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Self-responsibility – Becoming a self-determining entity

Dear Integral Meditators,

What is the link between mindfulness and self-responsibility? This weeks article explores the interface of these two.

In the spirit of self-determination,






Self-responsibility – Becoming a self-determining entity

We are surrounded by forces that are attempting to move us in one direction or another, capture our attention, stimulate desire, take our energy. We can experience this directly these days by going on our phone: Social media competes with email and Whatsapp for our attention. Advertisers seek to get our attention to buy their products. Often we go on our phone with one intention, but end up doing another thing! Of course, it’s not just our phone where this happens. Cultural and social forces place pressure upon us to conform, as does peer pressure and the fear of missing out. Amidst all of this what we really want, what will really make us happy, what we really seek to achieve can get completely lost amidst the distraction.
One if the things I find most inspiring about mindfulness is that it enables me to take charge of direction and action in my life. It enables me to become what Nathaniel Branden called a ‘Self-determining entity’.  What this means is someone who controls their destiny and direction, someone who is organised enough to stay focused on the face of distractions. In short, someone who is taking responsibility for their life.

Awareness and acceptance
Before we talk about being responsible, in mindfulness terms we need to talk about becoming more aware and accepting. It’s difficult to take responsibility for our life if we lack rudimentary self and environmental awareness, and if we are continually fighting with our reality rather than accepting it. You can read a bit more about these in my previous articles on self-awareness and acceptance.

What am I responsible for?
One simple guiding question I ask myself a lot is “What is it that I am responsible for in this situation?” I try to discern the things that I need to grasp and direct. For example, I am primarily always responsible for the care of my emotions, thoughts, and physical body. Other people can help and assist, but it is my responsibility. In a team context I need to know what my role is, and what I am responsible for communicating. Questioning in this way helps me to grasp and own responsibility for what is mine.

What am I not responsible for?
A second and often equally important question I ask is “What am I not responsible for here?“, or “What is the responsibility of others here?” Quite often without realizing it we take on responsibility for the problems, emotions and tasks of others without realizing we have done so. For example, I need to be there to support my daughter and what she is going through, but if I try and solve all her problems for her, I am actually denying her opportunities for growth and self-knowledge.
Also, some people are actively (tho often unconsciously) looking to evade responsibility for their challenges, and to push them onto someone else. We can easily find ourselves wrestling with and having our energy taken away by things that are, quite simply not our responsibility.

What do I need to take responsibility for today?
Think about what you face today, or over the next 24 hours. Mindfully frame it within the context of self-responsibility. What is your responsibility to own/solve/carry, and what is not? Your journey to responsible self-empowerment begins today.

Article © Toby Ouvry 2021, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website   

Watch Toby’s short video on taking responsibility: 


Saturday 6th & 20th February – Meditations on the Language of Your Shadow – Masterclass and Mini-retreat

Are you interested in learning a form of meditation that will:

  • Help you to get in touch with a deeper level of psychological harmony and wellbeing within yourself?
  • Access new levels of energy and confidence?
  • Discover and heal hidden aspects of your psyche that are currently sabotaging your happiness in daily life and transforming them into something useful and powerful within you?

Read full details

Tuesday 9th & Wednesday 10th February – Lunar New Year Meditation 2020: Developing your stamina, willpower and self-confidence in the year of the Ox This is a meditation to welcome in the lunar new year energies, and attune to the astrological animal of the year, the Ox!
In particular, we will be mindfully aligning with and developing our inner-stamina, willpower and self-confidence, which are personal characteristics of the Ox.
Toby will be leading the meditation as a simple and profound way, with plenty of room for our own personal contemplation, inner healing and positivity building!
Read full details

Life-fullness – The Integral Life-Coaching Program with Toby

Are you looking a coach who can help you to:

  • Meet the challenges, stress and changes that you face in a more effective and mindful way
  • Become happier within yourself, in your relationships and at work
  • Be actively accountable for finding a sense of balance/well-being in your life and fulfilling your personal potential?
  • Guide you to find and operate from a deeper sense of meaning, motivation and connectivity in your life?
Read full details


All upcoming classes and workshops for at IMA in December:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Tuesday 2nd & Wednesday 3rd Feb, 7.30-8.30pm – Bright, Mother and Weaver Goddess meditation

Saturday 6th & 20th February – Meditations on the Language of Your Shadow – Masterclass and Mini-retreat

Tuesday 9th & Wednesday 10th February – Lunar New Year Meditation 2020: Developing your stamina, willpower and self-confidence in the year of the Ox

Starting February 23rd/24th – Meditations for thriving and energy creation amidst Covid – A seven week course (Full details soon)

Integral Meditation Asia

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