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Self-belief (the most powerful creative force in your life)

“Once you get used to it, being creatively powerful in your life feels less and less stressful, and more and more of a pleasure. Rather than ‘life happening to me’ I have the feeling that ‘I am happening to life!’”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This weeks article explores mindfulness to help you become more powerful, engaged & directed in your life. It’s partly my own response to completing a recent course on mindful self-leadership with some of my students, but thematically it’s fairly central to my overall approach to ‘engaged mindfulness’. 

Classes and workshops for August are out, including the wisdom of awakening series, meditating with animal guides & familiars, and a mindfulness course for teenagers

In the spirit of creativity, 


Self-belief (the most powerful creative force in your life)
I am the most powerful force in my life, you are the most powerful in yours
I’ve recently completed a series on ‘Mindful self-leadership’ with my public program students. It’s a program that I also run with companies and organizations at least six times a year. Each time I deliver it, slightly different themes energy as important for me. This time around the insight that kept coming back again and again as the course went on was ‘I am the most important creative force in my life’. The simple recognition of this is a tremendously powerful object of mindful attention.
The most powerful force in the world?
Of course you aren’t, there are many more powerful forces in the world than you or I.  But, in terms of your life, it is you that sits in the middle of it, your energy & focus, your choices to do or not to do, your thoughts & emotions. What you choose to focus on and do in your life is the most powerful directional force in it!
The feeling of helplessness
Sometimes there can be an overriding feeling of helplessness in the face of events in our life. We can feel like a puppet, the strings of which are being pulled by other people and external forces. Sometimes we can convince ourselves that ‘we have no choice’ and allow ourselves to become a victim of circumstances. There is even comfort in being a victim, we can tell ourselves that we had no choice and blame it on others.
Sometimes things don’t work out
It is true that sometimes things don’t work out as we had hoped, despite our best efforts. But even then, we are the ones who decide how we approach the fact that things didn’t work out how we had hoped. We are the ones who decide how to mentally frame what has happened, and how we are going to work with it. We are the ‘eye of the storm’, we are still the primary causal factor in our experience.
It’s sometimes hard work owning your creative power
If you own your power, then sure, you have to stay alert, think things through, confront difficult choices and people. But all of this is no harder work than not owning your power, and being buffeted mercilessly by the forces of chance and fate. Once you get used to it, being creatively powerful in your life feels less and less stressful, and more and more of a pleasure. Rather than ‘life happening to me’ I have the feeling that ‘I am happening to life!’. We can be calm, collected, and powerful. If we do so we burn less energy, we feel more in control. From this then a stable experience of self-belief starts to emerge, a faith in our ability to work thru and work out our problems, and enjoy doing it!
Sit down quietly. As you breathe, breathe your energy and awareness into the centre of your chest and torso area. Feel your creative power gathering in your body as you inhale, relax into it as you exhale. As you breathe, dwell upon the recognition: “I am the most powerful creative force in my life”. Stay with that recognition and feeling for the time you have set aside for meditation, really letting it sink in.
As you go about your daily life, remember the recognition, and act as if you believed it. Play with your power creatively, taking ownership of it. Notice how your experience starts to change.
Recent articles related to self-leadership & creative power:
A flower opening to the Sun – Choosing (& making distinctions around) joy
Trusting your inner signals
Empowering (& then dropping) the self
Making yourself big
Pro-activity in the face of life & breathing pro-actively
Becoming a Self-determining entity – Five stages to mindful self-leadership

© 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

Integral Meditation Asia

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On boredom, creativity & ‘mindful fishing’

Dear Integral Meditators,

How can being mindful of our boredom make us more creative and enhance the quality of our life? The article below considers the answer to this question in a practical way.

In the spirit of ‘mindful fishing’,

PS: New schedule of live classes and workshops is out, check out the list below the article!

On boredom, creativity & ‘mindful fishing’

One of the problems of having distractions always available to us at hand which we all do now with handphones, is that we are not forced to encounter and learn to value the state of boredom. Why is boredom valuable? For the purposes of this article I want to suggest that boredom is a valuable state of mind as it often happens when we are transitioning from a functional, non-creative, information-consuming mental state to a creative, imaginative mind-state.
What do I mean by this? Let’s say I am coming home from work on an evening. My work tasks have been completed, and I find myself on the train or bus. My functional mind that I have been using at work now starts to get bored because there is nothing to do; it wants some information to consume, a distraction, it does not want to have to sit still and simply ‘be’ because it finds it uncomfortable.
At this point, what normally happens is we reach for our phone and distract ourselves by reading the online news, texting, playing a video game and so on. This re-engages our functional, doing mind, distracts us from our anxiety, and alleviates our boredom temporarily. It doesn’t necessarily make us happy per-se, it just alleviates the discomfort of the boredom.
But let’s say we are feeling bored on the train and we resist the temptation to distract ourselves, and just sit with the state of boredom, sinking into it patiently. What we find will then starts to happen is our mind will begin to shift from a consuming, non-creative state to a slightly deeper, creative, contemplative state. Put another way, instead of looking to be entertained or distracted, our mind will start coming up with its own creative content and entertainment, it starts to produce rather than consume.
Once this shift happens we naturally transition out of our ‘bored’ mind state, and begin to enjoy the relaxed, contemplative, imaginative state that our mind has now moved into, because of having patiently tolerated and moved through our boredom.
Basically, what I am advocating here is that when we find ourselves getting bored, instead of looking impulsively for distractions, we can mindfully relax into that state of boredom. This in turn will enable us to transition from a non-creative, functional mind state to a creative, contemplative, ‘self-entertaining’ state. In this creative state, we discover the part of us that is ‘the artist and philosopher’ in our life; that part of us that is self-directed and self-entertaining. This part of ourself enjoys thinking for him/herself, enjoys finding her own opinions, enjoys seeing things from new angles and thinking thoughts that have not occurred to us before.

Transitioning boredom though ‘mindful fishing’.
The next time you are in a place where there is nothing to ‘do’ (Eg: a commute home) and you sense your mind getting restless, bored and looking for a distraction, recognize the opportunity at hand to transition to a more creative mode. Relax into your boredom, perhaps imagine yourself fishing by a lake, just looking at the line and the water in front of you; relax into that state of ‘waiting for a bite from the fish’. In this case the ‘bite from the fish’ that you are looking for is the emergence of creative thoughts and ideas as you transition into your creative contemplative state. This happens not by trying hard, but relaxing into the boredom and allowing your mind to ‘change gears’ naturally, by itself, without being in a hurry.
So, the next time you start feeling bored instead of finding something to distract yourself, try a bit of mindful fishing!

© Toby Ouvry 2017, 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, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Saturday April 1st, 1.30-5pm – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – A Three Hour Workshop

Saturday April 8th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Integral meditation & mindfulness deep dive half day retreat

Saturday 29th April, 10am-5pm & Monday 8th May, 10am-5pm – How to do Soul Portraits Workshop

Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Letting Ideas Grow Mindfully Though You

Dear Integral Meditators,

Why meditate? One reason worth thinking about is that it is a way of keeping yourself creatively energized by learning to tap into deeper levels of our collective consciousness. The article below explores this theme…

Two workshops in Singapore this Saturday, details are immediately below!

In the spirit of


Letting Ideas Grow Mindfully Though You

“If we surrendered to earths intelligence, we would rise up rooted, like trees” – R.M Rilke

A few people have remarked to me recently how substantial my article and blog output seems to be week-in week-out. They wondered how I keep it up, don’t I run out of ideas? The answer to that question is that no, I almost never find myself short of ideas. I normally have to choose what to write on from 4-5 creative ideas that are present in my mind at any given time. In this article I want to put down a few reasons as to why my creative energy doesn’t run out, and how this relates to meditation & mindfulness practice. With this in mind here are a few points and pointers.

The mediators view of the body-mind is the opposite to most conventional ideas. Rather than our mind being in our body, and specifically in our brain, experienced meditators start to realize that in many ways his/her body is in her mind. The mind is not limited to the body, and has access to a vast amount of creative energy and information that is outside of the individual body and brain. More than this, each of our individual minds are networked into what you might think of as a Universal mind or intelligence, in somewhat the same way computers are all linked to the internet.
This Universal or ‘Big’ mind (I’m using a convenient, simplistic term for something obviously deep and complex here) seeks people to grow and express its ideas through; people whose individual minds are open, receptive, balanced and resilient, and who are motivated to make a contribution to the betterment of the world.
In this sense you might think of yourself as an individual as being like the soil and sunlight in which an idea from the Universal Mind can grow like a plant. If you look at it this way you can see that the idea is not ‘yours’, it has a life of its own, you are just the caretaker and gardener for the idea to grow and enter the outer world.

Meditation – Becoming a terminal for the Universal mind
Looking at it this way you might think of meditation as like connecting a computer to the internet; when you sit still and go within you connect your own mind (the computer) with the Universal Mind (the internet) and consciously allow the Universal Mind to start ‘downloading’ creative ideas into your mind. Some of those ideas will be ideas that you have a unique ability to grow in the garden of your own mind (cue analogy shift back to gardens/plants!), for example I get a lot of ideas relating to meditation and mindfulness because I am already an expert in that domain; my ‘small mind’ is ideal soil and light for new ideas about meditation practice to grow through.

What ideas want to grow through you?
Imagine yourself sitting in a beautiful garden; it is the garden of your own mind. Set your intention; what type of creative ideas do you want to open up to? Business? Art? Relationships? With this intention relax and still your mind deeply as you sit in the inner garden of your mind. Stilling your mind with intention is like connecting it to the ‘internet’ of the Universal Mind. Patiently and without hurrying observe what sort of ideas, images, memories and intuitions start to ‘pop out’ of the stillness; what creative inspirations start to weave their way into the quietness of your garden. This stage is a bit like fishing (I know, yet another analogy!), it kind of like you just sit still and wait for a bite. You can’t push for it or try and control it.

Be playful, patient, be confident! – Once some ideas start to grow through you, how will you continue to grow them? How much time are you prepared to commit? What type of sacrifices are you prepared to make? As the ‘gardener’ it’s up to you how much you nurture your plants, but the more you do the more you’ll find that you are never ever short of creative inspiration in your life and work!

© 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:

Saturday 18th July, 9.30am-12.30pm – Growing Your Mindful Freedom – The Essential Meditation of the Buddha: A Three Hour Meditation Workshop

Saturday 18th July, 2.30-5.30 pm – Mindful Resilience – Sustaining effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure through meditation and mindfulness – A Three Hour Workshop

Wenesday July 22nd 7.30-9pm – Integral Meditation Session @ Basic Essence – Meditating with your inner strength of heart & mind

Wednesday July 29th 7.30-9pm – Integral Meditation Session @ Basic Essence – Meditation for connecting to a positive attitude

Saturday 1st August, 9.30am-12.30pm – Finding Simplicity in the Complexity: An Introduction to Meditation From the Perspective of Zen

Saturday 1st August, 2.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self – A Three Hour Workshop

Friday 14th August, 7.30-9pm –  Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre

Integral Meditation Asia

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


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Wolf Therapy – The Subtle Dimensions of Meditation and the Mind

Dear Integral Meditators,

What if there were an endlessly creative and imaginative aspect of your mind that you could learn to tap into at will? The article below explores how you can discover this domain by developing the the subtle dimension of your meditation practice.

The meditation workshop this Saturday afternoon is an exploration of this subtle, imaginal domain of meditation:  The Call of the Wild–Meditations for Deepening Your Inner Connection to the Animal Kingdom and the Green-world

Last calls also for tomorrows  Wednesday Evening Meditation Session on Benevolence, and the Mindful Self-Confidence workshop this Saturday morning.

In the spirit of the imaginal world,


Wolf Therapy – The Subtle Dimensions of Meditation and the Mind

Normally we think about our mind as being in our body. For many people this is further reduced to our mind being our brain. Whilst it is true that our brain acts as the interface between our mind and our physical body, a meditators perspective is that it is really the body that is in the mind. The mind is not limited by the physical body and can extend itself naturally and easily beyond the physical body.

Three levels of meditation
In meditation we practice three levels of awareness:

  • Outer world awareness – Awareness of the physical-sensory experience we have of our outer world, and the everyday discursive thoughts and human emotions that come with it
  • Inner world awareness – Awareness of the inner worlds of our imagination, and dreams together with the subtle bodies, energies, thoughts and feelings we may experience there
  • Formless awareness – Awareness of the dimension of consciousness that lies beyond form, or time or space; the formless timeless dimension of the mind

The subtle, inner world or imaginal dimension
The second dimension of meditative awareness attunes us to the level of our experience where we dream and imagine. The subtle or dream world it turns out is a series of inner worlds, somewhat like our outer world, where we can explore landscapes, meet other people and creatures, make discoveries, learn and do research and generally enjoy our inner life in a healthy way. To live there and enjoy its riches is something that a child is quite naturally able to do, but adults end to get it whipped out of them by the time they leave school, or have it warped out of shape, which is a shame. Creative forms of meditation enable us to get back in touch with our inner world and begin travelling again.

An example: Wolf Therapy
As a seasoned integral meditator, every day I have numerous experiences in the inner world. Actually, you do to, but you may not be aware of them, or be unable to distinguish them from the ‘everyday noise’ in your head. Some are when I am fully conscious in daily life, others are in dreams, and others are in meditation. Here is one example from my journal:
‘I am lying down in meditation. I detect an imbalanced energy in my sacral area that starts to throb with pain as I become aware of it. I request help, specifically from my inner world animal guides. I almost immediately sense a she-wolf lying on top of me with a male wolf to my right side by my head.
The she wolf has her genital area above my belly button, I feel her healing energy flowing into my sacral area as a gentle warmth. The male wolf next to me is ‘talking’ to me about how to deal with my current challenges, how to be ‘happy foraging and seeking’ as he puts it. It seems he is working with me on my mindset! I arise from the experience feeling energetically balanced in my sacral area, and with a new mental approach to my circumstances.’

Becoming a conscious daydreamer
There are many ways to get back in touch with the inner world again and start to enjoy it, but one simple way to start is just by becoming more aware of the ideas, images, landscapes and characters that drift in and out of your awareness during the day and pay attention to them; being alert to the significance that they may have. Become a conscious or mindful daydreamer.

Related articles: Three Dimensions of Mindful Daydreaming
From Distraction to Intuitive Imagination (Meditation secrets for running a business)

© 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:

JUNE 2015

Wednesday, June 24th 7.30-9pm  – Integral Meditation Session @ Basic Essence – Meditating on benevolence & inner wealth

Saturday 27th June 9.30am-12.30pm – Mindful Self Confidence – Developing your self-confidence, self-belief & self-trust through mindfulness & meditation

Saturday 27th June, 2.30-5.30pm – The Call of the Wild–Meditations for Deepening Your Inner Connection to the Animal Kingdom and the Green-world

July schedule coming soon!

Integral Meditation Asia

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