Moving From Anxiety to Excitement

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would happen if you could respond to the uncertainty and absence of control that you sometimes have in your life with excitement rather than anxiety? The article below explores how you can mindfully start going about doing this…

Yours in the spirit of opening to excitement,

Toby


Moving From Anxiety to Excitement

At a meditation class I facilitated last night one of the sentences that I asked people to complete as part of an exercise was ‘I often get stressed when’… It was interesting to note the number of responses that were about uncertainty and lack of control over different aspects of life. When things don’t go the way we want, when our sense of control is taken away from us, most often the instinctive response is negative stress and anxiety.

Anxiety as an indicator of a creative opportunity
Whenever we have uncertainty in our life, or when things move from predictable and ‘under control’ to unpredictable it means that there is a creative window opening up in our life; a window that if we are open to we can find opportunities to grow, learn and enjoy. We can learn to respond to our anxiety with excitement rather than stress.

Acknowledging anxiety to begin transforming it
Before you can start to transform your negative anxiety into excitement you first need to begin by acknowledging and get to know your anxiety. When you become anxious, what does your anxiety feel like in your body? What sort of thought patterns does it stimulate in your mind? If it had a musical tone or colour, what would it be? Explore your anxiety so that you can relax with it enough to begin transforming it.

Then ask: What are the opportunities that my circumstances are presenting me? What unexpected good things could happen as a result of this? What can I learn? What is there to enjoy?
By focusing on these questions try and gradually open the energy your body, heart and mind to the circumstances so that there is room for you to experience calm excitement, playful  attention and curiosity, rather than negative anxiety. With a bit of mindful practice this becomes a realistic possibility for us.

A personal example:
Right now I’m quite happy where I am living, but it looks like I will have to move out in September. Listen to my internal dialogue I can hear part of my mind talking about all the effort to move, the chances of ending up somewhere not so nice, the uncertainty of what will happen. Of course if I focus upon it in another way I see I might find a much better and more suitable place that I would enjoy even more than where I am. My new neighbours might be just the sort of people that I enjoy connecting to, a whole new positive passage of my life may be just over the horizon, awaiting my moving apartment. Nothing is guaranteed, but I can choose to make the mindful choice to be excited, curious and playful about the process, rather than negatively anxious.

What situation in your life today could you choose to respond to with excitement rather than anxiety?

Related article: What Happens When Are Not Afraid of Fear?

© 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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A Meditation Map – The Art of State Training

Dear Integral Meditators,

With so many different types of meditation how can we know what it is all about? In the article below I offer one map that contains the territory of all meditation types. I hope you find it useful!

The Tuesday 9th I will be giving a whole evening seminar and practicum giving a big-picture overview of integral meditation, including these five states. If you are in Singapore do feel free to join us!

In the spirit inner maps,

Toby


A Meditation Map – The Art of State Training

There are so many different types of meditation, what are the common themes that tie them all together? One way of doing this is to understand that all meditations of whatever tradition are basically a type of state training. This basically means that when you are meditating you are training to capture and hold a particular state of mind, consciously and over an extended period of time.

There are five basic states that meditation helps us to become more conscious of and to learn to utilize in a practical and useful manner. Here they are in summarized form:

1. The Waking State – This is the state of our everyday, waking consciousness, with its attending concrete mental functions and emotions. In brain wave terms this is primarily the beta state with some alpha. The function if meditating in the waking state is to learn to use our concrete mind and attention mindfully, in such a way as to produce happiness and wellbeing rather than stress and negativity.

2. The Dreaming State – Once we get beyond the beginner level of meditation we start to work more and more consciously with the dream state, both when asleep and when day-dreaming. This is a subtle state of mind which contains many different levels. It can be very creative and when we are in this state our brain is mainly functioning in alpha and theta waves. The function of meditating in dream states is to learn to access these higher, deeper states of mind in order to enjoy them for creative, useful and positive purposes.

3. The Deep Sleep State – This is the very subtle state of consciousness and reality that is beyond the mind, it is a state of pure consciousness or being-ness. We all access it unconsciously at night during deep sleep. It is a formless, timeless ‘eternal’ dimension of consciousness. When we are in this state, our brain functions mainly in the delta wave state (though if we do so in meditation it tends to be a combination of alpha and delta). The function of meditation in the deep sleep state is to accomplish a ‘liberation’ from being solely identified with our personal body-mind, and to connect to a deeper more universal sense of identity. It is also extremely relaxing and regenerative.

4. The Witnessing State – The witnessing state is a state that accompanies all of the previous three states; waking, dreaming and sleeping.  It is an objective state of mind where we are observing as a witness the state of consciousness that is appearing to us at that time. Quite a few meditation traditions emphasize this witnessing practice as the centre of their meditation technique.

5. The Non-Dual State – This is a more advanced state of meditation where the subject-object divide between ourself and what we are observing disappears and we enter into a state of ‘oneness’ or ‘non-duality’. For example if we are meditating on a mountain we go from ‘I am meditating on a mountain’ to simply ‘mountain’. Or, if we are meditating on the formless timeless state of deep sleep, we go from ‘I am observing a formless timeless emptiness’ to a state of just formless timeless emptiness, where the self has essentially disappeared. These non-dual states are made stable by advanced meditators and make up the bulk of what you would call their ‘enlightenment experience’.

So, these five basic states are the five basic dimensions of our reality. As a meditator we learn to move consciously and deliberately between these five states, using each appropriately in order to bring about healing, personal growth and eventually ‘enlightenment’. I realize that I have covered a lot of ground in a short space of time, but it can be very useful to know about these five basic meditation states, because if you know about them, you can pretty much see where all the different meditation types fit into the model. For example shamanic meditation emphasizes mastery of the dream state; while Zen meditation emphasizes mastery of the 3rd, 4th and 5th states. It is a map you can use as your meditation practice grows and matures.

Related articles: The Five Stages of Meditation Practice from Beginners to Advanced
Five Inner Skills we develop Through Meditation

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


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in May:

JUNE 2015

Tuesday 9th June, 7.30-9pm – An Evening of Integral Meditation – Cultivating the Awakened Mind Within Ourselves, Our Work & Our Relationships

Saturday 13th June 2.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – A Three Hour Workshop

Sunday 14th June 9.30am-12.30pm – Qi Gong for Improving your Health and Energy Levels and for Self-Healing

Saturday 27th June 9.30am-12.30pm – Mindful Self-Confidence – Developing your self-confidence, self-belief & self-trust through meditation & mindfulness

Saturday 27th June, 2.30-5.30pm – The Call of the Wild–Meditations for Deepening Your Inner Connection to the Animal Kingdom and the Green-world

 


Integral Meditation Asia

 

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What Happens When You Are Not Afraid of Fear?

Dear Integral Meditators,

What happens if you are not afraid of fear? Actually you could just sit down and ask yourself that question like a zen koan and see where it takes you and get some productive results. But I’ve also written an article on it below!

In the spirit of not being afraid,

Toby


What Happens When You Are Not Afraid of Fear?

Usually we are afraid of being afraid. We don’t like the unpleasantness of the experience, and so as soon as we detect fear in our body and mind we start to fight with it, trying to push it away. This approach gives us only two options:

  • We can continue to resist the fear and thus experience an ongoing inner battle between ourselves and our fear or
  • We can become a victim of the fear, simply being afraid and acting impulsively based around our fearful feelings

A third option is that when we feel fear arising within us we can consciously welcome it into our body-mind with awareness. We can practice watching which part of our body the fear is located, we can observe and be curious about the dialogue that fear initiates in our head. We can extend care to it when it comes into our mind, we can choose to look after it. We can learn to simply be with it, rather than trying to solve it, get rid of it or being a victim of it. If we start to approach our fear in this way with mindful curiosity then gradually we will cease to be come intimidated by our fear. We will start to understand it more, and we will then be able to learn from it.

But what can fear teach me?
If I am afraid to say something to my friend because I am afraid that s/he will disapprove or dislike me for it, then it indicates that I care for the friendship. If I am aware of this fear, and not afraid to work with it, it may also show me that I am too reliant upon the approval of my friend, and that with relationships that are worthwhile and genuine, sometimes it is really important to communicate what you believe in, even if it may not be received that well.
If I am afraid to leave my job because of the uncertainty that will result, that fear is right to the extent that our basic financial security is important. If I can become comfortable with that fear, then I can move beyond it and leave my job, but at the same time I can take appropriate steps to mitigate the risk involved.
If I have a life threatening illness, I can use my fear to take action to maximise my chances of recovery, whilst at the same time not having my present moment quality of life destroyed by anxiety over my future.

When you open to your fear it starts to show you things. Useful things.

Becoming comfortable with our fear offers us freedom of choice, and the option to act intelligently and appropriately to the genuine concerns that our fear is pointing out.

Often I find that the things that I have the most fear around are, quite naturally the things I care about the most; my family and friends, my clients, my work, my health. It’s natural to have fears around these things because I care. If I can become comfortable with the fears that arise from caring, if I am not afraid of those fears, then I can use them as a reminder that I care, and to keep caring all the more.

If you made a choice to try and be, say 10% less afraid of your fears today, what difference would that make to your quality of life? Maybe you can try it today and see…

The curve ball: Many of us are so afraid of our fear already that we have pushed our fear into our unconscious – we literally don’t know we are afraid, and we don’t want to know. Accepting the reality that we are afraid is the first step.

Related article: Recognizing Three Types of Fear, Meditating on three Types of Courage

© 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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Becoming Your Own Mindful Psychotherapist and Life Coach

Dear Integral Meditators,
Integral mindfulness aims to integrate our experience of past, present and the future into a mutually complementary whole. The article below explores one simple way to begin doing this for yourself.

Yours in the spirit of integration,

Toby


Becoming Your Own Mindful Psychotherapist and Life Coach

In general psychotherapy helps us to heal past trauma to improve our life now.
Life-coaching helps us tap our unrecognized talent, motivation and potential in order to improve our present moment and future experience.
Mindfulness helps us to focus our awareness more deeply in the present moment, but it can also have psychotherapeutic and life-coaching function.

  • By investigating our past with mindfulness we can become aware of and work to heal our past wounds
  • By mindfully exploring our potential talents, strengths, motivations and potential we can start to leverage on them more deeply, and use the  to improve our present and  future experience

In my integral life coaching practice I help clients bring mindful awareness to their past, present and future in order to heal their psychological wounds and start to actualize their potential for life enjoyment. If you want to start becoming your own integral life coach, you can try the following exercise as a starting point.

1. Select an area of your life that you want to look into. It could be an aspect of your professional development, or your relationships, or your habits. Let’s go with the example of self confidence here.

2. Ask yourself the question ‘What is there in my past life experience that is sabotaging my self confidence? (or other issue you are looking into) & what can I do to heal that damage now?’ Use this question as a departure point for a mindful investigation of the challenges from the past that presently threaten your self confidence.

3. Now ask yourself the question ‘What can I do in the present in order to support and nurture my experience of self confidence each day?’ Try and come up with a concrete,             actionable answer that you can start mindfully implementing each day.

4. Finally ask yourself ‘What future goals and plans can I set myself that will help me feel motivated to keep developing and actualizing my self-confidence?’ Your goals and plans may not turn out the way you thought they would, but by making plans and goals we embark on a path of learning that will help us build deeper and deeper levels of self confidence over time.

An example:
In the past my confidence was sabotaged by teachers at school who thought that art was a subject only for those not bright enough for academic subjects (I went onto do an art degree). If I realize this is a source of wounding for me I can act to heal it.
In the present I can build my self confidence each day by looking at the daily victories in my business, and complementing myself whenever I take an appropriate risk.
I can build my confidence for the future by setting goals for my business that are realistic and achievable if I work hard and stay motivated.

There you go, as simple mindful action plan that integrates a mindful psychotherapeutic and life-coaching approach together.
What would you like to work on at this time?

Related article: Life-fullness

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


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in May:

MAY 2015 
Friday 29th May 7.30-9.30pm –  Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre – Travelling deeper into the present moment through integral meditation

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

JUNE 2015
Friday 5th June, 7.30-9pm –  Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre – Travelling deeper into the present moment through integral meditation

Tuesday 9th June, 7.30-9pm – An Evening of Integral Meditation – Cultivating the Awakened Mind Within Ourselves, Our Work & Our Relationships

Saturday 13th June 2.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – A Three Hour Workshop

Sunday 14th June 9.30am-12.30pm – Qi Gong for Improving your Health and Energy Levels and for Self-Healing

Saturday 27th June 9.30am-12.30pm – Mindful Self-Confidence – Developing your self-confidence, self-belief & self-trust through meditation & mindfulness

Saturday 27th June, 2.30-5.30pm – The Call of the Wild–Meditations for Deepening Your Inner Connection to the Animal Kingdom and the Green-world

 


Integral Meditation Asia

 

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Letting Come, Letting Go, Going With the Flow

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

In the spirit of letting come & letting go,

Toby


Letting Come, Letting Go, Going With the Flow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Integral Meditation Asia

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Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology
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Three Levels of Mindful Healing

Dear Integral Meditators,

What sort of healing potential does mindfulness have to impact your life on a practical level? The article below explores three levels of this. If you enjoy the article and are not a complete beginner to meditation and mindfulness, you might like to join us at the Enlightened Flow workshop this coming 30th of May, or the Going Deeper into the Present  evening class on the 29th May.

Yours in the spirit of mindful Healing,

Toby


Three Levels of Mindful Healing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in May:

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

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


Integral Meditation Asia

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Natural Happiness

Dear Integral Meditators,

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

Yours in the spirit of natural happiness,

Toby


Natural Happiness

I feel happy because…

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

I feel happy and so…

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

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

Relaxing into natural happiness

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

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

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

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

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

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


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in May:

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

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

JUNE CLASSES COMING SOON!

 


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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Intending, Abiding, Determining – Three Aspects of Effective Meditation

Dear Integral Meditators,
If you want to be good at something, then you need to have a clear model around which you base your attempts to improve. The article below explains a very simple three stage model that you can apply to your meditation practice to improve its effectiveness.

In the spirit of deeper competence and confidence,

Toby



Intending, Abiding, Determining – Three Aspects of Effective Meditation

For your meditation to be effective and integrative it needs to have three parts:

  • You need to begin with a clear idea of the state of mind that you are seeking to cultivate and develop in your meditation
  •  You need to become competent at holding/relaxing into that state of mind in formal meditation for an extended period of time
  • You need to emerge from your meditation with a clear determination as to how you are going to continue integrating your object of meditation into your daily life.

You could call these three aspects intending, abiding and determining.

Intending: During this first stage of intending you need to begin with a clear intention or goal as to the state of mind that you are going to cultivate in meditation, and then contemplate different ways in which you can actually cause that state of mind to arise. So for example if your meditation is simply to cultivate a relaxed state of body-mind, then you need to be clear about that, and focus your efforts and contemplation toward achieving that goal. Similarly if your meditation is onappreciation or on cultivating confidence then your intention should be clear about this, and the initial contemplation stage of your meditation should be directed toward this.

Abiding: In this middle stage of the meditation, now that you have cultivated the state of mind that you want, your goal now becomes to abide and move deeper into that state of mind. So:

  • If you have cultivated a relaxed state of body and mind, your focus now becomes to enjoy that experience of relaxation and move more deeply into that state, gradually letting go of successive layers of mental, emotional and physical tension.
  • If you have generated appreciation, your goal now becomes to move deeper into that state of appreciation, enjoying it and embedding it more and more deeply into your experience
  • If your goal was an experience of self-confidence, now that you have that feeling you now ‘bathe’ in it, making it a state of mind that you are more and more familiar with using your meditative focus

One of the main benefits here is that by focusing on something in a deep way during meditation you can make it a part of your personal experience much more quickly. You can literally take any quality you want to develop and use meditation to accelerate your development of it.

Determining: This final stage of meditation comes at the end. As you bring your session to a close you should have a clear determination regarding what you are going to do in your daily life to keep cultivating that state of mind. To use our three examples:

  • As I arise from my relaxation meditation I can determine to be more mindful of my stress levels as I go about my day, and not allow it to spiral out of control in the way that it has done in the past.
  • As I arise from my meditation on appreciation I determine to use what happens to me in the day to re-enforce my appreciation for the good fortune I enjoy in my life, to mindfully notice events that re-enforce my feeling of appreciation.
  • As I arise from meditation on self-confidence I have a clear sense of the feelings of confidence that I want, and make a mental note of times/events in the day that threaten to sabotage that confidence, so that when they happen I am ready.

If we lack this third stage, then there is a big danger that a gap appears between our formal meditation and our everyday experience. Our conscious determining at the end of our meditation ensures that we keep on attempting to bridge the gap between our sitting meditation and our actual life experience.

Related Articles:
The Five Stages of Meditation Practice from Beginners to Advanced
Five Inner Skills we develop Through Meditation

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


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in May:

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

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


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Dear Integral Meditators,

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

Yours in the spirit of the joyfully non-attached,

Toby


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in May:

 

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

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


Integral Meditation Asia

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The Wild Dogs of the Mind

Dear Integral Meditators,

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

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

Yours in the spirit of the journey,

Toby


The Wild Dogs of the Mind

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

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

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

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

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


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in May:

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

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

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

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

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


Integral Meditation Asia

 

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