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Transcending & including – Integrating the big & the small selves

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article looks at the practice of transcending & including. It is an important practice for everyone, but particularly if you are on a path of inner growth, as you are actively transcending and including as your path evolves.

This week’s Tuesday & Wednesday meditation continues our journey into Therapeutic mindfulness, and will look at the theme of transcending & including. If you enjoy the article, feel free to join us!

In the spirit of inclusion, 
 
Toby


Transcending & including – Integrating the big & the small selves
 
As you grow you get inwardly, as well as outwardly bigger
Babies identify only with their physical body up until around 18months. Up until the age of 4 years, we can only take a first-person perspective: ‘me’, ‘I’ & ‘mine’. Growing older as children and teenagers, we see ourself as a part of a ‘we’ space, our family, our friends, my team. If we become fully fledged rational humans, we learn to take a healthy third person perspective, an ‘it’ space, where we consider everyone to have value, and our circle of concern becomes world-centric, universal and much bigger.
As we continue this growth further onto higher levels, our self-sense gets bigger and bigger, more and more inclusive. Our ‘I’ becomes more & more universal in nature.
 
The principle of transcending & including
When we grow it’s not that our older, smaller selves cease to exist, it’s just that they get transcended. My child-like egoic self is still there when I grow to the next stage, it’s just that it becomes only a part of what I am, held and contextualized by the bigger, more inclusive self of the next stage. The bigger self transcends, but includes the smaller self.

  • The ‘transcending’ part of this means that we grow beyond our previous limited sense of who we are
  • The ‘include’ part of this ensures that the smaller self feels secure and honoured within the new self structure.

A simple example: Yesterday I spent quite a lot of time playing with my three year-old. This meant my ‘inner child’ coming online and me being ‘childish’! However, my child-self was held by my mature or adult self. For my daughter, she ‘is’ the child. For me as an adult I act in a child like way, but he is held by a bigger self-sense that is the adult. My adult self transcends and includes my child self.
 
Avoiding allergies & addictions
Transcending and including needs to be done in a healthy manner otherwise:

  • If I transcend the previous stage too much, instead of detaching from it healthily, I disassociate with it, it becomes an ‘allergy’, something foreign. For example if I dissociate with my inner child, outer children become incomprehensible, silly and foreign. Inwardly I lose the ability to be playful, joyful and spontaneous. I become a stiff, repressed adult, ‘allergic’ to child-like behaviour
  • If I include the previous stage too much, a part of my identity gets ‘stuck’ at that level. I find myself compulsively becoming child-like in some situations, the behaviours feel like ‘addictions’. I keep regressing to this level uncontrollably. To return to the child analogy, I might usually keep a good diet, but then keep sabotaging that by eating one biscuit, and then the whole packet. My self-regulation becomes periodically child-like and chaotic!

 
Mindful therapeutic integration
To work therapeutically with the transcend and include principle, take any part of your smaller selves as the object. For example, you could take:

  • Your child self
  • Your eating urges
  • A part of you very identified with a past trauma
  • A part of you identified with a particular belief

The list here is very large. Sitting in a mindful state you simply bring it to mind, and watch it. As Ken Wilber says, you imagine you are video -taping it as an observer. The part of you that observes simply witnesses it with a ‘transcend and include’ approach:

  • The ‘transcendent’ part of it means that your witness has a sense of itself as something bigger than and separate from the part of self you are observing
  • The ‘include’ part of it means that your witness self acknowledges, accepts, and gently embraces the smaller self.

If you do this, the idea would be that any ‘addictions’ or ‘allergies’ that you have developed to smaller parts of yourself as you have grown beyond them will gradually be released. You will find yourself in an increasingly balanced and integrated relationship to your smaller selves, free from addictions and allergies.
 
Related reading:  Creating an inner therapeutic mindfulness space
Suppression & repression – the difference, & it’s importance
Bodies within bodies – Witnessing with your energy bodies
The body is in you – How to go into deep meditation quickly

Article content © Toby Ouvry & Integral Meditation Asia 2023. you are welcome to share, but please cite the source, thanks! Contact info@tobyouvry.com 


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Wanting what you like, or liking what happens?

“Confidence comes not from being ‘in control’ of everything, but from knowing that, whatever way things work out today, I can come up with a way of liking it, using it, & deriving some form of fulfilment from it”

Dear Toby, 

This week’s article continues the theme of ‘making things workable’ from last weeks article on Effortless effort. Meditation, regardless of the type is always primarily about inner transformation which, if done well effects a transformation of our outer experience.

This week’s Tuesday & Wednesday meditation continues our journey into Therapeutic mindfulness, and last call for this weekend’s Shamanic meditation workshop retreat on Saturday & Sunday morning.

In the spirit of 
 
Toby


Wanting what you like, or liking what happens?
 
A couple of quotes to start this article and get the ball rolling:
 
“It is essential to understand that daily meditation will not ‘solve’ our problems. Anyone claiming to teach or sell methods that solve our problems is either misled or willfully deceptive. What happens is always and only our own inner transformation. After such transformation many problems will fade or seem irrelevant. However, deeply intractable problems and complex situations often require long-term work. One of the most curious and paradoxical effects of dedicated spiritual discipline is that some situations, previously insolvable, will evaporate.” – RJ Stewart, from the Sphere of Art Vol III
 
“The day you decide not to ask for things you like but rather to like things that happen, that day you become mature.” – Osho
 
Liberation is not freedom from problems
Meditation and mindfulness can free you from your own inner turmoil, but that doesn’t mean that your external life will get better in the sense of getting what you want all the time, or being free from inconvenience. What is does mean is that our inner self is transformed and changed, so that we experience our outer challenges and difficulties differently. They become more acceptable and workable with. We don’t need to fight with what ‘is’ so much.
 
Problems or situations?
A lot of the things that we have labelled ‘problems’ in our life are more like ‘situations’. A problem is something that by definition has a solution. A situation is more a set of circumstances that we find ourself in. There may be no apparent solution to the situation, or the solution would cost more than it would be worth to ‘solve’ the problem. In this case it is more like we have to simply accept and work with what is. If we can harmonize our relationship to what ‘is’ today, meaning our situations, then chances are we will find ways to enjoy it and derive some value from it.
 
Confidence from liking what is
If we can get good at liking what we find and working with it, then we start to become confident in life. This confidence comes not from being ‘in control’ of everything. Rather it comes from knowing that, whatever way things work out today, I can come up with a way of using it, of deriving some form of fulfilment from it.
 
Preferences not attachments
None of this means that you don’t have goals and preferences in your life, or that you aren’t working actively and intelligently towards them. But what it does mean is that, as you are experiencing the twists and turns of your journey, you are liberated to enter fully into this moment and live it with freedom. Even if what is it is not what you ‘want’, you can make it something that you feel alive and vivid in the presence of.
 
Different meditation techniques from the great traditions, from the Shamanic journeying methods that I’ll be leading a retreat around this weekend, to the more ‘Zen’ methods of effortless effort are all methods of inner transformation. If we go into them thinking that it is going to be a ‘wish fulfilment’ exercise, we are likely to be disappointed, certainly in the medium to long term. But if we enter them with the intention to really work on our inner transformation, then we find that our world really can change radically for the better.
 
Related articlesEffortless effort – Making everything workable
Solve no problem (& leave no problem unsolved)

Article content © Toby Ouvry & Integral Meditation Asia 2023. you are welcome to share, but please cite the source, thanks! Contact info@tobyouvry.com 


In case you missed last weeks article: Effortless effort – Making everything workable

When Chogyam Trungpa, the famous Tibetan Buddhist Master was asked “What is Dharma?” (Dharma means the teachings of the Buddha), he replied “Dharma means that everything is workable.”
The other day I was texting a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. He asked “How is everything?” to which I replied “With acceptance, everything is workable.” This made me recall the Trungpa quote, then leading to a few thoughts about the principle of ‘Effortless effort’.
You might think about Effortless effort as a way of accepting and working with the reality that you are presented with. It is a ‘state’ of being that then leads into…read full article 


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Effortless effort – Making everything workable

“The art of Effortless-effort makes difficult things feel manageable, & effort over a long period of time sustainable, even quietly joyful”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

Just starting to get my thoughts together regarding the  Effortless effort – The art of doing by non-doing, a ten-week meditation course coming up in January. The article below explores a few working definitions and practices

In the spirit of skillful sustainability,
 
Toby


Effortless effort – Making everything workable

When Chogyam Trungpa, the famous Tibetan Buddhist Master was asked “What is Dharma?” (Dharma means the teachings of the Buddha), he replied “Dharma means that everything is workable.”
The other day I was texting a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. He asked “How is everything?” to which I replied “With acceptance, everything is workable.” This made me recall the Trungpa quote, then leading to a few thoughts about the principle of ‘Effortless effort’.
You might think about Effortless effort as a way of accepting and working with the reality that you are presented with. It is a ‘state’ of being that then leads into a way of doing that works with whatever we are facing.
‘Effortless effort’ could also be described as ‘Doing though non-doing’, also known as ‘Wei wu wei’ in Chinese (translating into ‘effortless action’). It is a philosophy of life & way of meditating found explicitly in the Zen, Chan & Taoist schools of meditation. Implicitly it is found in most of the great wisdom traditions of the world. It indicates skilful and ergonomic ways of working with life that facilitate balance, resilience, creativity & wisdom.
 
The feeling of Effortless effort (E-E) in the body
One of the things that I really enjoy and appreciate about E-E is the sense of flow and energy efficiency that it brings. It makes difficult things feel manageable, and effort over a long period of time sustainable, even quietly joyful.
The state of E-E can be described as a way of holding your body, as well as a state of mind. As a bodily state, here are some pointers:

  • The muscles are soft, with only enough tension in them to perform the presenting task. For example, if you are standing or sitting upright, the crown may be high and the body upright, but the centre of gravity is low in the belly, so that the chest and shoulders are not carrying their own weight. Hands and arms are loose, and the belly is not holding onto emotional stress.
  • The feeling of the inner self is one of comfort in the body, or ‘comfort in your own skin’. There is an absence of rush or panic, even, and particularly in the face of persistent stressors
  • The body feels at home in its environment. There is a sense that the world is a friendly place, where you are things are workable. As a sensation in the body, there is a feeling of trust in process, a sense of quiet alertness and relaxed attention

An everyday reflection
This morning I had a coaching appointment cancelled at short notice. So, I thought it would be nice to take my daughter to pre-school. I took her, but forgot to bring her nap-time bedding. I had planned to work on this article before going to work, but now I had no time, because I had to go back to the school. Pausing, relaxing, and  working on the principle that ‘everything is workable’, I transferred the article from my computer to my phone, and use the extra time on public transport to continue to edit my article. Through-out the process, I simply focused on staying calm, feeling flexible and accepting. Having come up with a simple battle-plan, I relaxed into it’s execution. I consciously worked on being smooth and ergonomic, working with the situation rather than fighting it.
This is a very simple example, but hopefully it gives you a feeling for how to start working with E-E in everyday situations. If you can practice daily actions with E-E, then you will burn up a lot less energy, and arrive at the evening feeling less fatigued, with your mood more positively disposed. A final point, if you get good at E-E during the day, when you sit down to meditate, you will find that you are already near a state of meditation, and that moving into formal meditation feels more like slipping into a warm bath; a natural, easy transition from doing to being!
 
Related readingWorking Samadhi – The way of the mindful warrior
Mindful ergonomics – Making the most of your energy
 
Article content © Toby Ouvry & Integral Meditation Asia 2023. you are welcome to share, but please cite the source, thanks! Contact info@tobyouvry.com 


In case you missed this week’s other article: Shamanic meditation – Psychopomping & other non-ordinary adventures
 
Shamanic meditation, often described as ‘Shamanic journeying’ occurs mainly in the dream state, which is to say the psychic and subtle levels of mind. You might think of shamanic meditation as a type of ‘conscious dreaming’ done whilst meditating…read full article


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Your daily life as a meditation retreat

“The time to make progress in your meditation practice is always ‘now’, so if by an act of choice and imagination you can see each day as an ‘active-retreat’, then this is really going to accelerate your growth”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article explores the potential of each day of your life to develop your active-meditation practice, by seeing it as a retreat!
Also, if you want to really help kick start this,  the Integral Meditation Two Day Retreat on the weekend of the 28/29th October  is a fantastic way to do it!

Also excited to announce the new Integral Life Practice Sessions, starting on Saturday 11th November, 9am-12noon, do click to see the format.
 
In the spirit of life-as-meditation,
 
Toby


Your daily life as a meditation retreat
 
Don’t wait for a retreat to do meditation
It is great to be able to do a meditation retreat, and the experience can be genuinely transformative. But for most of us, the vast majority of our time is spent with work, family and the everyday challenges and joys of daily life. The time to make progress in your meditation practice is always ‘now’, so if by an act of choice and imagination you can start seeing each day as a type of ‘retreat-in-the-world’, then this is really going to accelerate your capacity to grow as a meditator.
 
What you need to make your daily activities a meditation?
All very well to say ‘My daily life is a retreat,’ but how can we develop the capacity to use daily activities as forms of ‘active meditation’? Below is a list of qualities that we can bring to the table:
 
Intention & enthusiasm (urgency)
We begin the process with intention; “I am going to see today and its challenges as a form of active meditation, to facilitate my inner growth, to benefit my circle of family, friends and colleagues, and to make a benevolent impact on the world.” From this intention, we then generate a degree of curiosity, enthusiasm, and determination. It all starts from the choice to live on purpose!
 
Creating your basic meditation space
The basic goal of any meditator is to be ‘primarily present, secondarily thinking.’ This means a successful day retreat would be spent being just a little more present, and a little less lost in thought. To do this the basic mantra is:
Not lost in thought, not falling asleep, anchored in the present, and aware of my focus point in the present.
The ‘focus point’ in terms of your day retreat, is simply the next task or activity at hand, that is your meditation object.
 
Mindfulness & alertness
To stay ‘primarily present’, you need to remember that that is what you are trying to do (mindfulness), and alert when you loose track of it (alertness). Mindfulness and alertness are the tools that you employ to make any activity a ‘meditation.’
 
Ergonomic, focused flow
Mindful activity relies upon a state of body-mind that is balanced between focused and relaxed. If you try to hard to focus, you’ll get tense and tired quickly. If you are too relaxed, you’ll get distracted easily and succumb to inertia. As you do your activities, experiment with what it feels like to do it with this balanced, ergonomic state of ‘flow.’
 
Alternating focused & field awareness
As you go through your day, there will be times when you are paying attention single-pointedly to one task, and then ‘panning back’ to take in the big-picture of the day. ‘Single-pointedness’ and ‘field awareness’ are two basic types of meditation practice. We can use this skilful alternation between the two to navigate our day in a meditative manner.
 
Review time
Some time at the end of the day, or when lying down before sleep can then be used to assess what went well in your ‘retreat.’ What activities were really good ‘meditations’, and what were the ones where you ‘got lost’? What can you try tomorrow to do a bit better? What lessons have you learned? With your review time, you can use one day to make the day after an incremental improvement.
 
As the Navy Seal motto goes: “When faced with a challenge, we sink to the level of our training. Train hard!” With skill we can train hard, with gentle consistency and make every day a ‘meditation retreat’!
 
Related articleWorking Samadhi – The way of the mindful warrior
Envisioning & presence – Climbing the mindful mountain

Article content © Toby Ouvry & Integral Meditation Asia 2023. you are welcome to share, but please cite the source, thanks! Contact info@tobyouvry.com  



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Re-working your ego by expanding your self-concept (AKA: Van Halen therapy)

In a situation where your self-concept doesn’t believe you can meet & solve a challenge, you can do one of two things. You can give up, or you can change your idea of yourself, making it one that can work with what is presenting

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This weeks article explores how to work mindfully with your ego & self concept in a creative, empowered way. If you enjoy it, then you are invited to come along to the Tuesday or Wednesday meditation class, where we will be focusing on this subject. 

A couple of dates for your diary, in addition to the Two day meditation retreat on Oct 28-29th:

In the spirit of turning subjects into objects,

Toby 


Re-working your ego by expanding your self-concept (AKA: Van Halen therapy)
 
The Ego is
One of the definitions that I like for the ego is simply ‘the unifying centre of awareness’ of a person. It is the self-sense that sits in the middle of you as you navigate your daily experiences. Ego is not a positive or negative term, but a neutral one. However, we can say that a person has a strong or functional ego, which is a good thing, or a weak, dysfunctional ego which is not a good thing. Our ego also operates according to ethical values, or a lack of ethical values, and this distinction also makes an ego a relatively ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ thing. These values can be held consciously or unconsciously by the ego in question.
 
Your self-concept is
Your idea of who you are. It is the mental template that you have built up over your life about:

  • The ‘type’ of person you are
  • What is possible & not possible for you
  • The story of how you became who you are

…and so on. Your self-concept generally creates a sense of what you can and can’t do in life, what you like and don’t like. When you are faced with a challenge, your ability to deal with that problem is intimately related to your self-concept. Your self-concept projects onto the situation what it thinks and believes. In a situation where your self-concept doesn’t believe you can meet and solve a challenge, you can do one of two things:

  • You can give up, or
  • You can change your idea of yourself, making it one that can work with what is presenting

 
Relating imaginatively to a new idea of yourself
I remember one time when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by always having to ‘put myself out there’ as a creative and as a small business owner. I really felt out of my comfort zone. It felt alien to my idea of myself, it felt uncomfortable and exhausting. I had a dream one night of being with Daid Lee Roth (ex-lead singer of Van Halen). I was hanging out with him on the void-deck of an HDB block of flats in Singapore. Preparations were underway for a concert, and after chatting enthusiastically to me for a short while, DL-R just got up on stage with his band and did the concert, singing and dancing around half-naked, and just letting go and enjoying himself with the small group of people that was there.
I woke up feeling light, energised, and encouraged. In the subsequent days, week’s, and still to this day (the dream was years ago) I often think of this dream, and imagine myself being like David L-R, just dancing though my life, meeting what is there with enthusiasm, spontaneity, and not being afraid of a bit of exhibitionism.
This idea, and working with it imaginatively really changed my self-concept, and consequently my sense of what is possible, what can energise me not drain me, and so on. In short, I re-worked my ego using a new image-template.
 
Using this expanded self for inner healing & growth
So, the basic idea is that if you have a psychological block that is holding you back, or you don’t think you care ‘capable’ of achieving something, you create an image or idea of yourself that can, and then start relating to that image.
 
Paths beyond the ego
If you are connected to the Soul level of things, quite often you will find that ideas, images, and happenings occur in your life that you can readily use for this type of work, so pay attention!
The ego is the mental/psychological level of self, so there are a number levels of self beyond ego on the soul and spiritual level of things. However, the ego and self-concept are really ‘lynch-pins’ between the upper and lower levels of self, so we really need to work on making our self-concept a healthy, resilient, wise and fun-loving one!
 
Related readingYour bright shadow – The one who can do what you can’t

Article content © Toby Ouvry & Integral Meditation Asia 2023. you are welcome to share, but please cite the source, thanks! Contact info@tobyouvry.com  


In case you missed last week’s video: ‘Subjects to objects – How meditation helps you grow to greater degrees of freedom’

Summary: This video discusses two main subjects related to meditation. The first part explores why and how a meditation practice helps individuals grow as individuals. Meditation is described as a process that transforms subjects of consciousness (e.g., body, emotions, ego) into objects of consciousness, leading to reduced identification with these aspects and increased inner freedom…watch full video


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Fourteen levels of mindful intention

“We almost always have an intention, even in our dreams. That intention drives our actions & acts as the context for our experiences, shaping them substantially. What intentions have you been oriented around today, & how have they been shaping your experiences and actions?”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

One way you could define mindfulness is ‘Living with conscious intentionally’. The article below unpacks some aspects of this, I hope you enjoy it!

The Therapeutic mindfulness course  is ongoing, with this weeks class focusing on ‘Positive Acceptance vs resignation, repression vs suppression – Understanding the dynamic of good quality therapeutic mindfulness‘.

Heads up for this Saturday morning’s Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat, & for the main event for October, theIntegral Meditation Two Day Retreat on the weekend of the 28/29th.
 
In the spirit of intention,

Toby 



Fourteen types & levels of mindful intention
 
We almost always have an intention, even in our dreams. Some of these intentions are conscious, some of them are unconscious. These intentions drive our actions & acts as the context for our experiences, shaping them substantially. What intentions have you been oriented around today, and how have they been shaping your experiences and actions?
 
One way you could define mindfulness is ‘Living with conscious intentionally’

When I was doing my first serious decade of meditation training back in the 90’s I was working with Tibetan Buddhism as a practice vehicle. One of the main practices was a series of twenty one practices called the ‘Lamrim’ or ‘stages of the path. Each stage was had a particular meditation object associated with it. What was interesting was that twenty of the twenty one meditations was about developing a specific intention, which shows you how important intention is in meditation in general, and in Tibetan Buddhism in particular. What I have done in this article is condense the twenty intentions into fourteen, in a way that can be understood and explored by anyone. The premise is that any one of these intentions will cause us to think, feel and act in ways that are beneficial both to ourselves and others. Our actions follow our intentions and thoughts. If you change your intention, you change your life, literally.
 
The fourteen levels of intention:

  1. The intention to seek out reliable guides who can provide us with reliable wisdom in the important areas of our life
  2. To recognize and appreciate the amazing opportunity of a human life and use it in the most meaningful manner
  3. Mindful of death and impermanence, to not waste our life on meaningless distractions, rather to ‘carpe diem’; seize the day!
  4. To seek out communities and people who have integrity and can provide us with genuine refuge from suffering, and ‘sail together’ to happiness and wellbeing
  5. To be mindful of our actions and the effects that they have in our life. To avoid thoughtless, counter-productive actions, and engage in ‘constructive’ life-enhancing ones
  6. To practice healthy detachment regarding our desires, and pursue more and more reliable forms of fulfilment, freedom, and wellbeing
  7. To cultivate equanimity and even-mindedness, both in our pursuit of success, and in our treatment of others
  8. To cultivate loving kindness toward ourself, our community and all living beings as far as possible
  9. To wish ourself and others true and lasting happiness
  10. The intention of compassion: To wish ourself and others to be free from needless pain and suffering
  11. The active intention to relieve the suffering & pain of ourself
  12. The active intention to relieve the suffering & pain of others, in fact all living beings
  13. The active intention to give happiness and joy to others, in fact all living beings
  14. The determination to realize enlightenment or awakening ourself, in order to fulfil our intention to relieve the suffering of all others, and bring them true and lasting happiness

 
Intentions 1-6 are primarily focused on ourself, 7-14 progressively lead us to a concern for others; from our ‘close circle’ (friends, family, colleagues) progressively to include all living beings.
The final intention ‘to realize enlightenment and awakening’ means something specific in Tibetan Buddhism. But it can equally be interpreted as simply to become the wisest, most capable person you can be in order to benefit to the evolution of the world. Dwelling upon each of these intentions mindfully can lead us to some powerful, pro-active places within ourselves, you can work with them systematically, or just drop into the ones that catch your attention as you read through.

Article © Toby Ouvry 2023, 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 



In case you missed last week’s articles: 

Tree of Life – The union of ego, soul & spirit
&
Distinguishing suppression & repression
 


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 – Re-discovering your inner vitality & joie-de-vivre – An introduction to integrative therapeutic mindfulness & meditation

Saturday October 7th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Saturday & Sunday October 28th & 29th – Integral Meditation Two Day Retreat

Tues/Weds Oct 31st, Nov 1st – Seasonal classSamhain – Healing the wounds & receiving the gifts of our ancestors

Tues/Weds Nov 14th/15th – Seasonal classDeepavali -connecting to your inner light

Sat/Sun Nov 25th/26th, 9.30am-1pm – Shamanic meditation workshop retreat


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Tree of Life – The union of ego, soul & spirit

Dear Integral Meditators, 

The article below explains a ‘six-pointed star’ meditation that comes from the Tree of life tradition. Its a sample of one of the meditations that we will be doing in the Meditations for connecting to the Tree of Life, and growing your own personal Life Tree workshop this weekend.
And last call for the Therapeutic mindfulness course  starting today!
 
In the spirit of harmony,

Toby 


Tree of Life – The union of ego, soul & spirit
 
The Tree of Life is essentially a visual meditation key that offers us ways of relating to ourself and the Universe in a holistic, balanced, and dynamic manner. An example of one such meditation is the meditation on the six-pointed star. You can refer to the diagram for a visual.

In this meditation the ‘Soul’ is conceived as a harmonized union of the qualities of ourself as a personality/ego, and ourself as Spirit.

  • On the ego level we can think of ourselves as consisting of a trinity of mind, body, and emotions, see the lower three points of the star on the diagram
  • On the spiritual level we can think of ourselves as partaking of the trinity of justice/will, compassion/mercy and Unitive Spirit/Higher intuition, see the top three points of the star.

In our life, we ‘sit’ in the centre of these six converging forces, and our challenge is to master each well enough to create harmony between all of them. Each of the six forces are big areas of mastery by themselves, so we can see that true mastery on the Soul level is no mean feat! Meditation on the six-pointed star is designed to facilitate this. Here are some basic pointing out instructions for doing it:
 

  • Begin by centring using the body & breathing
  • Visualize a golden, six-pointed star in front of you, about a metre away at eye level. Refer to the diagram to get a sense of the energy spheres at the tip of each point, with their colours and corresponding qualities, with the golden sphere of the soul in the middle. One you can visualize it with some stability, you will feel it affecting the subtle energies of your body as you sit and meditate
  • When you are ready, visualize the star and corresponding spheres around you, with yourself sitting in the middle of the central soul-sphere. Feel the energies of the six spheres around you flowing into the central sphere. As they do so feel the energies of your mind, emotions and body merging and harmonizing with the energies of spirit, willpower, and compassion.
  • Sit in the centre of the six-pointed star in a state of harmonious presence for a period, acclimatizing to this state, and the energy flow.

 
This meditation sets up currents of energy in your body, mind and heart that help to facilitate the real-time mastery of these six energies as you go through your daily life. It aids greatly your capacity to make real progress in this process. It also gives you a simple mental model for understanding what you are aiming for on your path of spiritual and temporal growth. It is a fairly complete meditation in and of itself.
 
 If you enjoyed this article, you are invited to come along to this Saturday/Sunday mornings workshop on Meditations for connecting to the Tree of Life, and growing your own personal Life Tree. We will be covering this and a number of other practical meditations on the Tree.

Related articleMeditating on the Tree of Life

Article © Toby Ouvry 2023, 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 
 



In case you missed it, newsletter article this week: Suppression & repression – the difference, & it’s importance
 
Why is it important to know the importance between these two?
Its important to know the difference between these two because one can be used positively and strategically to enhance our effectiveness and wellbeing in life, whereas the other almost always results in longer term inner turbulence and interference in our ability so see and work with our present life as it is.
 What does it mean to suppress? Speaking in emotional terms, to suppress means to be aware that you have that emotion, and to exert self-control in order not to express it in the moment, for example…read full article


Special Coaching Offer for the Month of September – Free 20minute coaching session with Toby

For the remaining two weeks of September Integral Meditation Asia is offering free 20minute coaching sessions with Toby!
If you have been interested in the idea of getting some personal coaching on a particular issue or challenge, and/or want to explore what 1:1 meditation coaching can do for you in terms of both your quality of and direction in life, this is a great opportunity to find out what it is like with Toby. These 20minute sessions can be done on Zoom or via Whatsapp.
You can find read the general write up of Toby’s Life-fullness Coaching here, & his other forms of coaching here.
You can read feedback and reviews from Toby’s coaching sessions here

To arrange your 20minute session or for further enquiries: Email info@tobyouvry.com, or W-App65-96750279


Integral Meditation Asia

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Awareness and insight Energy Meditation Life-fullness Meditating on the Self Meditation and Psychology Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership Presence and being present

Distinguishing suppression & repression

“Suppression can be used positively and strategically to enhance our effectiveness and wellbeing in life, whereas repression almost always results in long term inner turbulence and interference in our ability to see and work with our present life as it is”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

The distinction between suppression & repression is an important one for preserving our overall sense of inner balance & harmony. One requires temporarily foregoing emotional expression, the second engaging emotion that we might not want to face. 
If you enjoy the article, then do consider coming along for the Therapeutic mindfulness course starting next week. The aim in a nutshell is to re-wire your relationship to your past in order to engage your present & future with vitality & enthusiasm.

Also, quick reminder of the workshop this weekend: Meditations for connecting to the Tree of Life, and growing your own personal Life Tree
 
In the spirit of controlled flow,

Toby 



Suppression & repression – the difference, & it’s importance
 
Why is it important to know the importance between these two?
Its important to know the difference between these two because one can be used positively and strategically to enhance our effectiveness and wellbeing in life, whereas the other almost always results in longer term inner turbulence and interference in our ability so see and work with our present life as it is.
 
What does it mean to supress?
Speaking in emotional terms, to supress means to be aware that you have that emotion, and to exert self-control in order not to express it in the moment, for example:

  • I might be very angry, but refrain from expressing it right now
  • I might feel sad, but put on a ‘brave face’
  • I might feel affection and want to hug someone, but it just might not be appropriate for the situation

Conscious suppression enables us to go away with our feelings and deal with them later, in a way that is appropriate. It prevents us doing things that we may later regret or consider unhelpful. Done skillfully, we can consider it a good ability to have! This is with the caveat that, having suppressed the emotion we do not then repress it…
 
What does it mean to repress?
To repress an emotion (or an experience that brings up painful emotion) means to push it out of our conscious awareness, and into our unconscious. It means to ‘pretend’ to ourself that the emotion and/or related experience does not exist, that we do not, in fact have then at all.

  • I am angry, but when asked, “Anger, what anger? Why would I be angry”
  • Rather than consciously putting on a brave face while feeling sad, I simply am not sad (even though I am)
  • I am scared by my affection for someone enough to simply squash it and pretend I don’t have it

Repression constricts and uses up our energy (to repress takes effort). It means we have to lie to ourselves. It messes up our rational thinking, turning it into rationalisation of the denial we want to be true. It often results in our feeling and expressing other surface emotions that are really all about the repressed emotion, for example:

  • I am angry (the repressed), so I react by feeling sad and bursting into tears (the expressed)
  • I am sad (the repressed), so I lash out and attack my colleague (the expressed)

Repression makes us suffer, often unconsciously. It makes us less capable in the face of reality. It can create unhealthy physical habits, and in the longer term it can even start to cause physical health issues.
 
Can you supress & then repress?
Of course, you can supress and emotion that you know you’re having, and then conveniently ‘forget’ about it later through repression.
 
Observing your own habits & patterns mindfully
So, the thing here is on a practical level start to watch yourself in real time and assess your patterns of repression and suppression. Just observe honestly and notice if you are using suppression in a healthy or unhealthy manner, and what emotions/experiences you tend to outright repress. Re-working your habits in this domain will serve you well for the rest of your life!
 
Processing old repressions
Of course, all of us have a bunch of repressions from or recent and distant path. Part of the function of Therapeutic Mindfulness is to dig these out and bring them to resolution, so that they stop interfering with our present life and our aspirations for the future. You can see a recent reflection of mine on my own inner child process by clicking the link. The effect of processing past repressions is almost always a resurgence of life force, and an enhanced sense of the joy of being alive.
 
If you enjoy this article, then do consider participating in my new course  An introduction to therapeutic mindfulness & meditation – Re-discovering your inner vitality & joie-de-vivre. It starts 26/27th Sept, and can be participate on live, online or via recording.
 
Related articleFrom resignation to positive acceptance

Article © Toby Ouvry 2019, 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 


Special Coaching Offer for the Month of September – Free 20minute coaching session with Toby

For the remaining two weeks of September Integral Meditation Asia is offering free 20minute coaching sessions with Toby!
If you have been interested in the idea of getting some personal coaching on a particular issue or challenge, and/or want to explore what 1:1 meditation coaching can do for you in terms of both your quality of and direction in life, this is a great opportunity to find out what it is like with Toby. These 20minute sessions can be done on Zoom or via Whatsapp.
You can find read the general write up of Toby’s Life-fullness Coaching here, & his other forms of coaching here.
You can read feedback and reviews from Toby’s coaching sessions here

To arrange your 20minute session or for further enquiries: Email info@tobyouvry.com, or W-App65-96750279


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Biographical creative imagery Energy Meditation Inner vision Integral Awareness Life-fullness Meditating on the Self meditation and creativity Meditation and Psychology mind body connection Presence and being present

Progressively recovering your joie de vivre (Meditating with your inner child)

If you are prepared to do the work, it seems there truly are no edges to your level of inner joy

Dear Integral Meditators, 

The photo of the child with this article is me when I was around 8 or 9. I keep it on the fridge. I noticed last week that the fridge magnet marked ‘l’excitacion’, or excitement in French had been placed on my forehead, which inspired me to write about my own ongoing journey in the domain of Therapeutic mindfulness. 
If you enjoy the article, then do consider participating in the upcoming Therapeutic mindfulness course, which is full of practices to help you re-connect to the joy of living, and move beyond long-held fears.  

And final heads up for this Wednesday’s Autumn Equinox meditation, either live or online!
 
In the spirit of exitacion,

Toby 



Progressively recovering your joie de vivre (Meditating with your inner child)
 
When I left my life as a Buddhist monk, aged 31, I had been practising eastern meditation forms in a very disciplined manner for a decade. I had experienced many wonderful and amazing meditation states, and had a solid working experience of the awakened state/enlightenment experience. Despite this I noticed that there were still parts of my everyday consciousness that seemed to have been untouched by all this work. I found that certain types of anxiety, irritability and fear had not gone away, and sometimes seemed even worse. This was partly why I left my life as a monk, because I felt I needed to broaden my search for answers to these unresolved areas. The answer was not just ‘do more meditation’, I had to do something differently.

One of the things that I focused on that year was exercises specifically based on the psychological level of my being, based around western theories of trauma and around working with emotional states. I began regular work with my ‘inner child’, exercises including visualization, dialoguing, breathing and body-work. I was very surprised how much work there was to be done! I considered myself pretty well-adjusted as a person, which I think I was, but even so, there was so much to re-connect to, so much to work with, so much to discover. During this period, I really felt I recovered much of my joie de vivre, and got a badly needed ‘second-wind’ for my inner growth that powered me into the next decade of my life.
But the amazing thing about this is that even though I felt that I now had a very good relationship to my inner child (and other sub personalities), it is a process that does not seem to end. Fast forward to the beginning of this year. At the beginning of the year, I often check in with my ‘inner family’ in meditation. When meeting my inner child, I had this experience:

I am walking along the middle of a shallow river that I used to play in as a child. I come to a bridge from which I used to look down at the big fish swimming in and out of the dark water underneath. On the sand to one side of the bridge I see my inner child. I wade over to him, and we squat for a while looking under the bridge. Then he smiles to me and we begin to walk into the water and under the bridge (I never went under the bridge as a child). We stand in silence looking and feeling the fish around our feet, in gentle awe and excitement. After while we walk on and out from the other side of the bridge. We walk on to a meadow next to the river. My child-self utters a cry, and starts to run around the meadow, whooping, and laughing out of pure joy, I watch on, quite amazed, and aware of a new level of joy in myself that I have never experienced before.

After the meditation, this new level of joy within myself has persisted, and it seems clear to me that some level of inhibition or fear in my child has been resolved. This is a full fifteen years after starting my active relationship with him. So even now my life and experience are expanding and growing from my inner work with my child self and other related therapeutic mindfulness practices aimed at building a strong inner-self psychologically. If you do the work, it seems there truly are no edges to your level of inner joy.
   
 
Related articleMeditating with your child self
Creating a therapeutic mindfulness space
Wake, up, Grow up, Clean up, Flow – The Art of Enlightened Flow
 


Special Coaching Offer for the Month of September – Free 20minute coaching session with Toby

For the remaining two weeks of September Integral Meditation Asia is offering free 20minute coaching sessions with Toby!
If you have been interested in the idea of getting some personal coaching on a particular issue or challenge, and/or want to explore what 1:1 meditation coaching can do for you in terms of both your quality of and direction in life, this is a great opportunity to find out what it is like with Toby. These 20minute sessions can be done on Zoom or via Whatsapp.
You can find read the general write up of Toby’s Life-fullness Coaching here, & his other forms of coaching here.
You can read feedback and reviews from Toby’s coaching sessions here

To arrange your 20minute session or for further enquiries: Email info@tobyouvry.com, or W-App65-96750279


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Follow Toby onLinkedInYouTubeInstagram

Categories
creative imagery Energy Meditation Inner vision Insight Meditation Life-fullness Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Presence and being present Using the Energy of Negative Emotions

The projector behind you – How the past interweaves your present & future

“Past-focused mindfulness involves delving consciously into past memory & narratives, releasing pent-up energy, and then gently reworking these stories to create a more optimistic and energized outlook

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article focuses upon how focusing mindfully on the past can change your experience of both your present and future. It’s an important dimension of mindfulness that I’ve enjoyed practising tremendously, particularly over the last 15 years or so. If you enjoy the article, then do consider coming along to my therapeutic mindfulness course starting on the 26th September.

You can also see my video on The projector behind you – An intro to therapeutic mindfulness by clicking the link.

Quick reminder also of the upcoming Autumn Equinox Meditation on the 20th, & Meditations for connecting to the Tree of Life, and growing your own personal Life Tree workshop on 30/31st September.
 
In the spirit of interweaving past, present & future,

Toby 


The projector behind you – How the past interweaves your present & future
 
Imagine you are sitting in a move theatre. Naturally you are facing the screen, where the action seems to be taking place in front of you. It takes place in front of you, but you know that what appears in front of you is being projected from behind, from the movie camara in the projector room. In the physical world we know this, but in the inner world of our mind and perception, there is another projection going on, that of our past onto our present and future.
It looks a bit like this: Your present moment and future experience are like the projector screen, but it actually contains content and images of it’s own. However, there is also a series of images projected upon our present moment ‘screen’, coming from our past, and the story that we tell ourselves about the past. To give a few examples:

  • If at school I was made to feel like an ‘outsider’ by the other children, I may take that feeling of being an outsider into my adult relationships, and that feeling may determine much of how I relate to others socially
  • My parents and teachers’ ways of dealing with emotion will be something that I have absorbed and tend to imitate in my ways of dealing with my own emotion
  • My sense of what is possible and appropriate for me in terms of future happiness & wealth may have a lot to do with the social and cultural environment within which I was brought up

 
Not all past memory and projection is bad, in fact some of it can be very positive. However, for all of us in one way or another, even if we consider ourselves a well adjusted individual, we carry memories of unresolved tension & emotional conflict that are interfering with our ability to process our present and future effectively.
 
Going into the projector room
Practicing mindfulness therapeutically in this sense means revisiting our past in a conscious manner, in order to recognise and release these past traumas and ‘kinks’ in our memory. This is a bit like going back into the projector room in the cinema, and getting the know the different types of film that get projected regularly onto the ‘projector screen’ of your daily life. You then start to see these old movies as they start to come up in everyday situations, and you begin to be able to choose other options and behaviour, rather than always choosing the old suggestions and repeating them.
 
Basic principles around the qualities of therapeutic mindfulness
Here is a brief set of pointing out instructions as to how a person might begin enquiring around his or her past in a therapeutic manner:

  1. Establish a quiet space to sit in contemplation, establish an inner mood and atmosphere of safety, warmth and curiosity
  2. Pick a domain of your past that you wish to explore. This could be a period of your childhood, a past relationship, or a more recent event that you feel somewhat disturbed by. Let your attention orientate around that time, and let memories start to arise
  3. As memories (or sometimes the absence of memories) begin to arise, gently remain present to them with a degree of warm acceptance, even if the memories that come up are painful. At this stage you are not trying to ‘fix’ them, more just use awareness and acceptance as the method by which the memories that hold trapped and unresolved emotions can come to the light of conscious awareness and be released.
  4. Initially practice doing this for short, manageable periods of time, gradually extending the time you spend as your confidence and comfort level increases.

The aim here is to get to know your past better, and the way in which it impinges upon your present. The awareness and acceptance of such experiences can also often go some way to ‘healing’ and releasing the unresolved trauma, but our main aim here is simply to get to know and recognize when our past is being projected upon our present & future.

Related articleAppreciating the past to liberate the future

© Toby Ouvry 2023, 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

Tues/Weds Nov 14th/15th – Seasonal classDeepavali -connecting to your inner light


Integral Meditation Asia

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