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Integral Meditation training page: Using distractions, sculpting thoughts & soft body

Dear Integral Meditators,

Welcome to the Using distractions, sculpting thoughts & softening the body training page. In it you will learn how to do this integral meditation combination effectively, & you can then use the meditation recordings & readings below to practice. Scroll down below to

  • Watch the video
  • Listen to the studio quality guided meditations. There is a 20minute & an 8 minute version
  • Read the related article

Each of these practices are fundamental to good meditation technique. Once familiar with them, they will continue to help you in your other meditation practices almost continuously!

In the spirit of meditative presence,

Toby

Intro to the practices:

Guided meditations:

Listen to the Twenty minute using distractions, sculpting thoughts & soft body meditation

Listen to the eight minute using distractions, sculpting thoughts & soft body meditation

Related articleUsing distractions, sculpting thoughts, softening the body

The Integral Meditation Training pages are a free resource, but if you feel you have benefitted, & would like to donate to the Integral Meditation training pages & project, you can do so via PayPal or if in Singapore you can do so directly by PayNow on +6596750279. Thanks!

​All content © Toby Ouvry 2024, you are welcome to use or share this page content, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


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New Therapeutic Mindfulness coaching service & reading anthology

Dear Integral Meditators,

From September thru December 2023 I facilitated a course called Re-discovering your inner vitality & joie-de-vivre – An introduction to integrative therapeutic mindfulness & meditation.

I am now offering it as a 1:1 coaching service, which can also be facilitated in a group coaching context. You can read about the coaching & training by following the link above. Essentially the question it seeks to answer is “How can we re-work our relationship to the past in a way that helps us to see the present & future with clarity, enthusiasm & vision?”


I have also created this ‘Therapeutic mindfulness reading page’ which is an anthology of all the articles that I wrote during that time. You can find these summarized below, with links to each article.

The recordings of the original course are also available as an online course, if you are interested in that then just drop an email to info@tobyouvry.com

In the spirit of re-awakening inner joy,

Toby


Therapeutic Mindfulness Article Anthology

Creating an inner therapeutic mindfulness space – six positions

The purpose of therapeutic mindfulness is to go back to previous stages in our development in order to reconnect to feelings, emotions, body sensations & memories that we have repressed, denied, or lost touch with. The healthy re-integration of these experiences sets the scene for a renewed sense of wellbeing within our present life, & for safely engaging in higher, deeper levels of personal growth.”

Mindfulness of mood & atmosphere of your life-story

“You might think about your inner mood as being like the weather. If you are playing a game of tennis in a sunny, lightly breezy day, its completely different from playing it on a rainy, very windy day. We can usually shift ourself at least partially toward a better mood if we try, and this then affects everything for the better”

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

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”

Meditating with your teenage-self

“The ‘teenage self’ is one of several aspects of our inner-self or psyche that, if we take the time to connect to, we can find ourselves being enriched. For example, if I am well connected to my inner teenager, then I can draw upon his innate curiosity, ambition and appetite for life in a way that other middle-aged folk who lack a vital connection to their inner teenager cannot!”

Suppression & repression – the difference, & it’s importance

“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”

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

Transcending & including – Integrating the big & the small selves

“As you grow & mature, if you repress your previous selves, they can become ‘allergies’. If part of you remains trapped within them, they become ‘addictions.  Transcending & including means to grow beyond who you were, whilst still giving your previous self a seat at the table”

 All 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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From fusion to Supermind – The journey of developmental mindfulness

“Supermind is a stage and structure of consciousness that has to be earned, step by step. This is different from simply a ‘Big-mind’, or non-dual awakened state that we can have in meditation, but that can occur at any stage in our inner growth”

Dear Integral Meditators,

This week’s article looks at growing your perspective taking capacity through mindfulness. Essentially it explores 5 perspectives:

  1. Your first person ‘I/me’ space
  2. Your second person ‘we/us’ space
  3. Your third person ‘it’ space
  4. Your fourth person ‘self-as-the world’ space
  5. Your fifth person ‘integral perspectives’ space

Growing all these together within you gives what Ken Wilber describes as ‘Supermind’. If you enjoy the article, then do consider joining us for the Exploring your hidden maps of consciousness –mindfulness meditation for growing up course that starts this week!

In the spirit of the journey,

Toby

From fusion to Supermind – The journey of developmental mindfulness

The journey from fusion to ‘Supermind’ is essentially a journey of perspective taking. It is the journey of going from being a baby to a fully developed and integrated human being. A main goal of mindfulness in this developmental sense is to stimulate our growth along that journey, making more and more perspectives functionally available to us as time goes by.

The stages & perspectives of consciousness that we journey along are essentially 1st to 5th person perspectives, and from egocentric, to ethnocentric to worldcentric, to universal/Kosmocentric. Here is a very summary in seven stages:

Egocentric, 1st person, ‘I/me’:

Note with egocentric these are essentially childhood stages, but adults can and do regularly regress to these stages in their daily life.

Level 1 – Archaic/fusion – Our first year of life is spent like this, largely fused perceptually with our physical and emotional environment, reactive to very basic needs, hunger, thirst, warmth, cold etc…

Level 2 – Tribal fantastical – Fantasy wish fulfilment emerges 18months to 3 years old: Superstitions or magical thinking within self, being incredibly special & unique, the world revolves around me (hence the ‘terrible twos!’ etc…).

Level 3 – Mythic fantasy – 4-7 years old – Often termed ‘self-protective, ‘security’, ‘power’ or opportunistic’ level. Self-centred desires for power & control.

Ethnocentric, 2nd person ‘we/us’

Level 4 – Mythic membership – 7-12 years, but still a dominant perspective in many adults lives today. “Belonging-ness” (to groups, family, race, religion etc…) stage. The shift from me focused to we/us focused, or group focused. Strict conformity to the rules. Them vs us. 

Worldcentric, 3rd person, ‘it’

Level 5 – Rational/scientific – The emergence of an objective, 3rd person ‘rational’ perspective, capacity to care for all of humankind, even if not part of our ‘group’. The emergence of true individuality, self-esteem, and goal/achievement focus.

Universal, 4th person

Level 6 – Pluralistic – The ability to take a 1st and 2nd person ‘I/we/’ perspective on our 3rd person rational/worldcentric perspective, resulting in a capacity for deep compassion and empathy for all living beings and the world.

Integral, 5th person

Level 7 – Integral – The ability to:

  1. Take an objective perspective on our 4th person pluralistic perspective, resulting in ‘Universal objective subjectivity’ (!)
  2. Take all the previous developmental stages along with their perspectives (1-6), and ‘transcend and include’ them – Each has their place honoured in the overall picture, but none are identified with exclusively. They function together in an integrated and ‘whole’ way, like a healthy organism.

This integral level of perspective taking is what is referred to as ‘Supermind’. Supermind is a stage and structure of consciousness, which is different from simply a ‘Big-mind’, or non-dual awakened state that we can have in meditation, but that can occur at any of the developmental stages mentioned above.

So then, the interesting thing about this list is, at the moment, all of us have main ‘centre of gravity’ at one of these stages. By practising mindfulness around each of them we can:

  • Unearth the hidden maps of consciousness within us
  • Note which stage we are at, and how that changes or varies in different situations in our life
  • Observe or ‘videotape’ the level you are at in mindfulness meditation in order to transcend & include it, and encourage movement to the next level*

You can then observe your current the lower and higher levels of development within you, ‘cleaning up’ the lower levels that you sometimes notice yourself regressing to, and opening to the higher stages by becoming familiar with what they are and how they function.

Related articles: Your primal self as your object of mindfulness

Transcending & including – Integrating the big & the small selves

*Three named terms in this paragraph from Ken Wilber’s ‘Integral Meditation’ book.

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


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)

Starts Tuesday/Wednesday evening 9/10th April – Exploring your hidden maps of consciousness –mindfulness meditation for growing up

Saturday & Sunday April 20th & 21st – Integral Meditation 1.5 Day Retreat


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Your primal self as your object of mindfulness

“As we develop from one stage of growth to another as a person, we leave behind the old self in favour of a more evolved one. This new self-sense them becomes ‘I’ or me, with the previous self-identity becoming part of us that we manage or parent”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This weeks article explores looks at oour early-stage development as an object of mindfulness, & what the benefits of doing so might be. If you like it, do consider joining us on the new adventure starting on 9/10th April: Exploring your hidden maps of consciousness –mindfulness meditation for growing up, either live or online!

This week there will be only one meditation class on Wednesday, & it will be on the subject of single-headness (how to manage your stress more effectively thru mindfulness) & ‘head-lessness‘ which is a kind of non-dual meditation.

In the spirit of primal integration,

Toby



Your primal self as your object of mindfulness
 
As we develop from one stage of growth to another (psychologically) as a person, we leave behind, or objectify the old sense of self, in favour of a more evolved one. This new sense of self them becomes ‘I’ or me, with the previous self-identity becoming a part of us that we manage.
 
Our first sense of self – Basic appetites, fusion confusion
 
The first 18 months of our life is characterized by the absence of a separate self-sense. Initially we are ‘fused’ our environment. Later we start to separate our self-sense physically, but remain for a while longer in a state of emotional fusion with our environment and particularly our mother.  This is a  symbiotic or fusion stage, a bit of a fusion-confusion!
This self-sense is accordingly completely dominated by our physiological needs, food, thirst, warmth, coolness, comfort, discomfort, rest.
 
Addictions & allergies – Yes, we left it behind but…
 
We start to grow out of this fusion-confusion stage from 18 months. As a 51 year old I say “I am hungry” rather than “I am hunger!”. I can distinguish myself physically and emotionally from my environment. However, if I have left parts of me behind at that level, either as a secret identity or as a dissociation, then that can result in an ‘addiction’ or an ‘allergy’. For example, regarding hunger:

  • Addiction: If I still have a part of me still fully identified as being (not having) hunger, then this may result in me having trouble regulating my diet and weight, resulting in extreme cases as obesity
  • Allergy: If I have dissociated myself from hunger, then I may be out of touch with my basic hunger needs, not eating properly and being underweight or undernourished. In extreme cases this might manifest in anorexia or bulimia

Sometimes also you may notice a fusion-confusion type experience with your environment or in your relationships. Public spaces become confusing as your senses ‘merge’ with them, or the emotional space between yourself and others becomes very blurred and difficult to regulate. Some of this may be due to a part of self that has been left behind at the primal stage.
 
Clearing up to grow up more fully using mindfulness
 
From a mindfulness-as-therapy point of view, the essential method is quite simple; you bring to mind basic needs like hunger, thirst, as well as experiences of ‘fusion-confusion’ mentioned above (separately, not all at once!), and practice mindfully observing them, and your relationship to them. The making subjects into objects nature of mindfulness will naturally help start to clear up any allergies or addictions that may remain at this stage…
 
My personal experience of being mindful with this stage
 
Regarding basic appetites I discovered that I tend toward the “allergy” relationship to food, I usually have trouble keeping up my weight, and eating is a discipline rather than a joy. So, it helped me re-balance that which was useful.
Secondly the revisiting the fusion-confusion stage resulted in me feeling a surprising increase in clarity regarding my environmental and relational awareness.
 
Integrating, transcending & including
 
A healthy integration of your primal-self* enables you to create healthy self-regulation of your basic needs & appetites. It also helps create a clear distinction of self from others & environment. We have a healthier ‘separate’ self-sense, but can engage (and withdraw from) conscious ‘fusion’ when appropriate.
 
I’d encourage you to spend some time with this as a practice, it seems initially that we should all have grown fully out or this stage. But if you look at problems humans have around basic appetites and self-regulation like food, we can see that there are huge imbalances there. You may be surprised at how powerful and transformative it is for you. It certainly was for me!
 
*In integral psychology this is level 1 of human psychological development, and termed ‘Infrared archaic’
 
Related contentSubjects to objects – How meditation helps you grow to greater degrees of freedom

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
 



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)

Starts Tuesday/Wednesday evening 9/10th April – Exploring your hidden maps of consciousness –mindfulness meditation for growing up

Saturday & Sunday April 20th & 21st – Integral Meditation 1.5 Day Retreat


Follow Toby onLinkedInYouTubeInstagram

Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
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Using distractions, sculpting thoughts, softening the body

“Use distractions to remind yourself that you are in the present,

Use your thoughts to sculpt your perception of reality,

Soften your body to still your mind”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This weeks article explores combining three practices into a short meditation form. I find that putting different practices together makes for more interesting and more complete meditation, and this is one such example, enjoy!

In the spirit of integration,

Toby



Starts Tuesday/Wednesday evening 9/10th April – Exploring your hidden maps of consciousness –mindfulness meditation for growing up

In a sentence: Combine all the benefits of a conventional mindfulness practice with the progressive inner growth & transformation of developmental psychology.

Suitable for: Beginners and more advanced practitioners alike. May be of particular interest to those interested in psychology, coaching, philosophy, & how to combine these disciplines with a living, dynamic meditation practice…read full details


Article of the week: Using distractions, sculpting thoughts, softening the body

What I have done in this piece is to put together three practices, ‘Being mindful of the non-present moment’, ‘Sculpting your thoughts’, and ‘Finding strength through softness’ into an integral practice, where they are done together in a single session. You can do them in the order described, or in a different one as you prefer. Using the order presented, you could say do:

  • Five minutes mindfulness of the non-present moment
  • Five minutes mindfulness of sculpting your thoughts
  • Five minutes mindfulness of inner strength through softness

Or you could emphasize one main practice for 10 minutes, and then doing 2/3 of minutes each of the second two.

‘Being mindful of the non-present moment’

“By studying the non-present moment more closely, often our mind quietens down substantially and becomes more present, without effort on our part”

Watch the distractions coming into your awareness from your environment and senses, and from your mind. Notice that all the sounds around you are in the present moment, and that when you focus on your awareness of them, this can bring you back into the present moment, not away from it. Notice that even though your thoughts may be of the past or future, the thoughts themselves are happening now, in the present! By recognizing this and being present to your distractions, they help you to come into the present moment, rather than taking you away from it!

‘Sculpting your thoughts’

“Look at the thoughts you are experiencing right now, and ask yourself the question; Are they sculpting me, or am I sculpting them?”
The first position here is simply to watch your thoughts. By doing some become aware of your minds mental content, and start to see how each of your thoughts is influencing your perception of yourself and your world. By thoughts I mean not just sentences, but images, memories, mental impulses, anything that is being generated on the mental plane. Then ask yourself the question: “What is the optimal way for me to mentally frame what my mind is dwelling upon, so that I derive maximum value and minimum unnecessary pain from it?”
Practice making small, creative interventions in your thinking process, guiding your thoughts according to the principle of the above question.

‘Finding inner strength & mental stillness through softness’

“How can I still the mind with as little effort as possible, using the softness of the body?”

Whenever you think a thought, the tension or energy of that thought will turn up as an energy in the body. The practice here is to make the body as ‘soft’ and relaxed as possible, so that your body energy is unable to ‘support’ the energy of your thoughts. Whenever a thought tries to appear, relax the areas of your body where you feel the energy of the thought, and let the thought dissolve away. In this way let your mind gradually relax into a still, thoughtless space where you can regenerate your inner strength.

Related readingBeing mindful of the non-present moment
Sculpting your thoughts
Finding strength through softness

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



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 – Effortless effort – The art of doing by non-doing, a ten-week meditation course

Tues & Weds 19,20th March, 7.30-8.30pm – Spring Equinox balancing and renewing meditation

Saturday March 23rd, 9-11.30am – Integral meditation deep dive mini-retreat

Starts Tuesday/Wednesday evening 9/10th April – Exploring your hidden maps of consciousness –mindfulness meditation for growing up

Saturday & Sunday April 20th & 21st – Integral Meditation 1.5 Day Retreat


Follow Toby onLinkedInYouTubeInstagram

Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
A Mind of Ease Energy Meditation Insight Meditation Life-fullness Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindful Confidence Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership

Single-headedness – Not getting anxious about anxiety

“What are the situations where you tend to put a “Head upon a head”, or create a problem about your problem? Those are the places that would be good to start practicing ‘Single-headedness’!”

Dear <<First Name>>, 

The practice of single-headedness is one that I have been working with various coaching clients over the years, recently I realized that I hadn’t written an article on it, so the one below rights that wrong!

This week’s Tuesday & Wednesday meditation is the  Spring Equinox balancing and renewing meditation all welcome, both in-person or online

And heads up for two short meditation retreats, the first this Saturday: Integral meditation deep dive mini-retreat & second the April 20th & 21st – Integral Meditation 1.5 Day Retreat. If your interested in really deepening your level of practice, then these are two to consider!

In the spirit of single-headedness,
 
Toby 


Not putting a head upon a head – not getting anxious about anxiety
 
When do you put a ‘head upon a head’?
‘Don’t put a head upon a head’ is an expression that I might have picked up from Zen somewhere, but I can’t find the reference, so it may be something that I came up with by myself (!) Essentially what it means is that you make two problems out of one:

  • When you get anxious about the fact that your anxious
  • When you get stressed that you are stressed
  • When you get angry that you are angry
  • When you get depressed about being depressed
  • And so on…

Then you are “putting a head upon a head.” What this means is that you already have a challenge, but as well as feeling the actual stress of the situation, you are feeling stressed about the stress itself, which compounds the difficulty and makes it worse!
 
Not putting head upon a head
So then, to not put a head upon a head, the essential manoeuvre is acceptance.

  • If I am anxious, I work on simply acknowledging that anxiety, accepting it, thereby not adding to the already existing anxiety
  • When I get stressed I create an ‘inner holding space’ for my stress so that it stays simple stress, not stress because I’m stressed
  • If I am angry, I don’t judge being angry too harshly, I accept it and focus on what can be constructively done about it
  • If I am depressed, I don’t add to the burden by thinking “I’m such a looser because I’m depressed, why am I always depressed?” (which is depression about depression), I simply work on holding space for the existing depression in the present, as I find it.

 
Some simple examples
 
Uncertainty
I’m anxious because the result of something that I care about is not entirely certain (Eg: Giving birth, marketing a new product, recovering from an illness or not, giving a speech to an audience…). In such a situation, anxiety and degree of fear would be quite natural. So, I want to be accepting and working with the natural anxiety that I have. If I can do that then I can prevent having to deal with the ‘second head’ of fighting the existence of my anxiety and getting anxious about it!
 
Unable to sleep
Let us say you are in bed, and you must be up early, but you can’t go to sleep. Then you start thinking about how you need to be up early, how tired you will be if you can’t go to sleep. You start getting stressed about the stress of not being able to sleep. Then you try a bit to hard to get to sleep, and the tension of trying too hard makes it even more difficult to fall asleep. It starts to spiral from there. To “Not put a head upon a head” would be to accept that you can’t fall asleep, be a bit curious about it, and relaxing into the experience of non-sleeping. That acceptance and relaxation may mean that you actually start to fall asleep, but even if it doesn’t, your experience of not sleeping will be less stressful and more relaxing.
 
What are the situations where you tend to put a “Head upon a head”, or creating a problem about your problem? Those are the places that would be good to start practicing ‘Single-headedness’!

Related articleWhat happens when you are not afraid of fear?

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


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 – Effortless effort – The art of doing by non-doing, a ten-week meditation course

Tues & Weds 19,20th March, 7.30-8.30pm – Spring Equinox balancing and renewing meditation

Saturday March 23rd, 9-11.30am – Integral meditation deep dive mini-retreat

Saturday & Sunday April 20th & 21st – Integral Meditation 1.5 Day Retreat


Follow Toby onLinkedInYouTubeInstagram

Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
Uncategorized

Mindful flow around the things that are most important to you

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This weeks article looks at mindfulness when brought to bear upon the most important activities in your life. If you enjoy it, we will be exploring it in this weeks Tuesday & Wednesday Meditation sessions

Heads up for the upcoming Spring Equinox balancing and renewing meditation on 19th & 20th March!

In the spirit of mindfulness,
 
Toby 


Mindful flow around the things that are most important
 
How mindfulness makes things better
Fundamentally, mindfulness is about being present to your life in a relaxed, focused manner. By being present in such a way, you create a ‘flow state’ where you can:

  • Enjoy the present activity and derive fulfilment from it
  • To more effective and wiser regarding your experience of any challenges being presented

By being relaxed, focused and present (as opposed to tense, anxious and reactionary), things essentially tend to get better and easier in a natural, unforced manner.
 
What to focus on in mindfulness?
The premise here is that, if you practice mindfulness around the most important things in your life, then they will get better. What are the most important things? Well, it depends upon the person, but since most of our time is spent in relationships and in work, then these two are very important to build your mindful flow capacity around. Here are a few pointers for how to do this:
 
Mindfulness around relationships
Sitting quietly, build a little bit of basic mindful flow around the breathing, by focusing your attention on the inbreath, then relaxing your body-mind on the outbreath. Now, bring your attention to an important relationship, perhaps your romantic partner, a family member or colleague. Picturing them in your mind’s eye, practice being mindful to what comes up as you are present to them:

  • Notice the internal conversation that starts up within you
  • The judgments
  • The emotions and mood that settle in
  • Times when you have states of blank, unknowing, ambiguity or confusion
  • Particular memories of subjects that come up
  • What does the content look like from your ‘I’ space? 
  • What does the relationship look like from their ‘I’ space?
  • What does the relationship look like from both of your ‘we’ space?

As you do this, you are not trying to fix or solve any of it, rather simply be present to all the material in a focused, relaxed manner. That is the only ‘goal’.
By being present in this way, as an observer, naturally your awareness of the relationship will increase. When you next meet the person, as you interact, practice bringing some of that mindful presence into your contact with them, be relaxed and lightly present as far as possible.
 
Mindfulness around work
Establish your basic mindful flow, then bring your attention to an important area of your work, or just your sense of work more generally. Picture the circumstances in your mind’s eye, practice being mindful to what comes up as you are present to it:

  • Notice the internal conversation that starts up within you
  • The judgments or anxieties
  • The emotions and mood around the project
  • Memories that surface persistently
  • Times when you have states of blank, unknowing, ambiguity or confusion
  • What does your work look like from your ‘I’ space?
  • What does your work look like from other people’s perspectives?
  • If someone were looking on as an observer, or ‘fly on the wall,’ what would they see?

 
As with relationships, you are not trying to fix or solve any of it, rather simply be present to all the material in a focused, relaxed manner. That is the only ‘goal’.
By being present in this way, as an observer, naturally your awareness of the relationship will increase. When you are next at work, practice brining some of that mindful presence into your tasks and interactions. Practice light, mindful attention to what you are doing.
 
If you practice these two exercises consistently, even for only a few minutes a day, you will notice your experience of relationships and of your work change in the manner that I outlined in the first two paragraphs. Sound too good to be true? Why not try it for a week and find out?!

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
 


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 – Effortless effort – The art of doing by non-doing, a ten-week meditation course

Tues & Weds 19,20th March, 7.30-8.30pm – Spring Equinox balancing and renewing meditation

Saturday March 23rd, 9-11.30am – Integral meditation deep dive mini-retreat


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The basic meditation state, functional breathing & flow training page

Dear Integral Meditators,

Welcome to the basic meditative presence, breathing & flow training page. In it you will learn how to do this integral meditation combination effectively, & you can then use the meditation recordings & readings below to practice. Scroll down below to

  • Watch the video
  • Listen to the studio quality guided meditations. There is a 20minute & an 8 minute version
  • Read the related articles

Each of these practices are fundamental to good meditation technique. Once familiar with them, they will continue to help you in your other meditation practices almost continuously!

In the spirit of meditative presence,

Toby


Intro to the practices:

Guided meditations:

Listen to the Twenty minute meditative presence, breathing & flow meditation

Listen to the eight minute meditative presence, breathing & flow power meditation

Listen to the building strengths through mindful flow 10minute meditation

Original articles

Meditation – Not missing your life (Your basic meditation state or space)

The foundational pillars or ‘goal-posts’ of meditative presence

Using mindful flow to train in strengths-building

Functional breathing – four meditations

The Integral Meditation Training pages are a free resource, but if you feel you have benefitted, & would like to donate to the Integral Meditation training pages & project, you can do so via PayPal or if in Singapore you can do so directly by PayNow on +6596750279. Thanks!

​All content © Toby Ouvry 2024, you are welcome to use or share this page content, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com

VIEW OTHER INTEGRAL MEDITATION TRAINING PAGES


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A Mind of Ease Integral Awareness Integrating Ego, Soul and Spirit Life-fullness Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership Motivation and scope

Invisible, or effortless self-leadership

“At the highest level of self-leadership, all the different aspects of our inner self feel loved, cared for and empowered by the conscious self”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article looks at three levels of mindful self-leadership. It gives some pointers as to what they are, how to spot them in your own self-leadership style, & make progress toward becoming the ‘invisible, or effortless inner leader’.

This week’s Tues & Weds evening class will be on this subject, you are welcome to join us, live or online.

Finally, for those interested in developing inner resilience, on Saturday 9th March I’ll be doing my Mindful Resilience – Practices for sustaining effectiveness, happiness & clarity under pressure workshop.
 
In the spirit of self-leadership,
 
Toby



Invisible, or effortless self-leadership
 
For several years now I’ve been using chapter 17 from the Tao Te Ching as part of my ‘Mindful leadership & self-leadership programs. What I want to do in this article is to look at it from the point of view of self-leadership, breaking it down into three stages. I may look at the leading others aspect of the chapter in a later article.
Here is the original text:
 
Tao Te Ching – Chapter 17 (Steven Mitchell translation)
 
When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a leader who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.

 
If you don’t trust the people,
you make them untrustworthy.

The Master doesn’t talk, he acts.
When his work is done,
the people say, “Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!”

 
Level 1 – The invisible leader:
 
‘When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists’.

At the highest level of self-leadership, all the different aspects of our inner self feel loved, cared for and empowered by the conscious self. Each of them knows their place in the scheme of the different levels of self (personality, soul, spirit) and time has been developed helping them to feel confident regarding their capability in their role. As a result, the conscious self does not have to do too much to lead. A person who has reached this level of inner growth experiences the ups, downs, and challenges of life more as an even minded flow, that he or she is able to adapt and work with without too much effortfulness. Of course, there is some degree of willpower involved in what they do, but it is deployed discreetly and gently, rather than being the main ‘motor’ with which we power ourself through life.  
 
Level 2 – The monarch:
 
‘Next best is a leader who is loved.’
I sometimes think of this level of leadership as being like a monarch, king or queen. If we are at this level, we spend a lot of time and effort actively motivating ourself in a benevolent manner, learning to inspire the parts of ourself that lack confidence, heal the parts of us that are wounded, and go beyond the limits of our current self-concept. This style of self-leadership is pro-active. The conscious-self must demonstrate to the different parts of our inner self (or our sub-personalities) that it is trustworthy, so that they can get behind it and push forward as a team. At this stage our inner selves need active guidance, they need to feel nurtured and safe, they need a degree of ‘positive self-talk’. At this second level of leadership, life is quite effortful, but because the dominant energy of inner leadership is appropriate self-love and care, the journey is felt and experienced as one that is going to good places and positive directions.
 
Level 3 – The dictator
 
‘Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.’

I’m putting the last two levels of self-leadership as one, which is essentially leading ourself as a despot or dictator! Here the primary energy within self is self-loathing or hatred. There is a general sense of inadequacy, not being enough, a lack of self-respect. The only way we can motivate ourself to get things done and move forward in our life is through fear and/or agression:

  • ‘If you don’t get this degree people will think you are stupid’
  • ‘Work out because if your fat you won’t be accepted by others’
  • ‘Do what I say or I’ll be criticising you inwardly for the next week!’

The experience of leading oneself like a dictator is that life is very effortful, anxious and progress is a rather tortuous and exhausting process.
 
Most people’s self-leadership process is kind of a mixture of stages two and three. Identifying stage three as a possibility, and practicing it can accelerate the rate at which we grow and integrate it into our lives. This offers the possibility for an easier journey, with progress that seems to happen naturally, by itself even. Our personal path evolves like the final verse of the chapter, with a few of my words in brackets:
 
“If you don’t trust the people (the different inner parts of yourself),
you make them untrustworthy.

The Master doesn’t talk, he acts (the conscious-self leads by example).
When his work is done,
the people (
the different parts of our inner self) say, “Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!”

 
 
Related articleBecoming a Self-determining entity – Five stages to mindful self-leadership
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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Using mindful flow to train in strengths-building

“Using mindful-flow to develop particular inner-strengths can rapidly accelerate the pace at which we can grow them. What would normally take much longer, mindful-flow enables us to assimilate with confidence in a much shorter period”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article looks at a major foundation of integral meditation practice, mindful-flow, what it is and how to go about starting to use it in your life.
If you enjoy it, then do consider coming along to this Saturday’s Deep-dive meditation mini-retreat, where we will be putting mindful-flow to good use!

This week’s Tues & Weds evening class is on the art of non-thinking.

 
In the spirit of flow,
 
Toby



Using mindful flow to train in strengths-building
 
What is mindful flow?

Mindful flow is a method of concentration that meditators use to remain present in their practice, and stay present for extended periods. It consists of two complementary qualities:

  • The quality of focus
  • The quality of relaxation

Often when people begin meditation, they try a bit too hard to focus, which means they then have difficulty relaxing, which then means their mind has difficulty settling into meditative presence. Other people relax a bit too much and find themselves falling asleep, which is the other end of the spectrum. So good quality mindful concentration contains the alertness of focus, in combination with the ‘flow’ of relaxation, hence mindful-flow. If complete relaxation to the point of sleep is a 0, and absolute effortful focus is a 10, in meditation we are generally trying to stay somewhere within the 4-6 range.
 
Building the technique of mindful flow

Generally, I recommend specifically developing your practice of mindful flow as an exercise, which can be done using a simple breathing technique:

  • Breathing naturally, as you breathe in, emphasize focusing your attention on your in-breath. You can focus on a particular area of the breathing (like the movement of the belly for example), or the overall sensation of it.
  • As you breathe out, emphasize relaxing your body and mind. If you are aware of particular areas of tension in the body, you can be specific in relaxing those body parts.

You can practice mindful flow continuously for 5-10minutes, or if you like you can do it in sets, for example:

  • 3-5 breaths of mindful flow, followed by a short pause, and when you are ready repeat.

I find that this second technique is quite useful, because it encourages you to really focus well for those 3-5 breaths! 

Using mindful flow to bring strengths & strength-combinationsOnce you have practiced mindful flow, and got a sense of that balance of focus and relaxation, you can then use it to build strengths, qualities and capacities within you. Here I am going to use gentle-determination as an example. Once you understand how to do it with one quality, you know how to do it with others. So then with gentle-determination:

  1. For the first part, as you breathe in, connect of a sense of gentleness, as you breathe out, relax into that feeling of gentleness.
  2. In the second part, connect to a sense of determination, perhaps about something specific in your life right now. As you breathe out, feel that sense of determination as an attitude in the mind and as an energy in the body.
  • In the third section, bring the qualities of gentle-determination together; as you breathe in connecting to determination, as you breathe out soften that determination with an appropriate degree of gentleness.

You can spend as much time as you like on each section, but ideally the most time would be spent with stage three, bringing the gentleness and determination together into a flow.
Dropping into a mindful-flow state and using it to develop particular strengths and qualities can rapidly accelerate the pace and depth at which we can grow them within us. What would normally take much longer to develop competency around, mindful-flow enables us to assimilate with confidence in a much shorter period of time!


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