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‘Subjects to objects – How meditation helps you grow to greater degrees of freedom’

Dear Toby, 

Retreat events this month include a short one: 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.
The two day retreat is a great opportunity to really deepen your meditation practice in a profound way. Don’t be deceived by the relative shortness of the time span, the methods we use are designed to get practitioners into the ‘zone’ right from the get go….
The new video I have created, entitled ‘Subjects to objects – How meditation helps you grow to greater degrees of freedom’ explores the essential dynamic of meditation, and how short bursts of meditation such as retreats can really catalyze that process!  

In the spirit of turning subjects into objects,


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. It aids in personal evolution by moving from one level of consciousness to another. The second part focuses on the long-term effects of a meditation practice, emphasizing that continued meditation leads to increasing degrees of freedom from the objects within one’s consciousness. This liberation allows individuals to endure stress calmly and undertake challenging tasks with ease. The analogy of dissolving salt in water is used to illustrate how a larger, more expansive mind mitigates the impact of suffering and stress. Ultimately, meditation enhances the quality of life, making it less painful and more enjoyable.

Related articleArticle on meditation & the salt analogy

In case you missed it this weeks article: 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’…read full article

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 

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Inner strength – Gathering your energy into one place

Dear Integral Meditators,

This week’s article that aims to use playful techniques to build different but complementary dimensions of our inner strength. Enjoy!
The themes in the article are some that we will be exploring in this weeks Tuesday & Wednesday class.  You are welcome to join us at both events, either live or online.

In the spirit of inner strength,


Inner strength – Gathering your energy into one place

The unified body-mind – Understanding inner strength
This is an article that aims to use playful techniques to build different but complementary dimensions of our inner strength. The working definition of inner strength we will work with here is a mind and body that are unified. This is to say the energies of our mind are mainly focused in our body, and our biological or body intelligence are working in harmony with our rational or reasoning mind. Other aspects of this unity include:

  • Our intuition and our intellect
  • Our mind and emotions
  • Our conscious and unconscious selves

Positively anally retentive – Using your perineum to gather your attention
Meditation and mindfulness are central methods for bringing your mind into the present moment and into your body. One technique that I find very helpful to centre my attention in my body a little faster and stronger is to employ the perineum as I breathe. Essentially it looks like this:
As you breathe in and out gently (to about 20-30% of your strength) contract your perineum, so as you breathe in, there is a gentle sense of solidity in the inside of the bottom of your hips.
To tense the perineum, first locate your anal sphincter, then go up into your body about 3cms, you will find another ring of muscle. If you tense that, you will feel the web of muscles in your perineum activating.
This method is a simple way to ‘retain’ your energy in your body as you breathe, and has a solidifying and gathering effect. Its kind of like being anally retentive, but in a good way!

The eye of the storm – Courageously breathing into your centre
The second technique which you can do (either with the first or on its own) is to locate the approximate physical centre of your torso, somewhere between the heart and stomach level, and:

  • As you breathe in gather your energy into your physical centre
  • As you breathe out, relax from that centre point

It’s not easy, especially when your anxious to firmly decide not to be distracted and to rest in the moment. If you like with this second exercise, imagine you are in the eye of the storm of your life. As you breathe in, courageously gather your energy into your centre. As you breathe out, hold your energy in the centre of the storm like a mindful warrior!

The sacred reef – Compassion and accessing your intuition
If you practice mindfulness techniques like those above, you will find that your linear thinking mind starts to settle down. As you move toward stillness, you will find your non-linear, intuitive mind coming online. This is a bit like when you dive beneath the surface of the ocean (your everyday mind), before you hit the deep ocean (stillness), you encounter coral reefs that are vibrant and full of colour and life (the intuitive and imaginal level). It’s worth hanging out on this level and getting to know it, as there are lots of great ideas down here that may come to you. Also, when you are in this state it is relatively easy to feel wonder, connection and compassion for life and the world. This experience helps us to return to our everyday world feeling that life is sacred, and that the people around us (and we ourselves) are worthy of attention, compassion and cherishing. This compassion and reverence for life hugely adds to our inner strength as we go through the world and encounter our tribulations.
Enjoy exploring these different dimensions of your inner strength!

Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2022, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website


Ongoing – The Way of the Mindful Warrior – Meditating with the Warriors creed

In a sentence: Establish the inner strength, skill and courage needed to make you resilient in the face of life’s challenges, and thrive in both times of adversity and times of peace.

Overview: The Warriors Creed is a poem by an unknown Samurai in the 14th century. It outlines a code of conduct and a state of presence based around a series of inner qualities that can be cultivated through mindful contemplation, then applied to our daily life…read full details




Life-fullness – The Integral Life-Coaching Program with Toby

Are you looking a coach who can help you to:

  • Meet the challenges, stress and changes that you face in a more effective and mindful way
  • Become happier within yourself, in your relationships and at work
  • Be actively accountable for finding a sense of balance/well-being in your life and fulfilling your personal potential?
  • Guide you to find and operate from a deeper sense of meaning, motivation and connectivity in your life?
Read full details

All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

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

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)
Ongoing – The Way of the Mindful Warrior – Meditating with the Warriors creed

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

Tues 17th/Weds 18th May: Wesak meditation

Saturday May 29th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat



Integral Meditation Asia

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

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The Wild Dogs of the Mind

Dear Integral Meditators,

When strong, difficult, negative minds and emotions get triggered in our consciousness it can be difficult for the other parts of our mind not to become scattered and disoriented. The article below explores how we can start to changes this, using the image of dogs.

Two free mindfulness resources coming up online: 30 Days of Waking Up from Sounds True, and Beyond Mindfulness from the Shambala Mountain Centre. Click to find out more!

Yours in the spirit of the journey,


The Wild Dogs of the Mind

A few nights ago I dreamed that a pair of large, fierce dogs were attacking a pack of much smaller but more numerous dogs. At first the small dogs were getting torn apart, but then the leader of the smaller dogs managed to get them all attacking the big dogs together. This resulted in the big dogs getting overwhelmed and having to retreat.
We’ve all got a couple of big, negative dogs in our mind that, when we get upset or hurt start to make a lot of noise and upset our whole mental and emotional equilibrium. They can boss the other different parts of our mind around because they are big, loud and fierce.
What if all of the other parts of our mind were to band together when one of our big, negative minds starts to throw its weight around? What if they were to work together as a ‘pack’ working as a unified, directed energy combining to become stronger than the big, negative dogs within us?
If this were to happen then even when we found ourselves upset or disturbed, we would be able to exert a benevolent control over that disturbance because the rest of our mind knows how to work together and stay strong. On a practical level as long as we know how to get the ‘smaller dogs’ of our mind to stay together as a pack, then our big negative mind will pretty much know that it is not going to be able to boss the situation and so will not try and act out so much. Simply the presence of the smaller dogs demonstrating that they know how to work and fight together is enough to ward off an attack from the big negative dog.
So remember, when you are feeling under attack from the big bad dogs, don’t let the rest of your mind scatter and fall apart; rather keep them consciously working together. The good thing about working with an image like this is that you can kind of experiment with it intuitively and imaginatively, and let the idea start to show you experientially how it works in practice.

A final point; in my dream the dogs were skinned, that is to say they were made of raw flesh. One way of interpreting this is that both groups of dogs represented very ‘raw’ emotions in me. Our emotions and mind can really behave instinctively and like wild dogs when we are feeling raw and vulnerable, so I have been working with this image particularly when my mind feels very raw and instinctive.

Related article: The inner sharks of the mind
The sea snakes of the mind

Related Coaching: Shadow Coaching with Toby
Related course: Wednesday 20th May 7.30-9.30pm – An Evening of Mindful Relationships: Improving Your Relationships and Social Skills Through Mindfulness – A two hour workshop

© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in May:

Saturday 16th May, 9.30am-12.30pm – Growing Your Mindful Freedom – The Essential Meditation of the Buddha: A Three Hour Meditation Workshop

Saturday 16th May, 2.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Activating, Healing and Awakening our Ancestral Karma

Wednesday 20th, 7.30-9.30pm –  An Evening of Mindful Relationships: Improving Your Relationships and Social Skills Through Mindfulness – A two hour workshop

Friday 29th May 7.30-9.30pm –  Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre – Travelling deeper into the present moment through integral meditation

Saturday 30th May, 2.30-5.30pm – Enlightened Flow: Finding the Ultimate Relaxation and Release from Stress

Integral Meditation Asia


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Your Inner Fitness Trainers

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would happen if you treated the most difficult people and circumstances in your life as ‘inner fitness trainers’? This weeks article explores this theme and mindfulness practice.

Yours in the spirit of the useful in the difficult,


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia :

March courses nearly ready!!

Your Inner Fitness Trainers

The function of a good physical fitness trainer is to push you to the limits of your physical flexibility, strength and stamina in a safe and secure way by giving you specific physical tasks and challenges to focus upon.
If we are serious about our own inner mindfulness training, then we should be looking at the people or circumstances we find most difficult and challenging in our life as being like our inner fitness trainers. Their function is to push us to the limits of our mental, emotional and spiritual flexibility, strength and stamina by giving us specific challenges that push us to those limits.

But the people and circumstances in life that are hurting me aren’t trying to help!
When you are being trained by a (good) coach physically you engage in the exercises they set for you because you understand that they are trying to help. But people giving you a hard time in my life aren’t trying to help, nor is the illness that you have! So there is a conscious choice that you are making here to adopt people and circumstance as your trainers, despite their bad intentions, or despite the unfairness of the circumstances. It is a personal, empowering choice you make based around a recognition of the benefit that can be gained from adopting such a perspective.

Get clarity – How and for what are these people/circumstances helping me?
Pick the top three most difficult and/or unpleasant circumstances that you are going through right now; the ones that make you manifestly uncomfortable, or inwardly scream at the unfairness of it all. List them and then answer these two questions with regard to each one:

  • How is this person or circumstance helping me to develop, expand and strengthen  my mind and consciousness?
  • What is the specific approach and perspective that I need to keep in mind when I am with this person or dealing with this circumstance that will help me transform them into an ‘inner mind trainer’ for me?

The answer to these two questions gives you your basic mindfulness practice for each of your specific challenges. If you focus your awareness, intention and attention mindfully upon these questions, you may be surprised at how quickly and creatively you can come up with approaches that you can start to work with right away.

Feeling thankful
These days most of us have heard of the idea of a gratitude log or journal; a notebook where we keep a list of all the things that we appreciate and feel grateful for in our life. If you can start integrating your ‘inner fitness training’ into your daily mindfulness practice, then you may find yourself able to add the worst people in your life and the most difficult challenges that you face to your own gratitude log!

Find out about Toby’s Stress Transformation Coaching

Related Article: A Butterfly in the Wind

© Toby Ouvry 2014, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

I-Awake Track of the Month –
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A Butterfly in the Wind

Dear Integral Meditators,

What does inner strength mean to you, and how do you go about trying to obtain it? In this weeks article I offer a personal reflection on this, and how sometimes we can create unnecessary limits on our inner strength by believing that it can only come in a certain way.

Yours in the spirit of delicate strength,



A Butterfly in the Wind

What does inner strength mean to you, and how do you go about trying to obtain it?

Today I facilitated a Greeenworld workshop. One of the meditations involves travelling within the space of one’s creative imagination to an inner landscape where one meets an animal guide who provides some form of learning, support and friendship that can be integrated into one’s life in an appropriate way.
As my life is in a state of relative instability at the moment I was kind of hoping for a monolithic and strong animal, maybe like a bear or something. Instead when I went to my inner landscape I found myself in a meadow with a delicate butterfly. There was quite a strong wind in the meadow, and the butterfly basically spent its time with me showing me how it was able to bend and flow with the wind in order to keep its foothold on the branch or on my shoulder, despite the fact that its body were so fragile and its wings caught so easily in the breeze. It was a demonstration of resilience and adaptability evolving out of skill and flexibility rather than brute strength or sheer power.
Sometimes we long for strength, but sometimes the very way in which we conceive that strength gets in the way of our finding it. How might it be if we tried to express the strength of butterflies sometimes in our life rather than the strength of a bear or a buffalo?

© Toby Ouvry 2014, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website 

Special Offer on I-Awakes Profound Meditation Program 3.025% off for 2 Weeks Only

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