Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Using the Energy of Negative Emotions

Transforming Our Attachment into Care

The Tibetan tantras invite us to transform our attachment into a mind of “great bliss”, and in doing so take one of the main causes of our bondage to delusions and change it into a cause of enlightenment. What is a mind of “great bliss” sounds pretty exciting and pleasurable right? To experience an authentic state of great bliss is to experience the primal energy of divine creativity emerging from the emptiness of our causal, or very subtle, formless awareness.  Another way of putting it is to say that the mind of great bliss is the cosmic version of our everyday mind of caring, loving and being compassionate.
Ordinary everyday attachment reduces our ability to care, love and feel compassion because it becomes so obsessed with what it wants (be it a person, pleasure, view or goal) that the longing for it actually blocks our capacity to act with care and consideration for others. From this we can see that if we really want to experience great bliss as well as universal care and compassion, getting to the root of our deluded attachment really is a key.

Why is attachment to people, places and enjoyments so difficult to control for us? Superficially the answer comes back “well, the enjoyments such as food, sex, being “in love”, money and so forth are just so good that it is just natural to want them and desire them”. However, if we scratch a little deeper beneath the surface we discover that beneath our desperate search for sensual enjoyments lie deeper feelings of isolation, separation, loneliness and even desolation. On a deeper level the reason we search so desperately for something outside ourselves to get attached to is because inside we feel fundamentally empty, so we grasp at things outside ourself to “fill” us with the substance that we are searching for. So, one of the first steps in beginning to understand and transform our attachment into feelings of bliss and caring is to get deeply in touch with that part of ourselves that feels empty, desolate, lonely and isolated. Superficially this may not seem like an appealing idea, but if we understand the relationship of our inner separation and emptiness to our deluded attachment then this will give us the courage to explore a little further!

Once we have contacted our own deep feelings of emptiness, we can then begin to transform them by deliberately extending feelings of care, fullness and compassion to ourselves. By consciously extending feelings of care and compassion to ourselves we can then fill that empty space within us, thereby depriving our deluded attachment of one of its core driving factors. This will then result in:
– An increased ability to engage with and enjoy our daily enjoyments and pleasures in a non-deluded way, without the hidden agenda of our deluded attachment.
– Energy that was previously caught up in cycles of deluded attachment within us being released, which can then be re-directed as care and compassion toward ourself, others in our life and out into the world at large.
– An increased ability to experience bliss in our body-mind which if directed appropriately can become an authentic experience of tantric great bliss, which is actually the energy of trans-personal love and compassion.

A suggested practice 

– Take time to get to the root of your deluded attachments and addictions by meditating on the presence of loneliness, isolation and “negative” emptiness in your mind.
– Having found and become familiar with these feelings (that is to say you get to a stage when you don’t instinctively try and avoid or repress them when they arise in your awareness), practice holding them in your mind whilst simultaneously extending feelings of love, tenderness and care toward yourself and specifically these feelings of emptiness.
– Visualize a blissful light or energy at your heart. Identify it as the blissful energy of universal care and compassion. Practice radiating this blissful energy from your heart into your own body at first, filling it from your head to your toes. After this practice extending the energy out to others in your circle of influence, and into the world at large.

Another general practice you might try with your attachment is to meditate on it in the context of the meditation in my article “Using the Energy of Negative Emotions”.

© 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

Inner vision Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Using the Energy of Negative Emotions

Going From Deluded Pride to Divine Pride

What is deluded pride?
Deluded pride is quite simply a view of ourself that considers us to be more important or significant than we actually are. It causes us a lot of pain because when we are filled with pride we are vulnerable to the criticisms of others and to our own insecurities (indeed deluded pride may be seen as an attempt to mask our deeply held insecurities). It also prevents us from building healthy friendships and relationships where both parties are considered equals, rather than having one ‘top dog’ and one ‘underdog’.

The core causes of deluded pride
The two major cause of deluded pride are firstly to perceive ourselves as inherently separate from everyone else (as opposed to interconnected), and thensecondly to be caught up in feelings of inferiority. When we feel inferior to others, or when we feel that they threaten our self esteem we tend to overcompensate for the threat by developing deluded pride. If you watch the inner commentary going on in your mind at such times, you will see that it automatically starts coming up with reasons why that person is stupid, or inferior to you and also reasons why you (or your group) are superior to them.
Feelings of inferiority are so deeply embedded within the minds of us human beings that the deluded pride that we develop in order to compensate for it can come in many ways, some very insidious. The subtler manifestations of deluded pride are just as present in spiritual groups and institutions as secular ones.

One of the main solutions to pride is traditionally the practice of humility. However, many practitioners of humility unintentionally fall into the extreme of simply accepting their own feelings of inferiority as being reality, and thus rather than actually being humble, they are in reality simply staying in their comfort zone, which is simply feeling inferior to others.
Genuine humility I think is a mind that sees our self as no more important or significant than anyone elses, but also includes the caveat that we are also no less important than anyone else. Thus when a person with a lot of deluded pride comes into our life, or we need to stand up for ourselves in any way we are able to do so effectively without being inhibited by our false humility.

Three Types of Non-deluded Pride
You can take non-deluded pride in yourself and what you are or what you do. Indeed it is necessary to take non-deluded pride in what you do if you are going to fulfill your potential. To take a simple example a school teacher who is proud of her profession and the role she plays in helping her students is going to tend to be a good teacher. Without pride in what she does, inevitably the standard at which she does her job will drop.
In this sense you could say that non-deluded pride is very much about caring, caring about what you do, who you are and the effects that you have on your world.

With this in mind here are three types of non deluded pride

Pride in Our Abilities and Achievements
As shown with the example of the teacher above, someone who appreciates their own abilities and the things that they can achieve with them is going to fulfil their potential. We can have pride in what we do without considering ourselves inherently better or superior to others.

Pride in Our Humanity
To be human is to have the ability to go beyond the demands of our biological and socially constructed self and hold ourself to standards of caring, loving and acting skillfully and wisely beyond that which animals are capable (no offense to them!) I think you could safely say that most humans do not have enough non-deluded pride in their own humanity. If they did have such appropriate pride they  would no doubt be many more people fulfilling their genuine human potential than their actually are!

Divine Pride
In Tibetan tantric practice (which I engaged in explicitly for a decade or so) there is a central practice called “divine pride” where you strongly imagine yourself as already being an enlightened deity.  This Tibetan form is a relatively complex form of divine pride, but the essential divine pride that we can all cultivate is simply the recognition that we are all aspects of a single spiritual essence evolving in many varied and diverse ways within time and space.
Our outer form may be that of a single humble human, but the divine essence that flows through us is truly divine spirit-in action. One of the main goals of meditation practice is to learn to recognize this spiritual essence, and take non-deluded pride in it as our true Self or identity.

Final Thoughts
I suppose my main point in the above writing is that both deluded pride and non-deluded pride arise from the same fundamental emotional and mental energy, and that non-deluded pride plays a very important part in both our overall psychological wellbeing and the ongoing evolution of our consciousness. For it to play its role appropriately we need to liberate our pride from the delusion of inflated self importance and from the carousel of our habitual inferiority/superiority complexes. This is not easy, but it is most definitely worth it!


© 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 techniques Positive anger Shadow meditation Using the Energy of Negative Emotions

Fertilizer for the mind and body – Using the Energy of Negative Emotions

Dear Integral meditators,

I hope this newsletter finds you well, this weeks article is a practical meditation technique for working with the energy of negative emotions, which is a theme that I will be building on in articles over the next few weeks.

Yours in the spirit of the ongoing journey,


Article of the Week:

Fertilizer for the mind and body – Using the Energy of Negative Emotions, a Simple Meditation Technique

In my recent article on “Darkness Emerging as Light” I suggested that the essential energy of negative emotions can be re-worked and re-directed in our life to become a force for the good, and even a force revealing our own enlightened nature. The meditation below is a simple (though not always easy) technique that we can use to:

  •  Work directly to re-direct and transform the energy of  powerful negative emotion
  • Work with at the beginning of a meditation if we are being directly bothered by a negative emotion/thought pattern present in our mind
  • Simply wish to diffuse and recycle ambient negative emotional energy in our bodymind, making it available for us to use in other more positive ways.

The technique is somewhere between a contemplative meditation where we are working with the mind, and a qi-gong type meditation where we are working with the ‘qi’, ‘prajna’ or energy of the body.

Step 1
Sit comfortably in meditation, recognize and rest in a sense of being in a “safe space” for a short while, a safe space meaning here the recognition that at this present time there are no imminent physical or psychological threats to your safety.

Step 2
Bring to mind the negative emotion and accompanying thought patterns that you wish to work with. Try to create it intensively enough so that you can really feel it in your body. This stage can be a bit tricky in that, whenever you try and look at a negative emotion directly it tends to ‘hide’ or ‘disappear’ (and of course there is a lesson in that), so you may have to have to tease it back out again into the open.

Step 3
Ask yourself “Where is the energy of this emotion principally located in my body?” You will probably find that it is somewhere in the torso, between the sacral area and the heart centre, but if it appears to be somewhere else then you can go with that. The main thing is that you should feel you have located the physical and energetic ‘epicenter’ of the emotional disturbance so to speak.

Step 4
See the emotion in that area of your body as being a ball of tightly knotted black light in the centre of that area of your body. At this point let go of the object of your negative emotion (eg the person or situation that has upset you) and simply focus on the ball of light in the body.
See and feel in the centre of that ball an intense point of white light, so that the dark, knotted energy starts to glow from within. Gradually see and feel the knotted dark energy unraveling and lightening. As the energy lightens, it is released from that specific point in the body, and is released and redistributed evenly throughout the rest of the body.

Using the breathing
If you like you can use the breathing to help facilitate this:
As you breathe in, breathe into the centre of the dark energy, seeing the point of light inside growing intensely.
As you breathe out see the point of bright light in the centre expanding through the knotted dark energy, breaking it up and re-distributing it through the body, thus making the energy that has been trapped in the negative emotion re-available for us to use.
(Those of you that are familiar with the way I teach breathing in qi gong will find this basic pattern of breathing familiar, energizing the body upon inhalation, and allowing the energy to flow freely through the body upon exhalation. Here it is the same basic principal applied to a specific area of the body where there is a strong emotional charge).

Step 5 
Conclude the meditation with a brief period of silent awareness, just breathing and focusing on the body as you experience it in the present moment.

Final thoughts
Repeated use of this meditation will sensitize you to build ups of emotional energy in general, and once you are familiar with the basic technique enable you to modulate emotional energy in the body on a more organic, free-form basis.

© 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 Inner vision Integral Awareness Motivation and scope

Living by the Light of Your Own Mystical Vision

Hi Everyone,

This weeks article is a little bit of a reflection on how mystical vision is something that we all partake of, and how we can go about integrating our own mystical expereinces a bit more into our own daily life. Enjoy!

Yours in the spirit of the journey,


Upcoming Classes

Thursday Morning Qi gong Classes

Wednesday 13th June, 7.30-8.30pm – Meditation Class: “How to Integrate Mystical States and Peak Experiences into Your Daily Life”


Article of the Week:

Living by the Light of Your Own Mystical Vision

For the purposes of this article we will be using two terms to encompass the meaning of mystical vision; “peak experiences” and “mystical states”.
peak experience as any personal, subjective experience that we may have that expands our sense of self and beyond its normal, ordinary day to day egoic boundaries.
mystical state we will define as any experience that moves us into a state of extra-ordinary communion/communication and/or union with the absolute, or the divine.
Put simply both of these types of experience open us to a sense of something bigger than ourself.

From the above definitions we can see that peak experiences and mystical states really work together in tandem; whenever you have an experience that moves us beyond our normal ego boundaries, implicitly we move into a state of deeper communion and union with the universe.

Everyone who has ever led an extra-ordinary life has led a life that was informed by and attuned to their mystical visions. Actually there are very few people who have not had some kind of mystical vision in their life, but for most of us what happened was that we had the experience and then we kind of forgot about it and fell back into the kind of everyday hum drum existence that was the path of least resistance for us.

With this in mind, I would now like you to think of at least one or two experiences in your life that fit into the definition of a peak experience or a mystical state. Spend a minute or two re-creating that experience in your mind and allowing the feelings and images associated with it to pervade your mind and body.
Once you have done this I would then like you to ask yourself the question “What can I start your do today to bring my daily life and actions in line with the spirit of this experience?”
Pondering this question you may conclude that all you need to do today is simply to make your actions at the office or at home a little more loving and considerate,   or you may decide that you want to make a more radical change or shift in the patterns of your life. The main thing is to make a choice to include this state of awareness in your life more, revisiting it and allowing it to inform the choices and actions that you make each day.

Suggested Practicum
This week simply bring to mind your past peak experiences/mystical states, and sit with them for a minute or two. Having done this try and then keep them in mind during your day so that they consciously inform all that you do, say and imagine.

© 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