The Gifts & wounds of Our Ancestors

Dear Integral Meditators,

Happy Samhain & All Hallows eve (aka Haloween) everyone! Its a great time to sit down & do a bit of reflection on our genertic & spiritual ancestors. The article below offers a few pointers for gentle contemplation.
Those in Singapore, if you fancy doing a meditation on the subject then do com along tonight or tomorrow: Tuesday 31st October & Wednesday 1st November, 7.30-8.30pm – Samhain Meditation – Acknowledging the gifts and wounds of our ancestors

In the spirit of the light within the darkness,

Toby


The Gifts and Wounds of Our Ancestors

Living as securely, affluently as we do to today, and having the choices that we have has a lot to do with the efforts of past generations. Specifically to us as individuals, our immediate ancestors, parents, grandparents and great grandparents have a lot to do with the opportunity we have today to lead a happy, fulfilling and creative life today. You could say we are the inheritors of their gifts.

Conversely we are also an inheritor of their wounds, their unresolved inner conflicts, their vulnerabilities, their struggles, their blindspots & their burdens. Quite often the gifts and the blindspots of our ancestors are interrelated. For example:

  • I am aware of the gift of freedom that I was given from my Grandfathers in their fighting, surviving and perhaps killing in the two world wars. I am also aware of the emotional wounds and handicaps that come with such a sacrifice.
  • I am also aware of the gifts of my Grandmothers as women; their sacrifice and their patience. I am also aware of the wounds that they carry from playing this role and the limitations that it placed upon them.

Thematically, many of the issues that we may now be facing in our life are a continuation of the patterns of previous generations. For most people this goes on quite unconsciously, but by bringing mindfulness and reflection to our relationships to our ancestors we can develop the capacity to consciously guide and direct the energy that flows into us from our ancestors, and thus make better use of it.

A mindful reflection on your ancestors
Take the image of an ancestor that you wish to connect with and reflect upon, perhaps from an old photo. Visualize this image in front of you and allow your mind to mindfully free-associate for a while; notice the feelings, images and memories that may come up.
Now ask your ancestor (as if they are actually present) three questions:

  • What are your gifts to me?
  • What are your wounds?
  • What is it that you wish to communicate with me at this time?

Listen for the answers that come back, and dwell for a while in a state of:

  • Appreciation for gifts received
  • Healing and release of wounds inherited
  • Clear understanding of their message from them to you at this time in your life

We are the ancestors of future generations
Another question that we need to ask ourselves regularly is of course; what are the gifts that I wish to pass onto future generations, and what are the wounds they will have to deal with if I remain the way I am currently?

© 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)

Beginning 14th&15th November – Mastering your mind & thoughts through mindfulness – A five-week course

Saturday 18th November 9.30am-12.30pm – Finding Freedom From What Holds You Back in Life: Practical Meditations And Techniques For Working With your Shadow-Self three hour workshop

Saturday 18th November 2-5pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self three hour workshop
Satu
rday November 25th 10am-4pm
 – Mini ME Retreat #2 : Mindful Eating + Reiki Sound Bath with Tiffany Wee & Elaine Yang


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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The art of developing a mindfully thick skin

Dear Integral Meditators,

As you may know the expression ‘having a thick skin’ refers to being psychologically strong enough not to be hurt by the insults of others. The article below explores how we can develop a ‘mindfully thick skin’ & combine the benefits of being mentally strong with being emotionally sensitive and open. Enjoy!
In the spirit of strength & sensitivity,

Toby

PS: Next week for those in Singapore: Tuesday 24th & Wednesday 25th October – Meditating with your Shadow Self; Finding Freedom from What Holds You Back in Life – A 1 hour talk & introduction


The art of developing a mindfully thick skin (Make it semi-permeable)

When trying to develop and appropriately thick skin to deal with the challenges and attacks that life and our relationships throws at us we can fall into two extremes:

  • We can be too sensitive to what others say or do to us, making us emotionally vulnerable and negative at the slightest hint of criticism
  • We can become too insensitive, blocking not just the attacks that other people direct at us, but also the love, compliments and positivity. This starves us of the positive emotion and feeling that we need to be emotionally healthy and inwardly whole

To avoid either of the two extremes we need to develop what could be thought of as a “semi-permeable thick skin”.
This semi-permeable psychological skin::

  • Protects us from verbal attacks and negative energy from others
  • Guards against negativity coming from our own “inner-critic” the voice in our head that always sees the mistakes that we make
  • Enables us to strain out the negativity and take on the positive lessons when we or our work are critiqued by others
  • Protects us from negative ambient energy, for example in an office where there is a lot of anger, competitiveness or jealousy

However, it allows the following to penetrate our energy field and mind, allowing us to appreciate them fully:

  • When someone complements us, we take it in and appreciate it in a positive manner
  • We are able to receive emotional support and kind words from others. Loving in relationships is about receiving as well as giving
  • When we are offered something of beauty in a now-moment. For example, seeing a sunset as we ride on the bus, receiving life-energy from trees as we walk through the park
  • When it is appropriate to feel grateful and appreciative of something good that is happening in our life

Exercise for developing your semi-permeable thick skin
See yourself surrounded by a semi-permeable bubble of protective golden light. In crowded environments you can shrink it to the contours of your body, so it becomes like a body glove.
During the day practise learning when to consciously open up your golden bubble and allow positive energy into your energy-field (as in the examples above), and when to consciously close it down and make it an impermeable wall of protection (as in the examples of attacks above).
The idea with this exercise is to be able to consciously oscillate between being appropriately open and vulnerable (able to take positive energy in) and appropriately closed and protected, blocking negative attacks and energy, preventing it from damaging or crippling us.

© 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 24th & Wednesday 25th October – Meditating with your Shadow Self; Finding Freedom from What Holds You Back in Life – A 1 hour talk & introduction

Saturday November 25th 10am-4pm – Mini ME Retreat #2 : Mindful Eating + Reiki Sound Bath with Tiffany Wee & Elaine Yang


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Asserting Positive Selfishness

Dear Integral Meditators,

For most people the word ‘selfish’ has exclusively negative connotations. The article below explores the important idea of ‘positive selfishness’ & how using it mindfully is a really important life-skill!

In the spirit of the journey,

Toby


Asserting Positive Selfishness

What is positive selfishness?
Positive selfishness is the recognition that you have a right to:

  • Pursue your own happiness and to be happy
  • To be fulfilled & pursue your life goals/interests
  • To rejoice in and derive pleasure from being alive, and inhabiting your own creative, expressive space as an individual

With positive selfishness, you are simply recognizing your right to the above three experiences. You are notsaying your happiness is more important than anyone else’s, in fact if you are a ‘positive egotist’ you would tend to vigorously uphold the rights of others around you to happiness, fulfillment and healthy pleasure.

Negative selfishness
Positive selfishness needs to be separated from negative selfishness. A negatively selfish person sees their happiness/desires (etc…) as being far more important than anyone elses. They are prepared to use any means possible to get their way. For such a person the welfare of others is insignificant. In contrast, the positively selfish person sees the welfare of others as an innate right, to be defended with the same passion as one’s own rights.

What is your ego?
A useful definition of the ego is ‘our unifying center of awareness’. It is the point of consciousness or self-awareness around which our habitual thoughts and feelings arrange themselves. Having a strong, healthy center of self-awareness (ego) that is able to make conscious choices, assert needs and take responsibility is essential for living a successful life. One of the main points of a mindfulness practice is to build a strong, healthy, functional ego.
Many people enter a spiritual path, or a path of meditation saying they ‘want to give up their ego’. Since most people haven’t really developed a healthy functional ego in the first place,  ‘giving up their ego’ is a strategy that is hardly destined for success.

The hidden paradigm: Bad = the selfish egotist, Good = the selfless sacrificer
One of the unconscious ideas that we inherit from many of our cultures and religions is that  “Good people ‘sacrifice’ their happiness for the benefit of others, whilst bad people are selfish egoists”. Positive selfishness asserts that it is possible to pursue your own fulfilment, whilst at the same time encouraging and enabling others to become happy and grow in their own way.
For example, in a romantic relationship, you can enjoy and derive pleasure from the other person, in a ‘positively selfish way’. In fact, what could be more insulting to the other person than to say to them “I am only here for you, I am not getting any pleasure from the experience myself!!!” Mutually satisfying joy and pleasure can be derived by each partner being ‘positively selfish’, whilst at the same time practising care and concern for the other person.

A positive selfishness mindfulness practice: Creating a win-win relationship between your own and other people’s interests.

This week as a fun exercise, in different situations you might like to ask yourself the questions:

  • What might it mean for me to be positively selfish here?
  • How can I assert my own needs and desires in a way that is complementary to the needs and fulfilment of those around me?

Have fun and see what answers arise from these questions. Enjoy being positively selfish!

© 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)

Starting Tues/Wed September 5th/6th – September & October Five Class Meditation Series: Cultivating Deep Experience of the Present Moment

Saturday 21st October, 2-5.30pm – Going From Over-whelmed to Over-well: Meditation for Quietening the Mind – a three hour workshop

Tuesday 24th & Wednesday 25th October – Meditating with your Shadow Self; Finding Freedom from What Holds You Back in Life – A 1 hour talk & introduction

Saturday November 25th 10am-4pm – Mini ME Retreat #2 : Mindful Eating + Reiki Sound Bath with Tiffany Wee & Elaine Yang


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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Am I happier now than when I was a Buddhist Monk? (Repetition and inner growth)

Dear Integral Meditators,

How much do you value your happiness? How much of it is in your hands, as opposed to fate? How much effort does it really take to become consistently happy in the way you ‘want’ to be? In the article below I share some of my own story and experience on this topic.

If you like the article & are in Singapore, I will be doing a session on ‘How to rest naturally in the present moment’ in tonight’s Tuesday class, as well as at the Wednesday class.

Full details for workshops for October are below the article.

In the spirit of mindful happiness,

Toby


Am I happier now than when I was a Buddhist Monk? (Repetition and inner growth)

After I graduated from University in 1994, I spent the next eight years focusing very intensively on meditation and inner growth. This included four years as a monk within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. In 2002, I left the ordained life and founded my own mindfulness training business in Singapore, which I am still fully involved in and passionate about.

One of the questions that I am asked quite often at talks, workshops and classes that I facilitate goes something like this: “Are you happier now than you were as a Buddhist monk, leading a relatively simple, worry free life of meditation?”

To this my answer is always emphatically ‘yes!’ for the following reason: I am happier now because, since moving back into the life of a layman, I have been practising the basic happiness skills that I learned as a Buddhist monk repeatedly for many years and I have got better at them. As a result my happiness has steadily improved year in, year out over the sixteen years since I left the ordained life.  I can also say with confidence that my basic happiness levels will continue to steadily improve in the years to come. This will happen in spite of the added stresses that comes from running a business, marrying, divorcing, starting a family, being a father, a partner and all of the other aspects of ordinary life that I am now fully engaged with.

For me this really boils down to the value of consistency and repetition. Quite often when people think about inner transformation there is a gap in their mind between the amount of effort they THINK it will take to change bad habits, and the amount of effort it ACTUALLY takes. When they realize that the change that they are looking for will take longer than they thought, they get discouraged and give up.

So, what we are looking for from a ‘mental fitness’ point of view is developing the ability to practice good mental, emotional and spiritual habits slowly and steadily over a long period of time. This means becoming more like the tortoise than the hare in that traditional children’s story about the race between the hare and the tortoise. We do not want to start off with a lot of enthusiasm, only to lose it when the going gets tough and give up. Rather we need to practise gentle, sustainable effort over a long period of time, without being in too much of a hurry to see results quickly.

This can be difficult for people in this day and age as we are living in a society that has such a quick-fix mentality, where results are wanted instantly. In my experience there are no such methods for deep sustained happiness and fulfilment. Rather, this comes from repeating good happiness habits again and again until they become hard wired into our system. Once they are hard wired in this way, then happiness really does become effortless because it is just a subconscious habit, and natural way that we have of viewing and engaging our world.
In conclusion, the basic message of this article is: find out what genuine good quality happiness habits are, then repeat, repeat, repeat!

© 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)

Starting Tues/Wed September 5th/6th – September & October Five Class Meditation Series: Cultivating Deep Experience of the Present Moment

Saturday October 21st, 10am-5pm – Meditations for connecting to the Tree of Life, and growing your own personal Life Tree

Saturday 21st October, 2-5.30pm – Going From Over-whelmed to Over-well: Meditation for Quietening the Mind – a three hour workshop

Tuesday 24th & Wednesday 25th October – Meditating with your Shadow Self; Finding Freedom from What Holds You Back in Life – A 1 hour talk & introduction

Saturday November 25th 10am-4pm – Mini ME Retreat #2 : Mindful Eating + Reiki Sound Bath with Tiffany Wee & Elaine Yang


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Applying the Three C’s of Engaged Mindfulness

Dear Integral Meditators,

The ‘three C’s’ are three qualities you can apply to your mindfulness practice to make it more engaged, effective & creative. In the article below I explain how to begin…
If you like the article & are in Singapore, we will be working with these 3 C’s in tonight’s Tuesday class, as well as at the Wednesday class.

In the spirit of engaged mindfulness,

Toby


Applying the Three C’s of Engaged Mindfulness

In my book Engaged Mindfulness I outline ‘the three C’s of Engaged Mindfulness’. These are curiosity, courage & care. These three qualities make the quality of our mindfulness more dynamic and pro-active. They actively shape the way in which we encounter our life in each moment, encouraging us to assert ourselves benevolently in the way we respond to our every-day challenges. What I want to do here is to outline how each of these three C’s can be applied in a practical way, enabling you to be confident enough in your understanding to start practising yourself! Each of the three C’s will be contrasted with an unhelpful mental attitude that we, often unconsciously, approach our life with. With this in mind, lets proceed…

1. Replacing indifference & jadedness with curiosity – It’s all too easy to fall into a habituated way of experiencing our world, where we cease to do our everyday activities with awareness. We become indifferent to ourself & others around us. We cease to feel alive. Indifference & a sense of mental fatigue clouds our capacity to see the opportunity for small joys and connection to life in the moment. Today I went to my barber for a haircut. I always go to this man for my hair because he cuts with attention to detail. I watched him with curiosity and appreciation as he cut my hair. I enjoyed the nuances of our ‘guy talk’ as he cut. It made the visit a life affirming experience which I valued and enjoyed. The value I derived was due in large part to my sense of curiosity.

2. Engaging with courage instead of fear & insecurity – To a greater or lesser degree fear and insecurity are ever present in our lives. If we don’t watch out, these two can end up defining our behaviours and experiences, preventing us from turning up in our life each day and acting in a way that truly represents our values. To bring mindful courage to our life means to be aware of our fear or insecurities. In spite of them, even perhaps because of them, courage chooses to think, act and speak in ways that truly represent our values and creative self-expression. Recently there have been a few inner fears for me as my daughter moves from primary to secondary school; which school will be best? What if we choose the wrong one and she suffers? Deliberately bringing courage to my approach to school choices with her has made the process more enjoyable as well as making me more decisive and effective in my responsibilities (as I understand them).

3. Asserting care instead of intolerance & harshness – When we are tired, when the world has done us a few ‘wrongs’, when we make a mistake, it can be easy to judge harshly and quickly. It can be easy to become intolerant of our own or other’s imperfections. It can feel safer not to care. To assert mindful care in the moment is to learn to leverage on the strength, intelligence and ‘soft power’ of remaining connected to our heart, even when superficially it seems easier to make a snap judgment and withhold our human affection. As I go through the ups and downs of my own life journey, one of the things I have come to value the most from myself is simply a gentle, consistent care and affection. I have learned to extend this to myself even when I am tired, under pressure or have made a mistake. This has made my own experience of myself far more enjoyable, as well as making it easier and more natural to extend that kindness and care to others.

As a mindfulness exercise, try sitting and watching your mind, with one of the three C’s. See how your world, your experience of the present moment and of yourself changes when you encounter them mindfully with curiosity, courage and/or care!

© 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)

Starting Tues/Wed September 5th/6th – September & October Five Class Meditation Series: Cultivating Deep Experience of the Present Moment

Saturday September 30th, 10am-4.30pm – One Heart Open Day!

Saturday October 21st, 10am-5pm – Meditations for connecting to the Tree of Life, and growing your own personal Life Tree
Saturday 21st October, 2-5.30pm – Going From Over-whelmed to Over-well: Meditation for Quietening the Mind – a three hour workshop

Saturday November 25th 10am-4pm – Mini ME Retreat #2 : Mindful Eating + Reiki Sound Bath with Tiffany Wee & Elaine Yang


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Enlightenment as a chase

Dear Integral Meditators,

Its possible you might think of enlightenment as a process of sitting down, going within and finding your inner peace. But what if it were a chase where you had to run, jump, be alert, be fast, be awake? The article below explores this possibility!

In the spirit of the chase,

Toby

PS:  If you like the article & are in Singapore, then you might enjoy this: September 19th/20th: Autumn Equinox balancing & renewing meditation


Enlightenment as a chase

If you look at the different ideas of spiritual enlightenment you may have, and those that are presented in mainstream spiritualties and religions, you might think of it as a process of sitting down, going within and finding your inner peace. What I want to do in this article is tell an originally Welsh story from the Druid tradition that presents the process of enlightenment as a dynamic chase. The story is that of Taliesin, the poet-saint of the Celts.
In the beginning, before he becomes Taliesin, our hero is a nine-year-old boy called Gwion-Bach. Gwion-Bach is given a task (along with his grandfather). It is given by the Goddess Ceridwen; to tend to a Cauldron containing the ingredients for an ‘elixir of enlightenment’. This elixir is for her ugly son Aggfaddu. Because he is ugly, Ceridwen wants to give her son the gift of enlightenment, hence the cauldron. The cauldron needs to bubble for a year and a day. Young Gwion-Bach has to tend to the fire underneath, and keep it burning. The elixir will work on the first person who tastes it, so Gwion is told under no circumstances to taste it!
On the last day of the year-and-a-day-cycle, Gwion is sitting next to the cauldron as usual. Suddenly, a boiling drop from the cauldron spits out and lands on his thumb. Because it scalds, Gwion instinctively puts his thumb in his mouth and sucks! Accidentally he has tasted the elixir and thus becomes instantly enlightened. He realizes he has made the elixir useless to Ceridwens son! The next moment he realizes he is in big trouble with the goddess, and runs out of the hut….
As soon as Ceridwen realizes what has happened, she chases after Gwoin in a vengeful rage. There then proceeds a chase through the four elements, earth, water, air and fire. Seeing Ceridwen is on his tail, Gwion back transforms into a hare. Ceridwen transforms into a greyhound. She is just about to catch him when Gwion leaps into a river and swims off as a salmon. Ceridwen transforms into an otter and the chase continues. Again, just as the goddess is about to catch him, he leaps out of the water and transforms into a wren (a bird smaller than a sparrow), and flies off! The goddess transforms into a hawk, and pursues him through the air. She is on the verge of grabbing him out of the air when he again transforms, this time into a grain of wheat, falling into a barn full of wheat grains amongst which he hides. The goddess then transforms into a hen, picks him out and eats him!
But the story does not end there. Gwion then transforms into a baby in Ceridwens womb. After 9months he is re-born, emerging from her as an enlightened baby, declaring his name to be Taliesin! She then puts him in a sealed bag and throws him in a river (what a Mum!), where he is later discovered amongst the reads by a queen, who adopts him as her child.
A few points from this story:

  • Here the hero/ine is pursued by the forces of enlightenment (here the goddess), who are relentless and dynamic in their pursuit.
  • S/he is placed under maximum duress by the pressure from the enlightened forces. S/he is forced to develop and evolve herself to the limits of her ability. The hero must use all of her resources and cunning to survive!
  • Once achieved, enlightenment is a beginning, and not an end, the work begins here!

Your life challenges as a path to enlightenment
One possible way of using this tale is to then start to think of the obstacles and challenges in your life that are putting you under pressure as ‘the forces of enlightenment’. Their pressure is an invitation to you to evolve and develop. You must grow your inner and outer abilities, to move step by step, day by day toward the next level of enlightenment in your life.
If you choose to play this game, then be alert, be ready, the path to enlightenment begins right here, in this next moment….

© 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)

Starting Tues/Wed September 5th/6th – September & October Five Class Meditation Series: Cultivating Deep Experience of the Present Moment

September 19th/20th: Autumn Equinox balancing & renewing meditation

Saturday September 16th, 10am-5pm –  Shamanic mandala meditation & art workshop

Saturday September 30th, 10am-4.30pm – One Heart Open Day!


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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The web of time & the intuitive present

Dear Integral Meditators,

We normally think about time as being in a straight line, running from past to present to future. but what it it were more like a web? The article below investigates how we can begin to meditate on the web of time, and the intuitive present that is its gateway.

In the spirit of intuition,

Toby

PS:  For those in Singapore, you can catch a class on the intuitive present tomorrow, Wednesday at 7.30pm. This Saturday 16th is the Shamanic mandala meditation & art workshop, & do checkout the One Heart Open Day that my and the crew at Oneheart will be putting on on Saturday 30th September!


The web of time & the intuitive present

According to our concrete, logical, linear mind, time unfolds in a sequence, from past to present to future. Time looks like a straight line.
If you look at the way in which we experience time from moment to moment, you can start to see that we experience time in other ways too. From the point of view of our intuitive, or non-linear mind time can be more like a web, with the present moment in time like being in the center of that web. In each moment we are receiving images, ideas, impressions, feelings and so on from these intuitive dimensions of our being and time.

You might think of your intuitive mind as the non-logical, non-rational part of your mind that includes areas such as the subconscious, the creative and imaginative, as well as the higher, trans-rational mind, our ancestral consciousness and dream states. These parts of our mind do not experience time ‘in a straight line’. The past and the future, things that have happened, things that have not happened all appear in a seemingly jumbled up, but often meaningful sequence.

Some of the information we receive in this way can be quite random and not very useful. However, some of it can be very worthwhile and valuable. Indeed, some of it can be more valuable than the information we receive from our logical mind, as our intuitive mind is connected to sources of information that are beyond the reach of our everyday sequential thinking and thoughts.

Sitting in the web of time as the ‘spider of the intuitive present’
Imagine you are sitting in the ‘web of intuitive time’, with threads all around you connecting you to different parts of time and areas of your consciousness. Imagine you are the ‘spider of the intuitive present’, sitting in the middle of your web, waiting, watching and observing. You are very still, feeling the vibrations coming along the threads around you, receiving different impressions, images and information from your intuitive mind. You simply watch, observe and sift through the information distinguishing that which is worthwhile and interesting from that which is probably not useful.
You can do this as a meditation form in and of itself anytime to attune yourself to the web of time and the intuitive, or non-linear present moment.

A personal example: The Buddha & his coat of many colours
A lot of the information I tend to receive from the intuitive present tends to be in the form of images. For example, a few months ago, I started seeing in my meditations a fat, Buddha like figure (a Maitreya figure for those of you who may know him as the popular Chinese laughing Buddha), wearing a coat of many coloured cloths and colours. He was sitting on a pile of gold coins, and seemed to be radiating abundance and wellbeing. Observing and experiencing this I had a feeling that my business was going to take a turn for the better (financially) over the coming months. Sure enough all sorts of business opportunities started coming in. It isn’t that I would not have had the business if I had not seen the image, but the image was an intuitive guide for me to the landscape of my business for the subsequent few months, which was very useful, and complementary to my ‘hard-nosed’, linear and rational methods of planning my work and income!

© 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)

Starting Tues/Wed September 5th/6th – September & October Five Class Meditation Series: Cultivating Deep Experience of the Present Moment

September 19th/20th: Autumn Equinox balancing & renewing meditation

Saturday September 16th, 10am-5pm –  Shamanic mandala meditation & art workshop

Saturday September 30th, 10am-4.30pm – One Heart Open Day!


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Dipping under & dancing within time

Dear Integral Meditators,

A lot of the mental stress that we feel is based upon our experience of time, so approaching the way in which we experience time mindfully, consciously & with awareness is really important. The article below explores practical ways of beginning to do this.

Toby

PS:  For those in Singapore, tonight’s and Wednesday evenings see the beginning of a new meditation class series: Five Class Meditation Series: Cultivating Deep Experience of the Present Moment  all welcome!


Dipping under & dancing within time

A lot of the mental stress that we feel is based upon our experience of time, so approaching the way in which we experience time mindfully, consciously & with awareness is really important. What I want to explain here is two methods of meditating on time for reducing mental stress when we are under pressure. These methods can be done formally as sitting meditations, or they can be done informally, as contemplations while we are going about our daily lives. Like all meditation techniques they can be used as methods for building our inner strength, focus, concentration and calm. Where these methods come into their own is as ways of liberating us from the ‘tyranny of time’, inviting us to feel as if we are the master of our time, rather than it being the master of us.

The pre-present moment – Getting out of time by dipping under it
Time is essentially a mental construct; past, present and future are essentially ideas that we use in order to function. Whenever you choose to ‘drop’ these concepts, you enter what I call the ‘pre-present moment’. This is the space before time existed, or was brought into our existence by mind. You can open a door to the pre-present moment using your imagination. For example, one technique I teach is imagining yourself as a rock or stone at the bottom of a river. Because you are a stone, you have no thoughts. Time essentially doesn’t exist from your point of view. If you like you can imagine time as the water flowing above you and past you in the river. You simply sit there and relax as the stone; inert, non-thinking, entirely peaceful and relaxed, at the bottom of the river, in the pre-present moment. I sometimes vary this image, for example the other day I imagined myself as sand on a beach, or the seaweed in the water. All of these images are doorways to the relaxing experience of the pre-present moment. By ‘ducking under time’ in this way for short periods, you can return to to your experience of time and your life feeling refreshed and with a new perspective.

The present moment in time – Dancing with linear time
The present moment in time is always right here, and here, and here. The more you can pay attention to your experience of this moment right now, the more you are going to feel that you are able to cope and thrive as the past and future dance around you in your mind. A really simple way to do this is to just use your breathing to center yourself in the present moment. Try and stay focused in the present moment just for three breaths, then relax for a few moments and watch your mind exploring the past and future. Then come back again to the breathing for three breaths. Keep coming back to the breathing for a few rounds, really centering yourself in the present so that you start to feel really solid and grounded there.
As a second stage to this practice, as you are doing your three breaths, at the bottom of your exhalation, rest in the natural point of stillness and presence that is in that pause. By doing this you can further deepen your anchor in the present-moment-in-time.

So, there you go, two simple methods for building a more positive, mindful relationship to time, as well as managing your mental stress more effectively!
© 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)

Starting Tues/Wed September 5th/6th – September & October Five Class Meditation Series: Cultivating Deep Experience of the Present Moment

September 19th/20th: Autumn Equinox balancing & renewing meditation

Saturday September 16th, 10am-5pm –  Shamanic mandala meditation & art workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Nurturing your natural intelligence and natural dignity

Dear Integral Meditators,

One of the most important & enjoyable benefits of being mindful is accessing what I call your natural intelligence & natural dignity. The article below explores how to understand & develop these two skills experientially.

In the spirit of natural dignity,
Toby

PS:  For those in Singapore, tonight’s and Wednesday evenings meditation class will be on  positive non-attachment, click the link for full details!


Nurturing your natural intelligence and natural dignity

Today I want to talk about two very important qualities that you start to build within yourself through mindfulness. Whenever you do any form of activity that stimulates your mindfulness, you create an inner space where there is an opportunity to build what I call your natural intelligence and natural dignity. Understanding and reflecting upon these two qualities helps us to develop them faster and more deeply.

Natural intelligence.
Natural intelligence is simply your innate ability to learn, problem solve and generally figure things out from direct observation and experience of life. When our mind and bodies are relaxed and calm, we all have a natural facility to just look at things and learn about what works and what doesn’t. This natural intelligence does not require a philosophy (though by using it you may develop one), nor does it require complex conceptual knowledge. However, it does require you to be able to have enough confidence and inner calm to start to trust and use it effectively. Here are two examples of where I have developed and used it in my life:

  • At art school as a sculpture student, I had a lot of technical problems that were involved in how to make sculpture effectively; How tall can I build this clay sculpture before it falls over? How can I communicate an emotional idea that I have in my head in a silent three-dimensional form? How can I make an effective sculpture avoiding any unnecessary processes that harm the environment (e.g. fiberglass etc…)? All of these questions can be informed by asking others, looking at other artworks and so on, but for the most part what I needed was just to keep looking, keep experimenting using trial and error, using my natural intelligence.
  • As a mindfulness and life coach. One thing that I have discovered in my teaching and coaching career is that learning different modalities of coaching and learning will only get me so far in terms of bringing real benefit to the diverse group of people whom I coach and assist. The fulcrum of my coaching practice (and the one that I believe makes me the most valuable to others) is the ability to look at people’s lives and situations with my natural intelligence. This enables me to enter into the person’s life, understand its context, observe it, and then on that basis offer a series of suggestions that are going to be relevant and useful to that person and that will help them direct their life in the way that they want it to go.

Natural dignity
Natural dignity is something that every creature has. For example if you look at a mouse or an ant going about its daily business you will start to observe that, whatever dangers it is fending off or jobs that it is doing, they are basically happy to be themselves. An ant is happy to be an ant, it is not thinking about becoming a grasshopper. A mouse is comfortable in its own skin, in its “mouseness”. It is not trying to be something else, and in this you can sense a natural dignity, an unconscious self respect that the mouse possesses in being what it is.
Humans however, amidst all their mental complexity and egoic insecurity very easily lose touch with their natural dignity, the dignity of their humanness and just being who they are. Humans often look at other humans and want to be the other that they see. They look at their bodies and want another, better looking body. They look at their skill sets, consider them inferior and want someone else’s that seem better. Basically we as humans have lost touch with the natural sense of dignity that comes from being comfortable as we are, warts and all. Natural dignity is completely different from being lazy or a slob. Laziness and slobbiness is almost always accompanied by low self esteem and self loathing “I want to be something else, but I have given up trying” it says. Natural dignity is just a sense that you have, when your mind and body are relaxed enough that says “I am comfortable in my uniqueness and the validity of my place in this world and in the universe, and I don’t have to do more than this to feel dignified in who I am”.

Two questions
Here are two questions that you can ask yourself regularly as a form of mindfulness practice, in order to help stimulate your natural intelligence and natural dignity:

  • If I mindfully bring my natural intelligence to bear upon this situation/circumstance/challenge, what does it help me to see and understand?
  • If I center myself within my natural dignity in this situation, what would it change in terms of the way I experience it?

© 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)

Starting Tues/Wed August 15th/16th – August meditation three class mini-series: Cultivating engaged-equanimity & positive non-attachment

Saturday September 16th, 10am-5pm –  Shamanic mandala meditation & art workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Liberating your Personal Power

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article is another from my archives. It used to be on my ‘mental fitness blog’ when I had it. Apart from a few tweaks, it is the same, as I still agree with what I wrote (Nice when that happens!) If you can understand intelligibly what personal power is, then you can start to work with it mindfully. That is primarily what this article aims to do.

In the spirit of inner power,

Toby

PS:  For those in Singapore: Starting Tues/Wed August 15th/16th – August meditation three class mini-series: Cultivating engaged-equanimity & positive non-attachment &  Shamanic mandala meditation & art workshop on the 19&21st!


Liberating your Personal Power

What is personal power?
Personal power means making a habit of taking responsibility for the situations that you find yourself in, and for the direction that your life is taking.  You may not be able to control everything that happens in your life, but you can take control of your RESPONSE to all of the things that happen to you.
In this sense you could say that owning personal power gives you a type of liberation. It is a form of liberation because it liberates you from all the inner sufferings, anxieties and problems that you experience when you:

  • Forfeit your ability to choose your response to what is happening to you in any given situation
  • Allow your emotional reactions to slide out of control and cause your thoughts to get locked in a negative spiral
  • Blame things that you are experiencing inwardly on something that someone else has done externally
  • Give up on a goal too early saying “If only this had not happened then I might have made it”
  • Cannot appreciate all the good that is going on in your life because all you see is the bad. This  deprives us of an abundance of both happiness and pleasure that would otherwise be readily available
  • Feel like a victim of circumstance

On being a victim in life
The opposite of owning our personal power is being a victim in life. Nothing saps our energy in life more than having a victim mentality. Many people allow themselves to feel like a victim in life because it is an obvious and manifest truth that we cannot control everything that happens to us. However, as I mention above, this is to miss the point. Being a master in our life and owning our personal power means taking control of our inner response to what happens in our life and thinking, acting and speaking in a way that reflects that.

Two, two minute methods for beginning find liberation in your life through personal power:

  1. Spend a couple of minutes reflecting on the last time you gave up control of your response to life and became a victim. For those two minutes re-live all the pain, suffering and anxiety that you experienced. End the exercise with a firm mental determination “No more will I give away my personal power and become a victim!”

The point is to use past experiences to make you totally determined to mould a new positive future, free from victim consciousness.

  1. The next time you can feel your personal power being challenged by an inner or outer event say to yourself “I may do many things in response to this situation, but the one thing that I will not do is relinquish my personal power and become a victim”. Focus on this determination mentally for a minute or two.  As you then progress to deal with the issue, stay mindful of your determination and act accordingly.

Do bear in mind with the above exercises that the primary aim is to explore and become aware, rather than to achieve. Exploration, curiosity and awareness of our own relationship to personal power and victim consciousness with lead gradually to achievement and progress over time!

© 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

Restarting August 15th: Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Restarting August 15th: Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Starting Tues/Wed August 15th/16th – August meditation three class mini-series: Cultivating engaged-equanimity & positive non-attachment

Saturday August 19th, 10am-5pm, & Monday August 21st,  10am-5pm –  Shamanic mandala meditation & art workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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