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Insight Meditation Integral Awareness Life-fullness Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership Mindfulness

The resilience of gentleness

Dear Integral Meditators,

When you think about inner strength and resilience, what sort of qualities come to mind? This weeks article is one that I wrote at the beginning of 2015, observing how strength can be mindfully derived from cultivating a connection to gentleness.

For those in Singapore, final call for Saturday afternoons workshop on Mindful Resilience – Sustaining effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure through meditation and mindfulness all welcome!
Also, for everyone, wherever you are, its not too late to start participating in the Resilience through love online and live mindfulness course.

In the spirit of gentle strength,

Toby


The resilience of gentleness

One of the ‘meditation words’ I have taken for this year is self-care. Normally I take 2-3 words and focus upon them over the course of a year and let the themes and mysteries within them gradually reveal themselves. Meditation means to dwell deeply, so staying with just one, two or three words for a year and spending time each day investigating them deeply can be a beautiful and rewarding meditation practice!
One of the things that I have observed about focusing upon and trying to practice self-care each day is that each time I take the time to do a little self-care, I start to feel a little more inwardly resilient; it becomes a little easier to feel happy, a little easier to be benevolent to others, a little easier to acknowledge and face the challenges in my life I might want to wish away.
This is one of the interesting things about developing a quality; when we develop it we find that we start to simultaneously develop its opposite quality in a way in which we may not have expected. Gentleness gives rise to strength; stillness gives rise to dynamism; focus gives rise to relaxation. This week or over the next few days, if you like, try doing something each day that is a deliberate and appropriate expression of self-care. See how you can grow your inner resilience by using the method of gentleness.

© 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 www.tobyouvry.com


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)

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

Saturday December 10th 9.30am-12.30pm – An introduction to mindful walking & meditation workshop
Saturday December 10th 2pm-5.30pm – Living life from your inner center – Meditations for going with the flow of the present moment


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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A Mind of Ease creative imagery Energy Meditation Enlightened Flow Inner vision Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques mindful dreaming Mindfulness

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,

Toby


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 www.tobyouvry.com


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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Integral Awareness Life-fullness Meditating on the Self Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership Mindfulness Motivation and scope Presence and being present

Being the center of your universe (not the universe!)

Dear Integral Meditators,

There’s a big difference between being the center of the universe and the center of your universe. The article below explores how to make mindful use of your position in the big scheme of things!

Final reminder for those in Singapore of this Saturday’s Tree of Life meditation workshop

In the spirit of the journey,

Toby


Being the center of your universe

Often, when we say to someone ‘you are not the center of the universe you know!’ we do so in order to indicate that they are being somewhat self-centered, and that their perspective of themselves is over inflated. Actually, mindfully recognizing that you really aren’t the center of the universe, and that in most ways you are really pretty insignificant can be a very useful perspective to leverage upon. By deliberately recognizing your non-central position in the grand universal plan we can cut our problems down to size, overcome the anxiety and stress that comes with being overly self-centered, and create a lot more mental space within which to relax. Insignificance has its uses!

On the other hand, whilst you are not the center of the Universe, you are the center of your universe, that is to say the universe of our own life. In terms of being the center of your own universe and life, what you do, say and think is of crucial importance. You are the owner of your life, and every choice you make affects your experience significantly. Moreover, if you don’t take steps to influence and direct your life in the way you want it to go, who is going to do it for you? We can receive the help and input of others, but fundamentally we are the ones responsible for our own lives. In this sense we are always the most important person in our life.

So there are two positions we are defining and being mindful of:

  • I am not the center of the universe, so I can relax and stop being so neurotic about all my insignificant problems and challenges
  • I am the centre of my universe, so what I chose and do is of vital and central importance to my life. It’s not anyone else’s job to ‘save’ me, I need to be the master of my own ship!

At different times we can adopt one or other of these views according to what is appropriate for our needs and circumstances, and combine them to help us in our daily life. For example if I think about my work for my business today, on one level none of it ‘matters’ in the big scheme of things. I’m not the center of the universe, and if I should ‘fail’, die or simply go bust, then only a very small number of people will be affected or even notice. So I can relax and get comfortable with my own insignificance, nothing is worth getting unnecessarily worked up about! On another level, my business (teaching and promoting mindfulness meditation) depends upon me entirely, if I don’t take responsibility for my projects, no one else will make a living for me, and the people that I can positively impact will not receive that benefit. So what I do really does matter and is of crucial significance! Similarly, my own happiness is directly affected by the amount of care I take of myself, so what I so matters there, as well as in significant relationships such as the one I have with my daughter.

None of it matters, and all of it matters a lot.

You are not the center of the universe, but you are the center of your universe. You might like to play with this as a mindfulness practice over the next few days, using both perspectives in tandem to help you relax and keep you motivated!

© 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 www.tobyouvry.com


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)

Saturday November 12th, 10am-5pm – Meditations for connecting to the Tree of Life, and growing your own personal Life Tree

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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A Mind of Ease Energy Meditation Integral Meditation Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques mind body connection Mindful Breathing Mindful Resilience Mindfulness One Minute Mindfulness

Body-heart-mind scanning

Dear Integral Meditators,

Is it possible to release physical, emotional and mental stress in a single practice? This weeks article is principally a description of a meditation technique for doing just that, and implicitly building a stronger, more resilient body-mind connection within yourself.

In the spirit of an integrated body,mind and heart,

Toby

 


Body-heart-mind scanning

If you are familiar with mindfulness practice to any degree, then you will probably have heard of body-scanning, the practice of scanning through the different areas of the body looking for tension and consciously releasing it. In the technique below I describe a simple body-scan in conjunction with a ‘mind and emotion scanning process’ that enables us not just to ease physical tension, but also to become aware of and release tension within our mind and ‘thought-body’ as well as our emotions and ‘emotional body’. The aim and effect of this technique is to effect a greater degree of relaxation within ourselves, at the same time as synchronizing/harmonzing our body, heart and mind together.

The practice

Step one – The physical body scan
Sitting or lying comfortably with a relatively straight back, use your awareness to mentally scan progressively through each area of the body, from the crown of the head down through the face, neck, torso, arms, hips legs and feet. If you like as you are checking each part, you can first tense the muscles in that area to feel them fully, then relax them completely. This second ‘tensing and relaxing’ method is an option you can try.

Step two – Connecting to and relaxing the mind, heart and instincts
The mind – Having scanned through the body once, now focus your attention in the brain and forehead area. As you breathe in and out feel the brain becoming more and more relaxed. As it does so, feel yourself letting go of your thoughts and thinking; relax the mind as deeply as you can.
The heart – Now come down to the heart and chest area, as you breathe awareness in and out of your heart area, become aware of any emotions that may be present there. As you exhale, feel your chest and heart relaxing, and your emotions calming and stilling.
The instincts – The third stage in this section involves moving your awareness down into your belly and abdomen. Bring awareness to the rising and falling of the abdomen as you breathe. As you breathe in this way, become aware of the energy of your instincts and biological life force. As you exhale down in the belly, feel yourself calming your instincts and letting go of any primal, fight or flight tension.

Step 3 – Going deeper into mindful flow
In the final stage, pick one area of your body to focus on, the brain area, the heart or the belly. For 3-5 breaths focus upon the sense of ease and relaxation in that part of the body, then spend a few moments holding your attention still in that area. Repeat this pattern of 3-5 breaths followed by a few moments of still-attention for the remainder of the meditation, going deeper into a state of mindful flow.

Practising in daily life
In daily life you can do short periods of body-heart-mind scanning, with almost no extra effort. For example, if you were to do a 1-3-minute practice, once in the morning, afternoon and evening where you briefly scan and relax the body, then spend three breaths each relaxing the brain & thoughts, the heart & emotions, and the abdomen & instincts, this would have a tangible and positive effect on your stress levels and ability to stay centered under pressure.

© 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 www.tobyouvry.com


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)

Saturday November 12th, 10am-5pm – Meditations for connecting to the Tree of Life, and growing your own personal Life Tree

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

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


Integral Meditation Asia

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

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Energy Meditation Life-fullness Meditation techniques Mindfulness Presence and being present Zen Meditation

Creating a unified body-mind (No future)

Dear Integral Meditators,

The achievement and experience of a unified body-mind is one of the biggest pleasures of practising mindfulness. It also has huge practical benefits in terms of building our real-time inner strength and resilience. The article below explains a simple method you can start practising yourself….

Final reminder for those in Singapore of the Engaged Mindfulness workshop this Saturday.

In the spirit of wholeness,

Toby


Creating a unified body-mind (No future)

All parts of ourself in the same place
One of the functions of meditation and mindfulness practice is to bring together, or unify our body-heart and mind so that they are all present in the same moment, working to support and strengthen each other. Initially we build this experience in our formal practice, but increasingly as we develop we find that we are able to spend more and more of our time in daily life in a state where our mind, body and heart are in a state of unity or wholeness, rather than fragmentation and division.

Not leaking energy (a boat that does not ship water)
One of the benefits of a unified body-mind is that we leak less energy and we become more resilient. Most people’s minds and energy systems are quite inefficient. When our mind is off worrying about something, our emotions are in another place, and our body is engaged in a third activity, we become like a leaky boat, shipping water as we travel. We find ourselves having to ‘bail water’ a lot of the time, and wonder why. Unifying our body, mind and heart is like making ourselves into a well-made boat, that has no leaks. We find ourself going around in our daily activities feeling whole-er, stronger, more effective, and more capable of love and benevolence. Rather than feeling as if we are leaking energy, we start to feel as if we have energy to give.

Creating boundaries around your mind and energy
To begin to unify our body-mind we need to start creating boundaries that can help contain our energy, and bring our thoughts, emotions and physical energy into one place. There are many different ways in which we can do this, the ‘no-future’ technique I describe below is one.

No future
To practice ‘no future’ simply means that, for the period of time you have set aside, you do not think about, or send your thought energy into the future. You effectively imagine that the future has disappeared, or ceased to exist, and practice the discipline of holding that recognition. You can be aware of what is going in in the present moment around you. Youmay think in a conscious way about the past, although you will also find that erasing the future has the effect of ‘short-circuiting’ your relationship to the past as well, to a certain degree. By gathering your mind away from the future you bring your mental, physical and emotional energy into the present moment, they become more whole, unified, stronger. This can be done as a sitting or walking meditation, or as you are doing an activity, for example traveling home from work.

Building a better relationship to the future
Practising ‘no future’ helps to unify your body-mind, recover your energy, and build resilience that you can use to face whatever the future brings. It also gives you the freedom to choose whether you are going to think about the future or not at any given time. It means that when you do think about the future, you are doing so consciously and volitionally, and that you know that you can put it down at any time.

© 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 www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

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

Saturday 8th October 9.30am-4.30pm – Engaged Mindfulness day workshop/retreat

Saturday 22nd October, 9.30am-12.30pm – Going From Over-whelmed to Over-well: Meditation for Quietening the Mind – a three hour workshop

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


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

Categories
A Mind of Ease Energy Meditation Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Life-fullness Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindful Resilience

Three ways of saving and building energy with mindfulness

Dear Integral Meditators,

These days, with so many ways in which we feel our energy is under pressure from distraction, the pace of life and the task of ‘keeping up’ what can mindfulness offer to help? The article below explores this theme in a practical way…

Last couple of days to catch the Special Offer for 1:1 Coaching at Integral Meditation Asia in September 2016.

In the spirit of a deeper source of energy,

Toby


Three ways of saving and building energy with mindfulness

In my recent book ‘Engaged Mindfulness’ I outline three types of mindful attention; neutral, positive and catalytic.

  • Neutral objects of mindful attention are those such as your breathing or your senses that when you focus upon them make your mind calmer & more peaceful.
  • Positive objects are those such as hope, appreciation and love, objects that make your mind more energized, excited and optimistic.
  • Catalytic objects are those types of object that we find difficult of disturbing to focus upon. When we focus upon catalytic objects mindfully, we use them to build up our inner strength and eventually learn to find the inner energy and ‘hidden powers’ that these challenging experiences offer to us.

Saving and building energy with these three types of object
Each of these three objects of mindful attention offers us a way of saving and/or building energy. Neutral objects enable us to rest, recuperate and regenerate our energy. Positive objects enable us to find more energy by looking at our world in a positive way. Catalytic objects enable us to find energy in places and situations that would normally drain us of energy. Here are three practical examples from my last twenty-four hours:

  • I was traveling in between meetings on a bus this morning, feeling tired. I consciously came back to my body and breathing for the duration of half the bus journey, minimizing my physical, mental and emotional activity by focusing on my senses as I sat. By doing this I was able to rest my body-mind and regenerate my energy before I arrived at my next meeting.
  • Coming back this afternoon from another meeting, I made a conscious attempt to mentally list and appreciate all the good things that had come out of my meetings today so far. This led to a good feeling and a sense of having more energy as a result of paying attention to these positive outcomes.
  • Over last weekend I spent time in my spare moments exploring, entering into and accepting feelings of being lost, broken and insignificant. By deliberately seeking out these catalytic states (that instinctively we tend to push away, deny or run from) I was able to enter into them, feel at peace with them and discover the power, energy and freedom that each one of them reveals when we embrace them
  • What power and energies might I start to find by embracing catalytic objects? For example: By accepting and entering into the feeling of being broken I begin to relax and feel whole, its opposite. When encountering and standing with the experience of being lost, I start to feel at home with it, which leads to the ‘finding’ of a deeper part of myself. By accepting feelings of insignificance I discover a renewed sense ofcourage to assert myself benevolently in the world. Essentially every scary mind/emotion/experience that we encounter has within it a hidden gift, an energy and strength for us.

As with all integral and engaged mindfulness practices, you can practice focusing on neutral, positive or catalytic objects as a formal meditation sitting down, or as something that you do in the midst of your daily activities. All of the above examples were informal practices that I did in between events; just ways of focusing my attention mindfully to process the day ergonomically and find more energy.  This week if you like you can set yourself the task of spending a bit of time each day seeking out neutral, positive and catalytic objects in your own life and using them to nurture and build your own healthy energy levels.

Related article: Seven Ways to Mindfully Save and Create More Energy

© 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 www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm (next class August 10th) – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby
Saturday 8th October 10am-5pm – Engaged Mindfulness day workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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

 

Categories
A Mind of Ease Awareness and insight Inner vision Integral Awareness Meditation techniques Mindful Resilience Mindfulness Presence and being present

Using your senses to support your mind

Dear Integral Meditators,

When you are in a mental tangle, one of the simplest ways to untie yourself is by returning to your senses. The article below explains how!

In the spirit of coming to our senses,

Toby

Using your senses to support your mind

We all know the expression ‘when s/he came back to his senses’ when it is used to indicate that a person has temporarily gone mad or crazy, and lost touch with reality. They regain their contact with reality by ‘coming to their senses’. When our mind is full of hyper-busy thoughts and difficult emotions we can actually use attention to our senses as a way of coping more effectively with the experience, calming ourselves and becoming more resilient. Paying attention to our senses can also help us to deal with challenges such as insecurity or lack of confidence, emotional sensitivity, depression, and fear of aloneness.
The technique of coming back to our senses can be used not only as a way of dealing with mental or emotional dis-orientation, but also as a way of enhancing pleasure, ease and appreciation in our lives, particularly around the experience of sensory pleasure.

Coming back to your senses
To do this exercise you simply need to take your attention away from your thinking mind, and direct it toward your sensory experience in the present moment. So for example now as I am sitting at my computer I can pay attention to:

  • The weight of my body on the chair,
  • The quality of the light through the window
  • The sound and feeling of the wind, and the call of the birds, as well as the distant traffic sounds
  • The physical movement of my breathing
  • The colours of the objects in my room

If I focus my attention on these objects of my sensory awareness, then naturally I take my attention and energy away from my mind and the thoughts and emotions I may be experiencing. My senses act as a literal anchor for my attention in the physical world, helping me to re-acquaint myself with the present moment and reduce the habitual movement of my mind as it see-saws from past to future…
You can use this method as a formal sit-down meditation technique, or just as a way of paying attention when you are out doing your daily activities, and want to steady yourself.

Two examples:
I used to find going out to busy shopping malls pretty unpleasant and dis-orienting, with all the movement, people, energy and friction (as I experienced it). Mentally my impulse used to be to detach from my physical experience and retreat ‘into my mind’ in such situations, but I found that did not really help my, in fact it only made it more unpleasant. Now in malls I do the ‘returning to my senses’ technique; using the physical sensory experience of being in the mall to anchor my attention and stabilize my mind and emotions. I wouldn’t say I now enjoy the experience of being in a mall particularly, but the challenge if being in crowded spaces like malls is now not a big issue for me.
Last Sunday I went for a walk by a reservoir with my daughter. Three quarters of the way around I could feel the heat and fatigue starting to set in a little and my mind beginning to complain/get bored. Focusing on my senses allowed me to quieten my mind, enter into the experience of being by the water, with the trees, engaging in the simple act of walking in a way that was deeply pleasurable and satisfying.

So remember; the next time you are being run ragged by your mind, return to your senses!

© 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 www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm (next class August 10th) – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

8th & 17th September, 7.30-8.30pmFree book talks on ‘Engaged Mindfulness’ by Toby

Saturday 8th October 10am-5pm – Engaged Mindfulness day workshop


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
A Mind of Ease Awareness and insight Concentration Integral Meditation meditation and creativity Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindful Self-Leadership Mindfulness Motivation and scope

The freedom of limitation

Dear Integral Meditators,

If we normally think of limitations as an obstacle to our freedom, how can deliberately creating limitations in our life paradoxically help us find the freedom that we crave? The article below explores this theme!

In the spirit of liberated limitation,

Toby


The freedom of limitation

One way of thinking about meditation is as the freedom of limitation. In meditation we spend a period of time deliberately limiting the activity of our mind. The purpose of this is threefold:

  • In order to gain freedom from the limitation of our own compulsions, addictions and psychological habit patterns.
  • In order to specifically work on developing our mental strengths in a focused manner and
  • To gain access to progressively higher, deeper and more powerful states of conscious awareness.

Normally in our daily life we are not really setting mindful, conscious boundaries around or thoughts and what we focus on. Our mind goes here and there, darting from one object to another. When we sit in meditation, we deliberately set ourself a task, the boundaries of which we remain within to the best of our ability for the duration of the practice. Examples include:

  • Focusing on the body in order to release stress and regenerate energy
  • Focusing on the breathing in order to build concentration
  • Taking the position of the witness or observer of our mind rather than the participant
  • Extending sustained feelings of compassion toward ourself and others
  • Watching the spaces between our thoughts in order to slow our thinking and gradually become comfortable with a state of pure conscious being, or non-thought

The number of examples is as varied as the types of meditation that there are, the thing that they have in common is that each involve limiting our activity in order to gain benevolent control over our compulsive mind, build mental strengths that lead to greater wellbeing, and access deeper, more powerful/peaceful (I put those two adjectives together deliberately) states of consciousness.

The freedom of limitation in daily life
Practising the freedom of limitation can also be applied mindfully to daily life to enhance happiness and increase our productivity (If we practice the freedom of limitation in meditation, this will improve our ability to practice in daily life, but it is not essential).
Here is an example: I got back mid-afternoon today to my apartment, I now have a couple of hours to devote to the things I most want to achieve next. There are many options crowding my mind, many things I could be doing. I mindfully sift through the options and isolate three that I want to focus on in the time I have; that I most need/want to do:

  • Hanging the laundry (sometimes after long neglect this has to come to the top!)
  • Write my newsletter article (right now)
  • Shower and meditate

So, for the next two hours, these are the three activities that I limit myself to and focus my attention upon, a bit like a moving meditation. By limiting myself to these three activities, my mind has the freedom to relax, stop worrying about other stuff, and I can apply my full creative attention to the task at hand (Yes, creative laundry hanging!) The result of this mindful limitation is increased productivity, greater peace of mind and the satisfaction of coming to the end of those two hours having done that which I most want/need to do. I find if you break up the significant periods of your day like this, using the freedom of limitation technique, it’s a naturally mindfulness-strengthening process.
There you are then. Two ways to practice the freedom of limitation, in your daily life and in formal meditation practice!

Related article: The yoga of limitation and choice

© 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 www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm (next class August 10th) – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby


Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
A Mind of Ease creative imagery Inner vision Insight Meditation Life-fullness Meditation techniques Presence and being present spiritual intelligence Uncategorized

Finding the center of the wheel

Dear Integral Meditators,

Do you have to still your mind to experience inner stillness and centeredness? The article below explores how to mindfully sustain the experience of stillness amidst all the busyness and activity of your mind and daily life….

In the spirit of mindful spinning,

Toby


Finding the center of the wheel

The image of the wheel and hub is found in various traditional (Buddhist and Hindu) meditation traditions as a way of describing the meditative process. It can be useful to work with this image in your own practice as a way of finding your inner center faster and more effectively, even when under duress.
Imagine the emotional, mental, relational and logistical activity of your life as being like a wheel spinning in motion. If you are stuck in the rim of the wheel, then you find yourself spinning at a fast pace, running to keep up, feeling dizzy and generally having to work quite hard! If, however you are sitting in the center of the wheel, then you can simply stay still and watch all of the activity spinning around you whilst remaining comfortable and at ease.
In our own lives, we tend to spend a lot of time being identified with the movement in our mind, chasing after it or being chased by it, like being stuck on the rim of the spinning wheel. If we can learn to dis-engage with the contents of our consciousness, then we can move ourself toward the ‘hub’ of the wheel of our mind, watching the movement rather than being pulled around by it.

Resting in the hub as a meditation
Imagine the busyness of your mind and life as like a wheel spinning on a horizontal axis around you. Imagine yourself as sitting on or in the stationary hub or axis in the center. You are able to relax and remain still as the motion and activity spins around you. You don’t need to get rid of the activity and busyness in your mind, you just need to find your center and let the activity ‘spin’ around you. In physical terms you might think of your body and breathing as the hub of the wheel; find your breathing and focus on the central area of your torso (perhaps around the chest level). You are in the middle, in the hub, the thoughts, emotions and activity are spinning around you. Focus upon and relax into this experience for as long as you wish.

Keeping the image in mind in your daily life.
Out of meditation we can continue to bear this image in mind as we go about our daily life, using it as a way of bringing ourself back to our center when we feel ourselves getting pulled out of shape by the events of our life and our reactions to them.

Practising with different emotions.
In both formal mindfulness meditations and informally as you go about your daily life you can practice with different emotions and circumstances:

  • When anxious or stressed
  • When excited or experiencing pleasure
  • When playing your sport
  • When you are dealing with sadness or depression

After practising this technique for a while you will develop a certain amount of equanimity about what you are experiencing. For example, you might be experiencing fear, but you don’t have a problem with experiencing fear; you are in the center of the hub, the fear simply spins around you like the rim of the wheel!

Enhancing your enjoyment and participation in the movement
Practising this technique doesn’t mean that you become permanently detached from your life, in fact it means that you can actually enjoy the movement, emotion, excitement and challenge of your life more fully, because you have a place you can go to which gives you a way of controlling your response to your experience, enabling you to appreciate it more, even when it is not all bliss and rainbows!

Related article: Detached mindfulness – Engaged mindfulness

© 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 www.tobyouvry.com


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm (next class August 10th) – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby


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creative imagery Integral Awareness Meditation techniques

Your Thoughts as Emails

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article looks at how we can be more mindful of our thoughts by considering them in the same way that we might consider emails. I hope you enjoy it!

In the spirit of mindful thinking & non-thinking,

Toby


Yours Thoughts as Emails

In Taoist philosophy there is a saying that goes that your lifespan can be measured in the number of heartbeats we have each day, the lesson being that you should relax more, let it beat more slowly and therefore live longer!
What if instead we were to measure your lifespan in relation to the number of thoughts you have each day? What if our lifespan in this sense meant not how long we would literally live in terms of physical age, but how long our mind remains active, flexible and fully capable/functional? In this case thinking too much would have the consequence of our mind and intelligence ‘burning out’ due to over use, like a car that breaks down before its time due to the bad driving technique of the owner.
If you thought about your mind in this manner, would it cause you to reconsider the way you think, and the number of thoughts that you give energy too each day?

Your Thoughts as Emails.
This is a simple mindfulness exercise to help us become more aware of our thoughts, and more discerning with regard to the energy we give them. To do it we think of our mind as the inbox in a computer, and our thoughts as emails.

We can divide the daily emails we receive into three parts:

  • Those that are either of no interest to us, or are outright spam
  • Those that are of functional value
  • Those that we derive active pleasure and meaning from receiving

To do this as a mindfulness practice sit still for a while and turn your attention to the ‘inbox of your mind’, with thoughts coming in being like the emails. As you watch the thoughts come in, drop or ‘trash’ the ones that are irrelevant or ‘spam’. The functional thoughts, set to one side temporarily. Try to dwell only upon the thoughts that are meaningful or pleasurable; that enhance your experience of the present moment. If there are no thoughts coming in, then just enjoy having an empty inbox!
Initially you may need to do this in an undistracted space, but after a while you can learn to play it as a game at any time, for example when you are traveling between locations or in between tasks, or walking along the street.
When you are going about your daily tasks you can include the functional thoughts in your mental process as they are obviously necessary for getting things done, but try and keep your spam filter operational; dropping/trashing the thoughts that are garbage, unnecessary, negative and so on.

Here’s to a long life of pleasurably mindful thinking!

© 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 www.tobyouvry.com


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

JUNE
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