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On meditation & ‘tantric self-esteem’

“Essentially then, to sit in your own company with ‘tantric self-esteem’ means to relate with feeling of warm friendliness (self-respect) toward yourself, and a confidence in your fundamental efficacy or adequacy to life”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

Why is it so difficult to sit in the present? In my previous article on ‘Making it easier to focus deeply‘ I look at one aspect of this. In the article below I continue that exploration. 
If you enjoy the article, do pop down either live or online to the Tuesday or Wednesday evening meditation class, where we shall be exploring this theme experientially. 

In the spirit of presence,

On meditation & ‘tantric self-esteem’
The problem: To be present means to become more self-aware
One of the challenges that we face with meditation is that it makes us more present, which in turn brings us into a more conscious relationship to ourself and what is going on within ourselves. Of course, that is also the benefit and opportunity of meditation. But, if you don’t have a great relationship to yourself, and if there are things about yourself in the moment (body awareness, thoughts, emotions) that make you uncomfortable, then trying to be more present often becomes the last thing that you want to be! Much more attractive to be lost in thought, distracted, not present.
So, in a sense the art of meditation begins with getting comfortable with yourself in the moment.
The characteristic of good quality self-esteem
Who feels comfortable with and by themselves in the moment? One answer to this is someone with healthy self-esteem. What does that mean? Here is a working definition of self-esteem from Nat Branden:
“Despite the abundance of books, studies, workshops and committees devoted to the subject of self-esteem, there is little agreement about what it means. Self-esteem has two essential components:

  • Self-efficacy: Confidence in the ability to cope with life’s challenges. Self-efficacy leads to a sense of control over one’s life.
  • Self-respect: Experience oneself as deserving of happiness, achievement and love. Self-respect makes possible a sense of community with others.

Self-esteem is a self-reinforcing characteristic. When we have confidence in our ability to think and act effectively, we can persevere when faced with difficult challenges. We succeed more often than we fail. We form more nourishing relationships. We expect more of life and of ourselves.
If we lack confidence, we give up easily, fail more often and aspire to less. We get less of what we want.
Essentially here then, to sit in your own company with self-esteem means to sit with a feeling of warm friendliness (self-respect) toward yourself, and a confidence in your fundamental efficacy or adequacy to life.
Tantric self-esteem: Sitting ‘as if’
Tantric practice in meditation is essentially to act ‘as if’. You use your imagination to bring the desired result into the present. In this case we are concerned with self-esteem, so in meditation we sit down and become present to ourself ‘as if we already had healthy functional self-esteem:

  • As we sit and become present to our body-mind in the moment we extend warm, friendly, respectful feelings to ourself, as if we deserved a healthy degree of basic joy and wellbeing
  • We sit with ourselves as if we were siting with someone we trusted and whose fundamental capability we feel confident in

If we sit in this way, then the present moment, and our awareness of ourselves becomes a comfortable, attractive place to be. It is a place where we feel safe and welcome, as if in the company of a really good friend.
Done in this way, meditation becomes much less effortful because our resistance to the present is much reduced, it’s a place we like to be rather than have a vested interest in avoiding!
You can try it for a few minutes a day, just sitting and breathing with yourself and your tantric self-esteem. If you can familiarize yourself with this feeling and experience, then you will start to notice it becoming a normal part of the way you relate to yourself. This is not just in meditation, but in your daily activities, your way of going, being and interacting with the world.

 © Toby Ouvry 2023, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

Saturday 11th February, 9am-12.30pm – Wabi-Sabi mindfulness – The art of creative leadership and self-leadership workshop

In a sentence: Learn how to work creatively with uncertainty, imperfection and life’s inherent messiness to realize your leadership and self-leadership potential.  Manage stress and anxiety better using mindfulness in combination with the practical philosophy of Wabi-Sabi.

Wabi-Sabi is one of the definitive aesthetic movements to emerge from Japan. With origins starting in the early 15th Century and influenced from Zen Buddhism, Wabi-Sabi became an aesthetic found in the arts and crafts such as ceramic, flower arranging and interior design. It also became a practical philosophy and approach to life. Principle aspects of Wabi-Sabi include:

  • An appreciation of the beauty of the impermanent, the imperfect and incomplete
  • A recognition of the value of humility
  • A willingness to engage with the unconventional

Mindfulness is the art of attention training and presence….read full workshop details

All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

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)

Ongoing – Introduction to Integral Meditation & Mindfulness Practice – An eight-week course

Saturday 11th February, 9am-12.30pm – Wabi-Sabi mindfulness – The art of creative leadership and self-leadership workshop

Saturday February 26th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Integral Meditation Asia

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