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Invisible, or effortless self-leadership

“At the highest level of self-leadership, all the different aspects of our inner self feel loved, cared for and empowered by the conscious self”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article looks at three levels of mindful self-leadership. It gives some pointers as to what they are, how to spot them in your own self-leadership style, & make progress toward becoming the ‘invisible, or effortless inner leader’.

This week’s Tues & Weds evening class will be on this subject, you are welcome to join us, live or online.

Finally, for those interested in developing inner resilience, on Saturday 9th March I’ll be doing my Mindful Resilience – Practices for sustaining effectiveness, happiness & clarity under pressure workshop.
 
In the spirit of self-leadership,
 
Toby



Invisible, or effortless self-leadership
 
For several years now I’ve been using chapter 17 from the Tao Te Ching as part of my ‘Mindful leadership & self-leadership programs. What I want to do in this article is to look at it from the point of view of self-leadership, breaking it down into three stages. I may look at the leading others aspect of the chapter in a later article.
Here is the original text:
 
Tao Te Ching – Chapter 17 (Steven Mitchell translation)
 
When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a leader who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.

 
If you don’t trust the people,
you make them untrustworthy.

The Master doesn’t talk, he acts.
When his work is done,
the people say, “Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!”

 
Level 1 – The invisible leader:
 
‘When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists’.

At the highest level of self-leadership, all the different aspects of our inner self feel loved, cared for and empowered by the conscious self. Each of them knows their place in the scheme of the different levels of self (personality, soul, spirit) and time has been developed helping them to feel confident regarding their capability in their role. As a result, the conscious self does not have to do too much to lead. A person who has reached this level of inner growth experiences the ups, downs, and challenges of life more as an even minded flow, that he or she is able to adapt and work with without too much effortfulness. Of course, there is some degree of willpower involved in what they do, but it is deployed discreetly and gently, rather than being the main ‘motor’ with which we power ourself through life.  
 
Level 2 – The monarch:
 
‘Next best is a leader who is loved.’
I sometimes think of this level of leadership as being like a monarch, king or queen. If we are at this level, we spend a lot of time and effort actively motivating ourself in a benevolent manner, learning to inspire the parts of ourself that lack confidence, heal the parts of us that are wounded, and go beyond the limits of our current self-concept. This style of self-leadership is pro-active. The conscious-self must demonstrate to the different parts of our inner self (or our sub-personalities) that it is trustworthy, so that they can get behind it and push forward as a team. At this stage our inner selves need active guidance, they need to feel nurtured and safe, they need a degree of ‘positive self-talk’. At this second level of leadership, life is quite effortful, but because the dominant energy of inner leadership is appropriate self-love and care, the journey is felt and experienced as one that is going to good places and positive directions.
 
Level 3 – The dictator
 
‘Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.’

I’m putting the last two levels of self-leadership as one, which is essentially leading ourself as a despot or dictator! Here the primary energy within self is self-loathing or hatred. There is a general sense of inadequacy, not being enough, a lack of self-respect. The only way we can motivate ourself to get things done and move forward in our life is through fear and/or agression:

  • ‘If you don’t get this degree people will think you are stupid’
  • ‘Work out because if your fat you won’t be accepted by others’
  • ‘Do what I say or I’ll be criticising you inwardly for the next week!’

The experience of leading oneself like a dictator is that life is very effortful, anxious and progress is a rather tortuous and exhausting process.
 
Most people’s self-leadership process is kind of a mixture of stages two and three. Identifying stage three as a possibility, and practicing it can accelerate the rate at which we grow and integrate it into our lives. This offers the possibility for an easier journey, with progress that seems to happen naturally, by itself even. Our personal path evolves like the final verse of the chapter, with a few of my words in brackets:
 
“If you don’t trust the people (the different inner parts of yourself),
you make them untrustworthy.

The Master doesn’t talk, he acts (the conscious-self leads by example).
When his work is done,
the people (
the different parts of our inner self) say, “Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!”

 
 
Related articleBecoming a Self-determining entity – Five stages to mindful self-leadership
Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2024, 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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Empowering (& then dropping) the self

“In meditation we practice both building a stronger more powerful self, and dropping, or letting go of the self. This enables us to lead ourselves consciously and strongly though our life challenges, and at the same time strategically put down our sense of self, and relax into the regenerative space arising when we do so”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article focuses on the self, and using meditation to strengthen it in contrasting but complementary ways. If you enjoy it, then do consider participating in Becoming a self-determining entity – A six-week course in Mindful Self-Leadership which starts this Tuesday & Wednesday evenings.

In the spirit of empowering & letting go, 
 
Toby 


Breathing with your power – Empowering & then dropping the self
 
In meditation we practice both building a stronger more powerful self, and dropping, or letting go of the self. This enables us to lead ourselves consciously and strongly though our life challenges, and at the same time strategically put down our sense of self, and relax into the regenerative space arising when we do so. As well as practising both individually, it is very important to practice the transition between them, so that we can move from one state to the other in a skillful & flexible way at different times during the day. This article explores how to do this.
 
Step 1: Empowering the self
Centring: Sit comfortably with your spine, neck and head aligned. Spend a little while relaxing and focusing your body-mind by breathing. As you do so breathe through the nose, and down into your lower lungs, so you are connecting your ‘nose to your belly’
 
Recognizing your self as the centre of your life:

  • Breathe into the centre of your torso, somewhere between your chest and solar-plexus. Become aware of your physical body and sensory world, recognize the sense of self that is at the centre of this experience, in the centre of your being.
  • Become aware of your mind; thoughts, ideas, feelings and desires. Observe the sense of self that lies at the centre of this experience.
  • Recognize that the ‘self’ at the centre of your bodily and mental experience is the primary causal power in what you experience and do in your life. Ideally it should be this self that leads, chooses and decides the path your life takes. If not you, then who else?
  •  Breathe with this recognition for a while, feeling the power and agency of the self that lies within you

 
Step 2: Dropping the labels around your ‘self’
This second exercise involves noticing, and then dropping all the labels that you associate with yourself;

  • The roles you play in your family
  • The roles and titles you have professionally
  • Your identification of qualities with yourself eg: strong/weak, masculine feminine and so forth

Drop all these labels that you associate with but that are not you, so that you become a man or woman of no rank or position. You can even drop the label of man, woman, human, and just become a being. Notice that the ‘self’ you now experience is mere presence and being, that you can relax into the spaciousness and freedom of.
 
Practising the transition
Either of these meditations are good to do by themselves, but it can be nice to alternate between them in a single session, for example over a 20minute meditation you could spend 5 minutes on step 1, five minutes on step 2, and then repeat. This would give you a 20minute practice where you are practicing both positions and the transitions between them.

© Toby Ouvry 2023, 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


All upcoming classes and workshops 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)

Ongoing Tues/Weds, 7.30-8.30pm – Meditations for thriving and energy creation – An eight week course

Starts Tues/Weds, June 13th/14th – Becoming a self-determining entity – A six-week course in Mindful Self-Leadership

Tues 20th/Weds 21st June – Summer solstice balancing & renewing meditation

Saturday June 24th, 9.00am-5pm – Taoist Breathwork Day Meditation Retreat


Integral Meditation Asia

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Pro-activity in the face of life & breathing pro-actively

‘Mindful pro-activity invites a ‘non-panicking’, playful attitude to our path forward and what is in the way. It means keeping a beginner’s mind and combining it with the voice and wisdom of our experience’

Dear Integral Meditators, 

In last weeks article I cited ‘being pro-active in the face of life’s challenges’ as being a characteristic of someone with good self-leadership & leadership skills. In this week’s article I dive a little deeper into what that means, and how you can start practicing it.
If you enjoy the article, then do check out the mindful self-leadership workshop & six week course that I’ll be putting on in June.

Final heads up for this week’s annual Wesak meditation on Tuesday & Wednesday evening. Your welcome either live or online!

In the spirit of mindful pro-activity, 
 
Toby 


Pro-activity in the face of life
 
One quality that I think is important in enabling confidence and self-leadership capability is to be pro-active in the face of life’s challenges and uncertainties. What does that mean? Three aspects of this are important I think: Trusting your own intelligence, taking the initiative, and being responsive or creative.

  • To trust your own intelligence means that in the face of something unknown or difficult, you maintain confidence in your perception and ability to work things out through considered trial and error
  • Taking the initiative means you actively look out for the problems and challenges that you face and that prevent you from getting to where you want to go. You initiate possible solutions and ways forward before things become critical, and you are then forced to confront what you have been avoiding
  • Being responsive and creative describes a ‘non-panicking’, playful attitude to our path forward and what is in the way. It means keeping a beginners mind and combining it with the voice and wisdom of our experience. Responsive indicates an acceptance of the realities of the situation, facing them squarely and then letting our intelligence and creativity work from there.

 
What pro-activity is it not
Resisting or repressing – Active resistance and repression of our awareness of problems is active (even if only unconsciously), but not pro-active. It gets in the way of moving forward in life rather than assists.   
Reacting or being impulsive – Mindful pro-activity is thoughtful and considered. Because of this it is intelligent and creative. Reactivity and impulsivity, even when accompanied by swift and sometimes aggressive action generally takes us away from solutions and realizing the potential opportunities in a situation.
 
Breathing pro-actively, a short exercise
As you breathe through your nose over the course of a few breaths, gently flare your nostrils. If you can try and open not just the tips of the nostrils, but the inner part of the nasal cavity, so that as you breathe in it feels as if there is plenty of space for the air to pass in and then down into the lungs. As you do this feel yourself becoming mentally poised, active and creative around the path that you have ahead of you today, or over the next 24hours.
Once you have a sense of how this inhalation feels, then as you are breathing out, feel yourself becoming relaxed, calm and responsive. You might think of this as a state of ‘calm thoughtful intelligence; you are pro-active, but you are also setting the pace, rather than being forced to rush by anxiety, fear or stress.
So, then the final pattern is:

  • Breathing in through open nostrils, connecting to creative pro-activity
  • Breathing out connecting to calm and setting your own pace

Stay with this for long enough to let your body-mind get a feeling of what it is like to be in a state of calm pro-activity. Then when you are ready, finish. Try and keep this feeling with you as you go through your daily journey, being gently pro-active in the face of what arises!
 
Related articleBecoming a Self-determining entity – Five stages to mindful self-leadership
Self-responsibility – Becoming a self-determining entity

© Toby Ouvry 2023, 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



All upcoming classes and workshops 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)

Ongoing Tues/Weds, 7.30-8.30pm – Meditations for thriving and energy creation – An eight week course

Tues 30th/Weds 31st May – Wesak meditation

Saturday June 10th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Mindful Self-Leadership: A Three-hour mindfulness & meditation workshop

Starts Tues/Weds, June 13th/14th – Becoming a self-determining entity – A six-week course in Mindful Self-Leadership

Saturday June 24th, 9.00am-5pm – Taoist Breathwork Day Meditation Retreat


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Becoming a Self-determining entity – Five stages to mindful self-leadership

“To practice self-leadership is to be creative, seeing yourself as primarily a ‘producer’ rather than a consumer in and of life. You are the artist; your life is the work of art!”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

I’ve been teaching mindful self-leadership as a central part of my training programs for about a decade now. The way I understand and practice it, with mindful self-leadership there are ‘five-selves’ you need to cultivate in order to develop your competency in this art. The article below gives an outline of the five, and some context for them. 
If you enjoy the article, then do check out the mindful self-leadership workshop & six week course that I’ll be putting on in June!

Final heads up for this Saturday’s Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

In the spirit of self-leadership, 
 
Toby 


Becoming a Self-determining entity – Five stages to mindful self-leadership

I’ve been teaching mindful self-leadership as a central part of my training programs for about a decade now. The way I understand and practice it, mindful self-leadership means:

  • To become a self-determining and self-directing entity
  • To be pro-active in the face of life’s challenges and uncertainties
  • To be creative, primarily a ‘producer’ rather than a consumer in life. You are the artist; your life is the work of art!
  • To take joy in your own intelligence and its function
  • To run towards reality rather than away from it
  • To commit to developing a healthy-high functioning ego (which is a completely different thing from being an ‘egotist’!)
  • To assume radical accountability/ownership for your life

 
Below are the ‘five selves’ that you need to grow within yourself in order to become good at self-leadership. I wrote these down in 2011. With a few small edits today, they are now a part of this article, and the ‘road map’ for you to begin your own self-leadership journey. I’m leaving them as ‘cliff notes’ for you just to read over, enjoy and allow yourself to respond inwardly to the ideas they stimulate:
 
Self-Awareness – Committing to be aware of your reality, that is your feelings, needs, desires, ideas, evaluations and behavior.
 
Self-Acceptance – A refusal to turn away from, deny or disown any of your own inner experiences, behaviors, or other aspects of yourself as they arise. Self-acceptance means not necessarily to approve of these things, but to accept them as real and to accept them as your own. It means acknowledging your experience of reality not just intellectually but also emotionally and experientially.
 
Self-Responsibility – Means taking responsibility for being the cause of your own choices and the cause of one’s own actions. Not responsibility in terms of moral blame but in terms of recognizing you are the chief causal agent in your life and behavior.
More than this, self-responsibility means acceptance of full responsibility for your own existence, for your

  • Metaphysical aloneness
  • And for the achievement of your own goals; no one but you is coming to save you or take responsibility for them

Self-Assertiveness – Means being able to assert your:

  • Your desires and judgments
  • Your needs
  • Your right to exist and be happy

These first four provide the basis for you to develop the internal processes that lead a fulfilled and ethical life based around authentic value judgments and personal integrity
 
Self-transcendence (Awakening) – Means learning to recognize the formless timeless, essentially aware (and ‘enlightened’?)  dimension of yourself, integrating it into your day to day experience of who you are and what you do. Furthermore, to access the creative, regenerative, intuitive and evolutionary capacities of our transcendent-self and integrating them in real and tangible ways into our reality.
 
And these five then lead to….Self-Leadership – The capacity to lead yourself to the fulfillment of your own authentic needs, desires and happiness in life whilst simultaneously accessing your awakened self and using its capacities to live a life of service others and to the greater whole.
 
To say “I love you” one must first learn to say the ‘I’ – Ayn Rand

Related articleEgotistic or strong ego?

© Toby Ouvry 2023, 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



All upcoming classes and workshops 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)

Ongoing Tues/Weds, 7.30-8.30pm – Meditations for thriving and energy creation – An eight week course
 

Tues 30th/Weds 31st May – Wesak meditation

Saturday May 27th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Saturday June 10th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Mindful Self-Leadership: A Three-hour mindfulness & meditation workshop

Starts Tues/Weds, June 13th/14th – Becoming a self-determining entity – A six-week course in Mindful Self-Leadership

Saturday June 24th, 9.00am-5pm – Taoist Breathwork Day Meditation Retreat


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Six aspects of mindful self-leadership – (Channeling your inner mountain-goat)

Dear  Integral Meditators,

Setting your own pace and direction in life is a big key to personal fulfilment and esteem. In the article below I detail six aspects of self-leadership that I have found to be useful in terms of my own path.

In the spirit of self-leadership,

Toby

 

 


Six aspects of mindful self-leadership – (Channeling your inner mountain-goat)

We can receive support and encouragement from others in our life, but finally we are the ones who are responsible for choosing what we want, and taking the direction that we want to go in. Good mindful self-leadership skill are among the most important qualities that you can develop if you are looking for happiness and personal fulfillment. Here are six aspects of self-leadership that it is worthwhile being aware of and practicing.

Setting your own pace and giving yourself permission
As mammals we are always looking left and right to see what people around us are doing, and making comparisons between ‘where we are, and where they are’. This can result in us speeding up or slowing down in reaction to what’s around. The set your own pace means  know what you want, and set the right pace for you to get things done in the way you want. If everyone is going out to party, and your tired out, then stay in. If everyone else is telling you to go in one direction, but your inner signals are telling you not to, then listen to them and act accordingly. Know yourself and set your own pace and speed.

The courage of acceptance
Accepting who you are, what you are feeling, the situation in front of you. Accepting your anxiety or excitement, your loneliness, your passion or insecurity. Accept and work with what is really present for you in this moment, don’t live in denial of it. This gives you your basic ‘reality orientation’ from which you can then proceed to lead yourself to where you want to go.

Owning your goals and taking responsibility 
What are the goals that when you hold them in your heart you really notice a tangible movement toward enthusiasm, excitement, passion? Identifying the goals that are really, truly important to you, yours and not other peoples is super important. From there the task becomes ‘What can I do today to take myself one step closer to this goal?’ In other words taking full personal responsibility to turning your abstract goal into a tangible reality, one action at a time.

Going beyond boredom and novelty
Going beyond boredom and novelty means having the capacity to be process oriented, consistent, and having the mental stamina to keep on going beyond the point where you can rely on the excitement of a new inspiration and enthusiasm.

Being ok with alone
Finally, if you are doing what you want, in the way that you want to do it, this may (not always, but sometimes) mean that you have to spend periods of time alone, in your own company and not being encouraged or affirmed by others. If you are leading from the front, then it can feel like an isolated position to be in. Being comfortable with that, and even enjoying it enables you to take the direction needed, without fear of loneliness.

Don’t lie to yourself, or make promises to yourself that you don’t keep
This final point is important, because often we can be more conscientious about our promises to others than we are in our conversation with ourself. If you are at all interested in building self-leadership and self-esteem, then really work on keeping your commitments to yourself.

Channeling your inner mountain-goat
One image I like for self-leadership (relating to the start sign of Capricorn) is that of a mountain goat. See yourself and your path of self-leadership as a mountain goat, patiently and agile-ly traveling up a steep mountainside. You have the strength, the patience and the ingenuity to lead yourself all the way to the top. No matter what the obstacles or difficulties you persist, all the way to the peak of your mountain!

Related articlesMindfully dancing between doing and being
Effortless effort – The cycle of mindful growth

© Toby Ouvry 2019, 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 AsiaOngoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

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

Monday 6.15-7.15 & Wednesday 12.15-1.15 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

Saturday mornings 9-10.15am :5th & 12th January – Qi Gong workout and meditation class

Saturdays January 5th & 19th, 4-5.30pm – Mindfulness group coaching sessions with Toby

Tues & Weds January 1st, 2nd, 7.30-8.30pm – New year balancing and renewing meditation

Tues & weds January 8th & 9th – Monthly astrological meditation – Capricorn; developing your inner self-leadership 

Saturday 19th January 2.15-3.45pm – Get your meditation practice started now- The shortest and most time effective meditation workshop ever

Saturday 26th January, 1-4pm – Growing your mindful freedom meditation workshop

FEBRUARY
Satruday 9th February, 9.30-12.30 – Going from overwhelmed to overwell meditation workshop


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Five Methods for Quietening the Mind

Dear Integral Meditators,

Some people give up or don’t even try meditation as they think their mind is just too busy, and they can’t still it. Below are five simple methods that you can use to quieten the mind when you feel the need, as well as an outline of some of the benefits.

In the spirit of the quiet but strong,

Toby

 

 


Five Methods for Quietening the Mind 

Why should we be interested in quietening the mind?
In a nutshell, to de-stress, improve task related performance, & develop your capacity to reflect and observe. Quietening or stilling the mind is also a pre-requisite for access to  deeper states of meditation.

1. Ducking beneath your mind – Breathing through the hara
This first method involves bringing your awareness down into the belly (or ‘hara’ to use the Zen term) and breathing with your attention focused there. Most of the mental busyness that we experience happens within the head and the heart centres, so bringing your awareness down into your belly enables you to access a state of focused, non-conceptual quietude more easily.

Taking care of your heart-space – Feeling emotions properly
Much of the inner conflict that we experience actually originates in our heart as unresolved feelings and emotions. Attuning yourself to the feelings in your heart centre and learning to acknowledge them, feel them and resolve or release them makes it hugely easier to quieten and still the mind. As the saying goes; If You Feel Properly You Will Think Clearly.

Finding the still point in the center of the brain
There is a ‘still point’ in the center of the brain that you can learn to place your attention upon. When you do this you find that it is possible to still the mind without too much effort. It is called the ‘cavity of original spirit’ by the Taoists. It is in the area where the thymus and hypothalamus are located in the brain, but you really don’t need to know too much about the brains’ actual anatomy, if you just go into the middle of your brain and explore, you’ll find that there is a specific place where, if you place your attention there it has a naturally quietening effect upon the mind.

Listening to the sound of silence
If you’ve ever been in a place where there is absolute outer quiet, you might have noticed there is a kind of high frequency ‘sound’ or ringing in your ears. This is what I mean by the sound of silence. With practice you can learn to recognize and focus your attention on this sound even when there are other noises around you. The sound of silence has a kind of pleasant hypnotic, focusing effect that is very good for quietening the mind.

Recognizing the power of your environment
This final method is really about learning to be aware of environments where there is a lot of negative psychological energy around, and ensuring that you don’t allow yourself to be victimized by it; the crowded bus on the commute home, the hostile office, the anger from a family member. One thing that I do quite often if I am in such an environment is to imagine my energy field or aura covered externally by a bubble of insulating black light that blocks negative energy from my surroundings. The bubble is open at the top and the bottom; letting in light from the sky and stars above and the earth below, but it is closed off from my immediate surroundings. This last ‘psychic self-defence’ technique is as close as you’ll get to an occult exercise in this article!
So there you go, five methods for you to try out in your own time. If you like you can practice one each day during the weekdays for five minutes each. Do that for a month to gain a little experience of each!

Related articles: The Mind in the Heart
The Sound of Silence
If You Feel Properly You Will Think Clearly

© 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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Your Emotions as Horses

Dear Integral Meditators,

Because emotions are non-linear in their behaviour, quite often images can work better than direct instructions as to how we can go about working with them in a healthy way. The article below considers our emotions as horses.

Final call for those in Singapore for the Positive Mindset integral meditation class tomorrow, Wednesday at 7.3opm, and the two workshops on Saturday 1st August; Zen Meditation from 9.30-12.30, and Language of the Shadow from 2.30-5.30pm.

In the spirit of the ride,

Toby


Your Emotions as Horses

Your emotions are like horses; powerful, fleet, full of energy and vitality. They are also willful and sometimes volatile. The flip side of this is they also contain their own instinctive and natural wisdom. You are the rider of the horses of your emotions.

If you try and control them by whipping and abusing them then they, like real horses will either become resentful, rebellious and devious or they will become broken, sad and scared.

If you simply indulge the horses of your emotions without directing them then they will simply run wherever they want without control, with the according results in your life.

Your emotions are tremendously strong. If you are scared of the strength of your emotions then they will sense that, and like horses with a nervous rider they will react to it.

If you learn how to ride your emotions with love and care, but at the same time with discipline and direction, then you have a tremendous energy source that you can put to positive use in your life, taking you faster in the direction that you want to go – So there is a lot ‘riding’ on the way you as the rider relate to the horses of your emotions!

Imagine you are on the back of a powerful horse now. It is the horse of your emotions. Feel the raw power, energy and life-force of the horse between your legs. When the horse wants to run, let him do so, feel the elation and the freedom as you gather speed, the wind in your hair, the trees and landscape flying by. Where do you want to go? You are the rider and director of this horse, and s/he wants your benevolent guidance.

Working mindfully with the image of yourself as rider and your emotions as horses can help us experiential find out a lot about our current relationship to our emotions, and how we can learn to ride them better, with both more freedom and more control.

One of the keys to understand about emotions is that ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ emotions are like black and white horses (or brown etc…); it doesn’t matter what colour they are, what mainly matters is how you ride them. The emotions you currently think of as being the most useless in your life might just be the ones that you need to learn to ride better.

Related article: The Sea Snakes of the Mind
The Wild dogs of the Mind

© 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:

JULY & AUGUST 

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

Saturday 15th August, 9.30am-12.30pm – Going From Over-whelmed to Over-well: Meditation for Quietening the Mind – a three hour workshop

Saturday 15th August, 2.30-5.30pm – Mindful Self Confidence – Developing your self-confidence, self-belief & self-trust through mindfulness & meditation


Integral Meditation Asia

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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 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 Meditation and Psychology Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership Mindfulness

What Real Power Does Mindfulness Give You?

Dear Integral Meditators,

When you think of mindfulness, do you think of power? If not the article below explains why you should!

 


What Real Power Does Mindfulness Give You?

We talk about mindfulness in terms of relief from stress, bringing more presence to our life and so on, but what about power?
One way mindfulness (when well practiced) gives us greater power is by giving us awareness of choice. The more consciousness we bring to any given situation, the larger the number of choices we will be aware of regarding how to act, how to feel and how to approach the situation.  Conversely, the less conscious awareness that we bring to a situation, the fewer the choices that we will have, and therefore the less power.
Without mindfulness we are essentially limited to our instinctive and habitual patterns of reacting and responding to our life’s challenges (and joys), with mindfulness we can even innovate choices, options and possibilities that we have never considered before as we actively bring our intelligence to bear upon the situation fully.

Our mind is basically our primary tool for surviving, adapting and thriving in the outer world of our career and relationships, and the inner world of our relationship to ourself. Mindfulness is the practice of learning how to use and apply the potential of our mind in daily life. Looked at in this way there is nothing more powerful and valuable than mindfulness. Do you have time for a little now?

Related articles:
You Always Have a Choice
Six Mindful Questions for Effective Decision Making

Check out the Upcoming workshops and events at Integral Meditation Asia

© 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