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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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The Eye of the Storm – Finding peace in the non-peace

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would happen if in the moments when you were feeling most disturbed and out of balance you were able to find a place of peace within that same moment? The article below explores how you can begin to do so.

Live in Singapore this week: The Tuesday & Wednesday evening meditation classes will be on this very subject, how to find the eye of your own inner storms!

Full classes for February below the article…

In the spirit of the eye of the storm,

Toby


The Eye of the Storm – Finding peace in the non-peace
 
It’s always pleasant and valuable to seek out peaceful times and places in your day where you can cultivate your inner peace mindfully, but it can also be hugely valuable to learn to notice the peace that is present in the mist of the most stressful situations that you find yourself in, for example

  • When you have multiple demands upon your time
  • When your relationships are in crisis
  • When your health is not good
  • When you face setbacks nervousness or uncertainty

If you think about any of these type of circumstances in your mind or life as being like a storm, to find the ‘peace in the non-peace’ means to go looking for the eye of the storm in that moment; to locate and hold your awareness in that center point. You don’t wait for the storm to subside or go away; you actively look for the point of stillness within it as the activity goes on around and within you.
This is a very powerful way to learn to experience peace, as it is directly contrasted with the stress, movement and turbulence of your circumstances. Cultivating peace in this way also makes you more resilient, as your capacity to endure and relax into stress increases.
So, the next time you find yourself experiencing non-peace, remember the eye of the storm and look for the still point within the turbulence, placing your attention and awareness in that place. Find the peace within the non-peace.

© 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)

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

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Combating Your Addiction to stimulation (& New Meditation Sleep Technology)

Dear Integral Meditators,

In this age of mental over stimulation, how can we find and enhance our peace of mind? The article below considers this question in the context of three qualities, permission, seduction and courage!

Beneath the article you’ll see I’ve placed some info about a product from I-Awake called ‘Sound Asleep‘. If you are looking for a drug-free way of improving your sleep, this is one alternative. I have been using it myself since it has come out, and getting some good results.

Live in Singapore this week: The Tuesday & Wednesday evening meditation classes will be on ‘Leaping like a Tiger – How to be Positively Mindful of your Self-Concept’ . And on Saturday we have the Deep dive meditation & Mindful Walking retreat.

In the spirit of permission, seduction and courage,

Toby


Combating Your Addiction to stimulation (Permission, Seduction, Courage)

If you ask anyone, “Would you like more calm and peace in your life?” the vast majority of us would say “Yes, or course!” With that in mind, what is the mindful gateway that can take us to that greater calm? One answer to this is boredom.
What do I mean by this? Well, in the information age our mind is mostly over stimulated. We are trying to digest too much information at any given time. Whenever our mind feels uncomfortable and insecure, the ‘go to’ activity now is to seek distraction, either on our phone, or on computers, or in the company of others. Our concentration span has become smaller, and our ability to do one thing at a time has decreased. It would be true to say that most of us are addicted to stimulation and as a result our minds are in a state of perpetual agitation. More than that we are addicted to that state of agitation and stimulation.

To move your body-mind into a state of calm, what actually needs to be done is to stop all the stimulation and ‘flipping’ of our attention, and let our mind focus on just one thing for an period of time. Peace and calm in this sense are a side effect of the act of concentrating on just one thing! Because your mind is addicted to change and stimulation, one of the big obstacles that we face to calm may be our mind complaining that it is bored. Focusing on one thing, for the first few minutes that we try to do it feels terribly boring. Our mind twitches around looking for the next thing to grab its attention and stimulate it. Only by patiently enduring, walking toward and through that sense of boredom will our mind start to settle. From this settling a sense of peace and calm will naturally start to emerge.

Walking through boredom with permission, seduction and courage
For this exercise you can take any suitable object as your object of focus. Here I’m going to suggest you take something predictable and boring like the breathing, perhaps just seeing if you can count from 1-5 breaths at a time without getting distracted, and repeating this on a loop for the duration of the meditation. Having chosen your object, I then suggest that you can use three states of mind to help you as you focus:

  1. Give yourself full permission to drop everything else and focus on your breathing (or chosen object). Make sure your mind understands that all emergencies are suspended for the duration of the session, it really can put down distractions. This way as it starts to ‘detox’ from its overstimulated state, it can relax into the boredom and discomfort, rather than turning away from it.
  2. Use seduction. Tell yourself and your mind how much you will enjoy it if you can really let go and rest at ease. Empathize with the overstimulated distraction-addict in you. Let her know that you are there to help and that beyond the boredom lies peace!
  3. Courage. As peace and calm begin to kick in, there can also be an enhanced awareness of all the fears, insecurities and anxieties that are behind your most compulsive distractions. You place courage in the center of your awareness as these fears kick in, enabling you to ‘hold your position’ long enough for the calm to emerge stably, and for your mind to settle!

So, there you go! A simple exercise for walking though the gateway of boredom to deeper peace and calm. And a way of gently combating our addiction to stimulation.
© 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


SOUND ASLEEP – A deeply soothing guided meditation with embedded brainwave frequencies for restorative, sound sleep
One of the most effective things you can do to enhance your wellbeing is to improve the quality of your sleep. A good night’s sleep makes you healthier, happier, and more creative.
With Sound Asleep, I-Awake have created a sound technology tool to gently lull you into the very deepest stages of sleep.
A soothing, dream-like blend of words, ocean waves, and advanced brainwave entrainment, Sound Asleep is designed to give you more peaceful, restorative sleep, night after night.
Click on the link to find out more and listen to the free sample! 20% off until February 1st!


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 February 3rd, 9.15am-12.15pm – Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat

February classes coming soon!


Integral Meditation Asia

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The Fundamental Game of Mindfulness – Three Stages

Dear Integral Meditators,

You will never be able to entirely control what happens in your life. In fact, sometimes you may feel that you are not in control of your life at all. However, you do have control of the way in which you pay attention to what you experience. Engaged mindfulness is all about taking benevolent control how you pay attention to the experience in the moment.
The article below explores how, in three stages…

In the spirit of engaged mindfulness,

Toby


The Fundamental Game of Mindfulness – Three Stages

You will never be able to entirely control what happens in your life. In fact, sometimes you may feel that you are not in control of your life at all. However, you do have control of the way in which you pay attention to what you experience. Engaged mindfulness is all about taking benevolent control how you pay attention to the experience in the moment. It involves three stages:

  1. Firstly, noticing how you are paying attention to an event, and the way in which that attention is affecting your experience.
  2. It then involves asking the question “How can I adjust the way I am paying attention in such a way that I am being both more effective, and deriving greater happiness and/or wellbeing from what is going on?” This question can be shortened to “What is the best way to pay attention here?”
  3. Finally, it involves making an adjustment to your attention, based on your answer to stage 2. Once you have made the adjustment, you then practice holding that ‘attentional position’, using it to optimize your experience.

An example:
Recently I have been doing quite a lot of voice recording for a mindfulness app. The process of doing the recording involves receiving quite a lot of (mostly well intentioned) criticism from people about my voice, my tone, the energy level and ‘entertaining-ness’ of the narration. When receiving this criticism, I notice that my mind could very easily start focusing on this criticism in an overly personal way, and feeling negative or discouraged. So then I ask myself the question “What is the best way to guide my attention in this experience?” upon reflection I came up with a three pronged approach:

  1. I need to receive the criticism in a detached manner
  2. I need to be interested and curious about how the criticism can help me to become a better voice narrator and mindfulness teacher. Seeing the value of the criticism to me personally helps me receive it positively, even when part of my mind resists.
  3. I can choose to focus on my successes and the positive feedback that I am getting for my efforts. This way any criticism always comes in the context of the things that are going well and the progress that I am making.

So then having answered the question in these three ways, the ‘game of mindfulness’ that I then start to play is holding these three perspectives. As I go about my narration work with my colleagues, detachment, curiosity and what is going well become the ‘mindful ways’ that I make the most of my experience in the present moment. In this way my mindfulness practice helps me to both enjoy/derive pleasure from my experience, and to be as good at it as I can be.
This week, you might like to apply this three-stage mindfulness game to your own experiences, personal or professional. Simply choose your experience and then:

  • Notice the way your mind is paying attention to it, is it helping or hindering?
  • Ask the question “What is the best way to pay attention here”
  • After you have answered the question, focus on training your attention to hold these mindful positions, so that you derive maximum value from your experience.

Enjoy the game!

© 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 February 3rd, 9.15am-12.15pm – Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat

February classes coming soon!


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Four Positions for Wrestling with your Dark Angels

Dear Integral Meditators,

When you find yourself wrestling with difficult or challenging mind-states, what mindfulness practices can you actually ‘do’ that will make a difference? The article below investigates four practical ‘mindful positions’ that you can start working with.

For those in Singapore, we will be exploring these positions in the Tuesday & Wednesdayevening classes, and doing related work in the Language of the Shadow workshop this Saturday.

In the spirit of mindful wrestling,

Toby


Four Positions for Wrestling with your Dark Angels

In my previous article I talked about the ‘Dark Angels’ that we sometimes have to wrestle with. These dark angels are states of mind that arise from challenges in our life. They are characterized by:

  • Feeling as if you are wrestling with a dark force within that you would rather run from, hide from and/or forget about.
  •  It being difficult for you to sit down and be present with yourself because your mind cannot rest at peace.
  • If you do choose to sit down and wrestle with them you develop 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.

So, then the question may arise “Ok so if I do choose to sit down and ‘wrestle’ with them, how can I actually ‘do’ that?” With this in mind, here are four basic ‘mindful positions’ that you can adopt and develop your ‘wrestling skills’ with.

Position 1 – Observational curiosity: This first position involves taking one step, or at least half a step back from your experience, and from there be curious and gather information about what you are experiencing. Quite often just this simple act of stepping back and observing starts to reap insights quite quickly. There is a certain stability that comes from the position of observing. It puts us in the position of being in the calm centre of the storm, rather than simply being tossed around by it.

Position 2 – Courage and careThis involves extending the energy of care to yourself, and if possible to other people involved in the situation. Whatever is arising, you make care and compassion the basic perspective from which you experience the challenge. The same principle applies with courage; you simply hold the position of courage mentally, and see how it starts to work on and affect your experience of the situation…

Position 3 – Mindful framing: With this stance, you simply look for ways of mentally framing what you are experiencing that help you to see it in a positive light, for example:

  • This health problem is good because it is helping me to become more mindful of caring for my body, and look after my health more
  • The stress in my relationship is good because it is helping me to really work on and strengthen my appreciation of what my partner is doing right, rather than being fixated on what they are doing wrong
  • This financial demand is useful as it is helping me to become a better business owner and make more money whilst at the same time holding to my core values.

Your mental perspective defines your experience (and the choices you make) in large part!

Position 4 – Coming back to your body: Often when we are struggling emotionally our mind speeds up as we seek for a solution. This fourth position involves getting out of our head and into our body and senses. Come back to your body or one of your senses and use it as a stable, non-conceptual base where you can relax and gather strength and relief from the activity in your mind. Let the emotions flow through your body, just feel them somatically, without judging them, repressing them or intellectualizing them.

So there you go, four positions that you can play around with whenever you find yourself being confronted with one of your ‘Dark Angels’!

© 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 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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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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