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A Mind of Ease Awareness and insight creative imagery Enlightened Flow Inner vision Insight Meditation Integral Meditation Integrating Ego, Soul and Spirit Life-fullness Meditation techniques Presence and being present Primal Spirituality The Essential Meditation of the Buddha

Watching, then dropping the watcher

“Gently drop the sense of there being an observer in your field of awareness so that: Your senses simple arise as themselves, desires are experienced without a desirer, conflicting energy is simply itself & ideas arise free of an owner”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

In last weeks article I looked at the contrast between single-pointedness & field-awareness. In the article below we look at and distinguish two types of field-awareness, the basic building toward a more ‘advanced’, richer, but also more minimal position. 

Quick heads-up; as well as this months Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat, I’ll also be doing a full-day  Taoist Breathwork Day Meditation Retreat on June 24th. 

In the spirit of dropping the observer, 
 
Toby 


Watching, then dropping the watcher
 
This short article explains a way to progress in your witnessing and observing meditation. It aims to show you how to go from holding the position of the observer to then forgetting the observer and simply being that which arises, with no self observing.
These two stages are encapsulated quite nicely by this quote from the Hua Hu Ching chapter Ten (Brian Walker translation):

“Let the senses go.
Let desires go.
Let conflicts go.
Let ideas go.
Let the fiction of life & death go.
Just remain in the centre, watching…
And then forget you are there”
 
In the first part we set up our basic observation position; letting go of explicit identification with our desires, conflicts, ideas, senses and so on, and simply watching them come and go. There can be movement, even plenty of movement within our awareness, but we are still meditating as long as we are holding this central observation position. As things get calmer, we can also be watching the inner space of our consciousness, like watching clear sky gradually emerge from clouds.
The first stage is a meditation in and of itself, but once we have a certain degree of competency, you can then ‘forget you are there’. What this means is you gently drop the sense of there being an observer in our field of awareness so that:

  • Your senses arise as themselves
  • Desires are experienced without a desirer
  • Conflicting energy is simply itself
  • Ideas arise free of an owner

This is quite a radically different way of experiencing consciousness. In everyday awareness there is always a sense of observer and observed, possessor and possessed, event and the experiencer of the event. By dropping the observer, we move into a unitive, singular or non-dual state, where the subject-object divide within our mind collapses. We experience things directly, without an ‘I’ getting in the way, interfering or judging. With this experience we can then move quite rapidly and effortlessly into deeper meditation, as the main obstacle to that (the self!) drops away and stops getting in the way.
A final quote from the musician Deuter on this process that illustrates the experience quite nicely:
 
“We sit together, the mountain & me,
Until only the mountain remains”
 
This is a meditation you can do informally when you travel, when resting or spending time with yourself. Sitting meditation is only a part of it, and it really comes into its own when we play with it in daily life.
 
Related articleDropping the self &
Integrating field awareness & single-pointedness in daily life

© Toby Ouvry 2023, 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


All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Ongoing Tues/Weds, 7.30-8.30pm – Meditations for thriving and energy creation – An eight week course
 

Tues 30th/Weds 31st May – Wesak meditation

Saturday May 27th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Saturday June 24th, 9.00am-5pm – Taoist Breathwork Day Meditation Retreat


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
A Mind of Ease Energy Meditation Enlightened Flow Inner vision Integral Meditation Life-fullness meditation and creativity Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques mind body connection Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership Motivation and scope Presence and being present

Hopeless relief & the brightness of optimism

“With hopelessness in place, we can then cultivate it’s ‘bright twin’, balanced optimism. It is remarkable how coming back to and centering yourself in a state of optimism can change your sense of how your life is going, and your sense of what is possible”

Dear Integral Meditators

This weeks article pairs hopelessness and optimism into a dynamic partnership that we can cultivate together to increase our energy levels, and also to make our energy more balanced and consistent. If you enjoy it, then do consider coming along live or online to this Tuesday & Wednesdays Integral Meditation class, where we will be taking it as our object of meditation. 

In the spirit of hopeless optimism, 
 
Toby 


Hopeless relief & the brightness of optimism
 
Appreciating hopelessness
Hopelessness for most of us has a strong negative connotation, and exists in our mind along with things like despair, depression, giving up and so on. As an object of meditation, we can clarify what we are working with here by defining hopelessness as simply ‘the absence of hoping for anything’. Understood this way, the practice of hopelessness then becomes the discipline of not hoping for anything, and therefore allowing our mind and energy to rest, relax and become fully present, absolutely at ease in the not-wishing/hoping to be somewhere else.
If you reflect upon it, much of the ups and downs in our life, the anxiety, the dis-ease comes from the hopes that we have in the face of the ongoing uncertainties. Often-times we get most hurt or have the most trouble recovering when one of our dearest-held hopes is not fulfilled. So, with hopelessness we are learning not to be beholden to our hopes, and also the fears that come from our hopes. We relax into the present and a type of genuine liberation that comes from strategically putting down our hopes for a while and becoming a hopeless person! Once you get a taste for how balancing hopelessness can be, you will start to feel real enthusiasm for it as an object of mindful attention.
 
Balanced optimism
With hopelessness in place, we can then cultivate it’s ‘bright twin’, balanced optimism. Here are a few of the basic characteristics of optimism, taken from my past article on ‘mindful optimism’:

  • Joyful-ness, enthusiasm
  • A sense of being supported by tangible and intangible forces in the world
  • The feeling of a bright and possibly exciting future ahead
  • The reasonable expectation good things are going to happen to you, both now and in the future
  • An expansive, bright, and comfortable feeling in the body, as if you belong in the world, and you can operate there with ease

It is remarkable how coming back to and centring yourself in a state of optimism can change your sense of how your life is going, and your sense of what is possible.
 
Putting them together
In a meditation you can practice putting these two together as a complementary pair. For example, if you had a twenty-minute meditation you could spend:

  • Five minutes putting down all hopes and relaxing into hopelessness
  • Five minutes opening to optimism, both the feeling in general, and also specific areas and instances in your life where you want to cultivate it as a supporting state
  • Five minutes return to hopelessness
  • Ending with five minutes back to optimism

As you go about your daily life, you can use them both to help each other; balanced presence through hopelessness, bright optimism to balance it out.
 
Related readingHopefully hopeless
Mindful optimism
Optimistic stoicism

© Toby Ouvry 2023, 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


Saturday 13th May 9am-12.30pm – Psychic & Psychological Self-defence half day workshop

Overview: This workshop aims to answer the following questions: 

  • How can I keep myself strong, directed & happy when other people around me are negative, unhappy or even consciously or unconsciously verbally/psychologically attacking me?
  • When I am under stress and can feel my own negativity, anxiety, depression, anger & so on surfacing, how can I defend myself effectively?
  • How can I cultivate awareness of the way environments and places affect my energy & protect myself from unwanted influences?
  • Is it possible to develop my own ‘psychic faculties’ & ‘inner senses’ in a way that is experiential, useful & genuine without having to buy into any form of ‘new age metaphysics’?

Read full details



All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Ongoing Tues/Weds, 7.30-8.30pm – Meditations for thriving and energy creation – An eight week course

Saturday 13th May 9am-12.30pm – Psychic & Psychological Self-defence half day workshop

Tues 30th/Weds 31st May – Wesak meditation

Saturday May 27th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
A Mind of Ease creative imagery Energy Meditation Enlightened Flow Inner vision Life-fullness meditation and creativity Meditation techniques mind body connection mindful dreaming Presence and being present Primal Spirituality Qi gong Tree of Yoga

Meditating with the energy of trees & plants

Trees & plants have a living presence that is almost entirely unpolluted by any kind of thinking or conceptuality. As a result, contact with them helps us get out of our head and into our being

Dear Integral Meditators, 

Trees and plants are aspects of our environment that can really help us with our meditation practice, and our discovery of good quality presence. This weeks article looks at different ways of relating to trees and plants in a meditative way. 
If you enjoy it do consider coming along to the Tues or Weds class this week, as it will be part of the subject of the sessions.

In the spirit of plant allies, 
 
Toby 


Meditating with the energy of trees & plants

The peaceful allies in your neighbourhood and on your balcony
In your neighbourhood there will be people. They will be thinking quite a lot, you can talk to them, some of them might make you happy, some might be irritating. Not many of them help you to be still and connect to peace. In your neighbourhood and garden, you will also find trees and plants. If you make the time to connect with them, sitting nearby them, sensing their energy, getting a sense of their presence, you may be surprised to find how quickly they help you to find a sense of inner stillness. All of them have a living presence that is almost entirely unpolluted by any kind of thinking or conceptuality. As a result, contact with them helps us get out of our head and into our being. As Eckhart Tolle says:
 
Look at a tree, a flower, a plant.
Let your awareness rest upon it.
How still they are, how deeply rooted in being.
Allow nature to teach you stillness.
When you look at a tree and perceive its stillness, you become still yourself.
You connect with it at a very deep level.
You feel a oneness with whatever you perceive through stillness.
Feeling the oneness of yourself with all things is true love.’
 
Creating a tree grove
As well as connecting to trees in the immediate vicinity, you can also connect to trees and plants inwardly. When I was doing my Druid training, one of the central practices that we had was to create an inner tree grove where we would imagine sitting in meditation before doing our studies or engaging in other meditation exercises. This grove can be one that you know in the outer world and you imagine yourself traveling there in meditation. Alternatively, it could be one that you create with your imagination, or that you take from a dream experience. Either way, sitting within a grove or group of trees in meditation can be a very powerful way of moving into a deeply still and yet energising state. You can either do it as a meditation in itself, or you can use it as a preparation for a subsequent meditation.
 
Meditating with the energy bodies of trees and plants
You can meditate with the energy bodies of trees in a way that is also very strengthening. It can be done either sitting outside with trees of plants, of in an imagined group of trees as in the grove practice above. Here are a few pointers for how it can be done:

  • Begin by simply acknowledging the presence of the tree/s or plants, either in the physical or inner world
  • Sense your own energy body, same shape and size as your physical body, inhabiting the same space, but made of light and energy. Sense the light body of the tree/s you are with. Feel their roots reaching down into the earth, drawing light and energy from the body of the earth up into the trunk of the tree. Feel the light and energy from the earth rising into your body also.
  • See and feel the branches of the trees reaching up into the air, drawing down the energy of the sky and stars into the trunk. As they do so, feel the energy of the sky and stars flowing down into the crown of your head, lighting up and energizing your light body.
  • Let the flow of energy in the trees and the flow of energy in your body enhance each other as you breathe and relax. You can move the energy wherever you like in your body, according to the part you feel might feel healing or balancing.

If you like you can combine this meditation with elements of the Linking your energy body to environmental energies from my previous article. There is plenty of room for play, improvisation and enjoyment.
 
Related articleStanding like a tree

© Toby Ouvry 2023, 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


All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Starts Tues/Weds April 11th/12th , 7.30-8.30pm – Meditations for thriving and energy creation – An eight week course

Saturday 15th April 9am-12.30pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self Workshop

Saturday April 29th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Saturday 13th May 9am-12.30pm – Psychic & Psychological Self-defence half day workshop

Tues 30th/Weds 31st May – Wesak meditation


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
A Mind of Ease Awareness and insight Inner vision Insight Meditation Integral Awareness Life-fullness Meditating on the Self Meditation techniques mind body connection Presence and being present Zen Meditation

Eternal life (& where to find it)

“By dropping time and your sensory experience regularly, you gently start to acquaint yourself with life beyond form and time, the life eternal that you and all of us are participating in simultaneously with our everyday ever-changing life”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This weeks article looks at a perennial meditation theme, and one closely tied up with the meaning of liberation and also very effective overall relaxation and stress transformation. 
If you enjoy the article then do feel free to join us for this week’s Tuesday & Wednesday meditation class, where we shall be taking it as out subject for meditation.
The two week integral meditation retreat this weekend is currently full, if you would like to be on the wait-list just let me know. 

In the spirit of the life-eternal, 
 
Toby 


Eternal life (& where to find it)
 
From a meditation point of view finding and ‘achieving’ eternal life is very simple. By ‘eternal life’ here we mean that which is not subject to the normal processes of living and dying, and that abides in an unchanging manner. It is a place where all problems are solved, all conflicts harmonized. It is a place of ‘permanent’ lasting peace. In the great wisdom traditions, the realization (not ‘achievement’) of eternal life is synonymous with the attainment of liberation or nirvana.
 
So where do we find it? Curiously we find it sitting under our noses, but where? If you look at each moment or occasion of your consciousness you will find three aspects:

  • A sensory dimension, what you see, feel smell touch etc…
  • A mental dimension, what you think, feel (emotionally) and imagine about it as it is happening
  • A consciousness dimension – That which is observing and experiencing the mind and senses

If you observe the first two dimensions, sense and mind you’ll see that they are changing continuously. They move thru continuous cycles of ‘life & death’, of coming and going.  If you turn your attention to the third dimension, consciousness itself, you will probably notice it’s a little more difficult to observe. This is because there is nothing to it in terms of form and movement; its just a formless, timeless ‘containing space’. It holds space for the impermanent comings and goings of our mind and senses.
Because consciousness itself is formless, it is timeless. Because it is timeless, it is eternal. So, whenever you ‘drop into’ the experience of consciousness itself, you find eternal life there and also that part of you that is eternal. By eternal we mean not beginning, not ending, not subject to change. Consciousness is just a living empty space, nothing there, but pregnant with all possibilities.
In his short story entitled ‘Illusion’ Anthony De Mello gives a few pointers about where to find eternal life:
 
ILLUSION
“How shall I attain Eternal Life?”
“Eternal Life is now. Come into the present.”
“But I am in the present now, am I not?”
“No.”
“Why not?”
“Because you haven’t dropped your past.”
“Why should I drop my past? Not all of it is bad.”
“The past is to be dropped not because it is bad but because it is dead.”
 
So, to find eternal life (which is found in the state of consciousness itself) we need to drop time, past and also future. This helps still our mind enough to start to see consciousness in the present.
Another thing we need to do it withdraw our attention from our senses. As Lao Tzu says in verse 12 of the Tao Te Ching:
 
“Colours blind the eye.
Sounds deafen the ear.
Flavours numb the taste.
Thoughts weaken the mind.
Desires wither the heart.
 
The master observes the world
But trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
His heart is open as the sky”
(Chapter 12 Steven Mitchell translation)
 
So, to find eternal life experientially in meditation you need to drop the past and future, withdraw your attention from the senses and allow your perception of consciousness itself to start to gradually come into focus. In doing so you gently start to acquaint yourself with life beyond form and time, the life eternal that you and all of us are participating in simultaneously with our everyday ever-changing life. In this sense ‘heaven’ is not something that we may or may not experience after our death. As Thich Nhat Hanh says “The pure land is now or never”. You ether see it or you don’t. If you are waiting and hoping to encounter it sometime in the future, you’ve missed it already, its right here where it always has been.

Related readingThat which solves all your problems and none

© Toby Ouvry 2023, 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


All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Sat & Sunday 1st, 2nd April – Two day integral meditation retreat

Starts Tues/Weds April 11th/12th , 7.30-8.30pm – Meditations for thriving and energy creation – An eight week course

Saturday 15th April 9am-12.30pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self Workshop

Saturday April 29th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Tues 30th/Weds 31st May – Wesak meditation


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
A Mind of Ease Enlightened love and loving Inner vision Insight Meditation Life-fullness Meditation and Psychology Motivation and scope Using the Energy of Negative Emotions

Wisdom around forgiveness 

“How many of the things that we have done or others have done to us were as a result of not knowing any better, or out of ignorance? If it was out of unknowing, then perhaps these are the things that we can start our forgiveness practice with”

Dear Integral Meditators,

 
This week’s article looks at forgiveness as an object of mindful attention and practice. As a state I find forgiveness a very ‘mind-cooling’ experinece, it’s nice just to sit in and feel your inner temperature drifting gently down!
If you enjoy the article, then do come along to this weeks Tuesday or Wednesday class where we will be taking forgiveness as our object of meditation. 

This week is also the start of a new mini-meditation series: The Wisdom of Awakening Series: Meditations for forgiveness, Eternal life & True inner fortitude. It promises to be a fun and informal way to deepen your meditation practice in unexpected and whimsical ways!

And finally, brief reminder of the Shadow meditation workshop on the 18th March, for the slightly braver and more adventurous….

In the spirit of acceptance & forgiveness, 

Toby 


Wisdom around forgiveness

Before you start reading the article, it might be worth just having a think about your current experience of forgiveness:

  • How would you define it?
  • What sort of feelings and emotions come up for you around forgiveness?
  • Are there people in your life, including yourself that you’d like to forgive?

If we think of forgiveness in broad terms as a ‘willingness or intention to let go of grudges for (perceived?) harm done, and for the anger and resentment accompanying it’. Then this, along with your own reflections gives us a basis for proceeding. Here are three mindful positions that you can take around forgiveness:

Awareness that you aren’t forgiving, haven’t forgiven, haven’t accepted
If you know you have resentment towards someone or yourself, before you start telling yourself that you need to do anything like forgiving, you need to know it is there and acknowledge that fact. If you know you are not ready to forgive, then accepting that is a good holding space. If for me the anger is still rising within me, my experience is that if I can simply acknowledge and flow with it for a while, I’ll start to move into the next stage naturally without forcing.

Accepting without forgiving
Working through your anger and resentment doesn’t necessarily mean you then forgive unconditionally. Sometimes it might feel more appropriate to focus on accepting what happened without necessarily forgiving unconditionally. It may be that you don’t feel it’s appropriate, or not your place to forgive, in which case an appropriate state of resolution and peace can be achieved through acceptance. You can read more about this position in my article ‘Acceptance or forgiveness – The difference’.

Choosing to forgive, choosing to understand
There are certain situations where you may feel that it is appropriate and beneficial to really emphasize forgiving and releasing properly. Sometimes this may be done conditionally, other times unconditionally. To do this involves:

  • Acknowledging the action
  • Accepting our feelings of anger and resentment around what has happened
  • Choosing to understand and forgive the person for their actions
  • Consciously letting go of our grudge, and wiping the slate clean in the relationship

These four stages may be something that we need to do more than once in order to really forgive, and it may be that we need to re-forgive a number of times over a period of time before we really sense that we have let go.
You might also consider that forgiveness has two major dimensions:

  • Applying it to ourselves
  • Applying it to others

Quite often the things we find really difficult to forgive in others are as a result of things that we have judged and not forgiven ourselves for. So if we are looking for a place to start, authentic forgiveness of self is a wise one!

So that’s most of what I wanted to say on the subject for now. Below is a short paragraph from ‘One Minute Wisdom’ by Anthony De Mello. How many of the things that we have done or others have done to us were as a result of not knowing any better, or out of ignorance? If it was out of unknowing, then perhaps these are the things that we can start our forgiveness practice with.

‘UNDERSTANDING’
“How shall I get the grace of never judging my neighbour?”
“Through prayer.”
“Then why have I not found it yet?”
“Because you haven’t prayed in the right place.”
“Where is that?”
“In the heart of God.”
“And how do I get there?”
“Understand that anyone who sins does not know what he is doing and deserves to be
forgiven.”

© Toby Ouvry 2023, 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

Read full details



All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Starts Tuesday /Wednesday 23/24th March – The Wisdom of Awakening Series: Meditations for forgiveness, Eternal life & True inner fortitude

Saturday 18th March – Finding Freedom From What Holds You Back in Life: Practical meditations & techniques for working with your shadow-self

Tues 21st & Weds 22nd March, 7.30-8.30pm – Spring Equinox balancing and renewing meditation

Saturday March 25th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Sat & Sunday 1st, 2nd April – Two day integral meditation retreat

Starts Tues/Weds April 11th/12th , 7.30-8.30pm – Meditations for thriving and energy creation – An eight week course

Tues 30th/Weds 31st May – Wesak meditation
 


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
A Mind of Ease Energy Meditation Inner vision Life-fullness Meditation techniques mind body connection Mindful Resilience Primal Spirituality Qi gong

Energizing stillness – Regenerating within your energy body

“You could consider your energy body as being essentially the biological life-force that flows through and radiates from your physical body, but then includes the emotional, mental and consciousness dimensions within you

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This weeks article looks at how to use meditation as a way of regenerating your energy pro-actively, with minimal effort! It part of an ongoing train of exploration in my own practice around how to build energy in meditation ergonomically and effectively. 

My monthly Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat on 25th February is now full, waiting list only. I have added an extra session on Sunday the 26th for those who may want to participate.

In the spirit of regeneration, 
 
Toby 


Energizing stillness – Regenerating within your energy body
 
The below meditation is a way to regenerate your energy more powerfully when you are feeling tired or low energy. It is designed to be low-intensity and relaxing, as well as ‘plugging you in’ to sources of energy that can start to percolate through your body and energy system as you relax. It’s based around principles of Qi gong (eastern) and Tree of Life (western) meditation practices that I have done for many years, but you don’t need to know anything about these practices the meditation. Once you are familiar with it, you can set it up at the beginning of your meditation session, and then go onto do your main meditation, whatever that is. If you do this then the energy flow will continue in the background as you do your meditation. The exercise can be done standing, sitting or lying down.
 
What is your energy body?
For the purposes of this meditation, consider your energy body as being essentially the biological life-force that flows through and radiates from your physical body, but then includes the emotional, mental and consciousness dimensions within you. It can be imagined simply as a body of light, same shape and size as your physical body, and occupying the same space. You can also imagine it as having an energy field around your body, like an egg or sphere of light. Beginning the meditation includes simply relaxing and gently sensing into your energy body, getting a feeling for it as you breathe.
 
Connecting your energy body to the Earth’s field
After centring in your basic light body, in your minds eye look down through the surface of the earth beneath you all the way down to the solar core of the planet.
Visualize beneath your body a ball of light about a meter in diameter. At the bottom of the ball see a line of light like a rope dropping down all the way into the centre of the planet.
From that line, energy from the Planetary being flows up and into the ball, filling it with Earth-light. Now imagine your body sinks down 3-5cms into the ball beneath you, so that the energy from the Earth starts to flow into your energy body from below. Just feel and allow that to happen without any special effort, this is a gentle, yin energy body exercise.
 
Connecting it to sky and stars
Imagine there is a ball of light about the size of a golf-ball, half way in, half way out of the crown of your head. Imagine it to be a little bit like an antenna. Be aware of the huge dome of sky and stars above and around you. Feel a gentle flow of subtle energy from the sky and stars descending and connecting to the crown of your head, from there gently flowing down into your energy body.
 
Practicing non-striving
Once you have set up the circuit then simply practice relaxing your body-mind as deeply as you can into a state of non-striving, do as little as possible and allow the energy from above and below to start to circulate gently through your energy body, organically and without forcing anything. Stay with this for as long as you have decided to meditate.
 
Everyday awareness
Once you are familiar with this meditation you can do it walking around or in the bus. You can even do it lying in bed at night whilst you wait to go to sleep. Without forcing anything, this practice connects you to the meta-energies of the Planetary being beneath and the sky and stars above, letting the flow of their energies enter, balance and exchange in a regenerative way with our own energy body.

 © Toby Ouvry 2023, 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



All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Ongoing – Introduction to Integral Meditation & Mindfulness Practice – An eight-week course

Saturday & Sunday February 25/26th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Tues 21st & Weds 22nd March, 7.30-8.30pm – Spring Equinox balancing and renewing meditation

Sat & Sunday 1st, 2nd April – Two day integral meditation retreat
 


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
A Mind of Ease Inner vision Integral Meditation Life-fullness Meditation techniques Mindful Self-Leadership

Messy wisdom & Wabi-sabi meditation

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This weeks article looks at how to work with the messiness of life through mindfulness. If you enjoy it, then do consider joining us this Saturday for the 
Wabi-Sabi mindfulness – The art of creative leadership and self-leadership workshop

Other news , I’ll be doing a Two day integral meditation retreat on the weekend of 1st/2nd April, click the link for full details!

In the spirit of messy wisdom, 

Toby 


Messy wisdom – Accepting & working with everyday reality

Were almost five weeks into the new year now, I have a sense of a tidal shift in my work. Things being let go of, new ideas and projects to create and bring into manifestation. It feels like there are a lot of moving parts that aren’t fixed in their alignment, and it’s all a bit cloudy and messy.
For a lot of people, cloudiness and messiness are things that are to be avoided or are irritating and unsettling, stressful even. And yet many passages in our life are characterized by this ambiguity and open-endedness. Our path wanders and meanders through different stages and chapters, if we are attached to things being neat, tidy and ‘controlled’ all the time, we are going to suffer.
In the Wabi-sabi aesthetic we learn to value and be mindful of three messy things: The imperfect, the unfinished and the impermanent. By doing so we accomplish two main things:

  • We gain access to light, peaceful states of body-mind that enable us to navigate the messy patches of our life with a degree of enjoyment
  • We learn to take intelligent initiative within that messy space, developing the capacity to lead ourself and others creatively to our goals and towards order 

Below are three practice pointers for developing your messy, or wabi-sabi wisdom:

The imperfect & unbalanced – Acceptance & caring appreciation of process
By accepting the imperfect, eccentric and unbalanced aspects of ourself, our experience and our world we can begin to care for them and appreciate what they have to offer. Too often and on multiple levels we get caught up in the trap of negative imperfection-ism, that causes us to reject our experience of the moment and what we find there. By accepting what we find in the moment, imperfect as it is, we can begin to care for it, nurturing what is there toward whatever potential is possible.

The unfinished & unresolved – Acceptance or the open-endedness, taking courage and initiative
Our attachment to having things ‘right’ and ordered makes us uncomfortable with all the things that are still forming and finding their place in our lives. When we accept ongoing lack of resolution, we get comfortable with being ‘in process’. We simply and courageously set our own pace and look for the next thing that we can do to move toward eventual resolution, without feeling rushed or panicked.

The impermanent & uncertain – Accepting change & the unknown with curiosity & imagination
Rather than resisting and fearing change, we can accept and flow with it. We can be curious about both the change and our fear of it, allowing our imagination to respond to the possibilities that it offers.

You may notice that each of these practices are really different aspects of empowered acceptance. So, ‘messy wisdom follows on very much from well-balanced mindful acceptance.

Specific things to practice with
It’s good if you can take specific situations and experiences to practice around. For example, today I’ll be dipping in and out of a number of messy, unfinished areas:

  • Around a new retreat project
  • Around some long-term financial investments
  • Around my daughters University application

All of the things in your life today that are messy and unresolved are the practice, they aren’t in the way of it!

Related articles:
Cultivating your positive imperfectionist
Applying the Three C’s of Engaged Mindfulness
A wheel spinning out of balance
Allowing your mind to be messy

© Toby Ouvry 2023, 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



All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Ongoing – Introduction to Integral Meditation & Mindfulness Practice – An eight-week course

Saturday 11th February, 9am-12.30pm – Wabi-Sabi mindfulness – The art of creative leadership and self-leadership workshop

Saturday February 26th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Tues 21st & Weds 22nd March, 7.30-8.30pm – Spring Equinox balancing and renewing meditation

Sat & Sunday 1st, 2nd April – Two day integral meditation retreat
 


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
A Mind of Ease Concentration Integral Awareness Life-fullness Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindful Confidence Mindful Self-Leadership Mindfulness Presence and being present

On meditation & ‘tantric self-esteem’

“Essentially then, to sit in your own company with ‘tantric self-esteem’ means to relate with feeling of warm friendliness (self-respect) toward yourself, and a confidence in your fundamental efficacy or adequacy to life”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

Why is it so difficult to sit in the present? In my previous article on ‘Making it easier to focus deeply‘ I look at one aspect of this. In the article below I continue that exploration. 
If you enjoy the article, do pop down either live or online to the Tuesday or Wednesday evening meditation class, where we shall be exploring this theme experientially. 

In the spirit of presence,
 
Toby 


On meditation & ‘tantric self-esteem’
 
The problem: To be present means to become more self-aware
One of the challenges that we face with meditation is that it makes us more present, which in turn brings us into a more conscious relationship to ourself and what is going on within ourselves. Of course, that is also the benefit and opportunity of meditation. But, if you don’t have a great relationship to yourself, and if there are things about yourself in the moment (body awareness, thoughts, emotions) that make you uncomfortable, then trying to be more present often becomes the last thing that you want to be! Much more attractive to be lost in thought, distracted, not present.
So, in a sense the art of meditation begins with getting comfortable with yourself in the moment.
 
The characteristic of good quality self-esteem
Who feels comfortable with and by themselves in the moment? One answer to this is someone with healthy self-esteem. What does that mean? Here is a working definition of self-esteem from Nat Branden:
“Despite the abundance of books, studies, workshops and committees devoted to the subject of self-esteem, there is little agreement about what it means. Self-esteem has two essential components:

  • Self-efficacy: Confidence in the ability to cope with life’s challenges. Self-efficacy leads to a sense of control over one’s life.
  • Self-respect: Experience oneself as deserving of happiness, achievement and love. Self-respect makes possible a sense of community with others.

Self-esteem is a self-reinforcing characteristic. When we have confidence in our ability to think and act effectively, we can persevere when faced with difficult challenges. We succeed more often than we fail. We form more nourishing relationships. We expect more of life and of ourselves.
If we lack confidence, we give up easily, fail more often and aspire to less. We get less of what we want.
Essentially here then, to sit in your own company with self-esteem means to sit with a feeling of warm friendliness (self-respect) toward yourself, and a confidence in your fundamental efficacy or adequacy to life.
 
Tantric self-esteem: Sitting ‘as if’
Tantric practice in meditation is essentially to act ‘as if’. You use your imagination to bring the desired result into the present. In this case we are concerned with self-esteem, so in meditation we sit down and become present to ourself ‘as if we already had healthy functional self-esteem:

  • As we sit and become present to our body-mind in the moment we extend warm, friendly, respectful feelings to ourself, as if we deserved a healthy degree of basic joy and wellbeing
  • We sit with ourselves as if we were siting with someone we trusted and whose fundamental capability we feel confident in

If we sit in this way, then the present moment, and our awareness of ourselves becomes a comfortable, attractive place to be. It is a place where we feel safe and welcome, as if in the company of a really good friend.
Done in this way, meditation becomes much less effortful because our resistance to the present is much reduced, it’s a place we like to be rather than have a vested interest in avoiding!
 
Practice
You can try it for a few minutes a day, just sitting and breathing with yourself and your tantric self-esteem. If you can familiarize yourself with this feeling and experience, then you will start to notice it becoming a normal part of the way you relate to yourself. This is not just in meditation, but in your daily activities, your way of going, being and interacting with the world.

 © Toby Ouvry 2023, 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


Saturday 11th February, 9am-12.30pm – Wabi-Sabi mindfulness – The art of creative leadership and self-leadership workshop

In a sentence: Learn how to work creatively with uncertainty, imperfection and life’s inherent messiness to realize your leadership and self-leadership potential.  Manage stress and anxiety better using mindfulness in combination with the practical philosophy of Wabi-Sabi.

Wabi-Sabi is one of the definitive aesthetic movements to emerge from Japan. With origins starting in the early 15th Century and influenced from Zen Buddhism, Wabi-Sabi became an aesthetic found in the arts and crafts such as ceramic, flower arranging and interior design. It also became a practical philosophy and approach to life. Principle aspects of Wabi-Sabi include:

  • An appreciation of the beauty of the impermanent, the imperfect and incomplete
  • A recognition of the value of humility
  • A willingness to engage with the unconventional

Mindfulness is the art of attention training and presence….read full workshop details



All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Ongoing – Introduction to Integral Meditation & Mindfulness Practice – An eight-week course

Saturday 11th February, 9am-12.30pm – Wabi-Sabi mindfulness – The art of creative leadership and self-leadership workshop

Saturday February 26th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat
 


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
A Mind of Ease Awareness and insight Integral Meditation Life-fullness Meditation techniques Mindfulness Presence and being present

How often should you meditate?

“The main thing about the duration of meditation per day is that it should be sustainable for you. The last thing that you want is to get tired and overwhelmed by being over-ambitious. At the same time, you need to challenge yourself within those parameters. So not too long, not too short”

Dear Integral Meditators,

How often? How Long? And at what time? Three typical questions I get asked a lot. Below is the essence of a common rely I give, plus a short meditation practice that you can use as the content for the time that you set aside. 

Also, if your looking for a way to go renew, deepen or make more complete your meditation practice, then the Introduction to Integral Meditation & Mindfulness Practice – An eight-week course begins this week on 10th/11th Jan, You are welcome to join us on the adventure, either live or online!

In the spirit of  meditation, 

Toby 


How often should you meditate? – Structuring your meditation practice & your basic meditation state

This article is designed to answer these questions:

  • How often should I practice meditation?
  • For how long?
  • What is the best time to meditate?

Once we have had a look at these questions, I will then offer a practice that you can put into your meditation space.

How often should I practice meditation?
The basic structure that I often recommend students is to practice three times a day; once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once in the evening. This way you are stimulating your mindful awareness three times a day and thereby keep it front and centre of your activities as you go thru your activities.

For how long?
If you are practising three times a day, then you can make one of them a longer meditation and the other two shorter. For example, if you are very busy, then your longer meditation could be just five minutes, and the shorter ones just one minute. The principal here is that you don’t necessarily need a long meditation to have a real effect on your quality of life.
If you have a bit more time, you might do your longer meditation as a 15-20 minute meditation, with the other two shorter (again 1minute is good).
The main thing about the duration of meditation per day is that it should be sustainable for you. The last thing that you want is to get tired and overwhelmed by being over-ambitious. At the same time, you need to challenge yourself within those parameters. So not too long, not too short.

What is the best time to meditate?
If we are practicing 3x a day, then you can make your morning, evening or afternoon session the longer one, according to your schedule and preference. A morning meditation sets up the day nicely. An evening meditation helps you process and make peace with the events of the day. Sometimes there is a quiet space in the afternoon that fits just nicely. Many schools of meditation advocate the morning, but it really depends upon your preferences, schedule and disposition, do what feels right for you!

With that in mind, here is a simple practice to use for meditation:

  1. Sit, stand or lie down comfortably, with a reasonably straight back, and the left and right halves of the body symmetrical
  2. Orientate your attention around your breathing and body to give you your basic state of meditative presence, i.e. Not lost in thought, and not asleep or unconscious
  3. Focusing in the central zone of your chest and torso, as you breathe in become aware of the basic warmth of your life-force in the body. As you breathe out, relax into it. So, as you breathe in you open to your fundamental warmth, as you breathe out you relax into it
  4. As you continue to relax, notice that contained within your inner warmth is the brightness of your own intelligence and awareness, so as you breathe you are connecting to your own ‘intelligent-warmth’. If you like you can imagine that there is a little sun in your chest space, your inner warmth is like the warmth of the sun, and your basic intelligence is like the light from the sun.
  5. This way of relating to yourself in the moment helps you to centre in your fundamental warmth and intelligence, and orientate around your ‘basic meditation state’. Stay with this simple experience for the time that you have set aside for your meditation.

© Toby Ouvry 2023, 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


Starts Tues 10th, Weds 11th January – Introduction to Integral Meditation & Mindfulness Practice – An eight-week course

Integral Meditation Practice (IMP) is a different kind of mind-body training, that aims to provide optimal inner peace, centeredness, energy and insight for the contemporary meditation practitioner. It combines eastern and western forms of practice, as well as ancient and modern ones into a series of integrative practices. The practices enable the meditator to remain resilient, energized and creative in the face of the multi-faceted challenges of modern life. These eight classes give an introduction to IMP, in a simple, accessible manner…see full details
 


Tues 3rd & Weds 4th January, 7.30-8.30pm – 2023 ‘Beginners mind’ meditation

This meditation session is focused upon setting up the 2022 new year energies in a way that invites the best possible experience moving forward. We will be:

  • Releasing and letting go of energies, events and experiences from the past year that may hold us back from moving into our full potential
  • Developing a flexible, soft, ‘beginners mind’, renewed and ready to be ‘born again’ with energy and enthusiasm in 2022

Read full details



All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Tues 3rd & Weds 4th January, 7.30-8.30pm – 2023 New year ‘Beginners mind’ meditation

Starts Tues 10th, Weds 11th January – Introduction to Integral Meditation & Mindfulness Practice – An eight-week course

Tues 24th & Weds 25th January – Lunar New Year Meditation 2023: Developing your self-assurance & gracefulness in the year of the Water Rabbit

Saturday January 28th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Saturday 11th February, 9am-12.30pm – Wabi-Sabi mindfulness – The art of creative leadership and self-leadership workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
A Mind of Ease Awareness and insight Inner vision Life-fullness Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques mind body connection Mindful Breathing Presence and being present

Essential happiness – Accepting & receiving

“To breathe and know you are alive is a form of inner richness that is like a stream or river; you can just tune into the flow of it and immerse yourself, breath by breath”

Dear Integral Meditators,

For those of you celebrating it a beautiful Christmas. This weeks article & meditation is a nice way to relax into the year end space and enjoy what is present there for you to enjoy!

In the spirit of  accepting & receiving,

Toby


Essential happiness – Accepting & receiving

I titled an article earlier this year ‘happiness as acceptance’. In it I proposed that a lot of ‘being happy’ is not so much an act of explicit creating new things to be happy about in your life. Rather it is about the acknowledgment and acceptance of the things that are already there in your life that can act as a cause of happiness/wellbeing/contentment/richness. In this sense then happiness is an act of opening to and receiving; letting the good things in our life really ‘land’ in our direct experience. For example, today:

  • To have the leisure to write on the morning of Christmas eve
  • To have slept and dreamed well
  • I am in the presence of family
  • I have had a successful business year (by and large) in 2022
  • I have many stimulating ideas for adventures in 2023

These are all things that are right here that, in order to receive good energy from I just need to recognise and open to, to accept. If I can do this then I immediately connect to a source and a sense of wellbeing in a simple, non-complex and visceral way.

Why do we resist?

Its an interesting question to ask ourselves why exactly do we withhold from accepting the happiness that is ours for the taking? I suspect each one of us might have slightly different reasons for doing so according to our different histories. The main thing however is to start to see what is there. If we can do this then we can begin to open gradually to receive the richness that is, quite simply ours for the taking.

Essential happiness

Meditatively-speaking we can start to go beyond ‘reasons to be happy’ by understanding that there is a direct form of happiness that comes from being connected to life-in-the-moment. If as I breathe in, I can open to and receive the essential aliveness of myself, relaxing into that as I breathe out, I can connect myself to something non-verbal and experiential that you could call ‘experiential’ or existential happiness. To breathe and know you are alive is a form of inner richness that is like a stream or river; you can just tune into the flow of it and immerse yourself, breath by breath.

As a meditation you can do this in two stages if you like:

  1. Look for reasons that, if you recognize, acknowledge and receive them give rise to a feeling of happiness, as in the first paragraph above. Breathe and open to these for a while
  2. Then move on to working with receiving your aliveness as you breathe in, relaxing into it as you breathe out. Practice tuning into and immersing yourself in the essential happiness of bring alive and connected to life

With this meditation there need be very little striving, its 85% opening to and receiving and letting that be enough!

Related readingNatural happiness

© Toby Ouvry 2022, 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

 


Starts Tues 10th, Weds 11th January – Introduction to Integral Meditation & Mindfulness Practice – An eight-week course

Integral Meditation Practice (IMP) is a different kind of mind-body training, that aims to provide optimal inner peace, centeredness, energy and insight for the contemporary meditation practitioner. It combines eastern and western forms of practice, as well as ancient and modern ones into a series of integrative practices. The practices enable the meditator to remain resilient, energized and creative in the face of the multi-faceted challenges of modern life. These eight classes give an introduction to IMP, in a simple, accessible manner…see full details


Tues 3rd & Weds 4th January, 7.30-8.30pm – 2023 ‘Beginners mind’ meditation

This meditation session is focused upon setting up the 2022 new year energies in a way that invites the best possible experience moving forward. We will be:

  • Releasing and letting go of energies, events and experiences from the past year that may hold us back from moving into our full potential
  • Developing a flexible, soft, ‘beginners mind’, renewed and ready to be ‘born again’ with energy and enthusiasm in 2022

Read full details



Life-fullness – The Integral Life-Coaching Program with Toby

 

Are you looking a coach who can help you to:

  • Meet the challenges, stress and changes that you face in a more effective and mindful way
  • Become happier within yourself, in your relationships and at work
  • Be actively accountable for finding a sense of balance/well-being in your life and fulfilling your personal potential?
  • Guide you to find and operate from a deeper sense of meaning, motivation and connectivity in your life?
Read full details

All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Wednesday Dec 21st, 7.30-8.30pm – Free Winter solstice balancing & renewing meditation (Online only)

Tues 3rd & Weds 4th January, 7.30-8.30pm – 2023 New year ‘Beginners mind’ meditation

Starts Tues 10th, Weds 11th January – Introduction to Integral Meditation & Mindfulness Practice – An eight-week course

Saturday January 28th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat


 Integral Meditation Asia

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