Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I am consolidating my blog and article writing, and will not be placing any more posts on the Transpersonal Psyche blog.

For my articles on meditation, spirituality and other transpersonal stuff please go to:
For my articles on mental fitness, psychology, stress management and general mind-body balance:
For articles on Qi Gong and Qi Gong meditation:
For meditation classes, workshops and events at Sancturay on the Hill with myself and Shamala:
With very best wishes to you all as ever,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Three stage meditation on transforming and directing anger and aggression.

To find a context for this meditation, if you have not already done so I recommend that you read my previous article on the Transpersonalpsyche blog entitled “In order to find real happiness, first you have to get MAD AS HELL!” However, this meditation should also be reasonably self explanatory in and of itself. It can be done either as a formal sitting meditation, or as a contemplation whenever you find anger and irritation arising within yourself.

Stage 1. Generating the anger and aggressive power:
First, bring to mind the issues, things, situations that you are angry about. You can work with a very broad spectrum here, including things like a sense of social injustice, self-loathing, irritation at personal mistakes, or others bad behavior. In the context of this meditation, it doesn't matter so much whether the anger is inwardly or outwardly directed, as you are going to be transforming and re-directing it anyway.
Having found the object of anger and irritation that is pissing you off/making you feel destructive etc... I now want you to focus on it so that you start to feel the irritation and “volcanic eruption” type energy physically, in your body as a visceral experience. THIS IS THE POINT OF ANGER in the normal scheme of things where we then start to dissipate our energy and force through negative thinking, projection, a sense of powerlessness of victim hood, having thoughts of violent acts and so on. So, it can be a little confrontational initially and feel a little dangerous.
THE KEY NOW, AT THIS POINT IS: Rather than allowing your angry energy to start to fragment your consciousness like it normally does, I want you to steadily start breathing it in and out of your body, without allowing it to turn into unnecessary mental business. You want to MAINTAIN the powerful FEELING of the anger in your body, without it taking over your mind and mental processes. This is a balancing act.
If you like you can feel and see your anger as a flame or coal of fire in your heart. As you breathe in this flame/coal burns more brightly, as you breathe out its energy flows out into your body in a focused controlled manner. Stay with this stage of the meditation for as long as feels right.

Stage 2. Directing it toward a positive goal:
Now you've got the angry energy, it is time to start to direct it somewhere. Since this article is short, I'm just going to say that you should direct your powerful angry energy toward any kind of positive goal according to your aspiration. If your angry at the self loathing you feel from being over weight, direct your energy toward doing something to get back your self esteem through exercise....
(Irritable interlude: Have you ever wondered why there are step machines in gyms, when there are so many high rise buildings around with stair wells that people can use? Or running machines, when people could be out connecting to the Earth running outdoors, what is going on there? I'm getting irritated just thinking about it, but don't worry, I'm going to transform it later!)
...Or, you could direct your anger toward dealing with the fear that you find intimidating you so much of the time at work, or toward talking (constructively)with your partner about the way your relationship has degenerated. Alternatively, you can direct it toward resurrecting your meditation practice that has gotten lost in the business of the last weeks. You can direct the anger toward accomplishing self-realization for the sake of the Planet and the living beings living on Her. Thee are million and one positive directions that you can re-direct your angry, aggressive energy. You are really just looking to get into an inner space where you are sick of passively accepting things that are victimizing you, and you are damn well going to do something about it!!! Breathe with this determination for as long as feel appropriate.

Stage 3: Back up your determination with action.
So, in the above two stages you have committed time to re-directing your anger and transforming it into positive aggression, and then focused it on motivating yourself to do something. So, step three is to DO IT. If you have gotten to the point where you really are sick of being a victim, then this action is going to come naturally, the inner power that you have generated will give you courage even if you are afraid or intimidated. Think about what you are capable of committing to, make the commitment and then do it. If you commit to something and then make a habit of not doing it, then you are going to become what Donald Trump would term as a “stone cold looser”. I am not a particular fan of Donald Trump, bit he does come up with some useful, succinct phrases that, if we apply in the right context can help us to go in the right direction!

© Toby Ouvry 2010 Please do not reproduce without permission.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In order to find real, deep happiness, first you have to get MAD AS HELL.

Next week I am going to be giving a meditation class on Tuesday entitled “What is the real secret of finding happiness?”. The conclusion that I have come to is that if you are really serious about finding happiness, first you have to get really pissed off. In the 1976 movie “Network”a television host Howard Beal (played by Peter Finch) gives an incandescent performance in a scene where he gives a speech to TV viewers encouraging them to start screaming out of their window “I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!!” I have posted the youtube clip below, it is a great piece of acting.

In a previous article on the meditation blog I outline an exercise where we imagine that we have twenty four hours to live, and reflect on what, if anything we have inside us that will hep us come to terms with the consequences of this reality. This is not just an abstract exercise, sooner or later we are all going to be at a point where we have only twenty four hours left. The only variation in this is whether we are going to know we have twenty four hours, or whether we will enter into that last day and night of our life unknowingly. This time may come sooner or later, for example, of the Buddhist study group of about 12 people or so that I taught in Huddersfield, UK back in the late 1990's, two of them are now dead. Both died suddenly an unexpectedly. One died of a heart attack, the other got out of his car in the road side of a busy dual carriage way, and died instantly as a lorry came round the corner at high speed and hit him. I remember this later guy quite vividly, as a the day before his death he had departed from a festival that we had both been attending. Before he left he talked to me solidly for about ten minutes about an epiphany experience that he had had whilst listening to a teaching on compassion that afternoon. I hope that epiphany was still with him when he died, as he would have thus died happily.

Anyway, my point here is that the “happiness” that people put up with in daily modern life is really very low grade, but they put up with it because it is what they know and because it is what their cultural and societal programming has taught them to aspire to. So, despite the fact that this cultural programming is peddling a lot of lies and half truths, and despite the fact that it is preventing us from any hope of real deep happiness, it is very powerful and hypnotic. The only way you are going to get out if it properly is if you get deeply, deeply sick of it. Sick of it in your guts, deeply elementally angry about the absence of real happiness in your life and the lives of others, and of all the crap that is getting in the way of helping you an others get in touch with the real happiness that should rightfully be yours. You need to have that moment where, like Howard Beal you say “I'M MAD AS HELL AND I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!” You then have to take that anger and breathe with it, so that it becomes a deep simmering rage that has the power to keep cutting through all the crap in your life that is getting in the way of real happiness, and keep on believing, thinking, saying and doing things that are going to get you in touch with your soulfulness and true humanity, and to truly touch the joy and peace that is there.

I think spiritual people have two major areas that they have trouble translating effectively into their spiritual path; Sex* (See note at end of article) and anger. The problem is that these are two major drivers and energies in our life, and if we are not able to translate them and direct them authentically at our goals for real happiness, it is almost like we become like a tom cat that has been de-balled. Before castration, the tom cat was a snarling lump of power and aggression. Afterwards, it just wants to eat, sleep and have a cuddle, the drive has gone.
It is already running against the grain of society to go for deep spiritual levels of happiness, there are so many things (consumerism anybody?) that are trying to take attention away from our path and settle for less. If you try and tread a path to the true happiness that is rightfully yours without integrating anger and aggression effectively, you are kind of like that de-balled tomcat; It is difficult to find the drive and power to get where you truly want to go, you have no tools to consistently paddle against the flow of mediocrity, selfishness and and fear that the world is caught up in!
So, just to clarify, I am not talking about hit-your child angry, or selfish-prick-throw your weight around and bully angry, I am talking about a disciplined, directed, simmering rage that is simply not prepared to compromise any more and that has made a committed decision not to tolerate fear, laziness, mass consciousness programming and all of the other detritus that gets thrown our way in the course of each day of our life.

Today for example, I am deeply pissed about:
The bust enhancement ads that have been on the front of the free paper that comes though my door for the last few months, trying to convince women already low esteem that the solution to their inner problems is to get bigger breasts, whilst paying the company thousands of dollars in the process (the wording and grammar is also terrible, an insult to language).
The concentration camps where humans keep animals for food, pumping them full of steroids and anti-biotics before killing them in their adolescence, and then serving it up at fast food joints to be consumed by humans who don't want to know where their food cam from because it might upset them. It makes Aushwitz and Belsen look like a drop in the ocean.
I'm angry about all the time in my life that I have spent unhappy and fearful, believing all the nonsense that got fed into me regarding how happiness can be bought, injected, consumed.
I'm angry at how the ''I'm a winner because your a loser'' mentality is so often promoted instead of win-win type mentalities.
I'm angry that I have unconsciously dis-empowered myself so often, and denied myself happiness that should be mine.
I'm REALLY angry about all the sugar-pink, love and light spirituality that people get hooked into and that just gets them even more confused and screwed up than they already are, whilst at the same time making them BELIEVE that they have got it all sorted.

I could go on believe me, but the main point I want to make is that I'm consciously getting so mad that I'm just not prepared to take it any more, so that at least a part of today will be fully, energetically and sincerely directed at getting in touch with deep happiness inside me, and doing what I can to help others find it within themselves. I believe that is really, really important to consciously cultivate and make use of the embers of rage in ourselves, and learn to direct them in the right way.
If you remain scared of your rage or believe that all anger is inherently evil and to be denied then the fact is you are not going to be going anywhere very fast. I've seen people on their spiritual path for years, trying sincerely, but never really able to find the spark or empowerment, energy and incandescence that really enables them to commit to making that change, to do what they really need to to, to be honest enough with themselves to stare their reality in the face and get really, deeply so pissed of that the old way is simply no longer acceptable. In some ways I include myself in the above description, looking at it it is kind of sad and pathetic.

So, anyway, please watch the above clip with the comments I have made in mind. I guess next Tuesday I am going to talk also about love, compassion, peace of mind and all that stuff. But today I'm just focused on getting mad as hell.

© Toby Ouvry 2010, please do not reproduce without permission.

** I am currently writing a series of articles on the Microcosmic orbit meditation on the Qi Gong blog. This may well end up in some thoughts on “Polarity practice” and integration of sexual energies into the spiritual path, so you can follow this series as it unfolds if you want.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

You don’t have to like people to love them - Looking at the challenge of expanding our exprience and expression of love.

The challenge for those wishing to grow their love.
One of the common goals that we are set in any path of personal inner growth is to grow the scope and unconditionally of our love. We are asked to try and extend our love beyond the limited parameters of ourself, our family and friends, and adopt an experience of love where all living beings are included within the warmth of our embrace. In order to develop love for others, we instinctively try to like them first, we look for reasons that other people are likable, and on the basis of observing this likeability we then try and love them.
The problem, particularly with human beings, is that very often they insist on doing things that are really not very likeable! For example I am trying to develop a feeling of warmth and affection for the human race, but then I look at what we are collectively doing to the environment, the Earth, the seas, fish and other animals, and I think ‘This is not only not likable, it is positively horrible, human beings are disgusting!’
Similarly on a more everyday level, we may wish to try and like everyone in our office, but a certain proportion of any work group is always going to be behaving in ways that are not fundamentally very likeable, just not that appealing.
So the basic problem here is that if we rely on people being likable before we love them, then we are going to have our love-development blocked in many ways!

Reversing our usual way into loving others.

So, as stated above, we usually try and expand our love first by liking others, and then this gives us a way into loving them. This method has basic problems attached to it.
So, here is one solution that you can try; Choose to love others first, and don’t worry too much about them being appealing or likeable!
How can we choose to love others even if we don’t particularly like them? By coming up with a good reason to do so. Here is one:
‘If I can recognize that I am a small interconnected part of a much larger whole or being that I might call Gaia, or the Planetary Being, or the Planetary Self, then I can recognize that I should love others because they are really just an expanded part of my own higher or deeper Self. In the same way that My hand naturally pulls out a thorn that is in my foot because it is part of the same body, I in turn should cherish others and consider them worthy of respect because they are really a part of me.’
So, this is a logical, internally consistent piece of reasoning that we can use to extend our sense of consideration and care to others, and not worry too much about how they are behaving, or whether we like them personally or not! If people mis-behave, we just remember, ‘I don’t need to like them, but I have made a choice to love them!’

Allowing emotional love to gradually follow the clarity of our reasoning.
Initially when we try and put this into practice, the type of love that we experience for others is not a heart felt, emotionally-based experience. Rather it is a clear and lucid space that we have created in our mind that provides the room for an experience of love and consideration for all others to gradually grow and bloom, without being continuously sabotaged by their bad behavior! Over time this clear lucid space in our mind will start to fill with an emotional and spiritually felt experience of love, but it is a different form of love from that which is simply based around liking others.
This technique is a way of using our ‘head to lead our heart’ or our rational/cognitive intelligence leading our emotional intelligence toward a stable experience of love for others. The curious thing about working with this technique is that, when you stop needing to like others in order to love them, it seems to become 110% easier to find them likable! We start to see all sorts of good things in even the biggest rascals that we simply could not get in touch with before!

Applying these principles to your relationship with yourself.
In the above article I have talked about a way of developing love for others without being dependent upon finding them likable, This principle can also be applied to ourself. Many people experience problems in their relationship to themselves because they don’t like who they are, or feel guilty about what they have done or do. Because they do not like who they are they continually with hold love and warmth from themselves. Understanding that we can choose to love ourselves even if we seem to be very flawed is a way of starting to deal effectively with the problem of self dislike or self loathing and provide an inner ‘safe space’ within which we can then start to improve our relationship to ourself over time.

© Toby Ouvry January 2010, please do not reproduce without permission.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Management of my consciousness regarding the lesson of an invasion of privacy.

Effective development of consciousness entails two essential things. Firstly you need to have an good conceptual idea of what you need to do in order to improve the overall quality and effectiveness of your thinking, feeling and acting. Then you need to be able to apply this conceptual model effectively to your life, so that it moves from being an idea in your mind to something that you experience as a reality in your daily life.
In order to apply conceptual models effectively, we need to take every challenge that we find in our life as a chance to practice. This weekend I had a challenge that I think provides quite a good example of how to do this, and so I thought I would put it into an article.

The stated issue:
I was sent an email purporting to be from a friend inviting me to become a member of a website called tubley.com. In the process of trying to find out exactly what tubley was about, the site appropriated all the contacts from my email, and sent (without my permission) an email inviting my whole contact list to become a member of
tubley.com .
After having figured out what happened I felt very irritated about this invasion of privacy, and concerned that I may have done something that would in turn inconvenience friends and clients in the same way that I had been inconvenienced.

Practical things I did to manage the reaction of my consciousness to the issue.

1) Mindful acknowledgment of the problem.
The first thing that I did was to use my mindfulness to consciously recognize that I had in fact been disturbed inwardly by the events, and make a definite decision to deal with it effectively. This sounds like an obvious thing to do, but in reality we often avoid or deny negative emotional reactions within our mind and hope they will just go away if we ignore or repress them long enough. Effective management of issues within our mind involves acknowledging them as early as possible, and empowering ourselves to act to use all the practical tools that we have available to deal with the problem as well as we are able.

2) Recognition of trauma to the emotional being and child self.
I felt as if my privacy and inner space had been invaded. When this sort of thing happens it is most often our emotional self and child self that feels victimized by what has happened. So, one of the first steps that I took was to connect to my inner family and make sure that my parental self and wise old self were fully connecting and communicating to my inner child, telling him that he was not alone, that he was protected, that there was no need to panic and so on. When outer families face problems, if they stick together and remain strong then it will be very difficult for the problem to cause weakness and division amongst the members. It is the same with our ‘inner family’, if they stick together and work with each other, then it is very difficult for stress and anxiety to gain the upper hand in our mind. For this reason I often check on my own inner family, and make sure that they are communicating well together and supporting each other.
For a full description of the inner family and the different forms of intelligence they embody, please see my article on multiple intelligences.

3) Do all that can be done to manage the situation on an outer level.
What had happened had happened, I could not change that, but it was important to create a short battle plan to minimize the outer effects. This was relatively simple; send an email to everyone saying please ignore the message from tubley, and change my email password.
On a practical level this was very simple to do, but it was very important to think about it, make a definite list of all the things that could be done and then do them. This way when my mind starts worrying about the inconvenience that may be caused, or what needs to be done I can say to it ‘Everything that can be done externally has been done, there is no need to worry, you just need to let go now’.

4) Recognition of all the positive and enjoyable aspects of the weekend.
When something goes wrong, I find that it is really important to deliberately bring to mind all the good things that have happened on that day, so that rather than dwelling on the one negative thing, I am still actively appreciating the positives that have been happening. So, I simply wrote a short list of all the things to appreciate over the weekend, and made sure that when my mind started dwelling on the tubley issue, I immediately brought some of the good things to the fore front of my mind. These positive things were nothing unusual, here are a few examples:
- Restrung tennis racquet
- Had nice lunch out un very pleasant location
- Daughter recovered from fever
- Got all housework tasks done by Saturday lunchtime
Simple as these things are, by keeping a definite appreciation of them, emotionally I was able to sustain a real feeling of ‘yes, I have had a really good weekend’ even tho something a little unpleasant had happened.

5) Awareness of imbalance to energy system and discipline in meditation and Qi Gong.
I became aware that the whole tubley issue had set of a few imbalances energetically in my mind and body, for whatever reason. When we start to feel energetically imbalanced it can be very easy to start skipping our meditation and other mind/body training disciplines, when in fact these are the very times when we need them the most!
I did not do any extra meditation or Qi Gong practice this weekend, but I made very sure that I stuck to my normal routine, and consciously used my time in meditation and Qi Gong practice to address the imbalances I could feel and move my energy system back into balance, harmony and synchronization.

6) Keep smiling.
When something goes a bit wrong, one of the main ways that our negative ego and fear based thinking gets us to buy into its agenda is by getting us to take the whole thing VERY SERIOUSLY!!
So, one of the mindfulness exercises that I worked with as I was going about my daily affairs was to practice the inner smile. This prevented me from buying into any neurotic worrying or anxiety based around fear (eg: Thoughts like ‘Oh my God, what if people really think I belong to this stupid site, and want them to become a member of the ‘find a sexy date’ section??!!’) and helped me to increase my ability to remain confident in the face of a sustained attack of anxiety based thinking!
For basic information on the inner smile practice check out my article HERE:

7) Turn the situation into something useful.
The final thing that became apparent with regard to this situation was that it was actually quite a good illustration of how you can use different conscious management tools to transform an everyday situation. So, I write this article and posted it for people to read, thus making the whole thing a useful happening not just for me, but also hopefully for other people to gain a little bit of insight as well!

So, my final observation; please note that points 2-7 all depend upon point 1. This is the lynch pin of applying what you know about consciousness management to your daily life!

© Toby Ouvry 2010 please do not reproduce without permission.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Questions to sit with over the Christmas and New Year period

The Christmas and new year period sits at a time that has had festivals of significance associated with it for thousands of years prior to the Christian age. The most prominent of these is the winter solstice which is celebrated on 21st/22nd December in the northern hemisphere (21st/22nd June in the southern hemisphere, where the seasons are reversed). From the time of the summer solstice the power of the Sun and of the outer light has been waning as we move from autumn into winter. The 21st December is the day of the shortest daylight and longest night, a time of maximum darkness on the land. However, from this low ebb the power of the Sun gradually starts to increase as the days go by, giving rise to the idea of the winter solstice time as a time when the light of the world is reborn anew from the darkness of winter.
It is not surprising therefore that the Church fathers in the mid 2nd century chose to locate the birthday of Christ around this time, thus combining the celebration of the birthday of Jesus with the ancient celebration of the rebirth of the outer an inner light of the world that is the winter solstice.

With this in mind here are two questions regarding our inner growth that we can reflect on at this time of year. Amidst the social whirl of the holiday period, if we can make some quiet time available for these questions they may help us enter the new year in a greater sense of alignment and purpose:

1) 'What is it that is finished and dying within my life that I need to let go of in order to provide room for new life?'

The year is reaching its end and we find ourselves at the end of many of the creative cycles that we have engaged in during the year. We can reflect upon the outer and inner aspects of our life that have lived our their time, and that now need to be released and let go of in order that we may move onto new levels of seeing, being and acting in the world in the new year. If we hold onto parts of our being, persona, relationships and so on that are in reality no longer serving us, then we can prevent that which is ripe for manifestation in our life from arising.
When we ask ourselves this question we may be able to identify particular phenomenon that we need to release, or we may just feel a general sense of releasing old patterns of energy in our life.

Having done this we can then go onto the second question:

2)'What is it that has arisen within me this year that may act as the seed for new creativity within me?'

During the previous year there may have arisen ideas or feelings within you that have not yet been articulated, but when you ask yourself this question they naturally arise or pop into your mind. These are areas of your life that you now have an opportunity to develop or grow into. Like the previous question we may find that specific, identifiable goals and ambitions arise that we feel enthusiastic about. Alternatively there may just be a general sense that there are seeds that have been lying dormant within our being that are now ready to spring forth and give rise to new life. Asking ourself this question can help to fill our mind with a sense of positive anticipation with regard to what is to come in 2010, and we can take this momentum with us into January and beyond.

Wishing you all a very blessed Winter Solstice, Christmas ans New Year!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How do we Develop and Grow our Intention?

This article is based around my response to a good question that was asked in response to last weeks article on ''The Vital Importance of Context for Spiritual Practices''. First, here is the question:
I guess after reading the article one of the questions I had was how do we know what is the "correct" state of mind or the proper intentions and motivations with which we should approach meditation and spiritual
growth ?

Here is my response:
Well, there are a few different ways to answer this, but one way of doing so is to say that you need to have a context or conceptual framework within which you can gradually grow and improve the scope of your intention. One such framework is a four fold division of intention and perspective as follows:
These four stages represent four stages that ideally speaking each human being should evolve through in their lifetime. Unfortunately most people are somewhat stuck in the first two. Someone who has a solely egocentric view is basically someone whose perspective and intention includes/is focused on only themselves. we are all functioning from this point of view as young children, but if we do not grow out of this as we move into adult hood, then essentially any act we engage in, including spiritual activities will be based around selfish motives, and in its extreme form will manifest as sociopathic or psychopathic behaviors.
Someone who then evolves (as most people growing up into adulthood naturally do) to an ethnocentric worldview essentially learns to identify with family, racial, religious and other conventional ''tribal'' roles, behaviors and ways of viewing the world. Such a person may develop compassion, love, humility and sacrifice, but it is always bias toward their particular race, religion etc. For example the Nazis did advocate compassion, sacrifice, humility and all sorts of other noble qualities, but it was all in the in the service of the Aryan race. It was this ethnocentric bias that enabled them to cultivate these good qualities with regard to ''their own'', whilst at the same time euthanizing groups that did not fall into the Aryan ideal (eg: mentally and physically handicapped), and attempting to wipe out other racial groups (eg: Jews). So, although it is not taken to the extreme of the Nazis, probably the majority of the worlds population is ethnocentric in one way or another.
Someone who them moves to a world centric perspective and intention basically goes beyond cultural, racial and tribal mindsets and includes all humans within the scope of their care and consideration you  could say that this is the first truly ''spiritual'' level of intention in the sense that it transcends cultural conditioning and truly starts to embrace the whole. So, as spiritual practitioners/mediators, we are trying to magnetize our motivation to this level at least.
From world centric we them move to Cosmocentric or Universal levels of perspective and intention, when our actions are engaged in for the sake of all living beings, not just humans (ie; animals, forests, sea creatures etc... all forms of life in the Universe are taken into account).  
So, each of us as individuals have the elements of all four of the above perspectives within ourselves, and the journey toward a truly spiritual intention involves magnetizing ourselves gradually toward the 3rd and 4th levels, worldcentric and cosmocentric, over a period of time.
A final point here is that we should try and adopt a policy of ''transcend and include'' when it comes to these four levels. So, for example to transcend the egocentric level ideally means that we are making our motivation bigger than just self, but at the same time we should learn appropriate ways to look after, nurture and develop our everyday ego as a healthy, functioning unit. Looking at the ethnocentric level, to transcend this and go to worldcentric does not mean that we cannot enjoy and nurture our cultural and racial roots, it just means that our identity and behavior is not dictated by our racial and cultural background. So, the basic idea is that ego and ethnicity are included in our makeup, but they do not dictate our behavior or limit our perspective or intention .
You can find a complementary article on the above on stages of development explanation here, by a guy called Ken Wilbur who is the originator of the expression''transcend and include'' that I use above.