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Enlightened love and loving Integral Awareness Meditation techniques spiritual intelligence

Tapping Into Your Invisible Sources of Love and Support, A Contemporary Interpretation of the Process of Prayer

One of the great illusions that we often battle with is the feeling of being isolated and alone. This feeling of loneliness and isolation can exact a heavy toll upon our psyche. There are three approaches that we can take to this challenge:

  1. Get more comfortable with being alone
  2. Reach out to other people and build more of a sense of external community
  3. 3. Tap into sources of invisible love and support that surround us all the time

This article looks at the third option, which in many ways can be understood as tapping into the power of prayer. The meaning of prayer as I am referring to it here is as follows:

“Prayer is a way of invoking and requesting support from the invisible sources of love that surround us at all times” .When I say “invoking” here this can be done in both an active and a passive way. To pray actively means to make a specific request to any invisible source of support. Prayer can also be done in a more passive way simply by becoming aware of the invisible source of support and focusing on consciously receiving supportive energy from that source.

So, what are these invisible sources of loving and supporting energy? Here is a list of examples:

From Yourself – We can prayers and requests to the higher dimensional aspects of ourself that we can term in many ways, for example our Higher Self, our Divine Spark or our Buddha Nature. Since these higher aspects of consciousness are literally a part of who we are, it is safe to assume that they are always wishing us success and happiness, and are sending us that support all the time. Through the practice of prayer we can leverage on this invisible support much more.

From those who love and like you, and from your Ancestors – We are energetically and mentally connected to friends and family all the time, and there is potentially a constant stream of positive energy and support that we can be receiving from them even if they live in a far away land. Moreover there is also an ongoing stream of invisible love, support and wisdom that flows through our life at all times in the form of our ancestral group as a whole.

From the “Power of the Common Good” – This level of support is really about remembering that there is within the group mind of humanity a common intention to benefit, do good and support. Easy to forget amidst the mass of seeming negativity and chaos, but it is nonetheless there for us to tap at will!

From the Wise – Those Saints Saints, Sages and Great Souls, the great and the good, past and present who are filled with love, wisdom and compassion, and are at the cutting edge of human evolutionary consciousness.

From the Earth and from Nature – Sit in a park surrounded by trees for a while and any problem or pain that you have will reduce. I’m reading the Ramayana with my daughter at the moment, where all the characters pray for support from rivers, tress and mountains. It is a bit of a forgotten art in modern society that we could well do with remembering and practicing more!

From Spirit or Source – By this I mean the formless creative energy that creates and sustains all of the above, call it God or what you will…

A One Minute Prayer/Meditation Method for Tapping into Your Invisible Support Network

Pick one of the above invisible sources of love and support and focus on it mentally. You can then either:

  • Offer a specifically worded prayer requesting support for a particular area in your life, or
  • Just recognize this invisible source of love and acknowledge its readiness to support you.

Having made your prayer or recognized this source of invisible love, feel it surrounding you and supporting you, breathe with this feeling of receiving love and support for a few breaths, share your burden and release your worries.

A slightly longer Prayer/Meditation Method for Tapping into Your Invisible Support Network

Take the time to go through the above list of sources of love and support. Having offered your prayer for support, spend a few moments breathing with and feeling the support of each of these sources in turn. Take the time to recognize and feel the support of each of them. Feel the love you are receiving increasing with each source that you focus on. End by focusing on a feeling of having released your worries and burdens, and of being NOT ALONE!

© Toby Ouvry 2011, 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

Categories
Awareness and insight Enlightened love and loving Meditation techniques Motivation and scope

Meditating on Detached-Compassion and Divine Playfulness

The first of the five enlightened powers that I outline in my meditation technique “The Five enlightened Powers” is the power of embodiment. This involves, quoting from my previous article on the subject:

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!”

A question that we may then ask ourselves is “So then what is it actually like to experience ourself as such a spark of Universal Spirit? What qualities and emotions would we experience?” In this article I intend to highlight two specific qualities and perspectives that we can seek to bring into our daily life that will enable us to function more authentically as a divine spark amidst the push and pull of our daily lives. These two qualities are detached-compassion, and divine playfulness.

Detached-compassion

Detachment and compassion are qualities that often we think of as being separate because they appear to exclude each other.  We think that when you are detached you are disconnected from others, and so cannot feel deep compassion for them. Likewise if we are truly being compassionate we cannot be detached because that would mean disconnecting from our feeling nature, which is where our compassion is located.

However, viewed from the perspective of our spiritual being, it is perfectly possible to bring deep compassion together with as sense of detached, witnessing observation. This is because from the perspective of spirit:

  • We can be detached from any situation because we are always viewing things from the “big picture” perspective; nothing is truly personal in the egotistic sense of the word.
  • At the same time we feel totally close and intimate with all living beings because we realize that on the essence level we all share the same common identity. Ultimately we are all one being viewing the world from billions of pairs of different eyes!

So, from the perspective of our spiritual being we experience our life as impersonally-personal, as deeply involved and at the same time not involved, as passionate at the same time as being totally even minded.

The main take away from this is that if you practice bringing detached compassion together simultaneously in life situations, gradually improving your ability to do so, then you will consistently increase your experience of what it is like to be a spiritual being embodied in a physical body.

Divine Playfulness

One of the fundamental qualities of spirit is playfulness and a corresponding sense of humor. From its perspective the whole process of creating and evolving a universe is done as a type of game, a way of creatively expressing itself and its potential.

Consequently, if you want to increase the level of spirit in your daily life then entering into your daily tasks in the spirit of divine playfulness is a great practice to have.

Most of the time we tend to get a little too serious about things and as a result allow our life to become unnecessarily stressful and unhappy. Thinking about the challenges in your day as playful games and puzzles set you by the universe and your own spiritual being in order to help you evolve and grow is a technique that both relieves stress and enhances the deeply felt spiritual nature of your human experience.

One to Five Minute Meditation to integrate Playfulness and Detached Compassion into Your Daily Life

Step 1: Mentally select a particular life situation/challenge  that you wish to work on in the meditation. One of the characteristics of meditating with the Five Enlightened Powers technique is that you are always trying to work directly with a practical “real time” situation in your life. It should never be allowed to become totally abstract.

Step 2: Recollect your understanding of detached compassion. Open your heart to the feelings that you are experiencing and the other people that are involved AT THE SAME TIME AS mentally taking a step back and seeing what is happening from the big picture perspective. Experiment and try to feel both empathic compassion and witnessing observance SIMULTANEOUSLY. Breathe with this combined feeling experience for a while.

Step 3: Introduce playful humor to your perspective of the challenge. Think of the challenge as a game that you as a spiritual being are being set by the Universe to stretch and improve yourself as a human being. Stay with this perspective and the experiences it gives rise to for as long as you wish.

If you do this brief exercise a few times over the next week or so you will find that compassionate detachment and divine playfulness will become a real experience for you in your daily life that can help you to gain an authentic experience of what it is like to be a spiritual being appearing as a physical body!

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

Categories
Concentration Enlightened love and loving Motivation and scope

Motivating Yourself to Meditate Part 1 – Looking at How You Can Meet Your Needs Through Meditation

Hi Everyone,

One reason why people find it difficult to hold down a regular meditation practice is that it is very easy for meditation to get knocked down our priorities list. It seems like there are so many things that need our attention. It is easy to think that we have so many “important” priorities that we can put off meditating until tomorrow, and so it goes on. We never really get serious or consistent about our meditation practice because it is not enough of a priority.

So, what I am going to do in this and next week’s article is have a look at Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and see how meditation can help with these basic needs.  If we have a clear idea about how meditation helps us with our human needs, then we will keep it high on our priority list and make sure that we do it! 

A quick outline of Abraham Maslows hierarchy of human needs, he starts with the most basic first, and then ascends in terms of depth and complexity:

  1. Physiological needs – Food and drink
  2. Security needs – Shelter, physiological safety
  3. Belongingness and love needs – Affiliation, acceptance, affection
  4. Esteem needs – Competence, approval, recognition
  5. Aesthetic and cognitive needs – Knowledge, understanding, goodness, justice, beauty, order, symmetry
  6. Self Actualization

How meditation helps us with these basic needs:

Needs 1&2: Physiological and security needs

I am guessing that if you are reading this article, you will have your basic food, drink and shelter needs being met. You may not be in Buckingham Palace, but you aren’t homeless either right? Although many of us have our basic needs met, many of us remain stuck psychologically in “survival” mode, fighting our way through a hostile universe oblivious of the good fortune of having our basic needs met.

Meditation helps us with this by helping our mind to be calm enough to appreciate and enjoy the fact that our survival needs have been met. Meditation gives us the presence of mind to enjoy life’s simple pleasures; Food, drink, shelter and a basic quality of life. Without peace of mind studies show that those in first world countries are no happier than those in 3rd world countries. Meditation makes sure this does not happen to you! 

Need 3: Belongingness and love needs

A daily meditation practice is a statement to yourself that you are important and lovable enough to deserve happiness and peace of mind. Belongingness and love needs are often projected outward onto other people, but in reality our primary love relationship is with ourself. If we get this right it will help our love relationships to others.

Meditation also puts you in touch with a source of love inside you that might be termed as “Universal” or unconditional. This love starts to rise up in our mind whenever we truly touch mental peace and calm (see last weeks article on the “Two Main Lessons of Love”). You deserve to receive love every day right? So give yourself that pleasure by sitting down and doing a bit of meditation every day! One final point here, meditation by its nature makes us more mindful, relaxed and aware. This quality of mind helps us to see that there is love being directed toward us all the time by our friends, family and colleagues. A relaxed, meditative mind can open to this love and receive it deeply into our being, instead of shutting it out.

So, next week I’ll write a few thoughts on needs four, five and six, but I think if you contemplate the above three, there is plenty of reason to renew your determination to find time and space for at least a little meditation each day! 

Thanks for reading,

Yours in the spirit of the harmonious meeting of our higher and lower needs!

Toby 

PS: Two opportunities for meditative activities over the next week:

  1. I will be facilitating a Qi Gong workshop for beginners this Sunday, 9th January. Qi gong is a whole world of meditative movement exercises for health and wellbeing, if you have been interested in learning how to start a practice, this is an ideal opportunity!
  2. Next Tuesday sees the start of a new series of Tuesday classes entitled  “Finding Your Outer Balance, Inner Harmony and Spiritual Centre Through Meditation on the Tao, Yin Yang and the Five Elements”. Recordings will be available if you are interested but not living in Singapore!

 PPS: Relating to point 2 above, I have started a new series of articles on meditating with the Tao and Yin Yang on my Qi gong blog. You can find the first article HERE.

Like this blog, if you wish to receive automatic updates of these free articles from my Qi gong site, then you can simply sign up on the top right hand side of the page after you read the article on the Tao and yin/yang.

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

Categories
Enlightened love and loving Enlightened service Meditation techniques Motivation and scope Presence and being present

The Two Principle Lessons of Love

Golden TreeI was thinking the other day that there are two main lessons that we need to learn about love. I think if we get these right, then other aspects of our relationship to love and loving will tend to be good.

  • The first is that we are loved
  • The second is that we are love

We Are Loved

Knowing that we are loved comes from two levels.

  • On a conventional, everyday level remembering that we have friends, family, pets, colleagues and so on who love us, and allowing ourselves to open to and receive that love, rather than unconsciously blocking it out or forgetting about it.
  • On a more spiritual level it means remembering (and trying to experience in meditation everyday) that as a child of the Universe, a child of the Planetary Being, a child of God, or whatever way in which you conceive the forces of the Cosmos, we are loved. If you sit still in meditation and allow your mind to open to it, you will feel the conscious spiritual love of the Universe flowing into you. Its free, and its unlimited, unlike oil and other material commodities!
  • So, on a conventional and spiritual level we are loved

We Are Love

This second understanding takes it a step further to the realization that our very nature is love and to love. Again you can look at this on two levels.

  • On a conventional level the impulse to create, to form relationships, to nurture, to bond are a part of everyone. These are all characteristics of love, and we all have them. Therefore we are all love. Sometimes these impulses get misguided or expressed in inappropriate ways, but fundamentally love is at their core.
  • On a deeper level, if you sit in meditation each day and practice receiving the love of the Universe, there will come a time when the distinction of you as the receiver of love and the Universe as giver starts to drop away. The subject object duality will gradually dissolve and you will simple become the love of the Universe, full stop. At this point you become a gateway through which the creative and loving power of the Universe can flow forth into creation, you have become love.

Simple Breathing Meditation on receiving and being love.

  1. Sitting quietly in meditation, as you breathe in know that you are loved and breathe in that love, RECIEVING it deeply into your being. Follow this pattern for a few breaths.
  2. Then as you breathe out, practice BEING love. As you breathe out feel love and joy radiating out from your heart and touching others. If you like you can visualize particular people or beings such as your friends, family or pets. Alternatively you can simply practice being and giving love to all beings, with no one specific in mind.
  3. Once you are used to both forms of breathing described in sections 1&2, you can practice combining them together. As you breathe in feel yourself receiving love. As you breathe our practice being love, and giving it to all beings.
  4. End with a short period of just simply sitting in silence and being love.

Thanks for reading and all the very best for your inner growth 2011!

Toby

 

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

Categories
Enlightened love and loving Meditation Recordings Uncategorized

Free meditation recording on passion

Here is a free meditation recording on passion from the classes on Romantic Love that I recently did, enjoy!

[audio:http://tobyouvry.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Class-4-meditation-exert-On-passion2.mp3|titles=Class 4 meditation exerpt – On passion]

With metta,

Toby

© Text and audio Toby Ouvry 2010, please do not use without permission

Categories
Awareness and insight Enlightened love and loving Meditation techniques Presence and being present

Can attraction and desire be part of a genuinely spiritual love?

In my previous article on the five types of romantic love I placed the dynamic of romantic love in a larger context, to include our relationship not just with other people, but also ourself, the world/the Universe, landscape and our “art” or work.

What I want to do in this next few articles is have a look at four basic stages that any romantic relationship needs to go through in order to connect us to deep levels of authentic passion and creativity.

When I talk of passion and creativity here I am not referring just to a temporary increase in our creative energy, but a connection to deeper life forces that is continuously sustained over a long period of time.

The four stages of romantic love as I have named them are:

  1. Attraction and desire
  2. Relationship
  3. Union
  4. Creativity

In the article below we will begin by looking at stage 1, attraction and desire. I will focus mainly on the relationship between two people, but bear in mind that it can apply to the other four types of romantic experience as well.

 Stage 1: Attraction and desire

Romantic attraction and desire are often seen as the antithesis of the pure, spiritual experience of love. However, if you look at the state of mind that you enter into when you first “fall in love” with a person, a place or a type of work or art, you will be able to see that it has many magical and spiritual qualities. For example

  • The whole world seems more alive and vivid
  • You seem to be in a kind of telepathic communication with the person you are romantically involved with
  • Daily problems and anxieties fall away
  • You have more energy
  • There is a natural sense of timelessness which is in fact connected to the timeless world of spirit

Attraction and desire are the starting point for ANY romantic relationship, whether the couple are on a high level of consciousness or a low one. Attraction and desire are as natural as breathing and eating for us!

(those last two lines are my answer to the question posed by the title of this article by the way!)

One of the keys to successfully negotiating and enjoying this period of intense attraction and desire is to look closely at the motivations behind your attraction and desire.

  • If you feel attracted to a person because you feel a glaring LACK or POVERTY within yourself, then it is likely that the attachment and desire is going to lead to experiences of pain and suffering in the next stage of the romance.
  •  If you fall into an attraction and desire for someone even though you feel a comfortable sense of FULLNESS and ABUNDANCE within yourself, then it is likely that you will be able to transition to the next stage of the romance where “reality sets back in” without too much problem.

Exercise for appreciating and enjoying desire and attraction

Recall a time when you were in love with someone for the first time (or if you are at that stage in your relationship now, look at what you are experiencing now). Spend a while re-creating the feelings and experiences associated with that time. Creatively imagine your way back into the feeling and texture of your mind, body and emotions at that time. Breathe with it and enjoy it for a while.

Now let go of the specifics of the romance. Forget about the person you were with, the time, the place and so on. Just focus on the essence or essential feeling that is left inside. Breathe with this for a while.

What you will find if you do this is that experiences of desire and attraction lead us quite naturally into a mystical, enraptured, timeless state of consciousness. Most of the time we fail to capitalize on this because we mistake the object of our desire for the STATE OF MIND that he/she evokes. However, if you can let go of the object of your desire and focus on the state of BEING that has been evoked in you, you will find yourself connecting to something timeless, universal and full of life-force…

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

Categories
Awareness and insight Enlightened love and loving Motivation and scope Uncategorized

The five types of romantic love that we can experience

When you think of romantic love, what type of love do you think of? Chances are that most people will think of love between two individuals who fall in love with each other. What I want to do in this article is broaden the idea of what romantic love could be to include five ways of experiencing romantic relationships:

  • With ourself
  • With the Divine
  • With another human being
  • With landscape or place
  • With our art or work

Before I go into detail with each of these, I want to give a working definition of what romantic love is, for the purposes of this article:

“Romantic love is a type of love that has 4 stages. Firstly there is an attraction toward or a desire for the object (person or otherwise). Secondly we move into relationship with the object of attraction or desire. Thirdly we experience a union with the object, fourthly that union gives rise to a creative result.”

So, in a subsequent article I will be going into these four stages in more detail, but for now within the context of this short definition let’s have a look at the five types of romantic love:

  1. In our relationship to ourself – This can be thought of as the romance between the soul and the personality, or the higher self and the lower self. The spiritual path in some ways can be seen as the development of this romance. The soul(or deeper self) and personality(outer self) feel attraction to each other, move into relationship with each other, accomplish a union though various practices, with the creative result or “birth” of enlightenment within the individual
  2. Romance with the Divine – This is the romance that we experience between ourself as a single human and the divine or creative forces (however we may conceive it, God, the Tao, the Primal Buddha Mind etc..) of the Universe. We all have a different way of relating to the divine, dialoguing and conversing with it, moving into communion with it and finding and finding ways to express that union creatively.
  3. Romance with another human – This is the most common context that we think of romantic love in. It begins when we experience an attraction or desire for someone. If that person responds favourably, then we can proceed into the complex process of relationship, various levels of union (sexual, emotional, mental spiritual) that in turn give rise to creative results, ranging from marriage, to children, to inner transformation, to joint working projects and so on…
  4.  Romance with a landscape or sense of place – This begins when we feel a deep empathy, attraction or simpatico to a particular place. We then move into relationship with it by spending time there (by living there or repeatedly visiting), our communion gives rise to various forms of union with the forces of the landscape which cause a creative result. This creative result can be physical (eg: When we work to build something there or do conservation work) or it can be inner, for example when we are changed or healed in some way through our interaction with the place.
  5. Romance with a type of art, discipline or work – This is perhaps most often thought of in terms of an artist with her artistic muse, who drives him/her toward ever greater heights in his creative work. However we all have work that we feel a natural desire to participate in more than others. If we are lucky we are then able to move into that work more and more deeply by making a career of it. We merge our mind and body more and more deeply with the discipline of the work, which gives rise to greater and greater creative results as time goes by. Relationship to work we love is like a relationship to a human lover, not always easy, but behind the struggle lies a deep passion and belief in the rightness of the partnership, and a desire to remain in creative union.

Suggested reflection:

When you have a quiet moment, work your way thoughtfully through each of these five ways in which romantic love can be experienced. See what types of free associations and feelings come up with regard to the way in which you currently relate to your relationship to yourself, the Divine, your lover, your work/art and the place where you live (or other landscape/place that you love). What new ways of experiencing your life arise when you place these different parts of your life in a “romantic” context?

Final note: Still haven’t found your soul mate yet? Never mind, as you can see there are four other types of romantic relationship you can be pursuing in the mean time 😉

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

Categories
Awareness and insight Meditation techniques Presence and being present spiritual intelligence

From paranoia to pronoia and transnoia – The journey to perceptual enlightenment in three steps

Three concepts that describe three states of perception:

  • Paranoia – When we see a world that is attacking us and out to get us. This perception arises from a mind that is seeing the world from the perspective of its own fear, anger, jealousy and other negative mindsets
  • Pronoia – When we see a world filled with love and with people, places and things that are worthy of that love. This perception arises within us when our own hearts and minds are filled with love, kindness and care
  • Transnoia – When we see a world where everything is a manifestation of the divine or transcendent, and everything that happens to us is helping us to awaken and grow in the light of this truth. This perception arises from a condition of faith in a higher power than us that is good, but also from wisdom, the ability to see that the challenges we have to face in our life conform to a meaningful pattern that, if we have the presence of mind to face up to will help us grow, evolve and eventually reach our enlightenment.  

One way of viewing the path to enlightenment could be a journey from the nightmare world of paranoia to the “heavenly” states of mind of pronoia and transnoia.

Meditation for introducing pronoia and transnoia into the heart of our paranoia.

Using your breathing as an anchor for your awareness. Recall times or conditions in your life when you have felt deeply surrounded by your own paranoia. Feel into those times and states as realistically as you can without losing your sense of centre.

Having done this, now introduce the perspective of pronoia into the meditation. See the circumstance and yourself though the eyes of love, kindness and compassion. Observe how this perspective starts to alter your view and perception of the situation.

Finally introduce the perspective of transnoia – See what is happening as a part of a larger plan created by a benevolent higher power (call it God, Buddha, the Tao or word of your choice) that is helping you to develop and refine your character, and move toward your own eventual enlightenment and fully awakened state. Observe how this perspective changes your experience of the situation. 

This is a simple exercise that you can do either in a formal sitting meditation or in a more casual, contemplative way when you have a few moments. The main thing is to start seeing how you can work with them in a practical way to alter your experience of your life. 

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