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The remembrance, positivity & mindful questioning training page

This page is the first training page for the Engaged mindfulness book & project, and also a part of the ongoing integral mindfulness training pages. Enjoy the meditations you can find below!

Dear Integral Meditators,

This first training page for the Engaged mindfulness book & project focuses on three practices, or mindful positions:

  1. Mindfulness – improving your conscious remembrance of what you are doing
  2. Meditation – orienting around the positive
  3. Practical learning from life – Asking & learning from mindful questions

Reference in the Engaged mindfulness book: Page 4-6, An Introduction to the Art of Mindfulness (Download free PDF, or order hardcopy here)

Scroll down below to practice the guided meditations. There is a 20minute & two 8 minute power meditations

Remembrance, positivity, mindful questioning 20minute guided meditation:

Mindful remembrance & positive focus 8min power meditation:

Remembrance & mindful questioning 8min power meditation:

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Mindfulness – Liberation through pre-psychology

“Mindful awareness builds a robust pre-psychological base, meaning the feeling or sensibility you have about yourself before you think or conceive who you are. If we get this base right, many good things follow”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article is on the effectiveness of minddful awareness as a pre-psychological base for navigating and thriving in our lives. If you enjoy it, feel free to join us for the Tuesday or Wednesday meditation class, where it will be a focus point of the meditation. 

In the spirit of awareness,

Toby



Mindfulness – Liberation through pre-psychology
 
In my previous article on the ‘holy trinity of mindfulness’ I outline the role of awareness, intention and attention in mindfulness practice. I describe them as pre-skills that, if you cultivate them will help you develop any other skill relatively quickly and easily.
In this article I want to focus on awareness and what I call its pre-psychological benefits. Again, in the previous article I define mindful awareness as:
“The choice to be consciously aware as we go through life, rather than unconscious, and to direct our conscious awareness skilfully.”
When you make the choice simply to be aware of consciousness in the present moment, there are several fundamental benefits. I want to outline some of these below, in the hope that you will feel inspired to start practicing. Specifically, I want to point out how mindful awareness builds a robust pre-psychological base for ourselves. By pre-psychological I mean the feeling or sensibility you have about yourself before you start to think or conceive who you areIf we get this base right, many good things follow!
 
Full, not empty – When we sit in awareness of the present moment, we start to feel a sense of fullness in that moment. We can then turn up to life with this feeling of fullness, which helps counterbalance the feeling of emptiness that many people feel when they think about themselves and their life.

Empty, not full – Sitting with awareness in the present moment enables us to empty of all the complex thinking and inner noise that our mind is overburdened or overfilled with. We access a sense of ‘empty’ pleasurable inner spaciousness.

Enough, not not -enough – The ‘I am not enough’ script is one of the most common ones that individuals suffer from psychologically. Training to be aware in the present gives us access to a feeling of enough-ness, a sensibility of sufficiency not insufficiency. We can learn to identify with this primary feeling, and meet life from this feeling of ‘enough’, which then becomes a sense of ‘I am enough’.

Strong, not weak – becoming more consciously aware and present leads to a sense of being more gathered and undistracted. Awareness itself is always in the present moment, so focusing upon it leads to less of our energy being dissipated by distraction and thoughts about the past or future. The result of this is a feeling or sensation of being strong in the moment, not weak, and of being centered, not off balance.

Free, not limited – In our mental and physical environment we experience all sorts of limitations,  some external, some internal. In the experience of awareness itself, there is absolute freedom. The choice to be aware is the one thing that no one can take away from us.
 
So, then the practice here is simply to practice being aware of awareness, in the present moment, noticing that when we do so a very basic primal set of pre-cognitive, non-verbal experiences become available to us. We have a sense of being:

  • Full, not empty
  • Empty, not full
  • Enough, not not -enough (sufficiency, not insufficiency)
  • Strong, not weak
  • Free, not limited

If we cultivate these, then we now have a range of pre-psychological, pre-thought building blocks that we can use as a secure base for our sense of self as we think and navigate the world from day to day. This sense of strength, fullness and freedom can accompany us more and more, as our capacity to be aware of awareness grows though our meditation and mindfulness practice.
 
Related readingAwareness, attention, intention – The holy trinity of integral mindfulness
The freedom of awareness

© Toby Ouvry 2024, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


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The mindfulness holy trinity, & the engaged mindfulness book & training

“The skill of mindful awareness is actually a pre-skill, meaning that if you are good at it, you can use it to develop any other skill or capacity relatively easily.”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article is on the foundational components of effective mindfulness. If you enjoy it, feel free to join us for the Tuesday or Wednesday meditation class, where it will be a focus point. 

It will also be a focus point of the Engaged mindfulness online class this Saturday 13th July @ 5pm Singapore time. 

I have now expanded my first book Engaged Mindfulness to an ‘Engaged Mindfulness Project’. On this page, you can:

  • Download the PDF copy
  • Buy a hard copy of Engaged Mindfulness
  • Follow the links to the training pages with guided meditations based upon the book, & the online live meditation classes.

Do visit the page, & stay tuned for more details!

In the spirit of engaged mindfulness,

Toby



Awareness, attention, intention – The holy trinity of integral mindfulness
 
This article is designed to encourage people to understand some primary elements of integral mindfulness practice, and to get practicing!
 
Component one – Awareness
Mindfulness is essentially awareness training. Awareness is what is called in objectivist philosophy is called an ‘irreducible primary’. “An irreducible primary is a fact which cannot be analysed (i.e., broken into components) or derived from antecedent facts”. The quality of awareness or consciousness is something that we experience directly, and that cannot be broken down into smaller parts, hence primary. To be alive is to be aware, our only choice is whether we are consciously aware, or unconsciously aware. Thus the first task of mindfulness is to make the choice to be consciously aware, and to sustain that conscious awareness. Put another way:
“Mindfulness is the choice to be consciously aware as we go through life, rather than unconscious, and to direct our awareness consciously and skilfully.”
The skill of mindful awareness is actually a pre-skill, meaning that if you are good at mindful awareness, then you can use that awareness to develop any other skill or capacity relatively easily. Lacking the skill of awareness impairs the development of all other capabilities and skills in life. The capacity for mindful awareness sets you up for success in any given area of life. Lack of awareness impairs that potential.
 
Component two – Attention
The second foundation is conscious attention. The aim with mindfulness practice is to develop the capacity to direct your awareness where you want it to go, using your attention. “What am I trying to focus upon? And where do I need to focus my attention?” Are two fundamental mindfulness questions. Exactly where you need to focus your attention optimally is going to vary from task to task, but good quality mindful attention generally consists of a balanced combination of focus and relaxation. This combination is what I call the mindful-flow state, where we practice the skill of holding our attention on our chosen objects/activities with high quality, relaxed, focused attention.
 
Component three – Intention
Component three is intention. Like awareness and attention, we have an intention present within our mind almost all the time. This intention can be conscious or unconscious. The idea with integral mindfulness is that we become as mindful of our intentions as possible, and are generating them purposefully. ‘Why am I doing this?’ is a fundamental question, mindfully speaking!!
There are an infinite number of specific intentions, but a good place to start is cultivating three general levels of conscious intention with regard to self, other and the world. Underlying all of our other intentions, we hold the intention to:

  • Be of benefit to ourself
  • Be of benefit to our community
  • Be of benefit to the world

These three benevolent intentions can be the guiding light for most of our actions during the day.
 
So, putting these three together then gives us a kind of ‘holy trinity’ of integral mindfulness. All integral mindfulness trainings are designed to improve your awareness, attention and intention. These in turn are fundamental pre-skills that enable you to develop any other skills, and meet your life challenges more effectively.
 
As a practice to get started, simply take as your object of conscious awareness your breathing as you find it. Focus upon it with focused relaxed-attention (mindful flow), with the intention to:

  • Benefit yourself by calming and centering
  • By calming and centering, be of more positive influence to your community
  • By influencing your community in this way, being of benefit to the world

And there you go; you are practicing the holy trinity of integral mindfulness.
 
Related reading: Page 4 of Engaged Mindfulness that you can download as a free PDF of purchase as a hard copy

© Toby Ouvry 2024, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming meditation sessions & workshops with Toby 


Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Starts Tues /Weds 25th & 26th June, 7.30-8.30pm – The Wisdom of Awakening Series:  Meditations for cultivating your inner guidance & guru

Saturday 13th July 5-6pm Singapore time – Engaged mindfulness & meditation online class : An introduction to the art of engaged mindfulness

Saturday 27th July, 5-6pm – Mantra yoga meditation classThis month – Healing meditation with the Medicine Buddha


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Mindful speech, inner chatter, inner power

“If it isn’t true, useful or funny, don’t say it! You can create your own guidelines for your mindful speech practice, but this one is a fun one to get started”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article is on the relationship between your inner power & mindful speech. If you enjoy it, feel free to join us for the Tuesday or Wednesday meditation class, where it will be the subject of the session. 

The workshop I am offering for July is the Psychic & Psychological Self-defense half-day WS, if you are interested in it, let me know and we can look for a time that works for all who want to attend. 

New events this month include the Engaged mindfulness class, and the mantra yoga meditation. both are online, click the links for full details.

In the spirit of mindful speech,

Toby



Mindful speech, inner chatter, inner power
 
Speech and your inner power
At a wedding a few years ago, I met a nun who had been one of my teachers back in the 90’s when I was a Buddhist monk. Asking here about her current practice, she said that she was really enjoying her mantra meditation practice, finding new insights and growth through it. She followed this up by saying that she thought that particularly these days, people dissipated the power of their speech by talking too much, and talking meaninglessly. I think this is worth reflecting upon. When you talk, it is essentially your mental, emotional, and physical energy combining to create the sound vibration. If you are talking too much, and without much meaning then essentially you are diluting your energy, your life-force and its power. Too much of this obviously isn’t great.
Of course, you can also speak meaningfully and powerfully in a way that grows your inner power, creates meaningful connection, and expresses authenticity. So, it’s not about simply speaking less, but speaking consciously and with meaning. Of course that meaning can also be playful, light, fun as well as serious, but not just mindless, impulsive babble!
 
Not just physically silent
The reason we often speak to much and without direction is because it reflects our mind. Our mind is busy talking all the time, full of inner chatter. If we simply don’t say things out loud, that doesn’t solve our energy dissipation problem, because we are still dissipating it through over-thinking! So, like our physical speech, a principle around our mind-chatter should also be something like ‘Think less, think better’.
 
Listening and watching
A good mindfulness practice for reducing your inner and outer chatter is simply to listen more. When you are with others, really try and listen to and make space for what they are saying, and what lies behind it. When you are with yourself, spend time mindfully observing your inner chatter, listening to it, rather than ‘being’ it. Let your energy gather into your inner-listener, rather than being dissipated by your inner chatter-box!
 
Noticing silence
If you practice mindful listening in this way, then amidst the noise, you’ll also start to notice the inner and outer silence. Amongst other things this silence is a place where you can gather your inner power and energy, centering it in the moment, rather than weakening it. Centering around silence means that when you do speak, you speak from your center, with power and purpose.
 
Other people’s chatter
All of the above are helped by editing the quality and amount of distraction you expose yourself to during your day. If you’re filling your mind with information from your phone, the internet, and social media, then it’s almost impossible to talk, listen or be silent mindfully. So, patches of non-doing in your day really help.
 
Below is a short anecdote from Anthony Del Mello’s ‘One minute wisdom’. If it isn’t true, useful or funny, don’t say it! You can create your own guidelines around mindful speech, but this one is a fun one to get started.
 
 
SPEECH
The disciple couldn’t wait to tell the Master the rumour he had heard in the
marketplace.
“Wait a minute,” said the Master, “What you plan to-tell us is it true?”
“I don’t think it is.”
“Is it useful?”
“No. it isn’t.”
“Is it funny?”
“No.”
“Then why should we be hearing it?”
 
Related reading: The way to silence

© Toby Ouvry 2024, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


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Developmental acceptance – Allowing it to be messy & imperfect

“Skillful acceptance means noticing that you can center yourself in the middle of feelings of chaos, messiness, or dis-orientation, be present to them without panicking”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article looks at how to use mindfulness to work with your reality in a creative way, even and particularly when it seems messy!

If you enjoy the article, it will be the subject of our meditation at this weeks Tuesday & Wednesday Meditation class: 
 The Wisdom of Awakening Series:  Meditations for cultivating your inner guidance & guru.
All welcome to attend. This series is the course for this week and July.

In the spirit of acceptance,

Toby



Developmental acceptance – Allowing things to be messy & imperfect
 
Harmony from chaos – The way of the artist and creative
At a certain stage in my path, I spent time working with the idea of my art (at the time painting & sculpture) as a path of ‘harmony through conflict’. This basically meant that, to create beauty or harmony, you need to reach into chaos, disorder and sometimes ugliness. Then, by working skilfully with it you can draw out the beauty and order. So, the first part of any creative process then, is to learn to ‘be’ with the disorder/chaos, and start working with it from a centred point of view.
 
Chaos, inner and outer is messy
The tricky part about sitting with chaos is that the feeling of it is very ‘messy’ and confusing. It doesn’t feel comfortable to sit with. One reason why many people are not more creative is because they would prefer to sit with a reality that feels ‘tidy’, ordered and ‘safe’, even if that version of reality is someone else’s, even if it is dysfunctional, and even if the ‘order’ isn’t that appealing to us.
 
Accepting & working with chaos
So, to work with the messiness of reality, and start building our capacity to work with it creatively, we first must practice ‘sitting with the messiness’, which is to say sitting and getting comfortable with it, which actually means ‘getting comfortable with the uncomfortable’(!)
To get comfortable with messiness means accepting that it makes us anxious and dis-oriented. Skillful acceptance means noticing that you can center yourself in the middle of those feelings of chaos and messiness, be present to them without panicking. From the centred comfort that acceptance gives you, you can then look for ways to:

  • Notice what’s useful and good about the current messy-ness
  • Make small initial steps towards ordering the situation
  • Let your intuitive, rational and instinctual intelligence work together to see patterns in the chaos that help you start to see what the situation is offering you, and what it can become

 
Practicing developmental acceptance
On a practical level, I find this type of developmental acceptance enables me to work with what is happening in my day much more creatively. For example, today:

  • Sitting down at my desk to write this article, I found that the initial idea I had did not ‘fit’ like I imagined it would
  • This immediately put me in a place of dis-orientation, discomfort. Centering in that dis-orientation and getting comfortable with it, I became curious about how I could start to mold a new order from the messiness. Staying centered also needed a bit of the qualities of care and courage to stay with it; some gentle positive inner self-talk and re-assurance
  • Acceptance itself started to emerge as a theme, relaxing into it, and without trying too hard I let my intuition, rationality, and instinct start to put some structure to the basic theme, to sculpt and form a harmony from the mess
  • Forty minutes or so later I had written the article that you are now reading

 
You will notice from the above description that the first ‘move’ was noticing and accepting the initial ‘messiness’ of my reality. Accepting and centering like this then enabled me to harmonize my reality much more quickly and effectively than if I had been fighting with it.
You will notice also that I use the three C’s, curiosity, courage and care as a central part of the ‘developmental acceptance’ methodology.
 
Related readingCultivating your positive imperfectionist
Applying the Three C’s of Engaged Mindfulness

© Toby Ouvry 2022, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


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Making your visualization practice integral

“If you observe your mind, you will see that your unconscious imagination is very active, creating scenario’s regarding our past, present and future. What if you made this process conscious, deliberate & directed?”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article focuses on visualization meditation. If you enjoy the article, then do come along for the summer solstice balancing & renewing meditation this Tues or Weds, live or online. In it we do quite a lot of visualization work, particularly around goals for the next quarter of the year.  

You are invited to the Free Wisdom of Awakening meditation webinar this Thursday.
 
In the spirit of conscious visualization,

Toby

 



Article: Making your visualization practice integral
 
In my individual coaching practice, and in my group classes this week we have done quite a lot on visualization with meditation. The essential idea is that you can accelerate your growth in a particular area, develop a skill and/or to a degree ‘attract’ things that you might want into your life using conscious visualization. Below are a few practice points to bear in mind that will improve any visualization you might want to do. It will also make it more ‘whole’ and complete. I will not claim that the list below includes everything about visualization, but it covers some big fundamentals.
 
Practice 1 – you are visualizing all the time: If you observe your mind, you will start to notice that a lot of it is essentially ‘fantasizing’ or imagining scenarios regarding our past, present and future. You will see that your process of visualization is often very active already. This first practice is to

  • Notice your daily, often unconscious, visualization practice. Make it into an object of mindful observation, rather than something that you get mindlessly lost in
  • Choose which fantasies you follow and encourage, and release/let go of fantasies that aren’t serving your higher purpose

 
Practice 2 – contextualization of the past: Whenever you think of the past, you imagine it anew in your inner vision. So be careful to think and imagine the past in a way that invites positivity, appreciation, and good energy, rather than getting stuck in rumination-loops.
 
Practice 3 – Visualizing yourself present: If you are visualizing around a particular situation, imagine the qualities with which you turn up. For example, imagine turning up to your public speaking event, your squash match or your children’s party focused but relaxed, caring toward yourself and others, energised and enthusiastic, giving yourself positive self-talk as you go.
 
Practice 4 – the specifics of the short-term picture: Short term picture might be the next 2-6 weeks say. If you want to grow your business, or improve in your sport, what are the particular focus points you want to improve? Identify then see them in your minds eye, create pathways in your brain and body to doing these specifics better the next time you sit at your desk, meet a client, play your squash game.  
 
Practice 5 – medium and long-term outcomes: A medium-term outcome might be 3-6months. A long-term outcome might be more than a year, 3 to 5 years, or the final endgame you want from any training or activity, such as achieving a certain type of lifestyle, or becoming a master at a sport or art. Here you can really get involved in creating ‘ideal scenes’ of what it looks and feels like. Some of this will be specific images where particular experiences have been manifested. Other parts of the visualization would be more around the ‘mood and the feeling’ that you have now that you have achieved your end goal.
 
It takes a while to gat back your visualization skills. Because we use screens and computers to create images that we then just look at, initially when we start to visualize we may have to accept that our inner image-making skills are quite poor. However, if we practice consistently, you will find that your image-ination starts to regenerate quite naturally and powerfully, so don’t be discouraged. In any domain in your life you want to improve, practicing visualization that includes all five areas outlined above will help it to be a complete and powerful practice.  
 
Related Reading: Envisioning & presence – Climbing the mindful mountain
On mindful visualization
Mindful imagination – from superstition to manifestation
 
Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2024, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


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How did I get through tough times as a Monk?

“Resilient endurance in the face of the ongoing difficulties is more a matter of imaginative compassion than simply ‘getting tougher’”

Dear Toby, 

This week’s article explores how I used a particular meditation technique to work with difficulties when I was a monk. If you enjoy it, we will be focusing upon it as a part of this weeks Tuesday & Wednesday meditation class


In the spirit of compassionate imagination,

Toby



How did I get through tough times as a Monk?
 
During my time as a Buddhist monk, there were plenty of times when I felt I had my back against the wall.

  • Lack of financial & material resources was always a threat
  • Being an unknown element in a mainstream society mean that not all attention was good attention by any means
  • The organization that I worked for was often understaffed in terms of manpower, and so there was often a sense of having to do several different (unpaid) jobs at the same time
  • The path of meditation itself threw up many things to be processed as I moved from one level to the next.

There was a particular set of meditation instructions called ‘Lojong’, or ‘instructions for training the mind’ which was particularly useful at such times. I would even go as far as to say it was my main practice, in the sense of the one that I derived the most value from. I’ll describe below a simple process that I would follow in meditation that really captures the essence of it. For the sake of an example, let’s imagine that the suffering I am contemplating is the heat and discomfort of being a monk in Singapore, where it is very hot and humid, and I was often living in placed without air-conditioning.
 
A visual tool
These meditations were often done with a jewel of enlightenment visualized at my heart. The jewel would be made of light and have the essence of my enlightened nature.
 
“May all my future sufferings ripen upon me now”
This first position involved contemplating the suffering or confusion that I was going through, and then, in the spirit of compassion say something like:
 
“May all my future suffering of this kind ripen upon me right now
 
I would then imagine all the future suffering, to use the example all the discomfort and dizziness of living with too much heat, gathering around me as dark light and smoke. It them ‘ripened upon me now’ by dissolving into the ‘jewel of enlightenment’ at my heart, eventually disappearing. I would then strongly think that all my future suffering regarding heat had already been endured, and that I was free from it, relaxing into the joy of that recognition.
So, of course I was still sitting in the heat of Singapore, and would continue to do so. But the effect of the meditation, at least for a while is that my mental and emotional pain around the heat would reduce dramatically, and I could continue on in a state of relative peace and calm.
 
“May the sufferings of others ripen upon me now”
A further development of this was reflecting upon the fact that my suffering was only one persons’, and that there were many other living beings experiencing the same and worse regarding discomfort and pain around heat/temperature. So then reflecting upon this compassionately I would contemplate “May the sufferings of heat of all living beings ripen upon me now!”
I would then imagine this pain & suffering gathering around me like a cloud of dark, hot(!) smoke, and see it then dissolving into the jewel of enlightenment at my heart, eventually disappearing.  I would then meditate strongly on the thought that all those suffering from heat in different ways had been liberated, and were now free and happy. I took this joyful recognition as an object of meditation for a few minutes.
 
The purpose of doing this meditation was not to be masochistic, rather it was, and is to:

  • Develop resilient endurance in the face of the ongoing difficulties
  • Strengthen compassion and reduce unhealthy self-obsession
  • Find joy in the process of releasing ourself and others from pain and sufferings

Reading the sequence through initially may leave you thinking “Eeeuw, no way!” but doing the practice a few times, we start to see how effective it is at reducing our pain and suffering in the moment, and finding ways to get through challenging times relatively unscathed. It certainly was and is a method I’ve found most useful in my own path.
 
Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2024, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com



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Trusting your inner guru

“In any path of mastery, the purpose of the outer guru is to reveal the inner guru.”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article is a reflection on developing confidence in your own inner guidance. If you enjoy it, the theme will be quite a big part of this Tuesday & Wednesday’s Wesak Class  meditation.

Heads up for this weekend’s Awakening to benevolence & compassion mini-retreat on Saturday the 25th.

Finally, I have created a new series starting Tues /Weds 25th & 26th June – The Wisdom of Awakening Series:  Meditations for cultivating your inner guidance & guru, which obviously relates closely to the article, exploring this theme in depth…

In the spirit of your inner guru,

Toby


Trusting your inner guru
 
I spent the first ten years of my meditation practice training in the Tibetan Buddhist path. After four years I had become a monk. After four years as a monk I could feel that I was approaching the end of my tenure with that group and with my guru or teacher at that time. That summer I went back to the UK from Singapore to listen to teachings and meditate with the spiritual community, as had been my habit for several years. By far and away the most significant words I heard from my guru over those two week’s was “The purpose of the outer guru is to reveal the inner guru.” These words were like a mantra for me for the next nine months, by the end of which time I had decided to leave my life as a monk and go back into lay life, whilst continuing my path as a meditation teacher. The difference was that now I was just a meditation teacher, not from any group or tradition, just teaching and offering guidance as myself.
 
The purpose of quietening the mind

A side effect of meditation is to calm the mind, and therefore to experience less negative stress and more peace. If we are interested in meditation as a creative path of awakening, we can also see that quietening the superficial noise in the mind is also to put us in touch with the deeper voices, intuitions and impulses that are showing us the way along our path in life.
 
What outer gurus & guides have that we do not

An outer guru, in order to be one who has any qualification, has to be in touch with his or her inner signals. S/he must have established a stable link to the higher and deeper levels of her consciousness, where the guidance comes from. The function of the Guru, if they are worth their salt is to empower/enable their students to get in touch with their inner guidance so that, eventually, the student becomes independent of the master. If a master teaches students to become independent in this way, s/he may find that there is quite a high turnover rate in their classes. Or alternatively, students go and return to the master as their own (ie: The student’s) inner guidance inclines them.  By teaching independence, the master avoids the co-dependency that happens in many groups.
 
Courage as the first virtue & your inner sense of timing (when I left my life as a monk)

I can remember the exact moment that I new I would leave my life as a monk. It was in Los Angeles, at another spiritual gathering with my old Tibetan group. I came in slightly late for the final chanting session, and found myself sitting a few seats back from the main group in the room. As I sat there, I realized I simply was no longer with this group (a purely intuitive and energetic sensibility), and I knew I would be leaving. In the subsequent months, telling my guru I was leaving and setting out on my own was a time full of anxiety and courage in equal amounts. I knew that if I didn’t have the courage to move forward at this time, I would be going fundamentally against the grain of my inner guidance and guru. My inner guru was now the primary guide in my life, but really feeling fully confident in that would be a work in progress for a number of years subsequently!
 
A short story

I hope you’ve enjoyed my thoughts above; I’ll end with a short story from Anthony De Mello that speaks to this is a fun way:
 
AVOIDANCE
A tourist, looking at the portraits of former Masters in the temple said. “Are there any
Masters left on earth?”
“There is one.” said the guide. The tourist solicited an audience with the Master and
started with the question, “Where are the great Masters to be found today?”
“Traveller.” cried the Master.
“Sir!” the tourist answered reverently.
“Where are YOU?”

Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2024, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


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Inner vision Integral Awareness Integrating Ego, Soul and Spirit Life-fullness Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Mindful Self-Leadership Mindfulness

Individualism, Self-esteem, Universal love – Aspects of rational mindfulness

“Practice looking at your experiences as an observer, like you were a fly on the wall. It gives you space between you and your life, & access to the creative ideas & solutions that suggest themselves when you observe consistently in this way”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

I think of the “rational mindfulness” described below as the lynch-pin between lower & higher stages of consciousness. If you are good at it, it holds together all of the other parts of your consciousness in a benevolent, stable manner. I hope you enjoy it! If you do it will be the subject of this week’s Tuesday & Wednesday class practice.

Heads up for the Wesak Class  next week, 21st & 22nd May, & the Awakening to benevolence & compassion mini-retreat on Saturday the 25th.

Also, I’ve just posted the Stress transformation & Emotional intelligence  workshops for June.

In the spirit of the fly on the wall,

Toby


Individualism, Self-esteem, Universal love – Aspects of rational mindfulness
 
As we grow into our teenage years, if we grow psychologically in a balanced way, we should find the emergence of a third person, or rational-objective perspective starts to emerge. Whereas previously it was all ‘me’, ’mine’, ‘yours’ and ‘ours’, we can now practice standing outside a personal, subjective view. We can consider events and experiences objectively, making assessments based upon that. Several transformations and capabilities come from this. If we can apply them to our sense of self and who we are in the world, then we become a ‘rational’ person in the holistic sense of the world, which is a beautiful thing. What I have done below is list a few of the capabilities of the rational self, with some suggestions regarding how they can be practiced.
 
Being a fly on the wall – Practice looking at yourself and your experiences as an observer, like you were a fly on the wall. This takes you out of your subjective view and into a third person, objective view. Holding this non-judgmental ‘observer position is really the essential mindfulness practice. Doing it gives you space between you and your life, and access to the creative ideas and solutions that suggest themselves when you observe consistently in this way.
 
Goal setting – Thinking about your goals, picturing them in your mind and then working consistently to realize them is a core rational-objective mindful capability. It enables you to move beyond ‘how you feel’ at any given time, and keep on moving forward, gently, and consistently. This can be practised on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis.
 
Compartmentalizing – This practice enables you to separate out the different activities in your life and their attending emotions from each other, so that you can work on each one descreetly at different times. This means that you avoid one activity or emotion from let’s say your personal life interfering with your work life, and vice-versa. This is difficult to do without being able to step back and consider your life objectively.
 
World-centric love and compassion – When you step back and consider yourself and others objectively, you can see that there are many commonalities that we share with all humans and living creatures, and that all of us have basic value and worth. Based upon this objective position, we can develop an even-minded consideration and benevolence for all the people we meet, regardless of whether we know them personally or not. Practiced in this way, rational mindfulness can lead to an explosion of our sense of love and compassion for the world.
 
Individualism and self-esteem – When we stand back from ourselves, we can assess ourself as having a value as an individual, and start to articulate our own goals regarding happiness and fulfilment. We can then take pride in developing our capacity to move toward those goals effectively, and build a good life. This in turn gives us a further sense of self-esteem. Not only this, but we can then take joy in encouraging others to see their own inherent value, and encouraging them to grow and express themselves as individuals.
 
So, whenever you engage in any of these activities, you are helping to develop your holistic rational, third person capacity. Practice them all together and you can grow it in an integrated and balanced manner!

Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2024, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


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Spiritual aspects of healing – The medicine Buddha

Spiritual healing is the art of bringing a higher, more whole and inclusive dimension of reality to bear upon a lower dimension, in order to bring that greater wholeness, healing and inclusivity to bear upon the lower dimension, thus effecting healing.

(Link to image source)

Dear Integral Meditators, 

The article below looks at principles of spiritual healing practice in general, and also specifically in terms of Medicine Buddha practice, which is something I picked up in my days as a Buddhist monk, and continue to engage with today. If you enjoy the article & are curious, do join me live or online for the Medicine Buddha Healing meditation this Saturday 11am-12.15pm.

Also, if you know anyone looking to get their meditation practice started, or if you want to get your own practice rebooted, then I recommend this Saturday’s session:Get Your Meditation Practice Started Now – The Shortest and Most Time Effective Meditation Workshop Ever

 
In the spirit of healing,

Toby


Spiritual aspects of healing – The medicine Buddha

What is spiritual healing? You might think about spiritual healing in terms of this definition:
Spiritual healing is the art of bringing a higher, more whole and inclusive dimension of reality to bear upon a lower dimension, in order to bring that greater wholeness, healing and inclusivity into the lower dimension, thus effecting healing.
To practice spiritual healing is then basically learning to meditate (Yes, mediate, or channel) higher, deeper dimensions of energy to people or places where healing is needed. It can be done in different ways:

  • To effect physical or psychological healing for ourself
  • To effect physical or psychological healing for others
  • To direct healing energy to groups of people or places on the planet

What/who is the Medicine Buddha
The Medicine buddha practice is an example of a spiritual healing practice. Sometimes Buddha’s are linked to actual people, but more often these are mythic rather than factual stories, and the Buddha in question is more of an embodiment of a particular enlightened quality, a primal archetype rather than a ‘person’. In the case of the Medicine Buddha, he may be thought of as the healing power of all the Buddhas (and our own enlightened Buddha nature) embodied in a human form, albeit with a blue body (!)
Having been related to in this way for over two thousand years, visualizing the Medicine Buddha and reciting his healing mantra provides a ready-made pathway in the human group consciousness that we can use to access this particular spiritual healing energy from the higher dimensions of reality to bring healing to ourself and others.

Paradigms for understanding disease
In the traditional Medicine Buddha teachings, there are four types of disease/illness:

  1. Illness that we can recover from without medicine (physical or spiritual)
  2. Illnesses that we need medicines to recover properly from
  3. Illnesses that have a ‘soul’ level or karmic cause, and that cannot be healed by physical medicine alone, but can be healed through spiritual healing practice
  4. Illness that is essentially untreatable, spiritually or with traditional medicine, and that we cannot recover from once they manifest.

From this we can see that spiritual healing practices like the Medicine Buddha are primarily helpful for the third class of disease, and as a preventative for helping to avoid the fourth class of disease coming into manifestation. In my own practice of the Medicine Buddha, I primarily focus on:

  1. Daily practice as a future disease prevention. This is a bit like taking supplements to increase immunity(!)
  2. Working to build strength and wholeness in the ‘weak’ spots in my body, again making illness and injury less likely
  3. In relation to symptoms of diseases I get, for example reducing pain and activating healing around a recent gastric flu I had. This was in conjunction with regular TCM type medication.
  4. For others I know who are sick and in need of healing, or who are vulnerable to illness

Healing meditation with the medicine Buddha, 3 ways
The methodology used to do spiritual healing is often deceptively simple, in the case of the Medicine Buddha it can be done in a very simple way by:

  • Generating a compassionate motivation
  • Visualizing him in the space in front of you, setting your specific intention for requesting healing
  • Reciting his mantra
  • Imagining healing light and nectar flowing down from his heart (where the mantra sits), into the person, area of the body or part of the world where you want the healing energy to flow
  • Finishing with a brief period of stillness

The mantra itself is Sanskrit:
TAYATHA OM GATE GATE, PARAGATE, PARASANGATE BODHI SOHA

(Link to image source)

This means quite literally ‘Oh doctor (Gate), doctor, great doctor, doctor of doctors, please grant us the healing attainments!’
The practice may look simple, childish even, but combined with good quality intention and focus, the effects can be felt quite rapidly and easily. It’s a practice I have had for years, if your looking for another dimension to your own healing methodologies, this is one I highly recommend.

Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2024, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


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Integral Meditation Asia

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