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A Mind of Ease creative imagery Energy Meditation Enlightened Flow Inner vision Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques mindful dreaming Mindfulness

Becoming mindfully unfocused

Dear Integral Meditators,

It’s tough to keep focused these days, when there are seemingly so many things demanding our attention. In the article below I explain a method that I use for regenerating my mental energy and willpower when they are feeling a little run-down…

In the spirit of soft focus,

Toby


Becoming mindfully unfocused

Becoming mindfully unfocused is a technique I use specifically to relax and regenerate the energy of my mind when it has been working hard and needs a break, or when I feel my willpower is low and needs to gather its strength. The short-term effect is the experience of feeling mentally and physically refreshed, but I also feel that in the long-game of aging over the years this type of method can help prolong the shelf-life and functioning of my mind, brain, willpower and nervous system.
To practice mindful non-focusing, sit or lie down in a comfortable position and take a few breaths to relax your body-mind and bring it into the present moment.
Then imagine that your brain has a kind of ‘sleep mode button’, that when you switch it, it goes into a kind of semi-sleep, semi-awake mode; you are still awake and aware, but most of the ‘thinking’ function of the brain has been shut down. It’s like you are asleep and awake at the same time. In this ‘sleep mode’ allow your body, mind and heart to relax as deeply as they can. Now allow your mind to become unfocused, in the same way that for example a movie camera dilates to a ‘soft focus’ where everything is slightly blurred, soft and indistinct.
At this point with your thinking brain in ‘sleep mode’ and your mind in ‘soft-focus mode’, simply work on relaxing into and sustaining that state of mindful non-focus. Allow it to help you rest your mind and regenerate your energy. The key is to apply just enough ‘effort ‘ to sustain this state of being mindfully unfocused. It is a little bit like having a nap, whilst at the same time increasing the capacity of your conscious mind to remain awake and attentive in a state of deep relaxation and ease.
A final point here is that this state of restful unfocused-ness is one that we are dipping in and out of unconsciousness at various times during the day, so this technique like many other mindful methods is a way of connecting to an already existing state of mind, using mindfulness to put it to positive use to our own ends.

© Toby Ouvry 2016, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

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

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings from November – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

19th November – One Heart Celebration Day (Joint event)

Saturday 26th November 10am-5pm – Engaged Mindfulness day workshop/retreat

3rd December, 2-5pm – Mindful Resilience three hour workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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Enlightened Flow Enlightened love and loving Integral Meditation Life-fullness Meditation and Art meditation and creativity Meditation techniques mind body connection mindful dreaming Mindful Self-Leadership Mindfulness Motivation and scope

Practical Rapture (On rapture, beauty and mindfulness)

Dear Toby,

Rapture is a state of mind and body that we all experience sometimes, the article below explores how we can build our experience of it through mindfulness, and then start putting it to use…

In the spirit of rapture,

Toby


Practical Rapture (On rapture, beauty and mindfulness)

Rapture –  a state or emotion of wonderment, bliss and heightened perception. A state of feeling deeply and primally connected to life and aliveness felt not just in the mind and heart, but in the body.

Peak rapture
We are all familiar to a greater or lesser degree with times when we have had a peak experience of rapture; when listening to music or contemplating art, in moments of new love or romance, in powerful landscape, when we are in a highly creative state, enthused by an idea or an ideal, the temporary peaks we dip into in good meditations. What are the moments in your life where you have felt most closely connected to a state of rapture? Memories like this are important for us to be mindful of as often they are powerful enough to re-trigger a little bit of that peak rapture in the moment we are in right now.

Everyday rapture
If we are mindful, we also start to notice that there are quiet invitations to rapture all around us; in the wind through trees, in the sight or a flower or cloudscape in the sky, in the feeling of comfort on our skin as we sit in a comfy chair. Rapture almost seems like the ‘hum’ of life that you can connect to anytime that you dip your awareness beneath the surface of your mind and what you are experiencing in the moment. To be in touch with your life and the feeling of being alive is to feel slightly blissful, slightly rapturous.

Accessing rapture through mindfulness
Mindfulness meditation by its nature invites us to dip below the surface of our attention, moving to deeper states of awareness that naturally contain some rapture. For example, within the forest monk tradition of breathing meditation there is a stage called ‘the beautiful breathing’. At this stage, which comes after achieving a certain level of competency focusing attention upon the breathing, the body starts to feel effortlessly comfortable, the breathing becomes smooth and even, and the mind moves toward a state of calm rapture. Once this is achieved, then we become able to access a feeling of quiet, everyday rapture at will, or at least more and more often in our daily life.

Thinking and acting from a place of rapture
You can cultivate your experience of rapture then by:

  • Being mindful of your past experiences of peak rapture, and the ones that come up for you in your daily life.
  • Noticing the everyday moments of rapture that are available to you whenever you take the time to notice them.
  • Cultivate a daily practice of mindfulness, where to learn to consciously dip into sustained states of calm rapture regularly.

One fun thing that you can then try doing is thinking and acting from a place of rapture, which is to say:

  • A place that is creative, playful and a little wild.
  • A place that is fulfilled in the moment.
  • A place that contains natural compassion.

Within the boundaries of what feels appropriate, try bringing your rapture mindfully into your everyday life, relationships and tasks. What might start to change in your life today if you did??

© Toby Ouvry 2016, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm (next class August 10th) – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

 


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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Awareness and insight Energy Meditation Enlightened Flow Essential Spirituality Inner vision meditation and creativity mindful dreaming Primal Spirituality spiritual intelligence

Mindfulness, Meditation & Non-Ordinary Reality

Dear Integral Meditators,

Its the Easter weekend, which is potentially a time for a little bit of deeper reflection, so this weeks article focuses on the relationship between mindfulness, meditation and altered states of mind. I hope you enjoy it!

On a slightly different note, you can see a 15 minute video of me talking about mindfulnesson the Movement for Modern Life website, which is also a website worth checking out if your interested in online yoga.

In the spirit of the journey,

Toby


Mindfulness, Meditation & Non-Ordinary Reality

Regardless of who we are and what our belief systems contain, when we take up meditation and mindfulness we can sometimes find ourselves experiencing some slightly unusual side effects of our practice, that might be termed ‘non-ordinary’ states of mind. For some people these start quite early on in their practice, for others they can pop up unexpectedly after years of experiencing nothing like them. They are useful to know about, because they do happen, and so if they start happening to you, then there is no need to panic, they have been happening to people for thousands of years! Here are some of them:

The seeing & feeling of light and energy – This is where we experience lights, colours and energies in our inner vision. Common colours include purples, greens, yellow/oranges, white, but the full spectrum can occur. This can also (often but not always) be accompanied by the feeling of energy moving through the body, for example up and down the spine. Sometimes there can be the feeling of energy without the seeing of lights or colours.

The seeing of visions and images, lucid dreaming – We can find ourselves experiencing visionary sequences, like waking dreams. These are different from merely imaginary journeys in that we feel as if we are observing the sequences objectively, without any active contribution on our part.

The hearing of sounds and voices – The hearing of non-physical sounds and voices sometimes occurs.

Prehension and clear knowing – Prehension; the knowing of events before they occur. Clear knowing; the understanding of or insight about something without needing to process information conceptually or rationally.

Synchronicity or déjà-vu – The increase in the occurrence of meaningful co-incidence in our lives, or finding ourselves visiting places in the physical world that we have ‘seen’ or ‘been to’ before, but we don’t know how or why.

Bliss (or its opposite, discomfort) – States of exceptional physical and mental bliss and comfort. Occasionally we can experience temporary energetic discomfort in an area of our body, but this usually then leads to an increased sense of wellbeing in that part of the body, like the unblocking of a blocked pipe – energy flows better and more cleanly afterwards.

Peak states – Temporary states of awareness where the mind feels open clear and spacious, or where there are genuine and spontaneous feelings of love and universal connectivity to everyone/everything.

Keeping your feet on the ground
It should be noted that all of the above experiences can happen to non-mindfulness practitioners, but the fact that you are taking the time each day to build the power and depth of your mind in meditation does increase the likelihood of these states popping up periodically!

Don’t let non-ordinary states disconnect you from ordinary reality.
If they do start to happen, then there is no need to panic, and no need to think you are suddenly superman/woman, just keep calm and carry on as usual. Having said that, there is also no doubt that these experiences can be very powerful and transformative, so if you can find a more experienced practitioner to get feedback from, then of course this can be very useful.

© Toby Ouvry 2016, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:

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

Saturday  April 16th, 2.30-5.30pm – Living Life From Your Inner Center – Meditations for Going With the Flow of the Present Moment – A three hour workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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mindful dreaming

Trampoline Time Bending (Meditating in the Twilight State)

Dear Integral Meditators,

As your own meditation and mindfulness practice develops, you will notice that you start to become aware of more and more different ‘mind states’ (or states of body-mind-and-heart) that you learn to access at will. The article below considers the twilight state, what it is and why it is of meaningful use to us.
If you enjoy the article and are in Singapore then do consider joining us for the Mindful Dreaming workshop on the 29th August where the twilight state features quite prominently!

In the spirit of the in between state,

Toby


Trampoline Time Bending (Meditating in the Twilight State)

The twilight state is the space we experience in between being awake and being asleep. You know that open, spacious, dreaming state of mind you are sometimes aware of before you fall asleep? That’s the one. It is also sometimes called the limnal (meaning ‘threshold’) or hypnagogic (transitioning from sleep to waking) state.
The twilight state is an entry point to the inner world of dreams and the dream world. It is a state of mind that is used a lot in shamanic and other ‘journeying’ forms of meditation. The interesting thing about it is that it is a state where time; past, present and future are much more flexible.

Trampoline Time Bending
A couple of weeks back I was lying in bed waiting to fall asleep. My body relaxed and I entered into the twilight state, substantially loosing awareness of my physical body and drifting in space. I then found myself in a room with blue padded walls with a bunch of young guys who were running around frenetically, bounding around with huge strides. ‘Well, that is completely bizarre, I’ve never seen anything like that in my life!’ I thought to myself before I fell asleep.
The next day I went with my daughter to a trampoline park in a different part of town. As we walked into the warehouse I saw the trampoline room; the walls were covered in blue padding. I went into the park, at the back there was a section dedicated to dodge ball, following my daughter in, I found myself surrounded by jumping boys, all whom decided that, since I was the only adult there, that they should mob me and throw their dodge balls at me!
One aspect of the twilight state, and one that I experience quite often is that I see places and events that I then experience physically the next day or few days.

Moaning to Mum
Another relatively recent experience in the twilight state I had was an experience of myself feeling a bit depressed and moaning to my Mum about what I was going through. At the time I did not feel depressed, but sure enough over the next few days I went through a low patch.
The useful thing about seeing the experience in the twilight state was that I could then anticipate the mood coming, and so when it came I was ready for it, and so there was no need for me to actually moan to my Mom about it (Hi Mum!)

Swimming with sharks
In my sitting meditations I had been doing some work with sharks (see animal meditation article). During the twilight state waiting to fall asleep I found myself ‘sitting’ in a reef in the ocean. A large shark came to meet me (which was frankly a little unsettling at first), but then after I had settled down and figured it was friendly we went for a swim together visiting some underwater landscapes and places I understood to be of significance. The difference between a twilight state experience and a ‘regular’ meditation vision is that the experience is entirely spontaneous and very real, like a vivid dream.

As your own meditation and mindfulness practice develops, you will notice that your capacity to do your own time-bending and visioning in the twilight state increases quite naturally. This has very real practical benefits, but it is also very fun!

© 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 August

Wednesday, August 26th, 7.30-9pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday 29th August, 9.30am-12.30pm – Meditation and Mindfulness for Self-Healing and Creating High Levels of Energy

Saturday 29th August, 2.30-5.30pm – Mindful Dreaming – Meditation Practices for Integrating Conscious Dreaming into Your Daily Life


Integral Meditation Asia