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When Vulnerability Ceases to be a Problem – Three levels of self-confidence

Dear Integral Meditators,

If you look back at the key times in your life when you really did something that helped your self confidence, you may find that it was a time when you had to confront your own sense of vulnerability. The article below looks at how we can mindfully approach our vulnerability on three levels, each of which enables us to grow our self confidence consistently.

I have a related workshop coming up on Sat 27th June for those in Singapore who may be interested – Mindful Self-Confidence – Developing your self-confidence, self-belief & self-trust through meditation & mindfulness

In the spirit if confident vulnerability,


When Vulnerability Ceases to be a Problem – Three levels of self-confidence

Vulnerability – The feeling that we are threatened or at risk in some way.

Will people like the work I do? Am I attractive enough? What if I take a chance and the person says no, or even laughs of acts repulsed by what I do? What if I look foolish? What if they think I’m too old? We can feel vulnerable in many and varied ways in our life. What are the times, places and scenarios you meet that tend to trigger it most strongly? (Pause here for a moment if you like and sit with the question).

If we have a bad relationship with our sense of vulnerability, then it can undermine our quality of life and self confidence. If we cultivate a mindfully positive relationship with vulnerability then it can help us develop our self-confidence and playful creativity every time it arises. When vulnerability ceases to be a problem, we start to thrive on the possibilities that it offers us.
We will look at dealing with vulnerability on three levels; coping, accepting and thriving.

At this fist stage we feel vulnerable, but we ‘shut it out’ temporarily so that it does not sabotage what we are trying to do. Let’s say I am about to give a talk to a group of people, I feel nervous and vulnerable. To cope with this I ‘block’ the feelings of vulnerability and focus on something I can control; my awareness of my body, the lines I have rehearsed and so on. By temporarily blocking in this way I am able to deliver my speech with basic competence without my vulnerability sabotaging me. Like this we learn to cope with our vulnerability.

With this second stage we are able to open to and accept our feelings of vulnerability such that they do not sabotage our actions, we can open to and breathe with our vulnerability, relaxing into it. To take the example of giving a speech; as I stand before my audience I am able to accept my vulnerability as I stand there without having to block it out. This then enables me to open to the attention of the audience, gain a sense of where they are at and flow with the experience of giving a speech in a way that offers greater personal enjoyment and self-confidence. It also enables me to extend greater empathy and attention to my audience and perhaps give a better speech than I would have done if I was merely ‘coping’ with my vulnerability.

At this third stage we are at a level of working with our vulnerability where the sense of the risk that we are taking is comfortable to us. When we sense our vulnerability we become excited by the creative possibilities in our situation. We are relaxed enough to improvise and thrive off the opportunity of our vulnerability. In the example of the giving the speech, as I stand before my audience I feel excited by the uncertainty of what will happen, I feel confident to enough to speak from the heart and/or to ad-lib as appropriate. I feel open and conscious of the energy and attention of my audience and thrive on working with it consciously. Vulnerability has ceased to be a problem and has become an opportunity to thrive, to grow and to become more self confident within myself.

If we know what these three levels of working with vulnerability are, then a different times and in different situations we can use whatever level feels appropriate. If we are not feeling super confident, then we can focus on coping. When we are more relaxed we can try practice accepting. As we develop our competence and confidence we can gradually set our intention to work with level three – thriving.

Block, accept or thrive. Which area of your own life could you start mindfully working with the three levels of vulnerability today?

Related Articles: Moving From Anxiety to Excitement
Your Long Term Self-Confidence

© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in May:

JUNE 2015

Wednesday, June 24th 7.30-9pm  – Integral Meditation Session @ Basic Essence – Meditating on benevolence & inner wealth

Saturday 27th June 9.30am-12.30pm – Mindful Self-Confidence – Developing your self-confidence, self-belief & self-trust through meditation & mindfulness

Saturday 27th June, 2.30-5.30pm – The Call of the Wild–Meditations for Deepening Your Inner Connection to the Animal Kingdom and the Green-world


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Acceptance & Forgiveness – The Difference

Dear Integral Meditators,

In some situations it seems like we are faced with a choice of either forgiving and letting go of something difficult that has happened to us, or holding onto it and continuing to experience anger, grief and negativity about it. But is there a third option? The article below examines the relationship and difference between forgiveness and acceptance, and how we can go about using them consciously and skillfully in our mindfulness practice and life.

Yours in the spirit of skillful acceptance,


Acceptance & Forgiveness – The Difference

To accept something is to accept the reality of what has happened, how you feel about it and what can or cannot be done about it.
Forgiveness is a choice we make to let go of judgment and feelings of blame (and sometimes vengefulness) toward another person/people or ourself regarding something that has happened.

Acceptance and forgiveness are not the same thing, and it can be a really good thing to get this clear in our own understanding, for example:
If my business partner causes us to lose a deal through a genuine mistake or lack of experience, then I may feel anger or loss initially, but I can forgive him and let it go because the nature of his mistake was genuine and his intention was not malevolent.
Similarly we can forgive our children, partners, friends and ourselves many things and this is entirely appropriate and helpful.
Let’s say however a business partner of mine consciously and deliberately embezzles money from the business and then runs off. Because this is an act of deliberate harm done intentionally, for me it does not seem appropriate to forgive , but I am still faced with the problem of a bunch of angry, frustrated feelings within myself; “How could he! How could I be so naive! I thought I knew him!” And so on…
I this situation I can move to resolve the feelings that I have through acceptance

  • I accept the reality that what has happened has happened, and I cannot turn back the clock
  • I accept the reality the he has done what he has done
  • I accept the way in which I feel, and I allow myself to acknowledge and feel those feelings in order to process them and then let go of them
  • I don’t forgive, because as the situation stands I don’t think it is appropriate, but nevertheless though acceptance I can resolve my feelings, let go and move on from the situation without being unduly bothered by it, and hopefully have learned the lessons that are appropriate.

Of course if at some time in the future my business partner then expresses remorse, returns the money and have a genuine change of heart, I would probably forgive him, but not before that point, because as a human being with intelligence he is accountable for his actions.

You can resolve a lot of difficult things and past hurts through acceptance, and find your peace. Where appropriate you can forgive.

Mindfulness Question: What past or present circumstances or relationships do I most often find myself revisiting with bitterness, anger or blame? Which of them is most appropriate to deal with through acceptance, and which are most appropriate to approach with forgiveness?

Related article: The Way to Deal With Feelings  is to Feel
Related Blog Section: Positive Anger

Find out about: Stress Transformation Coaching with Toby

© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in March:

Saturday March 28th 2.30-5.30pm  – Mindfulness and Meditation For Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention 
Friday 3rd April, 7.30-9pm – Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre


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The Laughter of the Young and the Ancient

Dear Integral Meditators,

What if when something in your life went seriously wrong, the first thing that you did was laugh open-heartedly? Perhaps there is a part of us that already does, and the article below explores how to connect to him/her/it!

This Saturday if you are in Singapore we have two meditation workshops, do scroll down to the ‘upcoming courses section’ below to find out more.

In the spirit of ancient lightness,


The Laughter of the Young and the Ancient

What if when something in your life went seriously wrong, the first thing that you did was laugh open-heartedly?
What would happen if the next time you lost some money, or a big business deal feel through you winked knowingly at the first stranger you met?
What would happen if you could respond to the most ‘serious’ parts of your life with playful and spontaneous creativity?

I really enjoyed the movie version of the Lord of the Rings books, but the one thing I was slightly disappointed about was that they left out a character called Tom Bombadil. Tom Bomabadil interests me because, of all the characters in the story, he is the only one who is immune to the evil, corruptive influence of the ‘ring of power’. All of the other characters are afraid of the power of the ring, which upon contact causes them to immediately start fantasizing about delusions of power and dominion. However, when Tom puts on the ring it has no effect; to him the all corrupting ring is an object of amusement, a trinket, with no real practical use.
We hear in the story of the lord of the Rings that Tom Bombadil was the Oldest of the Old (‘the oldest and fatherless’) who walked the earth before both elves and men. Essentially he seems to be a nature spirit of sorts, coming from a time and existing within a mental framework both before and outside of our human paradigm of good and evil, a time when harmony, laughter and song were a natural state of being, were perhaps the law of being.

As my own practice of meditation and mindfulness develops, I find myself coming across and connecting to an inner place within myself that lies beyond the daily struggle of good and evil, of striving or laziness, achievement versus failure. It seems to be an innocent state of being that is naturally laughing and humorous, naturally light and strong, naturally comfortable and balanced despite the comings and goings of fate and fortune in my life. This state of mind seems to me to be a little bit like my ‘Inner Tom Bombadil’, the part of me that walks on the earth as one with nature, that lives truly in the primally presentmoment, that sings and laughs with child-like and yet very old spontaneity, comfortable in the world but not of the world.

Connecting within yourself to a time before good and evil
Spend a few moments now connecting to that part of you that is fatherless and motherless, the oldest of the old as well as the youngest of the young.  S/he is beyond any struggle for human power, beyond shame or pride. s/he is primally humorous and celebratory; the wise fool, the innocent sage. Bring your inner Tom Bombadil out into the world to play and celebrate. See what starts to change in your life when you do!

Related articles: The Four Types of Present Moment Awareness
Locating Your Deep Centre
Connecting to Your Spiritual Fool in the Mirror World

© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website 

Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia :

Tuesday March 10th – The Mindful Salesperson – An Evening Exploring the Relationship Between Mindfulness, Sales and Marketing

Saturday 14th March 9.30am-12.30pm – Living Life From Your Inner Center – Meditations for Going With the Flow of the Present Moment

Saturday 14th March 2.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self – A Three Hour Workshop

Saturday March 28th 2.30-5.30pm  – Mindfulness and Meditation For Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention 

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Mindful Work Effectiveness Secrets (From an Ex-Monk)

Dear Integral Meditators,

Coming to the world of business from being a monk was not easy for me. The article below explains a bit about how I started to use what I had learned as a monk to become effective in my daily work as a business person running my own company.

Yours in the spirit of the timelessly time-effective,


Mindful Work Effectiveness Secrets (From an Ex-Monk)

How can you get a lot done at your work without getting over-stressed or exhausted? And how can you do this not just in the short term, but over a long period of time?
When I left my life as a Buddhist monk and went into my own business I actually found it very difficult to pace myself well. There were so many things that I had to do, that I had to learn, it all felt a bit overwhelming. I found myself going through periods of intensive working, then burning out, then getting emotionally discouraged and then procrastinating/wasting time that I could be spending productively. I’m sure you have an idea of what I mean, it is a very human experience!

Make like a Buddhist monk  – Split your day into six sessions
I found a really helpful solution to my challenge by looking at the way in which I used to structure my day as a Buddhist monk. As a monk  my waking hours would be split into 6 parts, two in the morning, two in the afternoon and two in the evening/ at night. During each session we would begin with a prayer and a few minutes of mindfulness, and then return to our allotted tasks. Using this basic template I applied it to my working day, but in a slightly different way.
My day is still divided into six parts, but each section is only one hour long. In that one hour I spend 45minutes focusing really intensively on one work task; emails, accounts, writing articles, marketing etc… At the end of 45 minutes I then spend the remaining 15minutes relaxing; doing some stretching, getting a coffee, doing a few minutes mindfulness, generally re-finding my centre and balance.

Achieve something in each session
In each session I come out having really worked in an intensive way, and feeling like I have achieved something. Because of the focus I bring to it, the work itself feels like a meditation practice, with the object of mindfulness being the work itself. It also helps me deal with stress because in that period I am not thinking about my life or work as a whole, but just the process of achieving that task.
There is a saying in the texts that I used to study as a monk ‘small drops of water in a pot will eventually make it full’. Each of my 45 minute sessions is spent just focusing on the ‘pot’ of my business, putting in drops one after the other gradually making it full.

Each session does not have to be about work
During the 15 minutes at the end of each session, I get back in touch with how I am feeling. If I sense that my body-mind is getting close to exhaustion, I make a point of taking one of my sessions off, that is to say 45 minutes of deliberate relaxation, meditation, soializing or sleep. There is also plenty of time around each of the sessions to do other things
Sometimes of course the pattern breaks down, I go out for an evening with friends, I spend the morning with my daughter at the swimming pool, I have a meeting that goes overtime. But as soon as I return to my routine I am always thinking about my day in terms of these six periods, and how to use that structure to do some focused, productive work.

So now you know how an ex-monk structures his time using a mindful, process-focused approach that he find helps him achieve more. You might like to try it out, or a variation of it that will work for you!

Related Article: From Distraction to Intuitive Imagination (Meditation secrets for running a business)

Check out the Mindful Goals Coaching with Toby

© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

 Integral Meditation Asia


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Egotistic or Strong Ego?

Dear Integral Meditators,

When we tell ourselves to ‘get over our own ego’ what exactly do we mean by that? Its an area that it is very easy to get mixed up and confused around! The article below explores the difference between egotism and a strong ego. We really need one, we really need to drop the other.

In the spirit of inner strength,


Egotistic or Strong Ego?

‘There’s a tremendous difference between a strong ego and an egocentric ego; the latter is always weak. Individuation, that is the attainment of ones potential, can’t take place without the strong ego’ – John A Sandford

The Ego is
…the unifying centre of our awareness, it is the sense of self that ties together the disparate collection of physical, emotional and mental habits and characteristics that together makes us a unique human being. A strong ego is vital for success and happiness in our life; it has characteristics such as confidence, self-esteem, ethical awareness, competency and capacity for enjoyment.

To be egotistical is
…to believe and act as if we were more important than others, as if we were the central fulcrum of the functioning universe, and/or without adequate concern or empathy for the happiness or wellbeing of others

Ironically a lot of egotistical behaviour is stimulated by having a weak ego. If I feel inadequate, incompetent or inferior it can be very tempting to try and compensate for that feeling by asserting myself unskilfully, selfishly and or inconsiderately. Conversely if I have a strong ego I can have people behaving selfishly, unskilfully and/or inconsiderately around me, but because I have a strong sense of ego, of who I AM it can be relatively easy to remain in my own integrity and not be influenced by my company.

Experientially knowing the difference between a strong ego and being egotistical is a great mindful journey in itself, and it is an area that many people are deeply confused about.

Take a moment
To imagine yourself with a truly strong ego; confident, trusting in yourself, liking whom you are, able to forgive yourself for your flaws whilst at the same time holding yourself accountable for them, centred and balanced in your sense of whom you are. Strong enough to be vulnerable and take chances, socially aware, aware you are no more important than anyone else, but also and crucially that you are no less important than anyone else. That’s a strong ego.
If you stay with this sense of having a strong ego you’ll find it is quite a lot easier and more natural to behave with benevolence & consideration for others as well as to be playful and creative in your life, even when under pressure. Sound like fun? It is!
Does that last paragraph sound like the opposite of an egotistical selfish person? Yup, pretty much.

To transcend your egotism, first begin by mindfully building your strong, functional and creative ego.

Related articles: Balancing the development of your ego and spirit

Fulfillment of the Ego, Fulfillment of the Soul, Fulfillment of SpiritHandle Stress and Have Peace of Mind – Personal Coaching with Toby

© Toby Ouvry 2015, 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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Your Inner Fitness Trainers

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would happen if you treated the most difficult people and circumstances in your life as ‘inner fitness trainers’? This weeks article explores this theme and mindfulness practice.

Yours in the spirit of the useful in the difficult,


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia :

March courses nearly ready!!

Your Inner Fitness Trainers

The function of a good physical fitness trainer is to push you to the limits of your physical flexibility, strength and stamina in a safe and secure way by giving you specific physical tasks and challenges to focus upon.
If we are serious about our own inner mindfulness training, then we should be looking at the people or circumstances we find most difficult and challenging in our life as being like our inner fitness trainers. Their function is to push us to the limits of our mental, emotional and spiritual flexibility, strength and stamina by giving us specific challenges that push us to those limits.

But the people and circumstances in life that are hurting me aren’t trying to help!
When you are being trained by a (good) coach physically you engage in the exercises they set for you because you understand that they are trying to help. But people giving you a hard time in my life aren’t trying to help, nor is the illness that you have! So there is a conscious choice that you are making here to adopt people and circumstance as your trainers, despite their bad intentions, or despite the unfairness of the circumstances. It is a personal, empowering choice you make based around a recognition of the benefit that can be gained from adopting such a perspective.

Get clarity – How and for what are these people/circumstances helping me?
Pick the top three most difficult and/or unpleasant circumstances that you are going through right now; the ones that make you manifestly uncomfortable, or inwardly scream at the unfairness of it all. List them and then answer these two questions with regard to each one:

  • How is this person or circumstance helping me to develop, expand and strengthen  my mind and consciousness?
  • What is the specific approach and perspective that I need to keep in mind when I am with this person or dealing with this circumstance that will help me transform them into an ‘inner mind trainer’ for me?

The answer to these two questions gives you your basic mindfulness practice for each of your specific challenges. If you focus your awareness, intention and attention mindfully upon these questions, you may be surprised at how quickly and creatively you can come up with approaches that you can start to work with right away.

Feeling thankful
These days most of us have heard of the idea of a gratitude log or journal; a notebook where we keep a list of all the things that we appreciate and feel grateful for in our life. If you can start integrating your ‘inner fitness training’ into your daily mindfulness practice, then you may find yourself able to add the worst people in your life and the most difficult challenges that you face to your own gratitude log!

Find out about Toby’s Stress Transformation Coaching

Related Article: A Butterfly in the Wind

© Toby Ouvry 2014, 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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Dear Integral Meditators,

This mid-week article explores the idea of Life-fullness, if you enjoy it, I’ve recently re-named and re-calibrated my life coaching practice “Life-fullness – The Integral Coaching Program“. If you are interested in finding out more, just click on the link!

In the spirit of life-fullness,



One of the words that I have been thinking about over the last six months or so is life-fullness.  It has become so significant to me that I’ve even decided to name my life coaching program after it. What does it mean? Here are a few things that it means to me:

  1. To feel full of life – To feel life full means to allow myself to feel life fully, both the good and ‘bad’, to feel my strength and vulnerability, my virtues and your flaws. It means to care enough about the value of my experiences that I don’t reject or turn away from any of them.
  2. To mediate life flow  It means to allow life-force to flow through me, obstructing it as little as possible, and directing it as skilfully as possible toward the best possible inner and outer goals
  3. To be committed and interested in my life and the lives of others – This means to never as far as possible to ‘switch off’ or to become indifferent. If point one (to feel full of life) above is a commitment to caring, this third point is a commitment to being curious
  4. To participate – To practice life-fullness means to get stuck into life, not to be a mere spectator. It means to contribute, to commit, to take wise chances with (sometimes) unknown outcomes. It means to think about the life-values I hold on a deeper level and practice embodying them as best I can

To feel life, to mediate life, to be curious about life, to commit to participating meaningfully in my life; That is what life-fullness means to me. And these are the four aspects that I try and be mindful of in my own life-fullness practice.

When you think about the word life-fullness what sort of meanings and feelings emerge for you? If you could do one thing over the next few days to make your life more genuinely life-full what would it be?

Related Article: Curiosity, Courage and Care – Cornerstones of the Mindful Encounter

© Toby Ouvry 2014, 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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Motivating Yourself to Meditate Part 2 – Meeting Your Deeper & Higher Needs Through Meditation

Dear Integral Meditators,

This is the second in the series of ‘Motivating yourself to meditate’ articles, you can read the first HERE if you have not done so already.

In the spirit of enjoying our deeper and higher selves,


Motivating Yourself to Meditate Part 2 – Meeting Your Deeper & Higher Needs Through Meditation

In the first in this series of articles on motivating yourself to meditate I took a look at how it is that meditation can help us to meet some of our basic needs, or needs 1-3 in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I this article I want to look at how meditation helps us to start to satisfy our “higher” needs; specifically needs 4-6 of Abraham Maslow’s human needs hierarchy:

  1.  Esteem needs – For competence, approval & recognition
  2. Aesthetic and cognitive needs – For knowledge, understanding, goodness, justice, beauty, order, symmetry
  3. Self-Actualization needs

4. Esteem Needs – Competence, approval, recognition.
One of the basic things that any form of authentic meditation technique will improve is your concentration. With better concentration your ability to be competent in any given area of expertise that you set yourself is going to improve. So, meditation helps your esteem needs in this regard by helping you increase your mind power and therefore become competent faster. This in turn will likely lead to approval and recognition from your teachers, peers and society.
With regard to the need for approval and recognition, I would say that consistent meditation will help you to make approval and recognition into a preference rather than an all consuming need. This is because meditation takes us gradually away from “doingness needs” and toward “beingness needs”

  • “Doingness needs” are the needs that we have to prove our worth by deeds, job titles and all the other bench marks that conventional society lays down as meaning “successful”.
  • “Beingness needs” are the needs that arise from already seeing, feeling and experiencing ourself as whole, complete and worthy as we are. Meditation encourages a daily connection to our own state of beingness, that is to say as whole, complete and worthy as we are right now. In a state of beingness, our own needs are perceived as being already met, and so our “needs” actually start to focus more and more on the needs of others around us. We are happy as we are, so we have more energy to focus on the wellbeing of others.

In conclusion, when our beingness needs are met (which they will be increasingly through balanced meditation), of course we can be happy when we are measured as “successful” by the conventional benchmarks of society, but if not it is no big disaster, as our sense of beingness ensures that we feel happy and complete as we are.

5. Aesthetic and cognitive needs – Knowledge, understanding, goodness, justice, beauty, order, symmetry
With our beingness needs increasingly being met by meditation (as outlined in section 4 immediately above), an increasing amount of energy is opened up within us to look into “bigger questions”:

What is the meaning of life?
Why am I here?
What is fairness?
What is justice?
What is beauty?

This is level 5 of Maslow’s Hierarchy, our aesthetic and cognitive needs. A regular meditation practice will not answer these questions per-se, as a lot of meditation practice is about reducing the content of the mind, not filling it! However, what meditation will do systematically over time is to open us up to a full functioning awareness of our intuitive, archetypal and spiritual minds. This naturally helps us to articulate a considered response to the big questions that are posed by our aesthetic and cognitive needs.
A final point; meditation prevents us from getting “stuck” on the existential questions that are posed by this level. “What is the meaning of life?” is a question that may never be fully answered, and this is right and good. Meditation enables us to recognize the point where question asking and philosophizing ceases to be useful and relevant, and to move into states of silence and pure awareness.

6. Self Actualization: 
Actually, up to the last century or so, the main focus of meditation has traditionally been enlightenment, or needs associated with levels 5 and 6. It is only in more recent times that meditation has been advocated as a potential solution to the stress, mental busyness and anxiety of modern life, which has made it useful and relevant on the level of our survival needs  (levels 1&2 of Maslow’s hierarchy) and level 3, emotional wellbeing. Through history the predominant reason that people have meditated is to commune, merge and create a state of union with their spiritual being, which in turn exists in a state of one-ness or unity with the Universe. So, in terms of the sixth and highest level of our needs; Self Actualization or enlightenment, meditation is actually the most effective, tried and tested method for accomplishing this need.

© Toby Ouvry 2014, 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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Resting in Safety, Thriving on Risk

Dear Everyone,

Do you ever have the experience when you sit down to meditate but you find that your mind and body are so tightly wound up that it takes three quarters of the session to stop fighting with them and actually enjoying some peace of mind?

The practice of “Resting in Safety” is one that I have found very helpful for myself, and that students seem to respond very well to when I teach it.

Yours in the spirit of a mind of ease,


Resting in Safety, Thriving on Risk

Learning to Rest in a Sense of Safety
Sit comfortably for a moment, and simply imagine these three things:

  • That right now you are safe from any physical threats to your wellbeing.
  • That all psychological attacks and threats to your wellbeing, whether from others or from within your own mind have ceased temporarily; you can relax psychologically.
  • That the creative forces of the Universe are fundamentally friendly toward you and wish you well, rather than disliking you or wishing to destroy you. You are surrounded by the “spiritual” energy of the Universes friendship and good intention toward you.

Now, having taken in these three points, simply rest in the feeling of ease and wellbeing that comes from recognizing and relaxing into these three experiences; physical safety, psychological safety and “spiritual safety”arising from the Universes benevolent intention toward you.
Breathe with this mind of ease for a short while and really allow your mind and body to “soak” in the experience.

Learning to rest in the experience of physical, psychological and spiritual safety is one of the practices that I teach people to help establish a stable context for their meditation practice. Once the mind is relaxed and resting in the experience of safety, it is comparatively easy to then start focusing the mind in a concentrated way, and move into deeper meditative states.

Thriving in a World of Risk
Of course in the “real world” we are all experiencing almost continuous low intensity risk and danger, and occasionally relatively high intensity danger.

  • When we cross the road, without an awareness of the danger and risk we could have an accident.
  • Without having a positive,  appropriate capacity for self-criticism, we would have no way of making adjustments when we are behaving inappropriately.
  • When our office colleague is attacking us verbally or psychologically, it is naïve to pretend it is not happening, and we sometimes need to make quick and appropriate steps to protect ourself.
  • The Universe, whilst on one  level creating and sustaining our life, also seems quite prepared to treat us with complete indifference sometimes, and sometimes as entirely expendable.

The basic point with learning to rest in a sense of safety is that very often our biological and psychological self is exaggerating the real threats to our being, and thus we spend much of our time in a state of worry and high tension, when actually we could be relaxing and enjoying our life a whole lot more.
Moreover, when a real threat does come along if we are feeling relaxed and well rested, then there is a far greater chance that we will be able to respond to the risk appropriately, dynamically and decisively.
Learning to mindfully rest in safety is a simple and wonderful practice that you can do for a couple of minutes at a time, a few times a day to create a habit on your mind that will serve you for the rest of your life.

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

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Six Aspects of Sacred Sexuality

Hi Everyone!

In this week’s article I give a quick guided tour to the uses of sexual energy in spiritual practice. I would venture to say that most of you may not have seen all these different practices in a single article, and I hope you’ll find it of interest!
Detailed below is also the meditation class routine for April, full details to follow in next week’s newsletter.

Yours in the spirit of sacred creativity,


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


Article of the Week:

Six Aspects of Sacred Sexuality

The following is a list of the different uses that sexuality has been and is used for in the different wisdom traditions of the world. Of course each of them contains elements of each type of sacred sexuality within their tradition, but because different traditions emphasize particular uses of the sexual energy, I use them as descriptive terms for the particular “genre”. For example Taoism uses the sexual energy extensively for healing, so I call this type of sexuality “Taoist sexuality”.

As you read through the six below, some you may feel familiar with, others may not be so well known to you. All are very useful when used in the right context, but as with any spiritual practice appropriate discernment should be used in its practical application.

Shamanic Sexuality– Here the sexual energy is generated specifically with the intention of being used for traveling to different locations on the inner world in one’s “astral body” or “energy body”. From one point of view you can mentally project yourself to anywhere you want in the universe just by thinking of it, but if you want to travel to an inner world location in your energy body more energy is required and sexual energy works very well to fully charge the subtle body for its journey. Shamanic sexuality is also used in a healing context, assuming the authenticity and integrity of the Shamanic practitioner.

Taoist Sexuality– In Taoist sexual practice the sexual energy is deliberately generated and then circulated energetically within the body so as to regenerate areas of the body that have become weak nor deadened, and to clear our energetic blocks that are perpetuating and may have even been the original cause of an illness. It can also be practiced by healthy individuals and couples to promote energy levels and long life.

Tantric Sexuality – Here sexual energy is generated with the intention to circulate it through the subtle energy centres of the body in order to promote expanded and enlightened states of awareness.
Another aspect of tantric sexuality is the sexual union of ourself with a divine “other” which is to say the divine appearing in a God or Goddess form, which in turn can enhance the expanded and enlightened states of awareness that are the goal of tantric sexuality.

Psycho-spiritual/Psychoanalytical  Sexuality– The point of this form of sexual practice is, to quote Robert Masters to release “Release sexuality from its obligation to make us feel better”, and to engage in sexual activity with our partner specifically with the intention to open to our psychological vulnerability and explore whatever emotional/energetic pleasure or pain may come up during the interaction consciously and honestly. I suppose this could be thought of as a form of healing sexuality, where the emphasis is placed upon psychological healing.

Non-Dual Sexuality– Non dual sexuality can be practiced simply by deliberately mixing any experience of sexual or sensual bliss with formless emptiness, or inner and outer space, and then remembering that the sense of bliss and the sense of space arise from one primal, non-dual source of all that is.

Biological Sexuality– This is where you use your sexual energy to have babies. It is a s sacred as all the rest, although it is not always presented in a format that is obviously sacred

A final point on all the above is that all of them require dedication and a willingness to confront challenges and difficulties as well as bliss in order to gain authentic results.

© Toby Ouvry 2011, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website