Integral Awareness Meditation techniques Mindful Self-Leadership Motivation and scope Uncategorized

What is Self-Awareness?

Dear Integral Meditators,

Self awareness is one of the foundation tools for both mindfulness and meditation in general, and Mindful Self Leadership in particular. As the article points out, self awareness is relatively easy to understand, not quite so easy to do!

Yours in the spirit of self awareness,


What is Self-Awareness? 

Self Awareness is a commitment to be aware of your reality; that is the world of your feelings, needs, desires, ideas, evaluations and behavior. Self awareness acts as the foundation for mindful self-leadership because if it is only by becoming aware and getting to know yourself thoroughly that you will be able to lead yourself effectively by engaging in authentic decisions and actions that will lead to your self-fulfilment.

Self awareness is a challenging task for most of us because we have been training ourselves to see only what we want to see about ourselves for a very long time. We have invested deeply in NOT seeing the things that make us uncomfortable about ourself and/or that threaten our self-image. Examples of what we choose not to see might be:

– If I have a feeling that I have been taught from childhood is ‘bad’ (eg: jealousy), then I will have been training myself not to see my own jealousy for a long time, because to admit to being jealous would to be to admit to being a bad person
– If I have been taught that in order to fit into my social group I need to ‘sacrifice’ my needs for the needs of others, then I (often unconsciously) train myself to deny and not see some of my deepest desires for self fulfillment
– If I lack confidence in myself I may discard or deny my own opinions in favor of what someone else says; I will not value or trust my own perception, instead I will turn away from awareness of it.

So self awareness is about ‘standing naked’ in front of the mirror of your own awareness and accepting all of the feelings you have, as well as the needs, desires, creative power, behaviors and ideas that you have without editing.

Questions for beginning the process of self-awareness

If I am more honest with myself about the way I feel about X (pick your own subject) I might realize that –
If I look more openly at the way I behaved today when X (pick your own life situation) I can see that I –
If I am honest with myself the thing I desire most in my career, relationship, X (pick your own life situation) is –

Sit for a while with any of these sentences. Try and listen to all the answers that come back in your mind without editing or judging them. If you like you can actually write them down. Notice that some of the answers that come back you will feel comfortable with, some very uncomfortable. Sit with them both, sit with them all; be aware of the totality of your experience of your feelings, behaviors or desires.

What might be the consequences of what you discover through self awareness?

© Toby Ouvry 2014, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

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That Which Solves All Your Problems and None

Dear Integral Meditators,

All of us crave a final solution to all our problems, a place where we can go and find true peace. The good news is that such a solution it always available to us in each moment.  The challenge is that after we have solved all our problems in this way, we still have to solve all our problems. You’ll see what I mean below.

I’ll be doing a free talk on Mindful Self-Leadership on the 4th May, full information can be found HERE.

Yours in the spirit of problem solving,


That Which Solves All Your Problems and None

One of the fundamental insights from the enlightenment experience induced by meditation is that, behind every tangible experience that we have there is an experience of formless, timeless awareness which embraces, enables and transcends that experience.

The interesting thing is that, whereas the experience itself may give rise to pleasure and pain, dilemmas, anxiety, elation, depression etc, this formless timeless dimension that lies behind the experience is simply and continuously present to what is arising, witnessing what is going on with both benevolent intimacy and (to our perception), terrifying indifference.

Whereas I, Toby as a body-mind am a distinct person on a personal (hopefully developmental) journey through life, the part of me that is simply formless timeless awareness is already at the destination to that journey, and at the same time has never begun that journey in the first place.

Whilst the Toby in this world works to develop a business, become a better, kinder person, work off the weight that the Easter eggs have put on his waist line, sets goals, suffers, and has successes, the formless timeless Toby has no ambition to develop or to achieve because from its perspective everything has been achieved already, and ultimately there was no-thing to achieve in the first place.

While the Toby in time and space craves resolution to his problems, anxieties and dilemmas, as well as the fulfillment of his deepest wishes, the transcendent Toby has no problems, and even if he did (which he doesn’t) they would be solved instantly in the experience of the timeless present.

So, as I think you can start to see spiritual enlightenment, that is a living connection to the formless, timeless, ever present dimension of reality solves all of our problems ultimately, but in the mean time it solves none of them at all! We are still challenged to face off with our challenges in time and space each day with curiosity, courage and care, and do the best we can.

There is no doubt that many people come to meditation and spirituality as a means of escaping from a seemingly intractable, chaotic and painful world, and it is an easy trap to fall into. I however like to think of the peaceful, problemless space of the timeless present as an invitation to get our hands dirty in the world of time and space, to participate fully, to play the game.

As an exercise for this week if you choose, simply sit quietly and think to yourself “Ultimately all of my problems are solved”. Enter, sit with and breathe in this space where everything is well, and all problems never existed. Recognize this space, let yourself go into it.
As you reach the end of the exercise, let your mind full up again with the intractable messiness, imperfection and vulnerability of your life.

Now, go and solve your problems.