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Working Samadhi – The way of the mindful warrior

“With working samadhi, all our actions an expression in one form or another of the confidence, generosity & compassion that arises from meditative presence in action”

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article explores a practice called ‘Working Samadhi’ which for me is one of the most compelling ideas in meditation! If you enjoy it then do check out  the new meditation program beginning in April:  The Way of the Mindful Warrior – Meditating with the Warriors creed. Details below, or just click on the link for the full write up.

In the spirit of the mindful warrior,


Working Samadhi – The way of the mindful warrior

Why meditate?
Meditation in its most simple definition means to hold a focused, relaxed space of awareness. This state of awareness sits in the middle of two extremes:

  • On the one side, there is being distracted and lost in thought, or conceptuality
  • In the other side there is sleep or inertia

So, with meditation we are in a state of relaxed presence, in the moment. We are alert, undistracted and relaxed, avoiding the extremes of thinking or sleep.
Initially we meditate using simple objects like the body and breathing, but we can really build a meditative state around a wide variety of objects. Meditation enables us to achieve what I like to call singularity; the ability to gather all of our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual energy into a single energy or presence in the moment. It gives us the strength of calmness, but also acts as the basis for a whole range of empowering states, from joy to compassion, self-trust, confidence and so on…

Working samadhi – Combining singularity and movement
The ability to hold a meditative state whilst sitting or standing takes some work. As our practice develops, if its trajectory is healthy, we find ourselves able to hold the state of singularity more and more in our daily activities. This eventually leads to a state called ‘working samadhi’.  Genuine working samadhi means, to quote John Daido Lori:
Working samadhi (means) we’re able to stay with what we are doing and not disconnect from the moment by chasing thoughts, pre-occupied with something other than the activity at hand, wishing we weren’t there. This single-mindedness on any and all facets of life is working samadhi…. It’s our aliveness and presence, moment to moment. Each instant is lucid and complete.
Within that working samadhi, karuna – real compassion – begins to appear. Compassion is wisdom in action. It is not merely doing good.”

Experiential learning in the moment
With working samadhi, our life becomes our meditation, and all our activities become an expression of the meditative state. This then enables us to find meaning and learning in all our activities, whether they are superficially ‘spiritual’ or ‘mundane’. Everything becomes an expression in one form or another of the confidence, generosity & compassion that arises from our ‘meditative presence in action’.

The mindful warrior
Unless you are careful, there is no guarantee that your sitting meditation starts to translate into working samadhi. For some, meditation can become an escape from daily life, or even an addiction that winds up in them not really being able to function normally without regular periods retreating into solitary meditation. To step into working samadhi takes a lot of confidence and courage, and an ability to skillfully embrace our messy chaotic reality whole-heartedly.

Yourself as a mindful warrior
With your capacity to sustain singularity, not just in formal meditation but in complex daily life, our path opens up into that of the ‘mindful warrior’. Someone who trusts themselves enough to start openly expressing their joy, compassion, inner wealth and generosity in the world, without fear of getting burned, burned out or intimidated. To finish this article, I’d like to leave you with a quote from Chogyam Trungpa (From ‘Cutting through spiritual materialism’) on the compassion that arises essentially from working samadhi. If you imagine yourself like this in your daily life, it gives a taste of what it’s like:
We could say that compassion is the ultimate attitude of wealth: An anti-poverty attitude, a war on want. It contains all sorts of heroic, juicy, positive, visionary, expansive qualities. It implies a larger scale thinking, a freer and more expansive way of relating to yourself and the wold….it is the attitude that one has been born fundamentally rich, rather than one must become rich. Without this kind of confidence meditation cannot be transferred into action at all.”

Related articleKaruna – Compassion arising from wisdom

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

Saturday April 9th, 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

Starts Tuesday 5th/Wednesday 6th April 2022 – 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

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 January-March – Zen: The ordinary path to enlightenment – Meditating with the Ten Ox Herding pictures

Saturday April 9th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Starts Tuesday 5th/Wednesday 6th April 2022 – The Way of the Mindful Warrior – Meditating with the Warriors creed

Saturday 23rd April, 9.30am-12noon – Zen meditation deep dive mini-retreat

Tues 17th/Weds 18th May: Wesak meditation

Integral Meditation Asia

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