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A Mind of Ease Energy Meditation Integral Meditation Life-fullness Meditating on the Self mind body connection Mindful Breathing Mindful Resilience Presence and being present

Fundamental sensuality, fundamental wealth & sustainable compassion

Dear Integral Meditators,

Where is your fundamental wealth and abundance to be found? This weeks article explores this question, and how to develop your connection to your inner resources.
If you enjoy the article, then we will be exploring it in some depth in this week’s Tuesday & Wednesday class, and final reminder for this Saturday’s  Zen deep dive-mini retreat!

In the spirit of the fundamentals,
Toby

Fundamental sensuality, fundamental wealth & sustainable compassion
Your fundamental sensuality
Sit or stand for a while, focusing on breathing into your body, and gently feeling its fundamental vitality or life-force. If you do this, you will notice that your body and body awareness starts to become sensual. This sensuality is a feeling in the body that is warm and alive. You can enhance this feeling using the breathing in this way: Inhale into the core of your body sensing its living nature. Breathe out relaxing your whole body into this feeling. You can build a flow state that is focused, relaxed and positively sensual like this. You could call this practice connecting to your fundamental sensuality, or vitality.
The thing about your fundamental sensuality is that it feels good, feels positive. It makes your body feel more comfortable, alive and happy. As a result, it is easier for you to direct your thoughts in a positive manner, and generate a variety of enjoyable emotions. Fundamental sensuality also encourages basic reality orientation, in the sense that it places us in contact with the immediate moment, taking us into our body, rather than getting lost in our mind.

Your fundamental warmth & wealth
Once you have some experience of your fundamental vitality or sensuality, you can practice directing its warmth toward yourself. You will discover that this feels friendly and pleasant, and encourages the sense of being both well disposed and supportive toward yourself. Chogyam Trungpa called this our ‘fundamental warmth’. When we focus on ourselves with warmth, it naturally gives rise to self-compassion and sensitivity in a way that encourages healing and integration, rather than wallowing in pain.

Sustainable compassion
With some experience of focusing your fundamental warmth toward yourself, the feeling then starts to come that you are fundamentally wealthy in the inner sense of the word, that you have an abundance of resources. If you then take this warm awareness and vitality and turn it around, then it becomes warmth and natural compassion for others. You feel as if you can generate warmth and compassion for others easily and without much effort, not because you are obliged to, but because you can and it feels quite natural to do so. Moreover, you can focus this warmth and compassion upon others with confidence that it won’t run out, and that if you need a source to recharge yourself from, then you can simply turn your fundamental warmth back toward yourself and receive it for a while. So, this position then gives us real confidence in our capacity to be compassionate and benevolent toward others, without fear of burning out or getting our batteries ‘run down’ by them, even if they are so called ‘energy vampires’ who specialize in using people’s sympathy to take energy from them!
So, the basic practice here has three stages:

  1. Developing your fundamental sensuality
  2. Directing it toward yourself to build your fundamental warmth and self-compassion
  3. Turning your fundamental warmth outward to the world and generating consistent compassion and generosity toward others in a way that is sustainable, and doesn’t lead to exhaustion.

You can build this up gradually, there is no hurry. But the idea is that, over time your energy becomes more and more resilient both intra-personally in your relationship to yourself, and inter-personally in your relationship toward others and the outer world.

Related articleCompassionate presence, awakened action
What is the point in being more present?

Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2022, 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


Ongoing – The Way of the Mindful Warrior – Meditating with the Warriors creed

In a sentence: Establish the inner strength, skill and courage needed to make you resilient in the face of life’s challenges, and thrive in both times of adversity and times of peace.

Overview: The Warriors Creed is a poem by an unknown Samurai in the 14th century. It outlines a code of conduct and a state of presence based around a series of inner qualities that can be cultivated through mindful contemplation, then applied to our daily life…read full details


Saturday 14th April, 9.30am-12noon – Zen meditation deep dive mini-retreatThese 2.5hour Zen ‘mini-retreats’ are a chance to go into much deeper meditation states than you would be able to in your own personal daily practice, or even if you came to a one-hour class. Using sitting meditation methods in combination with breathing techniques and gentle stretching/mobility exercises Toby will guide you into deep meditative flow states that create the experience of a calm, unified, harmonized, resilient body, mind & heart…read full details


Saturday May 29th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreatIn a sentence: Experience unique Qi gong and Taoist breathing techniques to improve your immune system, energy level, psychological wellness and enhance your meditation…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 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 – The Way of the Mindful Warrior – Meditating with the Warriors creed

Tues 17th/Weds 18th May: Wesak meditation

Saturday May 29th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Saturday 14th April, 9.30am-12noon – Zen meditation deep dive mini-retreat


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
Concentration creative imagery Inner vision Life-fullness meditation and creativity Mindfulness Presence and being present Primal Spirituality Zen Meditation

What is the point of being more present?

“Imagine you are a tree with deep roots. When wind, rain and storms come, your branches get blown around, but you don’t worry, because the strength of your roots is more than capable of dealing with the stress. You can even enjoy the play of the weather and the extremity of it. Being more present is like that, you can choose to be a bit more like that”

 

Dear Integral Meditators,

 

Why strive to be more present? I hope the article below encourages you to keep persisting!
This week there is a break in the  Tuesday & Wednesday class.  but if you scroll down below you can see all events for May, including the Zen deep dive-mini retreat, and the Qi-gong and Taoist breathwork clinic.

In the spirit of presence,

Toby


What is the point of being more present?

Why is mindfulness a discipline focused on being more present? If I become more present to each moment and my life, what is likely to happen? Here’s a list of six capacities that start to come online when you choose to become more present:

Stability & sanity – Presence implies that you are aware of what is going on in your immediate sensory environment, at least to a degree. This gives a point of grounding and stability for our awareness; not lost in our mind, but present to our senses. From this comes what I would call ‘basic sanity’ or basic reality orientation; our observations and life-strategies start to come more from what is seen and experienced, rather than what our mind is fantasizing about.

Self-awareness and self-regulation – Following on from point one, being present invites a greater awareness of ourself. If we are self-aware in a reasonably balanced manner, then the chances of us doing things to help restore and remain in balance increases. We start to use our natural intelligence effectively.

Creativity – Once we have some stability in the present, this then invites a creative response to the present. We start to recognize each moment as an opportunity for self-expression, innovation and evolution. Life becomes playful, fun and enquiring, rather than automatic, monotone and predictable.

Wonderment – When we start to combine presence with creativity, the world starts to glow, starts to feel more technicolor. The term ‘spiritual’ ceases to become about beliefs and philosophy, and more about the direct perception of our world, which becomes mysterious  (in a good way) and invites adventure,  curiosity and luminosity.

Appreciation & generosity – Presence invites appreciation of what is, and a sense of being rich, very inwardly wealthy. We experience what we have in a new way, where we really know it. More than this we start to sense within us an infinite resource of life-fullness. This in turn invites a sense of generosity, a sense of benevolence “I have so much, I’d love to pass some onto you” type thing!

Thinking well about the future and past
Solidly grounded in the present, we can re-configure the way we reflect on the past and plan for the future, we can choose how we frame them, we can enjoy the opportunities of the future, rather than being weighed down by anxiety around uncertainty. We become better at learning from the past and creating (see point three) our future.

So, I hope this has convinced you to persist with any practices you may have for being more present in your life, most of my articles are implicitly about presence and the capabilities that come from it. To end with, here is a simple picture:
Imagine you are a tree with deep roots. When wind, rain and storms come, your branches get blown around, but you don’t worry, because the strength of your roots is more than capable of dealing with the stress. You can even enjoy the play of the weather and the extremity of it.
Being more present is like that, you can choose to be a bit more like that today if you want, and why wouldn’t you?

Related articleCompassionate presence, awakened action
Inner strength – gathering your energy into one place

Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2022, 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


 

Ongoing – The Way of the Mindful Warrior – Meditating with the Warriors creed

In a sentence: Establish the inner strength, skill and courage needed to make you resilient in the face of life’s challenges, and thrive in both times of adversity and times of peace.

Overview: The Warriors Creed is a poem by an unknown Samurai in the 14th century. It outlines a code of conduct and a state of presence based around a series of inner qualities that can be cultivated through mindful contemplation, then applied to our daily life…read full details

 


Saturday 14th April, 9.30am-12noon – Zen meditation deep dive mini-retreat

These 2.5hour Zen ‘mini-retreats’ are a chance to go into much deeper meditation states than you would be able to in your own personal daily practice, or even if you came to a one-hour class. Using sitting meditation methods in combination with breathing techniques and gentle stretching/mobility exercises Toby will guide you into deep meditative flow states that create the experience of a calm, unified, harmonized, resilient body, mind & heart…read full details


Saturday May 28th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

In a sentence: Experience unique Qi gong and Taoist breathing techniques to improve your immune system, energy level, psychological wellness and enhance your meditation…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 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 – The Way of the Mindful Warrior – Meditating with the Warriors creed

Tues 17th/Weds 18th May: Wesak meditation

Saturday May 28th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Saturday 14th April, 9.30am-12noon – Zen meditation deep dive mini-retreat


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
A Mind of Ease Energy Meditation Insight Meditation Life-fullness meditation and creativity Meditation techniques mind body connection Presence and being present spiritual intelligence Zen Meditation

Four Types of Present Moment

“Drop your sense of time temporarily, become like a tree or a rock or a baby, with awareness that has forgotten all sense of time and abides in the peaceful space of the pre-present”

Dear Integral Meditators,

What if I told you there were four types of present moment, not just one? This weeks article explores four aspects of the present moment, each of which has its own value. . This Tuesday & Wednesday  classes are on the theme of “Different dimensions of Zen meditation/presence”, so if you enjoy the article, do feel free to join us, live or online.

Then this Saturday I’ll be putting on my  Mindfulness for emotional intelligence masterclass, Our moods and emotional states to a large degree define the quality of our life, so coming along is definitely time well spent!

In the spirit of  the journey,

Toby

 


Four Types of Present Moment

Normally when we think or talk about meditating “in the present moment” the assumption is that there is only one type of present moment. Actually, there are many types of present moment experience we can tap into. Here are four. With each one I detail what it is, how it helps us, and how to do a simple meditation upon it.

The Primal Pre-Present

The pre-present is essentially the “present moment” before we had any idea of time. We could also think about it as being the “pre-conceptual present”. Babies are always in the pre-present moment, because their minds have not developed the power of conceptuality, they have no idea of what the past or future is. Their mind remains placed firmly in the here and now, before time existed!

Likewise, animals live in the pre-present because they have non-conceptual minds. Trees and rocks also abide in the pre-present, the time before concepts and before the past and future.

Meditating on the pre-present enables us to relax, return to a state of innocent awareness, and tap into a state of deep regeneration and re-energization.

You can meditate on the pre-present simply by deeply observing a (peaceful) baby, or an animal, or sitting quietly in a landscape. Just drop your sense of time temporarily, become like a tree or a rock or a baby, with awareness that has forgotten all sense of time and abides in the peaceful space of the pre-present.

The Present Moment in Time

This is the type of present moment that we most often think of as the present moment. Our experience that is in the here and now, accompanied by the feeling of there being a past from which we have come, and a future toward which we are going. We cultivate this type of present moment experience by paying close attention to what is going on right now, on the immediate task at hand. Cultivating this form of present moment awareness helps us to be more grounded, to manage stress more effectively, and appreciate all that is good in our life.

You cultivate this form of present moment awareness by spending specific periods of time in our daily routine where trying to do just one thing, and whilst doing it, training our mind to be fully present to the task at hand, not wondering anxiously about the future or re-living the past.

The Timeless Present

The timeless present is the space of awareness beyond timeOnce we have become conceptually mature as adults, that is learned to operate within the space of past, present and future, the assumption can be that time is something “out there”. In reality time as we understand it conceptually is an invention of the human mind. To meditate on the eternal present is to recognize that the entire realm of past present and future are all contained within the context of the timeless, and that this eternal, timeless present is always present, right here, right now.

The timeless present in many ways resembles the primal pre-present, but to be able to appreciate and value the timeless present we have to have gone into conceptual time, understood and lived within it, and then see through its illusion. So you could say that the timeless present is the post-transient present!

Meditating on the Timeless Present gives us maturity of vision, depth of perception, a sense of everything possessing its own natural perfection, and opens us up to our first classical “enlightenment experiences”.

We can meditate on the timeless present by recognizing that every aspect of our experience right here right now is contained within the embrace of the timeless present, and learn to relax our awareness into that ever present, eternal space.

The Intuitive Present

The intuitive present is when we have gained substantial experience of the timeless present, and have developed the capacity to function in conventional time whilst at the same time remaining connected to timelessness. As Ajahn-Chah says, it is the meditative experience of our mind being like “still water that moves, and moving water that it still”. From a present moment perspective, it is as if time and eternity now fit together in our experience like a hand in a glove. Conventional time is like the glove, the timeless present is like the hand within.

The intuitive present is not the same as our intuition in general, which can come in many forms such as our instinctive or emotional intuition.

Accessing the intuitive present signals the development of our capacity to engage fully in worldly life and spiritual life side by side, to live in the world whilst not being of the world so to speak. Our experience of the intuitive present gives us a powerful tool to see everything that we experience within the context of our unfolding path to greater awakening.

Article & content © 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   

 


Saturday 24th July, 9.30-11.30am – Mindfulness for emotional intelligence masterclass

In a sentence: Learn how you can use mindfulness to develop your emotional range and skills

Much of our quality of life depends not so much on what we are experiencing, but the way in which we experience it. Our moods and emotional states to a large degree define the quality of our life experience, at work, in our relationships and in our leisure activities. This masterclass will lead you on an experiential journey
Read full details…

 


August 5th, 6th, 7th, 2-4pm – Mindful Life-skills for Teenagers – A three day course

These sessions are specifically designed to help teens develop their real inner skills that help them be:

  • More effective at achieving their chosen goals
  • Build confidence,
  • Build resilience around stress and
  • Increase their capacity for fun and enjoyment as they learn.

Read full details


The new Mindful Self Knowledge coaching program

This is eight-month coaching program with Toby is designed to facilitate your own personal mindful self-discovery process. It focuses on:

  • Awareness of how your past experience has influenced who and how you are today
  • Confidence in approaching your present experience with playful fullness and enthusiasm
  • Giving you the inner tools to face your choices and your future in an empowered, dynamic, and authentic manner

Read full details

Watch Toby’s video on the Program


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 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 6th&7th July – Integral Meditation from the Perspective of Zen – A 10 week series

Saturday 17th, 24th, 31st July, 2-4pm – Mindful Life-skills for Teenagers – A three week course

Saturday 24th July, 9.30-11.30am – Mindfulness for emotional intelligence masterclass


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
Biographical creative imagery Insight Meditation Life-fullness Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques mind body connection Mindful Resilience Presence and being present Zen Meditation

What’s keeping me from relaxing in the present moment?

“If meditation is keeping our mind in the present moment, then a useful question to ask ourselves each day is: What is it within my experience of the present moment right now that I am resisting?”

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article continues the Zen theme, exploring a counter-intuitive way of moving more deeply into the present, but noticing what is getting in the way.

In the spirit of presence,

Toby

 

 

 


What’s keeping me from relaxing in the present moment?

If meditation is keeping our mind in the present moment (which is one major foundational understanding of it), then a useful question to ask ourselves each day is “What is it within my experience of the present moment right now that I am resisting?” On one level it seems as if the present moment should be the simplest and most natural space to enter into, and yet we resist.

Rather than giving you the answer to this question in an abstract or philosophical manner, I’ll just outline my experience of this over the last weekend, and then offer some conclusions based around this.

Last weekend (it is now Monday) I noticed an uneasy feeling that was preventing me from feeling comfortable with myself and with my circumstances. It seemed as if my mind was on a hair trigger. As soon as I sat down to try and relax, all sorts of reasons to feel dissatisfied or uneasy would start forming in my mind. Recognizing that I had something of a challenge on my hands, I asked myself the question “What is it that is causing me to feel uneasy in the present moment and unable to relax?” I just sat and breathed with this question for a while, looking into my body and mind for an answer. Rationally I discovered no real reason for the unease; life is going quite well, no big crisis, nothing REALLY to feel bad about. However, when I looked in my body, on the energy level I found that there was what I would describe as a nervous “tick” in the centre of my chest. This is to say that there was a very uncomfortable energy in the centre of my chest that was creating a natural feeling of discomfort and dis-ease within my mind and body.

I could not shift this feeling straight away, and so I made a decision “If I cannot shift this uncomfortable feeling, then I am just going to have to ‘be’ with it, and make sure that I don’t allow it to affect my thinking, feeling and behavior in any kind of negative way”.

Having made this decision, my main task over the next 36 or so hours that it took for this heart energy to clear was simply to “be” with this uncomfortable energy, to accept it.

The act of choosing to be with the uncomfortable feeling, and not allow it to cause a problem is an example of when we need to make an extra effort to be present, even if there is a certain amount of willpower and effort involved.

Key points:

  • Asking yourself the question “What is it that is keeping me from entering into the present moment” is a very useful way of bringing yourself back to the present moment, even if you can feel resistance to it.
  • Asking the question regularly enables you to get to know the reasons you personally avoid being in the present moment much more intimately.
  • Sometimes being in the present moment means exerting your willpower and courage, and being compassionately honest with yourself.
  • Learning to be aware and take care of your mind and body when they are unhappy and uncomfortable is just as important, maybe more so than being present when things are going well.

If you ask this question, you will discover your own reasons for resisting the present moment, and uncover strategies for being able to relax and be present to whatever IS in your life, in a compassionate, attentive manner.

Article & content © 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   

 


Ongoing – Integral Meditation from the Perspective of Zen – A 10 week series

In a sentence: De-clutter your mind, develop concentration and create focused calm in your life by learning Zen meditation

Overview: The Zen School of Meditation arose from a combination of the teachings of the Buddha with the teachings of Taoism in China during the 6th century AD, where it became known as Chan meditation (‘Chan’ meaning ‘quietude’, or ‘meditation’). Later it was adopted by the Japanese, and it is they that called it Zen.

Zen is a particularly appropriate form of meditation for today’s hyper busy and challenging world because…Read full course details


Saturday 17th, 24th, 31st July, 2-4pm – Mindful Life-skills for Teenagers – A three week course

These sessions are specifically designed to help teens develop their real inner skills that help them be:

  • More effective at achieving their chosen goals
  • Build confidence,
  • Build resilience around stress and
  • Increase their capacity for fun and enjoyment as they learn.

Read full details


Saturday 24th July, 9.30-11.30am – Mindfulness for emotional intelligence masterclass

In a sentence: Learn how you can use mindfulness to develop your emotional range and skills

Much of our quality of life depends not so much on what we are experiencing, but the way in which we experience it. Our moods and emotional states to a large degree define the quality of our life experience, at work, in our relationships and in our leisure activities. This masterclass will lead you on an experiential journey
Read full details…

 


The new Mindful Self Knowledge coaching program

This is eight-month coaching program with Toby is designed to facilitate your own personal mindful self-discovery process. It focuses on:

  • Awareness of how your past experience has influenced who and how you are today
  • Confidence in approaching your present experience with playful fullness and enthusiasm
  • Giving you the inner tools to face your choices and your future in an empowered, dynamic, and authentic manner

Read full details

Watch Toby’s video on the Program


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 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 6th&7th July – Integral Meditation from the Perspective of Zen – A 10 week series

Saturday 17th, 24th, 31st July, 2-4pm – Mindful Life-skills for Teenagers – A three week course

Saturday 24th July, 9.30-11.30am – Mindfulness for emotional intelligence masterclass


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Meditation techniques Mindfulness Presence and being present Primal Spirituality

Dipping under & dancing within time

Dear Integral Meditators,

A lot of the mental stress that we feel is based upon our experience of time, so approaching the way in which we experience time mindfully, consciously & with awareness is really important. The article below explores practical ways of beginning to do this.

Toby

PS:  For those in Singapore, tonight’s and Wednesday evenings see the beginning of a new meditation class series: Five Class Meditation Series: Cultivating Deep Experience of the Present Moment  all welcome!


Dipping under & dancing within time

A lot of the mental stress that we feel is based upon our experience of time, so approaching the way in which we experience time mindfully, consciously & with awareness is really important. What I want to explain here is two methods of meditating on time for reducing mental stress when we are under pressure. These methods can be done formally as sitting meditations, or they can be done informally, as contemplations while we are going about our daily lives. Like all meditation techniques they can be used as methods for building our inner strength, focus, concentration and calm. Where these methods come into their own is as ways of liberating us from the ‘tyranny of time’, inviting us to feel as if we are the master of our time, rather than it being the master of us.

The pre-present moment – Getting out of time by dipping under it
Time is essentially a mental construct; past, present and future are essentially ideas that we use in order to function. Whenever you choose to ‘drop’ these concepts, you enter what I call the ‘pre-present moment’. This is the space before time existed, or was brought into our existence by mind. You can open a door to the pre-present moment using your imagination. For example, one technique I teach is imagining yourself as a rock or stone at the bottom of a river. Because you are a stone, you have no thoughts. Time essentially doesn’t exist from your point of view. If you like you can imagine time as the water flowing above you and past you in the river. You simply sit there and relax as the stone; inert, non-thinking, entirely peaceful and relaxed, at the bottom of the river, in the pre-present moment. I sometimes vary this image, for example the other day I imagined myself as sand on a beach, or the seaweed in the water. All of these images are doorways to the relaxing experience of the pre-present moment. By ‘ducking under time’ in this way for short periods, you can return to to your experience of time and your life feeling refreshed and with a new perspective.

The present moment in time – Dancing with linear time
The present moment in time is always right here, and here, and here. The more you can pay attention to your experience of this moment right now, the more you are going to feel that you are able to cope and thrive as the past and future dance around you in your mind. A really simple way to do this is to just use your breathing to center yourself in the present moment. Try and stay focused in the present moment just for three breaths, then relax for a few moments and watch your mind exploring the past and future. Then come back again to the breathing for three breaths. Keep coming back to the breathing for a few rounds, really centering yourself in the present so that you start to feel really solid and grounded there.
As a second stage to this practice, as you are doing your three breaths, at the bottom of your exhalation, rest in the natural point of stillness and presence that is in that pause. By doing this you can further deepen your anchor in the present-moment-in-time.

So, there you go, two simple methods for building a more positive, mindful relationship to time, as well as managing your mental stress more effectively!
© Toby Ouvry 2017, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing 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)

Starting Tues/Wed September 5th/6th – September & October Five Class Meditation Series: Cultivating Deep Experience of the Present Moment

September 19th/20th: Autumn Equinox balancing & renewing meditation

Saturday September 16th, 10am-5pm –  Shamanic mandala meditation & art workshop


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Awareness and insight Integral Meditation Meditation techniques Mindfulness

The Discipline of Emptying (Emptying to Fill)

Dear Integral Meditators,

I’ve had a few conversations recently with clients who really feel as if they have been mentally drained by the sheer volume of information that they have to deal with on a day to day basis. I could certainly sympathize with their story, and I think it is a challenge that a lot of us face. This weeks article focuses on using mindfulness as a way of emptying out our mind on a regular basis in order to prevent information overload and make it more resilient when we have a lot of things coming at us.

In the spirit of emptying,

Toby


The Discipline of Emptying (Emptying to Fill)

One aspect of mindfulness meditation is the practice of what I would describe as ‘the discipline of emptying’. This means taking time each day to reduce the amount of information that your mind is processing, and allow it to become more empty.
The function of emptying from a practical point of view is:

  • To make your mind a more relaxed, enjoyable place to be, a place where you like to hang out, rather than a place that you find yourself trying to escape from, but (of course) stuck in!
  • To allow the things that are unimportant – the ambient noise in your head to get de-cluttered and released
  • To allow the important things to start coming to the surface of your awareness so you can prioritize them
  • To have enough space to really appreciate what is happening in your life and enjoy it in the moment
  • To bring attention to the problems that you really need to pay attention to, but that you are avoiding by just ‘keeping yourself busy’

At the present time in my life I practice a ‘big emptying’ of my mind once or twice a day in meditation for 20-30mins at a time, but I have also gotten in the habit of pausing for a minute or three once every 20mins if I am working by myself. So for example if I am doing a three hour shift in the afternoon in my office, then I will be pausing once every 20mins, relaxing, emptying, getting my energy back, re-focusing on my goals. I presently find this way of micro managing my time to be both relaxing and productive.

The Emptying Sink
One simple image that you can use for the discipline of emptying is that of a sink filled with water. Your mind is the sink, the contents of your mind is the water. Pull the plug in the sink and see the water draining away. As you do so, feel all the contents of your mind emptying away, so that by the time the sink gets empty, you feel like your mind is totally relaxed and empty too. Sit and relax in this ‘empty sink’ space for a while. When you are ready, let your mind start filling up again, but focus on filling it up with things that:

  • You are appreciating and enjoying at the present time
  • The things that are most important and that you need to focus on
  • Challenges that you may be avoiding but need to address

Regularly empty your full mind, in order to fill it again with better quality, more enjoyable content!

© Toby Ouvry 2016, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:

February 2016

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

Saturday  February 27th, 2.30-5.30pm – Growing Your Mindful Freedom – The Essential Meditation of the Buddha: A Three Hour Meditation Workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Insight Meditation Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Meditation and Psychology Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership

Don’t Let Difficult Feelings Become Negative Thoughts

Dear Integral Meditators,

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

In the spirit of the journey,

Toby


Don’t Let Difficult Feelings Become Negative Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Awareness and insight creative imagery Inner vision Insight Meditation Integral Awareness Life-fullness meditation and creativity Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques

Riding the Waves of the Mind

Dear Integral Meditators,

What does it really mean to be in control of your mind and emotions? The article below explores the image of our emotions as waves, and offers mindful perspective on how we can use this image to relax into and enjoy both the highs and the lows of our inner life. Enjoy!

Last call for this Saturday’s Meditation and Mindfulness for Self-Healing  Workshop, if you are curious about what  mindful self-healing entails, then do have a read of my article Three Levels of Mindful Healing.

In the spirit of waves,

Toby


Riding the Waves of the Mind

Our emotions come from many different sources, sometimes it seems like we are in control of our emotions and feelings; they behave predictably and respond to our efforts to stay in control, but at other times they seem to be completely unpredictable and fly in the face of our efforts at control.

Often our attempt to control our mind and emotions involves trying to hold onto pleasant emotions, thoughts and feelings, and running away from or blocking negative/feelings/thoughts. One slightly more skillful way of learning to navigate the changeability of our mind and feelings is to simply learn to relax into whatever thoughts or feelings that we have, riding them like waves on an ocean. From the point of view of this image and method, our ‘negative’ thoughts/feelings and experiences are like the low troughs of the waves on the ocean. Out ‘positive’ thoughts/feelings/experiences are like the crests or high points of the waves.

We are like a rider on a small boat or surfboard bobbing up and down on the waves of our mind; sometimes we find ourself riding a crest, other times we find ourselves down in a trough. The main thing is to pay attention to the movement, keep balanced and learn to relax into the motion as we go up and down; if you are in a trough, just keep relaxed and balanced and after a while you will find yourself rising up again as the waves move. If you are on the crest of a ‘happy’ wave, ride that and enjoy it, relax into it, keeping balanced so that when it changes again and you start going down, you can do so smoothly and easily.

Our emotions, like waves are elemental and wild in their power. In the same way that a skilled sailor can harness the power of the sea by relaxing and working with it, so we can learn to harness the power of our mind and emotions and by relaxing and working with the energy we find there each day.

Mindful Exercise:
You are on a small boat in the open ocean, rising and falling with the waves. It doesn’t matter whether you are on the crest of the wave (emotional high)  or in a trough (emotional low), just keep relaxed, balanced and work with the energy of the waves rather than against it.

Related article: Breaking like a wave
Meditating on the inner weather of our 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 

Every Wednesday, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday 29th August, 9.30am-12.30pm – Meditation and Mindfulness for Self-Healing and Creating High Levels of Energy

SEPTEMBER

Saturday 12th September, 9.30am-12.30pm – Mindfulness and Meditation For Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration

Saturday 12th September, 2.30-5.30pm Mindful Dreaming – Meditation Practices for Integrating Conscious Dreaming into Your Daily Life

 


Integral Meditation Asia

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creative imagery Insight Meditation Integral Meditation Life-fullness Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Presence and being present

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


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *
Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology
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Insight Meditation Integral Awareness Life-fullness Meditation and Psychology Mindful Self-Leadership Mindfulness Presence and being present

The Tension Between What Is and what you Want

Dear Integral Meditators,

How do you deal with the gap between what you want in your life and the reality of what you actually find? The article below considers how to work with this ongoing tension in a positive way…

In the spirit of the journey,

Toby

 


The Tension Between What Is and what you Want

‘I wanted the meet with my date to go this way, but it didn’t’
‘I thought I’d get this work project done quickly and easily, but I’m still stuck working the details out.’
‘I want to know that I’ll have enough money to afford the things I need by the end of the month, but I have no way of knowing for sure’

In our life there is almost always a tension between the way we want our life to be, and the way it actually IS. How you experience this tension on any given day or in any given moment is a big part of whether you feel happy or sad, negatively or positively stressed, calm or frazzled.

The extreme of passivity
It’s all very well for me as a meditation and mindfulness coach to say to you ‘you have to accept what is, and be more in the moment’, but sometimes accepting what is can make us too passive; sometimes we need to try and assert ourselves in the situation and act to move things toward where we want to be. Being overly accepting can lead to the extreme of passivity.

The extreme of control
On the other hand we are all familiar with the ‘control freak’ in us; the one who wants it all to be worked out, certain, guaranteed, no risk. The problem is we are never 100% in control, life never turn out exactly the way we think it will or should. Sometimes is all seems to be fine and then disaster strikes, sometimes it seems like a disaster and then turns out unexpectedly well. Trying to make everything certain, and bend the world to our will is the extreme of control.

The middle way of acceptance and responsibility
So the middle way between passivity and control is to:

  • Accept fully what is, and where we find ourself AND
  • Take responsibility for trying to move things in the direction that we want, recognizing that this will never give us 100% control, but nevertheless we have to call ourselves to action based upon what we understand.

It is about holding the tension, not solving it or getting rid of it
I think about the tension between what is and what I want not as being something that I am trying to solve, or get rid of, but rather I am trying to learn how to hold well, to hold  mindfully and intelligently; I am not in total control of my life (or the world), but I am responsible for it. I have to accept the reality of where I am without fighting the facts, but I need to avoid over-passivity, fatalism or despondency.

Working mindfully with this tension in our daily life
Where is the tension between what is and what you want in your body, mind and heart right now? Are you holding it well? How can you hold it better?

© 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