creative imagery Inner vision Integral Meditation Meditation and Psychology Meditation Recordings Meditation techniques

What is the Quality of Your Calm?

Dear Integral Meditators,

I hope you’ve had a good week, our article this week is a follow on from last weeks “Four Types of Deep, Calm, Four Types of Dynamic Power“, and is a continued invitation investigate how you can integrate a deeper sense of calm in your life!

I have posted a 10 minute MP3 recording of the meditation on the three types of calm on the Integral Meditation Asia website. To have a listen and download it go here: Three Types of Calm Free Meditation MP3

Yours in the spirit of inner calm,


What is the Quality of Your Calm?

This article is mostly a guided meditation to connect you to three types of calm:

  • Mountain like calm, or the type of calmness that is solid and immovable
  • River like calm, or the type of calm that is flowing and flexible
  • Sky like calm, or the type of calm that is open and spacious

Each of these types of calm has its own particular qualities, and each has its own practical strengths, for example:

  • When you are going through emotional turmoil it can be very useful to emphasize flowing, river-like calm as a way of working with the experience
  • When you feel under attack from your outer environment for example socially it can be useful to emphasize the solid and immovable qualities of mountain-like calm.

Images to connect you to the three types of calm:

Mountain–like calm: See yourself as a mountain, solid strong and immovable. You are able to withstand any amount of wind, rain or weather as a consequence of your strength of presence. Imagine wind and rain around you; these are like the challenges of your daily life, you are like the mountain

River-like calm: See yourself as a river, flowing, flexible, and accommodating. Imagine the river rising and flowing faster as if flooding; you as the river can cope with the increase because you are able to ‘go with the flow’. Imagine the water is like the ups and downs of your emotional life and you are like the river; calmly flowing fast or slow as required.

Sky-like calm: See yourself as a vast open sky, spacious and calm. The clouds in the sky are like the different challenges in your life; they are in the sky but they do not affect its fundamental spaciousness or openness. Be that spacious, open calm in the midst of the clouds of your life!

As you work with these images you will find that you probably relate to one more than the others. Work practically with the one you relate to primarily first, and then try integrating the other two when you feel you would like a change.

To have a listen to this meditation now go here: Three Types of Calm Free Meditation MP3

© Toby Ouvry 2013, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

Insight Meditation Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Mindfulness Uncategorized

Four Types of Deep Calm, Four Types of Dynamic Power

Dear Integral Meditators,

What do you think of when you think “calm”? This weeks article looks at how calmness is not just a passive relaxational activity, but a type of dynamic inner power that we can build in our mind and life each day.

Yours in the transformative power of inner calm,



Four Types of Deep
Calm, Four Types of Dynamic Power

Sometimes the impression that we have of calmness is that it is a passive, purely relaxational experience that we can use to escape and gain relief from the trials and tribulations of our daily life.
If we are a little more serious about investigating the potential of calm however, we discover that contained within the experience of calm there is the experience of an inner dynamic power which adds a new dimension of strength that we can bring into the centre of our most difficult life circumstances.
We can use this inner power to direct and transform such situations in a practical and beneficial way.
In meditation we can think of the co-development of inner calm and power as having four basic types:

The calm of solidity
This is the calm presence that comes from being deeply embedded in awareness of our physical body and our physical world. It leads to a calm power that is mountain, stone or earth like in nature; it is able to remain very solid, stable and fixed in the midst of changing and difficult circumstances.

The calm of flow
This is a type of emotional calm that arises from the ability to let your emotions flow in an open and healthy manner, which in turn gives you the confidence to direct the natural power inherent within emotion toward positive ends in your life.

The calm of structure
This is a type of mental calm that comes from having a well structured and ordered mind. A well structured mind is like a good plumbing or electrical system in a house; it enables you to access and direct the power of your mind to the task at hand efficiently, without ‘leaking’ energy.

The calm of no-mind
This is a type of spiritual or existential calm that comes from developing the ability to suspend your thoughts and rest in the inner space that lies beyond them. Resting in the space of no-mind or no-thoughts gives access to deep calm even when in the midst of mental, emotional and physical turmoil, and facilitates the development of the trans-rational powers of mind that lie beyond the intellect

Integral meditation training involves the complementary development of all four types of calm power. Each can be looked at in depth, but here is a short exercise you can try to get a feel for it. Stay with each stage of the breathing for as long as you like:

As you breathe in be aware of the solidity and stability of your physical body,
As you breathe out relax into that stability.
As you breathe in allow your emotional being to open and flow,
As you breathe out relax into the power of that flow.
As you breathe in tune into the positive thought structures of your mind,
As you breathe out feel their power to contain and direct your mental energy.
As you breathe in be aware of the space beyond your thoughts,
As you breathe out relax into the power of that which lies beyond the mind.

© Toby Ouvry 2013, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

Awareness and insight Integral Meditation Meditation techniques Mindfulness Presence and being present

Small Focused Mind, Big Open Mind

Dear Integral Meditators,

There are two easy things that you can do to start supporting your meditation practice whilst engaged in your daily life. This weeks article outlines what they are and how you can start implementing them.

I have created another three minute video this week entitled “When is a problem really a problem; the liberating power of perspective” , click the link if you want to have a view!

Yours in the spirit of focused spaciousness,


Small Focused Mind, Big Open Mind 

With meditation two of the essential skills that you are trying to develop are the ability to keep your attention focused on a single object over an extended period of time and the ability to keep your mind relaxed, open and spacious.

For a meditation practice to be effective at this it can be done for as little as ten minutes a day, but it will be many times more effective if you can find ways of supporting the development of these two qualities when you are out of meditation and engaged in daily life. Here are two principles that I use to do this:

  1. When at work or do my daily tasks I try for at least some of the time to mono-task, and do only one thing at a time. Whilst I am focusing on that one thing I keep my mind present, not thinking about other things. I just relax into the immediacy, simplicity and ‘smallness’ of the task. This type of activity improves my ability to focus my attention singularly and, like a formal meditation it gives rise to a sense of peace and tranquillity that is a side-effect of the focused attention.
  2. When I am out of doors I make my awareness big, as big at least as the immediate horizon around me, the sky above me and a sense of the large mass of the Earth below me. Of course if I am walking around I have to be aware of things like traffic and basic safety, but within those limitations I make expand my mind into the environment, making it naturally big and spacious. This bigness and spaciousness is very relaxing, but it also helps me to keep perspective, maintain appropriate detachment from the events of my life, and gives rise to a certain sense of mystical communion/relationship with the landscape which I find very rewarding.

At present I have a habit of going for an early evening walk with my daughter which I take as a special time to expand my mind into the surrounding landscape, make it big and spacious and let go of my daily concerns. It is useful to have a specific activity that you do each day that is specifically focused on making your mind spacious in this way.

So there you go, two ways of supporting the development of your meditation practice;

  • When at work or doing daily activities spend at least some time mono-tasking
  • When outside relax your awareness into the environment, making it big and spacious

© Toby Ouvry 2013, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

Uncategorized Videos

When is a Problem Really a Problem? The Liberating Power of Perspective

How many of the ‘problems’ in our life are inherently so, and how many are simply our mind making things into problems? This video explores this question on a (literally!) practical level…


creative imagery Enlightened love and loving Integral Awareness Mindfulness Presence and being present

Trusting the Random

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article focuses on my own experience of meaningful co-incidence over the past few days. A lot of our most important sources of life-lesson are happening right under our nose in the present moment, so its important to keep alert for them!

I’ve also this recently created a short video on ‘How to start transforming and re-directing your anger‘ in which I talk about this potentially tricky but very meaningful and useful subject.

Enjoy the article!

Yours in the spirit of the random universe,


Trusting the Random  

In today’s chaotic world where there seem to be many things happening to us that are outside of our control it can oftentimes feel difficult to trust in the flow of things and allow our mind to rest in that trust. It can help to develop this ‘trust in the flow’ by noting our own experiences of how sometimes seemingly random events in our life turn out to be acts of random meaning and even kindness to us from the universe. Here are two examples from my last week in London:

  • I had just seen my brother and sister (very nobly) going into the cinema to see the Smurfs movie with our collective children (all six of them under 7yrs). I had two hours to myself with which I really felt I needed to relax and get some space. I walked out of the O2 shopping centre and, having no idea where I was going turned left on Finchley Road up a hill. After walking for about 15 minutes I found the Camden Arts Centre, a beautiful place with an art gallery, a café and a garden totally uncrowded and peaceful. I took in the art exhibition, had a great and inexpensive lunch at the café and relaxed with coffee in the garden. I could not have imagined finding a better place to rest and rejuvenate my spirits that I found, or was guided to by seeming random coincidence.
  • Coming out of the northern line tube with my daughter, she announced that she needed the toilet. My heart sank as I new from previous experience that the nearest toilet was MILES away, and I could not even remember which direction it was in. Taking a random tunnel we walked for quite some time with heavy bags with still no sign of a toilet. The sign indicated we were now under Kings Cross station. In exasperation I asked a police officer where the nearest toilet was. “Up the stairs to the main station and straight ahead”…up we go, straight ahead to the toilet. To the right of the toilet it just so happens there is the Harry Potter “Platform 9 and three quarters shop” which upon seeing it my daughter goes into fits of ecstasy, being a complete Potter fan and having read most of the books with me at bedtime. Another very meaningful and fun seeming random co-incidence marked by my seven year old getting a chocolate frog, a wizarding card and seeing the fancy wands of all the main characters in the Harry Potter movies!

So, really the object of meditation or awareness here for me is simply the persistence of meaningful, humorous and even deeply kind co-incidence that the universe seems to hand out to us all even amidst all the seeming stress, seriousness and chaos of our human life. I think if we can hold onto this ‘trust in the random’ then it has real power to make the quality of our life lighter, more playful, more meaningful, and more fun!
I find it particularly useful when I feel ‘cornered’ by my circumstances, when seemingly there is no way out. Generally there is, and the door comes sometimes in ways we would never have imagined.
© Toby Ouvry 2013, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

Biographical creative imagery Meditation and Psychology mind body connection

The Story of Your Breathing

Often times when we are taught to meditate on the breathing it is primarily as an exercise in concentration, and/or where we alter our breathing in some way in order to achieve a certain effect, such as relaxation.
The technique I explain below is a free form method of working with the breathing that invites self-discovery, greater awareness and the inner strength that comes from this.

I’ve been taking a holiday for the last week or so now, and the main way that I have been enjoying my own awareness of breathing is observing how my pattern of breathing is intimately connected to the story of my life

  • When I reflect on the current happiness and joy in my life, I can feel and sense that joy and happiness subtly altering and communicating itself in the way my body breathes
  • The sadness and stress that I feel is similarly reflected in my body’s breathing as my mind ponders

In both a literally real and a poetic sense it seems as if the pattern of my breathing is telling the story of my life whenever I tune into it; my experiences, my age, my history, everything I am as well as all that I might become in the future seems to be held in the energy and pattern of each each breath.

So, amidst the relative busyness that I find myself in at this time whilst on holiday I’ve taken to finding a bit of time just to sit down with my back resting against a tree, closing my eyes, focusing on my breathing and listening to the story that it is telling me.
Some of the things that it tells me I know, some things are new, all of it helps me to feel more fully alive to the process of my life as it is now, the struggles, the joys, the unknowns. As I focus on the story of my breathing and its vulnerability I feel a new and deeper strength growing in me.

© Toby Ouvry 2013, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website