Inner vision Integral Meditation Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership Mindfulness One Minute Mindfulness

Mindfully Accessing Your Transferrable Skills

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks newsletter looks at how you can use mindfulness to link already existent skills that you have to activities where you may not have thought to apply them.

Sunday is that last day that you will be able to purchase the Mindful Resilience online course for the opening promotion price of Sing$69. On Monday it will go up to $85, so catch the offer whilst you can!

Yours in the spirit of skills hidden in plain sight,


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in October:

Full details soon!

Mindfully Accessing Your Transferrable Skills

Today I gave a talk at the Singapore Stock Exchange on mindful trading. One of the other speakers was a great guy called Dave from Salt Lake City. Earlier in his life he had been a professional drummer with a band. Now, as a trader he said he found that his intuitive skills as a musician helped him to see patterns in his trading charts that had become a major way in which he had developed his ‘trading style’. Dave had found a transferrable skill from his life as a musician which he was now applying to his life as a trader.
A few years ago I was complaining to my Dad that I was at a disadvantage as a business owner because I had no background in ‘selling’ or sales. My dad pointed out to me that I had a lot of experience in listening as a counsellor teacher and coach. He then pointed out that a lot of what being a good salesperson is about is firstly listening to other people to understand their deep needs and wants; if you can do that you are then in a very good position to provide a service or product that they will want. I suddenly discovered that I had a hugely useful transferrable skill that I could use as a businessman that I hadn’t even thought about before and that I could draw a lot of confidence from (thanks Dad!).
When I first started meditation practice in the early 90’s I was able to build my meditation practice better and faster by applying the understanding of under-training and over-training that I had picked up from playing sports, another transferrable skill of great value.

The fact is that many of the skills that you currently have are transferrable to other areas of your life. Not only that but they are transferrable to any new activity that you take up. The more quickly you can make the link between a skill that you already have and its potential value in a new situation, or in a different domain of your life, the more quickly you can start using it.
A great mindful question to ask yourself when faced with a new challenge, stage or activity in your life is “What transferrable skills do I have?” Almost certainly you will be pleasantly surprised how capable you are.

Related article: Mindfully deepening your inner resources.

© 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 


creative imagery Inner vision Integral Meditation Meditating on the Self Meditation and Art Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindful Resilience Mindfulness Presence and being present Shadow meditation

Your Emotional Colour Palette

Dear Integral Meditators,

What makes a colour beautiful? The answer is a bit deeper than first glance. Similarly with our emotions, it is not always the bright, shiny ones that are of the most value, or even the most beautiful.

Yours in the spirit of emotional depth and beauty,


Your Emotional Colour Palette

As some of you may know my original training was as an artist (which I still practice actively), and I often think about the development of the mind, emotion and consciousness in terms of colour and texture.
One of the observations that I have taken from my work as a painter is that whether a colour is beautiful or ugly, harmonious or jarring has as much to do with the colours next to it as the colour itself. For example we may think of grey as a very plain boring (even depressing) colour; but if you watch the way a grey sky can give depth and vibrancy to the green leaves of a tree, or give new definition to the foam on the waves of the sea, then we start to realize that grey has its place.
Similarly the dark browns and blacks of soil give background to the beauty of vibrantly coloured flowers, the early nights and darkness of the winter evenings gives context to the vibrancy and buzz of the long sunny summer ones. As a painter if you can grasp this concept, then you will become a much better painter; you will get to know your greys and blacks and browns s well as your yellows, oranges and bright blues. You will understand how to put them together in your picture to produce a beauty that has true depth, texture and nuance.

You can see the first picture I have posted with this article by Ben Nicholson above (one of my favourites) that shows a good example of this in a sea landscape. The greys, blues and blacks provide a context for the brighter yellows, blues and reds to come alive. The second picture below is a cityscape by my daughter Sasha. I think you can really see in this one how the dark grey building in the center really gives substance to the bright yellow and pink buildings on either side. Without the grey the bright colours would look anaemic.

So, when we think about the landscape of our emotions, it can be wise to get to know the grey, brown and black ones as well as the bright cheery, pretty ones. If we are prepared to look at them all together, without favoring one over the other, we may discover that each emotion, the sad ones as well as the happy ones all have their place in our life, all have their own beauty, and their own gifts to offer us.

As a mindfulness or meditation practitioner, it can be a nice exercise to simply sit and open to our emotions and moods, benevolently embracing them all as we find them, and then consciously learning to wisely weave them into a beautiful painting (or song) each day, a painting that includes browns, blacks and greys as well as red, yellow and blue.

© 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 

Insight Meditation Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindful Resilience Mindfulness Shadow meditation

If you feel properly you will think clearly

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article describes a simple but profound meditation process for bringing your thoughts and feelings into a state of integration and harmony. When our thoughts and feelings are on the same page, it opens up a whole new dimension of both happiness and effectiveness within us.

Yours in the spirit of integrated thinking and feeling,


If you feel properly you will think clearly

What is it that gets in the way of clear thinking? You might have the idea that it would be easy to think clearer if only you did not have all these intense emotions within you that seemed to be getting in the way of your thought processes:

  • “If only I was not so angry I would be able to deal with the person who said that awful thing to me”
  • “If only I wasn’t so anxious I could just relax and get down to my work”
  • “If only I was not so jealous I could enjoy my relationship more and with a clearer head”

In this scenario emotion and thought are set up against each other as adversaries within ourself, one pitted against the other.
Actually, the emotion only becomes an obstruction to clear thinking when we repress, deny or otherwise push it away from our conscious awareness and try and bury it within ourselves. When we do this our body becomes tense and armored, our mind becomes cloudy and foggy, and a gap appears between what we think, what we feel and what we do.
When we acknowledge and accept the emotions we feel without denying them, we will find that we tend to experience a clarifying of our thought process, and an inclination to act in ways that are congruent to that thinking:

  • “Because I feel angry with my friend for what they did, I am going to tell them about it, not violently and explosively, but calmly and clearly, because I know that what I am feeling is anger”
  • “I know that I am feeling anxious at work right now, and I understand why, accepting the way I feel I will now get on with what needs to be done”
  • “Jealousy is not a pleasant emotion to experience, but there is a reason for it that I think I need to talk through with my partner”

One of the primary ways that meditation can help you in a practical is to use it as a way to bring your thoughts and feelings into integration with each other. Simply to sit down and use awareness of your body and breathing to become more deeply aware of how you are feeling. As you sit with your body and breathing, you can even mentally describe to yourself (or even out loud) what the sensations are that you are feeling in your body, and what emotions these are connected to. You will be surprised if you do this regularly how quickly you can bring to your conscious awareness emotions that have been hidden from view to you for years. As they come into view, just focus on acknowledging them and experiencing them consciously. You will find that if you do this your head will start to feel clearer, and that you will be able to think and express yourself more clearly. Energy that was previously locked up in the repression and denial of emotion will become available to you for positive and appropriate self-expression.
A final point, as you do this exercise you may be surprised how much positive emotion and feeling you suppress. Excitement, joy, love, sensual and sexual feelings can be experienced by our ego as being as ‘dangerous’ as anger, jealousy and so forth. So it is not all about reconnecting to difficult emotion, it is also learning to feel positive emotions more deeply and enjoyably.

© 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 

A Mind of Ease Inner vision Integral Awareness Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Mindful Resilience Motivation and scope

What Constitutes the Good Life? – Looking a bit deeper

Dear Integral Meditators,

In order to experience the ‘good life’ I really believe that we need to go beyond our superficial ideas of positive and negative, pleasure and pain. In the article below I explain why.

Final reminder if you are in Singapore of the Mindful Resilience Workshop on this Sunday, 21st September in the morning. Anyone attending the live workshop will also gain access to the Mindful Resistance online course launching next week, which is a really good deal I think.

Beneath the article is details of I-awakes monthly offer, in this case on their Neurocharger 3.0 track. Its good stuff!

Yours in the spirit of the good life,


What Constitutes the Good Life? – Looking a bit deeper

What constitutes the good life? You might think that the good life might be described by the prevalence of the following types of emotions and experiences; happy, contented, blissful, enjoyable*.
The not-so-good-life would then be constituted of a corresponding list of opposite qualities like unhappy, discontented, in pain, depressed.

BUT. It is possible to be superficially happy, lazily contented, addicted to sensation and short term kicks (bliss) and enjoyment as distraction from what is truly important.

Similarly it can be unhappy in a way that leads to positive change, discontent because it is appropriate to be so, learn valuable lessons and victories from pain and reach a deeper level of self-knowledge when we confront depression and emptiness.

What would then happen if we replaced our list of qualities that constitute the good life to the following; enriching, exciting, rewarding, challenging, and meaningful?*

We can be enriched by our feelings of both happiness and unhappiness.
We can be excited by the prospect of resting in contentment and also shaking our world up with our discontent.
We can be rewarded by our resilience to pain as well as our periodic touching of deep bliss.
We can be challenged by loneliness and depression and derive new levels of enjoyment from that which we find meaningful.

If we are willing to consistently push ourselves beyond the superficial boundaries of ‘chasing positive and avoiding negative’ as well as ‘looking for short term pleasure and avoiding pain’ we may find that undreamed of capacities for the good life start to emerge from each day of our existence.

So then, what are the leading edges of your enrichment, excitement, reward, challenge, and meaning in life today? It doesn’t have to be ‘positive’.

*Two lists taken from “ The Carl Rogers Reader”, Haughton edition,  page 419, section entitled ‘The Greater Richness of Life”

© 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 

I-Awake technologies special offer for September is on Neurocharger – Train Your Brain with 60 Minutes of Gated Frequencies For Energy, Balance & Focus. Get 25% off the regular price!
Discount Coupon Code:(apply during checkout) NEWSSEPT25OFF
Good until Sept 22, 2014
Click on link for full details and to listen to the free sample track…

Enlightened Flow Inner vision Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques spiritual intelligence

What Lies Beyond Stillness? – Meditation and heightened creativity

 Dear Integral Meditators,

What happens when you have learned to still the mind in meditation? That is the question I explore below in this weeks article.

Yours in the spirit of deeper creativity,


What Lies Beyond Stillness? – Meditation and heightened creativity

For many of the people who do coaching with me or attend a workshop, the #1 goal often seems to be to be able to access a place of calm and stillness within themselves through meditation practice.
The achievement of resting in inner stillness consistently and at will, in the face of the varied circumstances of daily life takes persistent training in mindfulness and meditation, and is a notable achievement. But what lies beyond the achievement of stillness in meditation once you have attained it?
The inner silence (or space or stillness) that we find in meditation is a living space with nothing in it (no-thing). The flip side of this empty space is that it is also a space of all-possibilities. This means to say that because there is nothing there, in that space anything could appear or be created; it is unlimited.
So a space of stillness within our mind is a place where we have temporarily dropped all the constraints of our conventional everyday mind, for whom some things are possible, and others are definitely not. It is not altogether surprising then that, after we have entered a space of stillness in meditation, quite often we start to get flashes of creative inspiration, great ideas about a project at work, new insights into our personal life, great ideas for a work of art, a previously undreamed of solution to a personal problem.
These types of highly creative flashes of inspiration come from a level of our consciousness beyond the everyday mind, and are different from the ‘distractions’ that we have when we are trying to still out mind. It is the beginnings of experiencing the higher or trans-rational levels of our consciousness, within which there is an infinite source of creative ideas and creative power.
However, the challenge in our actual meditation can be that we find ourselves departing from the stillness that we have been focusing upon, and find our mind getting distracted by all the inspiration.

As a solution to this it can be useful to set aside a little time at the end of your meditation session to focus upon this deeper level of creative experience. So, for example if you have a 20minute session:

  • The first five minutes might be spent on stilling the mind
  • The next ten minutes could be spent moving more deeply into that stillness and staying with it
  • The final five minutes might be then spent observing creative inspirations that arise from the stillness, noting them and perhaps contemplating how you might practically apply them to your daily life.

In the long term what happens is that you start to be able to access this level of higher creativity even when out of meditation, which in turn enables you to make your whole life a an expression of your deeper creativity. The only chaser I would add to this is that sometimes these creative ideas are deeply challenging to our sense of what are limits are as a personality, so with the experience of deeper creativity comes the need for greater courage to act upon that which is arising within you.

© 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 

Inner vision Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Meditation and Psychology Mindful Resilience Mindfulness

Non-resistance – Tapping into A deeper level of relaxation

Superficially relaxation exercises relating to mindfulness might look quite simple, almost to the point of superficiality, but in reality the capacity to become and remain deeply relaxed consistently in life is a profound achievement.
Why so? Because to be able to remain truly and deeply relaxed in the face of all the nonsense that everyday life throws at you implies the achievement of three inner qualities that are not easy to attain:
Self-trust – The knowledge that your mind, judgment and convictions are not vulnerable or susceptible to emotional pressure
Self confidence – The belief that, whatever the challenge you have you are confident in the power of your mind to be able to respond appropriately and effectively
Self-esteem – The feeling and experience that you are deserving of happiness in life, and that you are confident of your own intelligence and its capacity to find solutions to your life’s problems (in this sense you could say that self-confidence is actually a subset of self-esteem).

Non-Resistance – Relaxing into our challenges as a way of practising mindful resilience and recovering from mental ‘hits’ faster.

Rather than theorizing, what I want to do in this article is demonstrate from my own experience how non-resistance works. The other night as I was falling asleep I was suddenly struck by a set of unusual feelings of loneliness, accompanied by images of myself in a big empty house. Caught by surprise by these feelings, I felt my body and mind resisting and trying to reject and deny these feelings, to try and ‘escape’ from them. Catching myself, I then altered my approach, consciously relaxing into the feelings of loneliness, immersing myself in them like submerging myself into the water of a swimming pool. By relaxing and practising non-resistance to the feelings, I found that after a short while they naturally dissipated and I fell asleep feeling relaxed and content; I was able to process and remain resilient to the emotional challenge through the practice of relaxational non-resistance.
Next morning I receive an email from a corporate client regarding a deal I thought was locked up. Turns out they have decided to go with another facilitator, instinctively following the momentum that I had created from the night before, I again practice non-resistance to the email and my emotional reaction to it. I allow it to flow through my body and mind, opening my chest and relaxing deeply. The result – my recuperation and regeneration time from that setback is VASTLY accelerated (not to say that there was no swearing mind ;-)), and I proceed through the mornings work and activities feeling  fundamentally good despite the setback.

So, two related, practical examples of the practice of non-resistance there which I hope will give you some idea as to how to start practising it yourself.

How does non-resistance relate to the qualities of self-trust, confidence and esteem? 
The capacity to practice non-resistance under stress depends to a large degree on how you have developed these three qualities within yourself. If you don’t trust and feel confident in yourself, it is very difficult to relax into an experience that directly threatens your wellbeing. If you don’t have self-esteem it can be difficult not to believe that on some level setbacks in life are confirmations that happiness is not something you deserve to give yourself each day.

Non-resistance is a practice that you can start today and find real benefit, but that to be a master of deep relaxation; you have to earn it over time.

Related articles: Non-StrivingThe Shadow ChildSoft Forms of Psychic Self Defence.
© 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 

Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Mindful Resilience Mindfulness Motivation and scope Presence and being present

Why Mindfulness Primes You for Success

Dear Toby,

What would happen to your enthusiasm and commitment to mindfulness and meditation practice if I were to convince you that practicing it gives you the greatest chance for success in your chosen endeavors, both professionally and personally? In the article below that is exactly what I try and demonstrate to you.

The mindful resilience courses that I am putting on this month, both online and live are designed to give you a very solid and dynamic basis for mindful success.

To your mindful success, and mine, and the better world that will result,


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in September:

Sunday September 21st – Mindful Resilience – Sustaining effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure through meditation and mindfulness – A Three Hour Workshop

Wednesday September 24th – Launch of online course: Developing Your Mindful Resilience – Sustaining effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure through mindfulness

Sunday September 28th, 2.30-5.30pm – Mindful Parenting Workshop – Mindful Parenting – Practical Techniques for Bringing Awareness, Appreciation and Enjoyment to the Experience of Parenting – A three hour workshop


Why Mindfulness Primes You for Success

Mindfulness means above all else to be committed to living an aware life. To the extent that you are dedicated to living an aware life, that is to say bringing a greater degree of awareness to your day to day activities and experiences, the greater your chances are of understanding to them. To the extent that you gain understanding in your activities and experiences you increase your chances of being effective in them. The more effective you are in processing your daily activities, the greater chance you have of being successful in them. This is the reason that mindfulness primes you for success in whatever field of activity you choose. The equation looks something like this:

Mindfulness = Awareness +Understanding which leads to greater Effectiveness which then = Greater success

Please note here that we are not defining mindfulness as a technique here, but as a commitment to awareness. If you are truly committed to bringing mindfulness into your life, you will find ways of bringing greater awareness. From this we can see that mindfulness is not so much a technique or a school or club that you can belong to, it is an existential stance and approach toward life and a choice in each moment.

If being mindful increases your chances of success, why isn’t everyone practicing it?

Because being committed to bring deep awareness, understanding and effectiveness to your life brings you into confrontation with questions that most people would rather avoid. For example:

  • What are the things within my mind that make me so uncomfortable that I seek toavoid awareness of them?
  • What is it that I feel confused about and do not understand in this situation?
  • What are the areas in my life where I feel or actually am deeply incompetent and ineffective in my life?

So, from these questions we can see that to be committed to a mindful life means being  committed to going to the places within yourself that are uncomfortable, confusing and even sometimes make us feel stupid. This is why we resist living a mindful life.

However, if we understand that the basic formula of mindfulness is designed to bring us success in whatever our chosen endeavour is, then we may find ourselves picking up our practice again with renewed enthusiasm and courage, and in the knowledge that by renewing our commitment to awareness each day we are massively increasing our chances of long term success in that which is most important to us in our life.

Three mindful questions for success:
Select a particular aspect of your life, work, relationships (etc…) in your life and ask each question in turn, with pauses for reflection in between.
What do I need to be most aware of in this situation?
What is my awareness inviting me to understand deeply about what is happening here?
What skills do I need to practice and become competent at here in order to become truly effective?

© 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 


Integral Awareness Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindfulness Uncategorized

Three Levels of Inner Resilience

Dear Integral Meditators,

What are the primary qualities that you rely upon for your own inner resilience? The article I have written below outlines three important areas for developing our inner resilience in an integrated way, using mindfulness.

In the spirit of resilience,


Three Levels of Inner Resilience

Imagine your consciousness is like an ocean.
Imagine the challenges that come at you in life are like the waves, wind and rain on that ocean.
Imagine your mind is like a well built boat. To have a resilient mind is to have structures and habits of thought and emotion in your mind that are able to withstand the outer challenges of your life such as setbacks, and the inner challenges of your life such as periodic low self-belief or perhaps depression. It is the structure of the boat that provides the resilience.
Imagine your body and body awareness is like the sailor on the boat. In order to stay balanced s/he has to keep his centre of gravity low, his body responsive and flexible so that she can ride the waves without getting tipped overboard. This is like the resilience of flow; the ability to keep the energy in your body flexible and flowing in response to the ‘hits’ that you take each day. You are able to recover from setbacks quickly because difficult energy flows through you, it is not held as tension or rigidity within the body; nothing gets stuck.
Imagine that you can also dive beneath the waves to a depth where the turbulence of the surface no longer disturbs you. By diving and immersing yourself deeply in the ocean you are able to find relief and regeneration from the relentless weather, to find a space of peace and deep calm. This type of resilience through immersion is developing the capacity to dive beyond the world of thoughts and feelings to a deeper level of your awareness where a sense of relaxation and regeneration can always be found no matter how tough your life gets.

The resilience of flow then is about mindfully learning to let tension and stress flow through your body so that it does not build up or stay and you recover from it quickly.
The resilience of structure is the structures you build in your mind to deal with setbacks and emotional challenges in a robust, strong and flexible manner.
The resilience of immersion is the skill of learning to dive deeply into your consciousness periodically to a place beyond thought where you can find renewal and regeneration.

If you put these three together you have a truly resilient mindfulness!

If you would like to take the practices indicated in this article into your daily life, simply dwell for a few minutes each day on the image of yourself as a sailor in the sea of life, in your sturdy, well structured boat, keeping your body flexible and flowing, and periodically diving deep into the ocean beneath you to a place of deep calm.

© 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 

© 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