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Mindful transitioning – Your life as meditation

“Effective mindfulness & meditation is not just about learning to hold particular states in a focused manner, equally importantly it is about the skill of making the transition from one state of mind to another smoothly and ergonomically”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This week’s article looks at making transitions in our consciousness as a practice in itself. There is a huge benefit in getting good at this if you take the time to!

In the Tuesday & Wednesday Meditation class this week we will be meditating on our ‘other & we space’; the capacity to see things from another persons point of view, and also become sensitive to the space that lies between people in couples & groups! 

If you know anyone looking to get their meditation practice started, or if you want to get your own practice rebooted, then I recommend this Saturdays session:Get Your Meditation Practice Started Now – The Shortest and Most Time Effective Meditation Workshop Ever
And also this Saturday those of you interested in Mantra meditation & spiritual healing will enjoy the Medicine Buddha Healing meditation, 11am-12.15pm.
In the spirit of mindful transitioning,


Mindful transitioning
Effective mindfulness and meditation are not just about learning to hold particular states in a focused manner. It is also, and equally importantly about the skill of making the transition from one state of mind to another smoothly and ergonomically.
What is the best state of mind to be in?
During the day we do many different activities, each of these requires a different state of mindful attention. For example:

  • The optimal state of attention when at dinner with our partner or date is very different from the state of being focused on work at our workstation. One is more functional and quantitative, the other more open and qualitative
  • Being with children requires a different state of mind from being with adults
  • Singular focus on one task is very different from being in a meeting and ‘reading the room’ with our awareness

So, during the day, in order to be mindfully effective, we need to be able to transition from one state or awareness to another appropriately. If we get stuck rigidly in different states, then we are going to struggle to bring our best to the different things we do, perform to our potential and enjoy each activity. It’s a little bit like martial arts or sports; the movement between shots or punches or single-moment activities is as important as the shots themselves!
The basic transition & practice
The basic transition that I like to teach in formal meditation is the one from field awareness to single-pointedness. It looks a bit like this:

  • Field-awareness: For five minutes or so take the position of the observer in your field of awareness, and practice watching the totality of what you notice there. This is like moving a camera to the ‘wide-angle’ position of the lens, so that it takes in the whole of the landscape. Practice mindfulness around the ‘big picture’ in this way
  • Then transition to single-pointedness, focus on one thing within your field of awareness in as singular a manner as possible. Obvious examples would be the breathing, or the weight of the body, or the sounds you hear. This is like closing the aperture of your camera lens so that it zooms on just one thing in the landscape of your mind. Practice building that singularity of focus, editing everything else out for five minutes, before transitioning back to field-awareness

If you meditate for twenty minutes, then you would practice transitioning three times, as well as enjoying the benefits of the actual states themselves. If you brought the time down to changing every two minutes then you would really get better quickly at the transitions.
Bringing this into daily life
During the day, I transition from field awareness to single-pointedness many times, and the feeling of doing so combines both personal enjoyment as well as a sense of the day running smoothly and effectively.

  • This morning, I took my daughter to school on the bus. On the ride there I was practicing field awareness, keeping an eye on her and her friends, getting of at the right time etc..
  • On the bus back by myself I zoomed into single-pointedness and did a few energy-mantras in a short five minute meditation, transitioning to a ‘just one thing’ state of mind, which was refreshing.
  • At the beginning of the work day, I go into field awareness, looking at the totality of the day and all that needs to be done. Having assessed the order of the day, I then go into single-pointedness on the next task, in this case my weekly article, which I am twenty minutes into and now nearly finished!

To make my life a ‘working samadhi’ or life as meditation, I need to make the transitions described above smoothly, skilfully and appropriately. If I do that, then my life is literally mostly a meditation! When I arrive at my formal daily meditation and sit down, I’m already very close to meditation, so it’s easy and natural to drop into meditation from daily life. Trying the practice described above (field to single-pointedness) for a few minutes each day can really make a radical difference to your transitioning skill, I really recommend it.
Related readingIntegrating field-awareness & single pointedness
Working samadhi

Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2024, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

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Mental framing – Sculpting your view of life

Dear Integral Meditators,

We are never in 100% charge of what we experience in life, but we can determine the way in which we experience what happens. This week’s article explores how to mindfully take advantage of this truth!

In the spirit of sculpting & framing,


Mental framing – Sculpting your view of life

We are never in 100% charge of what we experience in life, but we can always influence the way in which we experience what happens. How we influence the way in which we experience something is via the manner in which we pay attention to it, and in particular the way in which we mentally frame it. The essential question with mental framing is “What is the optimal way for me to view what I am experiencing, so that I derive maximum value and minimum unnecessary pain from it?”
This question and the answers we get from it are like mental sculpting. The raw materials are our life experiences, and our ways of mental framing are like the tools used to craft and mould the raw materials into the shape that I desire.
Last weekend I was giving the example to a class of my own workshop creation process. I’ve created over 50 meditation and mindfulness workshops in the last decade. Of these only around 50% have gone on to be successful in the sense of attracting a lot of people numbers. So, if I focus purely on the ‘success rate’, then I’m not going to be a very happy boy in some ways. However, there are many ways in which I can use my mind to frame what I am experiencing after a ‘failed’ workshop in ways that are helpful to me. For example:

  1. ‘It is realistic to expect many of the events that I put on to not attract large numbers. It’s simply part of my evolving work progress, and in fact a 50% success rate is very good in the circumstances!’ – This view helps me accept the experience, feel happy about it and sets me up to continue working with it in the long term without feeling discouraged.
  2. ‘A small number of people in a workshop creates an intimate space for me to have a more meaningful, small scale relationship to the participants’ – Again, this view helps me feel enthusiasm for the experience and helps me to keep my appetite for the work in the long term.
  3. ‘I learned a lot from creating the workshop, so it is feeding my own process of self-discovery and growth’ – This is absolutely and objectively true, I do learn a lot, and so the time was not wasted, indeed it was very well spent!
  4. ‘If it didn’t work in this context, maybe I can try it in another context’ – I’ve seen from my own experience how courses that I have created in one arena later became a part of my mainstream ‘successful’ courses later down the line. No creative process is ever entirely wasted! Indeed, some of my most successful material only finds the right audience two or three years down the line.
  5. ‘This is helping my ongoing learning process about value creation’ – Every time I try something out, or put it out to an audience, I learn more about value creation, in business, in relationships and in life. This learning in turn helps me to make the best of what I meet in each day, and to become more successful in life. What could be better than that?

So, there you go; five ways of mentally framing my situation in ways that help me to view and experience it in a positive AND REALISTIC way. Realistic is in caps because for mental framing to be effective it has to be reality focused. You can’t just fantasize any old BS that just isn’t true!
Mindfulness is all about releasing our potential for learning and growth in the moment. Mental framing is a technique that really we can be using all the time during our day to ‘sculpt’ our reality in a way that is useful and desirable. But to get going you might like to take one or two specific situations in life and practice framing them. Happy sculpting!

Related articles: 
How to mindfully develop your self-confidence
Four positions for wrestling with your dark angels
Mastering your mind through mindfulness

© 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)

Tuesday 29, Wednesday 30th May – Wesak Meditation

Saturday 2nd June, 9.30-11.30am – The Power of Presence – Mindfulness for managing conflict in your relationships and accessing your inner power

Saturday, 9th June, 9.30am-1pm – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment

Integral Meditation Asia

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