone,

I’m off to Thailand for a week, so this will be my last post for ten days or so. Whilst in Thailand I intend amongst other things, to spend a healthy amount of time simply sitting and attuning to the energies of nature, of the landscape and of the sea.

The turn to February sees the energy of spring starting to manifest in the northern hemisphere. Here are two simple meditations with images that you can work with at this time in the year to attune to the energies of spring and of new beginnings.

The first draws upon traditional Chinese associations of the wood element. The second draws upon traditional images of the Goddess/divine feminine and the child self.

 1. Working with the wood element to heal and energize of physical and energy body, mind and emotions:

In Taoist and Qi gong philosophy the season of spring corresponds to the wood element. Spring sees a re-awakening of the green world and an exponential expansion in the growth of trees and plants. Here are some of the qualities and correspondences of the wood element energy:

Wood element healing colour: Green

Direction: Energy rising upward from the Earth

Direction: East

Actions: Countenance or good posture

Bodily organ: Yin organ – Liver, Yang organ – Gall bladder

Emotions: Positive – Kindness, negative – anger/resentment

Mental Quality: Sensitivity (Integrate vision of Child and goddess into this section)

Senses: Vision/sight

Brief meditation on the wood element:

  • Sit facing east, imagine a fresh spring breeze blowing from the east, refreshing your mind and body.
  • Feel down into the earth beneath you. Sense a vast reservoir of light and energy in the centre of the earth. Sense the colour of this light as gold, white and green. Now see it rising up and filling your body through your feet. Sense this green and gold energy surrounding and infusing your liver and gall bladder. Feel any trapped anger and resentment being stored in these organs being released. Feel the organs being cleansed by the light, and being filled with the energy of kindness and sensitivity.
  • Now feel the energy of kindness and sensitivity spreading out into your whole body. In particular feel it going into your eyes and eye sockets, refreshing the power of your inner and outer vision
  • Feel the green and gold earth energy in your whole body, breathe it in and out of your physical cells for a few breaths, and then just relax in stillness for a while.

 2. Two further images of spring: The Virgin Goddess and the child

The Goddess or divine feminine in her youthful or virgin aspect is a traditional image symbolizing new birth and spring.

The child, or new human life is another image strongly associated with spring, as childhood is when we are in the “spring” of our life.

 Meditation images for the Virgin Goddess and the child within

  • See yourself in your inner vision sitting in spring landscape (or sit in one physically if you can!). Quietly and intuitively feel yourself attuning to the energy of the season
  • A beautiful young maiden approaches you, she is the virgin goddess, the goddess of spring. As she stands before you, three rays of light radiate from her
  • Light radiates from her brow to filling your mind, brain and head with the energy and light of clarity
  • Light radiates from hear throat to your throat, filling your speech with kindness
  • Light radiates from her heart to your heart, filling it with the light of positive empathy, gladness and joy
  • You notice that the Goddess is holding a newborn baby in her arms. She offers you the baby. Take it your arms, as you hold it, meditate on the seeds of new life, ideas and projects that you can feel beginning to germinate and grow within your being.
  • A young child comes to join you and the Goddess. It is your own inner child. See how s/he appears to you. How easily are you able to relate to her? Try and feel the natural joy and playfulness of your child self as you connect to the child appearing to your imagination.

 3. Meditating on the rabbit as a power animal

Because it is the lunar new year of the rabbit, February/March 2011 is also a good time to meditate with the Rabbit as a power animal. Here is a simple way to integrate it into the second Goddess and child meditation above:

  • Within your spring landscape see the rabbit (could be one or many) appearing. For a while s/he sits and hops gently around the feet of the Goddess, examining you curiously. After a while (in its time not yours) the rabbit approaches you, allowing you to stroke it, perhaps hold it. Feel your mind and energy connecting to the rabbit and commune for a while in silence. What happens or what you see and experience at this time arises from your communion with the spirit of the rabbit.

Thanks for reading!

 Yours in the spirit of Spring,

 Toby

PS: On February 22nd and March first I will be leading two classes entitled Landscapes Of The Mind: Finding Inner Power and Balance In Your Life Through Meditation on Wild Nature And Landscape” all are welcome, if you are not in Singapore the classes are available for purchase as recordings.

 Article © Toby Ouvry 2011. You are welcome to use it, but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Share

The Difficult Decisions That That You Have Made in Your Life as Objects of Meditation, And How I Avoided Feelings of Bitterness and Envy Toward my Friends and Peer Group When I Left my Life as a Monk.

Hi Everyone,

Last week I looked at how it can be very useful and fulfilling to identify some of the Compelling Moments in Your Life and use them as objects of contemplation and meditation. This week I want to focus on the difficult or challenging decisions that we have made in our life and why it is important to integrate these into our meditation and awareness training.

When we make a difficult or challenging decision, generally we do so with an awareness that there will be consequences that we will have to deal with. However, having made the decision it is easy to then forget that we made the decision and start blaming other people or circumstances for our problems. Here are a couple of examples:

  • If we make a decision to be a care provider for a family member who has a long-term illness, initially we may do so willingly as we are clear about why we chose to care for them (out of love). However, as the months and years go by, and we have to make one sacrifice after another for this person, it can be easy to forget that it was our choice to care for the person and instead we start blaming the person for the troubles and sacrifices that we are making in our life.
  • You decide not to go for a job that pays substantially more than your present one, but you choose not to because you have ethical concerns about what it may ask of you. A friend or colleague of yours applies for a similar job, and soon you see him/her driving around in a nicer car than you, taking their family on exotic holidays and so on. Seeing this it is easy to forget the reasons you did not go for the job, and simply feel regretful or jealous of your peers newfound resources.

In both of the above cases the person has made a GOOD decision for the RIGHT reason. However, s/he will have to remain mindful of the choice s/he has made and renew it EVERY DAY in order to avoid feelings of bitterness, resentment, envy and so on.

Difficult choices are difficult because they have very real consequences that may not be easy to accept. Difficult choices are often made with higher or deeper motivations in mind, and so in order to avoid suffering as a result of making these choices, we need to REMEMBER WHY WE MADE THEM!

How I avoided feelings of envy and bitterness toward my friends and peers upon leaving my life as a Buddhist Monk

Somewhere in the middle of my University Fine-Art Degree in the early 90’s I made a definite choice to dedicate ten or so years of my life to the serious investigation of meditation and spirituality. After leaving University this choice took me deep into meditation practice and ended up with five years as a Buddhist monk, making absolutely no money, but acquiring a lot of spiritual knowledge and experience.

Ten years down the line in the Christmas of 2002 I found myself in Singapore having left my life as monk with about fifty bucks in my pocket, and cheap hotel accommodation for a week. As I moved back into secular life, I started to reconnect to my friends and peers. All of them had more money than me, many had a home and family, some had exiting and fulfilling careers. Outwardly it looked like I was WAY behind all these guys and I could feel feelings of bitterness at my situation, envy, thoughts of being a “worthless nobody” all coming up in my mind.

One of the found to be most helpful at that time is just to think back and realize that where I was now was 100% a result of my choices ten years before. I had made a choice at University to follow the “spiritual rabbit hole” as far as it would take me, and that I did. So, there was a price that I paid for this, which was the development of my secular life, monetary wealth, security and status (and let’s not talk about the amount of potential good sex that I gave up please!). I had chosen to give that up, there was no one else to blame. Was it worth it? When I thought about why I had made the choice, and the inner wealth that I had acquired as a consequence it was a no brainer OF COURSE IT WAS WORTH IT!

By remembering my difficult choice I was able to overcome my insecurity, bitterness, envy and all of the other unpleasant emotions that I was having, and this is why remembering your difficult, existential choices is important!

So, what are the difficult choices that you have had to make in your life, and that you now need to remember in order to avoid suffering and pain now?

If after reading this article you can note down two or three of your own difficult choices, and make the effort to remember why they were worth making, then this article will have served its purpose!

Thanks for reading,

Toby

 

Article © Toby Ouvry 2011. You are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first! Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Share