Awareness and insight Enlightened love and loving Enlightened service Inner vision Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Presence and being present spiritual intelligence

Tapping into the Ever Present Abundance of Happiness

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article looks at how we can find an ever present abundance of happiness “right under our nose” so to speak. I really believe that a practice like this only gets more important and more relevant as our planet becomes ever more crowded and interconnected, and the need for us all to “think as one” becomes more and more of a necessity.

Yours in the spirit of ever present abundance,


Tapping into the Ever Present Abundance of Happiness

There is a source of abundant happiness that is available to us at all times, no matter how badly your life is going. This abundance of happiness is called the happiness of others.
All you have to do in order to be able to tap into this source of happiness is to be able to expand your sense of self and identity beyond the boundary of your skin andmake your “self” big enough to include other living beings. If you can do this, then any happiness that they have you can partake of, because their happiness is the happiness of your expanded self.

So, then the question then becomes “How can I expand my sense of self to include others?” A key to this is understanding that our self sense is much more flexible than we might think. Whenever we care for someone else our self sense moves out to them and includes them without effort on our part. One simple way to develop an expanded sense of self is simply to consider the body of the Earth or Gaia as being our body (rather than our small physical body that we habitually identify with). If we consider the Earth as our body, then all the living creatures, human, animal and so forth automatically become a part of ourself, and any happiness that they have is our happiness to enjoy, partake of and take pleasure from.

With this expanded sense of self the happiness of all living beings becomes our happiness and thus we are able to tap into an almost infinite source of happiness and joy. We feel as if we have a perpetual abidance of happiness that we can tap into anytime you need to.

Try it now:

  • First expand your sense of self by thinking of your body ans being the body of Gaia or the Earth
  • Then partake of the happiness of one or many of the living beings on the earth, seeing their happiness as your happiness. If someone you know got the job s/he has been looking for, then think of their joy as your joy. See a mother and baby exchanging smiles and affection on the street? That happiness is your happiness.  There are so many possible examples I could give here because there is such an incredible amount of happiness to partake of when you expand your self sense in this way. The only problem you now have is which happiness to enjoy and celebrate!

This way of relating to happiness and your world may seem a little artificial at first, but once it becomes a habit, then it really can feel natural, just Iike second nature.

So there you go a simple method to tap into the perpetual abundance of happiness!

© Toby Ouvry 2012, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

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Tipping Your Hat to the Gods of Chaos

Hi Everyone,

What it your spiritual path? Is it just another attempt by your ego to establish a predictable order and comfort zone in your life, or is it a somewhat bolder attempt to push beyond your boundaries and comfort zone and acquaint yourself with the dynamism that lies beyond? This weeks article offers an open ended contemplation on the useful role that the “gods of chaos” have to play in our path, and how we can learn to welcome them.

Yours in the spirit of the unpredictable,


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Article of the Week:

Tipping Your Hat to the Gods of Chaos

In the Nordic Sagas Odin the chief, magician and sage of the Gods, almost immediately after achieving deep insight and wisdom (by giving one of his eyes to an ancient giant, and then hanging upside down n a tree for many days) makes the curios decision to become blood brothers with Loki. Loki is the half giant/half god of chaos and mischief, fundamentally untrustworthy, and the bringer of much amusement and much discomfort to the gods and the Nordic universe as a whole.
The Celtic god of chaos is called Dalua, whose laughter is said to create fear and confusion, and whose touch causes madness. Like Loki he seems superficially destructive and almost like a devil figure, and yet at the same time he is clearly afforded respect and his importance in the greater scheme of things acknowledged by the ancient Celts themselves.
Why would the God of wisdom Odin choose to establish such a close relationship to the god of chaos and mischief? Why would the Celts accept the role of Dalua the God of madness as having an important role and function in their spiritual path?
It seems like one of the lessons is that a wise mind accepts the existence of chaos, madness and mischief in our life and the valid role that it plays, even when the results are sometimes destructive, painful and not what we wish.
Please don’t get me wrong here, I am not in any way suggesting that we should be willfully chaotic, mischievous or unpleasant to others, or be unnecessarily accepting of it when it is handed out to us. What I am saying is this: that when different areas of our life turn us upside down, when people or life seem to be deliberately and sometimes offensively tricky. When you seem to be running around frantically and all you find are blind alleys and obstructions. When all your attempts to create order are resisted, then at that time it is worth being alert and recognizing that the gods of chaos may be entering into your life and, even if you are hurting and confused, tip your hat to them and recognize that there may be something worthwhile going on. A re-configuring of our universe is always preceded by the collapse of the old order.

© Toby Ouvry 2012, 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 Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques mind body connection Presence and being present spiritual intelligence Zen Meditation

Zen Meditation on the Body Within the Body (Within the Body)

Hi Everyone,

This weeks meditation article focuses on the Zen meditation on the body within the body. The first part of the meditation, separating our actual body from our conceptual image of our body is a traditional Zen technique. The second part, dropping the body and resting in the pure awareness body is my own addition that I use when I teach the meditation to classes. So it is my own “invention” so to speak, but it is entirely within the spirit and intention of Zen practice.

Yours in the spirit of clear perception,


Article of the Week:

Zen Meditation on the Body Within the Body (Within the Body)

Our Three Bodies and the Three Dimensions of Existence Highlighted By Zen

All the great wisdom traditions of the world point out that our world is a multi-dimensional one, with these different dimensions  coming together in communion to form the totality of our being and experience.
In the Zen meditation on the body within the body, three of these dimensions are emphasized as objects of meditation, each of these bodies in turn corresponding to a particular dimension of reality.
The Three bodies are:

  1. Our conceptual body, or the conceptual image that we hold in our mind of our physical body
  2. Our actual physical body as it is in the sensory world
  3. Our formless energy body or  body of consciousness

These three bodies in turn correspond to three fundamental dimensions of our reality and moment to moment experience:

  1. The conceptual or intellectual dimension of our existence
  2. The non-conceptual dimension of our existence
  3. The spiritual or formless dimension of our existence that forms the ground or basis of dimensions one and two.

The meditation is called the body within the body, because our non-conceptual body is concealed or hidden by our conceptual body, or body image, and our  body of consciousness is hidden behind the sensory perception of our non-conceptual body. Hence through meditation we discover different bodies behind or within what we thought was just one body.

The Purpose of the Meditation on the Body Within the Body

The purpose of this meditation is to help us develop awareness of what in Buddhism is called dualistic appearance, which is the appearance of an object (such as our physical body) together with the projected mental image of that object (in this case the body). According to the Buddha, all of our suffering and pain arises from the confusion that dualistic appearance creates in our mind.
To take a simple example, an anorexic person with a very skinny body observes his/her body and projects the mental image an unacceptably fat body on their actual body. As a result they continue to starve their physical body even though it desperately needs nutrients. In such a person their idea of their body and their actual body are completely confused, and so as a result they cause themselves suffering and harm.
The above example is an extreme one, but in reality all of us experience this type of confusion more or less all of the time, our idea of reality and the actuality of our reality do not match each other and so as a result we experience confusion, delusion and suffering.
The first point of the meditation on the body within the body takes our physical body (initially) as its object, and shows us how we can become mindful of the difference between our actual body our conceptual image of our body so that we no longer confuse the two in harmful ways.
The second point of the meditation is to cultivate the skill of dropping all appearances, conceptual and non-conceptual, and learning to rest our mind in the natural, open state of pure awareness that is our body of consciousness.

The Meditation

Stage 1: Meditating of the conceptual image of your body
Sitting comfortably in meditation, start to examine times in your life when you have had different experiences of your body, times when you may have hated it, times when you have been proud of it, ashamed of it, embarrassed by it. Try to observe how in each case the way in which you experience your body at those times is actually in large part dominated by a conceptual image of the body, rather than the body itself as you are experiencing it from moment to moment. Try and observe how your conceptual mind projects its imagined image of a body onto your body.

Stage 2: Meditating on the non-conceptual experience of your body
In the second stage of the meditation simply focus on the sensory experience of your body and breathing as they are in the present moment. Using the body and the breathing as an anchor, try and drop all conceptual thoughts as completely as you can, and just experience the physical body as it is, free from your idea of what it is. Try and become as familiar as you can with this non-conceptual experience of your sensory body as you experience it in the here and now.
This experience of the body as it is is called “the body within the body” because it is the body that we “discover” when we drop our conceptual image of our body. Our mental image of our body normally hides our actual body from us (!)

Stage 3: Meditating on your body of consciousness
In the final stage of the meditation simply try and let go of all conceptual and sensory experiences altogether, and allow your mind to rest in the “pure awareness body” or subtle formless energy body that acts as the ground from which arises both our conceptual and sensory experience.  Try and gently sustain your experience of this formless or “spiritual” dimension of existence for the remainder of the meditation.
This third meditation stage and third “body” is called “the body within the body, within the body” because it is the body that is normally hidden behind the mask of the phenomenal world, or the body of form. When we drop our body of form, the body of consciousness appears, or is revealed.

Practice When Going About Our Daily Life

  1. During your daily life try and remain consciously aware of the different images and perceptions that your mind is projecting upon your body, accept the images that are useful and helpful, but do not buy into images that are destructive, deluded or unhelpful. Be mindful not to be fooled by them!
  2. Try and come back to your basic sensory or non conceptual experience of your body by regularly dropping your conceptual thoughts and focusing for short periods on the sensory body and the breathing.
  3. Regard both your conceptual and non-conceptual worlds as appearances arising from the ground of your (Universal) or body of consciousness, like a dream arising from the clarity of deep sleep, or clouds arising within and clear sky.

© Toby Ouvry 2012, 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 Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques One Minute Mindfulness Presence and being present Shadow meditation

There is Always Something to Feel Insecure About

Hi Everyone,

Back in the 1950’s Allan Watts wrote a book called “The Wisdom of Insecurity”. Although written a while back for me it is still one of the most interesting and useful guides on making friends with our insecurity that I have found. This weeks article takes a look at insecurity, and what we can do to start developing a right relationship with it in our life.
This week also sees the first of two meditation workshops over the fortnight “An Introduction to Meditation from the Perspective of Tibetan Buddhism”. All welcome, full details below.

Yours in the spirit of the wisdom of insecurity,


Upcoming Meditation Classes and Events in March 

Wednesday April 11th – 7.30-9.30pm at Basic EssenceAn Introduction to Meditation From the Perspective of Tibetan Buddhism 

Wednesday April 18th – 7.30-9.30pm at Gallery HeliosOur Inner Universe:Meditating on the Different Dimensions of Existence in Zen Buddhism


Meditation Workshop: An Introduction to Meditation From the Perspective of  Tibetan Buddhism

With meditation teacher Toby Ouvry

The Tibetan School of Buddhism has a particularly rich and diverse tradition of meditation that can be of great use for the relief of stress, solving of our daily problems and the awakening of our own inherently enlightened nature.

In this two hour workshop Toby will be drawing on his own extensive training  (including five years as a Tibetan Buddhist monk) to give a practical introduction to the fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice.

In the workshop you will learn three practical Tibetan meditation forms specifically designed to:

  • Increase your mental peace and concentration
  • Increase your wisdom and compassion
  • Purify the mind and lay the foundation for realizing our own enlightened nature (Using a technique known as “Mahamudra” or “Great Seal”)

These techniques are simple, powerful and profound meditation techniques that can be easily integrated into an existing meditation practice, or used to begin a meditation practice if you are a beginner.

Date and Time: Wednesday 11 April, 7.30-9.30pm

Location: Basic Essence, 501 Bukit Timah Road, 04-04 Cluny Court

(For map of location click HERE)

Course fee:  Sing$50, all participants will be provided with a set of workshop notes and MP3 recording of the workshop for their own personal use.

To register or for further enquiries: Email or Basic Essence on 64684991


Article of the Week:

There is Always Something to Feel Insecure About

Sometimes we can find ourselves feeling insecure about a particular issue in our life. It might be our age, our looks, giving a speech or talk in public, what somebody may have said about us, finding a relationship, or not losing it if we have one. Our children, or work, the list goes on endlessly.

One of the keys to dealing with our insecurity is to realize that, even if we were to find a relief from the particular insecurity that we are feeling at the moment, often as not, rather than experiencing an absence of insecurity, our insecure mind simply seeks out something else to feel insecure and frightened about. If we can see this, then we will also be able to start to see clearly that actually our insecurity is more of a compulsive habit of our mind, and that in many ways the particular object/situation that we feel insecure about at this time is simply the latest thing that our insecure mind has latched onto worrying about.
If we can gain such a subjective insight into the nature of our own insecurity, then we realize that the real challenge lies in developing a right relationship to our insecure mind, with the particular issue that we feel insecure about at the moment being secondary.
Here are a few ways in which you can begin to work with your insecurity in a constructive way:

  1. Recognize that insecurity and unknowing is a natural part of our life and learn to open to its creative possibilities, rather than always trying to find security in narrow minded “certainties”.
  2. Open to the insecurity that you may be feeling on a daily basis. Acknowledge it and make a friend of it. If you try and reject it, repress it or disown it, it will simply recede into your unconscious and try and exercise control in your life from there. If this happens life can feel like a real inner battle between your conscious self and desires, and your unconscious insecurities which keep sabotaging your peace of mind.
  3. Spend a few minutes each day acknowledging the insecurity you may be feeling, and just breathing with it. Once you have acknowledged it consciously, and can feel the full emotion of it in your body, you can then spend a little time releasing the insecurity on your outward breath.
  4. Talk to your insecurity(if you want to do so literally, which can be a more powerful way of doing it, I recommend you don’t do it on the street (!) Alternatively you can have the conversation in a written journal). Ask it to voice its fears to you, and gently and firmly challenge the logic of its assumptions. If you can help your insecurity to see that much of its emotion is unfounded in objective fact, then it will find it easier to relax.
  5. Demonstrate to your insecurity each day that you are a capable leaderof your personality by engaging in concrete actions each day to take charge of your life in whatever way feels appropriate. Our insecure mind is like a child, if it can see that it is in the company of a competent, powerful leader or ‘inner parent” then it will tend to relax and feel safe.

© Toby Ouvry 2012, 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 Enlightened love and loving Essential Spirituality Inner vision Meditation techniques Motivation and scope Presence and being present spiritual intelligence

The Inevitability of Peace, Happiness and Fulfillment

Hi Everyone,

This week’s article looks at the a perspective on happiness and wellbeing that I have been finding particularly useful over the last couple of weeks, so much so that I felt I would like to pass it on to people, I hope you enjoy it!

Yours in the spirit of inevitable peace,



Article of the Week:

The Inevitability of Peace, Happiness and Fulfillment

The world can seem a difficult place to find fulfillment and give happiness

Even with the best intentions sometimes finding and giving happiness can see like a difficult and intractable process. It seems like one personal problem that we solve only gives rise to another, people we are trying to help sometimes turn around and stab us in the back or refuse to take any constructive advice. The world at large seems unfair, with some like us enjoying wealth and affluence easily whilst vast tracts of the population remain stuck in absolute poverty.
Looking at life from these perspectives it can be tempting to give up on the prospect of ourselves or the world at large ever finding a lasting solution to our own challenges, let alone to the collective problems that we face.

From a spiritual perspective fulfillment and peace is inevitable

Why does spirit bother creating anything in the Universe, worlds, planets, living beings and the like? The traditional answer found in the great wisdom traditions of the world is essentially that spirit engages in the process of creation for fun, for amusement. In the Hindu tradition this idea is called “lila”, meaning sport, pastime, or play. Spirit creates the diversity of the universe from its own inherent unity as a celebration of itself and to alleviate apparently a certain cosmic sense of boredom. What will the end result of this play and sport be? Inevitably it will be a return to the natural and inherent peace, happiness and fulfillment of unified spirit.
If we see our own life and world from this perspective, as the sport, pastime or play of spirit, underpinned by the inherent unity and  loving nature of spirit, then this enables us to find a point of equilibrium in the chaos of our daily life and complex world, with all of its uncertainty and intractability.

That fulfillment is not somewhere in the distant future, it is here and now

One of the main aims of meditation in the above context is to bring home a subjective and experiential realization of this inevitable happiness, fulfillment and peace. By realizing this inevitably, we start to experience it in our lives right now, as an underpinning current of energy that gradually pervades everything we do. You could say that having access to this current of energy in everything that we do is one of the markers of success in our daily meditation practice.

Meditating on the inevitability of happiness

If you are interested in trying to integrate this perspective more into your daily life and meditation practice, here is a simple method you can use. Sitting quietly and contemplatively, focus on the words:
At the end of the life-paths and trials of every living being lies inevitable peace, happiness and fulfillment”.
Then spend a bit of time just breathing and relaxing into the recognition that however difficult things seem for ourself, our loved ones and the world at large, the only final endgame is the return to the peace, happiness and fulfillment of spirit.
During your contemplation and afterward, whilst going about your daily life, try and feel this final peace, happiness and fulfillment as a presence in your life right now. As Thich Nhat Hanh is so fond of saying “The Pure Land is Now or Never!”

© Toby Ouvry 2012, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website