That Essential Feeling of Being Alive

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article is a simple reflection on mindfulness as the simple act of opening to life as you find it. Happy reading!

In the spirit of the journey,

Toby


That Essential Feeling of Being Alive

We’re all looking deep down for that essential feeling of being alive. A lot of our actions; seeking a particular type of work, seeking romance, traveling, studying, watching or reading stories, achieving this or that. All of these things are ways in which we seek to connect to that essential feeling, and yet often it can remain elusive; we feel a disconnect; we mistake it for the excitement of a new activity and then get bored; we need to have achieved all the things we think we need to before we give ourself permission.
The open secret here is that we are all alive now, and all we really need to do to connect to feeling truly alive is to open to it in the moment that we find ourself in at any given time, to simply be what and who we are now.
Our conceptual mind gets confused about this, it thinks that there need to be criteria met, goals achieved, boy/girl met, rank achieved. After we have gotten these, then we can give ourself permission to feel alive (!) But the thing about needing criteria to be ‘met’ before you allow yourself to open to life is that once one set of criteria is met, we tend to create another set of criteria in its place that we have to meet; another reason to withhold that essential feeling of being alive from ourself for another moment, day, week, month, year…
An essential dimension of the way of mindfulness is to open to the feeling of being alive first, and then decide what you are going to do to express and enjoy that feeling further. The approach for many people is to give yourself a list of things to do/get/achieve and then, at some point in the future you may be able to open to being fully alive.
Right now I’m getting over a few days of fever. On one level I’ve felt like these days have been somewhat crummy/not fun/unfortunate/painful (insert adjective here…) for me, but despite this I’m always kind of fine with what happened because at the core of my basic experience is this essential, fundamentally pleasurable feeling of being connected to life, to being here and to participating. This is the sort of way that mindfully connecting to being alive starts to affect your experiences on a day to day level.
Don’t wait for that essential feeling of life to come to you, it’s right here, now, waiting for you to open to it!

© 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:

February 2016

Ongoing on Wednesday’s (Jan 13th, 20th) 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday  February 27th, 2.30-5.30pm – Growing Your Mindful Freedom – The Essential Meditation of the Buddha: A Three Hour Meditation Workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Getting ‘Out of Your Head’ (Plus new Solar Infusion track from I-Awake)

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would happen if instead of thinking all the time you were able to ‘get out of your head’ and relax when you wanted to? The article below describes a simple mindfulness technique that you can use to start doing this.

This Thursday (tomorrow) is the launch of the Integral Mindfulness On line Course, if you are looking for a ‘ground up’ introduction to mindfulness practice that is elegant, simple and practical, then do check it out!
Finally, I-Awake technologies have a new product, ‘Solar Infusion’ out this last week, I have placed the details below the article.

In the spirit of getting out of our heads,

Toby



Getting Out of Your Head

Here is a simple mindfulness exercise for ‘getting out of your head’ and into your body:
Sitting down, begin by noticing that your energy and sense of who you are tends to locate itself in your head and behind your eyes. It feels like ‘you’ are in the ‘control center’ in your head. Having noticed this, now try gently to ‘sink’ your sense of gravity down from your head into your torso. Initially try and go just a little way down into the torso, perhaps to the level of the collar bone. Then after a while try going a bit further down, say into the middle of the chest. Take some time to breathe, be present and notice how your experience starts to change when you bring your center of gravity down in this way; how your head starts to empty of thoughts and relax, how your sensory awareness of what is happening in your torso starts to increase.
One of the problems that we have about our problems is that often we can’t stop thinking about them. One of the ways in which mindfulness meditation helps us to deal with our problems is, once we have thought about an issue as much as we need, to then be able to stop thinking about it further.One of the ways we can do this is by lowering the center of our awareness down from our head to our heart or chest in the way described above.

This morning I woke up after a very busy day and late night the day before. My mind was still full of residual thoughts and emotions from the previous day and I did not have time to do my usual meditation before leaving to go to work. So, in between getting up and breakfast I just took a few moments to bring my center of gravity down into my torso from my head, relaxed and breathed. I did the same thing in between breakfast and leaving the house, and also on the bus into work. As a result, although I could still feel the emotional turbulence in my mind and body, I was able to simply sit with it and allow it to settle without thinking or over analyzing it.
This week you might like to try mindfully ‘getting out of your head’ for a couple of minutes at strategic times in your day and start to enjoy the greater sense of control and relaxation that it gives you over your mental faculties!

© 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  February 27th, 2.30-5.30pm – Growing Your Mindful Freedom – The Essential Meditation of the Buddha: A Three Hour Meditation Workshop


Solar Infusion – Journey of Illumination

Solar Infusion is a 40-minute psychoacoustic composition specially designed to foster the experience of moving into coherence with the essence of life-force energy, allowing you to relax deeply and attune to the highest expression of your being.

 

 Solar Infusion can help you:

  • Move through depression and sadness

  • Lighten your negative thoughts and perspectives

  • Set the stage for even deeper meditation and healing

  • Help release mental & emotional dross, so you can hear your intuitive wisdom voice

  • Feel a powerful pick-me-up when you are tired, drained, and lacking in inspiration

  • Stay centered and happy during the winter if you live in a cold clime

  • Journey to a place of centeredness, compassion, and higher understanding

  • Open your heart and increase feelings of joy and gratitude

Click HERE to learn more and to listen to the free sample track!

 


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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The Imperfect Jug (On mindful doing)

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article looks at how we can use mindfulness not just to ‘be’, but also when we are doing, and use mindfulness to do things a little bit better.
Last chance to catch Integral Mindfulness On line Course starting on Feb 4th  at a discounted rate, at the end of Friday 29th January it will go up to its full price.
For those in Singapore, do check out this Saturdays Course  Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – A Three Hour Workshop , all welcome!

In the spirit of the imperfect jug,

Toby


The Imperfect Jug (On mindful doing)

I have a glass jug in my kitchen that I use to pour my water. Technically it is a flawed jug in the sense that, if you try and pour the water out beyond a certain speed it drips water onto the table. Furthermore if you don’t pour it fast enough it also drips. So when I am pouring I have to really pay attention and do it at just the right speed so that it pours cleanly without spilling.
Initially I found this jug really annoying, particularly when I am in a hurry. But then I realized that it’s actually showing me something. When I am in a hurry I try and pour too fast, which then means I have to wipe up the water from the dripping, which takes up more time and effort than if I’d just poured more slowly. So, in order to get a ‘clean pour’ so to speak, I have to slow down a little, relax, focus and pour not too fast, not to slow.
This has now become a symbol or metaphor for me regarding how I mindfully work and do things in general:

  • If I try and work too fast I start to make mistakes, which I then have to correct, which takes more time than if I had slowed down a little and not made the mistake.
  • Similarly if I work too slow, I lose my rhythm and focus, which means I waste time getting distracted or do something sloppily that then have to re-do.

So to me mindful doing in my daily life is like pouring water from the jug; not too fast, not to slow. I try and hit an optimal pace where I am getting things done, but not going so fast that I make unnecessary mistakes.

What is your optimal pace in the different activities you do in your day? It can be a worthwhile mindfulness practice asking yourself this question, and then trying to optimize the momentum with which you do things in your life.

Make your mindful doing like pouring of the imperfect jug; not too fast, not too slow!

© 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:

JANUARY 2016

Ongoing on Wednesday’s (Jan 13th, 20th) 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday, January 30th, 2.30-5.30pm  – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – A Three Hour Workshop

Starts 4th February – Transforming Stress into Happiness – An Introduction to Integral Mindfulness Meditation – A Five Week On line Course

Click the link to find out about the special 1:1 meditation and mindfulness coaching offer in January!


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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Effortless Effort – The Cycle of Mindful Growth

Dear Integral Meditators,

The path of mindfulness when engaged in properly can offer us a relatively effortless, gradual, ergonomic and aesthetically beautiful path of personal growth. In the article below I break the process down into four essential stages that can be applied to any area of your life that you may wish to work with using mindfulness. Its simple. Not always easy, but simple!

The Integral Mindfulness On line Course starting on Feb 4th is now passed its early bird offer, but up until until 29th Jan you can still get 10 bucks off the price. And there are still 10 days before the January 20% offer on 1:1 coaching expires, so do have a look if you are interested!

In the spirit of effortless effort,

Toby


Effortless Effort – The Cycle of Mindful Growth

Mindfulness invites us upon an experiential journey of learning and self-knowledge. How does it do this? I’m going to break the process down into four stages:

Intention – To begin with we start with the intention to investigate something that we wish to understand more deeply – our emotions, our beliefs, our relationships, anything that we want to work with.
Attention – Secondly we then practice placing our attention or focus on that area of our life or experience. This is not just for a few seconds, but over an extended period of time.
Enquiry – With our attention we then dwell upon our object of observation, not trying to ‘solve it’, ‘fix it’ or ‘judge it’, but simply seeking to see it clearly and understand it.
Insight – The point of our focused enquiry is to produce insight; an essential, experiential new understanding of what is happening. This experiential insight then enables us to make positive changes in our life.

Unlike other personal growth methods, mindfulness focuses upon change and growth through experiential insight and understanding rather than through sheer willpower. Because of this the change that we facilitate through mindfulness (when done well) is gentle, natural and relatively effortless. When we see what is going on clearly, we change naturally. When we do not see what is going on clearly our efforts to change generally miss the point – It’s difficult to have an effective strategy to change something you don’t understand.

A simple example:
Let’s say I am feeling confused. Firstly I develop the intention to investigate and understand the nature of my confusion.
Secondly I sit, turn my attention inward and focus it upon how the confusion shows up in my body, emotions and mind.
Through my attentive enquiry I notice that the feeling of confusion is centered physically in my brain – It feels like a fog sitting in the frontal part of the brain and forehead.
Through my enquiry I discover the insight that simply by placing my awareness gently upon this front part of my brain I can clear the fuzzy feeling and my head feels clearer, and so I find a solution to this aspect of my confusion.
As a result of my had feeling clearer I can then start to see clearly the emotions in my heart and chest that are causing the confusion on a deeper level, and so the cycle of mindfulness continues to go from attention to enquiry to insight in a circular process helping me to deal with my experience of confusion on progressively deeper and deeper levels in different ways.

What area of your life would you like to practice the cycle of mindfulness with today, or this week?

© 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:

JANUARY 2016

Ongoing on Wednesday’s (Jan 13th, 20th) 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday January 16th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Transforming Your Stress into Happiness – Meditation & mindfulness for cultivating a state of optimal flow in your mind, body, heart and life – A three hour workshop

Saturday, January 30th, 2.30-5.30pm  – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – A Three Hour Workshop

Starts 4th February – Transforming Stress into Happiness – An Introduction to Integral Mindfulness Meditation – A Five Week On line Course

Click the link to find out about the special 1:1 meditation and mindfulness coaching offer in January!


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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The Eye of the Storm – Finding peace in the non-peace

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would happen if in the moments when you were feeling most disturbed and out of balance you were able to find a place of peace within that same moment? The article below explores how you can begin to do so.

In the spirit of the eye of the storm,

Toby


The Eye of the Storm – Finding peace in the non-peace
 
It’s always pleasant and valuable to seek out peaceful times and places in your day where you can cultivate your inner peace mindfully, but it can also be hugely valuable to learn to notice the peace that is present in the mist of the most stressful situations that you find yourself in, for example

  • When you have multiple demands upon your time
  • When your relationships are in crisis
  • When your health is not good
  • When you face setbacks nervousness or uncertainty

If you think about any of these type of circumstances in your mind or life as being like a storm, to find the ‘peace in the non-peace’ means to go looking for the eye of the storm in that moment; to locate and hold your awareness in that center point. You don’t wait for the storm to subside or go away; you actively look for the point of stillness within it as the activity goes on around and within you.
This is a very powerful way to learn to experience peace, as it is directly contrasted with the stress, movement and turbulence of your circumstances. Cultivating peace in this way also makes you more resilient, as your capacity to endure and relax into stress increases.
So, the next time you find yourself experiencing non-peace, remember the eye of the storm and look for the still point within the turbulence, placing your attention and awareness in that place. Find the peace within the non-peace.

© 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:

JANUARY 2016

Ongoing on Wednesday’s (Jan 13th, 20th) 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday January 16th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Transforming Your Stress into Happiness – Meditation & mindfulness for cultivating a state of optimal flow in your mind, body, heart and life – A three hour workshop

Saturday, January 30th, 2.30-5.30pm  – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – A Three Hour Workshop

Starts 4th February – Transforming Stress into Happiness – An Introduction to Integral Mindfulness Meditation – A Five Week On line Course

Click the link to find out about the special 1:1 meditation and mindfulness coaching offer in January!


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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Transforming Stress into Happiness – An Introduction to Integral Mindfulness Meditation – A Five Week Online Course

Carrier ShellStarting: Thursday February 4th

Up until 19th February catch the special early bird price, see below!

In a sentence: Learn a simple, powerful series of mindfulness meditation techniques to enhance your quality of life, sense of inner wellbeing and transform stress and difficulties into causes of happiness.

Course overview:  This is a five module online course starting onThursday February 4th that aims to provide you with practical, streetwise mindfulness techniques that you can start using right away to transform the way you experience your reality, improve the quality of your relationships and increase your work effectiveness.

An outline of each of the course modules:

Module one introduces you to the basic mindful flow state and how you can use it to cultivate and improve your focus, concentration and inner peace

Module two shows you how you can find progressively deeper levels of freedom from stress and tension using mindfulness

Module three focuses upon techniques for increasing your mental positivity when under pressure

Module four looks at how you can deal with difficult emotions more effectively, even learning to transform them in to positive ones

Module five looks at how you can connect and cultivate deeper levels of inner stillness through the use of simple mindful visualization skills

In each module you will receive:

  • A written article by Toby explaining the mindfulness technique clearly, its practical applications and relevance to your daily life
  • A ten minute guided MP3 mindfulness meditation on the module topic

How it works:

After purchasing the course, each Thursday starting on 4th January you will be sent an email with the module article and a link to download the MP3 meditation recording. You can then read the article and listen to the recording in your own time. It is as simple as that!

How much does it cost?

The cost of the course is US$49, but there are two early bird promotions:

Up until 19th February it can be purchased for US$29

From 20th-29th February it can be purchased for $39 after which time the price will be fixed at $49

PURCHASE THE INTEGRAL MINDFULNESS ONLINE COURSE SPECIAL EARLY BIRD PRICE OF US$29 VIA PAYPAL HERE

Any questions or further enquiries contact info@integralmeditationasia.com

******

Toby Ouvry bw (142 x 196)About the teacher, Toby Ouvry

Toby has a BA Hons degree in Fine Art from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Subsequent to his degree, Toby spent ten years doing his foundational training in meditation and mindfulness, specializing in the Tibetan Tradition which included five years as an ordained Buddhist monk.

He has been practicing and teaching mindfulness & meditation for over nineteen years. As the founder and principle facilitator at Integral Meditation Asia he delivers mindfulness programs to both the public and corporate sectors. His clients include both government organizations in Singapore as well as numerous SME’s and MNC’s. He is a meditation and mindfulness blogger, and the author and creator of over fifteen practical workshops and courses on the subject.

In his teaching, facilitating and coaching he combines practical mindfulness and meditation techniques from three sources:

  • the world’s great wisdom traditions
  • cutting edge practices that are currently emerging from both the integral and evolutionary consciousness movements
  • His own practical and creative experience

Toby is also an artist and entrepreneur. As such his presentation of mindfulness reflects a strong interest in both how it can be linked to work performance and engagement, as well as stimulating more deeply the innate capacity for creative intelligence found within both individuals and groups.

You can find out more about Toby’s work on meditation, mindfulness and integral living by going to www.integralmeditationasia.com, to read his mindful blog writings go to www.tobyouvry.com

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Don’t Let Difficult Feelings Become Negative Thoughts

Dear Integral Meditators,

When you are feeling bad, its easy to think negative. The article below explains how to use mindfulness to stop difficult feelings becoming negative thoughts in your mind.

In the spirit of the journey,

Toby


Don’t Let Difficult Feelings Become Negative Thoughts

At the moment I have jet lag, which means that I wake up feeling groggy and dis-oriented, and when I lie down to sleep I have been spending some hours wide awake. The dis-orientation from the jet lag produces a lot of difficult, turgid, feelings which, if I let them could very quickly start to produce negative thoughts, which in turn would start to generate full blown negative emotions. So, here my basic object of mindfulness is to be attentive to the fact that I am experiencing a lot of difficult feelings in my body due to the jetlag, and simply focus on noting them as feelings, and not letting them escalate into something else. This is the basic practice of not letting difficult feelings become negative emotions.

Similarly, if I am with someone who is irritated or upset, and they start to direct it at me, then I experience a difficult or unpleasant feeling as a result. If I don’t watch out, then I’m going to find my mind creating a lot of negative thinking around that feeling and the other person’s action, so I will suffer more than I need to, and may do something that I regret.

There are many other situations where we may find difficult energy around us:

  • On the commute home when there is a lot of ambient irritability in the minds and bodies of the commuters
  • When things aren’t going our way at work or in our relationships
  • When we are ill or fatigued
  • When we are upset or anxious regarding change or uncertainty
  • When we feel disapproved of by ourself or others

The list goes on, but the main thing is that if we can catch difficult feelings and energies within us early enough through mindfulness, then we can save ourself a lot of pain by making a conscious choice not to let difficult energies we face trigger negative thinking.

Awareness of feelings and energies
A lot of progress in this art and discipline involves simply greater awareness of the energies and feelings that you are experiencing in the moment. What you are aware of you can start to exert benevolent control over, what you are not aware of can easily mushroom into a cloud of negativity before you really know it. So a really basic mindfulness exercise is simply to ask yourself regularly ‘How am I feeling?’ and use this question to direct your awareness mindfully to what is there in the present moment.

Difficult feelings need only be that, they don’t need to become negative thoughts.
© Toby Ouvry 2014, 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


Integral Meditation Asia

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Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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Wave Breathing

Dear Integral Meditators ,

The article below explains a simple breathing meditation form that I love as a way of really relaxing your body, mind & heart and entering into a deep contemplative space. You can do it anywhere, I hope you enjoy it! Wishing you, your families and loved ones all the very best for 2016!

Toby & Integral Meditation Asia

 


Wave Breathing

Wave breathing is a form of mindful  breathing (that I originally learned from Qi gong) were the pace and power of the inhalation and exhalation vary like waves.

If you do this as a form of breathing meditation, it can be pleasant and helpful to imagine yourself to be sitting on your favorite beach, with the waves rolling in and flowing out as you breathe.

As you breathe in, imagine your inhalation is like a wave rising up from the ocean gathering in height and power. As you reach the top of the inbreath, the pace of the breath will naturally slow to an almost still point as your lungs reach a comfortable point of fullness.
Now as you exhale imagine, that your out breath is like a wave breaking on the shore. Initially there is a sustained flow of breath, like the flow of a wave up the shoreline. However, as you move toward the end of the exhalation, the pace of the breath naturally starts to slow, like a wave running out of power as it rises up the beach.

After you have gently emptied the lungs with your out breath, begin your inhalation – allowing the pace of the breath to gather – like the water being drawn back into the ocean and rising again as another wave.

In this way you can establish a gentle and relaxing form of breathing that mimics the energetic ebb and flow of waves in the ocean.

Once you have become familiar with the basic flowing feel of wave breathing, you can feel yourself breathing power, energy and qi into your body as you breathe in. Then, as you breathe out, you can practice feeling this power and energy flowing through your body in a relaxed and even manner. By doing this you will be learning how to energize and empower your body and mind, whilst at the same time retaining as sense of relaxation, awareness and ease.

© 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
 


Integral Meditation Asia

 

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Experiencing the Mind as the Mind

Dear Toby ,

Often meditation and mindfulness work well when you use a short, significant phrase as your object of enquiry. In the article below I share one that I have been enjoying over the holiday season.

Wishing you, your families and loved ones all the very best for the Christmas season!

Toby & Integral Meditation Asia


Experiencing the Mind as the Mind

Often meditation and mindfulness work well when you use a short, significant phrase as your object of enquiry, which can then lead you relatively naturally into progressively deeper states of awareness. Over the Christmas holiday and winter solstice period the phrase I have been focusing upon is ‘Experience the mind as the mind’ (or my mind as my mind). This phrase invites me to connect to the experience of consciousness itself as directly and non-conceptually as possible.
Normally we experience our mind conceptually, dividing into different categories, for example:

  • Positive and negative thinking
  • Conscious and unconscious
  • Practical and daydreaming
  • Mundane and spiritual
  • Busy and peaceful
  • Upset or happy

With the practice of experiencing the mind as the mind I am deliberately setting aside all of these (useful in their own context) conceptual ways of experiencing my mind, and simply trying to experience the mind as a whole, directly in the present moment. At different times during the day different things will be appearing to my mind, which is fine, but I am focused simply to being conscious, and paying attention to what that experience feels like. As a result of this I have found that:

  • Many of the things that my habitual and conceptual mind normally does not see start to become visible
  • I naturally start to move back into the peaceful centre of my world and experience in the present moment
  • I am freed to then think or approach my daily life and challenges with my experiential, problem-solving intelligence operating at a higher level

If you like over the next few days you can take experiencing ‘the mind as the mind’ (or your consciousness as your consciousness) as an object of mindfulness in your own meditation practice, either formally or informally, and allow it to invite you into the space of immediacy and presence that it invites!

© 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 

JANUARY 2016

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, (Jan 13th, 20th, 27th) 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby
Saturday January 16th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Mindful Flow – Meditation & mindfulness for cultivating a state of optimal flow in your mind, body, heart and life – A three hour workshop
Saturday, January 30th, 2.30-5.30pm  – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – 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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The Inner Sky of the Mind – Distraction, anxiety, mood and the principle of awareness 

 

 Imagine you were to spend a week everyday looking at the sky, just watching and witnessing it. Some days it would be bright and full of light, other days there might be light clouds, sometimes monotonously grey, or aggressively rainy with thunder and lightning. Every time that you looked, the idea would be simply to witness and observe the sky closely, like an artist or a scientist.
In mindfulness and meditation the principle of being aware of our mind and its contents is like this sky watching exercise; we learn to watch the inner sky of our mind using awareness to witness its contents rather than be involved with it.
The act of being aware under pressure
Normally we are not used to witnessing the contents of our consciousness in this way. Particularly under pressure we feel as if we are completely caught up in the contents of our mind; tossed around by our distractions, feeling as if we are our moods, and overtaken by our anxiety. To be mindfully aware means to practice the discipline of awareness even when under pressure, and using the principle of awareness to unify and relax our mind, even when it contains multiple impulses to feel fragmented or un-peaceful. For example:

  • My mind feels distracted and disoriented, but I can reach a feeling of centeredness despite this by being aware
  • I am anxious about the choices I have to make, but I can relax into that anxiety using the act of witnessing and being aware
  • My mood feels disturbing, but I can learn to benevolently tolerate it because I can witness it, just like watching a cloudy sky

Action or non-action subsequent to awareness
What practising the principle of awareness enables us to do is to connect to a state of peace, centeredness and presence within ourself even when we are feeling moody, disturbed or anxious, and to keep making conscious choices about how we are going to respond.

Last week whilst seeing a series of arguments occurring between colleagues, I was feeling disturbed, like I needed to ‘do’ something in order to help them resolve their dispute. Checking with myself however I could see that most of the impulse that I had to act was mainly due to my own discomfort (“I need to fix this for them so that I can feel more comfortable”), and that the best thing that I could do (in my opinion) was to simply be present and let the drama play out for now. Practising the principle of witnessing awareness enabled me to feel comfortable not acting, even though part of me felt emotionally uncomfortable and impulsive.
Practicing the principle of awareness gives us the freedom to act or not to act as our circumstances demand of us, rather than be pushed around by the tension and impulsiveness that we may feel.

This week you might like to practice watching your mind as if you were watching the sky, just for a few minutes each day. By doing so you will be building the principle of witnessing awareness in your mind in such a way that you can start to use it practically when you are really feeling under pressure.

© 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


Integral Meditation Asia

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