Categories
Enlightened service Inner vision Integral Awareness Meditation and Psychology

Meditating on The Difference Between Your Evolving Self and Your Biological Self

Hi Everyone,

Evolutionary Spirtuality, or the idea of Conscious Evolution is one of the most exciting and cutting edge areas that is being explored in spirituality today. Luminaries include people such as Barbara Marx Hubbard, Andrew Cohen and Craig Hamilton.

This week’s article is a short contemplation on learning to identify your own Evolutionary Self and distinguish it from your biological self. Enjoy!

Yours in the spirit of the evolving universe,

Toby

Meditating on The Difference Between Your Evolving Self and Your Biological Self

In this article I want to draw a distinction between two aspects of self that are often placed together, but are in fact very different. What I will do is define them both first, then explain how to begin working with the Evolutionary Self effectively in daily life.

The Biological Self is the sense of self that we have that is based around our biological programming. This programming is very ancient, and primarily works of past patterns that have evolved over thousands of years. Its needs are primarily based around survival/fight or flight, and it almost exclusively looks to the past for its inspiration. It sees patterns that have worked to fulfill our survival needs in the past, and it seeks to mimic them in our current behaviors. It works out of areas of the brain that are very ancient, and exerts a tremendous influence on our lives. It can be a very good and able servant to us, but if we allow it to be our master then it will lead us along a very limited life path, based around patterns of consciousness that are essentially survival based and aimed at staying in our comfort zone.

Our Evolutionary or Evolving Self is that part of cosmic evolutionary consciousness that is embodied within us. You could say that it is that part of evolution (as in the 13.5 billion year process that began with the Big Bang) that is becoming conscious of itself through us as an individualized human. Our evolutionary self is focused on the future, on becoming, on creating the new, on innovating. The Evolving Self is uninhibited by past patterns of biology and of ego and feels exited and motivated to make our life and life on earth fulfill as much of its potential as possible. The Evolving Self is naturally a good leader, and placing it in the forefront of our awareness enables us to lead other parts of our self and ego int the future without being inhibited by our “past baggage”. The Evolving Self is always looking to reach its highest potential, and to make the biggest and most meaningful contribution to the evolution of the Planet and of humanity that it can.

Our Evolving Self embodies the energy of evolution itself and seeks to catalyze conscious evolution in all situations.

Starting to connect and work with your Evolving Self

Imagine the Big Bang 13.5 million years ago: From out of nothingness an immense explosion of matter, energy and consciousness that gradually transforms over time into our present Universe.

See it continuing to evolve now in our present Universe, in our Planet, and in you, in the core of your own consciousness and being.

Feel within you now the momentum of that cosmic drive toward evolving the new, a dynamic spark of light within you that is focused the future, on becoming, on creating a better and greater life and world. 

Once you have felt your Evolving Self within you, as yourself the question “What is my Evolving Self asking of me right now, today, in this moment?”

After you have finished your contemplation, write down the ideas that came to you try and isolate one action that you can do today, or this week that will be a direct expression of your Evolutionary Self.

In general, whenever you are faced with a challenge in your life, ask yourself the question “What is my Evolving Self encouraging me to do here?”

Categories
Awareness and insight Inner vision Primal Spirituality

Meditating with Animals and Starlight – Shamanic Journeying

Meditating with animals and animal spirits is one of the main practices found in ancient shamanic traditions worldwide. The ancient shamans were really the pioneers of the first meditation techniques and these techniques (which are mainly the technique of “inner world journeying”) are deeply embedded within the psyche of human beings, including you and me. The result of this is that most people who actually try shamanic meditation techniques actually find that they are able to gain some success quite quickly. Michael Harner, one of the pioneers of modern proto-shamanism reports that fully 85% of people participating in his shamanic journeying workshops are able to gain tangible results and experiences from their first attempts at journeying meditation.

As mentioned above, the main meditation “technique” found in shamanism is the “inner world journey” where contact with animal and ancestral spirits is sought for the purposes of gaining guidance, wisdom and healing. When meditating with animals and animal guides the sequence of the meditations would tend to go something like this:

  1. The shaman (or you and I if we are choosing to meditate in this way) goes on a journey, either within his imagination, or actually physically into a landscape to meet his or her animal guide
  2. Once the specific animal has been contacted, the shaman requests to be taught or shown the wisdom or healing method that the animal has to impart to him.  There then follows a communion between human and animal, trust is hopefully gained and the relationship proceeds. It should be noted that the animal chooses the shaman, not vice-versa. If you are met by an ant or a rat when you wanted a lion you cannot do a trade in! Experience will show you that in reality the animal that comes is invariably the best one for you and for the job at hand!
  3. A series of meditations can then be embarked upon where the mediator then goes on journeys and receives teachings, techniques and insights from the animal. Initially the meditator travels WITH the animal, but over time s/he may feel as if he is merging with the animal’s body and actually BECOMING the animal for periods of time.
  4. Over time a stable working relationship is established with the animal spirit which is mutually enriching for both parties, and the wisdom and abilities of the animal are imparted to the meditator.

What “abilities” and wisdom do you get from an animal guide?

The way in which animal guides impart wisdom is non-intellectual, experiential and mainly done through images. To take an example, if your guide is a spider, and in meditation you experience what it is like to have eight sensitive legs picking up information from all directions around you then this will give you a heightened awareness of your inner sense of touch which you can apply to appropriate life situations and challenges.

Starlight meditation with a pigeon

One animal that I have developed a relationship with since the beginning of 2010 is the pink necked green pigeon a number of which hang out in the park near my office. My animal journeying-type meditations are mostly spontaneous these days, done whilst napping or just sitting having a quiet moment. Animal journeying really just becomes an integral part of life once you have been doing it a while. So anyway, here is the last journey that I experienced with the above mentioned green pigeon, maybe a week or two ago:

I am having a ten minute meditation break in my office. My mind becomes quiet and tranquil. Quite suddenly I feel myself to be sitting in the next door park, staring up at a tree, where the green pigeon is sitting looking at me. After an initial contact we fly up into the sky going high above the cloudline.

With the clouds below us and the blue sky above, I become aware of rays of starlight flowing down from the heavens, bathing our bodies in white light. The rest of the meditation is then spent simply enjoying the starlight, absorbing it and being it. We then fly back down to the park, the vision breaks apart and I am sitting in my office meditating. I say thankyou to the green pigeon and get on with my day!

For many people the idea of meditating in this way may seem a bit far-fetched. However there is HUGE value for urbanized humans to do this type of meditation, as it re-connects us to a truly living relationship with nature and animals. The other thing that we discover is that it is actually quite easy, it is just a matter of re-awakening our visualization and imaginative skills, and pointing them in the right direction.

© Toby Ouvry 2011, you are welcome to use or reproduce this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission forst. Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Categories
Awareness and insight Enlightened love and loving Inner vision Integral Awareness Presence and being present

Re-Awakening To Your Bliss

When was the last time you enjoyed bliss? By bliss I mean not just an isolated experience of pleasure in either your physical, mental or spiritual bodies, but an experience of pleasure that touched them all three levels of your being  and brought them naturally back into alignment and harmony with each other?

Perhaps when you read the paragraph above the experience of bliss seems a little bit abstract, something difficult to attain, something that happens to us only occasionally and even then caused by something outside of ourselves, something that “happens” to us, rather than something we ourselves create?.

In my opinion and experience the experience of bliss is a lot simpler and more accessible than that. As  human beings and as living creatures, we are all NATURALLY full of blissful energy. Energy is what we are, and in its natural state, our sensory, mental and spiritual energy is deeply blissful and pleasant.

So, if this is the case, why does experiencing bliss seem like such a difficult experience for us? Well, put very simply, most of us live too much of our life “in our head” or in an abstract mental state divorced from the depth and pleasure of our own natural energy. Get out of your head and step back into your moment to moment direct experience of life and bliss starts to return.

Two ways to begin re-connecting to your bliss:

1) Remembering and experience of bliss.

You can try this one right now. Recall a past experience of genuine bliss. Spend a minute or so remembering it and re-creating it in your mind, until you can feel a bit of that blissful energy in your body and soul. Now let go of the memory, and simply focus of the sensation of bliss in your body-mind. There it is, still there even though you have let go of the memory. This exercise helps show you that bliss is a state of being that is present within you right now, it is not something that you have to go out and purchase, or fight hard to obtain.

2) Taking moments in your day to touch bliss

Try and do five short activities (of one minute maximum) every day that are specifically focused on generating bliss. For example I can look up from my keyboard now and just observe the sky and the cloud formations, as I really drink in the richness of that visual experience, I can feel a natural gentle bliss beginning to flow through my being, it is not just an intellectual appreciation, it is a feeling that I can feel relaxing me and expanding into my physical, mental and spiritual being. So there you go, one minute of bliss!

Later I might give my partner or child a hug, and really focus on the experience of bliss that rises from the physical, mental and spiritual touching of two human beings. Again, another minute of natural, easy bliss.

If you like you can make a list of things that make you feel blissful and then just make sure you touch one or other of these activities a few times each day.

Life should be blissful. The interesting thing about true bliss (not to be confused with craving and attachment) is that it makes us less selfish, more giving, more sane and more happy. As it turns out the most important thing to do if you want to re-awaken your bliss is to REMEMBER it, as it is always there!

 

A final warning: Most people these days do seem to have forgotten their bliss, and are tied up in complicated mental knots. Resolve firmly not to be like them;-)

Thanks for reading, and here is to a blissful week ahead!

Toby

© Toby Ouvry 2011. You are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact info@tobyouvry.com

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

Categories
Awareness and insight Inner vision Meditation techniques

A Personal Reflection on How Meditation Develops Your Inner Vision and Ability to Work With Energy

Hi Everyone,

Back in 2001 when I left my life as a Buddhist Monk part of the reason was that I wanted to return to a life as an actively working artist expressing his inspiration in paintings and sculpture. As I had meditated during the 1990’s I had touched the inner formless spaces that you find in deep meditation practice, but I had also found that, from these deep formless spaces a lot of inner visions started to emerge quite spontaneously, and that they often really demanded to be expressed.

Since then I have developed a method of combining my meditation and artistic practice where I will meditate on a particular topic or subject for a while in order to receive visual and sensual impressions of its inner nature, and then I will create an art piece based around what I have seen.

In order to give an example of this, at the top of this article you can see a working sketch that I have done for an artwork that embodies the energy of The Tao, Yin-Yang and the five Chinese elements of earth, wood, metal and fire. Here is a brief description of the inner landscape from which this image arose. You can do it yourself if you like, the basic images are simple, and there is plenty of room for creative imagination and to really make the inner landscape your own:

The Asian Tree and the Yin-Yang courtyard.

Before meditating set your intention to travel, within the reality of your creative imagination, to an inner landscape that embodies the spiritual energy of the Tao, Yin-Yang and five elements.

Spend a short while relaxing, focusing on your breathing and stilling your sense of time, space and energy.

After a while you sense yourself within what you intuitively sense is an Asian landscape, in front of you is your “Asian tree”, a tree embodying that embodies the energy of Asian spirituality and that you have a particular inner connection to. Spend a while seeing, feeling and sensing the landscape and the tree; the texture of the bark, the colour of the leaves, the time of day and so forth…

To one side of you in your landscape you see an ancient courtyard. Upon its old wooden doors is inscribed a yin yang symbol.

Passing through the doors to the interior of the courtyard you sense yourself entering into a state of deep peace. The roof of the courtyard is open to the sky. In the centre of the courtyard is a yin-yang symbol made of living light. The light part of the symbol is fed by a stream of bright white star light that comes down from the sky. The dark part of the symbol is fed by a stream of dark light rising from the depths of the earth. Within the courtyard are many beautiful ancient objects, such as bonsai trees, crystals and gemstones. In particular there are sculptures of four creatures:

  • A dragon, embodying the energy of the wood element, of spring, air and morning
  • A phoenix embodying the energy of the fire element, of summer and the noonday sun
  • A tiger embodying the energy of the metal element, of autumn and evening
  • A turtle embodying the energy of the water element, of winter and of night time.

Each of these statues, although static seems to be alive and radiates its elemental energy in the form of colour. These colours gather around the central yin-yang symbol, flowing around it in an ever changing flow of radiant elemental light.

Deep within the earth beneath the yin-yang symbol is a cauldron, which embodies the earth element and is the source from which the other four elements arise.

Simply sit and relax in this beautiful peaceful space, and as you do so feel the yin-yang and elemental balance within your body mind come back into balance. As your body-mind comes into balance, feel your inner being becoming still and spacious like a deep lake.

Thanks for reading,

Yours in the spirit of the rich landscape of the imagination,

Toby

PS: You can see more of my artwork in the most recent post on my Soul Portrait site:

Slideshow of Soul Portraits From the First Three Months of 2011

PPS: If you are not familiar with the 5 elements and want a bit more information, you can find more in my past article on my Qi gong blog:

Meditating on the Five Chinese Elements as a Method Achieving Harmony and Balance Through Dependent Relationship.

Similarly, you can also find a previous Yin-Yang meditation there:

The Meaning of the Term “The Great Mother” and its Relationship to Yin and Yang

Categories
Awareness and insight Inner vision Integral Awareness Meditation and Psychology Uncategorized

Four Factors That you Need to Make Your Meditation Awareness Integral And Continually Growing, And A Four Minute Meditation to Start Working With Them

Hi Everyone,

One of the main foundations of meditation practice is the development of awareness, but what exactly is it that we should be developing awareness of? The following is a list of four basic aspects of your awareness and awareness practice  that you need to be working with continually in order to ensure the balanced growth of your being on all levels.

It is based around the four areas identified by the authors if “Integral Life Practice” , which is a book I highly recommend (I use it for both my own personal practice and for coaching with clients). Of course there are many other areas of awareness training, but these four really seem to be a stable “must have” set of building blocks for other forms of awareness training as well as integral inner growth and integral service to the world:

1. Awareness and processing of our shadow self – Our shadow self is any aspect of our self or being that is currently denied, unacknowledged or unexpressed within us. These can be aspects of ourself that we are afraid of, such as powerful negative emotions, but they can also be aspects of ourself that are actually powerful positive potentials which have been denied by us due for example, to lack of confidence or self esteem. These positive hidden elements of our shadow are sometimes called our “golden shadow” as they reflect the potential positive, balanced, dynamic person we could be. Shadow awareness practice is the art of becoming aware of that which is hidden within us and bringing it out into the open either to be healed (in the case of negative shadow elements) or brought to their full potential, as in the case of golden shadow elements

2. Awareness of Mind – This is a big area, but the particular aspect of awareness that I want to highlight with the mind is an ongoing commitment to develop awareness of higher, deeper, more complex perspectives. Right now our perspective is limited, biased, and narrow. To commit each day to seeing new perspectives, learning new ways of working in the world and in our relationships, understanding other people’s points of view, expanding the breadth of our motivation are all activities that expand our mental and intellectual awareness, making it more profound, inclusive and integrated.

3. Awareness of Body – Here awareness of body means awareness of your THREE bodies, gross, subtle and causal:

  • Gross physical body training involves physical trainings such as weights, stretching, sports and all forms of gross body fitness training.
  • Subtle body awareness training involves subtle body practices such as qi-gong, tai-chi, prajnayama (breathwork), certain yoga trainings, and so forth.
  • Causal, or stillness body training involves getting in touch with our formless, expansive, universal spiritual body. We contact and develop awareness of this primarily through meditation practices that still and focus our consciousness.

4. Awareness of Spirit – We can develop an awareness of spirit in many ways, but here are three, based around a way of relating to spirit in first, second and third person:

  • Spirit as I (first person) – Developing awareness of the spirit that lives within you (Spirit as “I”) through stillness meditation
  • Spirit as “ Thou” or “you” (second person) – Developing awareness of spirit as something or someone that we pray to for help, guidance, inner healing and communion
  • Spirit as “It” – Developing a sense of wonder and mysticism in our contemplation of the structure and beauty of the Universe. For example when we stand in awae of a beautiful sunset, or a starry sky.

Four Minute Meditation on these four aspects of integral awareness

So, I realize that the above may all seem  bit abstract, so here is a very simple, practical way of starting to experience them all within a short four minute meditation, I think even if you read through it now, slowly and mindfully you will start to get a feel for it:

Minute 1 – Working with your shadow:

Sit quietly and follow your breathing. As you do so, be aware of the feelings and images arising inside your mind. Without either pushing them away or getting totally absorbed by them, be aware of any fears and anxieties that may be running beneath the surface of your awareness. Sit with them.

Minute 2 – Working with the perspectives in your mind:

Continuing to use your breathing as an anchor for your awareness, bring to mind a situation that you are experiencing in your life right now. Within the space of one minute, try and consider it from as many perspectives as you can. See your own personal perspective. Try to see and understand the perspective of another who is participating in the action. What would someone who has no involvement in the situation think? What is the big picture? How would an enlightened being view the situation? What is the significance of it likely to be looking back in a year, 2 years, 10 years?

Minute 3 – Working with your body:

For the third minute, try and focus on relaxing physical tension in your body. Then try and sense or feel the subtle currents of energy flowing through your subtle body. Somewhere within the centre of your torso there is a point of stillness, can you find it?

Minute 4 – Working with Spirit:

For the final minute simply try and let your mind be a still and tranquil as you can, use the breathing if you feel you need a point of physical focus, but otherwise go as deep within the core of your being as you can.

End with a prayer that the energies of your meditation may be a cause for the happiness and wellbeing of all creatures.

Thanks for reading!

Yours in the spirit of integrated awareness,

Toby

PS: Final reminder regarding new meditation classes starting this Tuesday 15th March on “Finding Calmness, Order and Purpose in the Complexity of Modern Life; Meditations for Developing a Fully Integral Awareness” I’m quite excited about it. Do feel free to click on the link for details, if you are not in Singapore but are interested in it, the course will be available as MP3 recordings, so just let me know if you would like copies!

Article ©Toby Ouvry 2011. You are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Categories
Awareness and insight Inner vision Meditation and Psychology Uncategorized

Harnessing Creative Power; Your Creative Imagination As Your Object of Meditation.

How much time and energy have you spent on developing the power of  your creative imagination and/or of healthy fantasy, and harness that power in a positive way?

Here are three reasons why it is appropriate to do so:

  1. It is the nature of Spirit to be fundamentally creative, playful and imaginative. You can even think of the manifest universe as simply being a playful manifestation of the imagination of the Universal Mind, or God. When we develop a powerful and positively directed creative imagination, we become joyfully creative in our actions. Our lives are never short of joy, passion and excitement, balanced by a confidence that if we find ourself in a tight spot, we can always rely upon our imagination to help us find a solution.
  2. Whether you are consciously aware of it or not, your creative imagination is ticking away in the back of your mind. During the day our mind is creating “fantasies” with regard to what is happening in our life, and these creative images in our mind have a very substantial impact on the way in which we experience our reality. If we have not made an effort to harness the power of our imagination in a positive way, then the only time when we shall really experience its full impact is when it is prompted into action by negative emotions such as fear, negative anger and jealousy. When our negative thoughts and emotions take control of our imagination in this way we become a victim of fear-based fantasy, living in an inner hell created by these negative fantasies.
  3. Our imagination has substantial power to heal or harm not just our inner reality, but also our physical health. Here is a story that reflects this:

“In the 1950’s a man dying of advanced cancer was given a highly publicized experimental drug called krebiozen. After a single dose, his huge cancers  ”Melted like snowballs on a hot stove” and he was able to resume normal activities. Then studies of krebiozen showed it to be ineffective. When the patient learned this, his cancer began spreading again. At this stage his Doctor tried an experiment. He announced there was a new “improved” krebiozen and proceeded to give it to the patient. Once again the tumors shrunk. Yet the Doctor had given him only water.”

( From: Klopfer.B.(1957), Article entitled “Psychological variables in human cancer”. Journal of Projective Techniques, 21,337-339)

Some suggestions to start working with the power of your creative imagination and fantasy power:

  • Firstly, learn to watch your mind, and observe how it is continually fantasizing and imagining things. If you really start to see this you will really appreciate how important it is to start working with it!
  • Secondly when once you have observed its power, start consciously directing your creative imagination in a positive way. If you are worried about something, consciously imagine the best case scenario playing out rather than the worst case scenario. Observe which images make you happy and relaxed when you hold them. Make a note of them and recall them often whenever you have a spare moment.
  • You can develop the power of your creative imagination by engaging in creative visualization exercises such as the simple meditation I outline in my article “Four Types of Qi That we can Attune to and Harness For Self and Planetary Healing”.
  • Read stories that stimulate your creative imagination and visionary power in a good way. Right now I am reading a book of short stories about the ancient Scandinavian Gods Odin, Thor, Freya and others. When I read it many powerful images get stimulated in my mind. Reading books that stimulate your visionary ability is like giving your imaginative power a good workout.

Thanks for reading!

Yours in the spirit of our inner creative powers,

Toby

PS: I’ve got a new series of meditation classes starting next week on “Finding Calmness, Order and Purpose in the Complexity of Modern Life; Meditations for Developing a Fully Integral Awareness” I’m quite excited about it. Do feel free to click on the link for details, if you are not in Singapore but are interested in it, the course will be available as MP3 recordings, so just let me know if you would like copies!

Article ©Toby Ouvry 2011. You are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Categories
Awareness and insight Inner vision Meditation and Psychology

Your Self-Sense as Your Object of Meditation

Hi Everyone!

Usually when we think of ourself, or reflect on the question “Who am I?” it seems as if there is some form of permanent, fixed, singular self that is there somewhere inside us that remains the same no matter what. However, if we look and observe a little more deeply we start to see that there are many different “selves” that we feel and experience at different times in our daily life according to what is going on, and each of these selves has a very different feel and nuance to it. There are many different ways in which you can begin to categorize these different senses of self, in this article I want to focus on three main ones:

  1. Our personal self-sense, or our “i-self sense”
  2. Our interpersonal self-sense, or “we-self sense”
  3. Our transpersonal self-sense or “I-self sense”

Let’s look at these one at a time:

1. Our personal self-sense or “i-self sense”

This is the many different self-senses that we develop as a person-ality. For example it is that sense of self that we develop when we think  (taking a fictional character “Mark” as an example):

  • “ My name is Mark and I am a corporate strategist”
  • “My name is Mark and I went to X school and collage”
  • “ My name is Mark and I am a extroverted, talkative personality type”
  • “ My name is Mark and I am happy when X happens”
  • My name is Mark and I cannot stand this type of person”

With each of these different statements about himself, Mark will come a different self-sense, a different “I” so to speak, each of them unique.

Like Mark, all of us have many unique self-senses on this level.

2. Our interpersonal self-sense, or “we-self sense”

This is the self-sense that is generated within ourselves whenever we are with someone else. If you observe your self-sense closely, you will see that, with each person you know, there is a unique sense of self that you feel whenever you are with them, and this self-sense is never repeated in exactly the same way with anyone else. It is almost as if a unique self-sense is created within us with every single relationship we have ever had.

To take the example of our fictional character Mark, Mark has a different sense of self when he is with his mother, his father, his siblings, his lovers, his child, his colleagues, his sport and recreation partners and so on.

We generate many, many “we-self senses” in our relationships with others.

3. Our transpersonal self-sense, or “I-self sense”

Our transpersonal self sense I call our “I(capital I)-self sense because it is the sense of self that we develop when we develop a sense of self that is beyond the boundaries of our ordinary self-sense, ego or personality. For example it is the sense of self that we touch on in deeper meditation, when we experience a tangible connection to the Universe and all living beings. Many people have also had “peak-expereinces” or temporary heightened states of consciousness where their sense of self expands to feel as if it is Universal. We can also develop an profound temporary “I-sense” when listening to music, or interacting with beautiful art.

One of the main aims of meditation is to develop a consistent experience of this “Universal Self” or “I-self sense”. Our “I-sense” is one basic way of understanding what our Enlightened Self, or True Self is.

So, what is the use of thinking and reflecting upon all our “self-senses??

“Who am I” is one of the perennial questions that people have been asking in meditation for millennia, some of the benefits of getting practically acquainted with the three types of  self sense mentioned above includes:

  • Understanding that your self-sense is not fixed and permanent. This means that if there is something that you don’t like about the way you view yourself, you can learn to change it for the better
  • You can focus on the self-senses that are positive and beneficial to you, and learn to consciously release and let go of self senses that do not actively serve you and your happiness
  • Each time you reflect on your self-sense you develop more self knowledge
  • You begin to articulate what your True-self or Spiritual self really is.

One minute meditation on the three self-senses

After reading the above article:

Sit down, take a couple of deeper breaths, relax your body and mind.

Let your breathing return to normal. As you breath reflect on how your “i-sense” feels right now, the I you feel as a person-ality.

Then think of a social interaction that you have engaged in, observe for a short while the “we-self sense” that you have developed in relation to another person or people.

Finally let your mind become as open, relaxed and spacious as possible. For a short while observe your “I-sense”, the sense of self that arises when your consciousness is clear, open and expansive.

Finish.

If you do this exercise once a day for the next week, you will begin to get a practical feel for these three I self-senses, and how you can use them for the better in your life.

Thanks for reading,

Yours in the spirit of the journey,

Toby

Categories
Awareness and insight Inner vision Meditation techniques Presence and being present

When You Are Less Distracted, Your Mind Goes Deeper Into Things

We have just cut off our cable TV contract, and so we have no telly at home right now. I have to say I am really enjoying it. It is not that I am vehemently against TV, but the relative silence and absence of easy distraction in the evening has really contributed positively to the quality of my mind.

For example, I have just finished eating my dinner and doing the washing up. Everyone else has gone to bed. I pick up a pink quartz crystal that has been sitting on our coffee table, the evening is so still and my mind is so clear that I feel as if I can feel everything about the crystal; the energy inside it, the texture of its surface on the pads of my fingers. Holding the crystal is a deeply simple, pleasurable and rewarding experience.

In addition to finding time for meditation, it is also worth regularly cutting down on your distractions. Doing so enables you to experience and look into the simple things in your life with depth, clarity and genuine pleasure.

© Toby Ouvry 2011. You are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Categories
Awareness and insight Inner vision Motivation and scope Uncategorized

Your Life’s Compelling Moments as Meditation: The Moment When I Realized That I was no Longer Going to be a Buddhist Monk

There are certain moments in each person’s life that have a compelling meaning, moments of personal significance where something happens that causes a paradigm shift in our minds, and our life is somehow never the same again. Sometimes these moments can be experiences of bliss and radiance, but equally (and perhaps more often) they can be moments where we are challenged, and experience difficulty or stress. Whether pleasant or unpleasant for us, our life’s compelling moments are moments of power for us, moments that when we recall or remember them we immediately connect to a powerful guiding force or emotion within us.

To give an example of this, I can remember one of the moments when I understood very clearly that my life as a Buddhist Monk was going to change, that I would be moving back to lay life before too long.

The event happened in a coffee bar in Los Angeles. I was sitting with a long time teacher and mentor of mine. I had been a monk for about five years, but in the six months or so prior to that meeting I had been struggling with certain aspects of being an ordained monk, and with the direction that it was taking my life. Essentially I felt I had reached a learning threshold and did not know how to make progress to the next level, or at least the level beyond the challenges that I was facing.

So, I decided to try and talk to my mentor about these issues, which made me feel quite venerable, but nevertheless I persisted. During the course of my attempts to explain how I was feeling, I mentioned to my mentor that I had been talking to a life coach and getting some feedback from him on what I was experiencing. As soon as I mentioned this her (my mentor’s) manner immediately seemed to change. She asked me if this life coach had any connection to the Buddhist tradition that we belonged to. I replied that no, he did not, and that I had wanted to talk to someone outside of the tradition to get some objective feedback. My mentor responded that she did not think that it was good idea for me to have talked to anyone outside of our tradition, as the feedback would not be appropriate.

At this point in the conversation something ‘clicked’ in my mind. At that moment I realized that there was no way that my mentor or anyone else within the mainstream of my present spiritual group was ever going to recommend anything for my challenges other than do more of the same spiritual practices that I had already been doing for many years. I knew at that moment that my path had moved outside, or beyond what was going to be acceptable from their spiritually conservative point of view. I knew that this meant that I was going to have to leave my life as a monk, and as a teacher within that tradition. Within the space of a short conversation, and a short exchange within that conversation, the path of my life had changed irreversibly and I knew it. With this knowing came conflicting feelings, a sense of fear of the unknown, a sense of resentment toward my mentor and the narrow mindset she represented, a sense of being mis-understood. But within all the conflict and uncertainty I could also feel a shift in my sense of inner power. I knew that I was going to have to be more self reliant from now on than I had dared to be in the past. I knew that I could not look to my past teachers to show me the way forward in my life anymore. There was a new and deeply felt sense of personal empowerment.

It is this sense of personal empowerment that, when I remember that conversation in the Los Angeles coffee bar I immediately feel re-connected to. It was a compelling moment in my life that changed me forever, and has been fuelling my path of personal growth since.

What are your life’s compelling moments? The moments and events that, when you recall them cause you to reconnect to your deepest sense of inner empowerment, spiritual connection and transformation? They are worth remembering and re-connecting to on a regular basis!

Thanks for reading,

Yours in the spirit of a compelling life,

Toby

PS: Here are the meditation class details for February:

Tuesday February 8th: Charity Meditation: Welcoming in the Spring and Lunar New Year of the Rabbit at Sanctuary on the Hill

Tuesdays February 22nd and March 8th –  Landscapes Of the Mind: Finding Inner Power and Balance In Your Life Through Meditation on Wild Nature And Landscape

© Toby Ouvry 2011. You are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s pemission first! Contact info@tobyouvry.com

Categories
Awareness and insight Enlightened service Inner vision Motivation and scope Presence and being present

On meditation and miracle powers

Hi Everyone,

As a meditation teacher I am regularly asked by enthusiastic beginners whether if they meditate they are going to develop miracle powers like telepathy, clairvoyance and the like. In the course of the conversation it quite often also comes out that these people are also struggling mightily to deal with stress and anxiety in their life. So, with this in mind here are a few things to think about:

1)      Before you have got on top of your daily stress and anxiety, the main objective of your meditation should be to manage that stress and anxiety effectively, and thus to develop a happier, more grounded and centred life. This is the basis upon which you can be of greater service both to yourself and others.

If you think your life is stressful now, try adding the additional stress, energy and information overload of any kind of any substantial inner power, and you will just find a new, possibly dangerous level of stress.

2)      You are not going to develop startling new inner powers before you become fully aware of the way in which telepathy, synchronicity and other inner powers are ALREADY operating in your life.

Start to notice what is already there by learning to observe and listen to the dynamics of each moment of your life closely and attentively. When you become more conscious of what inner powers are already under your nose, then that conscious awareness will help you grow them carefully and consistently.

3)      Don’t think the development of inner powers is going to make your life any easier. They bring challenges and complexities. This is why you need to focus on point 1 above, and not hope for too much too soon.

4)      Be prepared to work very thoroughly on your psychological baggage. Psychosis, neurosis, or existential crisis plus greater inner powers generally equals bigger psychosis, bigger neurosis and bigger existential crisis! You need to be working to:

a)       Have a right relationship to yourself, and

b)      Becoming stabler, saner and increasingly loving/compassionately motivated to effectively use any powers you might develop.

5)      Inner powers are real, but they are frankly only really useful to a psychologically stable, developmentally mature person. The best advice is to work on a disciplined daily meditation practice, and on your strength and modesty of character. Then let your inner powers find you in their own time!

Yours in the spirit of the journey,

Toby

PS: If you are in Singapore on the evening of Tuesday 21st December, please feel free to join us for the Winter Solstice Charity Meditation!

© Toby Ouvry 2010, you are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first! Contact info@tobyouvry.com