When You Have to Go Against the Flow

Dear Integral Meditators,

Life is not so tough when everything is flowing in the direction that you want it to, but what happens when you find yourself having to go against the flow of energy? This weeks article explores that space and how we can use meditation to help.

In the article I use as an image derived from landscape and nature as a main method for developing the ability to go against the flow. In the Dynamic Calm Online Meditation Course  beginning this coming Thursday 19th September I will be using quite a lot of this type of landscape imagery as a way of connecting to the energy of calm, so if you like the article below then this is a course that you might enjoy!

Yours in positively going against the flow,

Toby


Upcoming Classes at Integral Meditation Asia:

Beginning Thursday 19th September – Integrating the Energy of Dynamic Calm Into Your Life – A Four Week Online Meditation Course

  • Would you like to learn how to find a place of calm, centeredness in all circumstances?
  • Would you like to be able to conserve energy that is currently being taken up in stress and anxiety so that you can use it doing the things that you love and enjoy in your life?
  • Are you interested to bring a quality of calm to your life that is not just a place of stillness and peace, but also a source of strength, resilience and dynamism?
  • Are you interested in developing a meditation practice that is flexible and invites you to explore and develop your own wisdom and insight, rather than being rigid and dogmatic?

If the answer is yes to the above questions, then this is a meditation course for you! ClickHERE to read the full details of the course…


When You Have to Go
Against the Flow

Often times in life we find ourself having to go against the flow. For example:

  • We can find ourself going through a phase in a friendship, work or romantic relationship where it all seems like hard work and nothing is flowing easily
  • In our work business can seem slow, and a lot of effort seems to have to go into generating a relatively small success
  • When an idea that we are deeply passionate about is not taken up with interest by others, or they are even judgmental or negative about it

There are infinite numbers of situations we may find ourselves in that require the life skill of going against the flow, particularly if we are working with ideas that are new or pioneering.

How meditation changes our experience of going with the flow
When we practice meditation we are developing the capacity to “go with the flow” and relax more in our life, but a solid meditation practice will also give us the patience and perseverance to keep putting one foot in front of the other (literally or figuratively) in order to accomplish a goal that is important to us but that is difficult to achieve because we are having to go against the flow.

A meditation image for going against the flow
In Asia I have visited several rivers that have rapids in them. What I like to do when I visit such places is to use the rocks in the water to hop upstream, going against the flow of the fast moving water. Standing securely on a rock surrounded by fast flowing water I relax and look for the next rock to leap onto. I jump from one rock to the next, gradually making progress upstream again the current of the water all around me.
Often when I am in a daily situation where I am having to go against the flow, I use this image of hoping up a river on the rocks as a way of keeping patient, persevering and gradually keep moving forward. The image describes perfectly for me the mindset that I am using to prevail.

Questions for your own practice of going against the flow

  • What situations in your life do you find yourself having to go against the flow? As you are reading this article, try and think of two or three concrete situations where you yourself regularly have to go against the flow in your life.
  • What images communicate for you the essence of awakened “going against the flow?” In the above article I have suggested an image from my own experience that you are most welcome to use as a way of developing your own “going against the flow” mindset. However, there may be images from your own direct experience that describe very well to you the patience and perseverance that you need to go against the flow and that will work perfectly for you as an image for this type of meditation.

© Toby Ouvry 2013, 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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Is Spirit a Place of Light of Dark?

Dear Integral Meditators,

When you think of the words “deep spirit”, or “deep consciousness” what sort of ideas and images arise in your mind? This weeks article investigates the encounter with deep spirit and what sort of experience it is.

There are 3 more days to sign up for the Dynamic Calm Online Meditation Course for the early bird price of Sing$85, after that you can still of course sign up, but the price will be $105.

Yours in the transformation power of deep consciousness,

Toby


Upcoming Classes at Integral Meditation Asia:

Integrating the Energy of Dynamic Calm Into Your Life – A Four Week Online Meditation Course

  • Would you like to learn how to find a place of calm, centeredness in all circumstances?
  • Would you like to be able to conserve energy that is currently being taken up in stress and anxiety so that you can use it doing the things that you love and enjoy in your life?
  • Are you interested to bring a quality of calm to your life that is not just a place of stillness and peace, but also a source of strength, resilience and dynamism?
  • Are you interested in developing a meditation practice that is flexible and invites you to explore and develop your own wisdom and insight, rather than being rigid and dogmatic?
If the answer is yes to the above questions, then this is a meditation course for you! Click HERE to read the full details of the course…

Dear <<First Name>>,

When you think of the words “deep spirit”, or “deep consciousness” what sort of ideas and images arise in your mind? This weeks article investigates the encounter with deep spirit and what sort of and experience it is.

There are 3 more days to sign up for the Dynamic Calm Online Meditation Course for the early bird price of Sing$85, after that you can still of course sign up, but the price will be $105.

Yours in the transformation power of deep consciousness,

Toby


Upcoming Classes at Integral Meditation Asia:

Integrating the Energy of Dynamic Calm Into Your Life – A Four Week Online Meditation Course

  • Would you like to learn how to find a place of calm, centeredness in all circumstances?
  • Would you like to be able to conserve energy that is currently being taken up in stress and anxiety so that you can use it doing the things that you love and enjoy in your life?
  • Are you interested to bring a quality of calm to your life that is not just a place of stillness and peace, but also a source of strength, resilience and dynamism?
  • Are you interested in developing a meditation practice that is flexible and invites you to explore and develop your own wisdom and insight, rather than being rigid and dogmatic?

If the answer is yes to the above questions, then this is a meditation course for you! Click HERE to read the full details of the course…


Is Spirit a Place of Light or Dark? 

There is often a pre-conceived idea that the deeper dimensions of consciousness are somehow domains of heavenly light and bliss, but what is it really like when we connect to deeper levels of spirit and consciousness through meditation?
The deeper levels of spirit have been experienced by mediators and spiritual practitioners of all traditions and, rather than being a realm of light (as some of the levels of consciousness BEFORE we reach this deeper level are) the deep primal or causal level of spirit is a domain where light and darkness appear to merge and become paradoxically one. As the Christian poet Henry Vaughan said:

“There is, some say, in God a deep but dazzling darkness”

So, rather than being a realm of light per-se, the deepest level of spirit and consciousness (I’m using these words interchangeably in this article) are a place where light and dark come together as one.
Put another way it is a place that is beyond light or darkness, a place that is beyond the polarity of opposites.

If you are a consistent meditator, then the odds are after a few years you will start connecting to this domain of deeper consciousness in your meditations naturally, but we can accelerate the rate at which we connect and stabilize our experience of this domain by using images, here are three, they are very simple but very powerful:

  1. The Eclipse – Visualize a sun in the space in front of you. Imagine a dark sphere comes across and blocks the sun, as the moon does in an eclipse. So you are now staring at a dark sphere surrounded by an aura of dazzling light. Now imagine that you become that dark sphere that contains within its darkness a dazzling light. Be this union of light and darkness.
  2. The Union of Heaven and Earth – Sit on a chair with your feet squarely on the floor. Visualize dark life energy rising up from the earth through your feet. Visualize bright, white universal energy coming down through your crown from the sky. See the light and the dark energy coming together in the centre of your chest. As you observe the light and dark coming together, sometimes the space in the centre of your chest feels like a bright star, other times it feels and looks like a deep black hole. After a while it becomes a dazzling space of dark light. Allow your mind to relax and absorb into this dazzling dark space of primal spirit in the centre of your chest.
  3.  The Starry Pool – See yourself descending a spiral stairway into the earth. Eventually it opens out into a cavern. In front of you there is a deep pool of water. On the wall on the other side of the cavern there is a small alcove where a candle burns in front of an image or statue that for you represents God/Goddess or Deep Spirit. Gaze into the pool. As you do so from within the deep blackness there emerge stars deep within the darkness. Allow your mind to sink into the inky blackness of the pool where there is deep darkness in combination with the bright lights of the stars. Feel the darkness and starlight becoming one and rest in that space. At the end of this meditation return back up the stairway to the earth’s surface, don’t just snap straight out and walk off!

These images are not about philosophy, psychology or metaphysics. They are images that you can use to create a personal, experiential encounter with deep spirit and allow yourself to be changed by this encounter.
© Toby Ouvry 2013, 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

There is often a pre-conceived idea that the deeper dimensions of consciousness are somehow domains of heavenly light and bliss, but what is it really like when we connect to deeper levels of spirit and consciousness through meditation?
The deeper levels of spirit have been experienced by mediators and spiritual practitioners of all traditions and, rather than being a realm of light (as some of the levels of consciousness BEFORE we reach this deeper level are) the deep primal or causal level of spirit is a domain where light and darkness appear to merge and become paradoxically one. As the Christian poet Henry Vaughan said:

“There is, some say, in God a deep but dazzling darkness”

So, rather than being a realm of light per-se, the deepest level of spirit and consciousness (I’m using these words interchangeably in this article) are a place where light and dark come together as one.
Put another way it is a place that is beyond light or darkness, a place that is beyond the polarity of opposites.

If you are a consistent meditator, then the odds are after a few years you will start connecting to this domain of deeper consciousness in your meditations naturally, but we can accelerate the rate at which we connect and stabilize our experience of this domain by using images, here are three, they are very simple but very powerful:

  1. The Eclipse – Visualize a sun in the space in front of you. Imagine a dark sphere comes across and blocks the sun, as the moon does in an eclipse. So you are now staring at a dark sphere surrounded by an aura of dazzling light. Now imagine that you become that dark sphere that contains within its darkness a dazzling light. Be this union of light and darkness.
  2. The Union of Heaven and Earth – Sit on a chair with your feet squarely on the floor. Visualize dark life energy rising up from the earth through your feet. Visualize bright, white universal energy coming down through your crown from the sky. See the light and the dark energy coming together in the centre of your chest. As you observe the light and dark coming together, sometimes the space in the centre of your chest feels like a bright star, other times it feels and looks like a deep black hole. After a while it becomes a dazzling space of dark light. Allow your mind to relax and absorb into this dazzling dark space of primal spirit in the centre of your chest.
  3.  The Starry Pool – See yourself descending a spiral stairway into the earth. Eventually it opens out into a cavern. In front of you there is a deep pool of water. On the wall on the other side of the cavern there is a small alcove where a candle burns in front of an image or statue that for you represents God/Goddess or Deep Spirit. Gaze into the pool. As you do so from within the deep blackness there emerge stars deep within the darkness. Allow your mind to sink into the inky blackness of the pool where there is deep darkness in combination with the bright lights of the stars. Feel the darkness and starlight becoming one and rest in that space. At the end of this meditation return back up the stairway to the earth’s surface, don’t just snap straight out and walk off!

These images are not about philosophy, psychology or metaphysics. They are images that you can use to create a personal, experiential encounter with deep spirit and allow yourself to be changed by this encounter.
© Toby Ouvry 2013, 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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When You Empty Your Mind of Thoughts, What Does it Fill With?

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article takes a look at what happens when we empty our mind of thoughts, and offers a simple technique that will enable you to practice emptying your mind in order to fill it with that which flows into the empty space!

I’m going to be holding the early bird offer for the Integral Insight Meditation Workshop until the end of Monday, 2nd September, so if you are in Singapore, wish to attend and want a reduction in the price, do make your booking and purchase by then. Click on the link for full details…

Yours in the spirit of empty fullness,

Toby


Upcoming Classes at Integral Meditation Asia:

Coming up on 7th  September:  Integral Insight Meditation – Discovering the power of awareness to heal and maximise the potential of your body, mind and emotions
Special early bird offer of $80 for all who sign up for the Integral Insight Meditation Course before Sept 2nd! Full cost of the workshop is $95

Online course in September – The Power of Deep Calm – full details up shortly!


When You Empty Your Mind of Thoughts, What Does it Fill With?

In meditation one of the ‘basic’ (but not quite so easy) skills that we focus on is being able to empty the mind of thoughts temporarily. We can readily understand that emptying our mind of thoughts is relaxing, but what beyond that is it helping us to do?

When you empty your mind, that emptiness starts to fill with something. What is that something? Awareness.  Awareness is the experience of being. When you empty your mind of thoughts, awareness flows in naturally to fill the space. Sitting in a state of awareness has many benefits, here are a few:

  1. It helps us to develop and improve the quality of our mind – By dropping our thoughts and simply being aware we develop our capacity to witness our life objectively and in the 3rd person. This development of a stable 3rd person perspective helps us to develop the quality of our rational mind in an holistic and balanced manner. By temporarily dropping the mind, the mind itself improves.
  2. It takes us beyond our mind – When we sit in a state of fullness of awareness and emptiness of thoughts we realize that we are not our thoughts, that there is something beyond our thinking mind that we are. The essential sense of ‘I-ness’ that we have is retained when we stop thinking. Thus we gain the ability to go beyond our experience of self as the thoughts in our mind, and move into a sense of self that is the possessor of our mind and yet something more than the mind. So you could say that instead of “I think therefore I am” it becomes more like “I am (aware) therefore I think!”
  3. It allows our body and mind to rest and regenerate themselves deeply, accessing a deeper level of healing energy that flows from a deeper level within our being.
  4. It gives us a sense of something bigger than ourselves – A sense of a mind, identity, intelligence and order in the universe that is bigger than ourselves, that you might call spirit, but you might equally call it something else. The point is that in a state a pure awareness you start to feel it experientially.

“Pulling the plug”

Here’s an exercise that you can do to help you empty your mind:

  • Imagine your mind is a bath and the thoughts in your mind are like the water.
  • Imagine you “pull the plug” in the bath; see and feel the water of your thoughts draining away down the plug hole, leaving the bath of your mind empty. Rest in that empty space.
  • Now feel the bathtub of your mind filling with awareness. If your mind is empty you will feel the awareness flowing in quite naturally.
  • What does this awareness feel like? Rest and relax in this state of empty mind/full awareness for as long as feel appropriate. Centre your being, your sense of self in this full empty space.

You can pull the plug anywhere you like, for as long as you like. This week you might like to try integrating into your routine it as a short daily exercise to help develop your experience of the true fullness of an empty mind.
© Toby Ouvry 2013, 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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What is the Quality of Your Calm?

Dear Integral Meditators,

I hope you’ve had a good week, our article this week is a follow on from last weeks “Four Types of Deep, Calm, Four Types of Dynamic Power“, and is a continued invitation investigate how you can integrate a deeper sense of calm in your life!

I have posted a 10 minute MP3 recording of the meditation on the three types of calm on the Integral Meditation Asia website. To have a listen and download it go here: Three Types of Calm Free Meditation MP3

For those of you in Singapore, our friends at Gallery Helios will be doing a Women’s Health Symposium on Saturday 31st August, do click on the link for full details!

Yours in the spirit of inner calm,

Toby


Upcoming Classes at Integral Meditation Asia:

Coming up on 7th  September:  Integral Insight Meditation – Discovering the power of awareness to heal and maximise the potential of your body, mind and emotions
Special early bird offer of $80 for all who sign up for the Integral Insight Meditation Course before Sept 1st! Full cost of the workshop is $95

Online course in September – The Power of Deep Calm – full details up shortly!


What is the Quality of Your Calm?

This article is mostly a guided meditation to connect you to three types of calm:

  • Mountain like calm, or the type of calmness that is solid and immovable
  • River like calm, or the type of calm that is flowing and flexible
  • Sky like calm, or the type of calm that is open and spacious

Each of these types of calm has its own particular qualities, and each has its own practical strengths, for example:

  • When you are going through emotional turmoil it can be very useful to emphasize flowing, river-like calm as a way of working with the experience
  • When you feel under attack from your outer environment for example socially it can be useful to emphasize the solid and immovable qualities of mountain-like calm.

Images to connect you to the three types of calm:

Mountain–like calm: See yourself as a mountain, solid strong and immovable. You are able to withstand any amount of wind, rain or weather as a consequence of your strength of presence. Imagine wind and rain around you; these are like the challenges of your daily life, you are like the mountain

River-like calm: See yourself as a river, flowing, flexible, and accommodating. Imagine the river rising and flowing faster as if flooding; you as the river can cope with the increase because you are able to ‘go with the flow’. Imagine the water is like the ups and downs of your emotional life and you are like the river; calmly flowing fast or slow as required.

Sky-like calm: See yourself as a vast open sky, spacious and calm. The clouds in the sky are like the different challenges in your life; they are in the sky but they do not affect its fundamental spaciousness or openness. Be that spacious, open calm in the midst of the clouds of your life!

As you work with these images you will find that you probably relate to one more than the others. Work practically with the one you relate to primarily first, and then try integrating the other two when you feel you would like a change.

To have a listen to this meditation now go here: Three Types of Calm Free Meditation MP3

© Toby Ouvry 2013, 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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Four Types of Deep Calm, Four Types of Dynamic Power

Dear Integral Meditators,

What do you think of when you think “calm”? This weeks article looks at how calmness is not just a passive relaxational activity, but a type of dynamic inner power that we can build in our mind and life each day.

Yours in the transformative power of inner calm,

Toby

 


Four Types of Deep
Calm, Four Types of Dynamic Power

Sometimes the impression that we have of calmness is that it is a passive, purely relaxational experience that we can use to escape and gain relief from the trials and tribulations of our daily life.
If we are a little more serious about investigating the potential of calm however, we discover that contained within the experience of calm there is the experience of an inner dynamic power which adds a new dimension of strength that we can bring into the centre of our most difficult life circumstances.
We can use this inner power to direct and transform such situations in a practical and beneficial way.
In meditation we can think of the co-development of inner calm and power as having four basic types:

The calm of solidity
This is the calm presence that comes from being deeply embedded in awareness of our physical body and our physical world. It leads to a calm power that is mountain, stone or earth like in nature; it is able to remain very solid, stable and fixed in the midst of changing and difficult circumstances.

The calm of flow
This is a type of emotional calm that arises from the ability to let your emotions flow in an open and healthy manner, which in turn gives you the confidence to direct the natural power inherent within emotion toward positive ends in your life.

The calm of structure
This is a type of mental calm that comes from having a well structured and ordered mind. A well structured mind is like a good plumbing or electrical system in a house; it enables you to access and direct the power of your mind to the task at hand efficiently, without ‘leaking’ energy.

The calm of no-mind
This is a type of spiritual or existential calm that comes from developing the ability to suspend your thoughts and rest in the inner space that lies beyond them. Resting in the space of no-mind or no-thoughts gives access to deep calm even when in the midst of mental, emotional and physical turmoil, and facilitates the development of the trans-rational powers of mind that lie beyond the intellect

Integral meditation training involves the complementary development of all four types of calm power. Each can be looked at in depth, but here is a short exercise you can try to get a feel for it. Stay with each stage of the breathing for as long as you like:

As you breathe in be aware of the solidity and stability of your physical body,
As you breathe out relax into that stability.
As you breathe in allow your emotional being to open and flow,
As you breathe out relax into the power of that flow.
As you breathe in tune into the positive thought structures of your mind,
As you breathe out feel their power to contain and direct your mental energy.
As you breathe in be aware of the space beyond your thoughts,
As you breathe out relax into the power of that which lies beyond the mind.

© Toby Ouvry 2013, 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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Small Focused Mind, Big Open Mind

Dear Integral Meditators,

There are two easy things that you can do to start supporting your meditation practice whilst engaged in your daily life. This weeks article outlines what they are and how you can start implementing them.

I have created another three minute video this week entitled “When is a problem really a problem; the liberating power of perspective” , click the link if you want to have a view!

Not too late to sign up for  Transforming stress, fear, anger and more into energy, positivity and enlightenment – A four week online course, I’ve decided to keep the price down at Sing$105 until this Tuesday.

Finally, if you have a gmail account, they may have started sending the Integral Meditations Newsletter into the newly created “promotions” folder. If you want the newsletter to come directly to your inbox, simply click on one of the newsletter emails and drag it into your “primary” folder tab, that will do the trick!

Yours in the spirit of focused spaciousness,

Toby


Upcoming Classes at Integral Meditation Asia:

Coming up on 7th  September:  Integral Insight Meditation – Discovering the power of awareness to heal and maximise the potential of your body, mind and emotions                 

Online course in September – The Power of Deep Calm – full details up shortly!


Small Focused Mind, Big Open Mind 

With meditation two of the essential skills that you are trying to develop are the ability to keep your attention focused on a single object over an extended period of time and the ability to keep your mind relaxed, open and spacious.

For a meditation practice to be effective at this it can be done for as little as ten minutes a day, but it will be many times more effective if you can find ways of supporting the development of these two qualities when you are out of meditation and engaged in daily life. Here are two principles that I use to do this:

  1. When at work or do my daily tasks I try for at least some of the time to mono-task, and do only one thing at a time. Whilst I am focusing on that one thing I keep my mind present, not thinking about other things. I just relax into the immediacy, simplicity and ‘smallness’ of the task. This type of activity improves my ability to focus my attention singularly and, like a formal meditation it gives rise to a sense of peace and tranquillity that is a side-effect of the focused attention.
  2. When I am out of doors I make my awareness big, as big at least as the immediate horizon around me, the sky above me and a sense of the large mass of the Earth below me. Of course if I am walking around I have to be aware of things like traffic and basic safety, but within those limitations I make expand my mind into the environment, making it naturally big and spacious. This bigness and spaciousness is very relaxing, but it also helps me to keep perspective, maintain appropriate detachment from the events of my life, and gives rise to a certain sense of mystical communion/relationship with the landscape which I find very rewarding.

At present I have a habit of going for an early evening walk with my daughter which I take as a special time to expand my mind into the surrounding landscape, make it big and spacious and let go of my daily concerns. It is useful to have a specific activity that you do each day that is specifically focused on making your mind spacious in this way.

So there you go, two ways of supporting the development of your meditation practice;

  • When at work or doing daily activities spend at least some time mono-tasking
  • When outside relax your awareness into the environment, making it big and spacious

© Toby Ouvry 2013, 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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When is a Problem Really a Problem? The Liberating Power of Perspective

How many of the ‘problems’ in our life are inherently so, and how many are simply our mind making things into problems? This video explores this question on a (literally!) practical level…

 

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Trusting the Random

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article focuses on my own experience of meaningful co-incidence over the past few days. A lot of our most important sources of life-lesson are happening right under our nose in the present moment, so its important to keep alert for them!

I’ve also this recently created a short video on ‘How to start transforming and re-directing your anger‘ in which I talk about this potentially tricky but very meaningful and useful subject. If you enjoy what you see, and want to explore further, then do check out the Transforming stress, fear, anger and more into energy, positivity and enlightenment – A four week online course details, up to August 6th the cost is still only Sing$105, after which it will be going up to its final price of $135.

Enjoy the article!

Yours in the spirit of the random universe,

Toby


Upcoming Classes at Integral Meditation Asia:

Starting on August 8th: Transforming stress, fear, anger and more into energy, positivity and enlightenment – A four week online course

Coming up on 7th  September:  Integral Insight Meditation – Discovering the power of awareness to heal and maximise the potential of your body, mind and emotions                 

 


Trusting the Random  

In today’s chaotic world where there seem to be many things happening to us that are outside of our control it can oftentimes feel difficult to trust in the flow of things and allow our mind to rest in that trust. It can help to develop this ‘trust in the flow’ by noting our own experiences of how sometimes seemingly random events in our life turn out to be acts of random meaning and even kindness to us from the universe. Here are two examples from my last week in London:

  • I had just seen my brother and sister (very nobly) going into the cinema to see the Smurfs movie with our collective children (all six of them under 7yrs). I had two hours to myself with which I really felt I needed to relax and get some space. I walked out of the O2 shopping centre and, having no idea where I was going turned left on Finchley Road up a hill. After walking for about 15 minutes I found the Camden Arts Centre, a beautiful place with an art gallery, a café and a garden totally uncrowded and peaceful. I took in the art exhibition, had a great and inexpensive lunch at the café and relaxed with coffee in the garden. I could not have imagined finding a better place to rest and rejuvenate my spirits that I found, or was guided to by seeming random coincidence.
  • Coming out of the northern line tube with my daughter, she announced that she needed the toilet. My heart sank as I new from previous experience that the nearest toilet was MILES away, and I could not even remember which direction it was in. Taking a random tunnel we walked for quite some time with heavy bags with still no sign of a toilet. The sign indicated we were now under Kings Cross station. In exasperation I asked a police officer where the nearest toilet was. “Up the stairs to the main station and straight ahead”…up we go, straight ahead to the toilet. To the right of the toilet it just so happens there is the Harry Potter “Platform 9 and three quarters shop” which upon seeing it my daughter goes into fits of ecstasy, being a complete Potter fan and having read most of the books with me at bedtime. Another very meaningful and fun seeming random co-incidence marked by my seven year old getting a chocolate frog, a wizarding card and seeing the fancy wands of all the main characters in the Harry Potter movies!

So, really the object of meditation or awareness here for me is simply the persistence of meaningful, humorous and even deeply kind co-incidence that the universe seems to hand out to us all even amidst all the seeming stress, seriousness and chaos of our human life. I think if we can hold onto this ‘trust in the random’ then it has real power to make the quality of our life lighter, more playful, more meaningful, and more fun!
I find it particularly useful when I feel ‘cornered’ by my circumstances, when seemingly there is no way out. Generally there is, and the door comes sometimes in ways we would never have imagined.
© Toby Ouvry 2013, 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 Story of Your Breathing

Often times when we are taught to meditate on the breathing it is primarily as an exercise in concentration, and/or where we alter our breathing in some way in order to achieve a certain effect, such as relaxation.
The technique I explain below is a free form method of working with the breathing that invites self-discovery, greater awareness and the inner strength that comes from this.

I’ve been taking a holiday for the last week or so now, and the main way that I have been enjoying my own awareness of breathing is observing how my pattern of breathing is intimately connected to the story of my life

  • When I reflect on the current happiness and joy in my life, I can feel and sense that joy and happiness subtly altering and communicating itself in the way my body breathes
  • The sadness and stress that I feel is similarly reflected in my body’s breathing as my mind ponders

In both a literally real and a poetic sense it seems as if the pattern of my breathing is telling the story of my life whenever I tune into it; my experiences, my age, my history, everything I am as well as all that I might become in the future seems to be held in the energy and pattern of each each breath.

So, amidst the relative busyness that I find myself in at this time whilst on holiday I’ve taken to finding a bit of time just to sit down with my back resting against a tree, closing my eyes, focusing on my breathing and listening to the story that it is telling me.
Some of the things that it tells me I know, some things are new, all of it helps me to feel more fully alive to the process of my life as it is now, the struggles, the joys, the unknowns. As I focus on the story of my breathing and its vulnerability I feel a new and deeper strength growing in me.

© Toby Ouvry 2013, 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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No Name (Meditation Spaghetti Western Style), plus upcoming ‘Transforming Negativity’ Online Course

 Dear Integral Meditators,

I hope this message finds you well, I’m currently back in the UK and enjoying my time re-connecting to the summer landscape with all the woods plants and greenery that surrounds my family home!

I’m also exited to tell you about the new online course that we will be offering at Integral Meditation Asia beginning on August 8th: Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – A Four Week Online Course. You can find full details of the course by clicking the link, and you can also see and listen to me talking about the course and its content here:

Toby talks about the upcoming transforming Negativity and Stress Course

If you enjoy what you read below and/or see in the video, and are interested in signing up for the course, up until August 1st you can purchase it for just Sing$85, which is a 40% reduction on the price that it will be by the start date of the course!Also, if you happen to know of anyone else whom you think may be interested in the course, then do feel free to forward them this email!

Wishing you all the very best in your meditation practice,

Toby

No Name (Meditation Spaghetti Western Style)

The man or woman of no rank is a nice practice found within various meditation traditions. Essentially the idea is that, when in meditation you can temporarily drop all the labels that you normally attach to yourself and just be.
During our daily life we build our sense of who we are around labels;

  • I am an architect, manager, artist, teacher, saleswoman
  • I am this type of son, wife, father, daughter
  • My friends think of me as this type of person
  • Etc…

When we set these labels aside we become free to be, to be “ourself” and to connect with our “ true” or essential self; the self that lies beyond the labels we stick upon ourselves.

As a longtime fan of the Spaghetti Western and the man with no name, I often do this meditation with a visualization that looks something like this:

  • I am sitting on a bench outside an empty bar/hotel in a western (as in wild western) town that has long since been deserted by its inhabitants
  • There is the creaking of an old signboard above me, a gusting breeze, a big sky. A few of those rolling bushes are going by in the street, the town is surrounded by desert scrub, no one is around.
  • In this space I simply imagine myself sitting thinking of nothing, dropping any memory of who I am.
  • Progressively I become just a man, then a human being (genderless), then just a being, I just be, allowing myself to merge with the vastness of the landscape around me. I relax deeply.

Returning to your identity
The idea of regularly dropping your identity is to gain freedom from our normal automatic over-identification with the labels that we allow to consciously and/or unconsciously dominate our identity. By doing this we develop the capacity to live a life that is psychologically free from these labels, but that enables us to use these labels wisely and appropriately when necessary.
For example I’m Clint Eastwood, the world famous western actor. Oh no sorry forgot, I’m Toby Ouvry the meditation teacher, or at least I was before I started this article, and I think he’s still there!

© Toby Ouvry 2013, 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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