Wave Breathing

Dear Integral Meditators ,

The article below explains a simple breathing meditation form that I love as a way of really relaxing your body, mind & heart and entering into a deep contemplative space. You can do it anywhere, I hope you enjoy it! Wishing you, your families and loved ones all the very best for 2016!

Toby & Integral Meditation Asia

 


Wave Breathing

Wave breathing is a form of mindful  breathing (that I originally learned from Qi gong) were the pace and power of the inhalation and exhalation vary like waves.

If you do this as a form of breathing meditation, it can be pleasant and helpful to imagine yourself to be sitting on your favorite beach, with the waves rolling in and flowing out as you breathe.

As you breathe in, imagine your inhalation is like a wave rising up from the ocean gathering in height and power. As you reach the top of the inbreath, the pace of the breath will naturally slow to an almost still point as your lungs reach a comfortable point of fullness.
Now as you exhale imagine, that your out breath is like a wave breaking on the shore. Initially there is a sustained flow of breath, like the flow of a wave up the shoreline. However, as you move toward the end of the exhalation, the pace of the breath naturally starts to slow, like a wave running out of power as it rises up the beach.

After you have gently emptied the lungs with your out breath, begin your inhalation – allowing the pace of the breath to gather – like the water being drawn back into the ocean and rising again as another wave.

In this way you can establish a gentle and relaxing form of breathing that mimics the energetic ebb and flow of waves in the ocean.

Once you have become familiar with the basic flowing feel of wave breathing, you can feel yourself breathing power, energy and qi into your body as you breathe in. Then, as you breathe out, you can practice feeling this power and energy flowing through your body in a relaxed and even manner. By doing this you will be learning how to energize and empower your body and mind, whilst at the same time retaining as sense of relaxation, awareness and ease.

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


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Experiencing the Mind as the Mind

Dear Toby ,

Often meditation and mindfulness work well when you use a short, significant phrase as your object of enquiry. In the article below I share one that I have been enjoying over the holiday season.

Wishing you, your families and loved ones all the very best for the Christmas season!

Toby & Integral Meditation Asia


Experiencing the Mind as the Mind

Often meditation and mindfulness work well when you use a short, significant phrase as your object of enquiry, which can then lead you relatively naturally into progressively deeper states of awareness. Over the Christmas holiday and winter solstice period the phrase I have been focusing upon is ‘Experience the mind as the mind’ (or my mind as my mind). This phrase invites me to connect to the experience of consciousness itself as directly and non-conceptually as possible.
Normally we experience our mind conceptually, dividing into different categories, for example:

  • Positive and negative thinking
  • Conscious and unconscious
  • Practical and daydreaming
  • Mundane and spiritual
  • Busy and peaceful
  • Upset or happy

With the practice of experiencing the mind as the mind I am deliberately setting aside all of these (useful in their own context) conceptual ways of experiencing my mind, and simply trying to experience the mind as a whole, directly in the present moment. At different times during the day different things will be appearing to my mind, which is fine, but I am focused simply to being conscious, and paying attention to what that experience feels like. As a result of this I have found that:

  • Many of the things that my habitual and conceptual mind normally does not see start to become visible
  • I naturally start to move back into the peaceful centre of my world and experience in the present moment
  • I am freed to then think or approach my daily life and challenges with my experiential, problem-solving intelligence operating at a higher level

If you like over the next few days you can take experiencing ‘the mind as the mind’ (or your consciousness as your consciousness) as an object of mindfulness in your own meditation practice, either formally or informally, and allow it to invite you into the space of immediacy and presence that it invites!

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


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia 

JANUARY 2016

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, (Jan 13th, 20th, 27th) 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby
Saturday January 16th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Mindful Flow – Meditation & mindfulness for cultivating a state of optimal flow in your mind, body, heart and life – A three hour workshop
Saturday, January 30th, 2.30-5.30pm  – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – A Three Hour Workshop


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The Inner Sky of the Mind – Distraction, anxiety, mood and the principle of awareness 

 

 Imagine you were to spend a week everyday looking at the sky, just watching and witnessing it. Some days it would be bright and full of light, other days there might be light clouds, sometimes monotonously grey, or aggressively rainy with thunder and lightning. Every time that you looked, the idea would be simply to witness and observe the sky closely, like an artist or a scientist.
In mindfulness and meditation the principle of being aware of our mind and its contents is like this sky watching exercise; we learn to watch the inner sky of our mind using awareness to witness its contents rather than be involved with it.
The act of being aware under pressure
Normally we are not used to witnessing the contents of our consciousness in this way. Particularly under pressure we feel as if we are completely caught up in the contents of our mind; tossed around by our distractions, feeling as if we are our moods, and overtaken by our anxiety. To be mindfully aware means to practice the discipline of awareness even when under pressure, and using the principle of awareness to unify and relax our mind, even when it contains multiple impulses to feel fragmented or un-peaceful. For example:

  • My mind feels distracted and disoriented, but I can reach a feeling of centeredness despite this by being aware
  • I am anxious about the choices I have to make, but I can relax into that anxiety using the act of witnessing and being aware
  • My mood feels disturbing, but I can learn to benevolently tolerate it because I can witness it, just like watching a cloudy sky

Action or non-action subsequent to awareness
What practising the principle of awareness enables us to do is to connect to a state of peace, centeredness and presence within ourself even when we are feeling moody, disturbed or anxious, and to keep making conscious choices about how we are going to respond.

Last week whilst seeing a series of arguments occurring between colleagues, I was feeling disturbed, like I needed to ‘do’ something in order to help them resolve their dispute. Checking with myself however I could see that most of the impulse that I had to act was mainly due to my own discomfort (“I need to fix this for them so that I can feel more comfortable”), and that the best thing that I could do (in my opinion) was to simply be present and let the drama play out for now. Practising the principle of witnessing awareness enabled me to feel comfortable not acting, even though part of me felt emotionally uncomfortable and impulsive.
Practicing the principle of awareness gives us the freedom to act or not to act as our circumstances demand of us, rather than be pushed around by the tension and impulsiveness that we may feel.

This week you might like to practice watching your mind as if you were watching the sky, just for a few minutes each day. By doing so you will be building the principle of witnessing awareness in your mind in such a way that you can start to use it practically when you are really feeling under pressure.

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


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Being the Stone in the River – Ducking Under the Flow of Thoughts

Waterfall - Punch Bowl Falls, Oregon Columbia River GorgeImagine that you are a stone at the bottom of a river. The flow of the water moves over your top surface without disturbing you at all; you are stable, content and still at the bottom of the river.
Build this image in your mind, and then imagine yourself to actually be the stone at the bottom. The water flowing over you is the flow of thoughts, activity and emotion from your mind. It simply flows over you whilst you sit stable, quiet and still.
I periodically use this image as a way of connecting to stillness, both in meditation and when out and about; I find that it is helpful as a way of connecting to the stillness that is already in the mind, and ‘ducking under’ the superficial motion of my everyday inner conversation.

If you are meditating on this image, spend a short while building the image; seeing the stone, hearing the water and so on. Then simply relax into the feeling of being the stone. After a while go back to visualizing the stone at the bottom of the river; try and see the image 5-10% more clearly. Then go back to the feeling of being the stone. You can alternate gently in this way, gradually moving deeper into the still, stable meditation state that the image helps us to build.

PS: Meditation events in Singapore are now finnished for the year, but I will be doing a Mindful Astrology Workshop with my friend Sally whilst in the UK on the 29th December. If there is anyone in the Watford area who might be interested, then just click on the link for more details!

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


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Mindful of: Your Relationship to Giving and Receiving

Dear Integral Meditators,

The article below offers some simple methods for exploring and developing a healthy relationship to giving and receiving through mindfulness.

In the spirit of giving and receiving,

Toby

 


Mindful of: Your Relationship to Giving and Receiving

What is your relationship to the process of giving and receiving? Every day we exchange words, energy and activity with others and our environment  in both healthy and not so healthy ways. How can we use mindfulness to explore how this process is playing out in our life?

Basic awareness practice around giving and receiving
Here is a simple practices you can do to attune yourself to the basic experience of giving and receiving.

  • As you breathe in, feel yourself moving into a state of receptivity and receiving. As you breather out focus on a state of giving. In a literal sense we are taking in and giving out air from and to the atmosphere, but breathing like this also helps us to become aware of the psychological state of giving and receiving that we are alternating between during the day. Do a few rounds of 3-5 breaths like this, with short breaks in between just to explore the experience
  • As a second stage to this exercise, as you breathe in really try and feel yourself receiving energy from the world, and as you breathe out feel yourself giving back to  it. Set up a benevolent cycle of giving and receiving with each breath.

Becoming more mindful of your experience of giving and receiving, and its power
Think of a time when you have received the energy of kindness, care or confidence from someone else. What did it feel like to receive such energy? Was it a powerful experience? Correspondingly think of a time when you gave the energy of confidence, care and kindness to others. What did it feel like to give this? How did the other person/people respond to it? Did you find it easy or difficult?
Now think of a time when you were on the receiving end of difficult energy such as aggression, hatred of confusion from someone. What did it feel like to receive this energy, how did it affect you?
Correspondingly think of a time when you gave the energy of anger or aggression, or anxiety to another person. How did they respond? What did it feel like to give such energy? If you were more aware of what it is like to receive such energy, would you give it out so much?

Giving and receiving in real time with others
As you are going about your daily life, try and be aware of the dynamic of giving and receiving between yourself and the others that you meet.  Become aware of when to open and receive energy from others in a healthy way, and when to close to it. Similarly be aware of how and when you are giving; when it is healthy and appropriate and when it is not really serving either yourself or others. The idea is to try and use your natural intelligence and awareness to set up positive cycles of giving and receiving in your life, so that you are receiving healthy energy from others and also giving healthy and sustaining energy to them in a mutually reinforcing feedback loop.

A couple of fundamental mindful questions to ask yourself during the day:
What is it that I am giving or receiving from myself and/or others right now? Now that I am conscious of it, are there any adjustments I need to make?

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


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The Warrior and the Lover – Establishing Your Basic Mindful Flow State

Dear Integral Meditators,

Meditation and mindfulness are about developing flow-states. The article below shows you how you can build your basic flow state from the ground up into a stable, diverse and enjoyable mindfulness practice.

In the spirit of flow,

Toby


The Warrior and the Lover – Establishing Your Basic Mindful Flow State

Effective meditation and mindfulness depends upon developing your capacity to connect to and sustain flow states. Flow states consist of two basic factors; focus and relaxation, or concentration and relaxation. Whatever you are trying to meditate upon or be mindful of, you are trying to do so with a quality of attention that flows in a state of consistent focused relaxation for the duration of your mindful activity.

How to create a basic flow state
Sit down and repeat this basic pattern a few times; firstly for 3-5 breaths try and focus as single pointedly as possible on your breathing without distraction. Then spend a short while simply relaxing your body, mind and heart as deeply as you can.
Once you have followed this cycle a few times, continue the same basic pattern but now :

  • As you are focusing intensely on the breathing, try and make the quality of you focus relaxed as well as intense
  • When  you are in the relaxation phase, try and make the quality of your relaxation focused and present as well as leisurely

In this way you start to bring together the qualities of focus and relaxation into a single experience or flow state.
Once you are comfortable with this second stage, you can simply practice focusing on the breathing in a state of relaxed concentration, practising this basic flow state. It should feel comfortable and relaxing whilst at the same time sharpening your mind and senses.

Doing this three stage exercise for a few minutes each day will give you the basic skills, as well as being a fundamentally pleasant, stress releasing experience.

Applying your flow state to other areas of your life
Once you have a feeling for your basic mindful flow state, you can then start applying it to different areas of your life; when you are engaged in your work, listening to/talking with a friend, thinking about something that is important to you, playing a sport, making love, engaging a challenging emotion and so on…If you practice like this then you can start to make more and more of your life an experience of playful mindful exploration.

The Warrior and the Lover – Bringing your flow state alive
To give a bit of colour to your flow state, you might like to imagine the focus aspect of your flow state is like your inner warrior; disciplined, intense, strong, and always ready. Therelaxation aspect of your flow state is like your inner lover; bringing the qualities of sensuality, curiosity, and engagement to the experience. Together these two make your basic flow state an experience of engaged detachment, or playful seriousness.

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


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses * 1:1 Coaching * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *
Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology
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The Theme of Harmony; Another recent soul portrait

Here is another receont portrait that I did. You can see one of the principle themes here is that of harmony and flow, with the ‘fibonacci-like’ spiral in the forground, a lot of flowing blue-green forms as well as the polarity between the sun & moon/night & day. Click on the image to see a full size version!

Please note that there is a special 15% discount on all soul portrai orders from now until Monday 7th december. For full details please go to my soul portrait page .

 

Soul Portrait Nov 2015 - name cropped

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The Creativity of the Soul; Reflections on a recent soul portrait

Here’s a soul portrait that I did recently, one of the main themes of this one is creativity; you can see that in the center there is almost what looks like a pine cone from which are emerging many spirals of light, like a mind giving birth to countless ideas an inspirations! Click on the image to see it full size.

For more information on my Soul Portrait service just click HERE.

 

Soul Portrait Oct-2015

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Four Levels or Dimensions of Conscious Self Love

Dear Integral Meditators,

Our relationship to ourself is the basis of our relationship to the rest of the world, this weeks article looks at how we can consistently improve that relationship by working with four levels of self-love.

Final reminder of the two workshops coming up this Saturday on Mindful Inspiration and Flo of the Present Moment, click on the links below for full details…

In the spirit of celebrating self,

Toby


Four Levels or Dimensions of Conscious Self Love

Self love and the challenges associated with it remains one of the most consistent themes that I hear coming up in my 1:1 coaching practice, so I thought it might be interesting to outline four basic levels of  mindful self love practice that you can start working with on a practical level. Generally each of us has each of these four levels within us, and we oscillate between them (and the ‘pre-level) during the day.

Pre-level 1Unconscious self hatred or dislike:All of us have parts of ourself that we dislike, hate or fear. Many people remain unaware of their self-dislike because either they have buried it within their mind to the point where they really are unconscious of it, or they know about it peripherally, but they choose not to look at it because it makes them feel uncomfortable . At this level our self-dislike influences a lot of our behavior, thoughts and feelings, but we are not really aware of it.

Level 1 – Conscious self hatred or dislike: At this first level then we commit to becoming mindfully aware of all the ways  in which we negatively judge, reject and dislike ourself. We commit to caring about ourself, to acknowledge the wounds in our relationship to ourself, and bring them into the light of our conscious awareness. This then starts to offer us a choice as to how we are going to act upon or respond to these wounds.

Level 2- Self acceptance: So from level one we then go to level two, where we consciously work upon accepting ourself in general, and in particular working with accepting the parts of ourself that we habitually reject, dislike or alienate. Self acceptance implies a tolerance of ourself, not yet a liking, but nevertheless an ability to look ourself in the mirror and accept what we see open heartedly without looking away.

Level 3 – Liking & embracing self: Self acceptance then builds the basis for level three, where we move toward enhancing the healthy self love and like that we have from ourself to ourself, and actively embracing and loving the parts of ourself that we previously rejected.

Level 4 – Celebrating self: Liking and embracing self provides the basis for level four, where our loving and liking of ourself invites us to start expressing that self in creative ways that celebrate, grow and enhance our experience of who we are and what we do in the world. On this level we are enjoying playfully engaging ourself in the world. This fourth level is not the same as negative egotism. Negative egotism sees itself as more important than anyone else in the world; to celebrate self means to embrace and enjoy expressing who we are, which does not mean we are degrading or diminishing others. Indeed it might be said that it is only when we are celebrating ourself that we can truly say we are nurturing and cherishing others, and encouraging them to celebrate themselves.

Closing points
So there you go, four levels to be aware of and practice, levels 1&2 provide the ‘bottom of the self love pyramid’ so to speak, which then enables us to enjoy the higher levels and peaks of levels 3&4 consistently and safely. If you can apply these four stages to yourself, you will also find that you can start mindfully applying them to your relationship to other people…

Four Mindful Self-Love Questions
Which parts of myself to I hate, fear or reject?
If I were to practice 10% more self acceptance today, what might change?
How difficult or easy do I find it to connect to myself with warmth and affection? Can I find that connection now?
What way can I celebrate and enjoy who I am today?

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


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The Dance of Mindful Supression and Repression

Dear Integral Meditators,

Meditation and mindfulness encourage states of mental and emotional flow, but achieving these states consistently is tough if we are habitually supressing and repressing the content of our consciousness in an unhealthy way. The article below looks at how we can mindfully grow a positive relationship to suppression and repression, so that it is helping us in our inner journey, rather than getting in the way!

In the whats on section below you can see that the workshop events are all on the Saturday 21st this month, with mindful inspiration and flow of the present moment being the themes. Click on the links for details.

In the spirit of conscious and benevolvent supression,

Toby


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia 

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

Saturday November 21st, 2.30-5.30pm – Connecting to Your Sources of  Mindful Inspiration – A 90minute Seminar

Saturday November 21st, 2.30-5.30pm – Living Life From Your Inner Center – Meditations for Going With the Flow of the Present Moment


The Dance of Mindful Supression and Repression

Psychological suppression is when you consciously block a thought, emotion or part of self from arising or developing within your mind. Let’s say I’m getting angry with someone, I am aware I am getting angry, but I block it, I don’t allow it to manifest as speech or behaviour.

Suppression is different from repression, which is when I unconsciously block a thought, emotion or aspect of self. Taking the same example, let’s say I’m getting angry with someone, but I’m not consciously aware that I’m getting angry, I reflexively repress the anger, pushing it down into my unconscious mind  without even realizing that I have done it. I now have the energy of repressed anger contained within my body-mind, but I am not aware of it.

Positive suppression is when I exert self control over myself for a positive purpose:

  • I find myself getting annoyed with a client, but I purposefully suppress that anger and remain pleasant, which enables me to complete a business transaction I want
  • I know I am feeling afraid or insecure, but I put on a brave face and smile  for the child I am with so that s/he will feel reassured and safe in my company

If I suppress something in this way, I am doing so for a definite purpose, and I know that later on I will have to come back to the thing in my mind I have supressed in order to look after it and de-suppress it appropriately.

Negative suppression is – When I deliberately turn away from an emotion, thought or aspect of self that I really need to pay attention to:

  • I know I feel guilty about something I have said to my partner, but I’m still resentful of her, so I block the guilt and just let it fester unattended
  • I know my business needs to change its marketing strategy, but I am afraid a new, untried strategy might make things worse, so I just suppress what I know, and keep on doing the same marketing as before, thus guaranteeing my business remains in a rut

Integrating suppression and repression into your mindfulness practice
Sit quietly and let your mind travel back, event by event over the last 24 hours of your life. As you do so take note of the places where you notice there is still an emotional charge within you around what happened. When you come to each of these places, take a note of the thoughts, feelings nd parts of self you may have:

  • Deliberately set aside (positive suppression)
  • Suppressed due to fear or laziness (negative suppression)
  • Unconsciously repressed, for example simply because you were not aware of the feeling arising at the time due to the busyness of what was going on around you

Take the time to become aware of, acknowledge and release these  aspects of self, so that you do not end up with an ever increasing back log of suppressed and repressed parts of your mind, heart and body that get in the way of your mental clarity, your emotional balance and physical health!

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


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