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The miracle of attention

“Imagine yourself on the side a mountain looking at the sky. For a time simply try and keep 90% of your attention on the sun, the clear sky and the bright clouds. You are not denying the dark clouds, you are just acknowledging the large expanse of “beautiful sky”, and giving yourself time to take it in and enjoy it”

Dear Integral Meditators,

The article below looks at how you can transform your life (miraculously) by transforming your attention. If you enjoy it, do come along to one of the The Wisdom of Awakening series: Meditations for ‘instant awakening’ and playful wisdom classes this week, either on Tuesday or Wednesday, where we shall be focused on this subject!

In the spirit miraculous attention,



The miracle of attention

The basic proposition of mindfulness is that the world that appears to you can be changed by the way in which you pay attention to it. The art of mindfulness is paying attention to your reality in this moment in the right way, so it gives you the result you want in terms of feeling effective and empowered, as well as ‘happy’ in the way you choose to define that term.
You can think of mindfulness as being ‘miraculous’ in the sense that you can change your experience through your attention in this way. You can literally re-work your reality, transform it and create something else through your focus, kind of like Jesus turning water into wine. It’s not as outwardly explicit as transforming water into wine, but its more miraculous than that in the sense that it offers a genuine, do-able method to grasp control of your perception and experience. The exercise below is one example of how you can start ‘working miracles’ in your life.

Looking out from a mountain side
Imagine you’re sitting on the side of a mountain, looking over a landscape. There is a broad horizon and a big sky in front of you, perhaps with the sun halfway towards setting. There are some clouds in the sky, and some clear patches where the blue and gold of the sky and sun dominate. About 10% of the sky is dark with rainclouds, but the rest is basically a varied and beautiful sky-scape that you can sit and enjoy watching from your mountain-side. As well as the blue and gold, there are lots of other colours, the white of the clouds, and the pinks, oranges and reds when the sun filters through them. On top of this there is also the beauty of the ground level, where there might be fields, lakes and trees.

The sky of your life
Let’s say what Winston Churchill said about worry is true: “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened”.
So, most of our worries don’t happen, but maybe 10-15% do. So then, let’s say we have sixteen waking hours a day. We can allot 10% of that time to either:

  • Thinking and strategizing about our worries intelligently or
  • Just outright worrying!

If 10% of our day is 90mins, then the rest of our day, fourteen and a half hours, we can focus on:

  • The good things in our life
  • Things that help us feel safe and confident
  • Attention to things that help us to relax, regenerate and calm down when we want
  • Attention to things that that help us to feel excited, empowered and energised
  • Things that cause us to grow and learn

If your inner and outer life are like the ‘sky’ in the image above, then during your average day, 90% of your attention should be on the good things, and 10% on your worries. The hypothesis is then that, if you do this, then you are going to have a very different experience of your life. You will have affected a ‘miracle’ in your life, simply by paying attention in a different way.

Trying it out
For 10-15mins, sit quietly, and if you like visualize yourself on the side a mountain looking at the sky as described above. For that time simply try and keep 90% of your attention on the good stuff. You are not denying the dark clouds, you are just acknowledging the large expanse of “beautiful sky”, and giving yourself time to take it in and enjoy it.
If you train in this way regularly, you train your attention to gradually shift from where it is now towards 90% of it being on the things that energise and feed your wellbeing. In this way, gradually, you effect a miracle in your life.

Related articleMeditation as a positive mindfulness game

Article & content © 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 this article last week: ‘Head in the Sun’ meditation

This is a simple meditation that combines cultivating a thought-free state with environmental awareness. Specifically, we use brain-relaxation in combination with awareness of the suns light to create the desired experience.

Finding the sun – This first stage is nice to do, and enhances the experience, but is not essential. Glance outside and locate the sun, physically in the sky. Get a sense of where it is in your current landscape. If the sun has gone down already, get a sense of where it is beneath the horizon.

Sitting in landscape – Then take a seat (this can also be done standing or lying and, when your used to it, walking) Send your awareness out to the horizon line in the landscape around you. Get a feel for the curve of the earth’s surface extending around you from your feet, the sun in the sky above, and the living planet beneath you. Breath and relax with this for a short while.
Read full article

Starts Tuesday 16/Wednesday 17th November – The Wisdom of Awakening series: Meditations for ‘instant awakening’ and playful wisdom

In a sentence: Learn the art of ‘instant awakening’ and playful wisdom through integrative meditation
Overview: The Wisdom of Awakening series is an ongoing series that looks at different ways to ‘wake up’ and live your life fully and playfully through meditation. The premise of the sessions is that inner wholeness and wisdom are not something that are far away, rather they are something that we can awaken to ‘instantly’ through certain types of mindful attention. In this four class series we take instant awakening, miraculous-ness, independence and sensitivity as our doorways to awakening….read full details

Saturday 20th & 27th November – Environmental meditation masterclass & mini-retreat – Working consciously with the forces of nature

In a sentence: Learn to work consciously with the forces of nature and your environment as well develop powerful meditation states.

There is much concern and talk today about the state of the environment and the relationship of humankind to nature. These sessions cover methods to:

  • Attune to the energies of our immediate and larger environment
  • Build a living relationship to the landscape around us
  • Access meditation states based upon our environment that provide deep powerful peace, as well as increasing our energy in an harmonious manner
  • Increase our sense of being a participant in the miracle of nature
  • Inspire us to live an embodied life in tune with the living Earth and Universe around, above and below us

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)

Starts Tuesday 16/Wednesday 17th November – The Wisdom of Awakening series: Meditations for ‘instant awakening’ and playful wisdom

Saturday 20th & 27th November – Environmental meditation masterclass & mini-retreat – Working consciously with the forces of nature

Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Four Positions for Wrestling with your Dark Angels

Dear Integral Meditators,

When you find yourself wrestling with difficult or challenging mind-states, what mindfulness practices can you actually ‘do’ that will make a difference? The article below investigates four practical ‘mindful positions’ that you can start working with.

For those in Singapore, we will be exploring these positions in the Tuesday & Wednesdayevening classes, and doing related work in the Language of the Shadow workshop this Saturday.

In the spirit of mindful wrestling,


Four Positions for Wrestling with your Dark Angels

In my previous article I talked about the ‘Dark Angels’ that we sometimes have to wrestle with. These dark angels are states of mind that arise from challenges in our life. They are characterized by:

  • Feeling as if you are wrestling with a dark force within that you would rather run from, hide from and/or forget about.
  •  It being difficult for you to sit down and be present with yourself because your mind cannot rest at peace.
  • If you do choose to sit down and wrestle with them you develop new strength, skills and stamina that you would not be able to develop of your ‘dark angels’ were not arising and inviting you to wrestle with them.

So, then the question may arise “Ok so if I do choose to sit down and ‘wrestle’ with them, how can I actually ‘do’ that?” With this in mind, here are four basic ‘mindful positions’ that you can adopt and develop your ‘wrestling skills’ with.

Position 1 – Observational curiosity: This first position involves taking one step, or at least half a step back from your experience, and from there be curious and gather information about what you are experiencing. Quite often just this simple act of stepping back and observing starts to reap insights quite quickly. There is a certain stability that comes from the position of observing. It puts us in the position of being in the calm centre of the storm, rather than simply being tossed around by it.

Position 2 – Courage and careThis involves extending the energy of care to yourself, and if possible to other people involved in the situation. Whatever is arising, you make care and compassion the basic perspective from which you experience the challenge. The same principle applies with courage; you simply hold the position of courage mentally, and see how it starts to work on and affect your experience of the situation…

Position 3 – Mindful framing: With this stance, you simply look for ways of mentally framing what you are experiencing that help you to see it in a positive light, for example:

  • This health problem is good because it is helping me to become more mindful of caring for my body, and look after my health more
  • The stress in my relationship is good because it is helping me to really work on and strengthen my appreciation of what my partner is doing right, rather than being fixated on what they are doing wrong
  • This financial demand is useful as it is helping me to become a better business owner and make more money whilst at the same time holding to my core values.

Your mental perspective defines your experience (and the choices you make) in large part!

Position 4 – Coming back to your body: Often when we are struggling emotionally our mind speeds up as we seek for a solution. This fourth position involves getting out of our head and into our body and senses. Come back to your body or one of your senses and use it as a stable, non-conceptual base where you can relax and gather strength and relief from the activity in your mind. Let the emotions flow through your body, just feel them somatically, without judging them, repressing them or intellectualizing them.

So there you go, four positions that you can play around with whenever you find yourself being confronted with one of your ‘Dark Angels’!

© Toby Ouvry 2018, 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, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Saturday January 13th, 2-5pm – Integral meditation & mindful walking deep dive half day retreat

Saturday January 20th – 9.30am-1pm – Meditations for Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self 

Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Cultivating Mindful Relationships, and Meditation/Stress-Transformation for Couples

Dear Integral Meditators,

This mid-week message  is an article on how to apply mindfulness in a practical way to your relationships through self enquiry.

Enjoy the article and wishing you happiness in all your relationships!

In the spirit of curious awareness,



Applying Mindful Curiosity to Your Relationships

How can we start applying mindfulness to our relationships? One major way in which we can do this is to consciously work on replacing our judgments and expectations with curiosity, interest and awareness.
It is all too easy when we wish to improve something in our life to begin by imposing our idealized standard upon what is there, rather than first becoming aware of and making peace with what is actually present. Nowhere is this more true than in our relationships.
In this article I had mainly romantic and marriage relationships in mind, but actually I think they can be applied to any relationship; work-colleague, sibling, child-parent and so on.

With this in mind here are three mindfulness practices to start working on your relationships with:

1) Be curious about the other person.
It’s so easy when you live close to someone day in day out to let your past history dominate the way you see and experience them in the moment. At such times what we see is not what is actually there, but what we remember. So, get your ‘beginners mind’ set and spend a little time each day observing this person as if you have never met them before, as if meeting them for the first time. Be curious about this new person, allow yourself to respond anew to the things you like and love about them, and try and understand what the motives might be for the challenging behavior that they might be throwing out.

2) Observe who you are in the relationship.
Before you start becoming ‘better’ in your relationship, with your beginners mind observe who you currently are. Try and do it without judgment. We all know the old paradox “before you can become who you want to be you must first accept who you are”. In this practice the focus is on seeing, accepting and feeling all of who you are in the relationship currently and being honest, authentic and aware of that. Once you truly know and can accept all of who you are in the present, you may then find that your capacity to change for the better starts to emerge spontaneously and without too much effort.

3) Grieve the loss, accept the discovery
In a real romantic relationship there is always a stage where we realize that this person is not the idealized image of man or womanhood that we have been carrying around in our mind since childhood. It’s easy to unconsciously resent a person for not being the person that we wanted them to be. It can be good to spend some time acknowledging, accepting, experiencing and releasing any resentment we may feel around this.
On the flip side of this, our partner may also have many good qualities that we never dreamed of in our idealized partner. ‘What are the gifts s/he has that might surprise and delight me?’ – Ask this question as an invitation to discover things you may have forgotten, or things that may have been waiting there unknown for your mindful curiosity to discover and appreciate.

All of the three methods above are techniques for inviting curiosity and awareness into your relationships, to awaken a questioning interest. If we can replace our expectations and judgments with this curiosity, we may find our relationships start to change for the better relatively naturally and in their own right timing.

© 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


Meditation and Stress Transformation Coaching for Couples

No relationship is potentially more stressful and/or more rewarding than our romantic relationships. This coaching service by Toby is designed for couples who wish to address the challenges they are facing and enhance their relationship through meditation and stress transformation.

If you would like to experience the following in your relationship:

  • A space of calm and flow in your relationship where you can feel safe even when emotions are high
  • A joint activity that enhances your relationship bond
  • A deeper understanding of the real causes of stress and tension in your relationships
  • Develop the capacity to  appreciate each other’s good qualities even when dealing with your emotional wounds
  • Learn how to open to change in a positive way, rather than resist it
  •  Knowing how to redirect of the difficult energy that is currently sabotaging your relationship toward positivity and learning
  • Your relationship as a path to mutual  inner growth and discovery
  • Rediscover passion in your interaction
  • Feel confident and optimistic about your future without losing sight of the real challenges that you face together

Then this may be a great coaching program for you and your partner!

Question: What if I don’t have a partner?
If you do not currently have a partner, but would nevertheless like to work on how to improve your experience of relationships through meditation and stress transformation techniques, then this is certainly possible.

Another question: What if I want to do it, but my partner is unwilling? 
If you want to work on your own experience of and challenges in your romantic relationships using meditation and stress transformation, then it is absolutely possible to do so. If your partner is unwilling/unable to come, there is nothing to stop you doing your own inner work on your own, and then bringing the benefits to your relationship.

What is the format for the coaching sessions?

  • The sessions can be done face to face or over skype. Each session lasts up to 60mins.
  • The can either be done on a session by session basis, or in a three session package, which is slightly less per session.

To explore the possibility of  coaching with Toby and to find out more please contact 65-96750279 or email to