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Meditating cold turkey (quality over quantity)

“Short ‘power meditations’ train our mind to focus quickly on the tasks immediately at hand in our life. This in turn helps us to achieve the goals that we have set ourself, save time and get more out of the opportunities that we have each day”

Dear <<First Name>>,

My article below  explores how you can sometimes make your mediation time shorter, but to good effect, particularly around stilling your mind. If you enjoy it, then here’s the final call for the
mini-retreat this Saturday: Mindfulness meditation for mastering & stilling the mind  on Saturday. If you are really master your ability to still your mind, then this is the session to go for!

In the spirit of cold-turkey,



Meditating ‘Cold Turkey’

With regards to meditation it is best to get in to good habits as soon as possible. One of the main good habits that we are trying to develop right from the outset of our practice is discipline and focus. This means that once we have sat down on our meditation seat we are entirely focused on the job at hand and do not allow our mind to be knocked off course by distractions, no matter how much they may be nagging us. To this end it can sometimes be better to focus on the quality of our meditation practice rather than the quantity. Five minutes of really focused and applied meditation is worth more than twenty minutes where our application is half hearted, and our mind spends 70% of the time distracted.

To this end here is a five minute meditation where we practice stopping our thoughts ‘Cold Turkey’:
Sit comfortably with a naturally straight back, have a watch or other timing device handy.
Take a few deep breaths, center yourself, then imagine that the past and future dissolve away, only the present remains.
Be aware of the inner voice in your mind that is talking pretty much all of the time in our waking life, take about 1 minute to watch it and listen to it, ensuring that you do not get identified with it.
Using your watch or countdown timer, now begin a period of five minutes where you are 100% focused, and your only task is to let go of your thoughts and stop thinking. Imagine that the thoughts and images in your mind are like a TV, as soon as a thought or an image appears, inwardly press the ‘off’ button on your inner remote control, and let go of the thought, return your mind to zero, no thought.
For the five minutes that you have given yourself, apply yourself to this task with total commitment. No ifs and no buts, your only job is to keep alert, be fully present and stop thinking. You are not asking yourself to be perfect, but you are committing yourself to really applying yourself for this short time to do the very best you can. Initially you may get knocked off track a few times, but if you do it regularly with real application, you will find that your ability will improve substantially in a short period.
Once the five minutes is up, spend a final minute relaxing and observe the space that you have created in your mind through your efforts. When you bring the meditation to a close, be sure to congratulate yourself, for that short time you can say with your hand on your heart that you gave it your all!

As well as creating good meditation habits, this form of ‘power meditation’ also trains our mind to focus quickly on the tasks immediately at hand in our life. This in turn helps us to achieve the goals that we have set ourself, save time and get more out of the opportunities that we have each day.

Related articleMental mastery – re-discovering joy in your thinking

Article © Toby Ouvry 2021, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

In case you missed the last article: Resilience thru acceptance – matching your expectation with your reality

If we take a working definition of resilience as the ability to bounce back quickly from setbacks and obstacles (or apparent setbacks and obstacles), then what are the most important things to be aware of to get good at it? In this article I’m going to be exploring the role of empowered acceptance in competent resilience….
Read full article

Saturday 17th April, 2.15-5.15pm –Mindfulness meditation for mastering & stilling the mind Mini-retreat
In a sentence: Develop the mindful skills that will enable your mental health and wellbeing to thrive, and how to still and focus our mind. Make your mind a source of quiet confidence & cease feeling overwhelmed by mental over-activity and busyness.

Overview: Would you like to:

  • Develop ways of working with your mind that will enable it and you to thrive?
  • Learn how you can connect to an inner stillness that is able to withstand the stresses and strains of your daily life, helping you stop feeling mentally & emotionally overwhelmed?
  • Feel as if you are in control of your mind, rather than it controlling you?

Read full write up…

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 for 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 February 23rd/24th – Meditations for thriving and energy creation amidst Covid – A seven week course

Saturday 17th April, 2.15-5.15pm – Mindfulness meditation for mastering & stilling the mind – Masterclass & Mini-retreat

Tuesday 27th & Wednesday 28th April – Live & Online Monthly Full Moon Meditation & Manifestation Session

Saturdays 8th & 22nd May, 3-5pm – Mindful Parenting – Practical Techniques for Bringing Awareness, Appreciation and Enjoyment to the Experience of Parenting

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Mindful concentration in an age of distraction

Dear Integral Meditators,

How can we build our mindful concentration when oftentimes we find ourselves in environments that encourage us to do the opposite? The article below offers a structure for us to get started!

In the spirit of mindful concentration,


Mindful concentration in an age of distraction

In an age where we are surrounded more distractions than ever before, the skill of being able to focus our mind in a single pointed manner has never been more important. Concentration (here meaning simply the ability to keep your mind and attention focused upon one object for an extended period of time) offers many benefits, amongst others:

  • Increased mental peace
  • The ability to get things done more effectively and with greater quality execution
  • Greater benevolent control of our mind, body and feelings

Concentration is also central to the practice of mindful meditation. If you can’t keep your mind focused, then it’s really impossible to achieve lasting results from your mindfulness practice, so building good concentration technique is a really essential for good mindfulness.
What I want to explain in this article is a daily mindful concentration practice that you can do as a complete beginner in order to build mindful concentration.
It is also a practice that you can do if you are a more advanced practitioner, but want to have a very short exercise daily exclusively related to concentration. One thing I notice is that it is very easy for our basic concentration technique to degrade over time unless we renew it daily.

Day of the month mindful concentration
The object of this exercise is very simple; keep your mind focused on the breathing. Each day of the month has a number, from 1-30/31. Every day your job is to sit down at least once and focus your mind on the breathing for the number of breaths that relate to that date. So for example today is May 21st, so my job today is simply to sit down at some point and focus on my breathing for 21 breaths without getting distracted. If whilst I am doing the exercise I get distracted, the I have to start again. The rules are I have to do 21 without distraction on the 21st of the month.
This will go on, increasing by one breath at a time until the 31st of May, when I do 31 breaths. So then on 1st June I go back to just one mindful breath(!), building up to 30 breaths on 30th June. On the days of the month that are small numbers, then of course you can take more than one mindful breath, but the point is if, every day of the year you spend between 10seconds and 5 minutes practice, your capacity for mindful concentration is going to increase with only a very small amount of effort on your part.

Drops of water in a jug
This practice relies upon consistency. If you keep dripping water in a jug, then eventually it will fill. If for every day of the year you concentrate on a small number of mindful breaths each day, you will find the effects are far reaching!

© 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

Saturday May 28th, 2.30-5.30pm – Finding Liberation Through the Witness Self – Connecting to Peace, Abundance and Creative Freedom Though Mindfulness Practice

Saturday 11th June, 10am-5pm – An Introduction to Meditation from the Perspective of Shamanism

Starts Thursday June 9th – Thursday Evening Integral Meditation Classes @ Bencoolen Street

Integral Meditation Asia

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


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How Much Energy Should You Focus on Being Focused?

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would the effect upon your life be if you spent even a short period of time each day developing your ability to focus your mind single pointedly on just one thing? The article below asks this question and encourages us to take up the practice of mindful focusing!

Yours in the comfort and confidence of single-pointedness,


How Much Energy Should You Focus on Being Focused?

One of the central skills of meditation and mindfulness is the development of concentration which, simply defined is the ability to focus your mind on one object or task for an extended period. To develop it takes consistent effort. Some of the pay offs from this effort are as follows:

  • The more rapid attainment of inner peace and calm though meditation
  • A strong and enduring mind that is able to bear stress well
  • A heightened investigative intelligence; you can look at things more deeply when you can focus properly
  • Getting more done in your workday; if you can focus on one thing at a time, focusing on each one thing in turn you will get more done, and what you get done will be of better quality
  • Your relationships will improve due to your capacity to focus on other people and really listen to what they are saying or trying to communicate (*see note at bottom)

If we think about the benefits above, then we will start to develop a strong motivation to develop our focus and concentration skills. So how do you begin? Here are a few ideas:

  • In your daily sitting meditation practice, devote at least three minutes of that time to really honing your ability to focus on one thing single pointedly. Three minutes following the breathing or focusing on your body awareness are the most simple. If you are reading this and don’t have a daily meditation practice, 3 minutes on the breathing to develop your focus and concentration is where you can start!
  • For at least one task in your working day, take a 30minute period and focus on that one task single-pointedly, resisting all distractions (for example as I am doing with this article now). During this time keep on task, focus, focus focus, resist distraction, train yourself to concentrate!
  • When you are with someone and they are talking, train yourself to really listen to what they are saying. Use the people you meet as your objects of focus. If not all of the time, some of the time.
  • Distraction alert! I almost just clicked on my web browser as I paused between sentences. Developing focus is dependent upon being alert, mindful alertness is your tool for developing concentration!
  • When you are exercising, focus on awareness of the physical movement of your body, don’t let your mind wonder all over as you are doing your physical training.

So there are a few ideas to get started, you can invent a few more of your own as well if you like. The main thing is that a little bit of concentration and focus training practised daily will translate into multiple and cumulative benefits for us, so let’s get started today!

* (Please note the last two benefits are transferable skills; that is to say that it is possible to transfer the focus and concentration you develop in meditation into your work and relationship. Some meditators do not transfer this skill very well into their work or social skills, and so are not especially work effective and can be still totally relationally dysfunctional!)

Related articles: Five Inner Skills we develop Through Meditation
The Five Stages of Meditation Practice from Beginners to Advanced
Mindful Work effectiveness Secrets (From an Ex-Monk) 

Integral Meditation Asia