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Wanting what you like, or liking what happens?

“Confidence comes not from being ‘in control’ of everything, but from knowing that, whatever way things work out today, I can come up with a way of liking it, using it, & deriving some form of fulfilment from it”

Dear Toby, 

This week’s article continues the theme of ‘making things workable’ from last weeks article on Effortless effort. Meditation, regardless of the type is always primarily about inner transformation which, if done well effects a transformation of our outer experience.

This week’s Tuesday & Wednesday meditation continues our journey into Therapeutic mindfulness, and last call for this weekend’s Shamanic meditation workshop retreat on Saturday & Sunday morning.

In the spirit of 

Wanting what you like, or liking what happens?
A couple of quotes to start this article and get the ball rolling:
“It is essential to understand that daily meditation will not ‘solve’ our problems. Anyone claiming to teach or sell methods that solve our problems is either misled or willfully deceptive. What happens is always and only our own inner transformation. After such transformation many problems will fade or seem irrelevant. However, deeply intractable problems and complex situations often require long-term work. One of the most curious and paradoxical effects of dedicated spiritual discipline is that some situations, previously insolvable, will evaporate.” – RJ Stewart, from the Sphere of Art Vol III
“The day you decide not to ask for things you like but rather to like things that happen, that day you become mature.” – Osho
Liberation is not freedom from problems
Meditation and mindfulness can free you from your own inner turmoil, but that doesn’t mean that your external life will get better in the sense of getting what you want all the time, or being free from inconvenience. What is does mean is that our inner self is transformed and changed, so that we experience our outer challenges and difficulties differently. They become more acceptable and workable with. We don’t need to fight with what ‘is’ so much.
Problems or situations?
A lot of the things that we have labelled ‘problems’ in our life are more like ‘situations’. A problem is something that by definition has a solution. A situation is more a set of circumstances that we find ourself in. There may be no apparent solution to the situation, or the solution would cost more than it would be worth to ‘solve’ the problem. In this case it is more like we have to simply accept and work with what is. If we can harmonize our relationship to what ‘is’ today, meaning our situations, then chances are we will find ways to enjoy it and derive some value from it.
Confidence from liking what is
If we can get good at liking what we find and working with it, then we start to become confident in life. This confidence comes not from being ‘in control’ of everything. Rather it comes from knowing that, whatever way things work out today, I can come up with a way of using it, of deriving some form of fulfilment from it.
Preferences not attachments
None of this means that you don’t have goals and preferences in your life, or that you aren’t working actively and intelligently towards them. But what it does mean is that, as you are experiencing the twists and turns of your journey, you are liberated to enter fully into this moment and live it with freedom. Even if what is it is not what you ‘want’, you can make it something that you feel alive and vivid in the presence of.
Different meditation techniques from the great traditions, from the Shamanic journeying methods that I’ll be leading a retreat around this weekend, to the more ‘Zen’ methods of effortless effort are all methods of inner transformation. If we go into them thinking that it is going to be a ‘wish fulfilment’ exercise, we are likely to be disappointed, certainly in the medium to long term. But if we enter them with the intention to really work on our inner transformation, then we find that our world really can change radically for the better.
Related articlesEffortless effort – Making everything workable
Solve no problem (& leave no problem unsolved)

Article content © Toby Ouvry & Integral Meditation Asia 2023. you are welcome to share, but please cite the source, thanks! Contact 

In case you missed last weeks article: Effortless effort – Making everything workable

When Chogyam Trungpa, the famous Tibetan Buddhist Master was asked “What is Dharma?” (Dharma means the teachings of the Buddha), he replied “Dharma means that everything is workable.”
The other day I was texting a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. He asked “How is everything?” to which I replied “With acceptance, everything is workable.” This made me recall the Trungpa quote, then leading to a few thoughts about the principle of ‘Effortless effort’.
You might think about Effortless effort as a way of accepting and working with the reality that you are presented with. It is a ‘state’ of being that then leads into…read full article 

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Four Tips for Meditating at Home and Beware of Second Hand Statues!

This week’s article focuses on tips for meditating at home. There is a great article that I read this week by Maria Kapaln (Author of “The Guru Question”) called “10 Spiritually Transmitted Diseases” I really do encourage you to have a look through it. There really is a lot of nonsense masquerading as spirituality these days, and this article gives some really clear pointers for developing your own discernment and ability to clearly see the difference between genuine spirituality and either ego-manifesting-as-spirituality, or just plain confusion.

Enjoy the article below!

Yours in the spirit of the ongoing journey,


Four Tips for Meditating at Home and Beware of Second Hand Statues!

Of course we all enjoy the support and interactive atmosphere of a meditation class and the occasional retreat, but the fact remains that if our meditation practice is ever going to truly transform our consciousness, then establishing a daily practice is really what we need to focus on. With this in mind here are four ideas regarding how to support your home meditation practice.

1) Just get your bum on the seat!

As we go about our daily activities we get used to the neutral momentum of “doing stuff”. This means that when it comes to the time we have designated for meditation our mind tells us there is “just one more thing” that we need to do before we meditate. Before we know it is late, and we have to go to work, or we are too tired to focus effectively and the day’s meditation opportunity goes begging. The only solution to this is to discipline yourself to STOP, SIT down and BEGIN! You’ll start to feel better as soon as you do!

2) Get your family to support you.

Your family, flatmate, friends are all going to benefit from a happier, more focused and aware you right? So let them know that you have/are trying to develop a meditation practice, and have set aside a particular time each day to do so. Explain that it is going to be of benefit to them as well as you, and ask them to support you and remind you when the time comes for you to say “excuse me for 20 minutes!” We are social animals and getting others to help and support you really helps.

3) Don’t try and do too much in the meditation session itself

Many of us are already struggling with information overload in our life, and so trying to do a meditation form that is overly complex and/or where we have too many expectations can be counterproductive. Make your meditation time spacious; don’t give yourself too many different things to do. On my website I have plenty of meditation techniques that I explain, but it really can be as simple as focusing on two things: Sitting still and practicing “non-doing” for ten minutes!

4) Set up places in your home where you can sit down and meditate comfortably.

I have set up in the living room, two of the bedrooms and the roof balcony small arrangements of candles, crystals and other objects that, when I sit in front of them immediately helps put me in the mood and mindset for meditation. If one room is occupied by other members of my family, I simply go to the space that is unoccupied. Having physical places that you associate with meditation and relaxation in your home really helps you to settle into a regular dally habit!

Watch out for second hand statues!

A final point I want to end with is that, if you are considering putting antiques or otherwise second hand statues or crystals in your meditation space take care. Particularly with second hand religious statues they can come to you “ready energized” in the wrong way by its previous owners. I was reminded strongly of this when I recently acquired a very finely crafted ceramic Quan Yin statue. It looked great, but I placed it in the meditation “shrine” in my bedroom and promptly got woken up that first night feeling extremely energetically uncomfortable, and after tossing and turning for a while was gifted some nasty dreams before waking up in the morning. The entire disturbance was coming from the dissonant energy that the statue had been energized with in its past.

So, what to do? Don’t worry; there is no need to throw such statues away! I have placed mine amongst the pot plants in my garden (see picture above) , where it will remain for six weeks or so and where all the negative elemental energy (for elemental energy think “physicallized mental energy”) can dissipate and be released from the statue to be absorbed and transformed by the natural elemental energy of nature. Once our Quan Yin has been “neutralized” then we will be able to place her wherever we want with no disturbing side effects!