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Awareness and insight Enlightened love and loving Meditation and Psychology Motivation and scope Presence and being present Shadow meditation

The Role of Courage in Meditation

Two Types of Courage

In order to build a successful and authentic meditation practice you need courage, and the two types of courage that I want to highlight today are the courage to initiate, and the courage to persist. You need the courage to initiate to get through all the excuses and distractions that are in the way of you starting or restarting your meditation practice, and just ‘put your bum on the seat’ so to speak. You then need the courage of persistence, which is really a steady type of willpower, to simply keep going on a regular basis week in week out, so that your practice has a chance to bear fruit. Without these two types of courage, the inner clarity, wellbeing and centeredness that is within the grasp of anyone who persists in meditation will remain out of your reach.

Two Types of Meditation: Sitting With the Silence and Sitting With the Noise

When many people approach me for the first time to talk about meditation, the most common reason for them wanting to start meditating is that they want to find some headspace, some inner silence that they can relax with. They then tell me that they simply cannot stop their mind chattering, and so they find it “impossible” to actually start a meditation practice. What we need to realize (and this is really important) is that before we can enjoy “sitting with silence” we first need to enjoy the process of “sitting with the noise”, that noise being the inner noise of our mind incessantly chattering with itself!

The way to learn how to sit in silence is first to get comfortable sitting with the noise of your mind. Over time and out of your daily or regular practice of sitting with the noise of your mind you will gradually start to notice an inner silence emerging, at first only occasionally in brief flashes, but the gradually emerging more and more fully as time goes by.

The Story of Tom

Back in the 90’s, when I was a Buddhist monk teaching meditation in the north of England I had a man in his 70’s come to my meditation class called Tom. Tom was an ex coal miner. He was in constant discomfort due to rheumatism, and his wife was a mental and physical invalid (Parkinson’s disease I think) to whom Tom was the sole care giver. He arrived at my class for the first time in deep despair regarding the loss of his wife, of his own physical fitness and of many of the other good things in his life that had previously made it enjoyable. He made a courageous choice to sit down for 20minutes at the beginning of each day to meditate, a choice to which he stuck to. He used to describe his meditation to me, saying that usually for the first 5-10 minutes all of the anger, despair and sadness would well up within him about his life and about how unfair it all was. Then, at some point in the middle of his meditation, patches of silence would start to appear, and the noise in his mind would quieten. Usually, for the last few minutes of his meditation he said, he would find a state of deep peace, and those few minutes at the end of his meditation were enough to get him through the rest of the day.

Tom’s story is a simple story of courage and persistence in meditation. His description of his own meditation experience shows the truth of how very often before we experience peace in meditation we first have to sit with the “storm” so to speak. The way to meditate in silence is first to get comfortable with sitting with the noise!

Practical Work: Get Comfortable Sitting With The Noise

Pick an amount of time that you can commit to every day, from 3-20minutes. Resolve each day during that time to generate courage and self-compassion, and then simply “sit, breathe and be” with the noise inside your mind. Forget about immediately making your mind silent, just focus on sitting breathing and being with what is there, pleasant or unpleasant, happy or sad.

If you do this consistently each day the inner silence will emerge in its own time. If you make this a lifetime practice the inner silence will grow organically within your life a tree. A tree grows too slowly to spot the changes from day to day, but from month to month, year to year it grows from a fragile seedling to a mighty tree.

Long Term Results

The final thing that I want to mention about meditating on inner noise and inner silence is that eventually, after you have been meditating for quite some time you will discover that you are equally happy to experience inner noise or inner silence, you realize that they are really just two sides of the same coin and not so different in reality.

This can be difficult to grasp conceptually without experience, but an analogy may help: In the same way that a bright, sunny day and a thunderstorm are both “weather”, so a loud noisy mind and a silent one are just “mind”. If you are sitting in a strong house looking out of your window, a storm and a sunny day can both be interesting and enjoyable to experience. Similarly once we have grounded our awareness in the centre of our being through meditation, both noise and silence are equally enjoyable 😉

© 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 www.tobyouvry.com

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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 Integral Awareness Meditation and Psychology Presence and being present Shadow meditation Uncategorized

The Self-Healing and Self Evolving Power of the Mind and Six Tips For Releasing the Shadow Self

Whenever we engage in meditation or any other activity that promotes greater self awareness, we automatically begin to activate two innate capacities within our mind: Its capacity for self-healing and its capacity for self-evolving.

The minds capacity for self-healing is basically means that, whenever we move into a meditative state, the process of being aware of our mind, whether it I in a state of bliss or pain (or somewhere in between) has a beneficial healing effect upon our mind. Awareness heals.

The minds capacity for self-evolving means that the process of sitting and being alert and aware in meditation brings to the surface of our mind all the latent higher qualities and talents that we might not be aware of or, may even be afraid of.

Meditation makes you more aware of your creative gifts and talents and will over time create an energy in you that actually DEMANDS that you start expressing these talents in your life.

From this we can see that, as well as bringing you greater peace of mind, meditation can also be quite challenging in the sense that:

  • You become more aware of all that is damaged and that needs healing within you
  • You start having a lot of creative urges that start to PULL you toward higher and greater achievement in your life.

If you are not prepared for these side effects they can actually be a bit shocking, and you might even feel that you may be doing something wrong. Actually as often as not it is just your minds capacity for auto-healing and auto-evolving kicking in!

So, although the minds capacity for self-healing and self-evolving  are good things they also challenge us, bringing us face to face with the two aspects of our shadow self:

  • The DARK part of our shadow self; the damaged part of self which we have disowned and rejected, and
  • The LIGHT part of our shadow self; that latent greatness and talent within us that is as yet unknown and unexpressed.

With this in mind here are six tips for starting to get friendly with your shadow self. They are the basic elements of what I call a “Six point shadow reclamation process” that I use with coaching clients, and teach in Integral meditation Asia classes and workshops.

Step 1:

See it – Pay close attention to both strong positive and negative emotions that get triggered in you by people, events, places  or things. Be alert to the meaning that there is in the fact that your mind has been triggered in this way.

Step 2:

Feel it – Rather than immediately repressing or pushing away the strong emotions, thoughts or images that get triggered in your mind, get used to feeling into them, holding them within your conscious awareness

Step 3:

Communicate with it – Once you have some experience of steps 1&2, you can then try inwardly communicating with the person or thing that is triggering the shadow emotion. For example if a person fills you with revulsion, try visualizing them in front of you and asking “what is it about you that is creating such strong feelings of dislike?” – see what answer comes back. (Please note you are not actually communicating with the physical person, but trying to connect to that part of yourself that has been triggered!)

Step 4:

BE it – Practice mentally imagining that you have become the person that you fear or admire. Become that angry person that you run away from all the time, imagine yourself AS that great public speaker that fills you with so much admiration.

Step 5:

Own it – Practice taking responsibility for your shadow self and emotions, the light and the dark:

-“Yes I really am angry and hurt deep down, it is not always the other person that is angry”

– “It’s my job to make the most of this talent, no one else is going to do it for me!”

Step 6:

Transcend and transform it – This is the final step, and needs to be done at the END of the other 5 steps. A BIG mistake people make is to try and transcend their shadow self too soon, before they have properly seen it, felt it, communicated with it, been it and owned it.

To transcend and transform the shadow self simply means to recognize it is NOT your true or ultimate self, but nevertheless it has a potential place and function within your everyday personality of ego self. For example:

  • Your previous fear of anger and projection of it onto others can be transformed into the ability to be powerful and polite with difficult people
  • Your previous admiration of another person’s public speaking skills is transformed into your ownership of that talent within yourself, and the development of your own talent as a passionate and persuasive speaker.

If you simply think about the above six points, and start to try them out in your daily life, I think you will find that you can start to get a feel for this process.

Here’s to the maximization of our minds capacity for self-healing and self-evolving!

© 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 www.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

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Awareness and insight Integral Awareness Meditation and Psychology Presence and being present

Article: Meditating on Your Body as a Landscape, and the Beauty of Ageing

Hi Everyone,

When we see natural objects in a landscape, such as trees, rocks, cliffs, mountains, lakes and so forth, very often we judge them to be beautiful. For example when we see the way in which a trees branches and bark has twisted and morphed over time we think of this as a tree with character, a tree with a deep sense of spirit. Likewise an old but well maintained house is very easy to love and appreciate.
So, if we think of old objects and aspects of landscape as having character and beauty as they age, what about our own bodies and their signs of ageing? To appreciate the beauty of our own ageing process requires the ability to, at least temporarily, step outside of the intense way in which we have been culturally programmed to value youthful looks only, and instead look at the way in which time changes our features as being something natural, something to be embraced, and finally as something that in many ways actually enhances the character and DEEP beauty of our looks.

To start to work experientially with this idea, you might like to try the following simple meditation:
– Sit or stand in front of a mirror. Close your eyes and relax for a few breaths, as you do so think to yourself that, when you open your eyes you are going to see your face (and your body if you can see it) as a landscape.
– When you open your eyes, try for a while simply to stare at your face without thinking or analysing too much, just try and see and accept it as it is. It can be a good idea to smile gently in acceptance of yourself and what you see.
– Then, thinking of your face as a landscape, reflect on the story behind the  lines that you can see on your face (if you are still young, imagine the lines that will be there!), how each crease and bump has arisen from countless times when you have smiled or laughed, countless times when you may have experienced pain or even cried. Think of the lines on your face as beautiful in the sense that they describe the depth and character that you have created within yourself in the years that you have lived in your body. Think of the lines as describing the knowledge and wisdom that you have within your heart. Reflect that, as time goes by and these lines deepen on your face, as long as you are trying to live your best life, the deepening lines will represent the flowering of a deeper human beauty within you.
Continue this mindful exploration for as long as you like, finish when you are ready.

So, of course we don’t want to grow physically “old before our time” so to speak and I really think that daily meditation and Qi gong are one of the very best methods for staying physically and mentally young for as long as possible (Note, also free, all they require is a little gentle discipline!). However, middle and old age come to us all, and we are at a tremendous advantage in terms of personal happiness if we can embrace them openly, value them, and consciously override the fear and resistance that mass consciousness encourages us to develop toward ageing process.

Thanks for reading,

Yours in the spirit of the journey,

Toby

© 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 Integral Awareness Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Presence and being present

Meditation for Tapping Into The Natural Creativity of Your Mind

Hi Everyone,

Do you consider yourself to be naturally creative? The following meditation is a simple technique for tapping into awareness of the natural creative quality of the space within our mind, and learning to direct and harness it in a positive way in our life.

Sit down and take a few deep breaths, relax your body-mind as you breathe out, feeling tension leave you on your outward breath.

Now start to become aware of the space within your mind, over a period of time, try and make the inner space within your mind as big as possible, imagine it becoming as big as the sky, or as big as the whole Universe.

Now look at this space in your mind. Initially it seems lifeless, just an empty open space, quite pleasant and peaceful, but not much else. However, if you start to look a little more closely at this space, it is this inner space itself from which all the thoughts, images and feelings within your mind are emerging. If you watch closely in this way you start to see that the “empty” space of your mind is actually a continuously creative source of energy, thinking, images and feeling within you.

Once you have observed this, focus once more upon the inner space within your mind, this time recognizing that this space is a creative, living source of energy, ideas and life force for you. How does it feel to experience directly your own natural inner creative potential? Our creative power can seem like such an elusive beast, yet actually here It is, under our nose all the time within the inner space or formless nature of our consciousness!

Most of the time we don’t use the creative energy of our inner space very well, because as soon as it arises we unconsciously direct it towards old, familiar patterns of thinking and feeling, so the thoughts in our mind don’t feel very creative or inspired at all. Indeed it can feel like our thinking and feeling energy are a burden, a stuck record in our mind that always remains the same whatever we try and do to change it.

Meditating on developing a more lucid and heightened awareness of the creative nature of the space within our mind encourages us to start making use of it in a more flexible, useful fashion, allowing us to respond to the challenges of our life in a more spontaneous and liberated manner. If we do not take responsibility for making good use of the creative energy within our mind, then we can find ourselves oppressed by this creative energy, as again and again it flows into thought patterns that are unhealthy and create feelings of stress, anxiety, fear and unhappiness.

Here’s to enjoying the creative inner space within all of our minds!

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Toby

PS: This weeks meditation class topic:

You are multi-talented! Meditating on multiple-intelligences as a way of finding inner wholeness

PPS: Related articles that might be of interest to you:

Nurturing your natural intelligence and natural dignity

Finding your deep creativity (in three easy steps)

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Awareness and insight Integral Awareness Meditation and Psychology Motivation and scope

The Story Of A Chance Meeting With A Meditating Taxi Driver – Taking Other Meditation Practitioners As Your Object of Meditation

The physiological and psychological benefits of meditation have been very well documented by science over the last fifty years (the best summary of this scientific research can be found in “The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation” by Michael Murphy and Steven Donovan). There is now really no doubt that daily meditation practice makes you look younger, age slower, feel more happy, improves brain function and is THE best method for accelerating personal growth, whatever your station in life or personal philosophy.

Meditation is free, and need take only ten minutes of your time each day, all it requires is a personal commitment based around an understanding of the benefits that you can get from it. I find that one of the best ways of keeping myself motivated to meditate is to look at other mediators and appreciate the very clear benefits of meditation that they are getting.

The other week I was leaving a clients office, and flagged down a cab and got in. The driver was an Indian, I thought perhaps thirty something. As I sat in the back I was really impressed by the positive ambiance in the taxi, and the courteous manner of the driver. We got talking, and very quickly we made the connection that we were both mediators. He talked enthusiastically about his (Hindu) practice, and I shared a little about my own practice and occupation as a meditation coach and artist.

I thought he was thirty something, he turned out to be mid-fifties.

I thought maybe he was some kind of celibate practitioner living in the world and going back home to meditate alone at night, turns out he had five kids, three already at University.

I ask him how he managed financially to raise five kids on a taxi drivers pay? I can’t remember his exact words, but it was something to the effect that people plan a bit too complicated in their financial planning these days, and if you live a simple life, you can provide ok for your family even if your income is not huge.

I left the taxi thinking I really want some of what he has got! Then I remembered, actually I have got some of what he has got, and rejoiced in the pleasure of meeting someone who was such a good living example of what happens when you commit yourself to a daily meditation practice amidst the busyness of a contemporary daily life!

If you have been thinking about starting a meditation practice, or have let your practice slip of late, have a think about friends and acquaintances who you know that meditate and as a result seem to carry a lot of good energy with them at all times. You want a bit of that don’t you? Time to get going!

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

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Awareness and insight Integral Awareness Presence and being present

Are You A Seeker Or A Practitioner?

You know when you have become a meditation practitioner when in times of crisis you turn to the states of mind that you have been cultivating in meditation to find stability, calm and clarity. The fact that you are able to use the mind-states that you focus on in meditation to solve actual challenges in your life indicates that your meditation has become a part of you, and that you are a practitioner of the art of meditation.

You are a meditation seeker if you meditate sometimes but, when the S&*#! really hits the fan in your life you basically revert to the old habits and coping strategies (or non-coping strategies!) that you used before you started to meditate. In this sense a meditation seeker is kind of like someone who is window shopping or superficially dabbling in the idea of changing their consciousness, but has not yet really committed to the process of transformation. As a result their meditation practice remains skin deep, and not effective when you really need it to be.

So, which one are you? What is the next step that you need to take to transform yourself from a seeker into a practitioner?

Thanks for reading!

Toby

PS: Click HERE to read Toby’s recent article on “Starbathing Meditation” on his Qi Gong blog

© 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 Enlightened service Integral Awareness Meditation techniques Motivation and scope

Meditating On The Five Levels of Positive Intention, And Learning How To Use Group Consciousness to Support And Enhance Your Own Personal Intention

Here are five levels of positive intention that we can hold, and that we can use as conscious motivators for our meditation and awareness practice, or indeed as full objects of meditation in themselves:

1. The intention to practice non-harmfulness toward ourself and others

2. The intention to heal, nurture our body-mind, and develop it to its fullest potential

3. The intention to contribute in the most meaningful and positive way to our circle of influence, meaning our family, friends, work colleagues and anyone else whom we have a direct, immediate and personal relationship with.

4. The intention to be of active benefit to all of humanity without discrimination

5. The intention to be of active co-operation and benefit to all living beings on the planet, including all members of the plant, animal and mineral kingdoms, as well as all the other classes of living being that there may be.

As you can see, these five levels increase the scope of our intention incrementally. We start with the intention to stop harming ourselves and others (if you can’t help, at least don’t harm), and end with a truly kosmocentric intention to be of benefit to all living beings without exception. This last intention is the most evolved and expansive of all the five, and is really what might be called the loving, fearless and compassionate intention of the Bodhisattva, to borrow the Buddhist expression.

A final note is that each of these intentions is valid and has its own place in our consciousness. For example, just because we may be aiming for the fifth level of intention, we can still hold intentions two and three; to nurture ourself and our circle of influence in a perfectly valid and complementary way.

You might also like to compare and contrast these five levels of positive intention with “The Five Levels of Intention For Effecting Personal Transformation” that I wrote about in a previous article.

Connecting our own five levels of motivation to the corresponding intentions within group consciousness.

It can be very useful to realize that there exists within the group mind of the Planet the collective energy of all these positive intentions. We can learn to leverage on this already existing positive group intention by connecting to it with awareness.

Here is a simple, guided meditation that takes level one, the intention to practice non-harmfulness as an example. Once you understand how to do it with one level of intention, you can easily learn how to do it with the others.

– Sitting comfortably, become aware of the different levels of intention in your mind right now, both “positive” and “negative”.

– Focusing on yourself and your own body-mind, place within you awareness the intention to practice non-harmfulness toward yourself; to stop the self abuse, self hatred, self destructive habits and so on, even if it is just for these few minutes. Sit with this intention for a minute, just holding it gently in your awareness

– Now be aware that you are part of group consciousness that we shall call the planetary mind, or planetary consciousness. This is the collective intelligence of all the living creatures in the world. Be aware that there already exists within the group mind a strong intention to practice non-harmfulness. This energy comes from all the living beings of past, present and future that have held this intention, from the great saints and yogis, to the tiniest animals.

– Feel your mind connecting to this group intention, and feel its energy flowing into your body-mind. If you like for a minute or so you can feel yourself breathing the intention in on the inhalation, and relaxing your awareness deeply into that intention as you breathe out.

Finnish when you are ready. As with all the meditation exercises on this blog this one on intention can be done as a one minute awareness form, or as a more extended meditation according to your time schedule and needs.

© 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 Integral Awareness Meditation techniques Presence and being present

A Simple Sketch Of Three Simple Creative Meditation Awareness Forms: Appreciation Of the Pleasure Of Simple Awareness, Taking a Third Person Perspective On Your Life, and Finding Your Inner Light

Here are three simple meditation forms that you can do anytime, either as a short 1-5 minute practice in a spare moment, or as a longer meditations when you have more time.

1. Developing appreciation of simple awareness.

One of the main things that we learn to appreciate when we take up a meditation practice is to appreciate how pleasurable the simple act of awareness can be.

Take a minute now and just allow your mind to rest on an object. It could be the sounds as they come and go from moment to moment, or the play of the light across the landscape or cityscape as you look out of the window. Just allow your awareness to rest on that single point of focus for as long as you want. As you do so, feel your mind and body moving into a state of rest and regeneration. Feel how pleasant the simple experience of relaxed, open awareness is.

2. Observing yourself in the third person

We habitually view our daily life and the events that happen in it in a first person, subjective manner. This awareness exercise offers another perspective on our life that we can work on integrating.

Sitting down, imagine that, rather than seeing life through the eyes of your physical body, imagine that you are outside your body, maybe two or three meters away, and observing yourself as you go about your day. Recall the events of the last 24 hours, and mentally see yourself engaging in your activities. As you observe yourself, you may find that feelings and emotions come up. If so that is fine, just allow them to. The thing that you want to try and avoid as you are watching yourself is to start analyzing it or making judgements about what you are seeing. Simply be an objective observer of yourself and try and experience as fully as possible what it is like to be free from an obsessive first person experience of your life.

3. Finding your inner light by relaxing into the darkness of your mind.

Relax your mind as much as possible, as if you are falling asleep. Allow your awareness to be enveloped by the deep, silky darkness that is normally experienced as you start to drift into unconscious slumber. The key here is to ALMOST fall asleep, but NOT to actually fall asleep! Keep a part of your mind alert and awake as the main part of your mind and body relaxes deeply.

Think of the darkness that you experience as you are relaxing in this way as being like the darkness that a baby experiences in the mother’s womb, or like the darkness of deep night when we are all asleep. Rest in this darkness as fully as you can without losing that small element of alertness and awakeness!

After a while imagine that you sense within the darkness a point of light. A little bit like the first rays of sun as it is still beneath the horizon at dawn. Focus on this point of light and allow it to become gradually stronger and more pervasive, like the rays of the sun spilling across the horizon as it rises. Gradually, without trying too hard, let the inner light within your mind begin to fill the darkness until your mind feels bright and radiant like a morning sun.

The key with this exercise is to relax as fully into the darkness before you attempt to find the light, and not to try too hard to find the light. If you relax fully and deeply into the darkness, the light will actually start to emerge in its own time. However you can stimulate it a little bit by imagining the point of light emerging from the darkness as described above.

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