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Concentration creative imagery Inner vision Integral Meditation Life-fullness Meditation techniques Mindful Self-Leadership

Making your visualization practice integral

“If you observe your mind, you will see that your unconscious imagination is very active, creating scenario’s regarding our past, present and future. What if you made this process conscious, deliberate & directed?”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article focuses on visualization meditation. If you enjoy the article, then do come along for the summer solstice balancing & renewing meditation this Tues or Weds, live or online. In it we do quite a lot of visualization work, particularly around goals for the next quarter of the year.  

You are invited to the Free Wisdom of Awakening meditation webinar this Thursday.
 
In the spirit of conscious visualization,

Toby

 



Article: Making your visualization practice integral
 
In my individual coaching practice, and in my group classes this week we have done quite a lot on visualization with meditation. The essential idea is that you can accelerate your growth in a particular area, develop a skill and/or to a degree ‘attract’ things that you might want into your life using conscious visualization. Below are a few practice points to bear in mind that will improve any visualization you might want to do. It will also make it more ‘whole’ and complete. I will not claim that the list below includes everything about visualization, but it covers some big fundamentals.
 
Practice 1 – you are visualizing all the time: If you observe your mind, you will start to notice that a lot of it is essentially ‘fantasizing’ or imagining scenarios regarding our past, present and future. You will see that your process of visualization is often very active already. This first practice is to

  • Notice your daily, often unconscious, visualization practice. Make it into an object of mindful observation, rather than something that you get mindlessly lost in
  • Choose which fantasies you follow and encourage, and release/let go of fantasies that aren’t serving your higher purpose

 
Practice 2 – contextualization of the past: Whenever you think of the past, you imagine it anew in your inner vision. So be careful to think and imagine the past in a way that invites positivity, appreciation, and good energy, rather than getting stuck in rumination-loops.
 
Practice 3 – Visualizing yourself present: If you are visualizing around a particular situation, imagine the qualities with which you turn up. For example, imagine turning up to your public speaking event, your squash match or your children’s party focused but relaxed, caring toward yourself and others, energised and enthusiastic, giving yourself positive self-talk as you go.
 
Practice 4 – the specifics of the short-term picture: Short term picture might be the next 2-6 weeks say. If you want to grow your business, or improve in your sport, what are the particular focus points you want to improve? Identify then see them in your minds eye, create pathways in your brain and body to doing these specifics better the next time you sit at your desk, meet a client, play your squash game.  
 
Practice 5 – medium and long-term outcomes: A medium-term outcome might be 3-6months. A long-term outcome might be more than a year, 3 to 5 years, or the final endgame you want from any training or activity, such as achieving a certain type of lifestyle, or becoming a master at a sport or art. Here you can really get involved in creating ‘ideal scenes’ of what it looks and feels like. Some of this will be specific images where particular experiences have been manifested. Other parts of the visualization would be more around the ‘mood and the feeling’ that you have now that you have achieved your end goal.
 
It takes a while to gat back your visualization skills. Because we use screens and computers to create images that we then just look at, initially when we start to visualize we may have to accept that our inner image-making skills are quite poor. However, if we practice consistently, you will find that your image-ination starts to regenerate quite naturally and powerfully, so don’t be discouraged. In any domain in your life you want to improve, practicing visualization that includes all five areas outlined above will help it to be a complete and powerful practice.  
 
Related Reading: Envisioning & presence – Climbing the mindful mountain
On mindful visualization
Mindful imagination – from superstition to manifestation
 
Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2024, 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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A Mind of Ease Inner vision Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Life-fullness Meditating on the Self meditation and creativity Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindful Self-Leadership Presence and being present

Your headless supermind

“Going headless is designed to radically cut out the internal chatter of your ego, enabling you to sit in relative silence, encountering whatever comes into you awareness without the usual inner commentary”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article focuses on an integral form that I have been using a lot myself recently. If you enjoy the article, then you are invited to this week’s Tuesday & Wednesday class where we will be exploring it in practice. 
 
In the spirit of integration,

Toby
 



Article: Your headless supermind
 
This article offers two meditation techniques, putting them together simply into one where they become mutually enhancing. It is also currently one of my own main practices, so I also thought to share it as an insight into what my own practice looks like right now. Although it is very profound, you can practice it on the level you are at and still get some big benefit pretty quickly! Here is a brief outline of the two practices:
 
Headless-ness – is a practice of imagining that you have no head. As you sit or stand, simply imagine that where your head used to be is a luminous empty space. Your head (and the strong sense of you as an ego that goes with it) is simply not there. One of the things that this is designed to do is to radically cut out the internal chatter of your ego, and enable you to sit in relative silence, encountering whatever comes into that space simply ‘as it is’, without the usual inner commentary.
The technique was originally made well known by Douglas Harding in his book On Having no Head.
 
Supermind – in this context, supermind means simply the ability to witness our life in a multi-perspectival way, and therefore to see much more than we ordinarily would by just looking at things from one or two perspectives. In my previous article on supermind I outline five main perspectives. In this article we will simplify to four, what something looks like from:

  1. Your first person ‘I/me’ space
  2. Your second person ‘we/us’ space
  3. Your third person ‘it’ space
  4. Your ‘integral perspectives’ space

 
Getting started:
 
Firstly, go headless – settle into a comfortable sitting position, relax for a few breaths, and then imagine your head dissolves away. You can see the lower half of your body, and your arms and hands, but they extend from an empty space where your head and shoulders used to be. If initially you find this a bit abstract, simply focus on relaxing your physical brain as much as you can, so that your rate of thinking drops.
 
Then practice supermind – you can either do this with whatever is coming up for you in the moment, or around a particular aspect or challenge in your life. For example, if I take a family dilemma:

  1. My first person ‘I/me’ space – how I am thinking, feeling, and experiencing the situation?
  2. Your second person ‘we/us’ space – how/what the other family members may be experiencing
  3. Your third person ‘it’ space – Viewing the situation as an outsider, an observer or a ‘fly on the wall’ or scientific-objective perspective
  4. Your ‘integral perspectives’ space – put the three above perspectives into a whole, or a totality, where the information from each are interacting and complementing each other

You can also add another perspective or two to the mix if you like. I always like to ask “what is good about this situation?” As a way of bringing a positive spin to my experience. With these 4/5 perspectives, you feel as if you are experiencing the situation and/or yourself in a way that is multi-perspectival, integrated, more complete. This is what we mean by supermind.

Back to headlessness – From your supermind position, then go back to experiencing the situation, but now as a headless person. This means just placing the different elements of the situation into a space where there is no ‘experiencer’, you just let things appear as they are, as if they were doing themselves.
 
This dual approach is designed to:

  • Let you drop out of personal perceptions and experience things as they are through headlessness
  • When considering things as a self-in-the-world, creating a rich , multi-perspectival approach, rather than just being stuck in a monosyllabic I-space all the time

A finishing question for you: What is the difference between the ‘things as they are’ perspective of headlessness, and the above mentioned ‘fly on the wall’ perspective of a third person ‘it’ space?

 
Related articleMindfully enhancing your psychological development
 
Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2024, 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 meditation sessions & workshops with Toby 


Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing – Exploring your hidden maps of consciousness –mindfulness meditation for growing up

Tues 18th/Weds 19th June – Summer solstice balancing & renewing meditation

Mindfulness for emotional intelligence masterclass – Saturday 22nd June, 2-4pm

Wednesday 26th June, 7.30-8.15pm
 – Free event: Wisdom of Awakening meditation webinar

Starts Tues /Weds 25th & 26th June, 7.30-8.30pm – The Wisdom of Awakening Series:  Meditations for cultivating your inner guidance & guru


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Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
Awareness and insight creative imagery Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Life-fullness Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindful Self-Leadership Presence and being present

Integrating reality & symbolic reality

“Much of what we take for our reality are just mental symbols about reality. Reality itself is something different, something that must be experienced directly”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

There are two ways in which you can use the article below. The first is by reading it and using the example as a way of exploring it in meditation. The second is, having understood the basic idea simply ask yourself the question:

“What do I notice about the inter-relationship between my symbolic reality & reality itself?”

Then just watch your experience mindfully for a period of time & see what you start to notice.
 
Between this message and the article is the events list for June, starting with this weekend’s stress transformation workshop.
 
In the spirit of integration,

Toby

 


Meditation sessions & workshops with Toby in June: 


Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule
 

Saturday 8th June, 9.30am-12.30pm – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment Workshop

Tues 18th/Weds 19th June – Summer solstice balancing & renewing meditation

Mindfulness for emotional intelligence masterclass – Saturday 22nd June, 10am-12noon

Start
s Tues /Weds 25th & 26th June, 7.30-8.30pm – The Wisdom of Awakening Series:  Meditations for cultivating your inner guidance & guru


Article: Integrating reality & symbolic reality



 
Thinking – the manipulation of symbols
What is thinking really? There are several ways of answering this, I’d like to focus here on thinking as essentially a way of creating and manipulating symbols about our reality. Thinking is not reality itself, but arrangements of symbols representing reality. That’s worth reflecting upon, because when we do, we immediately start to realize that a lot of what we take for our reality is actually just thoughts, or symbols about reality. Reality itself is something different, something that must be experienced directly. This is a main point of meditation, to move beyond our mental symbols, encountering our reality directly, as it is. As the Zen saying goes, “Reality is not what you think!”
 
Integrating symbols & reality

Using symbols to think about reality can either be helpful for us to expand our sense reality, or it can narrow it. One way in which I like to work with mental models or symbols is to take 2-4 mental models of reality, and then cross-reference them. Each model reveals something different and complementary from the other models. When we put them together, you get a richer, more whole and integrated sense of what is be there.
 
A practice involving three models of reality

What I am going to do now is take three models of reality itself from a western religious, Hindu spiritual and Taoist philosophical perspective. Then I will describe how to put them together in a process of mindful enquiry into our experience of reality itself.
 
Model 1: Reality as hierarchical, God at the top, wo/man at the bottom – from a western Christian, (or Hebrew or Islamic) perspective, reality is a hierarchy with God/ Spirit at the top, and humans/earth at the bottom. Our relation to God is that of a servant to a King, and western/middle-eastern religion organizes and expresses itself accordingly. If you think about the Sistine chapel, God is on the roof, man is below (With only hell beneath!). This model can see archaic, but if you look at the way reality organizes itself, it is substantially hierarchical.
 
Model 2: Reality as a drama – in the Hindu & Buddhist model, the world is more like a drama. At the core of every living being is the One Self, or our Buddha Nature. Our outer appearances are like masks in a drama, each personality and aspect playing a role in a drama. Reality is seen as a play of the illusion created by spirit, for the entertainment of spirit.
 
Model 3: Reality as an organism – The Taoist model (the Tao is often described as “the way of nature’) is reality as more organismic in nature; no particular hierarchies, no one thing in charge of creating the rest. Reality is conceived as a network of interrelated parts, moving into and out of balance according to the principle of the Tao (the way) and of yin & yang.
 
So, if you consider each of these three models in turn, you’ll get a sense of the aspects of reality it is trying to describe. Crucially, none of these models are reality itself. Nor are any other approaches, scientific, artistic, sociological, economic etc…Reality I always itself, always a direct experience that we encounter each day.
If you sit quietly with each of these three symbolic representations of reality, cross referencing them with each other, and then with your actual experience of reality, you start to get a rich sense of the wholeness and integration between them, and the relationship between those symbols and reality itself.  If you take a ‘both/and’ rather than an ‘either/or’ approach, the reward is access to an overall sense of wholeness and integration in your life, one that helps us counter the often-pronounced sense of fragmentation and disconnect that characterizes our experience.
 
Related articleMindfully enhancing your psychological development

 
Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2024, 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


Follow Toby onLinkedInYouTubeInstagram

Integral Meditation Asia

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