Mindfully ‘eating’ your thoughts

Dear Integral Meditators,

There are three ways in which we can use our mind in order to ‘digest’ our thoughts and experiences. The article below explores how we can use mindfulness to consciously integrate these three into our daily life, so that they are supporting each other, and helping us to enhance the quality of our life.

In the spirit of eating your thoughts,

Toby


Mindfully ‘eating’ your thoughts

In order to ‘eat and digest’ the information coming into and from our mind, we need to be competent in three modes of processing that information. These three modes are thinking, reflecting and non-thinking.

The first mode, ‘thinking’ involves actively using our cognitive intelligence to problem solve, seek information, stimulate action, strategize, assess risk, and generally actively create thoughts regarding our life. For many people this is the ‘default’ mode that they use their mind for. Many of us are compulsive thinkers to the extent that, even when there is nothing really urgent to think about or solve, we invent a bunch of thinking and problems to solve just so as we don’t have to sit with the discomfort of our relationship to, and feelings about, ourself. This first mode of using our mind, thinking, in the analogy of ‘eating our thoughts’ might be likened to the process of creating and eating food.

The second mode of using our mind is ‘reflecting’. Reflecting involves a much reduced pace of actual thinking and thought creation; it is mainly concerned with observing and dwelling contemplatively upon the experiences we may have had during the day. It principally uses awareness and acceptance to look back upon and ‘digest’ what we are going through. It enables us to process our life constructively in the same way that sitting quietly for a period after a meal enables us to digest our food and obtain nutriment from it.
The third mode of using our mind is ‘non-thinking’ which is where we deliberately cease processing our world mentally and cognitively for a period of time in order to renew and regenerate our energy. In terms of our ‘eating’ analogy, non-thinking corresponds to the ‘emptying’ part of the metabolic process; If you kept eating and digesting food, but never ‘emptied’ your bowels and intestines, then they would very rapidly become a bursting, fetid mess. In a similar way emptying our mind through non-thinking cleanses and empties our mental space, enabling us to receives new experiences and to think and contemplate them in fresh ways. For many people meditation practice is explicitly the way in which they at least try and practice the discipline of non-thinking.

To come back to the eating analogy, it is clear to everyone that in order for our body to remain healthy we need to eat, digest and then empty the waste product of our eating. Similarly, in order to ‘eat’ properly mentally we should have periods each day where we are consciously focused either upon thinking or contemplating or non-thinking, integrating these three processes in a balanced way into our life.
In terms of your mindfulness practice, one basic question to ask yourself is “What is it most appropriate for me to be doing right now; thinking, contemplating or non-thinking?” and then act upon the answer that comes back to you.
We can also structure our day formally into sections where we deliberately think and problem solve, sections when we are reflecting/digesting, and sections when we are simply emptying. This can be done in an organic manner, for example by choosing to emphasize reflection rather than thinking on the bus home, or simply choosing to drink our coffee whilst thinking as little as possible and emphasizing ‘emptying’.
Simply understanding these three modes of using your mindfulness to apply them consciously to your life can be tremendously empowering!

© Toby Ouvry 2017, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

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

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

Tuesday 7th February & Wednesday 8th February – Lunar new year meditation 2017: Tapping into the confidence, motivation & honesty of the Rooster

Saturday 4th February, 2-5.30pm – The six Qi gong healing sounds: Qi gong for self-healing & inner balance workshop

Friday 24th February, 7.30pm – TGIF meditation & meal: Nourish your body mind & soul at Oneheart!

Saturday 25th February, 10am-5pm – An Introduction to Meditation from the Perspective of Shamanism

Saturday 4th March, 10am-5pm – Meditation from the Perspective of Shamanism Level 2 – Deeper into the Shamanic journey


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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Mindfully dancing between doing and being (the four stages of engaged mindfulness)

Dear Integral Meditators,

Mindfulness is a process that can be equally applied to dynamic action and contemplative reflection. The article below explores how you can combine active and passive forms of mindfulness into a four stage ‘engaged mindfulness’ practice.

Wishing you all the very best for the upcoming Lunar new year of the Rooster!

Toby


Mindfully dancing between doing and being (the four stages of engaged mindfulness)

Engaged mindfulness can be distinguished from mindfulness in general in that it is specifically designed to help us bridge the gap between ‘doing’ and ‘being’ in our life, or our passive-reflective modes and our active-dynamic modes. It can be summarized in a four-stage cycle that we can apply to any situation and circumstance. The first two stages are primarily observational, whereas the second of the two stages are often more dynamic and action based.
The four stages are as follows:
Awareness – The first stage is primarily observational, we are committing to becoming as aware as we can of what is happening in this situation, both within ourselves, and in the environment.
Acceptance – The second stage involves accepting the reality of what we find as wholly as possible, even if that reality is in conflict with what we want to be there.
Respons-ibility – At this stage, having brought ourselves to accept fully the reality that we find ourselves in, we then practice taking mindful responsibility for our role in the situation; ‘What is it that I need to take responsibility for here, in a way that will be most beneficial for both myself and others?’
Assertion and/or action – Having become aware of and accepting of the situation as we are able, and having taken responsibility for our role, the final stage of engaged mindfulness involves asking the question ‘What is it (if anything) that I need to do here? We then take action according to the answer to this question.

We can apply this four-stage process to any circumstance. It can be with regard to our inner world of thoughts and feelings, or to do with our outer world of relationships, work and value exchanges with our environment.

An example – requesting payment
Recently I decided I needed to address the issue of outstanding payments from clients from last year (start the year of the Rooster with a clean slate so to speak). I was aware that I did not feel entirely comfortable making this request, so I did the four-stage process:
What do I need to be aware of here? – Literally people owe me money, emotionally I feel a little uncomfortable asking for it, as well as feeling a little annoyed that they haven’t paid yet. I’m also aware of the immanence of certain bills that need to be paid at the end of this month….
What is it that I need to accept? – One main dimension that I discover I need to accept is my emotional discomfort about the situation. In order to deal with it effectively I need to be ‘comfortable with the discomfort’ of the emotions present.
What do I need to take responsibility for here? – Clearly no one else is going to do the awkward task of asking for the money, and no one is going to take care of my awkward emotions, it has to be me, this is my responsibility and there is no-one coming to ‘save’ me!
What do I need to do? – In this situation, I need to clearly take care of my emotions, and write the emails. Based upon having done this I can then relax and rest at ease with the situation, knowing I have done what I am capable of doing as far as I am able.

As mentioned at the beginning, engaged mindfulness is designed to help us create a mutually supportive and re-enforcing dynamic between our modes of doing and being, or reflection and action. This week you might like to apply the four stages mindfully to a couple of your daily challenges, and see how it changes your experience.

© Toby Ouvry 2017, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Special 1:1 Coaching Offer at Integral Meditation Asia in January
The beginning of the year can be a great time to spend quality time on getting your mind, body and heart prepared for the challenges you are facing as the year progresses. With this in mind I will be offering a special 20% discount offer on all 1:1 meditation and mindfulness coaching services for the month of January at Integral Meditation Asia. This is a saving of Sing$120 if you book as set of 3x 60minute sessions, or Sing$44 per single session…click HERE for full details!


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Starts Tuesday and Wednesday January 10th/11th 2017 – Transformation through mindful intention –a three module meditation course

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

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

Ongoing Mondays & Thursdays – Morning integral meditation classes with Toby

Saturday 4th February, 9.30am-1pm – The six Qi gong healing sounds: Qi gong for self-healing & inner balance workshop

Saturday 25th February, 10am-5pm – An Introduction to Meditation from the Perspective of Shamanism
Saturday 4th March, 10am-5pm – Meditation from the Perspective of Shamanism Level 2 – Deeper into the Shamanic journey


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Being mindful of the non-present moment

Dear Integral Meditators,

What if, instead of being mindful of the present moment, you decided instead to be mindful of the non-present moment? The article below explores this theme….

In the spirit of studying the non-present,

Toby


Being mindful of the non-present moment

Trying to stop all the different ways in which your mind moves out and away from the present moment can be tricky, effortful and sometimes discouraging for a lot of people. One technique we can try if our mind is active and intractable is simply to study and observe all the different ways in which our mind is not in the present moment. To put it another way we can meditate on the non-present moment!
For example, if I look at my mind in the moment I can see:

  • There are flashbacks from a movie trailer I saw recently
  • There is a discomfort with the absence of distraction, part of me wants to be distracted
  • There is the knowledge that with the click of a button I could be away from this word document and watching the highlights of the squash ‘tournament of champions’ final last night in New York last night
  • There is the part of my mind planning the way in which I am going to spend my time today
  • …and wondering about what sort of excitement might be in my more distant future
  • My mind is assessing how I can avoid the worst of a head cold bug that seems to have latched onto me
  • The physical discomfort I have makes me want to think of things in the non-present moment to take myself away from the unpleasant feeling…

And so I go on like this, studying closely all of the things that are taking my mind away from the present moment.
Some interesting side effects of this way of being mindful can be:

  • By studying the non-present moment more closely our mind quietens down substantially and becomes more present, without effort on our part
  • We have a strong sense of the non-present activity being in the present moment; it is all happening now. By observing the movement of our mind we become aware that all this non-presence is going on in the broader sphere of the present moment. Consequently, without stilling our mind we find ourselves to have contacted the present moment in a strongly experiential way
  • We discover a lot of things about ourself, and why it is we avoid the present moment. Put another way, our self-knowledge increases.

So this week, if you like spend a few minutes each day being mindful of the non-present moment, either in formal meditation or just when you have a gap.

© Toby Ouvry 2017, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Special 1:1 Coaching Offer at Integral Meditation Asia in January
The beginning of the year can be a great time to spend quality time on getting your mind, body and heart prepared for the challenges you are facing as the year progresses. With this in mind I will be offering a special 20% discount offer on all 1:1 meditation and mindfulness coaching services for the month of January at Integral Meditation Asia. This is a saving of Sing$120 if you book as set of 3x 60minute sessions, or Sing$44 per single session…click HERE for full details!


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Starts Tuesday and Wednesday January 10th/11th 2017 – Transformation through mindful intention –a three module meditation course

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

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

Ongoing Mondays & Thursdays – Morning integral meditation classes with Toby

Saturday 4th February, 2-5.30pm – The six Qi gong healing sounds: Qi gong for self-healing & inner balance workshop

Saturday 25th February, 10am-5pm – An Introduction to Meditation from the Perspective of Shamanism
Saturday 4th March, 10am-5pm – Meditation from the Perspective of Shamanism Level 2 – Deeper into the Shamanic journey


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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Finding inner strength through softness

Dear Integral Meditators,

I’ve had a couple of conversations this week with friends and clients about how much effort it is to meditate and still the mind. The article below explores how to work on stilling the mind with as little effort as possible, using the softness of the body.

In the spirit of softness,

Toby


Finding inner strength through softness

If we understand that our body and mind are co-arising symbiotically together in each moment, then we can start to observe how our thinking affects or body, and how the way in which we hold our body affects our mind. If you come back to your body from time to time in between periods of thinking, you will notice that your thinking has created particular patterns of energy and tension in your body. Those patterns of energy, feeling and tension in turn predispose us to continue thinking in a similar way to the thoughts that created them.
For example, If I have a habit of thinking in an anxious and insecure way about my relationships, then this creates a pattern of energy and feeling in my body that primes my mind to continue thinking in that way.
One simple way to reduce the amount that you think, and break patterns of compulsive thinking is to consciously relax your body so that it is no longer holding the tension of your thinking. You can use this simply to meditate and relax, or to break negative patterns of thinking that are not serving you, doing it whenever you find yourself stuck with compulsive thoughts. The technique is basically very simple; you make your body too soft to hold thoughts. How does this work?

  • As your sitting right now, over the next few out-breaths release tension from your body and feel it becoming soft like cotton, or like a cloud, or like a pillow, or like a feather or like jelly. Make it so soft that it is unable to hold the tension of a thought structure. As soon as a thought arises in your awareness it dissipates and dissolves away because there is no tension in your body to hold the thought.
  • Stay focused on your physical being, making it soft like the body of a baby at rest. As you do so you will observe how this creates a state of mental relaxation, where thoughts have real difficulty sustaining themselves, simply because you are feeling so relaxed and comfortable
  • You may/will notice as you are doing this that there are parts of your body that seem to be holding knots of tension. As you breathe out focus upon softening these specific areas, so that the tension is released.
  • Relax into the feeling of mental spaciousness and comfort arising from the physical softness of your body.

For many of us this technique may take a bit of getting used to because we are not really somatically attuned to our body and its feelings, we are kind of stuck in our head. However, once we start to get a feeling for it, we will discover a very energy efficient, simple and reliable method for being able to step out of our compulsive, habitual thinking mind into a state of presence and relaxation using the softness of our body.

© Toby Ouvry 2017, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Special 1:1 Coaching Offer at Integral Meditation Asia in January
The beginning of the year can be a great time to spend quality time on getting your mind, body and heart prepared for the challenges you are facing as the year progresses. With this in mind I will be offering a special 20% discount offer on all 1:1 meditation and mindfulness coaching services for the month of January at Integral Meditation Asia. This is a saving of Sing$120 if you book as set of 3x 60minute sessions, or Sing$44 per single session…click HERE for full details!


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

3rd & 4th January – New year releasing and inviting meditation

Starts Tuesday and Wednesday January 10th/11th 2017 – Transformation through mindful intention –a three module meditation course

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

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

Ongoing Mondays & Thursdays – Morning integral meditation classes with Toby

Saturday January 14th, 2-5.30pm – Relaxing your way to enlightenment – Regenerative meditations for releasing stress & connecting to your primally awakened state

Saturday 21st January, 9.30am-1pm – The six Qi gong healing sounds: Qi gong for self-healing & inner balance workshop

Saturday 25th February, 10am-5pm – An Introduction to Meditation from the Perspective of Shamanism
Sunday 26th February, 10am-5pm – Meditation from the Perspective of Shamanism Level 2 – Deeper into the Shamanic journey


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Mindfulness; becoming the sculptor of your reality (Plus 1:1 coaching offer in January)

Dear Integral Meditators,
I hope that 2017 has started brightly and mindfully for you! Before I was a meditation teacher I was a sculptor, this weeks article looks at how we can become a ‘sculptor of our life’ through mindfulness.

You’ll see below there is a spacial offer on 1:1 coaching for January. If you are in Singapore, final call for the meditation sessions tonight and tomorrow evening: New year releasing and inviting meditation

In the spirit of sculpting reality,

Toby


Special 1:1 Coaching Offer at Integral Meditation Asia in January
The beginning of the year can be a great time to spend quality time on getting your mind, body and heart prepared for the challenges you are facing as the year progresses. With this in mind I will be offering a special 20% discount offer on all 1:1 meditation and mindfulness coaching services for the month of January at Integral Meditation Asia. This is a saving of Sing$120 if you book as set of 3x 60minute sessions, or Sing$44 per single session…click HERE for full details!


Mindfulness; becoming the sculptor of your reality 

Last night in the early hours of the morning I was experiencing some genuinely unpleasant and dis-orienting jet lag. As a mindfulness practitioner I found myself with several good options:

  • I could recognize that the challenging feelings and thoughts in my body-mind were largely a result of the condition of jet-lag, and dis-identify with them.
  • I could seek out the difficult emotional energies and feelings somatically in my body, progressively recognizing, relaxing and releasing them.
  • I could ‘duck under’ the inner disturbance by moving myself into a ‘thoughtless’ state
  • I could choose to develop a mind of patient appreciation and gratefulness; ‘I am experiencing this jet-lag because I’ve just had a great series of experiences on holiday, how great that I had the freedom and resources for this type of activity (many people don’t!)’

Overall I used a combination of all of the above over the two or so hours that I was awake. What really struck me was how many choices I had to work with, and how relatively easily and effectively I was able to accept and transform my experience as a result of being a mindfulness practitioner.

One way of thinking about mindfulness is as the art of living intentionally and on purpose. It’s about taking responsibility for your experience of reality through your use of choice and attitude, backed up by the ability to put those choices and attitudes into practice in an effective way, especially when you are under real pressure.

Becoming the sculptor of your reality
As an artist I often think of mindfulness practice as being like becoming the conscious sculptor, moulder and producer of your reality. This is as opposed to being formed, sculpted and molded by your circumstances or a victim of the forces and currents surrounding you, which is what happens to many people.
Of course a sculptor has to work with his materials, for example if I am working with a piece of clay I have to understand what it can and can’t do. Similarly, we are all working with different circumstances and forces in our lives; In the example I give above of working with jet-lag I am working with the experience of jet-lag, I am not trying to deny it or wish it away.

A mindful question
With the above in mind, look at what you are experiencing today or right now and ask yourself the question ‘In this situation am I the sculptor of my reality, or am I being sculpted by it?’

Exercise: The sculptor in their workshop
Imagine yourself as a sculptor in your workshop, surrounded by your materials, tools and creations. Perhaps one or two of the sculptures that you see around you are influenced by projects that you are actually working on in your life, both personal and professional. You are the creator, and this is your workshop. Surrounding you are your creations; things that you have worked upon, molded, crafted. Now become aware of your physical reality around you, the challenges you face today, the opportunities you will have. You are the mindful sculptor of your reality, your tools are your awareness, your intention, your motivation & focus, your power to choose and to use your intelligence effectively.

© Toby Ouvry 2017, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

3rd & 4th January – New year releasing and inviting meditation

Starts Tuesday and Wednesday January 10th/11th 2017 – Transformation through mindful intention –a three module meditation course

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

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

Ongoing Mondays & Thursdays – Morning integral meditation classes with Toby

Saturday January 14th, 2-5.30pm – Relaxing your way to enlightenment – Regenerative meditations for releasing stress & connecting to your primally awakened state

Saturday 21st January, 9.30am-1pm – The six Qi gong healing sounds: Qi gong for self-healing & inner balance workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Images of renewal – The body-mind of a newborn

Dear Toby,

It’s the time at the end of one year and the beginning of the next, a good time to focus on our own inner renewal. The article below explores three simple images that we can use to move into a state of unity and renewal using the power of images and the imagination.

Wishing you all the very best for the turn of the year, and the beginning of 2017!

Toby

PS: The new program of classes & workshops for January, check out the list below the article! The class series on Transformation through mindful intention is available both live & online.


Images of renewal – The body-mind of a newborn

Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child’s? *

Much of the basic meditation experience involves creating a unified body-mind, where our mind, body and feelings are in the same place, at the same time. Below are three images that we can use in order to access this state of unified body-mind within ourself. Quite often if we use an image as our point of entry into meditation, it can help us achieve that state of meditative consciousness more quickly by engaging our imagination. When we engage our imagination with a meditation object, then its wanderings cease to become a distraction for us, because the force of our imagination is engaged in the experience of the meditative image it elf. In particular, the three images below are designed to facilitate an experience of renewal and regeneration that we can access during the day, either in a short 1-3 minute exercise, or enter more deeply into during a longer meditation.

The newborn child – Imagine you are a newborn child, resting at ease, perhaps wrapped in a blanket. Your body is completely relaxed. your mind is pure awareness, no thought or concept at all. Because your body is so completely relaxed, and your mind contains no thought, they are experienced as one; the sensory relaxation of the body and the non-moving nature of the mind come together in a state of unity or singularity. Spend a few moments entering into this experience with your imagination sampling what it is like, and noting the way in which your own, adult body-mind start to merge together into a unity quite naturally, and without effort.

The tree in the forest – Imagine a tree in a forest, it can be one you know and are familiar with if you like. Observe the tree in your mind’s eye, sensing its singularity, its deep rootedness and stability, its opening to the sky through its branches. Now imagine yourself as the tree; physically strong, no thought at all within its consciousness, completely at-ease with itself and its environment; all the processes in the tree are done with no thought; the water rises, the sunlight is absorbed, the branches bend in the trees, the birds come and go. The trees body and its consciousness are always one, always here.

The earth – Sense the earth beneath your feet, allow yourself to ‘sink’ down into it, so that perhaps you are about waist or chest deep. sense the vast body of both the earth’s physical mass beneath and around you, as well as the consciousness of the earth; her huge all-embracing presence. The consciousness of the earth and the body of the earth are unified, a single entity. All the thoughts and activities of the humans and other creatures are contained within the body-mind of the earth, but this activity is completely dwarfed and drowned out of your awareness by the overwhelming stability, singularity and presence of the earths unified body-mind; her deep presence. Now experience yourself as the earths unified body-mind; completely singular, strong and stable.

As a final stage to any of these meditations, return to an awareness of your own body-mind, and bring the feeling of unity into it, so that you are able to experience your own body-mind in a state of stability, unity and resilience.

Related article: Renewal

*Quote from Chapter 10 of the Tao te ching by Lao Tsu, Stephen Mitchell translation

© Toby Ouvry 2016, 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

3rd & 4th January – New year releasing and inviting meditation

Starts Tuesday and Wednesday January 10th/11th 2017 – Transformation through mindful intention –a three module meditation course

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

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

Ongoing Mondays & Thursdays – Morning integral meditation classes with Toby

Saturday January 14th, 2-5.30pm – Relaxing your way to enlightenment – Regenerative meditations for releasing stress & connecting to your primally awakened state

Saturday 21st January, 9.30am-1pm – The six Qi gong healing sounds: Qi gong for self-healing & inner balance workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Two meditation gateways

Dear Integral Meditators,

Wishing all in the norther hemisphere a very happy winter solstice, and those in the southern hemisphere a happy summer solstice! As we sit in the middle space between the solstice and Christmas, you might enjoy exploring the two ‘meditation gateways’ that I describe below.

In the spirit of inner doorways,

Toby


Two meditation gateways

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

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

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

Further building your inner gateway, and the self that sits within it
If you like you can further build your experience of this second, inner gateway by giving it beautiful architectural features, perhaps some steps leading up to it, some climbing plants around it, whatever feels right. You might also like to visualize a ‘deeper-self’ or ‘soul-self’, with a body made of light. We can build and visualize this self as something separate from us initially, but then enter into that body and experience ourself as that deeper self, sitting at the threshold between our mind and that which lies beyond our mind…

You might enjoy spending a little time in meditation this week identifying and sitting in these two threshold or gateway spaces, relaxing, regenerating and reflecting as we move toward the end of 2016 and toward the beginning of the new year!

© Toby Ouvry 2016, 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

3rd & 4th January – New year releasing and inviting meditation

Starts Tuesday and Wednesday January 10th/11th 2017 – Transformation through mindful intention –a three module meditation course

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

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

Ongoing Mondays & Thursdays – Morning integral meditation classes with Toby


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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Not over-sharpening your blade (the three ‘uns’)

Dear Integral Meditators,

The article below explores the image of the sharpened blade, and its relevance to the practice of integrated mindfulness.

In the spirit of the blade of the mind,

Toby


Not over-sharpening your blade (the three ‘uns’)

‘Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.’ – Tao Te Ching chapter 9

The fear of being left out and left behind
It seems like there is a lot of pressure upon us these days not to ‘get left behind’ or ‘loose our edge’. In terms of work, in terms of parenting, in terms of our body, health and fitness, looks, education and being educated, pretty much everything. It’s all too easy to find ourself unconsciously running after goals in our life simply because of this fear, without even asking ourselves if it is really serving us to keep running in this way. The problem is that if we keep running in this way, we are going to wear ourselves down and, ironically start to lose our ‘edge’. This is like the ‘over-sharpened blade’ referred to in the quote above from the Tao Te Ching; if we over sharpen a knife, the edge becomes too thin and weak, and so it becomes easier to blunt when we use it. Ideally we sharpen a knife to a point of balance, so that it is sharp, but is also retains appropriate thickness and strength; this is the balance that we are trying to keep in our life.

The need for being blunt to keep our edge
In terms of our own mental, physical, spiritual and emotional edge, if we ‘over-sharpen’ ourselves by not periodically resting, regenerating and slowing the pace enough we (and our mindful intelligence) will become weak due to over use. So what we need to do is create times when we are deliberately resting and allowing ourselves to become ‘blunt’, still and let go of our fear of being left behind. By resting in this way we ‘renew our edge’ and can pursue the goals that are most meaningful to us to the highest degree that we are capable.

Practical points for mindfulness practice; the three ‘uns’

The part of us that fears getting left behind is generally

  • A control freak, wanting to be certain about everything and guaranteed of success
  • Wants to know it all and be an expert, you mustn’t not know, or worse still be seento look like you don’t know
  • It wants to be able to predict the future, take the variables out of the game, to ensure we won’t be left behind!

Consequently, we can practice mindfulness of, and learn to rest in what I call the ‘three uns’ in order to temporarily stop ‘sharpening our blade’ and regenerate our edge. The three uns are uncertainty, unknowing, unpredictability

  • By accepting what you can and can’t control you can rest in the experience of uncertainty, and make a friend of it.
  • By recognizing the current limits of your knowledge, and resting in your sense of unknowing you can overcome your fear of being left behind in terms of knowledge.
  • By temporarily stopping trying to predict the future and opening to the inherent unpredictability of life we can enjoy and find energy from places and spaces where what will happen next is unknown

By cultivating and being mindful of the three ‘uns’ as well as the image of the unsharpened blade, we can release our fear of being left behind, find a space of ease and relaxation where most people would be neurotic and, counter-intuitively, we can keep the blade of our mindful intelligence sustainably both strong and sharp in the long term!

The full verse 9 of the Tao te ching (Steven Mitchell translation)

Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

© Toby Ouvry 2016, 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  – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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How to do walking meditation (plus free ‘Mindful moments’ video course)

Dear Integral Meditators,

This week’s post has two components. The second is a series of five free videos for you to follow along to that I did with the Movement for modern life yoga website in the summer. The first is an article on how to do walking meditation.

In the spirit of mindfulness in the moment,

Toby


The Basic Fundamentals of Walking Meditation

Many people who think of meditation often think of a formal exercise involving sitting still on a chair or cushion with our eyes closed. It can come as a bit of a surprise to such people to find out that walking can be considered a form of meditation practice, and that walking meditation can become a major part of our daily routine, contributing substantially to or overall consciousness development and sense of inner peace and centred-ness. It is well worth investing the time and effort in learning to do walking meditation, as we spend a substantial portion of our day walking from one destination to another, and if we know how to walk in a meditative manner, then time spent walking can become time spent relaxing and meditating!

Walking meditation can be simply defined as any walk that we undertake where we are using the process of walking to develop our mindfulness, awareness of the present moment and other states conducive to inner peace and happiness. Below I describe some very simple walking meditation techniques that can be used by anyone. Be sure to begin your walking meditation with a conscious decision to stop worrying about your personal life, work projects etc., and to focus on enjoying the process of walking in the here and now!

Initial concentration builders:

Method 1
Walking at a pace that is comfortable for you note how many steps it takes you to breathe in and breathe out, then combine your observation of your breathing with your steps. Let’s say it takes you three steps to breathe one in breath and three to breathe out. As you take each step on the inhalation inwardly say to yourself “In”, and as you breathe out with each step say “out”. So the basic pattern in this example would be in, in, in, out, out, out, in, in, in, out, out, out and so on. Try and get yourself into a rhythm use it to keep your attention in the here and now.

Method 2
A simple variation on method one. Let’s stay with the rhythm of three steps in and three steps out. As you breathe in you recite “step, step, focus”, as you breathe out “step, step, relax”. Continue in this way using the last step of the inhalation to prompt yourself to focus, and the last step of the exhalation to prompt you to relax. If you like you can substitute other words for the focus/relax combination, for example here/now, present/awareness, calm/ease. Choose a combination that is effective and pertinent to you!
Method 3
Pick an object a distance in front of you, such as a tree. Then, as you walk toward it, try and be mindful of the tree and of the present moment with each step and each breath that you take. Once you reach the object, relax for a few steps/breaths, then pick out another object in the distance to focus on in the same way. Build your mindfulness based upon your awareness of the physical object, your breathing and your steps.

Once you have a little bit of focus:

Method 1
As you walk and breathe, pick one sense power, such as your hearing or sight. Try and focus on that sense power mindfully, being aware of all the information that is coming into your awareness through that sense door. So, if you choose your hearing for example, try and pick out all the sounds that are available to you, the wind in the trees, the bird calls, the distant waterfall, the traffic, and so on… Pay full attention to this one sense power with each step, try and experience this as if it is the first time that you have heard, seen or felt it.
Method 2
Once you have some experience of method 1, expand your sensory awareness to take in the whole experience of walking in the present moment. With each step and breath try and experience walking in and experiencing the physical and sensory world as if for the first time. Allow time to disappear, so that the full power of the present is able to impact itself upon your being.

© Toby Ouvry 2016, 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


Mindfulness in moments free video course:

Simply click on the links to follow along to a five minute meditation on the following topics. You can experience the entire course in its fullnessfor free simply by clicking on the individual links below:

  1. Mindfulness of the body
  2. Finding focus through mindfulness of the breathing
  3. Mindfully releasing stress
  4. Mindfulness of your thoughts
  5. Cultivating stillness

A little more on the mindfulness in moments course:
Perhaps you’re completely new to mindfulness, or perhaps you’ve always been meaning to give it a go. Perhaps you’re just curious to know what it means and what’s the difference between mindfulness and meditation anyway? Either way, meditation and mindfulness teacher, Toby Ouvry, is here to help.
The Mindful in Moments Challenge is designed to help anyone get started and begin reaping the benefits of a daily mindfulness practice. Mindfulness can help you to find inner peace, deal with stress and empower yourself to gain control over how you experience your reality.
Our minds are always focused on something, it’s just a case of whether that is causing us to feel happy and balanced or disconnected and unhappy.  Learn to use mindfulness to become aware of where your mind is going in just 5 minutes a day!


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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The resilience of gentleness

Dear Integral Meditators,

When you think about inner strength and resilience, what sort of qualities come to mind? This weeks article is one that I wrote at the beginning of 2015, observing how strength can be mindfully derived from cultivating a connection to gentleness.

For those in Singapore, final call for Saturday afternoons workshop on Mindful Resilience – Sustaining effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure through meditation and mindfulness all welcome!
Also, for everyone, wherever you are, its not too late to start participating in the Resilience through love online and live mindfulness course.

In the spirit of gentle strength,

Toby


The resilience of gentleness

One of the ‘meditation words’ I have taken for this year is self-care. Normally I take 2-3 words and focus upon them over the course of a year and let the themes and mysteries within them gradually reveal themselves. Meditation means to dwell deeply, so staying with just one, two or three words for a year and spending time each day investigating them deeply can be a beautiful and rewarding meditation practice!
One of the things that I have observed about focusing upon and trying to practice self-care each day is that each time I take the time to do a little self-care, I start to feel a little more inwardly resilient; it becomes a little easier to feel happy, a little easier to be benevolent to others, a little easier to acknowledge and face the challenges in my life I might want to wish away.
This is one of the interesting things about developing a quality; when we develop it we find that we start to simultaneously develop its opposite quality in a way in which we may not have expected. Gentleness gives rise to strength; stillness gives rise to dynamism; focus gives rise to relaxation. This week or over the next few days, if you like, try doing something each day that is a deliberate and appropriate expression of self-care. See how you can grow your inner resilience by using the method of gentleness.

© Toby Ouvry 2016, 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 from November – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

3rd December, 2-5pm – Mindful Resilience three hour workshop

Saturday December 10th 9.30am-12.30pm – An introduction to mindful walking & meditation workshop
Saturday December 10th 2pm-5.30pm – Living life from your inner center – Meditations for going with the flow of the present moment


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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