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Establishing Your Basic Mindful Flow State

Dear Integral Meditators,

Meditation and mindfulness are about developing flow-states. The article below shows you how you can build your basic flow state from the ground up into a stable, diverse and enjoyable mindfulness practice.

In the spirit of flow,



The Warrior and the Lover – Establishing Your Basic Mindful Flow State

Effective meditation and mindfulness depends upon developing your capacity to connect to and sustain flow states. Flow states consist of two basic factors; focus and relaxation, or concentration and relaxation. Whatever you are trying to meditate upon or be mindful of, you are trying to do so with a quality of attention that flows in a state of consistent focused relaxation for the duration of your mindful activity.

How to create a basic flow state
Sit down and repeat this basic pattern a few times; firstly for 3-5 breaths try and focus as single pointedly as possible on your breathing without distraction. Then spend a short while simply relaxing your body, mind and heart as deeply as you can.
Once you have followed this cycle a few times, continue the same basic pattern but now :

  • As you are focusing intensely on the breathing, try and make the quality of you focus relaxed as well as intense
  • When  you are in the relaxation phase, try and make the quality of your relaxation focused and present as well as leisurely

In this way you start to bring together the qualities of focus and relaxation into a single experience or flow state.
Once you are comfortable with this second stage, you can simply practice focusing on the breathing in a state of relaxed concentration, practising this basic flow state. It should feel comfortable and relaxing whilst at the same time sharpening your mind and senses.

Doing this three stage exercise for a few minutes each day will give you the basic skills, as well as being a fundamentally pleasant, stress releasing experience.

Applying your flow state to other areas of your life
Once you have a feeling for your basic mindful flow state, you can then start applying it to different areas of your life; when you are engaged in your work, listening to/talking with a friend, thinking about something that is important to you, playing a sport, making love, engaging a challenging emotion and so on…If you practice like this then you can start to make more and more of your life an experience of playful mindful exploration.

The Warrior and the Lover – Bringing your flow state alive
To give a bit of colour to your flow state, you might like to imagine the focus aspect of your flow state is like your inner warrior; disciplined, intense, strong, and always ready. Therelaxation aspect of your flow state is like your inner lover; bringing the qualities of sensuality, curiosity, and engagement to the experience. Together these two make your basic flow state an experience of engaged detachment, or playful seriousness.

© 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

Integral Meditation Asia

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The Dance of Mindful Supression and Repression

Dear Integral Meditators,

Meditation and mindfulness encourage states of mental and emotional flow, but achieving these states consistently is tough if we are habitually supressing and repressing the content of our consciousness in an unhealthy way. The article below looks at how we can mindfully grow a positive relationship to suppression and repression, so that it is helping us in our inner journey, rather than getting in the way!

In the whats on section below you can see that the workshop events are all on the Saturday 21st this month, with mindful inspiration and flow of the present moment being the themes. Click on the links for details.

In the spirit of conscious and benevolvent supression,


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia 

Every Wednesday, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday November 21st, 2.30-5.30pm – Connecting to Your Sources of  Mindful Inspiration – A 90minute Seminar

Saturday November 21st, 2.30-5.30pm – Living Life From Your Inner Center – Meditations for Going With the Flow of the Present Moment

The Dance of Mindful Supression and Repression

Psychological suppression is when you consciously block a thought, emotion or part of self from arising or developing within your mind. Let’s say I’m getting angry with someone, I am aware I am getting angry, but I block it, I don’t allow it to manifest as speech or behaviour.

Suppression is different from repression, which is when I unconsciously block a thought, emotion or aspect of self. Taking the same example, let’s say I’m getting angry with someone, but I’m not consciously aware that I’m getting angry, I reflexively repress the anger, pushing it down into my unconscious mind  without even realizing that I have done it. I now have the energy of repressed anger contained within my body-mind, but I am not aware of it.

Positive suppression is when I exert self control over myself for a positive purpose:

  • I find myself getting annoyed with a client, but I purposefully suppress that anger and remain pleasant, which enables me to complete a business transaction I want
  • I know I am feeling afraid or insecure, but I put on a brave face and smile  for the child I am with so that s/he will feel reassured and safe in my company

If I suppress something in this way, I am doing so for a definite purpose, and I know that later on I will have to come back to the thing in my mind I have supressed in order to look after it and de-suppress it appropriately.

Negative suppression is – When I deliberately turn away from an emotion, thought or aspect of self that I really need to pay attention to:

  • I know I feel guilty about something I have said to my partner, but I’m still resentful of her, so I block the guilt and just let it fester unattended
  • I know my business needs to change its marketing strategy, but I am afraid a new, untried strategy might make things worse, so I just suppress what I know, and keep on doing the same marketing as before, thus guaranteeing my business remains in a rut

Integrating suppression and repression into your mindfulness practice
Sit quietly and let your mind travel back, event by event over the last 24 hours of your life. As you do so take note of the places where you notice there is still an emotional charge within you around what happened. When you come to each of these places, take a note of the thoughts, feelings nd parts of self you may have:

  • Deliberately set aside (positive suppression)
  • Suppressed due to fear or laziness (negative suppression)
  • Unconsciously repressed, for example simply because you were not aware of the feeling arising at the time due to the busyness of what was going on around you

Take the time to become aware of, acknowledge and release these  aspects of self, so that you do not end up with an ever increasing back log of suppressed and repressed parts of your mind, heart and body that get in the way of your mental clarity, your emotional balance and physical health!

© 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

Integral Meditation Asia

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Mindfulness – Facilitating Your Own Experiential Learning

Dear Integral Meditators,

This week I have led a couple of mindfulness workshops and discussions where I have defined mindfulness as an activity that facilitates and enhances your own experiential learning. In the artile below I explain a bit about how this works.

In the spirit of the journey,


Mindfulness – Facilitating Your Own Experiential Learning

Mindfulness means placing your awareness and attention on a particular aspect of your life in order to get to know it better. By paying greater attention to what you are actually experiencing in that area, you start to observe the process of cause and effect that is going on, and learn from it.

An example: engaged mindfulness with regard to resilience
So, let’s say I want to develop my experiential learning around the subject of resilience. Here is a short engaged mindfulness process I (and you) can work with to do so:

Step 1: Write a short paragraph in response to the following three questions in turn. Write reasonably quickly and without editing your response too much:

  1. Resilience to me means –
  2. I feel most resilient when –
  3. Times when I notice I lose my sense of resilience include –

Having written your response to each question then sit quietly and, based around your answers to questions 1&2, build a feeling of resilience in your mind, body and heart based around the definition that you have created and the past experiences of it that you have had. Breathe the energy of this resilience into your body, so that you can feel it as a tangible energy as you are sitting.
Before you conclude, you may then like to consider your answer to question 3; recalling a time where you tend to lose your sense of resilience. Recall this situation strongly enough that you can feel the stress of it threatening to break down the feeling of resilience that you have been building in the exercise up to this point. Practice consciously retaining your sense of resilience even when it is under pressure in this way.
Finally, before you finish the exercise think about the next 24 hours and select a particular situation you know you will be experiencing where you are going to deliberately practice the mindful resilience that you have been building in the exercise.

So there you go, a simple engaged mindfulness practice that you can use to facilitate and accelerate your experiential learning around the theme or resilience. Actually you can use the exercise above to mindfully develop any quality you like, simply replace the word ‘resilience’ with the word you want to explore and off you go!

© 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 Every Wednesday, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday November 21st, 2.30-5.30pm – Connecting to Your mindful Inspiration (Full details out shortly)

Saturday November 21st, 2.30-5.30pm – Living Life From Your Inner Center – Meditations for Going With the Flow of the Present Moment

Integral Meditation Asia

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Dropping the Self

Dear Integral Meditators,

Is there one mindfulness practice that will have an immdiate effect on your sense of inner balance and wellbeing? Try the one below, it might be it!
On the theme of stilling the mind, quick reminder of the next scheduled meditation workshop on 3rd October: Going From Over-whelmed to Over-well: Meditation for Quietening the Mind .
And finally a reminder that the September special offer on Soul Portraits ends this Sunday, 27th September.


Dropping the Self

One of the most effective ways that you can temporarily solve your problems and experience a relaxed, comfortable state of mind is simply to mentally ‘drop your self’ or, put another way, make a conscious choice not to think about yourself for a while. Whenever you feel anxiety, worry, frustration, disappointment, hurt, shame and so on, there is always at the center of the experience a strong clinging at an ‘I’ or self; my problem, my fear, my disappointment, my loneliness, my busy mind. If you take away the ‘I’ at the centre of the drama, then the drama will subside, the idea and the practice of this exercise is as simple as that.

Me & mine
When I talk of dropping the self, I am also talking about dropping the things that the self considers ‘mine’ as well; quite often we spend even more time worrying or obsessing about other people close to us than ourselves; my child, my spouse, my parents, my job. So we are aiming to drop both the I and the mine!

A short exercise in dropping the self
Let’s say I’ve just finished work and I’m on my way home, or perhaps I have a half hour on my Sunday between doing one thing an another. In this space I then decide that for that period of time I’m simply not going to focus on myself, my problems, my worries. I can think about or do whatever I like, but I’m consciously diminishing the size and the significance of the ‘I’ that is thinking and I’m creating lots of room in my mind for other things; other people, awareness of the senses, and so on. I can pretty much do what I like, the only condition is that I am mindfully choosing not to think or worry about my self for that time, I’m dropping my I from the agenda, and relaxing into the inner space and comfort that arises when I do so!

Attending to the self to drop the self
As a counterweight to this practice it can also be good to consciously set aside times in your day where you are consciously deciding to think about yourself; to take care of your feelings, attend to your challenges and responsibilities, plan your approach to life and so on. Attending to the self is a healthy way of mindfully taking care of yourself and your needs. Then, once you have processed the needs and wants of yourself, you then make a mindful choice, “Ok, that is as far as I am going to get with this today, now I can drop the self again!”

Facilitating change through dropping the self
One of the things that I have noticed about this practice (and I have had it confirmed by others who have attended my classes) is that dropping the self can be a very good way of facilitating change in your life; when you stop thinking about a problem, or stop telling someone what to do, or let go of your worry about something, often things start to change without any effort on your part. There is something about the practice of leaving things alone and letting go that sometimes gives us the changes we wanted in the first place!

Dropping the self is not saying our self is not important, it is just realizing that it is only relatively important. It is also a way of discovering the inner joys, relaxation and wisdom that comes to you quite naturally when your I is not sticking its fingers into everything!

© 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 events at Integral Meditation Asia (Full October schedule coming soon!)

Every Wednesday, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday 3rd October, 2.30-5.30pm – Going From Over-whelmed to Over-well: Meditation for Quietening the Mind – a three hour workshop

Saturday 17th October, 2.30-5.30pm – Meditation & Mindfulness for Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention 3 Hour workshop

Integral Meditation Asia



Meditation and Mindfulness Classes & Workshops at IMA in August 2015

Dear Integral Meditators,

I hope that your meditation & mindfulness practice has been going well over the last month, remember, even five minutes a day has the power to make a difference; short & regular will definitely yeild positive results!

I’m excited about the line up of workshops for August, the full line up you can see below. We have two brand new, never done before meditation workshops; Meditation for Quetening the Mind on 15th, and Mindful Dreaming on the 29th. Add to this some very cool themes for the Integral Meditation evening classes , there is plenty for everyone this month!

In the spirit of the mindful journey,




Saturday 15th August, 9.30am-12.30pm – Going From Over-whelmed to Over-well: Meditation for Quietening the Mind – a three hour workshop

Saturday 15th August, 2.30-5.30pm – Mindful Self Confidence – Developing your self-confidence, self-belief & self-trust through mindfulness & meditation

August 19th, 7.30-9pmIntegral Meditation Class – Meditating on with the Five Levels of Positive Intention

August 26th, 7.30-9pmIntegral Meditation Class – Working with the Three Levels of Non-Judgement

Saturday 29th August, 9.30am-12.30pm – Meditation and Mindfulness for Self-Healing and Creating High Levels of Energy

Saturday 29th August, 2.30-5.30pm Mindful Dreaming – Meditation Practices for Integrating Conscious Dreaming into Your Daily Life


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Your Long Term Self-Confidence

Coconut beach

You can build your confidence in the short term by surrounding yourself with the familiar and the known; by surrounding yourself with friends who are like you and affirm your world view; by doing something you are already good at; by staying with the job or activity that you know well; by acting in ways that you know will earn the praise of others. There is nothing inherently wrong with this as an approach, but it becomes limiting and debilitating if it is the only approach that we have to building our self-confidence, because it also inherently limits our growth and what we are capable of. Long term self-confidence building involves a different approach. It involves deliberately looking for the areas and activities of your life where you are uncomfortable and unfamiliar. It means consciously engaging in those spaces where you do not feel a sense of easy or established confidence.

In doing this the short term experience is an absence of assured confidence; a sense of being ‘lost’ or out of your comfort zone; a sense of being separate from familiar markers in our surrounding reality. By repeatedly taking yourself into unfamiliar territory and becoming competent in that space you establish a much greater and deeply rooted self-confidence than you could ever develop simply by surrounding yourself with the familiar and the known, and by continuing to engage only in the things that you are good at.

A couple of examples:
In my own experience establishing my own business after having been a monk and an artist for many years was a source of feeling lost, inconvenienced and way out of my comfort zone for many years in many different ways. However, by persisting in my pursuit and understanding of business (as it serves my purposes as a meditation and mindfulness teacher) has over the years become a major source of my own deeper self-confidence as I have moved repeatedly from incompetence to competence in the domain of business.
Similarly, after leaving my life as a monk where I had been surrounded by a lot of ‘spiritual’ people who shared at least in part my worldview, and going back onto the ‘secular’ world where I had to build relationships and ways of communicating with diverse groups of people who often did not share my world view was initially uncomfortable and inconvenient. However in the long term it because a source of confidence as it built within me a sense of being able to go into any situation and adapt to the ‘cultural language’ that was being spoken there.

The relationship between happiness and confidence
Building your short term happiness leads to the experience of being temporarily happy in environments where you are familiar. Mindfully building your long term confidence leads to a sense that you can be happy anywhere, in almost any circumstances because you have built a deep confidence in your own adaptability and a trust in your capacity to engage successfully with whatever comes up.

Its ‘both/and’ not ‘either/or’!
As with other aspects of integral mindfulness and meditation we are aiming for a win-win relationship in the development of our confidence. We can regularly connect to short term sources of self-confidence in order to re-assure and orientate ourselves, combining this with regularly and mindfully pushing ourselves to engage in areas of our life that make us uncomfortable, and seek to build our long term confidence by getting confident in these areas.

It begins today if you want it to
What is it that you can start doing today in order to build your deeper, long term self-confidence?

© 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:

This Tuesday 21st April! 7.30-9.30pm –  An Evening of Mindful Self-Confidence – Developing your self-confidence, self-belief & self-trust through mindfulness & meditation

Friday 8th & 29th May, 7.30-9pm – Integral Meditation Session @ the Reiki Centre

Full schedule of May classes to be posted shortly…

Integral Meditation Asia


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Meditation as a Way of Life

Dear Integral Meditators,

Is meditation something that you sit down and do each day as a formal practice, or is it more fundamental, a whole way of approaching life? The article below explores that latter option.

Yours in the spirit of meditation,


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia :

Special offer for 1:1 Coaching For January at Integral Meditation Asia  (Via skype or face to face)

Sunday 1st February – Mindful Self-Leadership: Take Control of Your Life Direction and Wellbeing Through Awareness, Curiosity, Courage and Care

Tuesday 10th February, 7.30-9.30pm – An Evening of Mindful Resilience – Sustaining effectiveness, happiness and clarity under pressure through meditation and mindfulness

Saturday 14th February, 2.30-5.30pm – Mindfulness and Meditation For Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention 


Meditation as a Way of LifeThe commitment to contemplate life deeply
One way of defining meditation is simply a commitment to contemplating and investigating life deeply. This definition is useful as it takes us away from the idea of meditation as something that you do as a formal practice for 10minutes, 30 minutes, an hour a day, and indicates that it is really a fundamental stance toward life; to be a true meditator is to be committed to looking at your work, your relationships, your sex life (or lack of it), your philosophy and so on… deeply. It means to be dis-satisfied with superficial surface experiences and hungry for real experience, to make your life your own and not just a pastiche of what somebody else told you life should be.The temptation to stay on the surface
We are without a shadow of a doubt the most educated set of human generations that has ever lived. We have the potential to look deeply into our life and find patterns of meaning and consequence, but do we? Despite having the capacity to look deeply, many of us avoid it. We content ourselves with the superficial, with the easy. We pay attention to that which society guides our attention to, we define ourselves according to the prevailing trends and beliefs, we avoid the voice within us that calls us to look beyond the surface and the comfortable because it makes us uncomfortable, makes us feel vulnerable, and also makes us feel genuinely powerful (which is perhaps the most scary of all).

To be a meditator means to be committed to go beyond the surface patterns of our life each day, and contemplate the depths.

The courage to go deeper
Being a meditator is an act of courage, curiosity and care; commitment each day to connect and heal the hidden parts of ourselves that are damaged, the curiosity and interest to develop the powers of our body-mind-spirit to the next level, and to care about our lives and the lives of others enough to go beyond indifference, numbness and apathy, which each day tempt us to fall back into a state of passive unconsciousness.

It is a 24hour practice!
From this we can see that to be a meditator in the true and broader sense of the word is quite an heroic activity. It is demanding, it is inconvenient, it is sometimes tiring, it causes us to make difficult choices, it may mean we have to spend time alone.
What is the reward of this all? The reward of committing to contemplate life deeply? The reward of being a meditator? It is that we get to feel truly alive in way that cannot be taken away from us.

Related articleLife-fullness

© 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