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Concentration creative imagery Integral Meditation Meditation techniques Mindful Self-Leadership Presence and being present

Meditating cold turkey (quality over quantity)

“Short ‘power meditations’ train our mind to focus quickly on the tasks immediately at hand in our life. This in turn helps us to achieve the goals that we have set ourself, save time and get more out of the opportunities that we have each day”

Dear <<First Name>>,

My article below  explores how you can sometimes make your mediation time shorter, but to good effect, particularly around stilling your mind. If you enjoy it, then here’s the final call for the
mini-retreat this Saturday: Mindfulness meditation for mastering & stilling the mind  on Saturday. If you are really master your ability to still your mind, then this is the session to go for!

In the spirit of cold-turkey,

Toby

 


Meditating ‘Cold Turkey’

With regards to meditation it is best to get in to good habits as soon as possible. One of the main good habits that we are trying to develop right from the outset of our practice is discipline and focus. This means that once we have sat down on our meditation seat we are entirely focused on the job at hand and do not allow our mind to be knocked off course by distractions, no matter how much they may be nagging us. To this end it can sometimes be better to focus on the quality of our meditation practice rather than the quantity. Five minutes of really focused and applied meditation is worth more than twenty minutes where our application is half hearted, and our mind spends 70% of the time distracted.

To this end here is a five minute meditation where we practice stopping our thoughts ‘Cold Turkey’:
Sit comfortably with a naturally straight back, have a watch or other timing device handy.
Take a few deep breaths, center yourself, then imagine that the past and future dissolve away, only the present remains.
Be aware of the inner voice in your mind that is talking pretty much all of the time in our waking life, take about 1 minute to watch it and listen to it, ensuring that you do not get identified with it.
Using your watch or countdown timer, now begin a period of five minutes where you are 100% focused, and your only task is to let go of your thoughts and stop thinking. Imagine that the thoughts and images in your mind are like a TV, as soon as a thought or an image appears, inwardly press the ‘off’ button on your inner remote control, and let go of the thought, return your mind to zero, no thought.
For the five minutes that you have given yourself, apply yourself to this task with total commitment. No ifs and no buts, your only job is to keep alert, be fully present and stop thinking. You are not asking yourself to be perfect, but you are committing yourself to really applying yourself for this short time to do the very best you can. Initially you may get knocked off track a few times, but if you do it regularly with real application, you will find that your ability will improve substantially in a short period.
Once the five minutes is up, spend a final minute relaxing and observe the space that you have created in your mind through your efforts. When you bring the meditation to a close, be sure to congratulate yourself, for that short time you can say with your hand on your heart that you gave it your all!

As well as creating good meditation habits, this form of ‘power meditation’ also trains our mind to focus quickly on the tasks immediately at hand in our life. This in turn helps us to achieve the goals that we have set ourself, save time and get more out of the opportunities that we have each day.

Related articleMental mastery – re-discovering joy in your thinking

Article © Toby Ouvry 2021, 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


In case you missed the last article: Resilience thru acceptance – matching your expectation with your reality

If we take a working definition of resilience as the ability to bounce back quickly from setbacks and obstacles (or apparent setbacks and obstacles), then what are the most important things to be aware of to get good at it? In this article I’m going to be exploring the role of empowered acceptance in competent resilience….
Read full article


Saturday 17th April, 2.15-5.15pm –Mindfulness meditation for mastering & stilling the mind Mini-retreat
In a sentence: Develop the mindful skills that will enable your mental health and wellbeing to thrive, and how to still and focus our mind. Make your mind a source of quiet confidence & cease feeling overwhelmed by mental over-activity and busyness.

Overview: Would you like to:

  • Develop ways of working with your mind that will enable it and you to thrive?
  • Learn how you can connect to an inner stillness that is able to withstand the stresses and strains of your daily life, helping you stop feeling mentally & emotionally overwhelmed?
  • Feel as if you are in control of your mind, rather than it controlling you?

Read full write up…


Life-fullness – The Integral Life-Coaching Program with Toby

Are you looking a coach who can help you to:

  • Meet the challenges, stress and changes that you face in a more effective and mindful way
  • Become happier within yourself, in your relationships and at work
  • Be actively accountable for finding a sense of balance/well-being in your life and fulfilling your personal potential?
  • Guide you to find and operate from a deeper sense of meaning, motivation and connectivity in your life?
Read full details

All upcoming classes and workshops for at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Starts Tuesday/Wednesday evening February 23rd/24th – Meditations for thriving and energy creation amidst Covid – A seven week course

Saturday 17th April, 2.15-5.15pm – Mindfulness meditation for mastering & stilling the mind – Masterclass & Mini-retreat

Tuesday 27th & Wednesday 28th April – Live & Online Monthly Full Moon Meditation & Manifestation Session

Saturdays 8th & 22nd May, 3-5pm – Mindful Parenting – Practical Techniques for Bringing Awareness, Appreciation and Enjoyment to the Experience of Parenting


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Concentration Enlightened Flow Integral Meditation Meditation techniques Presence and being present

Meditation – Dwelling deeply

“Meditation is an activity where we deliberately go deeper than we usually would into a subject by focusing on it for an extended period”

Dear Integral Meditators,

What is meditation and how do you do it? This weeks article looks at one paradigm for answering this question!
In the spirit of seeking, finding and abiding,

Toby

 

 

 

 


Meditation – Dwelling deeply

If someone asks you a profound question about your life that you feel like you need to think about, you might say “Let me go away and meditate on it for a while”. This use of language illustrates one main aspect of meditation, which is that it is an activity where we deliberately go deeper than we usually would into a subject by focusing on it for an extended period. From this point of view meditation is the process of learning how to “dwell deeply on things”.

Seeking, finding, abiding, remaining
When I was a Buddhist monk, this was one simple formula that I was taught. In order to meditate on an something you need to do four things:

  1. Seek it out – If you want to dwell deeply on the breathing, you first need to notice it and see it clearly. If you want to meditate on love for others, you need to know what you mean by love, and then look to bring to mind things that generate it. If you want to meditate on self-acceptance, you need to define what you mean by it, and then look for the state of acceptance. You first need to seek the thing that you want to meditate upon.
  2. Finding – As a result of seeking your meditation object, sooner or later you will “find” it. Once you have found the breathing, or the feeling of love, or the sense of self-acceptance (etc…) you have the thing that you want to meditate upon.
  3. Abiding – Now that you have your object of meditation, the task is to stay with it! To keep your attention on it with as little distraction as possible, and go deeply into your experience of it. For example, in the case of self-acceptance, you are staying with the feeling of accepting yourself, working to make it not just an intellectual recognition, but something that you can feel viscerally in your body. Make it something that you experience as a part of who you are, not just an intellectual recognition or abstract idea!
  4. Remaining – As you attempt to keep your attention ‘abiding’ on your object, you will find your attention wanting to wander. ‘Remaining’ is the process and discipline or resisting that wandering mind and, when you do get distracted, bringing your attention back to the meditation object. Occasionally you might get so distracted that you have to go back to ‘seeking and finding’ for a bit in order to re-generate the object in your minds eye.

So then, basically any meditation session involves using all four of these stages to find and dwell deeply upon the thing that you wish to meditate on and with. With this process you can learn to build concentration, develop qualities and states of mind more strongly than others, and investigate deeply any area of your life. Once you have sat down to meditate, in any moment you are either seeking, finding, abiding or remaining. Abiding is the main activity, with the other three acting as supports for this main one!

Related articleIntention, dedication, meditation

Article content © Toby Ouvry & Integral Meditation Asia 2020. you are welcome to share, but please cite the source, thanks! Contact info@tobyouvry.com


Introduction to Integral Meditation & Mindfulness Practice – A four-week course

This is both a Live & Livestream, four-week course

Overview: Integral Meditation Practice (IMP) is a different kind of mind-body training, that aims to provide optimal inner peace, centeredness, energy and insight for the contemporary meditation practitioner. It combines eastern and western forms of practice, as well as ancient and modern ones into a series of integrative practices. The practices enable the meditator to remain resilient, energized and creative in the face of the multi-faceted challenges of modern life. These four classes give an introduction to IMP, in a simple, accessible manner.

The course modules:

Tues 12th, Weds 13th Jan, Module 2 – Integral Meditation Practice 1: Simplicity, awareness, positivity, creativity (NoteWednesday class for Module 2 is online only)

Tues 19th, Weds 20th Jan, Module 3 – Integral Meditation Practice 2: Building a mind of ease, relaxation and wellbeing

Tues 26th, Weds 27th Jan, Module 4 – How to create your own integral meditations! (NoteWednesday class for Module 4 is online only)
Read full details


Saturday 9th & 23rd January – Shamanic meditation Masterclass and Mini-retreat

In a sentence: Learn how to practice the fundamentals of the most ancient meditation tradition on the planet in a clear, practical and concise manner, and understand its relevance and value to you and the challenges that you face in your life.

  • The Masterclass on the 9th January will give an overview and introduce some simple but profound shamanic practices
  • The Mini-retreat on the 23rd will be a deeper dive into Shamanic meditation practices

Read full details


Life-fullness – The Integral Life-Coaching Program with Toby

Are you looking a coach who can help you to:

  • Meet the challenges, stress and changes that you face in a more effective and mindful way
  • Become happier within yourself, in your relationships and at work
  • Be actively accountable for finding a sense of balance/well-being in your life and fulfilling your personal potential?
  • Guide you to find and operate from a deeper sense of meaning, motivation and connectivity in your life?
Read full details

All upcoming classes and workshops for at IMA in January:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Starts Tuesday 5/6th January – Introduction to Integral Meditation & Mindfulness Practice – A four-week course

Saturday 9th & 23rd January – Shamanic meditation Masterclass and Mini-retreat


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Increasing to Your Inner Strength – Eight Ways

Dear Integral Meditators,

Want to know how you can go about systematically developing and increasing your inner strength? The article below considers eight ways!

If you are in Singapore and around on Wenesday July 22nd 7.30-9pm  then do consider joining us for the meditation class Integral Meditation Session @ Basic Essence – Meditating with your inner strength of heart & mind. It will be a whole 60-90minute meditation session dedicated to this topic. Click the link for full details!

In the spirit of inner strength,

Toby


Increasing to Your Inner Strength – Eight Ways

Below are eight aspects of inner strength that we all have to a greater or lesser degree, and we can all develop more of through mindful intention. If you like you can pick the one that resonates most for you from the list below and focus on developing it specifically each day in your life for one week. If you enjoy that, then you can pick another and do the same. Do one week for each point below and you have your own two month course on developing your inner strength right there!

1. The strength of relaxation and regeneration – Regularly ensure that you are connecting to your own experience of relaxation and your sources of regeneration. Then no matter how busy life gets you will find yourself able to cope with what arises; you will be able to ‘bend but not break’ as the saying goes. That strength comes from relaxation is a very deep lesson for us all.

2. The strength of intention and clarity – Why are you doing what you are doing? What motivates you in life? What is the most meaningful use to which you can put your time today? The greater the clarity of the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ you have in your life, the more solid and resilient you mind will be.

3. The strength of willpower and focus – Place your mind on one thing at a time and get it done, then focus on the next thing and do the same, rest where necessary, keep your eye on the prize.
These first three inner strengths are a bit of a holy trinity; the more you integrate them together the more they support each other

4. The strength of economy and pacing – Don’t use more energy than you need to to get things done. Select the right ‘speed’ at which to do any given task. Sometimes going fast is required, other times going slowly is better. Mindfully develop the skill of how to do more with less.

5. The strength of feeling supported – We are all supported and loved by our close family and friends. If you make the effort to KNOW that every day and receive their energy and support (without shifting responsibility to them, your life is your responsibility) then we will feel inwardly stronger and (ironically) more autonomous.

6. The strength of being connected and fed by the limitless – Go to that place within you that is beyond your mind, beyond the thinking state; allow its limitless energy to feed your body, mind and heart. This is the ‘meditation’ aspect of point 1 above.

7. The strength of leveraging on the strengths that you have already – In your life you have already developed inner strengths, resilience and capabilities; what are they? Make a list of them and leverage on these already present inner strengths each day. Often you don’t have to re-invent the wheel; you just need to remember what you are capable of.

8. The strength of creativity and imagination – When you are in a place where you have tried everything you know and you are at the limits of your inner resources, then sometimes you have to imagine your way out, learn to do something that we have never done before. Sometimes what the capable, rational adult in us cannot figure out the playful child can! For best results let the playful child and the rational adult within you get together each day, compare notes and support each other.
A final aspect of inner strength no.8; what symbols, images, figures and metaphors come to mind when you think about the words ‘inner strength’? A picture speaks a thousand words!

© 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 1st July-1st August:

Saturday 18th July, 2.30-5.30 pm – Mindful Resilience – Sustaining effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure through meditation and mindfulness – A Three Hour Workshop

Wenesday July 22nd 7.30-9pm – Integral Meditation Session @ Basic Essence – Meditating with your inner strength of heart & mind

Wednesday July 29th 7.30-9pm – Integral Meditation Session @ Basic Essence – Meditation for connecting to a positive attitude

Saturday 1st August, 9.30am-12.30pm – Finding Simplicity in the Complexity: An Introduction to Meditation From the Perspective of Zen

Saturday 1st August, 2.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self – A Three Hour Workshop

Friday 14th August, 7.30-9pm –  Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre


Integral Meditation Asia

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Concentration creative imagery Enlightened Flow Inner vision

The River of Concentration

Dear Integral Meditators,

Ever sit down to meditate but just get completely overwhelmed by your distractions? The article below explores an image that I use myself to gradually move from busyness to stillness in meditation, not trying to get there too fast.

If you are in Singapore, do check out the Integral Meditation Class on Developing Focus and Concentration that I will be leading this Friday at 7.30pm, and the Integral Meditation Workshop on Saturday the 11th.

In the spirit of the river of concentration,

Toby


The River of Concentration

One of the challenges that we face in meditation is that when we sit down to try and calm our mind we become discouraged when we cannot move it from a busy state to a state of stillness. One of the reasons for this is that we try and do it all at once, like going from running to standing with no ‘slowing down’ period in between. In this article we use the stages of a river as an image that we can use to gradually and incrementallyslow our mind down in meditation, moving from activity to stillness in four stages. In this analogy we take as our object of meditation the body and breathing in combination with the stages of a river.

The highland stream
When we first sit down to meditate at the beginning of our session, our mind is often busy and fast moving like a highland stream coming down from a mountain. The gradient creates a natural momentum that means the water moves fast. At this stage in our meditation we expect the mind to move quickly away from our point of focus, and for us to have to bring our attention back to our body and breathing again and again. This is natural, normal.

The lowland stream
As we get a few minutes into our meditation, we can consciously start to relax and slow down our mind so that it becomes like a lowland stream or river; we can still feel the flow, momentum and activity, but it is not as fast as previously. Our efforts to keep our attention on the breathing and the body are easier and we achieve more consistency.

The valley river
In this third stage we consciously slow our mind down another small increment so that it becomes like a valley river; the movement is slower, more consistent, more predictable. Even though the movement is there, we can hold our attention on the body and the breathing relatively easily and consistently, and when we get distracted we can bring our attention and focus back comparatively easily.

The estuary river
Deeper into out session we now slow down our mind another increment, it becomes like an estuary river; a river flowing at its slowest and deepest. Here we sense our concentration deepening and moving toward stillness. The distracting currents are less and less, and the efforts to keep our mind focused on our body and breathing are easier. The main distractions we face here are relatively subtle ‘daydream’ type movements of the mind that come from the sense of mental comfort and subtlety that we are experiencing. We can feel our mind moving towards a ‘merged’ state; in the same way that the estuary river merges with the great openness of the ocean, we can feel our mind and concentration moving us toward a unitive state of inner openness and spacious awareness.

Outside of meditation
Outside of meditation you can bear the above analogy in mind; when your mind feels like a highland stream, gently slow it down so that it becomes like a lowland stream in order to reduce your stress. Whatever the ‘speed’ of the river of your mind, at regular intervals during the day just mindfully slow it down to the next stage when you need to be a little more reflective and mindful.

Related Articles: The Inner Weather of the Mind
Shifting Down the Gears – On Meditation and Power Napping
How Much Energy Should You Focus on Focus on Being Focused?

© 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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How Much Energy Should You Focus on Being Focused?

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would the effect upon your life be if you spent even a short period of time each day developing your ability to focus your mind single pointedly on just one thing? The article below asks this question and encourages us to take up the practice of mindful focusing!

Yours in the comfort and confidence of single-pointedness,

Toby


How Much Energy Should You Focus on Being Focused?

One of the central skills of meditation and mindfulness is the development of concentration which, simply defined is the ability to focus your mind on one object or task for an extended period. To develop it takes consistent effort. Some of the pay offs from this effort are as follows:

  • The more rapid attainment of inner peace and calm though meditation
  • A strong and enduring mind that is able to bear stress well
  • A heightened investigative intelligence; you can look at things more deeply when you can focus properly
  • Getting more done in your workday; if you can focus on one thing at a time, focusing on each one thing in turn you will get more done, and what you get done will be of better quality
  • Your relationships will improve due to your capacity to focus on other people and really listen to what they are saying or trying to communicate (*see note at bottom)

If we think about the benefits above, then we will start to develop a strong motivation to develop our focus and concentration skills. So how do you begin? Here are a few ideas:

  • In your daily sitting meditation practice, devote at least three minutes of that time to really honing your ability to focus on one thing single pointedly. Three minutes following the breathing or focusing on your body awareness are the most simple. If you are reading this and don’t have a daily meditation practice, 3 minutes on the breathing to develop your focus and concentration is where you can start!
  • For at least one task in your working day, take a 30minute period and focus on that one task single-pointedly, resisting all distractions (for example as I am doing with this article now). During this time keep on task, focus, focus focus, resist distraction, train yourself to concentrate!
  • When you are with someone and they are talking, train yourself to really listen to what they are saying. Use the people you meet as your objects of focus. If not all of the time, some of the time.
  • Distraction alert! I almost just clicked on my web browser as I paused between sentences. Developing focus is dependent upon being alert, mindful alertness is your tool for developing concentration!
  • When you are exercising, focus on awareness of the physical movement of your body, don’t let your mind wonder all over as you are doing your physical training.

So there are a few ideas to get started, you can invent a few more of your own as well if you like. The main thing is that a little bit of concentration and focus training practised daily will translate into multiple and cumulative benefits for us, so let’s get started today!

* (Please note the last two benefits are transferable skills; that is to say that it is possible to transfer the focus and concentration you develop in meditation into your work and relationship. Some meditators do not transfer this skill very well into their work or social skills, and so are not especially work effective and can be still totally relationally dysfunctional!)

Related articles: Five Inner Skills we develop Through Meditation
The Five Stages of Meditation Practice from Beginners to Advanced
Mindful Work effectiveness Secrets (From an Ex-Monk) 


Integral Meditation Asia

 

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Concentration Integral Meditation Life-fullness Meditation and Psychology Mindful Confidence Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership Mindfulness Motivation and scope Presence and being present

Mindful Work Effectiveness Secrets (From an Ex-Monk)

Dear Integral Meditators,

Coming to the world of business from being a monk was not easy for me. The article below explains a bit about how I started to use what I had learned as a monk to become effective in my daily work as a business person running my own company.

Yours in the spirit of the timelessly time-effective,

Toby


Mindful Work Effectiveness Secrets (From an Ex-Monk)

How can you get a lot done at your work without getting over-stressed or exhausted? And how can you do this not just in the short term, but over a long period of time?
When I left my life as a Buddhist monk and went into my own business I actually found it very difficult to pace myself well. There were so many things that I had to do, that I had to learn, it all felt a bit overwhelming. I found myself going through periods of intensive working, then burning out, then getting emotionally discouraged and then procrastinating/wasting time that I could be spending productively. I’m sure you have an idea of what I mean, it is a very human experience!

Make like a Buddhist monk  – Split your day into six sessions
I found a really helpful solution to my challenge by looking at the way in which I used to structure my day as a Buddhist monk. As a monk  my waking hours would be split into 6 parts, two in the morning, two in the afternoon and two in the evening/ at night. During each session we would begin with a prayer and a few minutes of mindfulness, and then return to our allotted tasks. Using this basic template I applied it to my working day, but in a slightly different way.
My day is still divided into six parts, but each section is only one hour long. In that one hour I spend 45minutes focusing really intensively on one work task; emails, accounts, writing articles, marketing etc… At the end of 45 minutes I then spend the remaining 15minutes relaxing; doing some stretching, getting a coffee, doing a few minutes mindfulness, generally re-finding my centre and balance.

Achieve something in each session
In each session I come out having really worked in an intensive way, and feeling like I have achieved something. Because of the focus I bring to it, the work itself feels like a meditation practice, with the object of mindfulness being the work itself. It also helps me deal with stress because in that period I am not thinking about my life or work as a whole, but just the process of achieving that task.
There is a saying in the texts that I used to study as a monk ‘small drops of water in a pot will eventually make it full’. Each of my 45 minute sessions is spent just focusing on the ‘pot’ of my business, putting in drops one after the other gradually making it full.

Each session does not have to be about work
During the 15 minutes at the end of each session, I get back in touch with how I am feeling. If I sense that my body-mind is getting close to exhaustion, I make a point of taking one of my sessions off, that is to say 45 minutes of deliberate relaxation, meditation, soializing or sleep. There is also plenty of time around each of the sessions to do other things
Sometimes of course the pattern breaks down, I go out for an evening with friends, I spend the morning with my daughter at the swimming pool, I have a meeting that goes overtime. But as soon as I return to my routine I am always thinking about my day in terms of these six periods, and how to use that structure to do some focused, productive work.

So now you know how an ex-monk structures his time using a mindful, process-focused approach that he find helps him achieve more. You might like to try it out, or a variation of it that will work for you!

Related Article: From Distraction to Intuitive Imagination (Meditation secrets for running a business)

Check out the Mindful Goals Coaching with Toby

© 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

 

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Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Life-fullness Mindful Resilience Mindfulness Shadow meditation Stress Transformation

Your Inner Fitness Trainers

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would happen if you treated the most difficult people and circumstances in your life as ‘inner fitness trainers’? This weeks article explores this theme and mindfulness practice.

Yours in the spirit of the useful in the difficult,

Toby


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia :

March courses nearly ready!!


Your Inner Fitness Trainers

The function of a good physical fitness trainer is to push you to the limits of your physical flexibility, strength and stamina in a safe and secure way by giving you specific physical tasks and challenges to focus upon.
If we are serious about our own inner mindfulness training, then we should be looking at the people or circumstances we find most difficult and challenging in our life as being like our inner fitness trainers. Their function is to push us to the limits of our mental, emotional and spiritual flexibility, strength and stamina by giving us specific challenges that push us to those limits.

But the people and circumstances in life that are hurting me aren’t trying to help!
When you are being trained by a (good) coach physically you engage in the exercises they set for you because you understand that they are trying to help. But people giving you a hard time in my life aren’t trying to help, nor is the illness that you have! So there is a conscious choice that you are making here to adopt people and circumstance as your trainers, despite their bad intentions, or despite the unfairness of the circumstances. It is a personal, empowering choice you make based around a recognition of the benefit that can be gained from adopting such a perspective.

Get clarity – How and for what are these people/circumstances helping me?
Pick the top three most difficult and/or unpleasant circumstances that you are going through right now; the ones that make you manifestly uncomfortable, or inwardly scream at the unfairness of it all. List them and then answer these two questions with regard to each one:

  • How is this person or circumstance helping me to develop, expand and strengthen  my mind and consciousness?
  • What is the specific approach and perspective that I need to keep in mind when I am with this person or dealing with this circumstance that will help me transform them into an ‘inner mind trainer’ for me?

The answer to these two questions gives you your basic mindfulness practice for each of your specific challenges. If you focus your awareness, intention and attention mindfully upon these questions, you may be surprised at how quickly and creatively you can come up with approaches that you can start to work with right away.

Feeling thankful
These days most of us have heard of the idea of a gratitude log or journal; a notebook where we keep a list of all the things that we appreciate and feel grateful for in our life. If you can start integrating your ‘inner fitness training’ into your daily mindfulness practice, then you may find yourself able to add the worst people in your life and the most difficult challenges that you face to your own gratitude log!

Find out about Toby’s Stress Transformation Coaching

Related Article: A Butterfly in the Wind

© 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



I-Awake Track of the Month –
Anahata The Heart Center
 

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(Good until Feb 28, 2015)
Sample this beautiful, heart opening music and allow it to deepen your connection to Spirit, to your loved ones, to yourself.

Discount Coupon Code:
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Click on the link to listen to the free sample track


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Happiness is Getting What You Want?

Dear Integral Meditators,

The article below explores the idea of mindfulness in relations to our wants and desires and how being mindful of what we want can make a huge difference in relation to our personal happiness.

Yours in the spirit of getting what you really want,

Toby


Happiness is Getting What You Want?

What is it that makes you happy? You can read a lot of books on this topic, but from a mindfulness perspective the best way to investigate this is to observe from your own experience the things that make you happy and the things that make you unhappy, and then proceed to do more of the former and less of the latter.
But it goes a bit deeper than that; as Zig Zagglar said “The chief cause of unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now”. From this we can start to understand (and see from our own experience) that getting what we want in the short term can be a huge obstacle to getting what we really deeply want in the long term.

  • We can put off the difficult conversation with our partner/spouse because we want peace in the short-term, but the long term consequences of doing this repeatedly will leave us with (and possibly stuck in) a relationship that we don’t want to be in
  • We can take the job that brings us cash in the short term, but it takes all the time and energy that we need to start the business that we really want to do in the long term
  • We want and desire to change our body weight/shape/fitness, but we continually become distracted from our long term desire by our short term appetites for unhealthy food
  • We deeply want to find a relationship, but we keep giving into our short term desire for safety and non-embarrassment, so we never ask someone out

And so it goes on….

Focusing on what you want and desire as a mindfulness practice
So a really good daily object of mindfulness is the question “What do I truly, deeply want and desire in my life?” Sit with this question for a minute or two. Maybe write down the answer.
Then ask yourself the question “What step, big or small can I take today to move toward that goal?” Follow up your answer to this second question. If you like do this exercise for a month, see what changes.

Each day in unconscious and imperceptible ways we sacrifice our deepest long term desires and wants for short term convenience and small time wish-fulfilment. If you practice being mindful of what you really want, and honour the wisdom that starts to come forth from your heart when you do, you will find that your life will become happier. Not easier, happier.

Related article: Mindful of our conflicting desires

© 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

 


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A Mind of Ease Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Motivation and scope Presence and being present

Motivating Yourself to Meditate Part 2 – Meeting Your Deeper & Higher Needs Through Meditation

Dear Integral Meditators,

This is the second in the series of ‘Motivating yourself to meditate’ articles, you can read the first HERE if you have not done so already.

In the spirit of enjoying our deeper and higher selves,

Toby


Motivating Yourself to Meditate Part 2 – Meeting Your Deeper & Higher Needs Through Meditation

In the first in this series of articles on motivating yourself to meditate I took a look at how it is that meditation can help us to meet some of our basic needs, or needs 1-3 in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I this article I want to look at how meditation helps us to start to satisfy our “higher” needs; specifically needs 4-6 of Abraham Maslow’s human needs hierarchy:

  1.  Esteem needs – For competence, approval & recognition
  2. Aesthetic and cognitive needs – For knowledge, understanding, goodness, justice, beauty, order, symmetry
  3. Self-Actualization needs

4. Esteem Needs – Competence, approval, recognition.
One of the basic things that any form of authentic meditation technique will improve is your concentration. With better concentration your ability to be competent in any given area of expertise that you set yourself is going to improve. So, meditation helps your esteem needs in this regard by helping you increase your mind power and therefore become competent faster. This in turn will likely lead to approval and recognition from your teachers, peers and society.
With regard to the need for approval and recognition, I would say that consistent meditation will help you to make approval and recognition into a preference rather than an all consuming need. This is because meditation takes us gradually away from “doingness needs” and toward “beingness needs”

  • “Doingness needs” are the needs that we have to prove our worth by deeds, job titles and all the other bench marks that conventional society lays down as meaning “successful”.
  • “Beingness needs” are the needs that arise from already seeing, feeling and experiencing ourself as whole, complete and worthy as we are. Meditation encourages a daily connection to our own state of beingness, that is to say as whole, complete and worthy as we are right now. In a state of beingness, our own needs are perceived as being already met, and so our “needs” actually start to focus more and more on the needs of others around us. We are happy as we are, so we have more energy to focus on the wellbeing of others.

In conclusion, when our beingness needs are met (which they will be increasingly through balanced meditation), of course we can be happy when we are measured as “successful” by the conventional benchmarks of society, but if not it is no big disaster, as our sense of beingness ensures that we feel happy and complete as we are.

5. Aesthetic and cognitive needs – Knowledge, understanding, goodness, justice, beauty, order, symmetry
With our beingness needs increasingly being met by meditation (as outlined in section 4 immediately above), an increasing amount of energy is opened up within us to look into “bigger questions”:

What is the meaning of life?
Why am I here?
What is fairness?
What is justice?
What is beauty?

This is level 5 of Maslow’s Hierarchy, our aesthetic and cognitive needs. A regular meditation practice will not answer these questions per-se, as a lot of meditation practice is about reducing the content of the mind, not filling it! However, what meditation will do systematically over time is to open us up to a full functioning awareness of our intuitive, archetypal and spiritual minds. This naturally helps us to articulate a considered response to the big questions that are posed by our aesthetic and cognitive needs.
A final point; meditation prevents us from getting “stuck” on the existential questions that are posed by this level. “What is the meaning of life?” is a question that may never be fully answered, and this is right and good. Meditation enables us to recognize the point where question asking and philosophizing ceases to be useful and relevant, and to move into states of silence and pure awareness.

6. Self Actualization: 
Actually, up to the last century or so, the main focus of meditation has traditionally been enlightenment, or needs associated with levels 5 and 6. It is only in more recent times that meditation has been advocated as a potential solution to the stress, mental busyness and anxiety of modern life, which has made it useful and relevant on the level of our survival needs  (levels 1&2 of Maslow’s hierarchy) and level 3, emotional wellbeing. Through history the predominant reason that people have meditated is to commune, merge and create a state of union with their spiritual being, which in turn exists in a state of one-ness or unity with the Universe. So, in terms of the sixth and highest level of our needs; Self Actualization or enlightenment, meditation is actually the most effective, tried and tested method for accomplishing this need.

© 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 

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Inner vision Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindfulness One Minute Mindfulness Presence and being present

Mindful Learning

Dear Integral Meditators,

These days there is absolutely no doubt that capacity to be adaptable, flexible and to learn quickly are necessary for successfully negotiating both the professional and personal challenges of your life. How can mindfulness help you with this? This is the question that I explore in the article below.

In the ‘whats on’ section below, you will see that this months workshop on the 27th of July is on developing the language of your shadow self. This is another skill that I would put at a premium for living an evolved, happy and successful life. Click on the link for full details.

Yours in the spirit of mindful learning,

Toby


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:

JULY
Sunday July 27th, 9.30am-12.30pm –  Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self – A Three Hour Workshop 

AUGUST
Call of the Wild: Meditating with Animal Guides and Familiars

Through to end August: Special offer on 1:1 Coaching at Integral Meditation Asia


Mindful Learning

One of the main functions and benefits of a mindfulness practice is that it helps you to increase your natural intelligence and problem solving capacity. How does it do this? By helping you to become more observant. The more you are really looking and observing in your life the more you will see, the more you see the more you will understand about the way reality works, and the more you will learn

Obstacles to mindful learning
Even with effort mindful learning can be difficult because of a variety of factors, amongst them:

  • Our capacity to make reflex judgments
  • Our tendency to focus on what is wrong and who is to blame

So, in order to make ourselves mindful learners we are trying to replace our habitual tendencies to label an experience good or bad, and to focus on who is to blame and replace them instead with two questions:
What can I learn here? And
What can be done?

An example
I’m in a hut looking out on a beach now, but yesterday morning my alarm went at 6am for me wake up to start travelling to my destination. Unfortunately I had gone to bed at 3am the night before finishing work tasks before I left. And well, ok, I was following the Wimbledon final a little as well (very compelling it was too!)
So you know how it is when you get up with three hours sleep, very dis-orienting, body out of balance, mind all over the show. In the taxi on the way to the ferry lots of judgments in my mind “Should have gone to bed earlier, your paying for it now!”, “Shouldn’t have gone on holiday, your too busy”, “Wish the bloody tennis hadn’t been on!” – You know the sort I’m talking about.
About half way through my taxi ride I remembered I am a meditation and mindfulness teacher (Dan-dan-daaaa! Kung-fu panda moment) “Hold on, what can I learn here?” I thought to myself. I noticed that simply the process of abstaining from judgment and taking a curious and observational stance had an immediate clarifying effect upon my mind, and reduced the amount of pain and discomfort in my body. So there is a lot of learning there already. I then discovered that really my fatigue and the circumstances around being tired did not signify that anything was wrong; I had stuff to finish because I’m busy doing fulfilling work, I’m getting up early because I’m going to take a relaxing break on a beach; the temporary suffering coming from a late night and early get-up are just what has to be accepted to get what I want in both ways. The rest of the journey as spent both happily and productively.
The net result; my mood and my experience change for the better, and I start learning good things from what I am experiencing.

A mindful learning practice
If you want to take the content of this article into your week just keep these two questions at the forefront of your awareness during your daily experiences:

  • What can I learn here?
  • What can be done or not done?

Allow them to unlock your natural intelligence and problem solving capacity.

© 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