Mindfully building your mental & emotional resilience 1 – The cycle of mindful positivity

Dear Integral Meditators,

How can we make our minds and emotions more resilient? One method is to build our store of strengths and positivity. The article below explores a simple, practical method of  going about doing this….

For those in Singapore, Summer solstice meditation tonight, Wednesday at 7.30pm!

In the spirit of emotional & mental resilience,

Toby


Mindfully building your mental & emotional resilience 1 – The cycle of mindful positivity

How can we make our minds and emotions more resilient? One method is to build our store of strengths and positivity, the other is to make the way we deal with our challenges and energy drains more ergonomic, authentic and skillful. This article outlines a three stage process for doing the first, building mindful positivity. I will write about the second method at a later date. Here are the three basic stages:

1. Recognition of the good – From a mindfulness perspective, building positivity can be achieved on a basic level simply by spending definite time each day recognizing and paying attention to things that are positive, that we appreciate, that we are proud of, that we have achieved, that we are lucky to have, and so on, in our life. Recognition of these things contextualizes our daily experience in a positive light.

Feeling the good – It’s not enough just to recognize intellectually the things that are good, we are lucky to have and so on. We have to take these things and mindfully dwell upon the positive feelings that they generate in our body and emotional being. For example today I had a meeting with a client that was a really warm, positive exchange of insights and values. In order to gain the maximum positive energy from that experience I need to dwell more than just intellectually upon the experience. I need to accept, experience and feel the positive feelings that the meeting gave rise to, experiencing them in my body.

Embodying & expressing the good – As a final aspect of this ‘mindful digestion’ of positive energy, I can look for ways to express and act upon my positive experience. This in turn will create more ‘fuel’ for the first stage of my mindful positivity process ‘Recognition of the good’. So, we find this positive, three stage cycle becomes circular and mutually re-enforcing in our lives, helping us build our mental and emotional resilience.

Building mindful positivity as an exercise
This can be done very simply, as an exercise that lasts just a couple of minutes, or as a longer, more extended one.

  1. Spend some time dwelling upon the things that you appreciate, are excited by and/or consider good in your life. Direct your attention to these with appreciation
  2. Select one of these things (eg: for me my meeting with a client described above). Focusing upon it ask yourself the question ‘Where is the positive feeling I am getting from this experience located in my body, and what does it feel like?’ Bring your attention to the part of the body that the feeling is located in. As you breathe in allow yourself to experience the feeling fully, as you breathe out allow the good feeling and emotions to flow out from that part of your body into your body as a whole, filling you with positivity, enthusiasm and gentle excitement or appreciation. Make the experience as real and visceral as you can on an emotional and body level. Stay with this stage as long as you like, enjoy it!
  3. Finally, ask yourself, ‘How might I go about expressing or communicating these good feelings in my life to enjoy them further and spread them around?’ Try and find ways to follow up on the answers to this question after you have finished the exercise.

Related article: Mindfully balancing positive thinking with healthy realism

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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 Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Tuesday & Wednesday evenings from June 6-7th – Practical meditations for spiritual awakening & enlightenment – A six week course

June 20th & 21st – Summer solstice  balancing and renewing meditation 


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Books * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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Turning frustration into motivation

Dear Integral Meditators,

Frustration & friction are experiences we normally consider undesirable, but what if there were a way that we could start to take advantage of them? The article below considers how we might start to do this…

In the spirit of motivation,

Toby


Turning frustration into motivation

Last week I was feeling frustrated about the slow pace of a project that I was working on with colleagues. Although the work should have been simple to do, somehow all sorts of complications arose, both in the actual work and in our communication with each other. As I was experiencing this I noticed that there were two things coming up for me:

  1. The effort and friction coming simply from trying to work out a solution
  2. The frustration, emotional friction and resistance coming up inside me because the project was proving more difficult than I thought, and I did not want it to be difficult.

In this situation, I could see very clearly that there was no way to avoid the first part; I had to exert my effort and intelligence to patiently find solutions to the problems. However, I also started to see very clearly that the energy and effort that I was expending on feeling frustrated about what was happening was largely energy wasted.
Often emotional friction and frustration are a substantial drain on our energy. This is not necessary, but in order to avoid it we need to learn how to transform the friction into motivation. I’m going to outline how to do this in three simple stages; accepting, releasing and transforming.

Stage 1 – Accepting – Seeing and accepting frustration 
When we find ourself frustrated with and fighting our reality, the first thing we need to do is see what is happening, and accept the fact that we may be frustrated and upset. In the case above I needed to see and accept my resentment that things were not as easy as I wanted them to be.

Stage 2 – Releasing – Becoming ergonomic & working with what is there
Often the simple act of accepting our frustration enables us to let go of it, at least to a degree. This then frees our energy and intelligence to focus upon solving the actual problem at hand. To use my example above, by seeing and accepting my frustration I am able to start releasing it. I can then focus the energy that was previously trapped in my frustration toward simply solving the problems at hand. This gives me a quiet and stable patience, making me more effective at dealing with the issues.

Stage 3 – Transforming frustration into motivation
Stage two has already begun the transformation process; energy previously trapped in emotional frustration has been re-directed toward the task at hand. As we get better at this, we start to experience finding the solution to the challenge as a motivation that we can enjoy and delight in solving. Rather than feeling despondent and agitated, because we accept the difficulty patiently, we can be curious about how we may solve the problem. Difficulties no longer make us despondent and agitated, they make us motivated and determined.

So the next time you notice yourself frustrated with a situation, and stuck in a state of emotional friction, and wasting energy, you might like to see if you can mindfully apply this three stage process to your experience:

  1. Notice and accept your frustration
  2. Release your frustration so you can focus on the actual task at hand
  3. Finally, consciously re-direct the energy inside you trapped in frustration, transforming it into motivation and determination.

Becoming good at stage one is really the key that unlocks the door!

Related article: When Vulnerability Ceases to be a Problem – Three levels of self-confidence

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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 Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Tuesday & Wednesday evenings from June 6-7th – Practical meditations for spiritual awakening & enlightenment – A six week course

Saturday June 17th, 2-5pm – Developing mindful self-confidence – A three hour workshop
June 20th & 21st – Summer solstice  balancing and renewing meditation 


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Books * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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Is your meditation a type of therapy, an art-form or a spiritual practice?

Dear Integral Meditators,

Is your meditation an art-form, a therapy or a spiritual practice? Can you combine these three things together into a single meditation practice? The article below examines this question!
For those in Singapore the Practical meditations for spiritual awakening classes begin tonight & tomorrow (Wednesday) evening with a class on the topic of the three types of meditation, and this Saturday we have the Integral meditation & mindful walking retreat. All welcome!

In the spirit of integral meditation,

Toby


Is your meditation a type of therapy, an art-form or a spiritual practice?

Your meditation is a therapy if you are doing it to fix something inside you that is broken. Meditating to cope with stress, heal an emotional wound, to pacify/heal our addictions and demons is a form of therapy.
Your meditation is an art-form if you are using it to push the boundaries of your inner skill, power and capability. It is where you take risks, push the limits of what you thought possible, and experience new ways of seeing, feeling creating.
Your meditation is a spiritual practice when you rest in a state of no boundaries, where the barriers between yourself and the universe dissolve into light and there is just pure being-ness, one-ness, opulence and radiance.
The chances are that your meditation oscillates between these three types in an organic way, but it is extremely useful to be able to differentiate them in these three ways because:

  • There are times when you need to stop trying to fix that which is broken in you and start taking some risks
  • There are times when pushing your boundaries is doing more harm than good, and you need to create a healing space for yourself
  • There are times when you need to get off your butt and stop getting absorbed in the timeless wonder of it all
  • There are times when you need to take a holiday from the bounds of time and space and rest in the regenerative-radiance of your original being
  • There are times when you’re universal, original being explodes into action and demands that you start expressing your inner and outer art-forms. If so, you’d better act on this or watch out!

Related article: The Three Purposes of Meditation

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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 Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Tuesday & Wednesday evenings from June 6-7th – Practical meditations for spiritual awakening & enlightenment – A six week course

Saturday June 10th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat

Saturday June 17th, 2-5pm – Developing mindful self-confidence – A three hour workshop
June 20th & 21st – Summer solstice  balancing and renewing meditation 


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Books * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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Mindfully balancing positive thinking with healthy realism (Steering clear of cynicism and the Pollyanna complex)

Dear Integral Meditation Asia,

Is it possible to balance positive thinking with healthy, critical realism? The article below explores some mindful pointers for doing both, together in a mutually supporting manner.

The class schedule for June is out, see the schedule below the article. It includes Practical meditations for spiritual awakening , an Integral meditation & mindful walking retreat & a Developing mindful self-confidence workshop.

In the spirit of mindfulness,

Toby


Mindfully balancing positive thinking with healthy realism (Steering clear of cynicism and the Pollyanna complex) 

One of the basic skills for dealing with stressful situations and becoming more mentally balanced (and therefore more mentally resilient) is to know how to balance positive thinking with a healthy sense of realism. To do this, one of the keys is to understand that both positive thinking and realism have both a ‘higher’ expression, and an extreme or imbalanced expression.

Positive thinking
The higher expression of positive thinking involves:

  • Seeing the positive side of every situation.
  • Thinking and envisioning the best possible outcomes.
  • Thinking from a sense of fullness rather than lack.
  • Taking responsibility for the situation and our role in it.
  • Ensuring that what you think and say about a situation are framing it in a helpful and constructive light, and not a negative one that will sabotage a potentially fruitful outcome.

The lower, imbalanced or negative expression of “positive thinking” involves what is commonly called the Pollyanna complex the characteristics of which are:

  • Turning a blind eye to the very real drawbacks, risks and dangers of a situation due to naiveté, underlying fear or just because we believe we can just ‘think’ our way to a positive result.
  • Choosing to trust people, groups or inner aspects of yourself who are really not reliable. Sometimes this is naiveté, sometimes we have become attached to an outcome that causes us to not want to see what is really there.
  • Confusing realistic risk assessment (necessary) with negative thinking that will sabotage our positive thoughts and visualizations (unnecessary and dangerous).

Healthy realism
The higher or positive expression of realism involves:

  • Being able to take a good hard look at a situation and make an objective or scientific assessment of the real risks or drawbacks of the different courses of action that we might choose. If you doubt the objectivity of your own perspective, get someone else’s.
  • Not being attached to outcomes. Attachment to outcomes blinds us to risks and drawbacks.
  •  Without being cynical, knowing when others are not revealing the truth about a situation, or when we may be hiding the truth from our self.

The lower, unhealthy extreme or imbalanced expression of realism involves:

  • Undue cynicism
  • Being a victim of circumstance
  • Thinking the worst due to fear, anxiety or anger
  • Any time where there is undue or unhealthy emphasis on the worst-case scenario

So, in conclusion mastery of this aspect of transforming stress involves

  • Combining the higher expression of positive thinking and healthy realism together
  • Avoiding imbalanced extremes of either.

Practicum:
This week you might like to take a particular life circumstance and, bringing it to mind ask yourself:

  • What are the positives in this situation that I can enjoy, develop and appreciate?
  • What are the risks, drawbacks or dangers that I need to be aware of and integrate into my response to what is going on?

It can sometimes be helpful to actually write down the answers to these questions, but either way, the idea is to set up a mindful way of processing your reality positively and intelligently, avoiding undue cynicism and the Pollyanna complex.

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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 Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Tuesday & Wednesday evenings from June 6-7th – Practical meditations for spiritual awakening & enlightenment – A six week course

Saturday June 10th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat

Saturday June 17th, 2-5pm – Developing mindful self-confidence – A three hour workshop
June 20th & 21st – Summer solstice  balancing and renewing meditation 


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * BooksLive Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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Meditation as an act of being rather than doing

Dear Integral Meditators,

How can meditation help us improve the quality of our life? The article below explores this topic in a practical way.

In the spirit of being,

Toby

PS: For those in Singapore, reminder that tonight (Tuesday) & also Wednesday evening there is are meditation classes on Creating inner space & insight through witnessing, click the link for details!


Meditation as an act of being rather than doing 

The title of this article is extremely useful definition of meditation, and one that is very appropriate for information and action overloaded, busy lifestyles. One of the basic challenges that we face today is that there is always so much that we seem to need to ‘do’. Not only that, even when there is nothing left to do, because we have been programmed to “do things” all the time, we just invent stuff to keep ourselves busy. The process of simply sitting down and enjoying the present moment has become an alien and uncomfortable experience for us!
It is also a great definition in the sense that it helps us to see that meditation can include a very broad range of activities, as it is the state of mind that makes an activity meditation, not the particular activity itself. For example if you are sitting in formal meditation on your meditation seat, but your mind is wondering about all that you have to do after you get up, that is not really meditation. However, if you fold clothes and you do so with an awareness of what you are doing and with an appreciation of who you are as a human being, then that is a form of meditation. We refer to ourselves as are human beings not human doings, and whenever we generate an appreciation of that being-ness within us, and the being-ness of the Earth and other living things around us, then we are naturally moving into a meditative state of mind.
Another way of putting this is that a state of being-ness focuses on the quality of our subjective experience, whereas doing-ness focuses on the quantitative, objectively measurable nature of what we are doing. What meditation gives in terms of our daily life is a sense of depth in the quality of our experiences.  Meditation offers a gateway to appreciation, connectedness and depth that we have lost touch with because of an over emphasis on quantitative achievement in our life.
The classic book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert M Pirsig is, in large part, an exploration of how modern culture has gradually lost its sense of appreciation of the qualitative experience of life through its obsession with quantity, efficiency, getting things done and generally ticking boxes of all descriptions. To become a meditator is to decide that ticking boxes is no longer good enough for you, and you want to reclaim the quality of life that is rightfully yours. This can be found simply by deciding to appreciate what you have right now, and cultivate your being-ness. Your being-ness is the natural human spirit within you that, when you are in touch with it makes us capable of feeling happy, fulfilled and complete in the here and now, even amidst the ongoing messiness and imperfection of our life.

From the above we can see that, in a sense no specific meditation technique is needed to move into a state of being. It is simply a matter of setting aside time regularly to slow things down for a while, and really being present to the experiences you are having at any given moment in your day or life. However, there are specific meditation practices that we can engage in that lend themselves to being-ness. Here are a couple should you wish to explore further:
What does it mean to meditate on non-doing?
The Man or woman of No Rank

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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 Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Monday 15th & 29th May, 10-11am – Bi-monthly Monday morning meditation classes (East coast)

Tuesday & Wednesday evenings – Meditations for creating a mind of ease, relaxed concentration and positive intention – A six week course

Saturday June 3rd 10am-5pm – One Heart Celebration Day

Saturday June 10th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Integral meditation & mindfulness deep dive half day retreat

 


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * BooksLive Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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How much effort do I need? – Mindful ergonomics

Dear Integral Meditators,

Coping with stress, fatigue, getting what we need to do done is a challenge for all of us. One of the ways in which mindfulness can really help us in this regard is by encouraging us to put only as much effort as we need into a task in order to get it done, no more, no less….The article below explores this topic!

For those in Singapore, heads up for the  Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment workshop on Saturday 20th May, 2-5.30pm. Anywhere you are, you can view my three short stress transformation videos here:

How to begin transforming your stress
The Deeper Purpose of Stress Transformation
Toby talks about directing and transforming anger

In the spirit of transformation,

Toby


How much effort do I need? – Mindful ergonomics

Coping with stress, fatigue, getting what we need to do done is a challenge for all of us. One of the ways in which mindfulness can really help us in this regard is by encouraging us to put only as much effort as we need into a task in order to get it done, no more, no less. For example:

  • If I am now sitting at my computer typing this article I can be mindful to keep my body relaxed as I type, and relax my mind as I direct my mental attention to the task of writing. If I am not mindful in this way, it is very easy for me to be holding tension in my shoulders and arms, and mentally ‘trying too hard’ to think through my writing. By mindfully relaxing my body mind, I expend less energy on the task and get it done better.
  • If I am walking down the street I can be mindful to use only the muscles that I need to propel myself forward at the pace I need. Often when we walk we are unconsciously holding tension in our face, upper body and so on that is causing us to expend energy for no real purpose. When I relax my body consciously as I walk I am literally conserving energy that I can then use for other things.
  • If I am with someone who is emotionally upset, I can extend care and compassion toward them whilst consciously relaxing and not allowing their intensity of emotion to overtake my own feelings. I can extend care and compassion without exhausting myself emotionally.
  • If I have a stack of tasks to engage in, I can consciously choose NOT to allow the mental tension to overtake my physical and emotional bodies. Instead I can deliberately set up one task at a time, and keep relaxed as I do each one. This way I get more done and expend less energy.

If we keep engaging with this type of ‘mindful ergonomics’ we create a win-win situation in our daily tasks. We get more done with less energy expended, so we have more energy available for other activities, enjoyments and pleasures. More than this the task that we are engaged in in the moment becomes more enjoyable and we tend to be more effective at doing it!

The practice
At the beginning of or during any given task, simply ask yourself the question “How much effort do I need to do this task?” Come back to your body, mind and emotions and see if you can release any unnecessary tension of effort that is eating up your energy when it does not need to be doing so. Seek out the balance point of applying enough energy to get what needs to be done done, and otherwise keeping relaxed.

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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 Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Monday 15th & 29th May, 10-11am – Bi-monthly Monday morning meditation classes (East coast)

Tuesday & Wednesday evenings – Meditations for creating a mind of ease, relaxed concentration and positive intention – A six week course

Saturday 20th May, 2-5.30pm – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – A 3.5 Hour Workshop

Saturday June 10th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Integral meditation & mindfulness deep dive half day retreat

 


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * BooksLive Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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Meditation – Life as a positive mindfulness game

Dear Integral meditators,
What if meditation was not something so much that you sit down and ‘do’each day as a way of paying attention to your world? The article below looks at this idea in a practical way.

Wishing you all a blessed Wesak day and full moon in Scorpio!

Toby

PS: For those in Singapore, heads up for the Bi-monthly Monday morning meditation classes (East coast) starting on the 15th May, & Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment workshop on Saturday 20th May, 2-5.30pm


Meditation – Life as a positive mindfulness game

Meditation is a word whose meaning depends upon the context within which it is presented. Different schools of meditation have quite different ideas about what meditation is exactly. For myself, I like to use multiple definitions as it broadens my ability to apply meditation practically to my daily life, making it more effective. Here is the one of the central definitions that I use:

“Meditation means to focus our attention on an object that, when we contemplate it, causes our mind to become positive, calm and/or happy.”

This is the definition that I learned when I first joined the Tibetan Buddhist group that I was connected to for some years and that, as a Buddhist monk, I would teach to people. It is quite specific, telling us that meditation is a form of attention training that functions to generate and hold positive states of mind. It is also quite general, leaving scope for the meditator to choose the objects that he or she wishes to focus on. During my training in Tibetan Buddhism, the foundation of the daily meditation practice that we had were twenty one specific positive or specific mind states that we would train to be mindful of.

What I want to explain now is a mindfulness game that we can do as a form of meditation. In this exercise the positive object of meditation is not so much one particular object, feeling or affirmation. Rather it is a process of paying attention that functions to make our mind calmer and more appreciative. One of the benefits of this exercise is that it gradually trains our mind to orientate itself around positive thoughts and feelings, making them the ‘front and center’ of our moment to moment experience.

STEP 1: Sit down and either think of or write down three things in your life that you feel positive and happy about. There are infinite possibilities. Here are three that I am going to pull out of my mental hat right now:

  1. I enjoyed my Qi Gong class this morning: I was encouraged by the progress that people seemed to be making.
  2. Enjoying learning about how to create a website
  3. Daughter was happy going to school this morning, no tears!

So, there we are – three simple things.

STEP 2: Set aside a certain time, say five to ten minutes. During this time you can choose to sit in meditation, or you might choose to go for a walk, have a bath or any activity where you can maintain a relative state of relaxation and focus.
Once you have settled yourself and the allotted time has begun, your job is simply to keep your mind oriented around the three topics, and the positive feelings, thoughts and images that are generated in your mind in association with them. Your mind may wonder onto any object that is positively related to the above, but it MAY NOT move on to an object of contemplation that is either unrelated to your three topics, or that is a negative contemplation of them.
So, for an example of what I MAY contemplate about my three topics above are:

  • A sense of the positive flow of qi/light and energy within my body (relating to point one).
  • The harmonious sense I get from one of the artworks that I have placed on the website I have created
  • An appreciation of my relationship to my daughter.

Examples of what I may NOT contemplate or get distracted by:

  • Dwelling on something I disliked about one of the Qi Gong class members
  • Getting involved in a ‘to do’ list for my website
  • Worrying about my daughter on any level

So, you get the idea. If you are keeping to an aspect of the three topics that is making your mind positive, happy, peaceful, appreciative etc, then you are on the right track. Any negative or worrisome thoughts are not to be followed, as are any thoughts that are simply distractions!
This is a simple meditation or mindfulness form is very good for the overall long term health of our consciousness. It leaves plenty of room for us to make the practice ‘our own’ and be creative. It enables us to experience first-hand how to train in the meditative activity of learning to generate and hold positive and peaceful states of mind for extended periods.

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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 Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Monday 15th & 29th May, 10-11am – Bi-monthly Monday morning meditation classes (East coast)

Tuesday & Wednesday evenings – Meditations for creating a mind of ease, relaxed concentration and positive intention – A six week course

Monday 8th May, 10am-5pm – How to do Soul Portraits Workshop

Saturday 20th May, 2-5.30pm – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – A 3.5 Hour Workshop

Saturday June 10th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Integral meditation & mindfulness deep dive half day retreat

 


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * BooksLive Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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Mindfully building a resilient relationship to yourself – Three levels

Dear Integral Meditators,

Over the year I’ve observed that the better my relationship to myself, the more enjoyable my life is, and the more things start to fall in place naturally in their own time for me. The article below explores how to build a healthy relationship to yourself using mindfulness.

In the spirit of warmth,

Toby

PS: This weeks live stuff in Singapore; Tuesday/WednesdayDeveloping mindfulness around warmth, friendship & love, Saturday 6th:  Integral meditation & mindfulness deep dive half day retreatMonday 8th: How to do Soul Portraits Workshop


Mindfully building a resilient relationship to yourself – Three levels

The aim of this type of mindfulness practice is to build, over time a positive mental/emotional habit of self-support in our mind. This structure enables your sense of self to remain healthy and robust under increasing levels of pressure that may come from within or without at different stages of your life. It begins with the observation that our most important relationship is to ourself, as we are the one that we spend 24hours a day with. Any strengths or deficiencies in this relationship tends to get projected onto our relationships with others in our professional and personal life. I have outlined the practice in three domains that are sequential but can be done as individual units of mindfulness at any time.

1) Observing your relationship to yourself – Begin by simply watching the way in which you experience yourself daily. What is the inner commentary going on in your mind, is it generally supportive or critical? How do you compare yourself to others, is it favourably and non-judgmentally, or often critical and ‘top-dog, underdog’ oriented? Before you try and ‘fix’ anything in your relationship to yourself, get to know it, be curious about it. Mindfully watch and learn with a degree of objectivity.

2) Practising non-harmfulness & acceptance – The second practice involves learning to sit with yourself non-critically, to not be ‘at war’ with yourself or undermine yourself in the energy that you extend to yourself. Here you are simply accepting yourself as you are and learning how not to extend harmful or negative thoughts, emotions or judgments to yourself. If you can’t do good, at least do no harm!

3) Extending warmth, empathy, support to self – The third practice involves actively extending warmth, support and care toward yourself, so that when you come under stress, your internal reaction is to encourage yourself, be non-judgmental, be caring, and to create inner dialogue that supports rather than undermines a healthy sense of self.

Making this into a practice, formally and informally

In terms of formal practice, let’s say you have a 20 minute period.

  • For the first 6-7 mins you would practice simply being aware of the way in which you experience your relationship to yourself as described in section one. Observing with curiosity and non-judgment, getting to know your patterns
  • For the next 6-7mins you would focus upon non-harmfulness and self-acceptance, perhaps as you breathe in extending non-harmfulness to yourself, breathing out relaxing into a space of self-acceptance.
  • For the final 6-7mins you would then concentrate upon extending the emotional energy of warmth, support and care toward yourself, trying to sustain this fundamentally healthy relationship to self as you breathe in and out.

So that’s one example of a flexible formal practice. Informally you can take any of these practices as objects of mindfulness when you go about your day. For example

  • Watching your inner dialogue with yourself as you work
  • Not allowing unnecessary and negative criticism of self when you make a mistake – extending non-harmfulness
  • When you feel discouraged, being mindful to extend care, support and empathy to yourself

All of this builds fundamental inner resilience, and makes our life a whole lot more fun!

If you want to explore how to then extend this practice into our relations with others, then you might consider reading my article: The energetic dynamics of love

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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 Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby
Ongoing on Tuesday evenings , 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Tuesday & Wednesday evenings from April 18th&19th – Meditations for creating a mind of ease, relaxed concentration and positive intention – A six week course

Monday 8th May, 10am-5pm – How to do Soul Portraits Workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * BooksLive Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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How to mindfully thrive with today’s stress (safety & fear)

Dear Integral Meditators,

Integral mindfulness & meditation aims to create positive relationships between different elements of our mind, so that they can support each other and help us become more resilient. The article below uses safety/ease & fear/anxiety as a practical example.

In the spirit of resilience,

Toby

PS: This weeks live stuff in Singapore; Tuesday/WednesdayCreating mindful ease, flow & presence, Saturday: How to do Soul Portraits Workshop


How to mindfully thrive with today’s stress (safety & fear)

The stress that we face today is a little bit of a paradox. On one level, we are safer, more affluent, healthier, and have more freedom than we have had at any other time at human history. On the other hand it seems like we are surrounded by multiple uncertainties, insecurities and tensions (for example the speed of the information age and technology, globalization, environmental degradation, global warming) than we have ever been before. The aim of the meditation below is to create a positive polarity between:

  • On the one hand mindfully resting in the safety, security and ease of this moment and at the same time,
  • Acknowledging our fears, stresses and anxieties, helping our body & mind to process that tension effectively.

The practice has two stages:

Stage 1: Resting in safety – Recognize in this moment that you are:

  • Physically safe; there are no immanent threats to your wellbeing
  • Psychologically safe; you are not being actively attacked by yourself or others
  • If you want you can also bring ‘spiritual safety’ in here, which might simply involve recognizing a sense of something bigger than your individual self that is looking over and guiding your life, and that has some power to keep you safe/ help things work out for the best

As you breathe in, recognize this safety, as you breathe out let your body, heart and mind relax into this safety. Allow your mind to rest at ease and your body’s nervous system to switch over from ‘fight or flight’ mode to ‘rest and recuperation’ mode.

Stage 2: Processing fear, anxiety, stress – In this second stage, deliberately recall something that has been making you fearful or anxious in your life: An uncertainty, work overload, emotional tension in a relationship, anything that is causing fear for you, great or small. Sometimes it can be good to start with a small one and gradually build toward working with bigger ones.
As you bring the fear to mind, focus upon the feeling that it creates in the body, and the particular area of the body within which it is located.  Then let your body’s natural or instinctive intelligence set up a pattern of breathing that helps it (the body) to process that fear or anxiety energy. As you breathe in acknowledge and feel the fear, as you breathe out let the fear energy come up and out of the body; let it go, let it flow. Use this method to become more comfortable acknowledging, feeling and releasing your fear.

You can alternate between these two practices in a single session. For example, you might spend 5minutes ‘resting in safety’, and then 5mins mindfully ‘processing fear’. Then you might repeat that for a few rounds. As originally stated, the idea here is to integrate our capacity to recognize safety and rest at ease in the moment with the ability to process fear mindfully and effectively, without ‘living in fear of our fear’.

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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 Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby
Ongoing on Tuesday evenings , 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Tuesday & Wednesday evenings from April 18th&19th – Meditations for creating a mind of ease, relaxed concentration and positive intention – A six week course

Saturday 29th April, 10am-5pm & Monday 8th May, 10am-5pm – How to do Soul Portraits Workshop

Saturday May 6th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Integral meditation & mindfulness deep dive half day retreat


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * BooksLive Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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‘Linear breathing’ – De-fragmenting your flow of time

Integral Meditators,

Mindfulness could be thought of in some ways as a de-fragmentation process for your mind and attention. the article below explores how, specifically with reference to our sense of time.

In the spirit of de-fragmentation,

Toby

PS: Final call for those in Singapore for Meditations for creating a mind of ease, relaxed concentration and positive intention – A six week course beginning this Tuesday/Wednesday, and for the afternoon talk this Saturday  ‘How to develop your capacity for inner sight, and seeing inner worlds’


‘Linear breathing’ – De-fragmenting your flow of time

Often we hear of mindfulness in terms of being more present, less in the past and future, as if the present moment is something static or fixed. In reality however the present moment in time is an ever-changing flow, from this moment, to the next to the next. To stay ‘in the present’ from this point of view therefore means to keep with this ever-moving flow, rather than remain stuck statically in one place.

If we were to observe our mind for a period, often if not always we would see that our sense of time is fragmented or broken. Our mind leaps from something happening in the present to something that we are planning, to something that happened in the past, followed by something imagined in a non-linear stream-of-consciousness manner, often accompanied by anxiety, fear or stress. Experiencing time like this is like looking into a broken mirror; our reality appears in ‘bits’ and pieces’, as fragments, all jumbled together. This fragmentation adds to our anxiety and stress, as it makes our reality appear chaotic, unpredictable and uncontrollable.

One of the reasons that the breathing is such a good basic object of mindfulness is that it proceeds in a linear flow from past to present to future in a predictable, rhythmic manner. The breath of this moment was preceded by the breath of the previous moment, which looked quite a lot like it (!) The breath of the next moment will succeed this present one in a predictable manner in a steady stream, or flow.

When we start to practice mindfulness of the breathing, one effect is our sense of time starts to de-fragment, to heal and to come together as a linear flow, from this moment to the next in a steady, sane way. To practice what I call ‘linear breathing’ means to focus on the breathing from moment to moment in order to heal our fragmented sense of time. Using the predictable, linear flow of the breathing flowing from past to present to future, where we are always at the point of ‘this moment’ and ‘this breath’. By doing this our mind starts to settle down into a rhythm of calming linear time that is both relaxing, clarifying and strengthening.

Practicing linear breathing

Stage one: Observing fragmented time – Spend time watching your mind and becoming aware of how your present experience of time is broken up, chaotic and fragmented. Don’t try to fix it, just recognize it and see it. As you watch in this way you might also observe how these fragmented thoughts-in-time are also related to feelings and tensions in your physical body.
Stage two: Watching the linear flow of the breathing – Observe how the breathing progresses in a linear fashion, one after the other, from moment to moment, moving in a predictable, rhythmic flow from past to present to future. Allow your attention to follow the breathing, allowing your fragmented experience of time to start to heal and come together into a linear flow.
You can alternate between stages one and two several times in a single meditation. For example, you could spend five minutes on stage one followed by five minutes on stage two. Then you could return to stage one for five minutes, followed by another five minutes of stage two.
Stage three: Watching the non-linear flow of time from the stable flow of the linear breathing – a final stage involves watching the non-linear movement of your mind using the breathing as a rudder or anchor. Here you allow your mind to move more slowly, mindfully and contemplatively to thoughts of past and future in an organic way, whilst returning regularly to the breathing for stability.

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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 Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby
Ongoing on Tuesday evenings , 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Tuesday & Wednesday evenings from April 18th&19th – Meditations for creating a mind of ease, relaxed concentration and positive intention – A six week course

Saturday April 22nd, 2-3pm – ‘How to develop your capacity for inner sight, and seeing inner worlds’

Saturday 29th April, 10am-5pm & Monday 8th May, 10am-5pm – How to do Soul Portraits Workshop

Saturday May 6th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Integral meditation & mindfulness deep dive half day retreat


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * BooksLive Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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