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Becoming mindfully unfocused

Dear Integral Meditators,

It’s tough to keep focused these days, when there are seemingly so many things demanding our attention. In the article below I explain a method that I use for regenerating my mental energy and willpower when they are feeling a little run-down…

In the spirit of soft focus,


Becoming mindfully unfocused

Becoming mindfully unfocused is a technique I use specifically to relax and regenerate the energy of my mind when it has been working hard and needs a break, or when I feel my willpower is low and needs to gather its strength. The short-term effect is the experience of feeling mentally and physically refreshed, but I also feel that in the long-game of aging over the years this type of method can help prolong the shelf-life and functioning of my mind, brain, willpower and nervous system.
To practice mindful non-focusing, sit or lie down in a comfortable position and take a few breaths to relax your body-mind and bring it into the present moment.
Then imagine that your brain has a kind of ‘sleep mode button’, that when you switch it, it goes into a kind of semi-sleep, semi-awake mode; you are still awake and aware, but most of the ‘thinking’ function of the brain has been shut down. It’s like you are asleep and awake at the same time. In this ‘sleep mode’ allow your body, mind and heart to relax as deeply as they can. Now allow your mind to become unfocused, in the same way that for example a movie camera dilates to a ‘soft focus’ where everything is slightly blurred, soft and indistinct.
At this point with your thinking brain in ‘sleep mode’ and your mind in ‘soft-focus mode’, simply work on relaxing into and sustaining that state of mindful non-focus. Allow it to help you rest your mind and regenerate your energy. The key is to apply just enough ‘effort ‘ to sustain this state of being mindfully unfocused. It is a little bit like having a nap, whilst at the same time increasing the capacity of your conscious mind to remain awake and attentive in a state of deep relaxation and ease.
A final point here is that this state of restful unfocused-ness is one that we are dipping in and out of unconsciousness at various times during the day, so this technique like many other mindful methods is a way of connecting to an already existing state of mind, using mindfulness to put it to positive use to our own ends.

© Toby Ouvry 2016, 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

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings from November – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

19th November – One Heart Celebration Day (Joint event)

Saturday 26th November 10am-5pm – Engaged Mindfulness day workshop/retreat

3rd December, 2-5pm – Mindful Resilience three hour workshop

Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Mindfully Deepening Your Inner Resources

Dear Integral Meditators,
When you think about deepening your inner strength and resources perhaps you think about developing a new set of skills or reading about a new practice. Using mindfulness you can deepen your inner strength and resilience simply by being more fully conscious of what you already know. This weeks article looks at how you can go about doing this.

The program of talks and workshops for August is out, just click on the links below for full details!

Finally, Integral Meditation Asia is having a special August four day sale (3rd to end 7th August) with a 40% price reduction on all its current online meditation and mindfulness courses. just click on the link to have a look at the list available.

Yours in the spirit of inner strength,


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:


Sunday 10th of August 4-5pm – Free Mindful Parenting preview talk at Basic Essence, to register your place please reply to this email.

Sunday August 17th, 9.30am-12.30pm –Mindful Parenting – Practical Techniques for Bringing Awareness, Appreciation and Enjoyment to the Experience of Parenting – A three hour workshop
Sunday August 31st, 9.30am-12.30pm – The Call of the Wild – Meditations for Deepening your Inner Connection to the Animal Kingdom and the Greenworld

Through to end August: Special offer on 1:1 Coaching at Integral Meditation Asia


Mindfully Deepening Your Inner Resources

Finding a deeper level of inner resources and resilience to your challenges need not be about learning more. As often as not it is about being mindful enough to apply what you already know in a practical way. Sometimes when we are experiencing difficulties or performing sub-par in a situation it is because we are not applying what we already know in an effective way.

A simple example
Let’s say I feel uncomfortable about communicating to my business partner about something that I think he did wrong and that is hurting our business. If I am present to my own past experience, and to what I have read about effective communication I will already know that the best way to tackle the situation is to honestly and politely bring up the subject directly and talk about it explicitly.
However, because I am a distracted by other things and because the emotions within me are uncomfortable I instinctively avoid bringing up the conversation directly. The result of this is that I feel an increasing sense of frustration and resentment toward my partner, and the problem persists on an outer level.
If I bring my full awareness to what I already know, then the plan of action is actually clear; I need to have a direct talk with him. However, consciously or unconsciously I am avoiding the issue, which in turn is making me reduce the level of conscious awareness that I am bringing to the situation. As a result I act against my best knowledge and find myself frustrated and confused.

Reasons why we don’t bring enough awareness to our challenges

Here the issue is not that we do not know what to do, rather it is that we don’t bring enough conscious intelligence to the situation to know what we know and do what we need to do. There are a lot of reasons why we resist bringing our full conscious awareness to situations where we really need it, but here are three:
We are lazy – Simply, we can’t be bothered, so rather than address the issue properly we hope that by ignoring it or pretending it is not there then it will somehow go away. Inevitably this means we expend more effort dealing with the issue because we are dealing with it in the wrong way, so laziness is very often a prescription for more work in the long term.
We are afraid of consequences – To take the example above, let’s say I am afraid of invoking my business partner’s disapproval or anger. Because of this I avoid the confrontation by telling myself it is not necessary, or I pretend it is not really a problem. Because I am afraid of a consequence I deny what I already know and doing really needs to be done.
Being focused on the wrong thing – Another reason we deny our self access to what we know is that we are focused on the wrong thing. Again to use the example of me and my business partner, if I am focused on “who is right and who is wrong in the situation” rather than “what needs to be done to fix our business glitch”, then the issue is not that I am not bringing awareness to what is going on, it is just that I am focusing that awareness on the wrong aspect of what is going on.

An exercise for mindfully deepening your inner resources

Three questions to stay with during the day:

  • What challenges in my inner or outer life need to be solved immanently or urgently?
  • If I bring my full awareness to the issue, what do I already know about how to resolve the situation?
  • Knowing what I already know deep down, what do I really need to do?

© 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 

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Isn’t it About Time You Got Your Inner Self in Shape? (Integral Inner Fitness Training)

Dear Everyone,

Isn’t it about time you got your inner self in shape? Its time to stop procrastinating and get your mind looking looking sleek, svelte and sexy!

Yes, the Integral Meditation Asia meditation term starts this Sunday with the three hour Mind of Ease workshop (full details below), and then continues with the Mind of Ease Five Week Course beginning on Wednesday 5th September. Seriously, if you have been wanting to get your mind in shape for a while, and are looking for the opportunity, these courses are a great opportunity to get yourself up and running.

This weeks article looks at the interface between inner fitness and outer fitness, and the different ways in which meditation promotes your own integral inner fitness.


Upcoming Classes and Workshops at Integral Meditation Asia

Meditation for Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention – An Introduction to Contemporary Meditation Practice

Date: Sunday 2nd September
Time: 9.30am-12.30pm
Location: SCWO Training Room 4, 96 Waterloo Street, Singapore. For map click HERE

This three hour workshop offers a practical introduction to meditation that aims to integrate the fundamentals of traditional meditation practice with contemporary insights from psychology and neuropsychology.

What you will learn
Simple meditation techniques which can be condensed into a ten minute daily practice that:

  • Reduces and transforms anxiety and stress, releases unwanted tension from your body-mind.
  • Helps you to build an intention toward yourself and others genuinely  based around warmth, friendship and love
  • Trains your mind to take in, focus upon and appreciate the positive in your life
  • Develop your concentration skills (the ability to focus one-pointedly upon a single object/task)
  • The ability to find and relax deeply into the natural  inner space and silence of your mind
  • An increased capacity to witness the contents of your consciousness as an observer, rather than being completely identified and wrapped up in it.

Again, all of these skills can be consolidated into a daily meditation practice that can be done in ten minutes!

The Structure of the Workshop:

1st Hour – An explanation of what meditation is, followed by an introduction to and practice of  the basic seven stage meditation on how to develop a mind of ease, relaxed concentration and positive intention.
2nd Hour – Questions and answers, followed by meditation on awareness of our stream of consciousness, and learning to orient our mind around thoughts and perspectives that give rise to happiness, wellbeing and appreciation.
3rd Hour – Talk on how to develop inner focus and concentration, and how to relax into the natural inner space and silence of the mind. Practice of meditation for developing concentration and awareness of the inner space and silence of the mind.

You will also receive:

  • Extensive workshop notes giving a detailed of the meditation practices that are taught.
  • Three ten minute MP3 meditation recordings that you can take away and listen to as a support for your personal practice

Cost of Workshop: Sing $85 per person



To register or for further enquiries: Email, or call 65-68714117

Isn’t it About Time You Got Your Inner Self in Shape? (Integral Inner Fitness Training)

As someone trying to live and integral life, I try and practice (in however rudimentary a way) an integral form of physical fitness. I have six basic categories with I try to arrange my physical fitness activities. The idea is that each of these activities keeps a different aspect of my physical body and brain ability used and in good shape. Here they are:

  • Strength training – The development of muscle strength through weights etc…
  • Stamina or cardiovascular training – Eg: Jogging·
  • Flexibility – Stretching, Yoga, Qi gong and so on…
  • Hand-eye co-ordination – Through Racquet sports, or other ball sports for example
  • Spatio-temporal awareness – The ability to think and visualize in three dimensions, for example in order to apply         strategy in ball games
  • Diet and Rest

Each of these activities has its own important and crucial role to play in the overall development of integral physical body fitness.
I have to say that integral physical fitness training is a great way to get your mind in shape as well, but what I want to do now it to talk about how meditation is a type of integral inner fitness training.
What I have done below is to take each of the categories of outer fitness above and show how practicing meditation has a corresponding inner fitness benefit!

The six ways in which you get your inner self in shape through meditation:

  1. Strength Training – Meditation helps us to develop a strong mind by developing our ability to focus our mind on a single object for an extended period of time, thus increasing our mental strength. Done correctlyconcentration training in meditation helps us to find more inner and outer energy.
  2. Stamina training – Meditation increases our awareness, appreciation and gratitude for the good, the beautiful and the true in our life, giving us access to deeper levels of happiness and wellbeing. Thus in turn makes us more resilient to temporary setbacks and able to “keep on keeping on” with the goals that are important to us where other people would give up
  3. Flexibility – Integral meditation makes our mind soft and pliable, able to adopt the optimally “positive” perspective on any given situation, rather than getting stuck in viewpoints that are negative or toxic and that are not serving our happiness in any meaningful way.
  4. Mental hand-eye co-ordination – Meditation gives us greater awareness of the way in which our mind, feelings and bodily energies are co-ordinating themselves together. This awareness alerts us when our thoughts and feelings are out of alignment, and encourages us to get them back on the same page
  5. Spatio-Temporal Awareness – Meditation makes us deeply appreciative of and able to rest in the inner space and silence of our mind enabling us to retain clarity of mind even it is busy or when we are under a degree of stress. Meditation also gradually increases our ability to see and visualize objects in our minds eye clearly and vividly and to use this skill consciously to our advantage.
  6. Diet and Rest – One of the central practices that I teach in my meditation coaching is how we can create a safe space, enabling us to rest and regenerate our energies, and also to improve the quality of our sleep. As mentioned in the “strength and stamina” categories above, meditation encourages us to feed ourself a steady diet of positive and energy enhancing thoughts and feelings, rather than negative and toxic emotions and thought patterns.

Finally, for those who may be interested, there are three interesting books by integral practitioners that look at the relationship between physical fitness training and inner meditation training, all very interesting reads in their own way:


© Toby Ouvry 2012, 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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The Inevitability of Peace, Happiness and Fulfillment

Hi Everyone,

This week’s article looks at the a perspective on happiness and wellbeing that I have been finding particularly useful over the last couple of weeks, so much so that I felt I would like to pass it on to people, I hope you enjoy it!

Yours in the spirit of inevitable peace,



Article of the Week:

The Inevitability of Peace, Happiness and Fulfillment

The world can seem a difficult place to find fulfillment and give happiness

Even with the best intentions sometimes finding and giving happiness can see like a difficult and intractable process. It seems like one personal problem that we solve only gives rise to another, people we are trying to help sometimes turn around and stab us in the back or refuse to take any constructive advice. The world at large seems unfair, with some like us enjoying wealth and affluence easily whilst vast tracts of the population remain stuck in absolute poverty.
Looking at life from these perspectives it can be tempting to give up on the prospect of ourselves or the world at large ever finding a lasting solution to our own challenges, let alone to the collective problems that we face.

From a spiritual perspective fulfillment and peace is inevitable

Why does spirit bother creating anything in the Universe, worlds, planets, living beings and the like? The traditional answer found in the great wisdom traditions of the world is essentially that spirit engages in the process of creation for fun, for amusement. In the Hindu tradition this idea is called “lila”, meaning sport, pastime, or play. Spirit creates the diversity of the universe from its own inherent unity as a celebration of itself and to alleviate apparently a certain cosmic sense of boredom. What will the end result of this play and sport be? Inevitably it will be a return to the natural and inherent peace, happiness and fulfillment of unified spirit.
If we see our own life and world from this perspective, as the sport, pastime or play of spirit, underpinned by the inherent unity and  loving nature of spirit, then this enables us to find a point of equilibrium in the chaos of our daily life and complex world, with all of its uncertainty and intractability.

That fulfillment is not somewhere in the distant future, it is here and now

One of the main aims of meditation in the above context is to bring home a subjective and experiential realization of this inevitable happiness, fulfillment and peace. By realizing this inevitably, we start to experience it in our lives right now, as an underpinning current of energy that gradually pervades everything we do. You could say that having access to this current of energy in everything that we do is one of the markers of success in our daily meditation practice.

Meditating on the inevitability of happiness

If you are interested in trying to integrate this perspective more into your daily life and meditation practice, here is a simple method you can use. Sitting quietly and contemplatively, focus on the words:
At the end of the life-paths and trials of every living being lies inevitable peace, happiness and fulfillment”.
Then spend a bit of time just breathing and relaxing into the recognition that however difficult things seem for ourself, our loved ones and the world at large, the only final endgame is the return to the peace, happiness and fulfillment of spirit.
During your contemplation and afterward, whilst going about your daily life, try and feel this final peace, happiness and fulfillment as a presence in your life right now. As Thich Nhat Hanh is so fond of saying “The Pure Land is Now or Never!”

© Toby Ouvry 2012, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website