When Your Energy Level Follows Your Mind and Imagination

Dear Integral Meditators,

How much does your mind and imagination have to do with your energy levels? The article below explores this question and invites you to participate mindfully in the creation of energy in your body by using your mind and imagination well. This is a theme that I will be exploring extensively and practically in my workshop on 2nd November Meditation and Mindfulness for Self-Healing and Creating High Levels of Energy which I invite you to take a look at!

The workshops and classes for November are out, see full details below.

Finally, iAwake Technologies are having a 30% sale on all products, you can see my own write up of how useful I have found them HERE.

Yours in the spirit of energy following mind,

Toby


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in November:

 Still on promotion price until Tuesday 28th October – The Meditation for Creating a Mind of Ease Online Course

Sunday November 2nd, 9.30am-12.30pm – Meditation and Mindfulness for Self-Healing and Creating High Levels of Energy  – a three hour workshop

Sun 9th November 9.30am-12.30pm – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – A Three Hour Workshop

Tuesday 25th November, 7.30-9pm  – Evening event – Integral Mindfulness –Co-creating Professional Success and Personal Wellbeing within Organizations and Leaders

Sun 30th Nov, 9.30am-12.30pm – Living Life From Your Inner Center – Meditations for Going With the Flow of the Present Moment

Sun 30th Nov, 2pm-5pm – Finding Freedom From What Holds You Back in Life: Practical Meditations And Techniques For Working With your Shadow-Self – A Three Hour Workshop


When Your Energy Level Follows Your Mind and Imagination

A couple of days ago in the morning I was in a state of despair, my mind and imagination was telling me there we so many projects that I had to do, so much uncertainty around the success or failure of each one, it was all unmanageable, I felt exhausted!  In an act of supreme will I swatted aside the doubts and started focusing on the write up for an event that I was due to put on in a month’s time. At this point I am struggling to find any energy at all.

By the time I finish the write up it is past lunch time, I’m so excited about the event that I have just written up that I feel on top of the world, I feel like the man, life is great, the world is watching me on the way to success. I feel super energized, high on energy.

Later that evening I discuss with my squash partner after a game how the employees at his company (engineers and technicians) are not likely to be interested in mindfulness training. “The most important thing in a corporate training event for these people,” he says “is to get to the bar as quickly as possible”. I feel less euphoric than I did at lunchtime but steady within myself, “It’ll be patient work to change the world I think to myself.” My energy level is steady; not high, not low.
Three different times of day, three different states of mind and imagination, three very different levels of energy resulting.
What is the mindfulness lesson here? Mind and imagination are really important factors in your sense of how much energy you have, so be careful not to get crushed by negative imagination and use positive imagination to your advantage when it is working for you, but stay steady if it isn’t, because it does not indicate the end of the world.

When I first started doing qigong meditation the essential discipline was to hold a particular sitting or standing posture and imagine energy travelling and circulating through your body in a certain way. This was the principal that ‘energy follows mind’: if you focus your mind in energy moving in a certain way, it does so. We have a remarkable power to heal ourself and affect our own energy levels each day simply by learning to control, direct and imagine it using the powers of our mind. You can see a very simple meditation forms that follow this principle on my qigong blog here: Building and strengthening your energy body.

So, whether it is paying attention to the way your mind is imagining a situation to be, or whether it is practising a discipline that requires the use of our imaginative faculties such as qigong meditation the message is clear; your mind and imagination do affect your energy levels significantly, so do pay mindful attention to them!

© 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 

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Seven Ways to Mindfully Save and Create More Energy

Dear Integral Meditators,

The article below explores how one approach to mindfulness can save and create energy in our life, which is always useful as we often find ourself struggling to keep up with the demands of our daily life.

In the spirit of a mind of ease,

 

Toby


Seven Ways to Mindfully Save and Create More Energy

One of the things that I often do before I do a mindfulness course within a company or organization is to send out a short questionnaire to the participants asking a bit about the challenges that they face in their work. One of the challenges that seems to be coming back more and more in the answers I get is fatigue. With this in mind I have compiled a little list below of ways in which you can use mindfulness to help you save and create more energy in your life and work. So here they are:

1. Recognize when you are in conditions of physical and psychological safety and relax into them – don’t allow your paranoid mind to make you feel like you are in a perpetual state of emergency.

2. Breathe in a way that promotes physiological and psychological relaxation and releases excess tension from the body and mind (See my article on breathing from my Qi gong blog)

3. Practice mindful self-acceptance, or the refusal to be at war with any part of yourself.

4. Each day ask yourself ‘what is good about my life?’, and hold the answers that come from this question with appreciation.

5. Spend at least some time each day focusing on just one activity and enjoying it deeply; allow your mind to gather and dwell in one place.

6. Learn the discipline of stilling your mind; the trick is to see that stillness is something that is present already in your mind (beneath the busyness), rather than something you have to ‘create’.

7. Step back and become a witness to the events of your life; practice the discipline of letting what is going on pass over and through you without clinging to it.

You can find some suggestions for practicing these seven in my previous article “Seven Ways for Creating a Mind of Ease”.

If you enjoyed these seven and want to explore how you can really make them a deeply practical and experiential part of your daily life, then do check out my five module online course “Meditations for Developing a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention”.
© 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 



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Six Mindful Questions for Effective Decision Making

Dear Integral Meditators,

Decisions, choices, options. The article below invites you to start making these parts of your life a mindfulness practice. Last call for this Sundays Mind of Ease Workshop, details on the whats on section.

Yours in the spirit of mindful decision making,

Toby


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in October:

Sunday October 19th – Mindfulness and Meditation For Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention

 Launches 24th October – The Meditation for Creating a Mind of Ease Online Course

Sunday November 2nd, 9.30am-12.30pm – Meditation and Mindfulness for Self-Healing and Creating High Levels of Energy  – a three hour workshop


Six Mindful Questions for Effective Decision Making

We have never had so many choices as we have in today’s society.
We have never had the freedoms that we enjoy, or the opportunities.
Perhaps human have never been as busy as we are today, and so each day we have to make more decisions than ever before.
Our freedom to choose is a wonderful thing and a fantastic opportunity, but the fact is that for many of us it is a cause of anxiety.
What is the right choice here?
What if I decide on the wrong thing?
What if I get blamed for my decision (I don’t want responsibility)?

Here are the six questions I ask myself whenever I’m faced with a choice that is of any consequence (and sometimes even small ones are).

  1. What is my personal perspective and experience of this situation?
  2. What does this situation look like if I consider it objectively and impartially?
  3. What is the perspective and experience of others involved in this situation?
  4. What core values am I trying to express and embody in this decision?
  5. What will the short term consequences of this decision be?
  6. What with the long term consequences of this choice be?

If you pop these six questions to yourself and think about them mindfully, I have found they act very well as a revealer of what really needs to be done, of what short cuts should not be taken, of what means the most to you, and what (where possible) will create a win-win situation for all concerned.
It also gives you a confidence and (relative) certainty in the validity of your choice that counters the anxiety and fear that so many of us experience in the face of the many choices we make each day. You may not be ‘right’ all the time, but at least you are making your choices on the basis of meaningful and mindful criteria.
This last few days I have been bothered by whether or not I should continue taking my daughter to squash lessons on Saturday mornings. The location has changed, the commute has become 3 times as long, I have ‘many important demands’ upon my time, it would have been very easy just to ‘let it slip’, I could have found plenty of excuses. I asked myself these six questions and the answer came back very clearly to persist. There is effort involved, but by the mindful insight provided by the six questions, my direction and decision is clear. It is a small daily example, but all decisions are important in that they ask us core questions about how we wish to engage in our life, and engage the freedom, power and privilege that comes with having a choice.

© 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 

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Taking Care of Your Nervous System Through Meditation

Dear Integral Meditators,

The article below explains a brief self-healing meditation that can be performed at any time, specifically to calm and balance your nervous system.

In the spirit of mindful self-healing,

Toby


Taking Care of Your Nervous System Through Meditation 

Due to the busyness and stress of our daily life we often find ourselves with nervous systems that are chronically over-stimulated, often trapped in fight or flight mode, and generally wired for anxiety and fear. The main nerve within the nervous system is the spine, so one of the best ways to care for and gain benevolent control of your nervous system is to focus your attention upon relaxing and energizing the spine.
The short technique I describe below is one I use often myself as a short 1-5 minute meditation during the day, and is part of the multi-faceted approach to creating a calm-lucid body-mind that I teach in my Mind of Ease Program. It focuses on the body, but it can have a quick and profound effect on our mental and emotional state as well, due to the inherent interconnectedness of the body-mind.

Relaxing the Spine
Sit, stand or lie down in a comfortable posture with a straight back, your ears and shoulders in line with each other.
Focus your attention upon the length of your spine from the base of the skull all the way down to its base/your coccyx.
Feel your way inside the vertebrae of the spine, to the spinal nerve that runs inside. If you like you can wiggle your neck and hips a little just so as to feel the nerve moving so you get a feel for it.
Now see and feel the smaller nerves radiating out from the spine, spreading out from in between the vertebrae to the rest of the body.
See (visualize) in the centre of your spinal nerve there is a line of light and energy. As you breathe in see and feel this line of energy glowing brightly. As you exhale see that light and energy expanding out into the spinal nerve, and then out along all of the nerves that spread out through the body from the spine. See your whole nervous system in the whole of your body lighting up like a light bulb as you exhale.
Repeat for a few breaths, or for a few minutes, ending with a brief period of relaxation.

It can take a little while to get used to feeling your way into the centre of your spinal nerve and then breathing the energy out from your spine along your whole nervous system, but is a skill you can acquire relatively quickly with practice.

As I mention, I normally just do this as an ad hoc exercise whenever I am feeling a little tired or frazzled, I find it remarkable how quickly I can find a space of physical relaxation,  regeneration and energy by doing it. Try it out!

© 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 

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Going Beyond the “Do This” and “Do That” Mentality

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article is one that I wrote back in 2011, before I had any kind of mailing list. When I re-read it today it really made me stop and think, then it made me stop thinking for a while, and then I started thinking again, but thinking better. I hope it does that for you too.

The upcoming mind of ease classes will be full of this type of practical reflection.

Yours in the spirit  of  mindful creativity in the moment,

Toby


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in October:

Sunday October 19th – Mindfulness and Meditation For Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention

 Launches 24th October – The Meditation for Creating a Mind of Ease Online Course

Special 1:1 Coaching offer valid until October 14th  2014: Get 15% off the 3 session Stress Transformation Coaching Package.


Going Beyond the “Do This” and “Do That” Mentality 

My daughter has just turned six, and one of the things that I have noticed about our relationship recently is that it has been possible for me to start changing my relationship to her from a lot of “do this” and “do that” instructions to a much more process based “Why don’t you try this?” or “What will happen if you think about it this way?” Her gradual increase in age and maturity, combined with my own gradual maturing as a parent has allowed our relationship to evolve from being somewhat dictatorial to much more co-creative.

How we often use the “do this / do that” mentality with regard to the way we treat ourselves
One of the things that has struck me when thinking about the changes in my relationship to my daughter is how often we get caught up in a “do this” and “do that” relationship to ourself. “Instead of approaching situations and challenges in our life with an open, flexible and enquiring mind, often we will simply react in a pre-programmed way, based around our past experience. Internally we order ourselves around with no real sensitivity to what is actually happening and this kills our ability to respond authentically and creatively.
For example I may find myself mentally punishing myself for not having made more effective use of my time during the day. The conversation goes something like:
“You should not have got sidetracked by this, you should not have wasted time doing that, you don’t deserve to relax this evening because you have not achieved what you wanted…” the instructions and judgments go on and on…

What can we replace the Do this/do that mentality with?

One of the things that we are trying to create through a meditation practice is enough self-awareness  to be able to respond to our immediate circumstances as they are, without projecting judgments or old values onto them. What we are trying to do is replace the automatic “do this” and “do that” voice of our judgments and past mental programs with questions like:
“What is this situation showing me or offering to me?”
“What are the real emotions behind what is being said here?”
“What is the most creative thing I can do in this situation?”
“What is my most authentic response to what is happening here?
By bringing questions such as these to the forefront of our mind in our daily life we can start to over ride the automatic “do this” and “do that” orders coming from our impulsively critical mind and start to live a life that involves more freedom, as well as more authenticity and more happiness.

An awareness exercise:
The art of going beyond our “do this” and “do that” mentality lies in replacing these inner orders with a question that stimulates our enquiring mind and creativity. The next time you can hear and feel your old judgments barking orders at you as you try and cope with a life challenge, consciously place this question in the centre of your awareness:
 “What is this situation helping me to see and learn?” 
Try and stay with this question for a few minutes and observe the creative ideas that start to emerge from the inner space that the question allows.

Related article: You Always Have a Choice

© 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 

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A Blueprint for Mindful Productivity (Plus new video on Mind of Ease Meditation)

Dear Integral Meditators,

You may think of ‘productivity’ as  word that you would associate more with your professional development that your individual personal development, but in the article below I look at how our individual happiness is also dependent to a degree upon our productivity, and how we can create a win-win relationship between our personal happiness and professional growth.

Beneath the article you can see that I have placed the full information for the Mind of Ease Meditation Online Course. You can view a ten minute video that I have created where I talk in some detail about the relevance and effectiveness of the Mind of Ease Meditations HERE.

Yours in the spirit of mindful productivity,

Toby


Your Blueprint for Mindful Productivity

Productivity is the act of supporting our existence by translating our thoughts into reality*, our ideas into objects and products, of bringing knowledge, goods and services of all kinds into existence though our creativity.

We should be interested in productivity as individuals because productivity gives rise to achievements, and this in turn gives rise to a particular type of happiness and confidence.
As employers and members of organizations we should be interested in teaching ourself and others in the organization productivity, because it will help to give rise to a successful, confident and happy organization that people will want to work in and stay in.

So what are the building blocks of productivity, and how can mindfulness help nurture it? Here are a few practical thoughts:

1. We need to be having creative thoughts, and to believe that we are capable of such thoughts – In all of the major domains of our life we need to realize that we are creative agents, and that what we do makes a difference. In our relationships, at work, in our leisure activities we need to challenge ourselves to think intelligently about what we want, and then act productively on those ideas to make them a reality.

2. We need to believe something that comes from ourself can be worthwhile – Ask yourself the question “Do I really believe that an idea that I have can be of real value and make a difference in the world?” If you really believe that then productivity and manifestation will be a natural extension of your belief. If deep down you don’t believe in yourself and the power of your ideas, then even if you have the most amazing ideas they are going to get lost behind a myriad of excuses and distractions. It’s actually ‘easier’ to just become a consumer rather than a producer, but by becoming so we deny ourself so many fundamental forms of happiness.

3. We need to measure how many of the creative thoughts we have make it into reality each day – So we’ve decided we are going to really believe in the power of our ideas (not easy to do on a deep level), and we’ve decided to become a producer. Then you need to ask yourself the question each day “How many thoughts and ideas have I translated into reality today?” You literally look at how many of your thoughts you have actually translated into the domain of our everyday reality.

  • If you are an aspiring poet, that means writing something
  • If you are a marketer it means communicating your message to your audience, today
  • If you are a teacher like me, it means producing materials that can be taught and then inviting people to participate

What productive activity have you done today?

4. We need to appreciate that which we produce – Don’t let your achievements go unnoticed. Don’t finish one thing and then immediately go onto the next. Savor it first; allow the pleasure of your own productivity to feed and nurture your being so that you can sustain enthusiasm for the process.

5. Rinse and repeat each day until it becomes a part of the fabric of how you operate
Being mindful of points 1-5 above is your basic blueprint for sustainable productivity each day. Remember, you’re not doing it to please someone else (although it might), you are doing it because you are choosing to take pleasure in your own productive power, the power you have to be a cause in life, not just an effect.

*Paraphrased definition from ‘Honoring the Self’ by Nat Branden, chapter 12 on Rational Selfishness.
© 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 


 

Meditations for Developing a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention – A Five Module Online Course

 

Beautiful SpringDates: Begins Thursday 23rd October

Time: This is a five week online course, those participating will be given the link to the course webpage plus a password. Each week starting on Thursday23rd of October a module will be uploaded.

Venue: Anyone from anywhere in the world can participate in this course from the comfort of their living room. All you need is online access!

One sentence summary: This five module online course offers a contemporary, practical introduction to meditation and mindfulness that aims to integrate the fundamentals of traditional meditation practice with contemporary insights from psychology and neuro-psychology in a powerful and effective way.

Meditation and mindfulness are, simply put, ways of training our mind and attention to focus consciously upon objects that give rise to inner wellbeing, harmony, and happiness.

View video of Toby talking about the Mind of Ease Practices HERE

What you will learn on this course:

Practical meditation and mindfulness techniques that:

  • Enable you to consciously release unwanted tension and anxiety from your body-mind and transform your relationship to stress.
  • Help you to build a warm, friendly and supportive relationship to both yourself and others
  • Train your mind to take in, focus upon and appreciate the positive in your life
  • Develop your concentration skills (the ability to focus one-pointedly upon a single object/task), and in particular a special type of relaxed concentration, or lucid awareness
  • Enable you to connect with and relax deeply into an experience of inner stillness
  • An increased capacity to use your mind effectively without getting overwhelmed by mental busy-ness

All of these skills can be consolidated into a daily meditation practice that can be done in ten minutes!

The Structure of the course:

Thursday October 23rd – Module 1: Meditating on Ease, Flow and Presence – This opening module looks at how to create an experience of deep mind-body relaxation and flow by:

  • Connecting to three levels of ease (physical, mental and spiritual)
  • Understanding  how to release stress and tension that accumulates in our mind and body during the day and re-energize our body through focus on the breathing
  • Learn how to orient our mind in the present moment, giving our life a deeper sense of centeredness and balance even when experiencing challenges

Thursday October 30th – Module 2:  Meditating on Warmth, Friendship and Care – The meditation tools taught in this module aim firstly at learning to direct feelings of warmth, friendship and support toward the person whom we spend 24 hours of our day with; ourself! Once we have developed a stable, friendly and harmonious relationship to ourself, we can then expand and develop our feelings of warmth and care toward others; our family, our friends, all humans and eventually to all living beings. Achieving a stable experience of love, warmth and compassion is only possible with a very stable inner base, and this stable base is what we focus upon mindfully developing in this module.

Thursday 6th November – Module 3: Meditating on Appreciation, Positivity and Enjoyment

The ability to consistently approach challenges and events in our life from a positive and appreciative perspective is an essential mindfulness tool for enjoying our life deeply. All too often we lose sight of the good things that are right in front of us because our mind is pre-occupied and obsessed with the things we perceive as “wrong”. The methods taught in this module aim to address our natural “negativity bias”, and create strong mental habits that facilitate feelings of appreciation, gratitude and enjoyment.

Thursday 13th November – Module 4: Developing Focus and Concentration through Meditation – A fragmented, distracted state of mind seems to be the norm in the midst of our current, frantic pace of life. The meditation techniques taught in this module specifically address how we can develop the skill of focused, lucid concentration amidst all the distractions and busyness that calls for our attention. Developing focus and concentration not only has the benefit of making us more effective in achieving our goals, it also gives us access to an experience of deep regenerative peace that we can rest in as we travel our life’s many and varied pathways.

Thursday 20th November – Module 5Meditating for Inner Stillness and Insight – This module focuses on how we can discover the natural “inner stillness” and silence of our mind and experience what a profound and life changing effect it can have  upon the quality of our life. We learn the skill of resting easy in the natural inner space of our own awareness, and the discovery of a deeper level of ourself known in meditation terms as the “bare witness observer”. On a simple level the discovery of inner stillness and the bare witness observer enables us to meet our daily challenge with greater equanimity and presence of mind. On a deeper level inner stillness and the inner witness opens us to a deeper level of meaning and context for our life, awakening us to a new dimension of who we are and what we might be capable of becoming.

This final module also introduces an integrated meditation practice that combines the skills of all five modules into a single short meditation.

Cost of Workshop: Launch Price Sing$59! Rising to Sing$75 on 27th October,

CLICK HERE TO MAKE PAYMENT FOR MIND OF EASE ONLINE COURSE BY PAYPAL

Special Offer: Buy Mind of Ease Online Course together with the Mind of Ease 3 Hour Workshop for $150! (save $55)

CLICK HERE TO MAKE PAYMENT FOR MIND OF EASE ONLINE COURSE AND WORKSHOP BUNDLE BY PAYPAL

To register or for further enquiries: Email info@tobyouvry.com, or sms 65-96750279

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The Reasons We Resist Deeply Good Feelings

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would happen to your life if you truly committed to feeling the deepest, best feelings that were available to you in each moment? This weeks article explores this theme, and the reasons we often turn away.

Courses and coaching offers for October are detailed in the upcoming courses section.

Yours in the spirit of feeling deeply good,

Toby


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in October:

Sunday October 19th – Mindfulness and Meditation For Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention

 Launches 24th October – The Meditation for Creating a Mind of Ease Online Course

Special 1:1 Coaching offer valid for October 2014: Get 15% off the 3 session Stress Transformation Coaching Package.


The Reasons We Resist Deeply Good Feelings

The following is a list of reasons why we either choose to accept negative feelings and focus upon them when there are positive ones we could be focus upon, OR we choose to accept superficially ‘positive’ feelings and emotions when there is a choice available to touch something deeper and more profoundly alive within ourselves.

  • There are many varied and often real reasons not to feel good
  • My ever increasing list of broken dreams as I get older
  • My fear of being judged by others (don’t stand out in the wrong way!)
  • Everyone around me seems negative or guarded, why take the chance?
  • The positivity can’t last, I’m setting myself up for disappointment, the feelings will betray me
  • Real, visceral enjoyment and pleasure is not something I am worthy of
  • My partner/child/parent/friend (etc…) is not happy, so why should I be?
  • I’m waiting for someone else’s permission to feel this good
  • I might start having all sorts of creative ideas (and that might be risky)
  • I’m uncertain and worried about my future (to feel good doesn’t match that reality)
  • My business/job is not going well
  • The suffering of the world, the environmental crisis
  • I haven’t forgiven myself for ‘x’
  • I’m addicted to my own pain
  • If I feel really good it will highlight all the areas of my life where I feel pain, I don’t want to b reminded of that
  • If I’m feeling good there will be no one else to blame for my pain
  • I would feel empowered and so would have no excuses for not taking responsibility for my life
  • I will start to feel truly alive (and that would be scary)
  • I’m addicted to feeling ‘high’ rather than actually deeply happy
  • I want to feel and be what gets the approval of others rather than what really serves me

I wrote that little list in 5 minutes before I cooked dinner tonight. It seems sometimes like the choice to feel truly good, whole and well each day despite “all of it” is not the act of the mindless hedonist, but the mindful and courageous few.

© 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 

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The Emotions behind the Emotions, the Feelings Behind the Feelings

Dear Integral Meditators,

I gave a talk last night on stress transformation, one of the observations from the participants was that, when we meditated on transforming their stress, the emotion that they thought was their issue faded away, and they were presented with another emotion that they were not aware was there. The article below explores this theme.

Yours in the spirit of feeling deeply,

Toby


The Emotions behind the Emotions, the Feelings Behind the Feelings

Human beings are complex, multi-faceted and multi-dimensional beings. It may not come as a surprise to learn (thought it does for many of us) that each of the emotions and feelings we have often has a hidden emotion or feeling behind it that is the real motivator.
You might say that we have a presenting or frontal emotion or feeling that we can see directly, and a hidden emotion or feeling that lies behind it. Let me give you a few examples.

I might feel angry and irritable, but behind that emotion is simply a feeling of physical fatigue. The simplest way to deal with this is therefore to get better rested. If I try and practice anger management techniques without dealing with the fundamental cause of fatigue, then I can waste a lot of time and be discouraged by the results!
Conversely I may suddenly feel tired when an opportunity arises for me to talk openly with my partner about how I am feeling about our relationship. The presenting feeling is one of fatigue, but underneath that is a fear of confrontation with my partner and the possibility of his/her disapproval. In this case no amount of sleeping will solve the root emotional issue of fear of confrontation and disapproval! What needs to be faced is our fear of confrontation.

I feel depressed about my life, but behind that I discover that behind this depression is a secret desire that someone should take the burden of self-responsibility from me, so that I don’t have to ‘worry about it all’. Here I can try and ‘think positive’ all I like, but if I never discover and accept the reality that I have a hidden wish to be taken care of or saved by another, then my efforts are not likely to be successful.

I feel a strong desire for sexual contact and feelings, but behind it was the event that happened during the day that prompted my fear of ageing or death. Again no amount of trying to engage the surface feeling (the wish to have sex) will address the root of the issue which is our emotions of insecurity and vulnerability around ageing and death.

So the basic principle here is that we learn to mindfully connect to the emotions that we experience, and then look a little bit deeper to see if there is a hidden feeling or emotion behind it that is the primary motivator. The value of this is that if we are able to see and connect to the hidden emotion or feeling, then we will have a much clearer idea of what we need to do in order to resolve our challenges.

A three stage mindfulness process for discovering the feelings behind the feelings

1) Select the area of your life that you wish to investigate. Ask yourself what am I feeling in this situation? Connect and breathe with the presenting emotions and/or feelings that arise from this question.
2) Breathe with the presenting emotions for a while, allowing yourself to experience them. Then ask yourself “What are the feelings that lie behind this emotion?” Look a little deeper to see if you can sense or detect the hidden emotion or feeling that lies a little deeper.
3) If it emerges, breathe with this deeper feeling or emotion for a while. Then ask yourself the question “What is it that I need to do (or accept) in order to truly deal with how I feel here?” Pay attention to this answer.
© 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 

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Mindfully Accessing Your Transferrable Skills

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks newsletter looks at how you can use mindfulness to link already existent skills that you have to activities where you may not have thought to apply them.

Sunday is that last day that you will be able to purchase the Mindful Resilience online course for the opening promotion price of Sing$69. On Monday it will go up to $85, so catch the offer whilst you can!

Yours in the spirit of skills hidden in plain sight,

Toby


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in October:

Full details soon!


Mindfully Accessing Your Transferrable Skills

Today I gave a talk at the Singapore Stock Exchange on mindful trading. One of the other speakers was a great guy called Dave from Salt Lake City. Earlier in his life he had been a professional drummer with a band. Now, as a trader he said he found that his intuitive skills as a musician helped him to see patterns in his trading charts that had become a major way in which he had developed his ‘trading style’. Dave had found a transferrable skill from his life as a musician which he was now applying to his life as a trader.
A few years ago I was complaining to my Dad that I was at a disadvantage as a business owner because I had no background in ‘selling’ or sales. My dad pointed out to me that I had a lot of experience in listening as a counsellor teacher and coach. He then pointed out that a lot of what being a good salesperson is about is firstly listening to other people to understand their deep needs and wants; if you can do that you are then in a very good position to provide a service or product that they will want. I suddenly discovered that I had a hugely useful transferrable skill that I could use as a businessman that I hadn’t even thought about before and that I could draw a lot of confidence from (thanks Dad!).
When I first started meditation practice in the early 90’s I was able to build my meditation practice better and faster by applying the understanding of under-training and over-training that I had picked up from playing sports, another transferrable skill of great value.

The fact is that many of the skills that you currently have are transferrable to other areas of your life. Not only that but they are transferrable to any new activity that you take up. The more quickly you can make the link between a skill that you already have and its potential value in a new situation, or in a different domain of your life, the more quickly you can start using it.
A great mindful question to ask yourself when faced with a new challenge, stage or activity in your life is “What transferrable skills do I have?” Almost certainly you will be pleasantly surprised how capable you are.

Related article: Mindfully deepening your inner resources.

© 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 

 

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Your Emotional Colour Palette

Dear Integral Meditators,

What makes a colour beautiful? The answer is a bit deeper than first glance. Similarly with our emotions, it is not always the bright, shiny ones that of the most value, or even the most beautiful.

Yours in the spirit of emotional depth and beauty,

Toby


Your Emotional Colour Palette

As some of you may know my original training was as an artist (which I still practice actively), and I often think about the development of the mind, emotion and consciousness in terms of colour and texture.
One of the observations that I have taken from my work as a painter is that whether a colour is beautiful or ugly, harmonious or jarring has as much to do with the colours next to it as the colour itself. For example we may think of grey as a very plain boring (even depressing) colour; but if you watch the way a grey sky can give depth and vibrancy to the green leaves of a tree, or give new definition to the foam on the waves of the sea, then we start to realize that grey has its place.
Similarly the dark browns and blacks of soil give background to the beauty of vibrantly coloured flowers, the early nights and darkness of the winter evenings gives context to the vibrancy and buzz of the long sunny summer ones. As a painter if you can grasp this concept, then you will become a much better painter; you will get to know your greys and blacks and browns s well as your yellows, oranges and bright blues. You will understand how to put them together in your picture to produce a beauty that has true depth, texture and nuance.

You can see the first picture I have posted with this article by Ben Nicholson above (one of my favourites) that shows a good example of this in a sea landscape. The greys, blues and blacks provide a context for the brighter yellows, blues and reds to come alive. The second picture below is a cityscape by my daughter Sasha. I think you can really see in this one how the dark grey building in the center really gives substance to the bright yellow and pink buildings on either side. Without the grey the bright colours would look anaemic.

So, when we think about the landscape of our emotions, it can be wise to get to know the grey, brown and black ones as well as the bright cheery, pretty ones. If we are prepared to look at them all together, without favoring one over the other, we may discover that each emotion, the sad ones as well as the happy ones all have their place in our life, all have their own beauty, and their own gifts to offer us.

As a mindfulness or meditation practitioner, it can be a nice exercise to simply sit and open to our emotions and moods, benevolently embracing them all as we find them, and then consciously learning to wisely weave them into a beautiful painting (or song) each day, a painting that includes browns, blacks and greys as well as red, yellow and blue.
© 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 

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