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On appreciation, gratitude and impermanence

“When you truly know what you have is transient, then you can short-circuit the natural tendency that we all have to take things for granted. This in turn gives us a powerful incentive to appreciate what we have, and make the most of it today.”

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article is a personal reflection on impermanence, which is frankly one of the most powerful objects of mindfulness ‘in there’!

The 20% early bird offer on the Integral Mindfulness Program has now finished, but you can still get 15% off by signing up this week.
Tuesday and Wednesday meditation class this week are the first a series of six classes on the theme of Zen.
Then on Saturday we re-start the Qi gong workout and meditation session at 9am, and then the monthly Meditation workshop for beginners is at 11am.

In the spirit of  impermanence and appreciation,


On appreciation, gratitude and impermanence

When I first started meditating consistently in 1994, the first object of focus was on death and impermanence. I was teaching art and design at a school at the time. Every morning I would get up and meditate for twenty minutes on:

  • The certainty of my death and the uncertainty of its time
  • That at death I would travel from my body without any of the physical wealth, property and resources from this life, as well as without my loved ones that I would be leaving behind
  • From this I then focused on the resolution to make best use of the time I had today. To live fully and meaningfully according to my values and highest goals, so that when I die I do so without regrets.

I also imagined the death process, and observed how, if my breathing stopped at any moment, then my life would have about two minutes left to run. I (and you) hold onto life by a thin thread! This gave rise to a very ‘clean’ focused mind where I was able to drop many smaller concerns, and spend most of my day attending to what is important.

Bringing it home 
The purpose of meditating in this way is to bring our mind into a fuller recognition of our reality; we are living in a state of continuous impermanence, and we have limited time to achieve our potential in the world; to love, to contribute, to participate, to engage powerfully and benevolently.
Recently two people important to me died unexpectedly. A very good friend of my family, Hugh Buck died while leading a wildlife trip in Morocco. With his passing a whole section of my childhood memories in Asia moves into the context of someone who will never return (as the person he was in this life). Two weeks ago a good friend of mine and mentor in the recent phase of my own coaching development, Mark Hemstedt died suddenly and unexpectedly while leading a training program in KL.
While we would not wish these things to happen, the reality is they do sometimes, and sooner or later it will happen to us. Knowing that viscerally helps us make use of the time we have authentically.

Impermanence and gratitude
Mainstream mindfulness has almost become ubiquitous with gratitude practice. One way to really change the context and power of your gratitude is to combine it with a conscious awareness of impermanence. When you know what you have is transient, then you can short-circuit the natural tendency that we all have to take things for granted. This in turn gives us a powerful incentive to appreciate what we have, and make the most of it today.

Article content © Toby Ouvry & Integral Meditation Asia 2019.

Upcoming classes and workshops

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm (Restarts 21st August) – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings (Restarts 13th August), 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Wednesday 12.30-1.30 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

Saturday mornings 9-10.15am, June 15th, 29th – Qi Gong workout and meditation class

Saturday 10th August, 2-5.30pm – Qi Gong for Improving your Health and Energy Levels and for Self-Healing

FOR BEGINNERS: Saturday 24th August, 11-12.30pm – Get your meditation practice started now- The shortest and most time effective meditation workshop ever

Integral Meditation Asia

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