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Six Aspects of Sacred Sexuality

Hi Everyone!

In this week’s article I give a quick guided tour to the uses of sexual energy in spiritual practice. I would venture to say that most of you may not have seen all these different practices in a single article, and I hope you’ll find it of interest!
Detailed below is also the meditation class routine for April, full details to follow in next week’s newsletter.

Yours in the spirit of sacred creativity,


PS: If you enjoyed this article and would like to find out how you can use the latest meditation technologies to enhance your bliss and joy, then click here: Digital Euphoria


Article of the Week:

Six Aspects of Sacred Sexuality

The following is a list of the different uses that sexuality has been and is used for in the different wisdom traditions of the world. Of course each of them contains elements of each type of sacred sexuality within their tradition, but because different traditions emphasize particular uses of the sexual energy, I use them as descriptive terms for the particular “genre”. For example Taoism uses the sexual energy extensively for healing, so I call this type of sexuality “Taoist sexuality”.

As you read through the six below, some you may feel familiar with, others may not be so well known to you. All are very useful when used in the right context, but as with any spiritual practice appropriate discernment should be used in its practical application.

Shamanic Sexuality– Here the sexual energy is generated specifically with the intention of being used for traveling to different locations on the inner world in one’s “astral body” or “energy body”. From one point of view you can mentally project yourself to anywhere you want in the universe just by thinking of it, but if you want to travel to an inner world location in your energy body more energy is required and sexual energy works very well to fully charge the subtle body for its journey. Shamanic sexuality is also used in a healing context, assuming the authenticity and integrity of the Shamanic practitioner.

Taoist Sexuality– In Taoist sexual practice the sexual energy is deliberately generated and then circulated energetically within the body so as to regenerate areas of the body that have become weak nor deadened, and to clear our energetic blocks that are perpetuating and may have even been the original cause of an illness. It can also be practiced by healthy individuals and couples to promote energy levels and long life.

Tantric Sexuality – Here sexual energy is generated with the intention to circulate it through the subtle energy centres of the body in order to promote expanded and enlightened states of awareness.
Another aspect of tantric sexuality is the sexual union of ourself with a divine “other” which is to say the divine appearing in a God or Goddess form, which in turn can enhance the expanded and enlightened states of awareness that are the goal of tantric sexuality.

Psycho-spiritual/Psychoanalytical  Sexuality– The point of this form of sexual practice is, to quote Robert Masters to release “Release sexuality from its obligation to make us feel better”, and to engage in sexual activity with our partner specifically with the intention to open to our psychological vulnerability and explore whatever emotional/energetic pleasure or pain may come up during the interaction consciously and honestly. I suppose this could be thought of as a form of healing sexuality, where the emphasis is placed upon psychological healing.

Non-Dual Sexuality– Non dual sexuality can be practiced simply by deliberately mixing any experience of sexual or sensual bliss with formless emptiness, or inner and outer space, and then remembering that the sense of bliss and the sense of space arise from one primal, non-dual source of all that is.

Biological Sexuality– This is where you use your sexual energy to have babies. It is a s sacred as all the rest, although it is not always presented in a format that is obviously sacred

A final point on all the above is that all of them require dedication and a willingness to confront challenges and difficulties as well as bliss in order to gain authentic results.

© 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

Awareness and insight Essential Spirituality Inner vision Integral Awareness Meditation and Psychology Presence and being present Uncategorized Zen Meditation

The Eternal Present and the Four Types of Time

Dear Integral Meditators,

How do you think of time? It is one of three major aspects of our experience (the other two being space and energy). Often as not we think of time as being just one thing, but in reality it is much more than that. In the article below I outline four major aspects of time and give a few thoughts about them within the context of how we can learn to rest in the eternal present.

Yours in the spirit of timeless time,

Article of the Week:

The Eternal Present and the Four Types of Time

The eternal present is the spiritual dimension of time, awareness and realization of which is a major goal within all of the great wisdom traditions of the world. The paradoxical thing about the eternal present is that it is always present with us, so it is not something that you can “achieve” as such. Rather it is more like something that you can become aware of and use that awareness to inform your day to day existence.

From a meditative perspective, the way to meditate upon the eternal present is to recognize it and then rest your awareness in it for extended periods. This gives you a basic platform for starting to integrate the eternal present into your daily life. However in the long term your ability to integrate the eternal present into your daily life will also depend upon the relationship that you have to three aspects of “temporal time” that we also have to deal with. These three I call clock time, biological time and psychological time. What I intend to do in the rest of this article is to outline these different types of time and indicate few simple things that we need to master with each one if we really want to integrate the eternal present into our life.

  1. Clock Time– We all know this one, it is the division of our time into seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months and years. From a meditational perspective we need to be well organized enough with regard to our clock time to integrate regular periods of meditative activity into our day, where we can rest in the eternal present. Without this organizational ability we find ourself continually chasing after clock time, feeling flustered and disorganized.
  2. Biological/Seasonal Time– This is the time that our body is attuned to, and that reflects the wider cycles of time and the seasons on the planet. Animals have attunement to this form of time naturally, and act accordingly and appropriately. However we humans often as not seem to find ourself out of touch with our “biological clock”, mentally overriding it, not listening to our physical body when it needs some down time, and being totally unaware of the natural cycles occurring on our immediate environment. Mastery of biological time essentially means re-allowing our biological and seasonal intelligence to communicate with us and factor consideration of it into our daily activities. You could also call biological time “cyclical time”, as it moves in cycles and circles, rather than in a linear way.
  3. Psychological time– Psychological time is the time that we experience in our mind. You could also call this linear time in the sense that psychological time feels like it is moving from one point to the next, to the next, to the next in a straight line (unlike the cycles/circles of biological time). However psychological time can be fickle in the sense that sometimes a short amount of clock time can feel like an eternity, and a long period of time can feel very short, for example if we are really enjoying ourselves. Psychological time is extremely subjective, with periods of time in our day and life that we “dread” and periods that we look forward to. Psychological time is also interesting in the sense that for example if we look back upon our days activities there may be just one thing that our mind focuses on, as if it was the only thing that happened in the day. The essential point is that our experience of psychological time is defined most often by the way in which we frame our experience with our thoughts, so taking care of our thoughts, and making sure that we are mentally framing our daily experience in as optimal a way as possible is a major aspect of mastering psychological time.
  4. Spiritual time– Spiritual time is the time beyond both cyclical biological time and linear psychological time, and is most often referred to as the eternal present, or the eternal now. It embraces and contains all the other expressions of time like a mother embracing a child.  As mentioned at the beginning of this article, awareness and realization of it is a major goal of all the world’s great wisdom traditions. Quite often when people first hear about the eternal present they think of it as a high realization that is far away from where they are in their own path right now. However in reality the eternal present is in many ways the simplest and most accessible of experiences. In order to access it you simply have to “drop time” and allow your mind to rest in a natural, non-conceptual state. As soon as you do this you immediately begin to enter into the subjective experience of the eternal present moment. As such we can turn to the eternal present for support whether we are a very highly realized spiritual being, or a relative beginner.

In order to begin leveraging on the support and happiness that we can receive from spiritual time/ the eternal present the major thing that we need to do is to simply create time for a little stillness in our routine, and then recognize the eternal present within that quiet space, allowing our mind ad body to rest in the experience as fully as possible!

For other articles by Toby on the eternal present, please read “The Four Types of Present Moment”, and “Your Ego as Resistance to What is Present”

© 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

Awareness and insight Essential Spirituality Inner vision Integral Awareness Motivation and scope Presence and being present spiritual intelligence

Seven Aspects of Building a Sacred Spiritual Practice in Your Life

Hi Everyone,

This week’s newsletter takes as its theme some of the different factors that need to come together in our life to cultivate a sense of the sacred in our life.

Yours in the spirit of the daily sacred,


Seven Aspects of Building a Sacred Spiritual Practice in Your Life

Within the context of this article, when I refer to “the sacred” what I mean is the following definition, which I also used in my past article on “Mindfulness of the Sacred”:
“Sacredness, or sacred awareness is a state of mind where we are simultaneously aware of the wholeness and universality that pervades all life, whilst at the same time having a sense of the preciousness of our own unique individuality, and how the flowering of that individuality is continually cared for and nurtured by God/the creative forces of the Universe/the Tao (or insert expression of choice)”.

So, what are the factors that you need to build into your life in order to cultivate a sense of the sacred? Here is a list that I came up with when thinking about my own spiritual practice. I would not call it a ‘definitive’ list in any way, but I think it is a living list, and each of the seven points aims to offer a doorway to a particular experience of the sacred.

  1. Set aside time in your day to connect and cultivate a sense of the sacred– Want to get fit? Then of course you need to set aside time for exercise. Want to cultivate the sacred in your life? Creating spaces in your life where the focus for however short a time is the sacred has to be a priority. What time slots within your own schedule can offer you this opportunity.
  2. Open yourself regularly to the eternal, the nameless, the formless, the empty, the silent, the unknowable.
  3. Regularly try and expand your circle of care and concern as far beyond the boundaries of your own skin as you can.
  4. Cultivate a sense of forgiveness, letting go, a sense of laying down our burden, and our burden of guilt.
  5. Cultivate a sense of the divine or sacred in first, second and third person. The divine in the first person means a sense of the sacred within yourself. The divine in second person means a sense of the sacred in your relationships with the otheror others in your life. The divine in the third person means a sense of the sacred in the objective universe and nature that surrounds us. Putting all three together (rather than just on and leaving the other two out) dramatically increases the potential power of our sense of the sacred in our life.
  6. Connect to the sacred in the sense of divine playfulness, humor, celebration, bliss, lightness, life as a cosmic drama or theatre show.
  7. Cultivating a sense of preciousness and of paradox. Try and see yourself, the opportunity of your life, and all the people whom you share the space of your life as being precious, and it all being a precious opportunity. Simultaneously and without feeling it to be a contradiction, cultivate a sense of the Universes’ “divine indifference” to you, and of your insignificance and expendability in the face of the cosmos as a whole.

© 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

Awareness and insight Inner vision Integral Awareness Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Motivation and scope Uncategorized Zen Meditation

Finding Your Best Response to Anxiety – An Existential Perspective

Hi Everyone,

This week’s article focuses on existential anxiety. The discovery of the idea of existential anxiety has been I think the most informative and transforming single factor in my approach to the challenge of anxiety over the last year. It has really made a big difference to the way I see and experience myself in the world. The article is an attempt to give a taster of existential anxiety and what an important influence it is in our life, I hope you enjoy it!


Yours in the spirit of being,


Article of the Week:

Finding Your Best Response to Anxiety – An Existential Perspective 

How do you think about your anxiety, and what you need to do to overcome it? For many people, meditators included, anxiety comes under the section of “things that need to be overcome” or “things that need to be gotten rid of”. In this article I would like to suggest that specific aspects our anxiety should come under the section “things that need to be understood and responded to effectively” rather than gotten rid of.

Two types of anxiety
In order to help us understand anxiety it is helpful to distinguish two fundamental types of anxiety. For these definitions I am drawing upon the work of Rollo May in his book “The Discovery of Being” which is an excellent introduction to the field of existential psychology and philosophy:

Causal Anxiety– Causal anxiety is anxiety in our life and mind that has a cause. We are in debt, our child or loved one is sick, we have been dumped or sacked, our cat is keeping us up all night meowing, we are repressing unresolved emotion. All of these are examples of anxiety and stress in our life that is caused by something specific. The way to work with causal anxiety is to become aware of its cause and to work to alleviate it.

Existential Anxiety– This second type of anxiety is the type that arises simply from existing or being alive. We exist as human beings, with a sense of self, and as such we find ourselves continually having to affirm that existence or aliveness against the forces that are continually trying to destroy us.

There are two fundamental points about existential anxiety: Firstly, we can never get rid of it. It is ontological, or inherent in the process of being alive. You will only get rid of your existential anxiety on your deathbed as you release your being to the process of death and dissolution. Secondly existential anxiety is fighting a battle that we can never “win”.  It is the struggle of our being against non-being or, put another way, the struggle of our life against the threat of death. The only way to “deal” with our existential anxiety is to accept the inevitability of our death and dissolution, and to live our life while it lasts in the most courageous manner possible.

Why is understanding existential anxiety important?
Understanding existential anxiety is important because, if we are not aware of it then we will find ourselves projecting it onto other areas of our life, and when we do so this anxiety will then become neurotic and even pathological. For example if I project my existential anxiety on my career, then my work will become an expression of my unconscious fight against the reality of death, rather than an expression and celebration of my highest and best self.
Secondly understanding existential anxiety is important because if we can see it and experience it clearly in our life, then we can respond to it effectively. If we remain unaware of it, the chances of us articulating a positive response to it are hugely reduced.

The classic response of the masses to existential anxiety.
How do most people deal with their existential anxiety? It’s simple, conformity. They de-emphasize themselves as an individual being and instead adopt the consensus of opinions, habits and ways of being prevalent in their society at the time. Along with this conformity comes a corresponding loss of awareness, sensitivity and ability to articulate whatever it is that characterizes you as a unique human being. In short, the unconscious response of most people to their own existential anxiety is to lose themselves in the trance of mass consciousness, which serves as a kind of placebo or tranquilizer. It is an avoidance technique really, but since we do it all the time, most people have no idea that they are doing it.

Three possible responses to existential anxiety to meditate upon.
These are not necessarily easy or immediately pleasurable, but if stuck with lead to a much deeper and more authentic response to our life, our existence and the challenge/opportunity it poses:

  1. Even though I will inevitable lose the fight of my life against death I can nevertheless use the time I have to articulate the beauty and uniqueness of my individuality whilst it lasts.
  2. Does the fact that my individual being is impermanent and transient, like a flower in spring not make it all the more beautiful and valuable? I can choose to enjoy it and cherish it whilst it lasts.
  3. My appreciation of the beauty and transience of my own individual existence can help me value the unique individuality of other living beings around me, and cause me to help their individualities to flower fully. I can choose to care for them, value them deeply and, help them articulate their own response to the challenge of life and death.

In conclusion
Existential anxiety is something that you will have to deal with all your life. You can never get rid of it, or even meditate it away (that is to say you can lose your sense of it in deep meditation, but upon your return to daily life it returns). You can only work with it or try and avoid it, your choice!
Existential anxiety is potentially one of our most powerful and constructive driving forces in our life. Unfortunately for many people the standard response seems to be conformity and avoidance (and the consequent neurosis and pathology), or selfishness and egoism.
The primary requirement for making friends with existential anxiety is courage, the courage to confront the forces of life and death as they exist in your life right now, and to live your being fully now in the light of your inevitable non-being.

© 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