The five types of enlightened power

The series of meditation classes that I am teaching at the moment has got me thinking about different ways in which you can express enlightenment in your daily life. Here is a profile of five enlightened powers that, if consciously practised together will make your own attempts to embody enlightenment in the market place more powerful:

The five types of power are:

  • The power of embodiment
  • The power of devotion
  • The power of affirmation and visualization
  • The power of energy
  • The power of karmic action

The power of embodiment – The basic practice here is remembering that you are, in essence a spark of Universal spirit experiencing (temporarily) a physically embodied life on Earth as a human. Whatever situation you find yourself in, grounding your awareness in your true identity and not getting caught up in your small or egoic identity is the power of embodiment. Wherever you are, remember WHO you are!

The power of devotion – This power is the power of invoking prayers to forces greater than oneself regarding any situation that you may be in. The power of devotional prayer connects higher and deeper energies into the situation, and enables them to participate in the event more directly, thus increasing the chances of a more enlightened outcome (See my article on “Why worry when you can pray?” ).

Another aspect of this power could be said to be your devotion to your highest ideal and highest outcomes, not settling for second best so to speak.

The power of affirmation – This power is really a mental training. It involves paying attention to the thoughts and images that you are having, and ensuring that as far as possible they are affirming the highest and best outcome for any given situation. Our thoughts and imagination have tremendous unseen power to influence events one way or another.

The power of energy – This power entails being aware of the subtle energy present in your body and in the environment, and learning to develop and maintain as harmonious, positively powerful and stable subtle body energy as you can at all times. Simply being a point of stable, expansive enlightened energy in any situation will be of help, even if we do or say nothing.

The power of karmic action – This is choosing to physically act and speak in a way that is congruent with the above four enlightened powers, so that the actual daily actions that you engage in are a reflection of the higher intentions that you have been developing.

A five minute meditation for engaging the five enlightened powers in your daily life:

If you do this exercise once a day over the next 7 days, it will give you a feel for how to engage the five powers in any given action.

–          Minute 1 – Embodiment: Select the life situation that you want to engage the five enlightened powers with. Visualize yourself in that situation. Breathe deeply into the core of your being and body, find the formless, timeless space of pure awareness in your heart that is your True or Universal Self. Ground yourself in the awareness that this is your true identity.

–          Minute 2- Devotion: Offer a prayer in whatever manner feels appropriate for the highest good of the situation. Invoke any higher or greater universal powers into the situation and request their help. Give them permission to participate fully in working toward the best outcome.

–          Minute 3 – Affirmation: Offer your highest and most encouraging thoughts regarding the situation. For this time see, think and visualize the highest good and the best outcome

–          Minute 4 – Energy: Feel the subtle energy and light vibration in your body as strong, balanced, harmonious and stable. See this energy spreading out into the situation and the energies of all the people involved. Feel and experience this strong balanced subtle force flowing in the dynamic of the whole scene.

–          Minute 5 – Karmic Action: For the last minute think about practical things that you may be able to do or say to take the situation forward. Make a metal note of when and where you are going to try and engage in these practical actions.

Conclude with a dedication that the energy of all the five forces that you have generated in your meditation should be a cause for the most enlightened outcome possible!

Finnish.

© Toby Ouvry 2010 you are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first! Contact info@tobyouvry.com

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Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew comments on his own daily meditation practice

(This is extracted from an interview that Lee Kuan Yew recently did with the New York Times, I am not going to add or subtract anything from it, just present it as it is – Toby)

Q: “Tell me about meditation?” (Seth Mydans, New York Times/International Herald Tribune)

Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew: “Well, I started it about two, three years ago when Ng Kok Song, the Chief Investment Officer of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, I knew he was doing meditation. His wife had died but he was completely serene. So, I said, how do you achieve this? He said I meditate everyday and so did my wife and when she was dying of cancer, she was totally serene because she meditated everyday and he gave me a video of her in her last few weeks completely composed completely relaxed and she and him had been meditating for years. Well, I said to him, you teach me. He is a devout Christian. He was taught by a man called Laurence Freeman, a Catholic. His guru was John Main a devout Catholic. When I was in London, Ng Kok Song introduced me to Laurence Freeman. In fact, he is coming on Saturday to visit Singapore, and we will do a meditation session. The problem is to keep the monkey mind from running off into all kinds of thoughts. It is most difficult to stay focused on the mantra. The discipline is to have a mantra which you keep repeating in your innermost heart, no need to voice it over and over again throughout the whole period of meditation. The mantra they recommended was a religious one. Ma Ra Na Ta, four syllables. Come To Me Oh Lord Jesus. So I said Okay, I am not a Catholic but I will try. He said you can take any other mantra, Buddhist Om Mi Tuo Fo, and keep repeating it. To me Ma Ran Na Ta is more soothing. So I used Ma Ra Na Ta.

You must be disciplined. I find it helps me go to sleep after that. A certain tranquility settles over you. The day’s pressures and worries are pushed out. Then there’s less problem sleeping. I miss it sometimes when I am tired, or have gone out to a dinner and had wine. Then I cannot concentrate. Otherwise I stick to it… a good meditator will do it for half-an-hour. I do it for 20 minutes.”

Q: “So, would you say like your friend who taught you, would you say you are serene?”

Mr Lee: “Well, not as serene as he is. He has done it for many years and he is a devout Catholic. That makes a difference. He believes in Jesus. He believes in the teachings of the Bible. He has lost his wife, a great calamity. But the wife was serene. He gave me this video to show how meditation helped her in her last few months. I do not think I can achieve his level of serenity. But I do achieve some composure.”

Read full transcript here 

Upcoming October workshop with Toby: “An introduction to meditation as a way of overcoming stress, anxiety and mental busyness.”

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Why expressing your enlightenment in the marketplace of your life is an ethical imperative (and three things you can do to start NOW!)

In the past, if all those who had some degree of enlightened awareness chose to retreat from society and live in the mountains, then that would be unfortunate for society in general, but at least we could rest secure in the knowledge that the world and humanity would continue to be here. In past times humanity did not have the power to wreak total destruction on the planet, ecosystems and itself.

Now we are in a situation where the LACK of evolved consciousness in human society at large is a huge problem, because the problems that human activity is causing are global in nature. Humans now have the power to alter the ecological balance of the planet through pollution, to wipe out other species of creature in ways that in the past would have been inconceivable. We now have a situation where we have GLOBAL OR “METTA” PROBLEMS, BUT MOST HUMAN BEINGS ARE TRAPPED IN A EGOIC OR “MICRO” MINDSET!

The only way to solve global problems is by adopting a global mindset, where as many individuals as possible are actively caring about the state of the world as a whole. That means that humanity as a whole needs to raise its level of consciousness from a fundamentally self-centred, self-serving mindset to a fundamentally world-serving, globally caring mindset.

 This current situation then places a new onus upon those whose level of consciousness is raised to any degree of enlightened awareness. It urges them to get out into society and start acting to raise the level of consciousness in as many practical ways as they can think of.

With this in mind, here are three areas that you can start working on NOW:

1)      Developing and sustaining your own enlightened level of consciousness: Having a series of practices that you do each day that are specifically designed to raise your level of consciousness and sustain it. It is no use trying to save drowning people if you are drowning yourself! Knowing, experiencing and embodying enlightened awareness personally is essential for raising the level of societal and global consciousness!

2)      Working mindfully with your own circle of influence: Your circle of influence is that group of people over whom you have some kind of personal or direct influence. These are the people and groups of people that you have real power to affect for better or worse right now . Maximising your potential to benefit them and help them raise their consciousness is perhaps the most obvious and direct way to help raise the consciousness of society as a whole!

3)      Being actively involved in metta projects that are designed to benefit the evolution of the planet and society: As a meditation and Qi gong coach, my main metta project is creating a profile of services and education programs that help people to raise their consciousness, heal their mind and body and participate in life in an enlightened manner. Your project might be a long term relationship to a charity, working on conservation, creating new enlightened business systems or whatever. The main point here is that you have some form of long term project that is designed to make an enlightened impact on society in some way and in the long term.

So, the KEY with understanding these three areas is that ALL THREE NEED TO BE WORKING IN BALANCE.

–          You don’t want to be a meditator with a high level of consciousness but completely cut off from society

–          You don’t want to be a charity worker working on metta projects but totally personally burned out due to neglecting your own personal well being

–          You don’t want to be a person who looks after his or her own circle of concern, but whose boundaries never extend beyond the scope of benefiting friends and family

You need to express whatever level of enlightenment you have in a balanced way in all three areas of your life.

I hope you have enjoyed the article, and I hope to see some of you at the Tuesday class where we shall be looking at this subject in depth!

PS: Here is the link to the new Integral teleseminar seiries entitled “Beyond awakening; the future of spiritual practice”  guranteed to stimulate, and free to participate in!

© Toby Ouvry 2010. You are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first! Contact info@tobyouvry.com

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Uniting the body, mind and heart: The three levels of mindfulness that we evolve through

Following on from my earlier articles on gratitude and self-love, and articles on spiritual intelligence in general, here are three levels of mindfulness that we can distinguish.

As we develop our meditation practice we gradually evolve our experience of mindfulness through three levels. The three levels are as follows:

– Controlling the desires of the selfish / unconscious heart and instincts

– Engaging the mind, heart and body in communion with our actions and with life

– As an intuitive union of the mind, body and heart in all that we do

Level 1: Controlling the desires of the selfish / unconscious heart and instincts:

At this level mindfulness is basically used as an act of concentration and willpower extending mainly from our mind. We have decided that we wish to live a more conscious, engaged life and we realize that in order to do this we need to start exerting control over our selfish and uncontrolled desires that are leading us to experience repeated patterns of pain, stress, anxiety and emptiness.

We use our mindfulness to consciously direct ourself toward positive actions, ways of thinking and being in the world. At this stage our mind and willpower are like an animal tamer, and often our heart and instincts can feel a bit like the wild animal!

Level 2: Engaging the mind, heart and body in communion with our actions and with life

At this level of mindfulness we have developed a certain level of skillfulness. During our daily actions our mind, heart and body are co-ordinated in a more harmonious whole (as opposed to each going in their own direction, often pulling against each other).

We learn to bring the attention of our thinking mind, our feeling heart and our bodily senses into our actions in a mindful manner that makes life a deeply felt and fulfilling experience. We start to reap the rewards of our mindfulness practice, the main one being that we find that even small or seemingly mundane activities become causes of deep happiness and contentment. Our mindfulness enables us to experience first hand the truth that happiness can always be found in the present moment.

Level 3: As an intuitive union of the mind, body and heart in all that we do

At this stage we no longer a have to exert a large amount of effort to keep our mind, body and heart in a mindful, synchronized whole. The energetic “communication wires” between these three levels of our being have become well established. This means that even when we temporarily loose our mindful awareness, our feelings, thinking and body awareness tend to remain intuitively happy and harmonious through force of long habit.

Attaining the third level of mindfulness indicates a time in our practice where effort and hard work are replaced more and more by a sense of naturalness and flow extending from our deep communion with life on all levels.

Upcoming events with Toby:

Tuesday 15th September, new series of 3 classes on “How to express enlightenment in the market place of daily life”

Three body Qi gong classes with Toby in September and October

© Toby Ouvry 2010, yuu are welcome to use this article, but you MUST seek Toby’s permission first! Contact info@tobyouvry.com

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Bridging the gap between loving self and loving others; the three levels of self-love

Like the other posts in the series of articles on spiritual intelligence (where I have divided other topic or practices into three), in this article I want to outline three levels of self-love. One of the points in doing this is to illustrate how the practice of self-love goes through developmental stages as our consciousness evolves.

For self-love I am going to call these three stages the following; the first stage moves us from the “topdog undedog” mentality to self-acceptance. The second stage sees a movement from self-acceptance to self-love. The third stage sees a movement to transcendent or transpersonal levels of self love that I call “Love for self-as-the-World”.

Stage 1: From the “top dog underdog” mentality to self-acceptance – Actually, to get to the “top dog underdog” stage you have to have developed beyond the very low levels of relationship to self and life which are basically, “I suck” and “life sucks”!

When you get to the topdog underdog stage, basically you are continuously comparing yourself to others; If you are better than them (let’s say richer) then you feel good about yourself. If you are worse than them (let’s say poorer or less expensive car), then you feel bad about yourself, the worthless underdog. Life is spent see-sawing between feeling ‘better than’ others or ‘worse than’ others, self-loathing manifests easily, insecurity abounds. Make a mistake or do something dumb, and you will attack yourself big time!

So, the first level of self-loving sees a journey from this roller coaster ride of the topdog underdog mentality to a stable state of relationship to self. We are able to accept ourself as we are, without comparing ourself to others or giving ourself an overly hard time when our behaviour does not match our expectations.

This is NOT to say that we do not have goals and expectations for ourself, just that we do not easily move into states of self-criticism and self-loathing when those goals are sometimes not met. Actually self-acceptance when practiced rightly enables us to enhance our ability to achieve our goals and change our behaviours for the better.

Stage 2: From self-acceptance to self-love – This second stage sees the movement within our relationship to ourself from simplay accepting who we are to actively LIKING who we are. There is a big difference. Self-acceptance implies a tolerance which is obviously a good thing, and much better than getting caught in self loathing all the time. Liking ourself means that there is a sense of warmth, enjoyment, rejoicing and enthusiasm that we feel in our relationship to ourself. We become our own best friend, which is a tremendous asset as we are the person that we have to spend 24 hours of our day with!

Stage 3: Love for self-as-the-World – This stage actually looks at how our self-sense itself transforms as we evolve, and particularly as we meditate and spend time with and in expanded states of consciousness.

At this stage our self-sense has expanded to the degree that our idea of our “body” is actually Planet Earth, our sense of “mind and spirit” are the mind and spirit of Gaia, and all the living creatures contained within her (the Planets) consciousness.

As this stage self interest and the good of others are no longer in conflict. The self that we think of when we think “I love myself” is actually the Planetary Being, as opposed to the small self encased within the skin of this one small body. This third stage is what you might call the transcendent, transpersonal or enlightened stage of self-love, the end goal of the practise itself.

© Toby Ouvry 2010, you are welcome to use this article,  but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact info@tobyouvry.com

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The three levels of gratitude

Gratitude is mentioned a lot as a spiritual practice, and with good reason as it is an important one. What you may not have heard before is that gratitude goes through stages of growth, it is not just one practice that stays the same thru-out our journey, it evolves as we evolve. With this in mind here are three basic stages of gratitude that we need to pass through:

  1.  Ingratitude or an absence of gratefulness – At this stage our ego is very contracted and small in its thinking, the things that we have to be grateful for we very quickly take for granted, we have no idea or feel for the interconnectedness of the web of life and the kindness that we are shown directly and indirectly by so many beings on so many levels. We live our lives in a state of perpetual discontent and “lack”. Our mind is like a closed window to the light and grace of gratitude.
  2. Conscious gratefulness for the manifest good in our life – The second stage of gratefulness is where we have developed some form of evolutionary aspiration in our mind, and we recognize the benefits, both for ourself and others, of appreciating the good, the beautiful and the true in our life. Each day is spent consciously taking into account what we have to be grateful for and reminding ourselves not to slip back into a state of taking-things-for-granted-ness. This stage of gratefulness sees a battle between the consciously grateful mind that is growing and evolving in our life, and the old ungrateful ego-contraction that it is trying to replace (and that tends to be stubborn as a mule!)
  3. Spontaneous gratefulness – This third stage of gratefulness arises from a direct perception and experience of our living relationship as an individual to the evolving Life-force of the Universe. More traditionally you could call this a gratitude for being in a living, participating relationship to God and the wonder of creation.

Whether you choose the words Life, the Universe, God or otherwise, the subjective experience here is basically a spontaneous sense of gratitude that arises effortlessly due to our constant connection and ‘simpatico’ with the dancing energies of life and the universe as they continue on the journey and adventure of evolution. At this stage gratitude has become a state of being rather than something that we have to battle constantly to maintain.

Initially we have to work quite hard to journey from stages one to stage two. After a period of years, depending upon our effort we will find ourself starting to ‘peak experience’ into level three for short periods of time, then regressing back. Eventually we are able to stabilize our mind at level three as our “default gratitude attitude”, at which point we can truly have said to have a realization of gratitude.

© Toby Ouvry 2010, you are welcome to use this article, but you MUST seek Toby’s permission first! Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Upcoming events with Toby:

Tuesday 7th September  evening meditation class – Spiritual intelligence as a path to personal to personal, integrated enlightenment

New series of Three Body Qi Gong™ classes in September and October

Article on “What is Three Body Qi Gong™ (and why you should be interested in practicing it)”

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Finding the balance between freedom and control

There is an eternal balancing act that we all have to find in our life between freedom and structure, or freedom and control. This basic polarity works on all levels. For example:

  • On the physical level if you want the freedom of good health it is important to have the structure of a balanced exercise routine and diet
  • If you want the freedom to engage in a creative project (musical, artistic etc…), you need to have the discipline and organizational ability to find a source of financial stability in your life that will facilitate that.
  • If you want the mental freedom to experience pleasant feelings and thoughts in your mind, you need to have the inner structures/control in and of your mindset to deal with negative and fear based thoughts.
  • If you want the spiritual freedom to enjoy the bliss of your pure, natural consciousness free from conceptions, you need to have the discipline, control and structure of a daily meditation practice.

So, basically on every level you find this interplay between freedom and control in your life, and mastering that balance is an ever changing and fundamental part of your overall process of integrated mastery…

As I final point I would like to point out a three level structure for mastering the balance between freedom and control (I seem to have been working a lot in threes in the last few articles!):

  1. In the beginning we oscillate between freedom and control; either we are “letting ourselves go” and losing our structure, control and discipline, or we are “getting back on the wagon” and re-asserting control of our life, meditation practice etc…
  2. On the next level we start to enjoy the freedom of control, we appreciate that freedom is facilitated by a certain degree of healthy control and structure in our life. At this stage freedom and control move into increasing levels of harmony and mutuality with each other.
  3. On the third level Freedom becomes control and control becomes freedom. Discipline, control and structure become effortless expressions of our freedom of choice and creativity. Our actions become naturally and beautifully controlled and this in and of itself is an expression of our inner freedom and sense of liberation.

© Toby Ouvry 2010, you are welcome to use this article but you MUST seek Toby’s permission first. Contact info@tobyouvry.com

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Understanding three different levels of spiritual intelligence and wisdom

In general you could say that our spiritual intelligence is a line of development in ourselves like any other (such as cognitive or emotional) that starts at zero (no spiritual intelligence) and matures as we grow as a person. In this context you could say that spiritual intelligence is that part of our self that addresses the question “What is of ultimate importance or meaning in my life?”

You can also define spiritual intelligence as a is a high level of intelligence or wisdom that we are trying to bring all of our other intelligences up to as we grow. If you define it this way you can measure the growth of spiritual intelligence in three stages as follows:

Pre-individuation – This is a stage of life and education where the focus is on receiving wisdom, knowledge and understanding that from our ancestors and elders, from both conventional and non-conventional sources. At this stage we have not really distinguished ourselves as a fully developed individual, we are very much at the stage of absorbing and assimilating information.

Individuation – This second stage of growth is where we sift through th information and knowledge that we have received from stage one, choosing to accept some of it and reject other aspects of it. This process of consciously deciding that which we accept and that which we reject and articulating it in our life and personal philosophy makes us into an individual, hopefully a considered and well rounded one (!)

Trans-individuation – When we reach this stage our intelligence and wisdom have matured to a spiritual level. At this level we no longer experience ourself as the owner of a personal wisdom and intelligence, rather the wisdom and intelligence of the Universe or God moves through us. at this stage we transcend ourself as an individual. Our mind and body become a vehicle for the wisdom and transcendent loving intelligence of the divine, which manifests on the Earthly plane through us.

So, in summary the journey to true spiritual intelligence involves:

1. Digesting the wisdom and knowledge of our ancestors

2. Fully articulating ourself as an individual

3. Going beyond our individual ego and becoming a vehicle through which transcendent wisdom and intelligence can function in as uninhibited a manner as possible.

A final point here which is worth reflecting on; when we get to level three, trans-individuation, this does not mean that we loose our uniqueness or individuality (which is a common mis-conception), rather that our individuality is transcended and then subsequently included within a much larger and more expansive sense of self. Indeed, as we continue to go beyond our individuality, ideally our individuality will continue to grow, expand and develop in a holistic and healthy way. What I am saying here is a little bit different from the traditional view of enlightenment, where often the individuality is viewed as “obsolete” or meaningless once enlightenment has been attained.

If you found this article interesting, you might consider attending the upcoming series “Meditation techniques for developing your spiritual wisdom and intelligence” that I will be starting this coming Tuesday 24th August, available as recordings for those not able to attend in person.

© Toby Ouvry 2010, you are welcome to use this article, but you MUST seek Toby’s permission first.

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The three stages of meditation practice as an art-form

The first stage is using meditation as an art-form to learn to calm the mind, overcome distractions and develop inner peace.

The second stage is using the inner peace and focus you get from the first stage in order to deepen your experience of concentration, awareness and insight.

The third stage is accessing and stabilizing the subtle inner abilities/gifts that you become aware of through stages one and two; understanding what they and learning how to apply them practically/creatively as a way of being of service to the world.

The first stage you could call the art of peace, the second stage you could call the art of concentration and insight, the third stage you could call the art of creative or spiritual service.

Let’s say you start meditating tomorrow, for twenty minutes a day for the next fifteen years. By the end of the first five years you will have probably become competent at stage one. By the end of ten years you will probably have become competent at stage two. By the end of fifteen years you will have a working knowledge of stage three. This will give you a foundation. 

Fifteen years may seem like a long time, but if you are persistent for the first two or three years, it may well be that you will have ceased being all that goal oriented and learned to simply enjoy the journey that the art of meditation offers to the human traveller.

As the practitioner of any genuine art form will tell you, there are no short cuts to genuine mastery! 

PS: Brief plug for the new series of meditation classes on “How to develop our spiritual intelligence and inner wisdom” starting this Tuesday 24th August, I guarantee it will be of interest to any meditator or aspiring meditator. For those not in Singapore it is available as a series of three recordings. 

© Toby Ouvry 2010, you are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first.

Related article: Is your meditation a form of therapy, and art-form or a spiritual practice?

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How the balance between doing and being evolves as you evolve your consciousness

For many people interest in meditation comes from the stress of the prevalence of doing and achieving in contemporary society. Because there is so much busy-ness and activity, we feel a need to retreat into a state of pure being-ness where we can rest and recuperate our energies before returning to the fray of our daily life. Meditation provides us with regular contact with such a being-state.

For such a person the balance of doing and being is found by oscillating between the activity of their daily life and tasks, and their daily meditation practice when they emphasize relaxation, beingness, non-doing and nono-thinking.

However, if such a person persists in their meditation, there will come a point where they will start to observe that the state of being-ness that they experience in meditation starts to bleed into their active states; they are able to maintain a sense of centre and balance even when under stress or in conditions of relatively frenetic activity.

At this point the meditator has evolved their sense of doing and being. What they have started to see is that doing is really a sub-set or sub-category of being. Now in their life they have two types of being-ness; in meditation they practice pure-being, and in their daily life they practice doing-being. Doing-being is a far less stressful way of doing things than a state of doing that is disconnected to our sense of being.

If the person persists in their practice then increasingly they will find that their actions become a vehicle for their being-ness, that is to say that the actions of the person are always accompanied by a certain quality and depth which makes the actions themselves causes of happiness and balance.

In summary, three stages of the evolution of the balance between doing and being:

  • Meditation as a way of cultivating our being-ness so as to balance all the busy-ness, stress  and action in our life
  • Doing becomes a sub-set or sub-category of being; In meditation we practice pure being-ness, in daily life we practice doing-being
  • Doing becomes an expression of our being

© Toby Ouvry 2010, you are welcome to use this article, but you MUST seek Toby’s permission first. Contact info@tobyouvry.com

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