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A Mind of Ease Enlightened Flow Inner vision Integral Meditation Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindfulness

Letting Come, Letting Go, Going With the Flow

Dear Integral Meditators,
‘Letting go’  is easy to say, more difficult to do well. The article article presents of a few pointers as to how we can deepen our experience of letting go by combining it with the practice of letting come.

In the spirit of letting come & letting go,

Toby


Letting Come, Letting Go, Going With the Flow

Letting go is perhaps an overused word in meditation and mindfulness circles, but besides  the overuse of the word, letting go remains a very profound  practice with many different levels. This article presents of a few pointers as to how we can deepen our experience of letting go by combining it with the practice of letting come.

You can’t let go of something that you haven’t let come
If you can’t acknowledge that you have been hurt by what someone said, how can you let go of that hurt?
If you can’t acknowledge a desire you have, how can you let go of it (and do you really want to?)
If you can’t open to your feelings of inferiority, there isn’t a real chance you are going to be able to let go of them any time soon (though of course you can bury them deep inside!)
You can’t let go of something that you haven’t acknowledged and accepted that you have in the first place. In this context to ‘let come’ is to acknowledge, accept and experience that you have been hurt, that you desire, that you feel inferior (and so on…); to accept the reality of what you experience. This step of self-honesty is not so that we can indulge that difficult experience; it is so that by accepting it we can start to move through it and let it go.
To acknowledge, to accept, to experience something is to let it come, to open our body, heart and mind to it, to receive it, so that we can then, if we wish to, let it go properly.

Letting come – Acknowledging & enjoying the good
Letting come is also an opening to enjoyment of the good things in life, to its richness, to the abundance of it all. Letting come is to open our heart to all that is going on in our life at any time in order to appreciate it and to live it fully. This type of letting come is a benevolent counterweight to letting go

And in reverse; letting go and letting come
We’ve looked at letting come in order to let go, but we can also practice letting go in order to let come. We can consciously practice letting go of something in our life in order to then open to and invite  new energy and possibilities to come into the space we have created. In this way we practice letting go as a way of letting new experiences, enjoyments and abundance come into our life; by letting go we can then let come!

Letting come, letting go, going with the flow; three simple practices
1. As you breathe in acknowledge a difficult feeling or experience, accept it, let it come into your body-heart and mind. As you breathe out, let it go. Let the experience come, let it go, go with the flow.
2. As you breathe in acknowledge the good, the enjoyment and the richness of your life; let it come in. As you breathe out let yourself go into the flow of this richness and enjoyment; relax into this flow of appreciation. Let it come, let it go, go with the flow.
3. As you breathe out consciously let go of something or someone that you are ready to release and move on from in your life. As you breathe in be aware of the space that your letting go has created, open yourself to the new energy and possibilities that can come into your life as a result of letting go. Let things go, let things come, go with the flow.

Related articles: Wake, up, Grow up, Clean up, Flow         Finding Your Spiritual Flow
Are You Going With the Flow or Just Drifting With the Current?
When You Have to Go Against the Flow          Single-pointedness and going with the flow

© Toby Ouvry 2015, 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


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Three Levels of Mindful Healing

Dear Integral Meditators,

What sort of healing potential does mindfulness have to impact your life on a practical level? The article below explores three levels of this.

Yours in the spirit of mindful Healing,

Toby


Three Levels of Mindful Healing

The three levels of mindful healing as I often work with it are:

  • healing through awareness,
  • healing with subtle energy
  • and healing through primal awareness

All of them are relatively simple in terms of the technique used, and can be practiced by anyone. The level of effectiveness depends upon the skill of the practitioner which he or she acquires with practice over time.

Healing through awareness
This type of mindful healing is done simply by placing awareness in the area of the body that needs healing. Yesterday on the bus journey to see my daughter perform in the school play I spent about two-thirds of the journey just sitting still, focusing my mind upon the front part of one of my shoulder joints, which is slightly strained due to a sport injury. Occasionally moving the joint and sometimes placing my hand upon it as well I just ‘felt’ deeply into the joint with my mind, relaxing it deeply. After a while I started to feel the joint warm up, and then some gentle shooting pains coming out of it (good healing pain). By the time I got off the bus my shoulder (and body) felt relaxed and energized, and the soreness and stiffness was much reduced.
People without experience of this type of mindful healing may find it difficult to believe the simplicity of it, but once you start to get a bit of experience of it, it is deeply empowering! It also teaches you an ever deepening awareness of what is going on within your body, and the power you have to benefit your ongoing health using the power of your mind!

Healing with subtle energy
With subtle energy healing you become aware of the earth beneath your feet as a bio-energetic energy source, and the sky and stars above you as a similar (but slightly different) source of energy. You can then imagine the energy from the earth rising up through the soles of your feet and up the back of your body to the crown of your head. The ‘sky’ energy comes into the crown and down the front of your body, going all the way to the toes, so you have a circuit of energy rising up the back and going down the front of your body. You can then focus this circulating energy anywhere you want in the body in order to promote healing and wellbeing, also using your hands if you like.
This form of mindful healing is more ‘advanced’ as it requires an awareness of the movement of subtle energy in the body. This awareness will develop quite naturally over time if you practice level one regularly.

Healing with primal awareness
This level is the most ‘advanced’ as it requires a little bit of experience of the deeper, very subtle, formless timeless dimensions of consciousness, but the technique is very simple. You focus on the area of the body that you want to heal, then you recognize that, in the very same space that that part of your body occupies there is a formless timeless dimension of existence from which can be drawn infinite energy and renewal. You then focus your attention on bringing that energy of deeper consciousness ‘out’ into the physical level, where the part of your body that is being healed is.
This third level may sound a little abstract to some of you, but actually it is just a type of healing that you naturally progress to as your meditation practice deepens. If you practice the first level; ‘healing through awareness’, then over time you start to progress toward this third level.
So there you go, three levels of mindful self healing. Just doing level one regularly will make a tremendous difference to your understanding of how to apply mindfulness practically to bring about healing in your body.

Related articles:
Taking Care of Your Nervous System Through Meditation
On Healing and Meditation
Energetic Self-Healing

© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in May:

Friday 29th May 7.30-9.30pm –  Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre – Travelling deeper into the present moment through integral meditation

Saturday 30th May, 2.30-5.30pm – Enlightened Flow: Finding the Ultimate Relaxation and Release from Stress


Integral Meditation Asia

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A Mind of Ease Biographical Enlightened Flow Enlightened love and loving Integral Meditation Life-fullness Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindful Breathing Mindful Confidence Mindfulness Presence and being present

Natural Happiness

Dear Integral Meditators,

To be a meditator means to get in touch with your natural happiness. The article below explains something of what I mean by this.

Yours in the spirit of natural happiness,

Toby


Natural Happiness

I feel happy because…

A common tactic and one that I use myself for becoming happier is simply to reflect mindfully upon reasons why my life is good, on what I have achieved, on what I am enjoying, on what has gone right. If you keep a log of these types of things, either written or in just regularly in your head, then you are connecting to a form of happiness based upon the power of your rational, thinking, analytical mind.

I feel happy and so…

In meditation, one of the things we are aiming to develop the ability to do is to move our body-mind into a state of open relaxation that feels so good that, even if we had many reasons in the day to not be happy we would still naturally feel connected to happiness anyway.

This meditative form of happiness is a state of happiness that does not depend upon rational reasons, or the ticking of mental boxes. Rather it is a feeling that arises simply from sitting quietly, letting go and enjoying the process of enjoying relaxing deeply into a state of conscious awareness.

Relaxing into natural happiness

The other day I was travelling back from work with my head full of the troubles of the world; relationship doubts, money issues, business uncertainty, dissatisfaction with my circumstances and so on, you know what I mean right?

So instead of going directly home I went into the library, and sat down in the reading room. I determined just to sit down and relax for 30mins. For the first few minutes I paid attention to the physical fatigue in my muscles and the emotional turbulence that I was experiencing, just acknowledging them, giving them a bit of love and letting them go. Then I just sat still and relaxed, doing as little as possible, switching off my brain and mind and opening my heart space.

After 10minutes I started to feel ok. After 15 minutes I felt good. By the time I finished, technically I could still remember all the reasons that my life was difficult and challenging, but to be honest I didn’t care so much. I just felt good in my body, mind and heart, for no ‘reason’ other than sitting still in a state of relaxed meditation for a while. Technically I had not ‘solved’ any of my issues, but my world felt completely different, just because I had spent a little while connecting to my natural happiness in meditation.

When you meditate you discover that you don’t have to ‘do’ anything to be happy, other than learn how to connect to your natural happiness; the happiness that is there under the surface of our body-mind all the time.

If you meditate skilfully it won’t solve your problems or alleviate you of your responsibilities, but it will make you naturally happy.

© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in May:

Friday 29th May 7.30-9.30pm –  Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre – Travelling deeper into the present moment through integral meditation

Saturday 30th May2.30-5.30pm – Enlightened Flow: Finding the Ultimate Relaxation and Release from Stress

JUNE CLASSES COMING SOON!

 


Integral Meditation Asia

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Awareness and insight Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Life-fullness Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindfulness Presence and being present

For Every Suffering a Joy (Cultivating Positive Non-Attachment)

Dear Integral Meditators,

Can your practice of non-attachment be joyful? Can you be joyful without clinging tightly to the things that make you happy? The article below explores how you can start…

Yours in the spirit of the joyfully non-attached,

Toby


For Every Suffering a Joy (Cultivating Positive Non-Attachment)

In the Buddhist practice that I was initiated into during my first 10 years of my meditation training there was a lot of emphasis placed on developing a non-attached state of mind. This was achieved through the contemplation of suffering, pain and its causes. As my own experience of non-attachment has developed, I have found that it is also important to emphasize the joys that are associated with each of the sufferings contemplated, so that what you end up with is a kind of joyful, appreciative non-attachment, rather than a doom-and-gloom, sack-cloth-and-ashes type.
Traditionally there are seven inevitable human sufferings contemplated in many of the Buddhist sutras; birth, ageing, sickness and death, meeting what we do not like, parting from what we like, and uncertainty. In the sections below I outline how to contemplate three of these areas in such a way as to develop both non-attachment and joy/appreciation. The net effect of this is to create a kind of joyful, enthusiastic appreciation that is tempered by non-attachment and even-mindedness.

Ageing – All the youthfulness you currently have will gradually be eroded over time. You can slow it down, but you can’t avoid ageing. Any beauty and vitality you now have, one day you will lose, so don’t be attached to it! On the other hand, understanding ageing and impermanence gives you a joyful appreciation of the life and vitality you enjoy now, and encourages us to appreciate it while it lasts!

Meeting what we do not like – Inevitably you are going to meet bad bosses, have unpleasant emotions in your romantic relationships, step on foul smelling substances on the pavement, get the flu, be tired and depressed and on it goes…There is nothing you can do about this, so don’t be attached to good things always happening to you, because they won’t!
The flip side of this is that, if we are looking out for them, each day unexpected and un-anticipated good and pleasant things happen to us; we receive kind words from a colleague, a business deal comes through, we meet a fantastic man or woman when we were least expecting it. If we are mindful we can feel joyful appreciation for the unexpected good that is happening to us each day, as well as being non-attached and prepared for the worst!

Uncertainty – A lot of money, time and fear-based action is spent trying to make our life as secure, certain and predictable as we can. However hard we try though, inevitably we have to deal each day with a greater or lesser degree of uncertainty and unpredictability. Things change and we can’t always control this. By understanding the inevitability of uncertainty we can reduce our attachment to trying to be in control of everything, and embrace change. Conversely we can develop joy and appreciation by recognizing the relative stability and relative security that we have in our life when it is there.

Each of these contemplations has an aspect of non-attachment, and an aspect of appreciation. By exploring each of them from ‘both sides of the coin’ we can cultivate a kind of appreciative non-attachment, or a joyful even-mindedness that reduces the amount of ‘pain-through-attachment’ that we experience in our life, whilst at the same time increases our joyful appreciation of the things that we have whilst they last.

Daily action question:
If you were to consciously try and cultivate the non-attached appreciation and joy in your life consciously each morning for the next week, what sort of changes might you see in your life and the way you experience it??

© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in May:

 

Friday 29th May 7.30-9.30pm –  Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre – Travelling deeper into the present moment through integral meditation

Saturday 30th May2.30-5.30pm – Enlightened Flow: Finding the Ultimate Relaxation and Release from Stress


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *
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creative imagery Greenworld Meditation Inner vision Integral Awareness Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Mindful Confidence Mindful Resilience Mindfulness

The Wild Dogs of the Mind

Dear Integral Meditators,

When strong, difficult, negative minds and emotions get triggered in our consciousness it can be difficult for the other parts of our mind not to become scattered and disoriented. The article below explores how we can start to changes this, using the image of dogs.

Two free mindfulness resources coming up online: 30 Days of Waking Up from Sounds True, and Beyond Mindfulness from the Shambala Mountain Centre. Click to find out more!

Yours in the spirit of the journey,

Toby


The Wild Dogs of the Mind

A few nights ago I dreamed that a pair of large, fierce dogs were attacking a pack of much smaller but more numerous dogs. At first the small dogs were getting torn apart, but then the leader of the smaller dogs managed to get them all attacking the big dogs together. This resulted in the big dogs getting overwhelmed and having to retreat.
We’ve all got a couple of big, negative dogs in our mind that, when we get upset or hurt start to make a lot of noise and upset our whole mental and emotional equilibrium. They can boss the other different parts of our mind around because they are big, loud and fierce.
What if all of the other parts of our mind were to band together when one of our big, negative minds starts to throw its weight around? What if they were to work together as a ‘pack’ working as a unified, directed energy combining to become stronger than the big, negative dogs within us?
If this were to happen then even when we found ourselves upset or disturbed, we would be able to exert a benevolent control over that disturbance because the rest of our mind knows how to work together and stay strong. On a practical level as long as we know how to get the ‘smaller dogs’ of our mind to stay together as a pack, then our big negative mind will pretty much know that it is not going to be able to boss the situation and so will not try and act out so much. Simply the presence of the smaller dogs demonstrating that they know how to work and fight together is enough to ward off an attack from the big negative dog.
So remember, when you are feeling under attack from the big bad dogs, don’t let the rest of your mind scatter and fall apart; rather keep them consciously working together. The good thing about working with an image like this is that you can kind of experiment with it intuitively and imaginatively, and let the idea start to show you experientially how it works in practice.

A final point; in my dream the dogs were skinned, that is to say they were made of raw flesh. One way of interpreting this is that both groups of dogs represented very ‘raw’ emotions in me. Our emotions and mind can really behave instinctively and like wild dogs when we are feeling raw and vulnerable, so I have been working with this image particularly when my mind feels very raw and instinctive.

Related article: The inner sharks of the mind
The sea snakes of the mind

Related Coaching: Shadow Coaching with Toby
Related course: Wednesday 20th May 7.30-9.30pm – An Evening of Mindful Relationships: Improving Your Relationships and Social Skills Through Mindfulness – A two hour workshop

© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in May:

Saturday 16th May, 9.30am-12.30pm – Growing Your Mindful Freedom – The Essential Meditation of the Buddha: A Three Hour Meditation Workshop

Saturday 16th May, 2.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Activating, Healing and Awakening our Ancestral Karma

Wednesday 20th, 7.30-9.30pm –  An Evening of Mindful Relationships: Improving Your Relationships and Social Skills Through Mindfulness – A two hour workshop

Friday 29th May 7.30-9.30pm –  Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre – Travelling deeper into the present moment through integral meditation

Saturday 30th May, 2.30-5.30pm – Enlightened Flow: Finding the Ultimate Relaxation and Release from Stress


Integral Meditation Asia

 

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Awareness and insight Essential Spirituality Inner vision Insight Meditation Integral Awareness Life-fullness Mindful Resilience Mindfulness The Essential Meditation of the Buddha

You’ve Already Won! – Mindful Appreciation and Ambition

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article looks at one of the foundations of traditional mindfulness practice,  the healthy ambitions that we can generate from it and the particular type of resilience that it helps us to develop.
For those interested, the upcoming workshop relating to this article quite closely is the Growing Your Mindful Freedom – The Essential Meditation of the Buddha Workshop on Saturday 16th May.

In the spirit of appreciation and ambition,

Toby


You’ve Already Won! – Mindful Appreciation and Ambition

Biologically speaking you have already won the lottery. The human body is the Rolls Royce of mother nature’s evolutionary technology, with the most advanced tools for intelligence, development, pleasure and growth on the planet all built in. If you think about this regularly you start to get a feeling of appreciation simply for the opportunity to experience life in a human body.

Other conditions that make your life fortunate
The Buddha in his teachings on mindful appreciation of our human life also pointed out other aspects that make out life fortunate, quite a few or which you may have noted at least intellectually yourself:

  • Being born in a time &/or place relatively free from war or famine
  • Having complete intellectual & physical faculties
  • Being free from intense or chronic hunger &  thirst
  • To have access to education, both  secular & spiritual, & to have the freedom to study that which we choose
  • To have the leisure to practice mindfulness & other methods of personal growth that give rise to the experience of inner wellbeing

If we have them all, we shouldn’t take any of them for granted!

Mindful appreciation and ambition
If you sit with a mindful recognition of any of the above points, almost inevitably you are going to start to feel good about your circumstances; whatever your relative situation you are a very lucky person. Staying with this feeling of being fortunate, of having a great opportunity by being alive and being human is a foundational object of mindfulness and meditation practice, a basic building block of your sense of personal happiness and wellbeing.
As well as giving rise to a sense of appreciation, this type of reflection can also give rise to a type of mindful ambition; a strong desire to make the most of the opportunity we have whilst it lasts.

Four types of mindful ambition
Traditionally speaking, there are four types of meaningful ambition we can cultivate by recognizing the good fortune of our human life:

  1. To secure the best quality of real happiness and wellbeing for ourselves and those in our circle of influence in this lifetime
  2. To work toward the happiness of future generations; to secure a better life for them
  3. To work toward the highest level of physical, psychological, and spiritual development and freedom that we are capable
  4. To cultivate the enlightenment experience (See my past article ‘Enlightened Imperfection’)

If you got out of bed each morning with this type of mindful appreciation and ambition in the front and centre of your mind; what would change in your life and the way in which you went about it?

Mindful appreciation and ambition as givers of resilience
One of the great things about this form of mindful appreciation and ambition is that it gives you a context for experiencing the rest of your challenges; many of the problems in your life cease to be so bothersome, because at the end of the day you know how fortunate you are. Not finding the man or woman of your dreams, not having an ideal career, not having the biggest house on the street or the exact life you want are all problems that can be dealt with; they are all relative and all manageable.

Live it up and be mindfully ambitious while it lasts!

Related article: How to Meditate on Gratitude

© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in May:

Friday 8th May, 7.30-9pm – Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre – Stillness, Energy, Positivity and Relaxation -A grounding in the basics of Integral Meditation

Saturday 16th May, 9.30am-12.30pm – Growing Your Mindful Freedom – The Essential Meditation of the Buddha: A Three Hour Meditation Workshop

Saturday 16th May, 2.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Activating, Healing and Awakening our Ancestral Karma

Wednesday 20th, 7.30-9.30pm –  An Evening of Mindful Relationships: Improving Your Relationships and Social Skills Through Mindfulness – A two hour workshop

Friday 29th May 7.30-9.30pm –  Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre – Travelling deeper into the present moment through integral meditation

Saturday 30th May, 2.30-5.30pm – Enlightened Flow: Finding the Ultimate Relaxation and Release from Stress


Integral Meditation Asia

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creative imagery Inner vision Integral Awareness Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindful Resilience Mindfulness One Minute Mindfulness Stress Transformation

Big Enough, Specific Enough (Dealing with spiky minds)

Dear Integral Meditators,

What can you do when your mind feels spiky, insecure and uncomfortable? The article below explores a contemplative approach that involves working consciously with the scale of your mind.

In case anyone missed it, you can see the schedule of live classes in May at Integral Meditation Asia HERE.

In the spirit of being comfortable with spikiness,

Toby



Big Enough, Specific Enough (Dealing with spiky minds)

One of the simplest ways to change the way you experience a difficult or challenging state of mind and emotion is to make your mind bigger.
To use an image; if think about your difficult of challenging minds as being like number of spiny sea urchins (sea picture). If your mind is small, let’s say like the size of your average black bin liner, and you put the sea urchins in there then it is going to feel extremely uncomfortable. Because of the smallness of the space, it feels like you can’t move around in your mind without getting a painful spine sticking into you somewhere. However, if you make your mind as big as you can, say big like the ocean, then you can accommodate the ‘spiny sea urchins of your mind’ very comfortably. This is not because you have changed them in any way; it’s just that your mind is so much bigger that it can happily accommodate the sea urchins without experiencing any discomfort. This is in the same way that there are literally millions of actual sea urchins in the ocean, but they don’t cause the ocean discomfort in any way.

A practical perspective
So, lets’ say over the last week I’ve been feeling uncomfortable about traditional human concerns; financial worries, ageing, career uncertainty, romantic insecurity. Using the approach I have described above I would not try and overcome the inner issues I am facing by changing them per se. Rather I would focus on making my mind as big, relaxed and expansive as I can, so that I experience the scale of the spiky thoughts as being really very small in relation to the total size of my mind. I don’t really need to change them per-se because they don’t really bother me; they just come and go in the big space of my mind.

So the basic principle; get out of the bin-liner of your head and get into the ocean of your mind!

Balancing this approach with specificity
The danger with the above approach is that it can become a bit abstract; whenever we get an uncomfortable mind we just up the scale of our mind, problem solved. But sometimes we need to do something about the issues that our spiky minds are worrying about. To ensure that we are keeping our feet on the ground, we can identify one of the issues that our spiky mind is fixed on, let’s say romantic insecurity. With this issue in mind we can work on a practical solution by completing the following sentence in 5-10 different ways in writing as fast as we can:
One of the practical things that I could do in order to improve my experience of romantic relationships might include –
If you complete this sentence several times in the way described, you may be surprised at how many creative ways you can come up with to work on your experience of romance for the better in an entirely practical, specific and down to earth way.

Make your mind big, make your approach to your problems specific, tailored and practical.

© Toby Ouvry 2015, 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


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Life-fullness Meditation and Psychology Mindful Confidence Mindful Self-Leadership Mindfulness Uncategorized

Your Long Term Self-Confidence

Coconut beach

You can build your confidence in the short term by surrounding yourself with the familiar and the known; by surrounding yourself with friends who are like you and affirm your world view; by doing something you are already good at; by staying with the job or activity that you know well; by acting in ways that you know will earn the praise of others. There is nothing inherently wrong with this as an approach, but it becomes limiting and debilitating if it is the only approach that we have to building our self-confidence, because it also inherently limits our growth and what we are capable of. Long term self-confidence building involves a different approach. It involves deliberately looking for the areas and activities of your life where you are uncomfortable and unfamiliar. It means consciously engaging in those spaces where you do not feel a sense of easy or established confidence.

In doing this the short term experience is an absence of assured confidence; a sense of being ‘lost’ or out of your comfort zone; a sense of being separate from familiar markers in our surrounding reality. By repeatedly taking yourself into unfamiliar territory and becoming competent in that space you establish a much greater and deeply rooted self-confidence than you could ever develop simply by surrounding yourself with the familiar and the known, and by continuing to engage only in the things that you are good at.

A couple of examples:
In my own experience establishing my own business after having been a monk and an artist for many years was a source of feeling lost, inconvenienced and way out of my comfort zone for many years in many different ways. However, by persisting in my pursuit and understanding of business (as it serves my purposes as a meditation and mindfulness teacher) has over the years become a major source of my own deeper self-confidence as I have moved repeatedly from incompetence to competence in the domain of business.
Similarly, after leaving my life as a monk where I had been surrounded by a lot of ‘spiritual’ people who shared at least in part my worldview, and going back onto the ‘secular’ world where I had to build relationships and ways of communicating with diverse groups of people who often did not share my world view was initially uncomfortable and inconvenient. However in the long term it because a source of confidence as it built within me a sense of being able to go into any situation and adapt to the ‘cultural language’ that was being spoken there.

The relationship between happiness and confidence
Building your short term happiness leads to the experience of being temporarily happy in environments where you are familiar. Mindfully building your long term confidence leads to a sense that you can be happy anywhere, in almost any circumstances because you have built a deep confidence in your own adaptability and a trust in your capacity to engage successfully with whatever comes up.

Its ‘both/and’ not ‘either/or’!
As with other aspects of integral mindfulness and meditation we are aiming for a win-win relationship in the development of our confidence. We can regularly connect to short term sources of self-confidence in order to re-assure and orientate ourselves, combining this with regularly and mindfully pushing ourselves to engage in areas of our life that make us uncomfortable, and seek to build our long term confidence by getting confident in these areas.

It begins today if you want it to
What is it that you can start doing today in order to build your deeper, long term self-confidence?

© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:

This Tuesday 21st April! 7.30-9.30pm –  An Evening of Mindful Self-Confidence – Developing your self-confidence, self-belief & self-trust through mindfulness & meditation

Friday 8th & 29th May, 7.30-9pm – Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre

Full schedule of May classes to be posted shortly…


Integral Meditation Asia

 

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Inner vision Integral Awareness Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Mindful Confidence Mindful Resilience Mindfulness

How to Mindfully Develop Your Self-Confidence

Dear Integral Meditators,

The article below focuses on how you can develop the art of mindful self-confidence in a systematic, multi-faceted manner, I hope you enjoy it!

Toby


How to Mindfully Develop Your Self-Confidence

Why focus on self-confidence?
How many things in your life would you be doing differently if you were thinking and acting from a place of deep self confidence? The capacity for authentic self-confidence offers many benefits, for example we become more creative and expressive, we find access to greater capacity for focus, mental stamina and energy, we experience greater peace of mind, we experience life as fundamentally enjoyable and playful.

What is self-confidence?
We will all have our own ideas of what self-confidence is, but the definition I normally work with (following Nathaniel Branden’s definition of self-esteem) is that self –confidence consists of two distinct parts:

  • Self-worth – The belief that I am worthy of happiness, pleasure, enjoyment, wellbeing, success & so on and
  • Self-efficacy – The sense that I have the capacity be successful in the face of life’s challenges. Even if I currently lack the skills to be successful in a particular task, self-efficacy is a confidence in my ability to learn those skills as and when necessary

If you lack a fundamental sense of your self-worth or your capacity for self-efficacy, then your self-confidence is going to be built upon shaky ground!

Mindful methods for developing your self-confidence
With the above definitions in mind, we can then start t adopt a multi-faceted approach to developing self-confidence, here are a few suggestions:
1. Connect and nourish your present self confidence – No one completely lacks self confidence, look for times and places in your life where you have felt and experienced self confidence. Revisit them mentally, take an inventory of them, recall how it felt. Then look at how you can translate those experiences into feelings and attitudes of self-confidence in the face of your present life challenges.
2. Know what self-confidence feels like in the body – Practice holding your body and feeling it in a way that communicates confidence and self assurance to your mind. Our posture is often communicating all sorts of messages to us psychologically, so we need to take advantage of this rather than being victimized by it!
3. Make friends with the parts of you that are not self-confident – As the famous gestalt therapist Fritz Pearls said ‘As long as you fight a symptom it will get worse’ (I recommend meditating on that sentence for a looong time!) Open to and get intimate with your fears, your vulnerabilities, the parts of you feel fragmented. Care for them, experience them, open to them, allow them to become the basis of your self-confidence, rather than the things you are trying to escape from by developing your self-confidence. This needs careful thought, reflection and experience to understand, but it is super-important to get right!
4. Find role models for your self confidence – Find real life examples of people who are appropriate and inspiring role models for the type of self-confidence you want to have. Study them carefully and draw conscious inspiration from them.
5. Do something each day to engage your self-confidence – Do something manageable each day to test and develop your self confidence experientially and in real time.
6. Practice mindful framing – ‘Last month I was depressed, and this month I’m still depressed’ sounds like a bit of a failure. ‘Last month I was very depressed and although this month I am still depressed I feel less depressed, and there have been days when I have actually felt good’ Sounds like progress and a cause of boosting our self-confidence. How we frame what happens to us mentally is crucial in terms of whether we experience something as supporting our self-confidence or not!

Conclusion
If you wanted to make this article a practical exploration, you could take one of the above six suggestions per day as a point of mindful focus for the next three weeks or so (taking one day off to give you three rounds over three weeks). See where it takes your own experience of mindful self-confidence!

Related articles: Choosing to be on your own side
Trusting your mind
Free audio meditation on self-trust

Stress Transformation Coaching with Toby

Tuesday 21st April, 7.30-9.30pm – An Evening of Mindful Self-Confidence – Developing your self-confidence, self-belief & self-trust through mindfulness & meditation

© Toby Ouvry 2015, 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


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Concentration Integral Meditation Meditation techniques Mindful Confidence Mindfulness

How Much Energy Should You Focus on Being Focused?

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would the effect upon your life be if you spent even a short period of time each day developing your ability to focus your mind single pointedly on just one thing? The article below asks this question and encourages us to take up the practice of mindful focusing!If you enjoy the article and are in Singapore, do check out the class on Friday evening, 3rd April:  Developing Your Ability to Focus Through Meditation and MindfulnessYours in the comfort and confidence of single-pointedness,Toby


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in March:

Friday 3rd April, 7.30-9pm – Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre: Developing Your Ability to Focus Through Meditation and Mindfulness

Saturday 11th April, 9.30am-12.30pm – Integral Meditation and Mindfulness: Optimize Your Inner Calm, Strength and Energy – A three hour workshop

Saturday 11th April, 2.30-5.30pm  Meditation and Mindfulness for Self-Healing and Creating High Levels of Energy

Tuesday 21st April, 7.30-9.30pm – An Evening of Mindful Self-Confidence (Full details to follow shortly!)


How Much Energy Should You Focus on Being Focused?

One of the central skills of meditation and mindfulness is the development of concentration which, simply defined is the ability to focus your mind on one object or task for an extended period. To develop it takes consistent effort. Some of the pay offs from this effort are as follows:

  • The more rapid attainment of inner peace and calm though meditation
  • A strong and enduring mind that is able to bear stress well
  • A heightened investigative intelligence; you can look at things more deeply when you can focus properly
  • Getting more done in your workday; if you can focus on one thing at a time, focusing on each one thing in turn you will get more done, and what you get done will be of better quality
  • Your relationships will improve due to your capacity to focus on other people and really listen to what they are saying or trying to communicate (*see note at bottom)

If we think about the benefits above, then we will start to develop a strong motivation to develop our focus and concentration skills. So how do you begin? Here are a few ideas:

  • In your daily sitting meditation practice, devote at least three minutes of that time to really honing your ability to focus on one thing single pointedly. Three minutes following the breathing or focusing on your body awareness are the most simple. If you are reading this and don’t have a daily meditation practice, 3 minutes on the breathing to develop your focus and concentration is where you can start!
  • For at least one task in your working day, take a 30minute period and focus on that one task single-pointedly, resisting all distractions (for example as I am doing with this article now). During this time keep on task, focus, focus focus, resist distraction, train yourself to concentrate!
  • When you are with someone and they are talking, train yourself to really listen to what they are saying. Use the people you meet as your objects of focus. If not all of the time, some of the time.
  • Distraction alert! I almost just clicked on my web browser as I paused between sentences. Developing focus is dependent upon being alert, mindful alertness is your tool for developing concentration!
  • When you are exercising, focus on awareness of the physical movement of your body, don’t let your mind wonder all over as you are doing your physical training.

So there are a few ideas to get started, you can invent a few more of your own as well if you like. The main thing is that a little bit of concentration and focus training practised daily will translate into multiple and cumulative benefits for us, so let’s get started today!

* (Please note the last two benefits are transferable skills; that is to say that it is possible to transfer the focus and concentration you develop in meditation into your work and relationship. Some meditators do not transfer this skill very well into their work or social skills, and so are not especially work effective and can be still totally relationally dysfunctional!)

Related articles: Five Inner Skills we develop Through Meditation
The Five Stages of Meditation Practice from Beginners to Advanced
Mindful Work effectiveness Secrets (From an Ex-Monk) 


Integral Meditation Asia