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.

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 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:

JANUARY 2016

Ongoing on Wednesday’s (Jan 13th, 20th) 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday January 16th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Transforming Your Stress into Happiness – Meditation & mindfulness for cultivating a state of optimal flow in your mind, body, heart and life – A three hour workshop

Saturday, January 30th, 2.30-5.30pm  – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – A Three Hour Workshop

Starts 4th February – Transforming Stress into Happiness – An Introduction to Integral Mindfulness Meditation – A Five Week On line Course

Click the link to find out about the special 1:1 meditation and mindfulness coaching offer in January!


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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Transforming Stress into Happiness – An Introduction to Integral Mindfulness Meditation – A Five Week Online Course

Carrier ShellStarting: Thursday February 4th

Up until 19th February catch the special early bird price, see below!

In a sentence: Learn a simple, powerful series of mindfulness meditation techniques to enhance your quality of life, sense of inner wellbeing and transform stress and difficulties into causes of happiness.

Course overview:  This is a five module online course starting onThursday February 4th that aims to provide you with practical, streetwise mindfulness techniques that you can start using right away to transform the way you experience your reality, improve the quality of your relationships and increase your work effectiveness.

An outline of each of the course modules:

Module one introduces you to the basic mindful flow state and how you can use it to cultivate and improve your focus, concentration and inner peace

Module two shows you how you can find progressively deeper levels of freedom from stress and tension using mindfulness

Module three focuses upon techniques for increasing your mental positivity when under pressure

Module four looks at how you can deal with difficult emotions more effectively, even learning to transform them in to positive ones

Module five looks at how you can connect and cultivate deeper levels of inner stillness through the use of simple mindful visualization skills

In each module you will receive:

  • A written article by Toby explaining the mindfulness technique clearly, its practical applications and relevance to your daily life
  • A ten minute guided MP3 mindfulness meditation on the module topic

How it works:

After purchasing the course, each Thursday starting on 4th January you will be sent an email with the module article and a link to download the MP3 meditation recording. You can then read the article and listen to the recording in your own time. It is as simple as that!

How much does it cost?

The cost of the course is US$49, but there are two early bird promotions:

Up until 19th February it can be purchased for US$29

From 20th-29th February it can be purchased for $39 after which time the price will be fixed at $49

PURCHASE THE INTEGRAL MINDFULNESS ONLINE COURSE SPECIAL EARLY BIRD PRICE OF US$29 VIA PAYPAL HERE

Any questions or further enquiries contact info@integralmeditationasia.com

******

Toby Ouvry bw (142 x 196)About the teacher, Toby Ouvry

Toby has a BA Hons degree in Fine Art from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Subsequent to his degree, Toby spent ten years doing his foundational training in meditation and mindfulness, specializing in the Tibetan Tradition which included five years as an ordained Buddhist monk.

He has been practicing and teaching mindfulness & meditation for over nineteen years. As the founder and principle facilitator at Integral Meditation Asia he delivers mindfulness programs to both the public and corporate sectors. His clients include both government organizations in Singapore as well as numerous SME’s and MNC’s. He is a meditation and mindfulness blogger, and the author and creator of over fifteen practical workshops and courses on the subject.

In his teaching, facilitating and coaching he combines practical mindfulness and meditation techniques from three sources:

  • the world’s great wisdom traditions
  • cutting edge practices that are currently emerging from both the integral and evolutionary consciousness movements
  • His own practical and creative experience

Toby is also an artist and entrepreneur. As such his presentation of mindfulness reflects a strong interest in both how it can be linked to work performance and engagement, as well as stimulating more deeply the innate capacity for creative intelligence found within both individuals and groups.

You can find out more about Toby’s work on meditation, mindfulness and integral living by going to www.integralmeditationasia.com, to read his mindful blog writings go to www.tobyouvry.com

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Don’t Let Difficult Feelings Become Negative Thoughts

Dear Integral Meditators,

When you are feeling bad, its easy to think negative. The article below explains how to use mindfulness to stop difficult feelings becoming negative thoughts in your mind.

In the spirit of the journey,

Toby


Don’t Let Difficult Feelings Become Negative Thoughts

At the moment I have jet lag, which means that I wake up feeling groggy and dis-oriented, and when I lie down to sleep I have been spending some hours wide awake. The dis-orientation from the jet lag produces a lot of difficult, turgid, feelings which, if I let them could very quickly start to produce negative thoughts, which in turn would start to generate full blown negative emotions. So, here my basic object of mindfulness is to be attentive to the fact that I am experiencing a lot of difficult feelings in my body due to the jetlag, and simply focus on noting them as feelings, and not letting them escalate into something else. This is the basic practice of not letting difficult feelings become negative emotions.

Similarly, if I am with someone who is irritated or upset, and they start to direct it at me, then I experience a difficult or unpleasant feeling as a result. If I don’t watch out, then I’m going to find my mind creating a lot of negative thinking around that feeling and the other person’s action, so I will suffer more than I need to, and may do something that I regret.

There are many other situations where we may find difficult energy around us:

  • On the commute home when there is a lot of ambient irritability in the minds and bodies of the commuters
  • When things aren’t going our way at work or in our relationships
  • When we are ill or fatigued
  • When we are upset or anxious regarding change or uncertainty
  • When we feel disapproved of by ourself or others

The list goes on, but the main thing is that if we can catch difficult feelings and energies within us early enough through mindfulness, then we can save ourself a lot of pain by making a conscious choice not to let difficult energies we face trigger negative thinking.

Awareness of feelings and energies
A lot of progress in this art and discipline involves simply greater awareness of the energies and feelings that you are experiencing in the moment. What you are aware of you can start to exert benevolent control over, what you are not aware of can easily mushroom into a cloud of negativity before you really know it. So a really basic mindfulness exercise is simply to ask yourself regularly ‘How am I feeling?’ and use this question to direct your awareness mindfully to what is there in the present moment.

Difficult feelings need only be that, they don’t need to become negative thoughts.
© Toby Ouvry 2014, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Wave Breathing

Dear Integral Meditators ,

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

Toby & Integral Meditation Asia

 


Wave Breathing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Experiencing the Mind as the Mind

Dear Toby ,

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

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

Toby & Integral Meditation Asia


Experiencing the Mind as the Mind

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

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

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

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

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

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


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia 

JANUARY 2016

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


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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Mindful of: Your Relationship to Giving and Receiving

Dear Integral Meditators,

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

In the spirit of giving and receiving,

Toby

 


Mindful of: Your Relationship to Giving and Receiving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Dear Integral Meditators,

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

In the spirit of flow,

Toby


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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

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

 

Soul Portrait Nov 2015 - name cropped

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