Dealing mindfully with anger and conflict in your relationships

Dear Integral Meditators,

There is a strong relationship between anger and power. If you can own your anger and learn to wield it as a force for the good in life, your sense of personal power will increase correspondingly. The article also looks at how to mange conflict in your relationships using mindful questions and attention. Enjoy!

Wishing you well,

Toby


The Power of Presence – Dealing mindfully with anger and conflict in your relationships

How can you deal more effectively with anger and conflict in your life? Here I am referring specifically to the anger and conflict that you experience in your outer relationships with other people. What I am going to do is give you some pointers for becoming more mindful in this area. This in turn will then naturally start to suggest to practical ways you can be more successful dealing with the challenges presented.

1) Observe the way in which you currently experience anger and conflict
Ask yourself the question: What is my current relationship with anger and conflict, both within myself and into relationships?
Bring to mind a time when you have been angry. What happens when you get angry? How does your body start to feel? Practice mindfully creating anger in your body and mind, and learn to relax into it, without being panicked by it or forced into a reaction. Get used to holding anger in your body comfortably, letting it flow.
Similarly, bring to mind a conflict you have in your outer relationships right now. Observe how you feel in the face of another persons anger, disapproval or aggression. Practice mindful holding your own space and breathing with the experience of conflict, so that when it happens in real time, you are not panicked or intimidated.

2) A working definition of anger – ‘Anger is a powerful emotion centred around issues of justice and fairness’. In its negative expression it is incredibly destructive and dangerous. In its positive expression it can be a powerful cause for order, justice and good in the world. ‘Positive anger’ might be thought of as simply the benevolent expression of justice and fairness in the face of malevolence or aggression. There is a lot to be gained from working to transform your own negative anger into positive anger. See my article on Act your rage – Three useful ways of thinking about and using your anger

3) Working with conflict in your relationships
Once you have done a little contemplation around section 1 above, here is a short exercise you can apply to any relationship you may have where there is anger and conflict. Firstly, consider the situation from three perspectives –
1st person – I/mine/ours – What is happening in this situation from your personal point of view? What are you feeling?
2nd person – the other(s) – What is the other person/people experiencing? What do you start to see if you mindfully take their perspective for a period of time?
3rd person – It’s, objective (fly on the wall) – What do you start to see if you take a more objective/detached point of view, outside of all the personal stuff?

Based on your insights from these three perspectives then decide ‘Am I going to’:

  • Change myself/adapt to the other person/people, (maybe not worth the hassle to confront?) or
  • Try and change the other person, or take a stand for what I feel is right (genuine issue if justice, and or ‘worth it’)?

Finally, having made your decision, strategize! Use your natural intelligence to come up with a way of approaching the relationship conflict, communicating skillfully in a way that you think is going to give the best result!

Experiment with small conflicts
A final point here, small and relatively insignificant conflicts are great places to start working with the above methods. Finding ways to gently work with conflict, anger and confrontation in minor situations helps you build the skill and confidence so that when something big kicks off, you are able to hold your own and enjoy learning how to articulate your own power in relationship conflicts.

© Toby Ouvry 2018, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

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

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Tuesday & Wednesday’s in March/April – Inner Peace, Inner Power – An Introduction to Integral & Engaged Meditation Practice

Saturday 28th April, 9.30am-1pm – Finding Freedom From What Holds You Back in Life: Practical meditations & techniques for working with your shadow-self

Sunday 20th May, 10am-5pm – How to do Soul Portraits Workshop

Saturday 26th May 10am-4.30pm – Mastering your Mind Through Mindfulness Meditation Day Retreat with Toby


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Facing what you cannot face (Mindful inoculation)

Dear integral Meditators,

This weeks article explores the idea of ‘mindful inoculation’, how you can become stronger and more resilient by deliberately turning and facing your most difficult inner issues. It’s a dimension of the ‘shadow work’ that I do.
If you enjoy the article, then do consider joining me for the workshop on 28th April: Finding Freedom From What Holds You Back in Life: Practical meditations & techniques for working with your shadow-self, or check out my 1:1 shadow coaching service which is on special offer right now!

In the spirit of turning and facing,

Toby

Live in Singapore this week: At this Tuesday & Wednesday‘s meditation class we will be focusing on finding the balance between doing and being, all welcome! And on Saturday there is the Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat


Shadow coaching special offer: 
For the next week (offer closes 16th April) there is a special offer on Toby’s Shadow coaching service. Three x60minute packages are on a 15% special offer (a saving of $95). Contact info@tobyouvry.com for full details.


Facing what you cannot face (Mindful inoculation)

Inoculation from a disease involves injecting a small amount of the disease into your body, so your body’s immune system recognizes and become resilient to the disease. In order to become immune from the disease, you need to expose your body to the disease in small doses.
When building your psychological health, the same is true. To make yourself resilient to your most difficult and debilitating anxieties and stresses, you have to deliberately seek out and expose yourself to them each day. By doing so you ‘normalize’ the experience of the anxiety, so that it does not feel overwhelming or threatening; you build your immunity to it. You might think of this method as a sort of ‘mindful inoculation’ of your psyche from debilitating stress.

The challenge of doing this is it runs against much of our instinctive strategy regarding pain, anxiety and stress. When we sense a feeling or thought in our mind that is painful, sad (etc…) our first reaction is most commonly to distract ourselves from it, turn away from it, or repress and deny it. The last thing we want to do is turn and face it, let alone accept it!

The benefits of turning towards our sources of pain for short periods of time in the day is that we learn to accept and process them. This results in us taking far less time to work though the emotional trauma of bad experiences, and we become very confident. After all, if we can face down the very worst of what we find in the recesses of our mind, what is there left to intimidate us in life?

The method: Turning towards
To do this practice, take a domain in your life, eg: relationships. Then ask yourself the question “What anxiety or pain is it in my relationships that I am not acknowledging or facing right now?” Let your mind sit with the question, and start to investigate. Before too long you will come across an issue that you really don’t want to face. Once you have found it, mentally turn and face it. Move your attention towards it. Breathe with and acknowledge it. Relax into the experience (uncomfortable as it may be) for at least a minute. Over the next week or so your task them becomes to deliberately turn your mindful attention to the issue that you cannot face, and face it for short periods of time. By doing this you will gradually ‘inoculate’ yourself from the issue. It is not that it is no longer there, it is just you can turn and face it with confidence, you know how to look after it. It ceases to feel like a threat to your wellbeing.

An example
Relatively recently, a romantic relationship that I had been in for a few months came to an end. As we were moving toward the final split (but had not reached that decision yet) I asked myself “What is it about this relationship that I am not acknowledging or facing right now?” Quite quickly the answer came back ‘I cannot face that I may have to let this relationship go’. So, then my object of mindful inoculation became the loaded sentence ‘I may have to let this relationship go’. Repeatedly exposing myself to this, and the feelings around it moved my experience quite quickly from aversion: ‘I can’t let this relationship go’, to acceptance: ‘I need to let this relationship go’ to confidence: ‘This relationship is over, and I’m excited about the future and all the new possibilities!
You don’t necessarily need a lot of time to get over challenging, difficult or painful experiences, but you do have to have the courage to turn and face them and ‘mindfully inoculate’ yourself from them!

Related article: The quickest way through the rain

© Toby Ouvry 2018, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

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

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Tuesday & Wednesday’s in March/April – Inner Peace, Inner Power – An Introduction to Integral & Engaged Meditation Practice

Saturday 14th April 9.30am-12.30pm – Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat

Saturday 28th April, 9.30am-1pm – Finding Freedom From What Holds You Back in Life: Practical meditations & techniques for working with your shadow-self

Saturday May 26th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Zen Walking Meditation Workshop

Sunday 20th May, 10am-5pm – How to do Soul Portraits Workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Four functional purposes of moving into stillness

Dear Integral Meditators,

Why bother continuing to cultivate stillness and reduced thinking through meditation? The article below considers four compelling reasons to keep you motivated!

In the spirit of stillness,

Toby

Live in Singapore this week: At this Tuesday & Wednesday‘s meditation class we will be focusing on self awareness though meditation, all welcome!
If your looking to give your meditation practice a shot in the arm, or know someone whose been looking for a place to get started with meditation, then this Saturday we have the Get Your Meditation Practice Started Now – The Shortest and Most Time Effective Meditation Workshop Ever at the One Heart center.


Four functional purposes of moving into stillness

Why bother continuing to cultivate stillness and reduced thinking through meditation? It’s useful to have some concrete reasons other than ‘it feels good’, although this is not a bad reason in and of itself! Knowing the four reasons below helps us to persist with our practice, and be able to clearly see the benefits as they start to arise.

1. Our quality of thinking improves – By cultivating stillness we reduce the amount of thoughts in our mind. As the quantity of thoughts reduces, the quality of thoughts tends to increase. Because our mind feels less rushed, we activate our natural intelligenceand tend to think more positively, more reflectively, and more rationally.

We become much more resilient to stress – Imagine holding a bottle of water in front of you without putting it down. For 5minutes no problem, 10minutes your feeling it, 30minutes you are uncomfortable, one hour you might be in pain. If, however you were able to put the bottle of water down for 30seconds once every 5minutes, then you could actually hold that bottle of water out in front of you almost indefinitely, with minimal discomfort. It’s the same with our mental and emotional stress; it is not that the burden in itself overwhelmingly heavy, but because we never put it down it tires us out and feels unbearable. Stilling the mind and putting down our stressful thoughts is like putting down the bottle of water. It enables us to keep on bearing the weight of our stress FAR more easily by regularly putting it down!

We activate out intuitive and unconscious processing capabilities – When you temporarily reduce your everyday mind and thinking by moving towards stillness, you activate the natural unconscious and intuitive processing faculties of your mind. This enables your mind to sift through information, move towards balance and come up with creative ideas without you having to try hard at all. You learn to rest your mind and let it work by itself to come up with useful insights and information that we can use in our life.

We access the deeper self – Behind the everyday thinking mind there is the experience of consciousness itself; that which observes and is aware of the movements of our mind. This ‘observer’ is what I mean by the ‘deeper self’. It remains unchanged and constant even as our thoughts and experiences continually change. By dropping into stillness, we access this deeper, observing self. We can begin to identify with it, and use it as a point of stability, constancy and calm even as the events of our life twist and turn with fortune. Carl Jung called this deeper level of consciousness simply ‘the Self’, with our everyday thoughts, habits and patterns of action being ‘the ego’. In moments of crisis when the ego ‘falls apart’, people sometimes become aware of ‘the Self’.  Dropping into stillness gives us regular access to ‘the Self’, and the support it can offer us.

So there you go, four reasons to keep cultivating stillness! You can find a simple technique for cultivating stillness in my recent article So how do you still your mind?

© Toby Ouvry 2018, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

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

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Saturday 7th April, 4-5.30pm – Get Your Meditation Practice Started Now – The Shortest and Most Time Effective Meditation Workshop Ever

Tuesday & Wednesday’s in March/April – Inner Peace, Inner Power – An Introduction to Integral & Engaged Meditation Practice

Saturday 14th April 9.30am-12.30pm – Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat

Saturday 28th April, 9.30am-1pm – Finding Freedom From What Holds You Back in Life: Practical meditations & techniques for working with your shadow-self

Sunday 20th May, 10am-5pm – How to do Soul Portraits Workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

So how do you still your mind?

Dear Toby Ouvry,

You may have heard that meditating means to still the mind, but how do you actually do that, and what are the benefits? The article below considers these questions, and offers a simple practice you can do anytime!

At this Tuesday & Wednesday‘s meditation class we will be doing a class on stilling the mind, so do come along if you are available!

Underneath the article you can find the schedule of classes and workshops for April…

In the spirit of stillness,

Toby


Meditation Means to Still the Mind (Positive Amnesia)

We constantly try to solve our inner problems and find inner peace by using their mind to ”think” our way out, and it is certainly true that we can find many solutions to our problems using our mind.
However, it is also true that peace of mind is available to you at any time simply by stopping thinking and relaxing into a state of non-thinking stillness. If you can stop yourself thinking, then peace and inner well-being will arise naturally and easily from your consciousness. This is because peace, wholeness, and stability are the nature of your consciousness when there are no thoughts getting in the way.
So of course simply stopping thinking and resting in stillness will not solve all your problems. However, it will enable you to enjoy inner peace regularly, and this peace then gives you the perspective that you need in order to face your life challenges with much greater stability and sanity.

So, stilling the mind, is an essential skill that we are trying to develop in meditation. In many meditation schools such as Zen, moving into a state of stillness and non-thinking is emphasized as a major goal right from the beginning, it is THE training. The technique I explain below is a simple, uncomplicated way of moving into stillness that you can use anytime you want.

Stillness through non- thought: Amnesia or becoming a Simpleton.
This meditation technique involves an act of imagination, where you either imagine:

  • That you have suddenly been afflicted with amnesia and can remember nothing, not even your name
  • Or that you have become a complete simpleton. You have become so simple-minded or ”stupid” that you can no longer even string a sentence together!

Sitting quietly, just maintain the recognition of your amnesia or simpleton-ness. When thoughts, memories or images arise, remember that you have amnesia, or that you are too ‘stupid’ to hold the stream of thought together in your mind.
Practicing in this way, let your mind gradually become more and more relaxed, with less and less thought arising. From this absence of thought will come a sense of stillness. When you get good at this, you will be able to let your mind rest in a state of no-thought for longer and longer periods of time. This will give you a tangible experience each day of inner peace, and allow your body-mind mind to relax deeply.

Question: Won’t meditating on no-mind in this way actually make me more stupid, less intelligent and more forgetful??
Answer: Quite simply, no. We are using our imagination here to create a condition of stillness and no-thought. This then allows our mind to really have a good rest and recuperate its energy, which in turn results in an increase in our awareness, clarity and intelligence. It should also result in an improvement in mental factors such as memory.

Once you become used to practising amnesia or being a simpleton, you will discover that you can use it in many different situations in your daily life. For example, if you find that as you walk down the street your mind is commenting in a negative way on all the passers-by, you can simply ”switch it off” and ride out your difficult mood in relative inner silence, without making it any worse than it needs to be.

© Toby Ouvry 2018, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

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

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Tuesday & Wednesday’s in March/April – Inner Peace, Inner Power – An Introduction to Integral & Engaged Meditation Practice
Saturday 14th April 9.30am-12.30pm – Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat

Saturday 28th April, 9.30am-1pm – Finding Freedom From What Holds You Back in Life: Practical meditations & techniques for working with your shadow-self

Saturday May 26th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Zen Walking Meditation Workshop

Sunday 20th May, 10am-5pm – How to do Soul Portraits Workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

‘Going through the motions’ as a mindfulness tool

Dear Integral Meditators,

You may have heard or even experienced how mindfulness makes you more productive and increases your potential for success, but how does this actually work in practice? The article below gives a practical example…

In the spirit of quiet power,

Toby

PS: Live in Singapore this week: The Tuesday & Wednesday evening meditation classes this week is the Spring Equinox Balancing & renewing Meditation, all welcome!


‘Going through the motions’ as a mindfulness tool

There are a lot of things that are very necessary and important for you to be successful in life that are not very exciting, motivating or interesting. There are many days when you wake up tired, moody and undermotivated. On such days, even things that normally would excite you or motivate you can seem really uninteresting.
Whether it’s a boring task, or your feeling under-motivated, it’s really important in terms of being successful that you to keep doing what is necessary, whether you feel like it or not! When we do something that we don’t want to do, we sometimes say ‘I’m just going through the motions’. There are three basic stages to mindfully ‘going through the motions’ to get things done:

1. See the benefit of doing the task or action – This morning I went through a long list of old scripts, to see which ones I might want to re-vamp into new meditations. I was tired and it was essentially mundane work, but it was necessary to do before doing the fun, creative work of re-writing new material from the old. The mundane task sets up the completion of the fun, creative task.
2. Accept you don’t feel like doing it – If I’m feeling tired, run down and insecure on an evening, I may not feel like responding politely and considerately to my partners questions, or dealing with my children’s bad moods. But if I’m intelligent and thoughtful, I know that even though I don’t feel like it, it is in my own,  the other persons and the relationships best interests to make the effort. But I accept that I don’t feel like it. I’m going to do it despite the fact that I don’t feel like it!
3. Go through the motions anyway – At this stage I see the benefits of doing the task, I accept the fact that I don’t feel like doing it. Now, I need to go through the motions, just do it! It may feel mechanical and mundane, I may feel I am mentally ‘walking though treacle’, but I just do it. I start writing, I engage politely, I start exercising…I just get going, even if it feels fake. I go through the motions!

The benefits
There are a number of benefits to getting in the habit of going through the motions
You get it done, which feels good – As one writer said “I don’t like writing, but I like having written!” when you complete a task there is a feel good factor and a sense of satisfaction. Sometimes especially if you didn’t feel like doing it!
Sometimes you start to enjoy it and feel good – Once you start and overcome the initial inertia you can find yourself enjoying the activity. You didn’t feel like being polite to your partner, but now the conversation is chugging along very enjoyably!
Mundane stuff can be centering and grounding – If you are doing something boring, the repetition or predictability of the task can create a rhythm that is calming and centering. I noticed this recently painting walls in my apartment. The physical movement and repetition is deeply mind-calming and stress relieving!
You get sh#*t done that sets you up for success – when you habitually ‘go through the motions’ you become capable of doing and achieving things that you could not do if you relied on ‘feeling like it’. GTTM’s gives you the qualities of maturity, discipline and endurance that facilitates the long term fulfilment of deeply held goals and ambitions. You become capable of doing what the ordinary man or woman cannot do.

So, the next time you’re feeling tired, under motivated or despondent, simply set up the next task that you need to get done, and mindfully go through the motions!

Related article: On boredom, creativity & ‘mindful fishing’

© Toby Ouvry 2018, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

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

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Starts Tuesday & Wednesday March 6-7 th – Inner Peace, Inner Power – An Introduction to Integral & Engaged Meditation Practice

March 20&21st – Spring Equinox Balancing & renewing Meditation


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Combining your beginners mind with your experienced mind

Dear Integral Meditators,

The ‘beginners mind’ is a fundamental concept in mindfulness and meditation, particularly in Zen practice. The article below explores how you can go about combining your beginners mind with what I call ‘your experienced mind’, in order to create something that is better than both!

In the spirit of new beginnings and wise experience,

Toby

PS: Live in Singapore this week: The Tuesday & Wednesday evening meditation classes this week is focused on how you can play Positive Mindfulness Games, all are most welcome! … and final call for Mindful Resilience – Sustaining effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure through meditation and mindfulness on this Saturday the 17th!


Combining your beginners mind with your experienced mind

Your beginners mind (BM) is your ability to come to a task or experience with curiosity, as if for the first time.  It may be an experience that you have had many times before, or you may literally be doing it for the first time. Either way your beginners mind is a learning mindset. It watches closely, absorbing as much information as it can. Think of a child intensely interested and involved in trying to ride a bike for the first time, and you get the idea. Your BM is happy to try and fail, try and fail, try and fail, until it succeeds.
Your beginners mind helps you to keep on learning as you get older, keep your enthusiasm for life, keep you positively humble. Your BM helps you learn new things faster, and prevents you taking familiar good things in your life for granted. Mentally it keeps you young, flexible and joyful.
The beginners mind should not be confused with simply being naïve, childish, or getting bored easily and so giving up on tasks before they are done or mastered!

Your experienced mind (EM) is the sum total of all your life experience up to this point. It knows a lot of things that are very useful in helping you navigate all the situations and choices that you have to go through each day. You might think of it as the wise old man or woman within you that compares what is happening in the moment to the past in order to see if there are any patterns, experiences or learning’s that you already have that can help you with what you are facing right now.
Your EM helps you to leverage on what you know already in order to prevent you making mistakes. It saves you time, helps avoid pain, and enjoy greater success with regard to  what you are experiencing in the moment. It recognizes that in many situations we are not complete beginners, and that that is a very good thing!
Your experienced mind should not be confused with that part of you that becomes cynical, jaded, or that thinks it ‘knows it all’. It is intelligent, helpful and alert.

Integrating your beginners and your experienced mindsets
From an integral mindfulness point of view, we try to combine the best of our beginner’s mind and experienced mind together, so they are helping each other, and us to meet our life challenges more successfully. One simple way to start doing this is to ask two questions regarding any challenge you have, and want to extract practical learning from:

  1. If I view this situation as if for the first time, what do I see and observe?
  2. What is my past experience and learning telling me about this situation?

Sit with each question for a short while, and see what perspectives and insights come from both. You can then combine them into a wise approach to your experience that combines your ability to learn in the moment (beginners mind) with your ability to use past experience effectively (experienced mind).

A simple example
Forty minutes ago I sat down to write this article. I felt a bit nervous and unsure about the content, but my experienced mind (EM) told me that if I just started mapping it out and writing, I would find the idea translated into an article.  I then set aside my EM and brought my BM to the task, seeing the content ‘as if for the first time, paying attention to the present, being curious and enthusiastic. Now here I am, at the end of my article, my work complete. It’s a simple example. How could you combine your beginners and experienced mind today in order to be successful in your chosen endeavor?

Related article: Appreciating the past to liberate the present

© Toby Ouvry 2018, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

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

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Starts Tuesday & Wednesday March 6-7 th – Inner Peace, Inner Power – An Introduction to Integral & Engaged Meditation Practice

Saturday March 17th – Mindful Resilience – Sustaining effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure through meditation and mindfulness – A half day workshop

March 20&21st – Spring Equinox Balancing & renewing Meditation


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

What is spiritual practice? And why bother engaging in it?

Dear Integral Meditators,

Back in 2010 I did a course on ‘Essential Spirituality’. Below are some edited notes on what spirituality is, and what having your own spiritual practice offers you in terms of  value. It also has a practical meditation at the end that you can start working with!

Live in Singapore this week: The Tuesday & Wednesday evening meditation classes sees the beginning of the new course: Inner Peace, Inner Power – An Introduction to Integral & Engaged Meditation Practice all welcome!

In the spirit of spiritual practice,

Toby


What is spiritual practice? And why bother engaging in it?

Many conversations regarding spirituality lack any meaningful substance simply because we have not thought about or defined what it is meant by spirituality and its purpose. Understanding of what the purpose of the spiritual practice is gives us an insight into the benefits to be gained from doing it, empowering us to start doing it consistently in our day to day life!

What do we mean by spiritual practice? 
Spiritual practice means awakening each day to that which is most important and fundamental to our lives. It creates the time each day to reflect upon this and let it inform how we choose to act in our life.
This reflection encourages us to effect meaningful change in our lives, so that we no longer feel like a victim of circumstance. Instead we experience our self as an active participant in our experiences and our destiny.

What is its purpose of spiritual practice? 
Basic spiritual reflection reveals that life consists of the potential for joy, rapture, beauty and ecstasy, within the context of many seemingly unavoidable experiences of pain, suffering and injustice.
Spiritual practice prepares us to meet the challenges, uncertainties and sufferings of life as effectively  as possible, whilst at the same time maximizing our potential for the experience of joy, happiness, ecstasy and rapture.

How does spiritual practice affect practical change in our life?
Spiritual practice aims to affect positive, practical change in our life by improving the integrity and strength of your being. It encourages our body, mind and spirit to work together in harmony to meet life’s challenges and to grow.
Often in daily life our mind, body and spirit are either not communicating, or actively fighting against each other. An example of this might be a busy person whose body gets sick due to work fatigue. Instead of treating her body with compassion, she may get angry with it for malfunctioning, and resist giving it the rest it needs. As a result, the body takes longer to recover, and may even become more sick.
Integrated spiritual practice aims to flag up all the conflicts between the different aspects of our being, so as to resolve them. We can then face the challenges of our life as a whole, integrated and strong individual, who does not break apart under pressure.

Listening to three voices: A basic practice for bringing us back to that which is fundamental to our life.
This is a very simple, practical three stage self-awareness meditation. If you spend two minutes each day on each stage, that will give you a basic six minute spiritual practice!

Stage 1: Listening to the voice of your body: Sitting quietly, tune into your body’s intuitive/instinctive consciousness. Let your body guide you to a pace and rhythm of breathing that will best promote relaxation, healing and regeneration at this moment in time.
Stage 2: Listening to the voices in the mind: Now turn your attention to the thoughts in your mind. Observe the inner chatter in your mind, avoiding getting involved in the discussion. Practice inwardly smiling and extending warmth to the thoughts in your mind, whether they seem to be positive or negative, happy or sad.

Stage 3: Listening to the voice of silence: Now turn your attention from the discursive thoughts in the mind to the space and silence that lies between your thoughts. The space that surrounds them and interpenetrates them. Think of this inner silence in the mind as being like sky, with the discursive voices being like clouds. Relax into the sky-like silence and clarity of your inner being.

© Toby Ouvry 2018, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

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

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Starts Tuesday & Wednesday March 6-7 th – Inner Peace, Inner Power – An Introduction to Integral & Engaged Meditation Practice

Saturday March 17th – Mindful Resilience – Sustaining effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure through meditation and mindfulness – A half day workshop

March 20&21st – Spring Equinox Balancing & renewing Meditation


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Plan More, Worry Less (Plus new Integral Meditation Course starts March 7th!)

Dear Integral Meditators,

Is it possible to make worry work for you, rather than against you, and if so how? The article below explores this theme, and offers some practical ideas regarding how you can start!

Live in Singapore this week: The Tuesday & Wednesday evening meditation classes will be exploring how to work with worry and anxiety in meditation, and turn it into effective planning and thinking 😉

In the spirit of planning, not worrying,

Toby


Starts Tuesday & Wednesday March 6-7 th – Inner Peace, Inner Power – An Introduction to Integral & Engaged Meditation Practice

  • Would you like to experience consistently greater levels of positivity and resilience?
  • Be able to deal effectively with busyness, distractions and mental overwhelm?
  • Develop greater levels of focus AND calm?
  • Develop your self-knowledge and self-awareness in practical ways that affect your everyday experiences for the better?
  • Spend more of your time in states of mind that are playful and creative?

Click HERE for full details!


Managing your survival instincts; Plan more, worry less

Planning is what you do when you have a challenge and you deliberately contemplate it in order to come up with an effective plan of action. Planning helps resolve the issues that the problem is causing. Effective planning is a necessary part of a successful life, problem management and dealing with stress.
Worrying (as defined in this article) is what you do when there is something that concerns you, and you are not sure how to resolve it. Worrying can be useful if it leads to effective planning. However, as often as not we worry without doing anything effective about the issue.

  • Worrying that lasts a short time and leads to us sitting down and making an effective battle plan regarding how to deal with a problem is useful
  • Worrying that leads to anxiety, inability to see a problem clearly and fear of acting to resolve the issue is undesirable and serves only to give rise to negative stress
  • Quite often we find ourself worrying about things that WE HAVE ALREADY MADE A BATTLE PLAN TO RESOLVE! This is just plain silly. If you have identified a challenge and made an effective battle plan to resolve it, then one of the whole points of making that battle plan is that you now know what you are going to do to try and resolve the situation. So by definition you should stop worrying about it!

If you are worried about something, then sit down and make a battle plan about how to deal with the situation. Having made your battle plan, then simply follow the plan of action that you have made and stop worrying!
If you have made an effective plan to deal with a problem, then there is no need to worry, as there is already a plan in place!
The key practice here is to be more mindful. When you are thinking of a challenge in your life ask yourself the question “Am I worrying about this, or am I planning a way to deal with it?”

  • If you discover you are worrying, then stop worrying and start planning.
  • If you have already made a plan, then you can stop worrying anyway, because you have a plan.

Know the difference between planning and worrying; Plan more worry less!

© Toby Ouvry 2018, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

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

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Starts Tuesday & Wednesday March 6-7 th – Inner Peace, Inner Power – An Introduction to Integral & Engaged Meditation Practice


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Content but never Satisfied

Dear Integral Meditators,

Superficially, it seems like contentment and dis-satisfaction are either/or states of mind, you are either in one or other of them. But what if it were possible to combine the positive expression of  both into a single mindset? The article below explores a mindful method for doing just that!

Live in Singapore this week: The Tuesday & Wednesday evening meditation classes will be on the subject of how to remain content but never satisfied, and this Saturday there is the Meditations for Activating, Healing and Awakening our Ancestral Karma. See you there!

In the spirit of ambitious contentment,

Toby


Content but never satisfied  (Or how to combine being happy with where you are, whilst remaining motivated and keeping your edge).

We often feel content when we experience appreciation for something:

  • If you appreciate a beautiful sunset, you are content to simply sit and be with it.
  • If you appreciate the qualities that your romantic partner brings to your relationship, you will be content to be with them, and enjoy your time together.
  • If you appreciate living in a country with a high basic standard of living, you will be content with the good things you experience, even if you are not the wealthiest person there.
  • If you appreciate how much small acts of kindness affect people for the better, you will be content to continue doing them even though it is not going to solve problems on a global scale.

There is ALWAYS something in your life to appreciate and feel grateful for. So, there is never a time when you cannot, at least in part feel in touch with your own sense of contentment.

Dis-satisfied is what you feel when:

  • You look at the quality of your work and realize that you could have done it better.
  • It is when you think about the way in which you deal with negative emotions and know that you need to do improve your emotional intelligence.
  • It is when you analyze what you say each day and see that you are hardly ever really expressing yourself authentically and genuinely.
  • It is when you look at inequality in society and realize that you have to do something more to create more equality.

POSITIVE dissatisfaction is what you get in touch with at the beginning of each year when you write your list of “things that I want and need to achieve over the next twelve months”. There is NEVER a time when you cannot find something to feel dissatisfied about. The question is have you learned yet to use your dis-satisfaction in a positive and creative way to get stuff done in your life? To become an achiever of the good, the difficult and the unusual?
Superficially contentment and dis-satisfaction seem to be opposites, but if you can learn to work mindfully with the positive side of them both at the same time!

A simple method to start practicing being content but never satisfied in your life:

1) Daily focus on contentment: Toward the end of your day, for example when coming back from work, take a little time to focus on things you can appreciate about the events of the day. This could be something specific that has happened in that particular day, or it could be something more general. For example, as I am sitting at my computer now, I am remembering a program I saw on the TV last night comparing the life of those who live in Batam Island Indonesia with those who live in Singapore. There is a HUGE wealth and standard of living gap which makes me immediately feel grateful and appreciative that I live in Singapore. This helps me immediately connect to the contentment side of things.

2) Daily focus on dis-satisfaction: Each day at the beginning of the day, select your top 2, maximum 3 goals for the day. These are the things that you really want to get done in your day. As you write them down or think of them, allow yourself to get focused and motivated to GET THESE THINGS DONE without getting distracted or forgetful of what your mission for the day is. You are not going to be satisfied until you get these things done.

3) Holding the tension between your dis-satisfaction and contentment: As you go about your day, practice holding onto your motivation and dis-satisfaction without losing your sense of contentment and appreciation. When you focus on contentment, taking a bit of time to “smell the flowers and feel the Earth under your feet”, do so without losing sight of your achievement goals, so that when the time comes you are ready and willing to get back into active, achievement-oriented mode.

© Toby Ouvry 2018, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

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

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Saturday 24th February, 1.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Activating, Healing and Awakening our Ancestral Karma


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share

Earth Dog Days (& CNY live & online meditation)

Dear Integral Meditators,

How can you use meditation to enrich your imagination in a way that has a positive, practical impact your life? The article below explores how…
Beneath the article you will see the details of next weeks Chinese New Year meditation. You can do it live or online, all welcome!

In the spirit of our wild imaginations,

Toby


Earth Dog Days 

Journeying in the imaginal world
There is a whole dimension of meditation that involves working with the imaginal realm. The imaginal realm can be thought of as the intersection of three domains or our experience:

  1. The images language of our own personal imagination and creativity
  2. The collective dream worlds that we inhabit, contribute to and travel to during sleep, and also when we daydream
  3. Deeper dimensions of consciousness that communicate to us through the language of images and intuition

In the simplest terms the imaginal world is a place that we all visit when we temporarily bypass our linear, rational mind, and enter a free-associative state. In meditation we can learn to explore the imaginal realm consciously by setting an intention and direction for our mind, and then following the images and narrative that follows on from this intention.
Here is a simple ‘bare bones’ example of how this can be done, using the theme of the upcoming Chinese New Year of the Dog.

A short Chinese New Year Journeying Meditation
Stage 1, setting your intention:  You begin by set your direction through intention. This creates the basic ‘path’ that your mind can then ‘journey along’ in the meditation. In this case you set your intention to connect to your deeper values using the medium of the dog as companion (it is the CNY of the dog), and the earth element (which is the dominant element this year). Focus upon this intention clearly for a short while.
Stage 2, meeting and journeying: Imagine you are in a landscape or interior space. Let your mind build a picture of the place according to your intuition. Around you in this place there are five doors, each of which is marked by one of the five Chinese elements of fire, earth, metal, water, wood. Identify and picture the earth element door clearly.
Now, from somewhere in the landscape around you, a dog (or dogs) will come to you. S/he will be your guide in this journey. Take a moment to connect to each other. When you are ready, your companion will take you on a journey to the world behind the ‘earth element door’ that you have identified. This journey will lead you to experiences that connect you in a meaningful way to your deeper values.
Stage 3, Returning: Once you have completed your journey, return through the earth door to your original starting position. Bid goodbye to your dog guide, and return back to your awareness of the outer world.

My Own Journey
In my own work with this simple journeying exercise, I am met by an African hunting dog. He takes me through the earth element door to the African Savannah, where I meet his family and experience their life as a pack. They show me the values of working as a team to hunt, mutual respect and affection, and the ability to endure hardships with stamina and patience. When I return from the meditation I think about how I can apply these values of teamwork, respect & affection as well as stamina and patience. I work on integrating them into my family and work life, working as a team, being patient, expressing respect. In this way I discover and explore these values in a deeper way, and allow them to enrich my life.

This week you might like to take your own ‘Earth Dog’ meditation, and see where your imaginal journey takes you!

© Toby Ouvry 2018, 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


Lunar new year meditation 2018: Drawing Strength from your Deeper Values in the year of the Earth Dog

This is a one-hour meditation session that can be participated live at the times & dates below, or as a recording online. If you are participating online, then the link to the recording will be sent to you on the morning of Thursday February  15th 

Time, date location: There are two chances to engage in this meditation class:

Tuesday 13th February, 7.30-8.30pm at ONE Heart, 37 Tambeling Road
Singapore 423580 (Click HERE for map) &
Wednesday 14th February, 7.30-8.30pm at Basic Essence, 501 Bukit Timah Road #04-04 Cluny Court Singapore 259760 (Click HERE for map)

Cost: Sing$20 per class

About the class: This is a chance to welcome in the lunar new year energies of the dog, which will include meditation for attuning to the energies of the lunar cycle & different levels of ‘dog energy’(!) In particular, we will be mindfully aligning with and developing loyalty to our own deeper values. By aligning ourselves with them we will then be looking for signs and inspirations regarding how we can move into a deeper level of leadership in our life. Leadership here means both leading ourself along our own path, as well as being a benevolent leader of others when appropriate.
Toby will be leading the meditation as a simple and profound way, with plenty of room for our own personal contemplation, inner healing and positivity building!

Suitable for: Both beginners & more advanced practitioners of meditation & mindfulness. All are welcome!

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

CLICK HERE TO MAKE PAYMENT FOR THE CLASS VIA PAYPAL!


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

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

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Wednesday 13/14 February 7.30-8.30pm – Lunar new year meditation 2018: Drawing Strength from your Deeper Values in the year of the Earth Dog

Saturday 24th February, 1.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Activating, Healing and Awakening our Ancestral Karma


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Share