Discovering your mindful compassion – Seven ways

Dear  Integral Meditators,

This weeks article looks at compassion, and how you can go about developing a living, experiential connection to it through mindfulness. The integral TuesdayWednesday  and Space2B classes will be on compassion for the rest of the month…
On Saturday the 17th morning there is the The Six Qi Healing sounds: Qi gong For Self-Healing and Inner Balance Workshop. Then in the afternoon 4.30-6pm the Mindfulness group coaching,

In the spirit of compassion,

Toby


Special offer: 10% off on Life-Fullness Life coaching sign ups from now until Wednesday 21st NovemberThe Life-Fullness Integral Coaching Program (LICP) is an integral form of 1:1 coaching with Toby that you can sign up for periods of six-months or three-months at a time. It is mindfulness oriented personal coaching that focuses upon the development of three R’s:

  • Re-generate your creative self and curiosity in life
  • Re-connect to deeper levels of motivation and meaning within yourself, your relationships and your career
  • Re-awakening to a sense of your own inner confidence, energy and personal power

Click here for full details of the Life-fulness program


Discovering your mindful compassion – Seven ways

Compassion can be deeply transformative. Learning to feel, see and act from compassion can have a huge practical impact on our potential for self-healing, finding purpose in our life, and acting with creative benevolence. Below are a few pointers designed to help you connect to your own present compassion and grow its presence in your life.

Your own present experience of compassion –  It’s nice to begin by reflecting. What does compassion mean to you? Can you recall times when you have experienced it? What did it feel like when you were compassionate? What tends to stimulate it? What is your experience of receiving compassion, not just giving it? Pop these questions to yourself and see where they lead you…Make compassion personal to you, a conscious part of your story.
A definition of compassion – One useful definition of compassion is that it is a state of mind that observes suffering with empathy and wishes where possible to alleviate that pain.  A pre-requisite of compassion is that we care about the person (ourself, others) that we are observing. Love, warmth, caring are the basis for compassion.
Compassion begins with awareness – At the root of compassion is awareness. If you want to have compassion for yourself, you need to be able to sit with your own pain, suffering and discomfort. You must be able to look at it, acknowledge it and accept it. This in itself is a powerful act of compassion. Similarly, awareness of other people’s pain is the beginning of compassion for them. You may have had the experience of being in pain yourself, and then a friend really seeing and acknowledging your pain, extending their support to you. Even if they couldn’t do anything about it, just knowing they understand and they care is a real supporting force for us. Acknowledging the pain of ourself and others with care builds a powerful basis for compassion.
Creating reciprocal loops of compassion – Like love, we need to develop the capacity to give and receive compassion between ourself and others. When we are in pain we need to be able to open to and receive the support of others. When we see others in pain we can give compassion. The idea is to create a wealth of compassion in our life. If we give too much without receiving, we burn out. If we receive without giving, we can become a burden on others.
Practising open and closed compassion – Sometimes we can practice compassion unconditionally, in a completely empathetic, open state. But this is not always appropriate. We need to also know how to ‘close’ our energy system and be more objective with our compassion sometimes. There is definitely such a thing as objective compassion, where we are extending concern to others without drowning in their pain and maintaining a clear boundary around what is ‘theirs’ and what is ‘mine’ to deal with.
Avoiding the saviour complex – Don’t be the person that gets weird kicks from ‘saving’ other people, the world doesn’t need you. Save yourself from your own delusions first, and then with compassion empower others.
Lightness and playfulness are the friend of compassion – In the presence of pain it can be tempting to get all heavy about it. Without dismissing or avoiding the real suffering that is there, it is a positive skill to bring humour and lightness to pain. Explore what ‘playful compassion’ feels like.

A beginning – Sitting quietly, become aware of an aspect of your own pain or suffering, on whatever level (physical, emotional etc). Breathing smoothly and deeply (65-70% of lung capacity), spend a few minutes extending compassion to yourself as you breathe in, and relaxing into the pain as you breathe out. Release what pain you can, but don’t try and force yourself to release the pain before you are ready. Just hold the space and breathe with compassion.

© Toby Ouvry 2018, 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 AsiaOngoing 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 6.15-7.15 & Wednesday 12.15-1.15 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

Saturday mornings 9-10.15am 1st,15th, 22nd, 29th December – Qi Gong workout and meditation class

Saturdays November 17th & 24th, 4.30-6pm – Mindfulness group coaching sessions with Toby

Saturday 17th November 9.30am-1pm – The Six Qi Healing sounds: Qi gong For Self-Healing and Inner Balance Workshop

Saturday 24th November 9.30am-12.30pm – Finding simplicity in the complexity – Meditation from the perspective of Zen

DECEMBER
Saturday 1st December 11am-12.30pm
 –  Get Your Meditation Practice Started Now – The Shortest and Most Time Effective Meditation Workshop Ever

Saturday 15th December, 1-4pm – Integral meditation practice: Optimize your inner calm, strength and energy


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Developing your inner vision (Mindful composting)

Dear  Integral Meditators,

As we meditate we develop our inner vision. This gives rise over time to various experiences of ‘spiritual light and darkness’ that it’s worth spending a bit of time pausing and reflecting upon before jumping to conclusions. In the article below I offer one of my own stories about this.
We’ll be exploring the theme in this weeks Deepavali meditations, and its kind of implicit in the Qi gong meditation we do on Saturday mornings.

In the spirit of clear vision,

Toby


Special offer: 10% off on Life-Fullness Life coaching sign ups from now until Wednesday 21st NovemberThe Life-Fullness Integral Coaching Program (LICP) is an integral form of 1:1 coaching with Toby that you can sign up for periods of six-months or three-months at a time. It is mindfulness oriented personal coaching that focuses upon the development of three R’s:

  • Re-generate your creative self and curiosity in life
  • Re-connect to deeper levels of motivation and meaning within yourself, your relationships and your career
  • Re-awakening to a sense of your own inner confidence, energy and personal power

Click here for full details of the Life-fulness program


Developing your inner vision: The darkness that you encounter in meditation may not be what you think! (Mindful composting)

If you meditate consistently over a period of time, at some point you are going to awaken one or other of your faculties of inner vision. This whole area is a big one, but I want to share just one short story now.
When I first started meditating, I had inadvertently, through some basic hatha yoga, activated my kundalini. As a result, I started to have visions, and the visions that I saw were quite varied, but as often as not they were very dark, dense and apparentlymalevolent in nature. It seemed to happen in waves, for days at a time, then going away, only to come back at a later time. I seemed to encounter dark beings within the dark energy, with hooked noses, long hands and so forth, very Harry Potter.
I found this a bit disconcerting and tried to force these evil visions away with prayers of protection, power mantras and all this type of thing, but the visions persisted causing a certain degree of fear and anxiety. I thought that I must be doing something wrong in my meditation, or I had some form of evil in me that must be magnetizing these funny beings to me.
I was able to clarify the situation as a result of starting to make my own compost. I noticed that when I lay down to bed at night, if I had been doing any work in the garden, and in particular doing composting work, then I would almost always see these same dark beings in my inner vision as I went to sleep. It was at this time also that I started to read a little bit on the idea of nature elementals, the spiritual beings who over-light the fundamental life and death processes of nature. Putting two and two together I realized that what I was seeing in my inner vision was not the forces of darkness in an evil sense, but rather the natural elemental forces of death, decay and breaking down as they exist in the natural world.
These natural forces of death and decay in the natural world are just as important as the life giving forces, and are in no way malevolent. However, for a human such as me encountering them for the first time, they often produce a reaction of confusion and aversion. Once I had clearly understood who and what they were, my fear for them dissolved and I learned to welcome them into my awareness in the same way that I welcomed light, blissful and radiant experiences.
When we start to develop our inner vision we may have some experiences that we do not understand, but it is important not to jump to conclusions too quickly, as what we see may not be what we think it is!

© Toby Ouvry 2018, 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 AsiaOngoing 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 6.15-7.15 & Wednesday 12.15-1.15 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

Saturday mornings 9-10.15: November 3rd,10th – Qi Gong workout and meditation class

Saturdays November 17th & 24th, 4.30-6pm – Mindfulness group coaching sessions with Toby

Tues 6th & Weds 7th November – Deepavali meditation – Connecting to your inner-light

Saturday 17th November 9.30am-1pm – The Six Qi Healing sounds: Qi gong For Self-Healing and Inner Balance Workshop

Saturday 24th November 9.30am-12.30pm – Finding simplicity in the complexity – Meditation from the perspective of Zen

DECEMBER
Saturday 15th December, 1-4pm – Integral meditation practice: Optimize your inner calm, strength and energy


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Playing your roles with freedom

Dear  Integral Meditators,

This weeks articles looks at how you can live your life and play your life-roles with greater freedom and authenticity, using mindfulness.
If you enjoy the article, then do consider coming along to the mindfulness group coaching sessions this month, which will be on this topic…
Reminder of the Samhain meditations Tuesday and Weds, and the Qi gong workout & meditation this weekend. And last 2 days of the special 1:1 coaching offer.

In the spirit of playing our roles with freedom,

Toby


Playing your roles with freedom – The observer selfObserving the world through our roles
For most of us, much of our sense of ‘I’ or ‘self’ is taken up by the different roles that we play in life. For example, professionally we may be a manager, a technician, a banker, a designer. Our family roles take up a huge chunk of our identity; mother, father, son, daughter, elder brother, younger sister. There are many other roles; the sports person, the talker, the cook, the pacifier, the fixer, the list goes on. If you were to try and bring to mind the top three or four roles that you are most identified with in your life, what would they be?
The challenge with these roles is that because we identify with them so closely, we tend observe our world, define ourselves and act from them without choice. They define the person we are and what we are capable of. Sometimes identifying with a particular role has benefits and serves us well. But at other times being over-identified with our roles and attached to them causes us a lot of unnecessary suffering and stress. It prevents us from seeing possibilities and fulfilling our potential.Stepping out of our roles and becoming the observer
So, with mindfulness we learn to step out of our roles, observing ourself and our world with bare attention, as a mere observer.  In this regard it can be very valuable to deliberately and consciously step out of roles we are identified with. For example:

  • As a father I might choose to deliberately step out of my identification with that role, and simply observe my daughter and experience of her from a witnessing position
  • As a meditation teacher I can choose to ‘drop the label’ and observe myself as if I was a no-one.
  • I can step out of my habitual patterns as a business man, and see my daily business activities ‘as if for the first time’, or like a ‘fly on the wall’.

In these examples, I am deliberately stepping out of a role, putting it down, and trying to not see my world coloured by the lens of that role.

Stepping back into our roles with freedom and enthusiasm
Once we are regularly stepping out of our roles, and dis-identifying with them, we can then practice ‘putting them back on’. We can play our roles with enthusiasm and passion, but also with the knowledge that we are not those roles. We are capable of putting them down and stepping out of them when we wish to. We are able to play our roles in life with freedom, enthusiasm and creativity. Our dis-identification with them helps us to play the roles better and more fully.

Exercise: Stepping in and out of our ‘role costumes’
Imagine you have a cupboard in your home. In that cupboard are a collection of costumes, clothes, hats and so on that relate to all the roles you play in your life; mother, daughter, professional trader, lover, friend etc… Take a little time to look thru all these different clothing and costumes. You are none of these costumes, but you put them on in your life, to play your roles. You can play them fully, with commitment and power, but when your done, you know you can take off the costume and put it back in the cupboard. On a deeper level your identity is simply as the observer, the witness, dancing in an out of your roles!

Related articleNo Name (Meditation Spaghetti Western Style)

© Toby Ouvry 2018, 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 AsiaOngoing 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 6.15-7.15 & Wednesday 12.15-1.15 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

Saturday mornings 9-10.15: November 3rd,10th – Qi Gong workout and meditation class

Saturdays November 17th & 24th, 4.30-6pm – Mindfulness group coaching sessions with Toby

Tues & Wednesday 30 & 31 October, 7.30-8.30pm – Samhain Meditation – Acknowledging the gifts and wounds of our ancestors

Tues 6th & Weds 7th November – Deepavali meditation – Connecting to your inner-light

Saturday 17th November 9.30am-1pm – The Six Qi Healing sounds: Qi gong For Self-Healing and Inner Balance Workshop

Saturday 24th November 9.30am-12.30pm – Finding simplicity in the complexity – Meditation from the perspective of Zen

DECEMBER
Saturday 15th December, 1-4pm – Integral meditation practice: Optimize your inner calm, strength and energy


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Nine different forms of mindful centring

Dear  Integral Meditators,

The world  you inhabit and experience is very different when you view it from your inner centre. This weeks article looks at nine different ways in which you can practice mindful centring. Different ways of enjoying your life more in an empowered way by standing in the middle of it.
If you are a complete beginner to meditation, then I’ll be doing a 90minute ‘Get your practice started Now!‘ session this Saturday afternoon, which is an ideal starting point!

In the spirit of the centre,

Toby


Nine different forms of mindful centring

Mindfulness is by its nature a centring activity, so on one level you might say that any form of mindfulness done well is a form of centring practice. What I’ve done below is to compile a list of practices that help you find your centre in different ways. You can then try them out and see which one or combination works best for you. You’ll see I’ve also linked the sections to further articles that explain the technique in some detail.

Body, senses, breathing – Whenever you bring your attention mindfully to any of these three, then by implication you start to bring yourself back to your center, both in terms of physical location, and the present moment. A few moments being aware of your breathing, or one of your senses, or the weight of your body are all ways of establishing a very basic experience of centre.

Curiosity and questioning – From a position of light observational curiosity, try asking a simple question such as ‘How am I feeling today?’, or ‘What do I notice about my surroundings right now?’ Questioning with curiosity focuses attention and encourages your mind toward a point of centre and focus.

Awareness of your non-centre – If you are feeling off-centre and it’s difficult to settle, then using observation and curiosity ask yourself ‘What is preventing me from feeling centred and present?’ Observing your resistance to the present and your centre will, paradoxically, help you find your centre!

The hub of the wheel – Imagine all the motion and commotion; physical, emotional, mental, in your life as being like the circular motion of a wheel. Imagine yourself at the hub of the wheel. All the energy-in-motion is just the spinning of the wheel around you, you are safe, still and centred in the hub.

The eye of the storm – This is like the hub of the wheel, but a different image and metaphor. All the commotion is like a swirling storm around you. You are in the eye of the storm, a still point of calm and ease right in the centre!

Your vertical core – Imagine a line of light going down from the crown of your head to your perineum (point between the middle of your legs). This is your physical body’s vertical centre, or core. Sitting or standing, rock your body from side to side, and then from front to back whilst focusing on your vertical core. Then take a few breaths centring on your vertical centre, connecting to the feeling of balance that comes from it.

Centres along your vertical core – Once you have your vertical core, you can then centre at specific levels of it. For example, you can centre on it at the level of the belly(lower dan-tien), or the heart, or in the head, in the centre of the brain area. With practice you can learn to centre yourself more and more effectively using these particular physical points in the body.

Grounding – Focus attention on the soles of your feet, imagine yourself with heavy boots, or growing roots from your feet, really connecting to the earth. This can be a nice one to do as you walk. You can also practice feeling centring, grounding energy rising up from the earth as a way of connecting to your centre.

Non-doing – Centring through non-doing means to practice for short periods of time doing nothing, or no-thing on the physical and mental level. This helps us to gently settle and centre our mind in our own primary awareness, in the moment.

So, there you go, nine different ways of finding your mindful centre. Enjoy!

© Toby Ouvry 2018, 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 AsiaOngoing 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 6.15-7.15 & Wednesday 12.15-1.15 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

Saturday mornings 9-10.15: November 3rd,10th – Qi Gong workout and meditation class

Saturday 27th October, 9:30am – 12:30pm – Meditations for creating a mind of ease, relaxed concentration and positive intention 

Saturday 27th October, 4-5.30pm – Get Your Meditation Practice Started Now – The Shortest and Most Time Effective Meditation Workshop Ever

Tues & Wednesday 30 & 31 October, 7.30-8.30pm – Samhain Meditation – Acknowledging the gifts and wounds of our ancestors

Tues 6th & Weds 7th November – Deepavali meditation – Connecting to your inner-light

Saturday 17th November 9.30am-1pm – The Six Qi Healing sounds: Qi gong For Self-Healing and Inner Balance Workshop

Saturday 24th November 9.30am-12.30pm – Finding simplicity in the complexity – Meditation from the perspective of Zen

 


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Four ways of working with your inner voice

Dear  Integral Meditators,

Whats your relationship to the voices that you find chatting away in your head? The article below offers four ways of becoming more conscious of your inner conversation, and getting it working for rather than against you!
Meditation classes this week will be on how to work with your inner chatter, so same subject as the article. Qi gong workout and meditation this Saturday morning.
You’ll also see below an offer on my 1:1 coaching, if you really want to go a little deeper with experience of calm and wellbeing amidst the storms of life, this is a great opportunity!

Toby


Mindfulness & Meditation Coaching special offer for October
For the next two weeks I have a special offer on my 1:1 meditation and mindfulness coaching sessions:

  • For 3 sessions a month over the next three months (total nine sessions) the offer is $480 per month (Usual price $610)
  • For 2 sessions a month over the next three months (total six sessions) the offer is $350 (usual price $440)
  • Sessions can be done face to face, or via Skype, Zoom or Facetime.

It’s a great opportunity to get some focused coaching for at a reduced outlay. The only conditions are that all sessions must be completed within a four month period of the start date. So, for example if in one of the first three months a session is missed, it can be done during month four.
If you’d like to take up this offer, then simply reply to this email and let me know. If you know anyone whom you think might be interested in it, then do feel free to let them know!


Four ways of working with your inner voice
“Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.” – John Greenleaf Whittier
Your ‘inner voice’ refers to the inner conversation that you are having with yourself in your head during the day. Sometimes this voice can be critical, sometimes it can be supportive. For many of us it can be predominantly a source of insecurity and dis-ease, rather than support. The purpose of working with your ‘inner voice’ mindfully in the ways described below is to help transform it from a potential or actual weakness into a source of strength.
Listening with curiosity – This first exercise is simply observing the voices and conversation you are having in your head. Often when the conversation is taking place we are very identified with the voices, and we often take it very seriously. The idea here is to listen with curiosity, and a sense of detachment and lightness. You’ll notice that there are some ‘positive’ voices, and some kind of ‘negative’ voices. You want to greet both with a little bit of humour and lightness. You are also trying to gently separate your ‘I’ or sense of self from the voices. You aren’t trying to change of ‘fix’ the voice, just listen inquisitively and lightly.Talking back wisely – Method two is to listen to your inner dialogue and to ‘talk back’, gently directing the conversation in a positive way. For example, if your voices are being critical toward you about a mistake or mis-judgment that you made, you can gently point out the reasons why you can be a bit easier and less judgmental on yourself. If you notice that your inner voices are talking about a work project, you can consciously look for and bring in the aspects of the project that are going well, or that you can feel good about. Here you are a participant in the conversation, and gently encouraging it to go in a direction that serves you!

Talking less – This third ‘mindful position’ is to gently encourage the conversation to reduce and ‘quieten down’. You can try gently communicating to yourself and your inner voices that (for the time you are doing this exercise) there really is no need to process or ‘fix’ any of your problems or challenges. Give yourself full permission to relax and think less. You can take as an anchor for your attention your breathing, or one of your senses, and just gently encourage your inner voices to settle down and rest for a while.

Your ‘still small voice within’ – In this final exercise, you listen a bit deeper, beneath the loud chatter of your everyday mind. What you are looking for is a quieter voice within you coming from a deeper level of your consciousness. Its nature is to be kind, and quiet, strong and wise. It’s easily drowned out by the louder voices of the everyday mind, which is why you need to listen for it more closely, in a relaxed frame of mind.
If you like you can even give your ‘still small voice’ a form to key into. For example, you can visualize it as a small candle flame (symbolizing the wisdom of your deeper inner voice) in your heart centre, and focus on it as you meditate, listening to any message that may arise from it. Or you can even visualize it as a person next to you, perhaps a wise man or woman that you can ask questions to about dilemmas that you face.
You can do the above four exercises individually, by themselves. Alternatively you could do them one after the other, for example in a twenty minute meditation you could do each for five minutes, one after the other.
Happy listening!

© Toby Ouvry 2018, 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 AsiaOngoing 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 6.15-7.15 & Wednesday 12.15-1.15 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

Saturday October 20th – Qi Gong workout and meditation class

Saturday 20th October 1-5pm – Integral Meditation for Intermediate and Advanced Meditators

Saturday 27th October, 9:30am – 12:30pm – Meditations for creating a mind of ease, relaxed concentration and positive intention 

Saturday 27th October, 4-5.30pm – Get Your Meditation Practice Started Now – The Shortest and Most Time Effective Meditation Workshop Ever

Tues & Wednesday 30 & 31 October, 7.30-8.30pm – Samhain Meditation – Acknowledging the gifts and wounds of our ancestors


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Four levels of intention for meditating

Dear  Integral Meditators,

Why do you meditate? This weeks article looks at four possible ways of answering that question, and also a simple way of starting to meditate on intention.

In the spirit of mindful intention

Toby


Four levels of intention for meditating

If you are interested in establishing a meditation and mindfulness practice, its useful to ask yourself the question ‘Why am I doing this?’ and be at least somewhat clear about your motivations for doing so. Our intention for doing something is very important as it acts as a kind of compass or guide as we progress though the different stages of our journey. Formally speaking we can distinguish four basic levels of intention that we can cultivate. Each level helps and assists the other levels.

Level 1 – For self-healing and wellbeing: This first level sees meditation as a way of dealing with the stress and strains of our daily life, encouraging mental, emotional and physical healing. Here we are using meditation as a safe space that we can drop into to whenever we want to rest, regenerate and re-gather our strength.

Level 2 – To build your inner strengths: On this second level we are using mindfulness as a way of making our mind stronger and more effective. We can use it to go from being basically happy to being happier, from being somewhat focused to really focused, to go from ‘getting by’ to feeling really good about ourself and our life. You can use meditation to focus on building any inner quality that you like, rather like a gym for your mind and heart!

Level 3 – To bring happiness and relieve the pain of your circle of influence
Here our motivation for meditation is to heal ourself and build our strengths not just so that we will be happy, but so that we can bring healing and happiness to our own circle of influence; family friends, colleagues. Here we sit and meditate with the intention to be a force for the good in our world, in whatever way we can.

Level 4 – To bring happiness to and relieve the pain of the world
This fourth level of motivation extends our benevolent intention not just to our immediate circle of influence, and those that we know, but extends out to include the whole global community of both humans and non-humans. Here we take on the responsibility and ambition to work for the benefit of all living beings, out of love, compassion and solidarity for them.
In order for this fourth level to be sustainable, we need to build a stable experience of levels 1-3 first, otherwise we will quite quickly feel overwhelmed and burned out by the scale of our ambition. We first learn to become very competent at looking after ourself and nurturing our inner strength, then we practice the care and healing of our circle of influence, then we take on, at least in aspiration the wish to become a caretaker of the world.

A short meditation on intention
Stage 1: Sitting quietly, first bring attention to yourself. Practice gently extending compassion to yourself and your wounds, as well as the ambition to use your meditation to build specific inner strengths.
Stage 2: Then visualize around you your circle of influence; family, friends, colleagues, pets etc… Focus on a loving and compassionate intention to benefit them through your meditation practice, and through your daily actions.
Stage 3: Finally imagine around your circle of influence an ocean of living beings, the human and animal population of the planet. Focus on a loving and compassionate to bring all these creatures happiness and relieve their pain. Just focus on the intention, not the ‘how’, and experience what it is like to hold such an intention.

© Toby Ouvry 2018, 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 AsiaOngoing 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 6.15-7.15 & Wednesday 12.15-1.15 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

Saturday October 20th – Qi Gong workout and meditation class

Saturday 20th October 1-5pm – Integral Meditation for Intermediate and Advanced Meditators

Saturday 27th October, 9:30am – 12:30pm – Meditations for creating a mind of ease, relaxed concentration and positive intention 

Saturday 27th October, 4-5.30pm – Get Your Meditation Practice Started Now – The Shortest and Most Time Effective Meditation Workshop Ever

Tues & Wednesday 30 & 31 October, 7.30-8.30pm – Samhain Meditation – Acknowledging the gifts and wounds of our ancestors


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Visual keys to subtle meditation states

Dear  Integral Meditators,

This weeks article looks at how we can start to access subtle levels of consciousness in meditation using simple visual keys. Subtle states of consciousness can make us more creative, calmer, wiser and give us access to greater self awareness and self healing. So all in all they are well worth cultivating!
This weeks Tuesday & Wednesday class will be on how to balance and activate your subtle body-mind in meditation.
This Saturday (9-10.15am) 6th October is the Qi Gong workout and meditation class. On the same afternoon at Space2B (1-4pm) I am doing the  Mindful Resilience: Sustaining your effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure meditation workshop.

In the spirit of subtlety,

Toby

PS: This weeks image courtesy of Penny Ouvry, Wootton Wawen on the Stratford-on-Avon canal!


Visual keys to subtle meditation states

As we continue to meditate, gradually our mind becomes calm and more focused. This in turn enables us to start becoming aware of subtle states of consciousness that are normally covered up by the activity of our everyday mind and activities. Awareness of these states starts to emerge naturally in any meditation practice, but we can accelerate it by meditating upon simple visual keys designed to encourage subtle states. Below I explain examples of such keys to awaken to four subtle experiences:

  • Awareness of our subtle energy body
  • Deeper intuitive and creative awareness
  • Expanded emotional states
  • Formless timeless awareness

You can read a bit more extensively about these states in my past article the Four Subtle Experiences in Meditation.

Stage 1 – Awareness of the rising light
Be aware of your point of contact with the floor or ground. Look down in your mind’s eye into the heart of the earth. See there a huge ocean of light and energy. Imagine it as the energy of the Planetary being. See this light rising and flowing into your body, through your feet, or point of contact with the earth. See your physical body filling with light and energy from the earth until eventually you have a light body, the same shape and size as your physical body, and inhabiting the same space, but made of light and energy. Become aware of the flow of energy through your light body, directing it toward areas of your body that may need healing. More detail of this meditation can be found here: Earth light meditation form.

Stage 2 – Awakening to subtle intuitive states
Within your light body visualize a candle flame in the center of your chest/heart space. Imagine that it embodies the energy of your intuitive, creative and visionary consciousness. Focus on that flame and relax into it. Allow creative thoughts, images and visions to flow into your mind as you relax. If you like you can think intuitively around a particular area of your life or work.

Stage 3 – Connecting to expanded emotional states
Again, using the candle flame in your heart as an anchor, recall times in your life when you have felt a deeper or expanded state of emotion. It could be love, compassion, rapture, wonder, anything like that. The main thing is it was a powerful experience for you. Revisit your memories of that experience, and gently recrate the feeling of it within your heart space. Relax into that feeling and experience.

Stage 4 – Relaxing into formless timeless awareness
Focusing on the candle flame, imagine everything else within your field of awareness gently being consumed by the light of the candle, so that all you are left with is an open spacious feeling of pure light and awareness. Let your attention gently absorb into that state, so that you become familiar with the feeling of it.

The idea here is that we are using the image of the light body and candle flame as an anchor from which we can grow our experience of these four subtle states in a stable, gradual and experiential way. They also act as objects for our mind to focus upon in meditation to build focus and concentration in general. Once you are familiar with them, you can recall your light body and the candle flame as you go about your daily activities. as well. This will help further integrate these four subtle states of consciousness into your everyday awareness.

© Toby Ouvry 2018, 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 AsiaOngoing 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 6.15-7.15 & Wednesday 12.15-1.15 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

Saturday October 6th/20th – Qi Gong workout and meditation class

Saturday 6th October 1-4pm – Mindful Resilience: Sustaining your effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure

Saturday 20th October 10.30am-5.30pm – Integral Meditation for Intermediate and Advanced Meditators

Saturday 27th October, 9:30am – 12:30pm – Meditations for creating a mind of ease, relaxed concentration and positive intention 

Saturday 27th October, 4-5.30pm – Get Your Meditation Practice Started Now – The Shortest and Most Time Effective Meditation Workshop Ever

Tues & Wednesday 30 & 31 October, 7.30-8.30pm – Samhain Meditation – Acknowledging the gifts and wounds of our ancestors


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Learning to conserve, build and circulate your energy

Dear  Integral Meditators,

How can mindfulness improve your energy levels and energy efficiency? The article below looks at this question in general, but also specifically from a qi gong perspective.
Two classes related to this topic, firstly the Qi gong workout and meditation class this Saturday morning. Secondly this week sees the beginning of a new series:  Five stages of integral meditation practice, from beginners to advanced. A five module course the first class of which will be in how to create an integrated, energetically strong body-mind.

In the spirit of energy,

Toby

 


Learning to conserve, build and circulate your energy (not waste it though dissipation and distraction)

One of the basic principles of Qi gong is that, through our awareness of energy we are trying to learn not to needlessly dissipate or “throw off” our mental, emotional and physical qi. Instead we learn to keep it within our energy field and circulate it within our mind-body continuum. Here are some practical ways in which we waste our qi and life force habitually:

  • Continuous physical fidgeting and habitual muscle tension (often due to lack of awareness of how our busy mind is causing our body to feel uneasy all the time)
  • Discomfort with feeling deep emotion (positive or negative), due to a habitual aversion to the vulnerability that deep emotion makes us feel. In general, deep emotion carries with it large amounts of qi that we can learn to circulate in our energy system. Repressing emotion, or becoming addicted to it/acting compulsively on it, causes us to lose our ability to use its qi in an effective way
  • Doing our physical actions, using much more muscle power than is necessary. For example typing at a computer with our facial muscles locked in an unconscious frown.
  • Compulsive and excessive (mindless or meaningless) speech
  • Compulsive and excessive thinking or worrying

In all the above ways and many more, we dissipate our qi on a daily basis. So, one of the best ways to start practising Qi gong is simply to make it a daily habit and discipline to be aware of how you are using your qi on a moment to moment basis. Ask yourself questions like:

  • “In the last hour, how effectively have I been using my life-force?”
  • “How much physical energy do I really need to walk from one place to another, how can I make my walking more energetically efficient?”
  • “Is the amount of thought that I am giving this problem really ergonomically effective?” (ie: the amount of good results relative to energy spent on the issue)

Here is a simple, 6 minute exercise that you can do to help develop awareness of your qi, and start to build it in your mind and body, rather than dissipate it needlessly. If you do this and nothing else as a Qi gong practice it will help you raise your energy levels:

For first two minutes:
Sit in a comfortable position. Visualize an energy field around your body, the shape of an egg, extending roughly 10-20cms from the surface of your body. Simply sit still, and focus on the physical stillness of your body. Notice the temptations to fidget and don’t follow them. Try to keep all of your energy in the present moment, and within the boundaries of your energy field. Use your breathing, your still body, and the edge of your energy field as your basic points of focus

For minutes 3-4:
Use the core body breathing technique to breathe energy into the core of your body and out to the edge of your energy field. As the qi moves in and out of the core of your body, retain it in your energy field so that you can feel it building and increasing.

For minutes 5-6:
Relax and breathe naturally, your body and energy field will now feel energized. Practice keeping mentally and physically still, whilst at the same time feeling full of energy and life-force.

This final state is the one that we are aiming to make the base line of our daily life and awareness as Qi gong practitioners particularly, but also as any type of meditation and mindfulness practitioner really: Simultaneously relaxed and energized.

© Toby Ouvry 2018, 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 AsiaOngoing 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 6.15-7.15 & Wednesday 12.15-1.15 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

September: Saturday 29th , October: Sat 6th/20th , Fri 5th/26th– Qi Gong workout and meditation class

Begins September 26th/27th – Five stages of integral meditation practice, from beginners to advanced. A five module course

Saturday 29th September, 2-5pm – OneHeart Open Day ‘Activating your journey of healing and empowerment’.

October Events:

Saturday 6th October 1-4pm – Mindful Resilience: Sustaining your effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure

Saturday 20th October 10.30am-5.30pm – Integral Meditation for Intermediate and Advanced Meditators

Saturday 27th October, 9:30am – 12:30pm – Meditations for creating a mind of ease, relaxed concentration and positive intention 

Saturday 27th October, 4-5.30pm – Get Your Meditation Practice Started Now – The Shortest and Most Time Effective Meditation Workshop Ever

Tues & Wednesday 30 & 31 October, 7.30-8.30pm – Samhain Meditation – Acknowledging the gifts and wounds of our ancestors


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Seven essential dimensions of meditation practice

Dear  Integral Meditators,

Once you go beyond the initial beginners level of meditation, what are the essential building blocks that you need to create a well rounded meditation practice? The article below offers a list of seven practices that you can use as a simple template. In relation to it, heads up for a workshop I’ll be doing in October: Integral Meditation for Intermediate and Advanced Meditators

…And a reminder of this weeks sessions: the Tues and Weds Autumn equinox session, and Shamanic mandala meditation on Saturday 😉

In the spirit of well rounded inner growth,

Toby


Seven essential dimensions of meditation practice

People come to meditation for many different reasons, and there are a lot of different types of meditation. The following list below outlines seven essential dimensions of meditation practice, that you can use as a way of expanding your own meditation, so that it includes all of them in one form or another:

1) Cultivate conscious intention and motivation– The general principle here is that you should cultivate a conscious intention for doing things, for as much of the time as possible. In particular, your meditation practice can be done with four basic levels of intention: To bring healing and wellbeing to yourself, to develop your own benevolent inner power, to bring benefit to your circle of personal influence, and to bring healing and wellbeing to the world at large.
2) Build a right relationship to your emotions – Meditation should help you to make friends with your emotions; to look after and guide those that are in pain (sadness, anger etc…) and to cultivate and strengthen those that are positive and benevolent. There should be a portion of your practice that is focused explicitly on this.
3) Embodying your values through ethical action – Your actions need to be consistent with the states of mind that you cultivate in meditation, your outer actions should support your inner development. If your action and ethics don’t, match up to the mind-states that you are cultivating, then inevitably this interferes fundamentally with practice 4, building focus.
4) Building your capacity for focus and concentration – Based on an alignment of your outer actions with your inner states of mind (practice 3), you then have as a basic bread and butter activity for your meditation the building of concentration and focus. In the information and smart phone age of distraction, this is more and more of a premium activity.
5) Develop wise insight into the nature of yourself and life – The function of stage 4, focus is to then give your mind the power to look deeply into yourself and your life so as to experience insight into the deeper levels of who you are and what is important in your life.
6) Cultivate your capacity for wise learning in the moment – Meditation should facilitate your capacity for experiential learning in the moment. Essentially this means that you actively practice  observing and learning as you go about your daily activities on a fuller and more creative level.
7) Giving back to the world, engaging in acts of service – As a result of practices 1-6, you should fine that your own happiness, fulfillment and sense of wellbeing starts to be increasingly plentiful and abundant. As a result, the question then becomes ‘How can I go about expressing this abundance to the world as an act of service that will enrich the lives of others?’ The way in which you actively go about answering this question is your final essential practice.

Is there an underlying set of purposes for doing meditation that is common to all different types and traditions? The perennial philosophy says that there is. The list above is one that I have put together on the basis of the ‘one mountain, many paths’, integral approach to meditation that I expound, which in turn is based somewhat on the principles of the perennial philosophy. The order of this list is based very loosely on Roger Walsh’s Essential Spirituality, which is a very worthwhile read.

© Toby Ouvry 2018, 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 AsiaOngoing 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 6.15-7.15 & Wednesday 12.15-1.15 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

September: Saturday 29th , October: Sat 6th/20th , Fri 5th/26th– Qi Gong workout and meditation class

Saturday September 15th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Meditations for transforming negativity and stress into positivity and enlightenment 

Tues 18th & Weds 18th September, 7.30-8.30pm – Autumn equinox balancing & renewing meditation

Saturday 22nd September, 10.30am-5pm – Shamanic Mandala Meditation and Art Workshop

Saturday 29th September, 2-5pm – OneHeart Open Day ‘Activating your journey of healing and empowerment’.

October Events:

Saturday 6th October 1-4pm – Mindful Resilience: Sustaining your effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure

Saturday 20th October 10.30am-5.30pm – Integral Meditation for Intermediate and Advanced Meditators

Saturday 27th October, 9:30am – 12:30pm – Meditations for creating a mind of ease, relaxed concentration and positive intention 

Tues & Wednesday 30 & 31 October, 7.30-8.30pm – Samhain Meditation – Acknowledging the gifts and wounds of our ancestors

Saturday 27th October, 4-5.30pm – Get Your Meditation Practice Started Now – The Shortest and Most Time Effective Meditation Workshop Ever


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Qi Gong 101: Mindfully increasing & harmonizing your subtle energy 

Dear  Integral Meditators,

Qi gong is a way of working mindfully with the subtle energy in your body. This week’s article reflects upon two fundamental questions: What is Qi Gong? And what are the different elements of qi gong practice? I have placed the answers in six parts or divisions. You’ll see links embedded in the article that will take you to some simple practices from my Qi gong blog.
Meditation classes this week on Freedom and liberation, and stress transformation. Heads up for next week’s Autumn equinox session, and Shamanic mandala meditation.

In the spirit of energy,

Toby


If you enjoy the article, then do check out the schedule of Qi gong classes, and my QG coaching and healing page. On the coaching page I share a little about my own personal journey with qi gong meditation!


Qi Gong 101: Mindfully increasing & harmonizing your subtle energy What is Qi Gong? Here are six different ways of answering this question, that together give an overview of the different aspects of qi gong practice.

1) Qi Gong is developing awareness of and circulating ‘qi’ or subtle energy.
All qi gong practices really focus around this basic point. They are all methods to improve the amount (quantity) of qi flowing through our body and mind, thus giving us more energy. Secondly, they improve the harmony and balance (quality) of the qi/energy flow. What is commonly referred to as ‘qi’ in qi gong is the subtle magnetic or bio-electrical energy that flows through the energy meridians in our body. The qi in our body is a part of a vast field of bio-electrical energy that pervades and infuses planet Earth. Other equivalent words for qi are vital energy, prajna, etheric force and “ki” (as in the Japanese word “re-ki” or “universal energy”).
What does Qi Gong practice consist of?

2) Standing
Qi gong practices teach us how to increase and harmonize the flow of energy through our body by adopting certain special standing positions. If you think about the sky and stars above you as being the positive pole of an electrical circuit and the Earth beneath you as being the negative pole, then your body is like the conductor of electrical energy between these two poles. Qi gong standing postures show how to tap into the energy of the universe simply by standing in an optimal manner.

3) Breathing
Qi gong practice teaches basic breathing techniques to develop and enhance the flow of qi around our bodies. At any given time, if you observe your breathing, you will find that it reflects the way in which your body and mind are feeling at that time. Qi gong breathing techniques focus on giving our breathing patterns eight fundamental qualities; Silent and fine, slow and deep, long and soft, continuous and even.

4) Smiling
This is such a fundamental part of qi gong that I tend to draw it out as an individual element. The expression on our face has a fundamental effect on the energy in our mind and body. By practicing a technique called the “inner smile” we can harness this form of qi or energy for many positive purposes in our life.

5) Movement
Qi gong promotes special types of gentle physical movement to help promote the flow of qi through the body. There is also a mechanical (in the positive sense of the word) aspect of qi gong movement that focuses on putting the joints of our body through their full range of movement on a regular basis. “A used door hinge never rusts” as the saying goes. Qi gong movement help us to exercise our joints and basic muscle groups in a way that helps to maintain them in a healthy, optimal state.

6) Practical philosophy
Qi gong is based around a great wealth of practical wisdom from the (mostly) Taoist tradition of health, primal psychology and spirituality. This provides a context and way of life that surrounds, infuses and informs the Qi gong practices outlined in points 1-5 above.

© Toby Ouvry 2018, 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 AsiaOngoing 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 6.15-7.15 & Wednesday 12.15-1.15 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

September: Saturday 29th , October: Sat 6th/20th , Fri 5th/26th– Qi Gong workout and meditation class

Saturday September 15th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Meditations for transforming negativity and stress into positivity and enlightenment 

Tues 18th & Weds 18th September, 7.30-8.30pm – Autumn equinox balancing & renewing meditation

Saturday 22nd September, 10.30am-5pm – Shamanic Mandala Meditation and Art Workshop

Saturday 29th September, 2-5pm – OneHeart Open Day ‘Activating your journey of healing and empowerment’.


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share