Dualistic Appearance – The Dance of Reality & Illusion

Dear Integral Meditators,

When you look at something, what is it that you really see? This weeks article looks at the way in which our mind projects itself onto our reality, moulding it in its own image. I then offer practical method for starting to gain awareness and benevolent control of this process.

In the spirit of the journey,

Toby


Dualistic Appearance – The Dance of Reality & Illusion

Dualistic Appearance is a meditation term originally coined by the Buddha. It means the appearance of an object together with our minds projected or imagined image of what we think is appearing. For example let’s say my partner and I had an argument last night. She comes into the kitchen in the morning and two things will appear to me:

  • The literal body and person appearing to me right there, in the present moment
  • Almost instantly after I see her my mind with project an imagined image of what it thinks it sees upon her, based upon our history, last night’s argument and so on.

So, in fact there are two thing s appearing when I see my partner, one ‘real’; and one a mental projection.
One of the main functions of meditation and mindfulness is to help us to separate our actual experience of each moment from our mental projections, and by doing so improve our ability to feel deeply at home and in touch with each moment of our reality.

The problem of dualistic appearance is that if we have no sense that our mind is projecting this second ‘imagined’ image upon our reality, then it is very difficult to avoid literally living in an illusion. It is like being in a hall of mirrors; we cannot tell what part of our experience is real and which parts merely mental projections. We live out of touch with our reality in a ‘world of our own’ which is often filled with a lot of mental and emotional pain.

The potential beauty of dualistic appearance is that it enables us to project and imagine ideas onto our reality that can change it in radical and positive ways. We can imagine a picture on a blank canvas and then do it. We can find ourself in a difficult work environment and imagine ways in which we can change it for the better. We can bring new realities into existence through the power that our mind has to project images and ideas.

So then, as you start to reflect upon this, you might like to consider how your own experience of dualistic appearance has been working today. Has your minds ability to project itself onto what it experiences been working for you or against you?

Meditation on dualistic appearance – Three basic movements

1. Observing the play of reality and projection – the first stage in meditating on non duality is to observe the process of dualistic appearance and how it happens in your own experience. Let’s say I take the view from my window as I write this. I can see the view itself as it is, and then I can start to see how my mind projects itself upon that view. If I am having a bad day my mind might project ‘bleak meaningless urban landscape’ upon it, and feel depressed. On another day where I am feeling great I can look out the window and project ‘city filled with wonder and beauty!’ Same view, different projection.
2. Dropping the projection & connecting to reality as it is – Once we have observed this play of dualistic appearance, we can then work to ‘drop’ the mental projection and just see what we observe ‘as it is’ without projecting. To go back to the example of me looking out of the window at the view, I simply try and see the cityscape without projecting good or bad, pleasure or pain, beautiful or ugly, or any other form of mental image. I simply sit and see what I see without projecting, resting in that space of alert awareness.
3. Consciously working with dualistic appearance – Once we have developed a basic capacity to sit and observe our experience of each moment without projecting, we can then start to make conscious choices about our projections, and by doing so learn to further take benevolent control of our experience of reality. For example if I notice I am looking out of my window and unconsciously projecting ‘bleak urban landscape’ because I am feeling down, I can recognize that and refrain from re-enforcing or strengthening that projection. Instead I can consciously choose to project a more useful and positive idea of what I am seeing.

This week if you like, take these three stages of working with dualistic appearance and start to work with them in chosen areas of your life, observing how your perception of what is really going on changes when you do so

© 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 events at Integral Meditation Asia in October

Every Wednesday, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday 3rd October, 2.30-5.30pm – Going From Over-whelmed to Over-well: Meditation for Quietening the Mind – a three hour workshop

Wednesday  14th October 2015, 7.30-9pm – Evening Event: Integral Mindfulness –Co-creating Your Professional Success and Personal Wellbeing

Saturday 17th October, 2.30-5.30pm  Meditation & Mindfulness for Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention 3 Hour workshop

Sunday October  30th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Engaged Mindfulness: Take Control of Your Life Direction and Wellbeing Through Awareness, Curiosity, Courage and Care – A Three Hour Workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

 

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Dropping the Self

Dear Integral Meditators,

Is there one mindfulness practice that will have an immdiate effect on your sense of inner balance and wellbeing? Try the one below, it might be it!
On the theme of stilling the mind, quick reminder of the next scheduled meditation workshop on 3rd October: Going From Over-whelmed to Over-well: Meditation for Quietening the Mind .
And finally a reminder that the September special offer on Soul Portraits ends this Sunday, 27th September.

Toby


Dropping the Self

One of the most effective ways that you can temporarily solve your problems and experience a relaxed, comfortable state of mind is simply to mentally ‘drop your self’ or, put another way, make a conscious choice not to think about yourself for a while. Whenever you feel anxiety, worry, frustration, disappointment, hurt, shame and so on, there is always at the center of the experience a strong clinging at an ‘I’ or self; my problem, my fear, my disappointment, myloneliness, my busy mind. If you take away the ‘I’ at the centre of the drama, then the drama will subside, the idea and the practice of this exercise is as simple as that.

Me & mine
When I talk of dropping the self, I am also talking about dropping the things that the self considers ‘mine’ as well; quite often we spend even more time worrying or obsessing about other people close to us than ourselves; my child, my spouse, my parents, my job. So we are aiming to drop both the I and the mine!

A short exercise in dropping the self
Let’s say I’ve just finished work and I’m on my way home, or perhaps I have a half hour on my Sunday between doing one thing an another. In this space I then decide that for that period of time I’m simply not going to focus on myself, my problems, my worries. I can think about or do whatever I like, but I’m consciously diminishing the size and the significance of the ‘I’ that is thinking and I’m creating lots of room in my mind for other things; other people, awareness of the senses, and so on. I can pretty much do what I like, the only condition is that I am mindfully choosing not to think or worry about my self for that time, I’m dropping my I from the agenda, and relaxing into the inner space and comfort that arises when I do so!

Attending to the self to drop the self
As a counterweight to this practice it can also be good to consciously set aside times in your day where you are consciously deciding to think about yourself; to take care of your feelings, attend to your challenges and responsibilities, plan your approach to life and so on. Attending to the self is a healthy way of mindfully taking care of yourself and your needs. Then, once you have processed the needs and wants of yourself, you then make a mindful choice, “Ok, that is as far as I am going to get with this today, now I can drop the self again!”

Facilitating change through dropping the self
One of the things that I have noticed about this practice (and I have had it confirmed by others who have attended my classes) is that dropping the self can be a very good way of facilitating change in your life; when you stop thinking about a problem, or stop telling someone what to do, or let go of your worry about something, often things start to change without any effort on your part. There is something about the practice of leaving things alone and letting go that sometimes gives us the changes we wanted in the first place!

Dropping the self is not saying our self is not important, it is just realizing that it is onlyrelatively important. It is also a way of discovering the inner joys, relaxation and wisdom that comes to you quite naturally when your I is not sticking its fingers into everything!

© 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 events at Integral Meditation Asia (Full October schedule coming soon!)

Every Wednesday, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday 3rd October, 2.30-5.30pm – Going From Over-whelmed to Over-well: Meditation for Quietening the Mind – a three hour workshop

Saturday 17th October, 2.30-5.30pm – Meditation & Mindfulness for Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention 3 Hour workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

 

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The Pendulum Swing of Happiness and Sadness

Dear Integral Meditators,

How much happiness does your aversion for or resistance to sadness cost you? This is the topic the article below explores.

Beneath the article you will see some information on i-Awake technologies latest track Profound Releasing. You can read my own thoughts on this type of meditation technology HERE.

In the spirit of the pendulum swing,

Toby


The Pendulum Swing of Happiness and Sadness

Two days ago a couple of my daughters most cherished dolls were chewed up by the dog. She phoned me in a haze of tears and sadness about this, seemingly wallowing in the upset. Two hours later when I saw her, her mood had changed, she was still a little sad, but already talking jokingly about it, and explaining to me how she was going to fix the dolls, and lightheartedly telling me it was my fault for leaving the door of her bedroom open (which it may well have been!) Over the course of a couple of hours her mod had swung from open hearted sadness to acceptance, humour and smiles.

In the recent Pixar movie Inside-Out there is a moment when the character Joy realizes that many of the happy memories that the child she is in charge of possesses are dependent upon a preceding sad experience that sets up the happy experience. Up to this point in the movie she has been trying to remove sadness from the life of the child, but once she realizes its value, she knows when to get out of the way and let sadness play its part in the life of the child; indeed it is eventually sadness that saves the day!

My basic observation here is that our happiness and sadness are like a pendulum swing; if you allow yourself to experience your sadness, to ‘swing toward it’, then naturally once it has been experienced you will start to swing back again towards happiness. If however you block your sadness and prevent yourself experiencing it, then in some ways you lose the ability to feel genuinely happy. You just find yourself stuck in a state where you don’t feel happy or sad, just neutral, ‘comfortably numb’ as the saying goes.

Learning to swing with the pendulum
So the basic practice here is simply to mindfully learn to swing with our moods from happiness to sadness and back again, without blocking or interfering with the swing too much. Learn to swing naturally into a sad mood and gain confidence from the experience that after a while it starts to swing naturally back towards happiness after it has reached the extremity of its movement.

A practice
First of all get used to asking yourself; ‘How am I feeling right now?’ and really cultivating awareness and connection to your feelings and moods.
Secondly, use the image of the pendulum, when you feel yourself feeling a little sad, relax into the swing of it, don’t try and block it too much; allow yourself to experience it without getting swamped.
If you do this then after a while you will find yourself swinging back towards happiness. Relax into that too, enjoy it while it lasts, but don’t try and cling onto it beyond its time. Learn to participate in the swinging to and fro  between moods of happiness and sadness, to enjoy it with mindful awareness.

PS: One thing that I’ve become aware of with myself and with other people is that as soon as we start to feel emotionally uncomfortable or sad we distract and block ourself from that feeling by taking out our phone and fiddling with it. Becoming aware of this tendency and choosing to just sit with the discomfort or sadness instead of taking out the phone can be a simple mindfulness practice that we can set ourselves that will help us to manage our happy-sad pendulum swing a little better.

© 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


New I-Awake Track: Profound Releasing

Profound Releasing is a deeply transformative, guided meditation, encoded brainwave
entrainment technology designed to help you experience:
●    Letting go of old, limiting emotional patterns
●    Developing more inner strength and groundedness
●    A deepening compassion for yourself and others
●    And a gradual awakening into pure awareness

Our friends at iAwake Technologies are offering up to 20% Off Discount when you
purchase Profound Releasing during its introductory 7-day offer (September 17-24,
2015)
To learn more and listen to the free demo track click here: http://goo.gl/4km9pF


Integral Meditation Asia

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What is a Meditator? (Plus Soul Portrait Art special offer)

Dear Integral Meditators,

What is a meditator? The article below offers 5 working definitions, each of which offer an insight into what the meditation process can offer us…

For those in Singapore, a reminder of workshops this Saturday 12th September; 9.30am-12.30 – Meditations For Creating a mind of Ease & 2.30-5.30pm – Mindful Dreaming. Wednesday 9th Sept Drop in Medi Class at 7.30pm.

In the spirit meditative hedonism ,

Toby


7-21 SEPTEMBER 2015 SPECIAL OFFER ON SOUL PORTRAIT ORDERS, GET 15% OFF REGULAR PRICE! 

Click on the image to learn more about Toby’s Soul Portrait work, view slideshows and find out more…

 

 

 


What is a Meditator? 

What is a meditator? Why do you meditate? Here are five definitions of what a meditator is or can be.

1. A wise hedonist – When I was a monk and people asked me ‘Why did you become a monk?’ I used to reply ‘Because I’m a hedonist; I’m making my personal happiness a priority. I have become a monk because I want to set aside time to meditate, and I meditate because I want to be happy, and I recognize that meditation is one of the best ways to do that, because happiness is primarily something that comes from within me.’ I’m no longer a monk, but I still practice meditation for the same reason!

2. Someone committed to self-healing – A meditator is someone who is committed to looking inward in order to see, taking care of and heal the parts of themselves that are injured, wounded or broken and returning them to health. I’m talking primarily about the psychological parts of self here rather than physical self, although meditation can and does have a substantial effect on physical healing.

3. A person committed to developing and consolidating their innerstrengths– If meditation is a mind that focuses on a positive object, then a meditator is a person who is committed to systematically developing their inner positivity, strengths and wellbeing by focusing on and growing these strengths daily, perhaps a little bit like an inner gym-rat!

4.Someone committed to looking deeper – A meditator is someone who is committed to looking deeply at what is going on, and really bringing their intelligence (both mental intelligence and the other types of intelligence we have) to bear upon their life. A meditator is not satisfied with the merely superficial; a meditator is committed to knowing and seeing their reality as deeply as they are capable of at any given time.

5. A walker between worlds – A meditator is someone who is developing their capacity to move consciously and easily between the solid, outer world of matter, the subtle inner world of the mind and the very subtle formless timeless world that lies beyond the mind.  Ideally a meditator should be equally at home in either of these three worlds and equally competent in the skills required to navigate each.

So, any practice that you have in your life for engaging in any of the above five activities might be considered a form of meditation, and make you a meditator of sorts.
If you were to pick one of the five areas above and investigate it a little bit further in your life this week, which one would it be?

Related Article:A Meditation Map – The Art of State Training

© 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 

Every Wednesday, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday 12th September, 9.30am-12.30pm – Mindfulness and Meditation For Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration

Saturday 12th September, 2.30-5.30pm – Mindful Dreaming – Meditation Practices for Integrating Conscious Dreaming into Your Daily Life

Saturday 19th September, 2.30-5.30pm – Mindful Relationships: Improving Your Relationships and Social Skills Through Mindfulness


Integral Meditation Asia

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The Quickest Way Through the Rain

Dear Integral Meditators,

When you have a ‘dark cloud’ in your life, do you habitually walk toward it or run away from it? Its an important question, the article below explores why, with the help of a few large furry friends!

In the spirit of walking towards,

Toby


The Quickest Way Through the Rain

The amateur naturalists amongst you may have heard the story of buffalo herds who, when they see a thunder cloud coming toward them walk directly into it rather than away from it. Of course this is a very intelligent thing to do because by walking in and through the rain cloud they actually minimise the amount of time they have to spend getting wet, as the rain cloud passes by much quicker.

Whenever we have a ‘rain cloud’ in our life the instinct can be to run away in the opposite direction from it, hoping that it will go away if we run fast enough. Of course then what happens is that we find ourself being pursued by the rain cloud for a long time, and then when it catches us we have to spend a long time getting wet.

Whatever inner rain clouds you have in your life, the quickest and most effective way to deal with them is almost always by going towards and through them, rather than turning away and running.

Sometimes getting wet is not what you expect
One of the nice things about getting in the habit of walking into your rainclouds is that you discover as often as not that ‘getting wet’ is not as unpleasant as you thought. The experience of accepting a difficult emotion, having a challenging conversation, making a difficult choice, or facing a fear is that, as often as not more pleasant than we thought. If you walk into the rain, sometimes (not always) you may find yourself dancing in it!

If you aren’t ready to turn towards the cloud, then know that
There are some rain clouds in your life that you may not be ready to walk into for whatever reason. If this is the case, then you need to know that you aren’t ready and make a conscious choice to hold it at arm’s length until you are ready. If you do this consciously, rather than running blindly and impulsively away, then you can avoid a lot of the negative effects of repression and impulsive fear.

A mature meditation and mindfulness practice
One of the marks of a mature meditation and mindfulness practitioner is this; they know the value of walking into the raincloud and do it regularly.

An image
Imagine you are sitting in a grassland under a big sky. Next to you is a herd of buffalo. You see a dark raincloud on the horizon. You see the buffalo naturally start walking toward the cloud, as if it were the easiest thing to do in the world, why not follow them in? After all, the quickest way out of the rain is through it.

Related articles: The inner weather of the mind
Breaking like a wave

© 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 

SEPTEMBER
Every Wednesday, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday 12th September, 9.30am-12.30pm – Mindfulness and Meditation For Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration

Saturday 12th September, 2.30-5.30pm – Mindful Dreaming – Meditation Practices for Integrating Conscious Dreaming into Your Daily Life

Saturday 19th September, 2.30-5.30pm – Mindful Relationships: Improving Your Relationships and Social Skills Through Mindfulness
Saturday 3rd October, 2.30-5.30pm – Going From Over-whelmed to Over-well: Meditation for Quietening the Mind – a three hour workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

 

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Riding the Waves of the Mind

Dear Integral Meditators,

What does it really mean to be in control of your mind and emotions? The article below explores the image of our emotions as waves, and offers mindful perspective on how we can use this image to relax into and enjoy both the highs and the lows of our inner life. Enjoy!

Last call for this Saturday’s Meditation and Mindfulness for Self-Healing  Workshop, if you are curious about what  mindful self-healing entails, then do have a read of my article Three Levels of Mindful Healing.

In the spirit of waves,

Toby


Riding the Waves of the Mind

Our emotions come from many different sources, sometimes it seems like we are in control of our emotions and feelings; they behave predictably and respond to our efforts to stay in control, but at other times they seem to be completely unpredictable and fly in the face of our efforts at control.

Often our attempt to control our mind and emotions involves trying to hold onto pleasant emotions, thoughts and feelings, and running away from or blocking negative/feelings/thoughts. One slightly more skillful way of learning to navigate the changeability of our mind and feelings is to simply learn to relax into whatever thoughts or feelings that we have, riding them like waves on an ocean. From the point of view of this image and method, our ‘negative’ thoughts/feelings and experiences are like the low troughs of the waves on the ocean. Out ‘positive’ thoughts/feelings/experiences are like the crests or high points of the waves.

We are like a rider on a small boat or surfboard bobbing up and down on the waves of our mind; sometimes we find ourself riding a crest, other times we find ourselves down in a trough. The main thing is to pay attention to the movement, keep balanced and learn to relax into the motion as we go up and down; if you are in a trough, just keep relaxed and balanced and after a while you will find yourself rising up again as the waves move. If you are on the crest of a ‘happy’ wave, ride that and enjoy it, relax into it, keeping balanced so that when it changes again and you start going down, you can do so smoothly and easily.

Our emotions, like waves are elemental and wild in their power. In the same way that a skilled sailor can harness the power of the sea by relaxing and working with it, so we can learn to harness the power of our mind and emotions and by relaxing and working with the energy we find there each day.

Mindful Exercise:
You are on a small boat in the open ocean, rising and falling with the waves. It doesn’t matter whether you are on the crest of the wave (emotional high)  or in a trough (emotional low), just keep relaxed, balanced and work with the energy of the waves rather than against it.

Related article: Breaking like a wave
Meditating on the inner weather of our mind

© 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 

Every Wednesday, 7.30-8.30pm – 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

SEPTEMBER

Saturday 12th September, 9.30am-12.30pm – Mindfulness and Meditation For Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration

Saturday 12th September, 2.30-5.30pm Mindful Dreaming – Meditation Practices for Integrating Conscious Dreaming into Your Daily Life

 


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What is Mindfulness? (Hint – you are doing it already!)

Dear Integral Meditators,

If someone asked you ‘what is mindfulness’, how would you reply? The article below offers one working definition of mindfulness and how we can start practically applying it to our daily life.

In the spirit of the art of mindfulness,

Toby

 

 


What is Mindfulness? (Hint – you are doing it already!)

A definition of mindfulness
I had a conversation the other day with a lady who felt she did not know what mindfulness is. I responded to her that she was already doing it. She asked my why? I told her “When I was a monk the first definition of mindfulness that I learned was that it is an ‘all accompanying mental factor, who’s function is to remember its object’.”
That sounds like a bit a mouthful right? Actually it is quite simple; when we are doing something, mindfulness is that part of our mind that remembers and recalls what we are doing without forgetting it. For example:

  • If I am cooking an omelette, without mindfulness to help me remember what I am doing, after I have cracked and whisked the eggs I will forget my task, and wonder off to do something else, leaving no omelette!
  • If I am in the middle of a conversation, mindfulness helps me hold and remember what we are talking about. Without mindfulness I would forget mid conversation, which would be both embarrassing and impractical.

So from this we can see that we all have some basic mindfulness, indeed without it we would not be able to function at all.

The Art of Mindfulness
Someone who is a mindfulness practitioner then is someone who is interested in increasing both their quality of life and their personal effectiveness by developing and refining their mindfulness in different areas for example:

  • By being mindful of the good things that happen to me in my life I can enjoy and appreciate them more
  • By being mindful of difficult emotions I can learn to manage them better
  • By communicating mindfully I can help people understand what I want of them more clearly
  • By being mindful of my sport I can learn better how to improve

Mindfulness and meditation
Meditation is ‘a mind that focuses on a positive object – an object that when we focus upon it causes us to become happy, balanced, peaceful or otherwise positively oriented’.
In meditation we use mindfulness to focus; if we keep forgetting what we are doing then our meditation won’t be very effective because we will keep dropping or losing our object!
Mindfulness enables us to place our attention on our meditation and hold it there without forgetting.

The function of mindfulness – Practical learning from life
What is it you want to learn about in your life right now? Once you have selected a subject, formulate a ‘mindful question’ that summarizes your intention. For example:

  • How can I bring more meaning to my work life?
  • What really makes me happy?
  • What would it mean to bring my authentic self into social situations and conversations?

You can see here the list of possible subjects is endless, you just select a topic that is important and meaningful to you.
You then practice holding that question in your daily life, thinking about it, and acting in ways that express the answers that you come up with. If you like you can even sit down for a period of time and practice holding that question in your mind, breathing with it and using it as an object of meditation.
If you do this for a week, you will find that your mindfulness practice using this topic enables you to learn a tremendous amount about yourself and the area you are investigating. And there you have a mindfulness practice all of your own.


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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


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Five Methods for Quietening the Mind

Dear Integral Meditators,

Some people give up or don’t even try meditation as they think their mind is just too busy, and they can’t still it. Below are five simple methods that you can use to quieten the mind when you feel the need, as well as an outline of some of the benefits.

In the spirit of the quiet but strong,

Toby

 

 


Five Methods for Quietening the Mind 

Why should we be interested in quietening the mind?
In a nutshell, to de-stress, improve task related performance, & develop your capacity to reflect and observe. Quietening or stilling the mind is also a pre-requisite for access to  deeper states of meditation.

1. Ducking beneath your mind – Breathing through the hara
This first method involves bringing your awareness down into the belly (or ‘hara’ to use the Zen term) and breathing with your attention focused there. Most of the mental busyness that we experience happens within the head and the heart centres, so bringing your awareness down into your belly enables you to access a state of focused, non-conceptual quietude more easily.

Taking care of your heart-space – Feeling emotions properly
Much of the inner conflict that we experience actually originates in our heart as unresolved feelings and emotions. Attuning yourself to the feelings in your heart centre and learning to acknowledge them, feel them and resolve or release them makes it hugely easier to quieten and still the mind. As the saying goes; If You Feel Properly You Will Think Clearly.

Finding the still point in the center of the brain
There is a ‘still point’ in the center of the brain that you can learn to place your attention upon. When you do this you find that it is possible to still the mind without too much effort. It is called the ‘cavity of original spirit’ by the Taoists. It is in the area where the thymus and hypothalamus are located in the brain, but you really don’t need to know too much about the brains’ actual anatomy, if you just go into the middle of your brain and explore, you’ll find that there is a specific place where, if you place your attention there it has a naturally quietening effect upon the mind.

Listening to the sound of silence
If you’ve ever been in a place where there is absolute outer quiet, you might have noticed there is a kind of high frequency ‘sound’ or ringing in your ears. This is what I mean by the sound of silence. With practice you can learn to recognize and focus your attention on this sound even when there are other noises around you. The sound of silence has a kind of pleasant hypnotic, focusing effect that is very good for quietening the mind.

Recognizing the power of your environment
This final method is really about learning to be aware of environments where there is a lot of negative psychological energy around, and ensuring that you don’t allow yourself to be victimized by it; the crowded bus on the commute home, the hostile office, the anger from a family member. One thing that I do quite often if I am in such an environment is to imagine my energy field or aura covered externally by a bubble of insulating black light that blocks negative energy from my surroundings. The bubble is open at the top and the bottom; letting in light from the sky and stars above and the earth below, but it is closed off from my immediate surroundings. This last ‘psychic self-defence’ technique is as close as you’ll get to an occult exercise in this article!
So there you go, five methods for you to try out in your own time. If you like you can practice one each day during the weekdays for five minutes each. Do that for a month to gain a little experience of each!

Related articles: The Mind in the Heart
The Sound of Silence
If You Feel Properly You Will Think Clearly

© 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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The Tension Between What Is and what you Want

Dear Integral Meditators,

How do you deal with the gap between what you want in your life and the reality of what you actually find? The article below considers how to work with this ongoing tension in a positive way…

In the spirit of the journey,

Toby

 


The Tension Between What Is and what you Want

‘I wanted the meet with my date to go this way, but it didn’t’
‘I thought I’d get this work project done quickly and easily, but I’m still stuck working the details out.’
‘I want to know that I’ll have enough money to afford the things I need by the end of the month, but I have no way of knowing for sure’

In our life there is almost always a tension between the way we want our life to be, and the way it actually IS. How you experience this tension on any given day or in any given moment is a big part of whether you feel happy or sad, negatively or positively stressed, calm or frazzled.

The extreme of passivity
It’s all very well for me as a meditation and mindfulness coach to say to you ‘you have to accept what is, and be more in the moment’, but sometimes accepting what is can make us too passive; sometimes we need to try and assert ourselves in the situation and act to move things toward where we want to be. Being overly accepting can lead to the extreme of passivity.

The extreme of control
On the other hand we are all familiar with the ‘control freak’ in us; the one who wants it all to be worked out, certain, guaranteed, no risk. The problem is we are never 100% in control, life never turn out exactly the way we think it will or should. Sometimes is all seems to be fine and then disaster strikes, sometimes it seems like a disaster and then turns out unexpectedly well. Trying to make everything certain, and bend the world to our will is the extreme of control.

The middle way of acceptance and responsibility
So the middle way between passivity and control is to:

  • Accept fully what is, and where we find ourself AND
  • Take responsibility for trying to move things in the direction that we want, recognizing that this will never give us 100% control, but nevertheless we have to call ourselves to action based upon what we understand.

It is about holding the tension, not solving it or getting rid of it
I think about the tension between what is and what I want not as being something that I am trying to solve, or get rid of, but rather I am trying to learn how to hold well, to hold  mindfully and intelligently; I am not in total control of my life (or the world), but I am responsible for it. I have to accept the reality of where I am without fighting the facts, but I need to avoid over-passivity, fatalism or despondency.

Working mindfully with this tension in our daily life
Where is the tension between what is and what you want in your body, mind and heart right now? Are you holding it well? How can you hold it better?

© 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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