Wrestling with your Dark Angels

Dear Integral Meditators,

What happens when your meditation practice becomes difficult or challenging due to your life circumstances, and how can you keep going? The article below explores this using the image of our having ‘Dark Angels’. Enjoy!

For those in Singapore, a final reminder for the Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat this Saturday January 13th, 2-5pm.

In the spirit of the journey,

Toby


Wrestling with your Dark Angels

When our life is pleasant, and our emotions are stable it can be easy and enjoyable to sustain a meditation practice. We experience for ourselves how it increases our peace of mind and pleasure. We enjoy the effects of greater focus in our work. We notice our body feeling lighter and more healthy.
For a lot of people however, when our life takes a turn for the worse, the temptation can be to stop meditating. This is because when we sit down to meditate, our difficult emotions confront us and we want to escape from them. Siting meditating becomes a place where, rather than feeling peaceful and blessed, we feel as if we are wrestling with a dark force within us that we would rather run from and forget about.
However, it is precisely at this stage, when we are “wrestling with our dark angels” that it can be most useful to keep meditating and keep on engaging with our challenging mind states. It is by being persistent in this way that we often have real insights into the deeper meaning of what we are going through, and the opportunity that it is offering us.

Wrestling to become stronger
At times like these it can be useful to change your expectations of your meditation practice. When you sit down, don’t expect greater peace of mind to come to you as you sit. Instead, expect to wrestle with what is in your mind, and for that to be the point of your practice. Understand that by wrestling with it you are developing new strength, skills and stamina that you would not be able to develop of your ‘dark angels’ were not arising and inviting you to wrestle with them.

Some examples:
Since the new year I have had certain additional financial responsibilities to take on, so I need to further develop my sources of income. This has become a dark angel for me. I experience the thoughts and feelings coming from these demands, I wrestle with the uncertainty, the insecurity, the fears. As I do so in a mindful way, I notice myself learning, becoming stronger, becoming more confident. I couldn’t grow in this way without this dark angel of mine.
Another example of a dark angel for me has been my desire for certainty and control in my relationships; Part of me want my partner and our daughters to be safe always, I want our futures to be fixed, guaranteed. Sometimes when my mind reflects upon this desire, all the uncertainties that we face, all the possible challenges, all the things that might go wrong rise up. I have to wrestle with these ‘dark angels’, I have to let them train me to be stronger, more compassionate, to change my idea of what I can take, and what I am capable of.
I’m calling these types of obstacles dark angels because, although they are ‘dark’, if we let them, they become our angels. They bless us by training us to develop qualities and strengths that, without them we could not develop. They are inviting us to become bigger and better versions of ourselves.
What are the dark angels in your life right now that you might like to start sitting down and wrestling with?

© 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 2nd & Wednesday 3rd January – 2018 New year releasing and inviting meditation

Saturday January 13th, 2-5pm – Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat

Saturday January 20th – 9.30am-1pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self 


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Leaping like a Tiger (Mindful of your Self-Concept)

Dear Integral Meditators,

Is your idea of who you are helping you or hindering you in your life? The article below explores this question, and how you can start to apply it to your own expediences in a practical way!

Quick reminder of the special offer on the 1:1 Mindfulness Coaching service; 10% off for any set of 3x 60minute sessions booked in January.

In the spirit of leaping,

Toby


Leaping like a Tiger (Mindful of your Self-Concept)

Your idea of who you are
Your self-concept is your idea of who you are. It is an image that you hold in your head, often unconsciously, about the type of person you are, what you are capable of , what you can and can’t do. It has been formed by your upbringing and principle role models, your parents, teachers and so forth. It is also formed by your experiences, the choices you have made, by how often you have experimented by pushing yourself beyond your perceived limitations.

Are you a Tiger or a Jackal?
When I first started meditating, I once asked my main teacher, who was a Buddhist Monk why he became a monk, as opposed to trying to attain enlightenment as a lay teacher, staying in relationships, having a family and so on. He replied with a quote from the 13th Century Tibetan Yogi Milarepa, saying “If a jackal tries to jump where a tiger leaps, he will only break his neck”. His meaning was that he recognized his limitations. A monk’s life was a simple affair relative to a working family life, therefore easier to maintain a meditation practice than if one is a layman/woman. He, as the ‘jackal’ should recognize his limits, and go for the ‘safer option’ of being a monk.
In the years to come I duly became a monk in order to develop my meditation practice, living a life of relative ‘limitation’. After five years I reached a point where I decided to leave the monastic life, and go back to the life of a working layman, engaging in relationships and having a family. During that time I had to confront my fears that I would not be ‘big’ or capable enough to sustain my inner development amidst all the challenges and distractions. Part of me still believed that I was the jackal, and on course to break my neck as I lept. During this time I really recognized the importance of identifying with the ‘Tiger’ in me. In order to meet and transform my challenges I had to be bigger, bolder, faster, more confident than my old self-concept allowed. I had to believe that I could leap with confidence and not break my neck. For example:

  • I had to believe that I could become a successful business man and entrepreneur despite being an ex-monk and before that an artist (not exactly and MBA graduate)
  • I had to know that I was capable of engaging in the emotional complexity of relationships and child-rearing and turning it into a path of inner growth and enlightenment
  • I had to believe that I could make a good living and meet my middle-aged financial responsibilities solely from activities relating to my passions and interests
  • I had to fully own and occupy my space as a meditation teacher without the outer ‘authority’ and endorsement of being a monk and/or part of a recognized organization.

In short, I had to believe in my potential, recognize my capability, be the tiger, and leap! Again, and again and again…

There are certainly times when it may be advisable to be the jackal; to recognize that you should not try something that you are really not ready for and that can even be dangerous. However, too often we identify ourselves as the jackal in situations where our potential is actually the tiger. Our self-concept artificially limits our potential.

What are the situations in your life where you should really be leaping, not holding back?

© 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 2nd & Wednesday 3rd January – 2018 New year releasing and inviting meditation

Saturday January 13th, 2-5pm – Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat

Saturday January 20th – 9.30am-1pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self 


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Mindful Gentleness & Kindness – Three Reflections

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article explores gentleness as a theme. In particular ways in which I have been using mindfulness creatively to explore and integrate gentleness into my real-time experience.

Wishing you all the very best for the upcoming new year celebrations, for those in Singapore, you can catch the 2018 New year releasing and inviting meditation live on the 2nd or 3rd January. Those not in Singapore, it is available as  a recording if you wish to participate!

Yours in the strength of gentleness,

Toby


Mindful Gentleness & Kindness – Three Reflections

As I continue to practice integral mindfulness, I really enjoy looking for ways in which I can use it to play with my circumstances in a creative way. Here are three current examples around gentleness and kindness. You can adapt any of them to your own circumstances if you like!

Gentle with jet-lag
I’ve just returned to Singapore after a Christmas trip to the UK. This morning I woke up because of the jet-lag at around 5am. Likely I have a few more days of this happening, so I wanted to think of something to do with this early morning time. As I was lying down thinking what it might be, I remembered the words of a message a friend sent to me yesterday: “Fly safe. land gently. See you next time round”. I then thought ‘well, if I’m going to be awake, at least I can “land gently” by mindfully extending kindness and gentleness to myself as I lie here’. So, I spent my time breathing and extending kindness to my body, encouraging the muscles to become gentle and release tension. I extended kindness to my mind as the thoughts about the upcoming days and months came and went; I made my inner environment gentle. I then started naturally extending kindness and good wishes to everyone who came up in my mind, my daughter, my partner, our family members, whoever came up. After a while I started playing around with other qualities; extending bravery to them, saying how loved they are, saying how much I believed in them, how this year is going to be great for them…I was just playing around, being spontaneous at this point. When the alarm went at 7am, I got up feeling dis-oriented but quite well rested and feeling good. This was due to a large degree I think to being deliberate about keeping the ‘land gently’ theme mindfully front and centre as I lay awake.

My daughter’s mindful thanks
In the departure lounge at Heathrow, my daughter started saying thankyou to me for all the things that she enjoyed and appreciated about me and my actions over the holiday; “Thanks for the shoes you gave me for Christmas, thankyou for helping me pack my bags…” and so on. Of course I found this very endearing and was touched. But I also noticed that as she did it, her energy became gentler. She really seemed to take pleasure in the words. The more she did it, the more gentle confidence she seemed to have about herself. I started thinking of things that I could thank her for regarding our trip. It made the time we spent traveling home together full of mindful gentle affection and appreciation, despite the discomfort of the long hours sitting in aeroplane chairs!

The dance of justice and gentleness
On the flight home I re-watched a Judge Dredd movie. Judge Dredd is a comic book character I followed at school, essentially a no-nonsense dispenser of justice in a future post-nuclear city. As I traveled with my daughter reflecting on thanks, and then as I lay in bed practising mindful gentleness, I placed next to the gentleness the energy and theme of justice (as an image of Judge Dredd). As I relaxed with kindness and gentleness, I placed its complementary opposite, justice, next to it. I played around with how gentle-justice might feel, and how expressing discipline and justice can be done with kindness motivating it. In my opinion, this type of mindful blending of complementary opposites is a really important practice, as it strengthens both qualities. In this case gentleness and justice become not ‘either/or’, but ‘both/and’, which is a fundamental principle of engaged and integral mindfulness.

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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 2nd & Wednesday 3rd January – 2018 New year releasing and inviting meditation

Saturday January 13th, 2-5pm – Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat

Saturday January 20th – 9.30am-1pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self 


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Light reborn from darkness (& Online Winter Solstice meditation 20/21 Dec)

Dear Integral Meditators,

I hope you are enjoying the run up toward Christmas! In the article below I share a meditation practice that I use quite a lot at this time of year s a way of aligning myself with the seasonal energies, I hope you enjoy it!

Beneath the article there are the details of an ‘Online Winter Solstice Meditation‘ that I am doing on the 21st December. wherever you are in the world you are most welcome to participate! Scroll down for the full details.

In  the spirit of the solstice & the festive season,

Toby


Light reborn from darkness

One of the meditations that I use quite a lot over the Winter solstice period is something I call ‘Resting in regenerative darkness’. It’s a very cozy, ergonomic meditation form that also aligns well with the greater darkness of the season. Its use however does not have to be limited to this time of year.
To do this you can either literally place yourself in a dark or dimly lit room, or simply use your imagination. If you wish you can also have an unlit candle in front of you, ready for the second stage of the meditation, although this can be imagined if you don’t have one at hand.
Sitting or lying comfortably, take a few breaths where, as you breathe out you imagine you are moving into a sleepy, restful, dark state. You might feel you are sinking gently into the darkness of night, or the darkness of deep space. You could imagine yourself sinking into the dark soil of a forest, or sitting in cave or cavern beneath the earth. Feel your conscious mind switching almost completely off. Feel your body moving into to a deeply restful, regenerative state, surrounded by darkness. Let your mind become blank, almost like it is in hibernation. Feel like a soul that has died and is waiting quietly to be reborn.
Breathe and relax into the darkness.

The light reborn. 
After you have spent a while resting in the darkness, imagine a single light appears, like a single candle flame. If you have an actual candle flame in front of you, you can light it at this stage. Focus on the light. You might see it in the centre of your heart space –  a new light re-born from the darkness. This new light is the light of new life within you, the renewal of your spiritual being and creative potential in the world. For now, it is just a single light in the darkness; calm, bright and able to grow gently into its own power. Spend some time breathing as you focus on the light; inhale as you focus upon it, as you exhale relax into it; become the light in the darkness. Let yourself feel like a bright soul that has been re-born anew and playful in the darkness.
Finish when you are ready.

I invite you to enjoy this technique over the festive & new year season, if you want to explore it along with other seasonal meditation themes, do have a look at the winter solstice meditation below!

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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


Winter solstice balancing & renewing meditation 

This is a one hour online meditation session, the link to listen to and/or download it will be sent to participants on the 20th December. It can be listened to on the 21st/22nd, or at the time of your convenience. 

About the class: The Winter Solstice is deepest point of Winter in the northern hemisphere, the point of maximum outer darkness & the shortest day.
In Celtic the name of the winter solstice in ‘Alban Arthan’ of ‘The Light of Arthur’. In this case Arthur refers to the Sun God who, at this time of maximum darkness in the year dies and is reborn in the world of nature and within ourselves. The founding fathers of the Christian church placed the birthday celebration of the Christ at this time of year, as it fits in perfectly with the ancient tradition of ‘the light of the World’ being born anew at this time.
This will be a chance to reflect on the spiritual meaning of Christmas and power of the winter season. We will look at the different ways our own inner light can ‘die and be re-born once more’.
It is a good time to attune to the creative energies within ourselves. We can think about the new year & spring periods that lie ahead of us, what our goals & expectations are, & sow the seeds on an inner level of that which we wish to manifest over the next few months.
In the meditation we will be journeying through the ‘Gateway of the Winter’ in order to connect to our inner-world guides, healers and protectors, receiving their wisdom, companionship & support, both now and for the next part of the year.

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

Cost: Sing$20 per participant

Click HERE to make payment for the Winter Solstice meditation

For further enquiries: Email info@tobyouvry.com, or sms 65-96750279

About the teacher, Toby Ouvry
Toby is a mindfulness teacher and trainer, and the author of the book ‘Engaged Mindfulness – What mindfulness is and how we can apply it to our daily lives’. He has a BA Hons degree in Fine Art from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Subsequent to his degree, Toby spent ten years doing his foundational training in meditation and mindfulness, specializing in the Tibetan Tradition which included five years as an ordained Buddhist monk….click HERE for full details of Toby


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)

Thursday 21st December – Winter Solstice Balancing & Renewing Meditation

Tuesday 2nd & Wednesday 3rd January – 2018 New year releasing and inviting meditation

Saturday January 20th – 9.30am-1pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self 


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Two Meditation Gateways (& Online Winter Solstice meditation)

Dear Toby,

As we head gradually toward the end of the year I’m sharing an article I wrote about twelve months ago  on ‘Two meditation gateways’. These two gateways are nice places to  sit with at this slightly more reflective time of year.

Beneath the article there are the details of an ‘Online Winter Solstice Meditation‘ that I am doing on the 21st December. wherever you are in the world you are most welcome to participate! Scroll down for the full details.

For those in Singapore, last call for the Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat on the 16th December!

In  the spirit of balance & renewal,

Toby


Two Meditation Gateways

These are two gateways that I have been using on my own meditation practice recently, they are very simple, relaxing, and offer a place where we can go at anytime in order to develop our experiential wisdom. They are essentially ‘threshold’ spaces between different worlds that we inhabit, enabling us to compare and contrast these worlds, and see how they can support and enhance each other in our lives.

The breathing as the gateway between your inner and outer worlds
The first gateway is your breathing. If you come back to the rhythm of your breathing, perhaps as you find it in your nostrils, you can see that it sits between the outer world that surrounds you, and your inner world. When I say our inner world, I mean the literal, interior, somatic experience of your own body, but also the interior world of your thinking /feeling self, or psychic/psychological self. As you breathe out, feel your awareness going forward into the outer world as perceived by your senses. As you breathe in allow your attention to flow toward your inner world; the feelings in your body, the images and thoughts flowing through your mind. Sit at the gateway between your inner and outer world and rest. Become aware of how your interior experiences relate to and interact with your outer world.

The inner gateway between the mind and awareness
A more subtle ‘second gate’ is the one that lies between the inner world of your mind, and the formless, timeless world of awareness itself. If you imagine within you there is a gateway, perhaps within your heart space. If you ‘sit’ within that gateway and look outward, you can see and experience the world of your thinking, conceiving, imagining and remembering mind. If you look inward through the gateway, you stare into the immeasurably vast space of formless timeless awareness that lies beyond your thinking mind. You are sitting in the gateway or threshold space between the world of your thoughts, and the world of your consciousness, or spirit.

Further building your inner gateway, and the self that sits within it
If you like you can further build your experience of this second, inner gateway by giving it beautiful architectural features, perhaps some steps leading up to it, some climbing plants around it, whatever feels right. You might also like to visualize a ‘deeper-self’ or ‘soul-self’, with a body made of light. We can build and visualize this self as something separate from us initially, but then enter into that body and experience ourself as that deeper self, sitting at the threshold between our mind and that which lies beyond our mind…
You might enjoy spending a little time in meditation this week identifying and sitting in these two threshold or gateway spaces, relaxing, regenerating and reflecting as we move toward the end of 2016 and toward the beginning of the new year!

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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


Winter solstice balancing & renewing meditation 

This is a one hour online meditation session, the link to listen to and/or download it will be sent to participants on the 20th December. It can be listened to on the 21st/22nd, or at the time of your convenience. 

About the class: The Winter Solstice is deepest point of Winter in the northern hemisphere, the point of maximum outer darkness & the shortest day.
In Celtic the name of the winter solstice in ‘Alban Arthan’ of ‘The Light of Arthur’. In this case Arthur refers to the Sun God who, at this time of maximum darkness in the year dies and is reborn in the world of nature and within ourselves. The founding fathers of the Christian church placed the birthday celebration of the Christ at this time of year, as it fits in perfectly with the ancient tradition of ‘the light of the World’ being born anew at this time.
This will be a chance to reflect on the spiritual meaning of Christmas and power of the winter season. We will look at the different ways our own inner light can ‘die and be re-born once more’.
It is a good time to attune to the creative energies within ourselves. We can think about the new year & spring periods that lie ahead of us, what our goals & expectations are, & sow the seeds on an inner level of that which we wish to manifest over the next few months.
In the meditation we will be journeying through the ‘Gateway of the Winter’ in order to connect to our inner-world guides, healers and protectors, receiving their wisdom, companionship & support, both now and for the next part of the year.

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

Cost: Sing$20 per participant

Click HERE to make payment for the Winter Solstice meditation

For further enquiries: Email info@tobyouvry.com, or sms 65-96750279

About the teacher, Toby Ouvry
Toby is a mindfulness teacher and trainer, and the author of the book ‘Engaged Mindfulness – What mindfulness is and how we can apply it to our daily lives’. He has a BA Hons degree in Fine Art from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Subsequent to his degree, Toby spent ten years doing his foundational training in meditation and mindfulness, specializing in the Tibetan Tradition which included five years as an ordained Buddhist monk….click HERE for full details of Toby


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)

Beginning 14th&15th November – Mastering your mind & thoughts through mindfulness – A five-week course

Saturday December 16th, 9.30am-12.30pm & 2-5pm –  Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat

Thursday 21st December – Winter Solstice Balancing & Renewing Meditation

Saturday January 20th – 9.30am-1pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self 


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Breathing from your belly, ducking under your thoughts

Dear Integral Meditators,

Effective meditation can often be based around a simple technique. In the article below I describe one practice that has delivered enduring value for me over the days, months and years. Enjoy trying it out!

For those in Singapore, a heads up for the Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat on the 16th December!

In  the spirit of breathing from your center,

Toby


 

Breathing from your belly, ducking under your thoughts

The meditation I describe below is one I originally picked up from the Qi Gong tradition. You can find variations of in Buddhism and Zen. It involves focusing attention on and breathing from your belly area, (or lower ‘dan tien’/’energy field’ as they call it in Qi gong). This meditation form is particularly useful as:

  • A way of “ducking under” excessive mental or emotional turbulence in our mind, as, physiologically speaking the energy centres that hold our ‘thinking’ energy are above the solar plexus, in the heart and head
  • A way of relaxing our nervous system
  • Creating a regenerative space where the energy of our body-mind can gradually come back into balance and equilibrium

Fifteen minutes or so if this meditation a day is a really good practise for calming yourself in a way that feels very grounded, solid and stable. One might almost say it is a very “physicalizing” meditation! So here it is:

Stage 1 – Bringing your attention down to your belly: Sitting with a comfortably straight back, either cross legged or on a chair (lying down is also ok!), sink your centre of gravity down in your body, from the chest area to the belly. Breathing naturally, place attention upon the rising and falling of your belly as you breathe. Focusing specifically on the abdomen 1-2inches beneath the belly button is ideal. If initially you have trouble sensing the movement, place your hands over your belly, so that you can feel the rising and falling of your belly beneath your palms.

Stage 2 – Locating the lower dan-tien in the belly: Now, go inside your belly. See a soft, luminous ball of light in the center of your lower belly area, about the size of a golf ball. It is at the level 1-2 inches beneath your belly button, but in the center of your abdomen. If you don’t ‘see’ it clearly, try and simply ‘feel’ the ball. Not everyone is visually oriented, and that’s fine. For a few minutes, as you breathe in focus your attention on the ball in your lower belly. See the ball expanding to about the size of a large grapefruit as you inhale, as you exhale see it shrinking back to the size of a golf ball. Do this for a few minutes.

Stage 3 – Relaxing and focusing awareness in the belly: Having found the location of the energy ball in your belly, the rest of the meditation is spent simply relaxing and trying to gently focus your attention and awareness in this part of your body, and letting go of excess conceptual thoughts and mental activity.
If you like you can change the visualization slightly, as an alternative to the expanding and contracting explained in stage 2: Feel light and energy flowing into the belly area and ball of light as you breathe in, and then flowing out of the ball to the surface of your body as you breathe out.
When you feel as if your mind and body have settled down, the main emphasis should simply to enjoy the state of non-conceptuality and relaxation that arise from focusing your awareness in the lower belly area. Allow your mind and body to find regeneration and healing within this deep, calm space.

Enjoy your belly breathing!

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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)

Beginning 14th&15th November – Mastering your mind & thoughts through mindfulness – A five-week course

Saturday December 16th, 2-5pm –  Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Solve no problem (& leave no problem unsolved)

Dear Integral Meditators,

How can you reduce your stress and anxiety at the same time as becoming more effective at solving your problems? The article below explores a practical mindful perspective on this…

For those in Singapore, a final reminder of this Saturday morning’s workshop– The Six Qi Gong Healing sounds: Qi gong For Self-Healing and Inner Balance as well as a heads up for the Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat on the 16th December!

In the spirit of treading lightly & purposefully,

Toby


Solve no problem (& leave no problem unsolved)

‘These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.’ ~ Najwa Zebian

This article explores two complementary mindful positions:

  • Firstly, how to let go of your over anxious, problem-solving mind periodically
  • Secondly, the necessity of mindfully taking responsibility for finding solutions to problems that are indeed yours to solve

Position 1: Solving no problem
The challenge: Most of us are compulsive thinkers, and we find it difficult to leave our problems and challenges alone. Instead we spend much of our time carrying our problems around like a burden. Let’s say I have a problem with a colleague at work. All I can think about is how my relationship with them is ‘not right’ and what I should do to ‘fix’ the problem, or show them what they need to do to ‘fix’ themselves and their attitude(!) Even when I am not with them I am thinking about the problems we have. It becomes a burden that I cannot put down. You can think of many other examples of this from your own life I am sure!
The practice: So, the practice with ‘solving no problem’ is to sit mindfully and simply put down all your problems and worries; learn to leave them alone! You simply sit and practice non-striving, and non-fixing. When a problem or challenge comes into your mind, you notice it but resist trying to fix it or find a solution to it. You give yourself and your mind a break from all problem-solving activities, just relax!

Position 2: Leave no problem unsolved
The challenge: Many of the very real problems that we face we avoid thinking about. This is because the very thought of these challenges makes us anxious and nervous, so when they come up we either push them away/repress them, or feel various levels of emotional panic. This panic further prevents clear thinking and effective problem solving. Let’s say I feel uncomfortable about an emotional issue with my partner. Whenever I feel the emotion coming up I feel mild panic and confusion, so I immediately shove it too the back of my mind, out of the way so I don’t have to dwell on it. However, since the problem is to do with my partner and I, at some point I have to say to myself ‘How am I going to take on and solve this problem?’ This question initiates self-responsibility, the act of choosing to take care of what is yours to take care of and resolve.
The practice: Ask yourself the question, ‘What are the most important challenges I face right now, that it is my responsibility to try and resolve?’ Let your mind follow the direction that the question points it in. From this identify one challenge that you want to focus on bringing your full attention to finding a solution to. Focus on thinking about that one thing for say five minutes. Maybe have a pen and paper at hand to write any useful conclusions down.

The result: The idea here is to develop the capacity to both:

  1. Put problems down for a while, giving yourself a mental break and tread lightly
  2. When appropriate really, focus your intelligence in on solving your problems effectively.

You are able to integrate non-solving and definite solving into a complementary, mutually enhancing pair of mindfulness practices!

Related article: Three levels of non-striving

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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)

Beginning 14th&15th November – Mastering your mind & thoughts through mindfulness – A five-week course

Saturday December 2nd, 9.30am-12.30pm – The Six Qi Gong Healing sounds: Qi gong For Self-Healing and Inner Balance Workshop

Saturday December 16th, 9.30am-12.30pm & 2-5pm –  Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Caring too much?

Dear Integral Meditators,

If you think about mindfulness and meditation practice, you might think of it as a way of becoming more caring and more loving. However, our mindfulness may sometimes tell us that we need to care less. How does this work? The article below considers this question.

Those in Singapore a quick reminder of this Saturdays Mini ME Retreat Mindful Eating Retreat  that I will be doing with Tiffany Wee & Elaine Yang, & the workshop I will be doing on  Saturday December 2nd, 9.30am-12.30pm – The Six Qi Gong Healing sounds: Qi gong For Self-Healing and Inner Balance Workshop

In the spirit of balanced caring,
Toby


Caring too much?

If you think about mindfulness and meditation practice, you might think of it as a way of becoming more caring and more loving. However, our mindfulness may sometimes tell us that we need to care less. How does this work?
The principle of the middle way indicates that any virtue practiced to an extreme becomes a vice. Too much strength without gentleness can become cruelty. Too much work-ethic without rest becomes burn-out. Similarly, too much caring without the ability to detach and be objective can get in the way of both our happiness and effectiveness. Here are three examples:

1. If I have a deal that is important to my business, and I go into a meeting with the client caring too much about the outcome, the intensity of caring may cause me to speak impulsively and come across nervous to them. This may impact their confidence in me. If on the other hand I can combine my care about the outcome with a little more objectivity and lightness, I will be free to speak and act in a more optimal manner in the meeting.

2. When I spend time with my pre-teenage daughter, sometimes she is a delight; happy and  talking freely and enthusiastically. Other times there seems to be no way whatsoever to get a positive response from her during the entire time. If I care too much about her being happy, then every time she is difficult or miserable, then my over-caring will make it impossible for me to relax. I’ll be wanting to ‘fix’ her mood all the time. I won’t be able to just let her go through her moods in a natural way. If I can dial down the intensity of my caring being a little more objective, then I won’t take her mood so personally. I’ll enjoy it when she is happy, and when she is not, if there is nothing I can do to help, then I will be able to accept her position. I can allow her to go through her process of growing up in the way she needs to, without me ‘getting in the way’!

If in my romantic relationship I care too intensely about ‘fixing’ an issue that me and my partner are having, I may not be able to let the issue go. I may over analyse it, and keep bringing it up in conversation in ways that are detrimental to the relationship. Sometimes it works best to care a little less intensely, relax and give the relationship time and room to breathe.

Note to beware of: The flip side is not caring enough:
In all the above examples it would also be a bad thing

  • To be too flippant going into a business meet. If they think you don’t care, that’s equally likely to bring a bad result
  • If I am not watching my daughter’s mood with enough care, I may fail to see when an intervention is really the best thing to do
  • Sometimes it really is the best thing to do to bring up a difficult topic with our partner, and work through it even though it is confronting.

It is all about balance, and finding the level of intensity of care that is optimal to the circumstances. Another way of saying this is that too much caring becomes attachment, and attachment brings bad results.

Mindfulness practice – Dialing the intensity your care along a scale
To develop mindfulness around caring, in any given situation ask yourself ‘What is the optimal intensity of care that I need to bring here?’ Observe whether your care is too much and getting in the way, or not enough. Gently de-intensify or intensify the level of your care so that it is ‘right’ for the circumstance. Then proceed to do what you need to do, or not-do accordingly.

Related articles:
Transforming Our Attachment into Care
For Every Suffering a Joy (Cultivating Positive Non-Attachment)
Engaged Equanimity
Is calmer always better?

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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)

Beginning 14th&15th November – Mastering your mind & thoughts through mindfulness – A five-week course

Saturday November 25th 10am-4pm – Mini ME Retreat #2 : Mindful Eating + Reiki Sound Bath with Tiffany Wee & Elaine Yang

Saturday December 2nd, 9.30am-12.30pm – The Six Qi Gong Healing sounds: Qi gong For Self-Healing and Inner Balance Workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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


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When receiving is giving and giving is receiving

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would happen if you brought your mindful attention to the way in which you currently give & receive? The article below offers a practical way of exploring this. It also suggests a way of deriving sustainable happiness & pleasure from both receiving & giving.

Toby


When receiving is giving and giving is receiving

When we give to receive:
Quite often the reason we give to others or act to benefit them is because it makes us feel good or better about ourselves. If there is something that we feel is broken inside us we can almost look to our acts of generosity as a way of gaining some form of redemption. The fact that we are consciously or unconsciously looking to gain something from our act of giving in this way does not invalidate the act, but it makes us aware of two things:

  • Acts of giving can be as much acts of the ego as any other type of action in our life.
  • Acts of giving are also acts of receiving; by giving to another we receive certain healthy feelings as a “payback”. For example we may feel good about ourselves and/or taking our mind away from the difficulties in our life.

On giving when we receive:
If you are the sort of person who finds it easy to give in the above way, you may also find yourself not allowing others to give to you. Your way of gaining the love and acceptance of others is through giving, so when others act to give to you, there may be a certain resistance to “receiving” their act of giving.  For example, you may feel uncomfortable to be the receiver of, let’s say kindness, consideration or pleasure, rather than the giver of it.
You know how much joy you can feel when you give to others. So, if you think about it, one of the greatest acts of giving that you can provide for others is by learning to receive their acts of kindness and giving toward you with grace and acceptance. By receiving the generosity of others in this way we set up a sustainable cycle of giving and receiving love in our life. This provides a sustainable source of happiness for both ourselves and for others.

A suggested practicum:
For the next week try and do one act of receiving, and one act of giving each day.

  • When you practice receiving, do it gracefully, recognizing that your very act of receiving in this way is an act of giving to the other person.
  • When you practice giving, recognize that this is an act where you benefit as much as the receiver. Extend appreciation for the service that the other person is providing you as the recipient. Also, welcome and enjoy the good feelings that arise in you from your own act of giving, have fun!

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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)

Beginning 14th&15th November – Mastering your mind & thoughts through mindfulness – A five-week course

Saturday November 25th 10am-4pm – Mini ME Retreat #2 : Mindful Eating + Reiki Sound Bath with Tiffany Wee & Elaine Yang


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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The Gifts & wounds of Our Ancestors

Dear Integral Meditators,

Happy Samhain & All Hallows eve (aka Haloween) everyone! Its a great time to sit down & do a bit of reflection on our genertic & spiritual ancestors. The article below offers a few pointers for gentle contemplation.
Those in Singapore, if you fancy doing a meditation on the subject then do com along tonight or tomorrow: Tuesday 31st October & Wednesday 1st November, 7.30-8.30pm – Samhain Meditation – Acknowledging the gifts and wounds of our ancestors

In the spirit of the light within the darkness,

Toby


The Gifts and Wounds of Our Ancestors

Living as securely, affluently as we do to today, and having the choices that we have has a lot to do with the efforts of past generations. Specifically to us as individuals, our immediate ancestors, parents, grandparents and great grandparents have a lot to do with the opportunity we have today to lead a happy, fulfilling and creative life today. You could say we are the inheritors of their gifts.

Conversely we are also an inheritor of their wounds, their unresolved inner conflicts, their vulnerabilities, their struggles, their blindspots & their burdens. Quite often the gifts and the blindspots of our ancestors are interrelated. For example:

  • I am aware of the gift of freedom that I was given from my Grandfathers in their fighting, surviving and perhaps killing in the two world wars. I am also aware of the emotional wounds and handicaps that come with such a sacrifice.
  • I am also aware of the gifts of my Grandmothers as women; their sacrifice and their patience. I am also aware of the wounds that they carry from playing this role and the limitations that it placed upon them.

Thematically, many of the issues that we may now be facing in our life are a continuation of the patterns of previous generations. For most people this goes on quite unconsciously, but by bringing mindfulness and reflection to our relationships to our ancestors we can develop the capacity to consciously guide and direct the energy that flows into us from our ancestors, and thus make better use of it.

A mindful reflection on your ancestors
Take the image of an ancestor that you wish to connect with and reflect upon, perhaps from an old photo. Visualize this image in front of you and allow your mind to mindfully free-associate for a while; notice the feelings, images and memories that may come up.
Now ask your ancestor (as if they are actually present) three questions:

  • What are your gifts to me?
  • What are your wounds?
  • What is it that you wish to communicate with me at this time?

Listen for the answers that come back, and dwell for a while in a state of:

  • Appreciation for gifts received
  • Healing and release of wounds inherited
  • Clear understanding of their message from them to you at this time in your life

We are the ancestors of future generations
Another question that we need to ask ourselves regularly is of course; what are the gifts that I wish to pass onto future generations, and what are the wounds they will have to deal with if I remain the way I am currently?

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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)

Beginning 14th&15th November – Mastering your mind & thoughts through mindfulness – A five-week course

Saturday 18th November 9.30am-12.30pm – Finding Freedom From What Holds You Back in Life: Practical Meditations And Techniques For Working With your Shadow-Self three hour workshop

Saturday 18th November 2-5pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self three hour workshop
Satu
rday November 25th 10am-4pm
 – Mini ME Retreat #2 : Mindful Eating + Reiki Sound Bath with Tiffany Wee & Elaine Yang


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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