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Peace or victory?

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article focuses on mindfulness around conversations and arguments. we all know the expression “Do you want to be right or to be happy”, I explore a few of the nuances of this.

This weeks Tuesday & Wednesday meditations are an exploration of this theme in combination with that of ‘engaged equanimity’, you are welcome to join us, either live or online.

And final call for this Saturday morning’s Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat, if you haven’t tries it already, you might enjoy it!

In the spirit of the victory of peace,



Peace or victory?

The need to be right
It’s a familiar saying “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Certainly, in inter-relational mindfulness this is an important question. If we can’t be happy until the other person (or everyone!) acknowledges that we are right, then our happiness is going to be disrupted for large sections of our life. The skill here then would seem to be letting go of the need to be right, and choosing to value our peace of mind over ‘rightness’.

The need to be seen to be right
Its an interesting distinction between being right, and being seen to be right. Without the other saying explicitly we are right, often it seems not to be enough just to trust our own judgment assert our position and then leave it at that. Often the need for the approval or affirmation of others means that we can’t rest in peace unless we get it. So, when looking for the peace of being happy rather than right, accepting that we may not get the approval of the person/s we are arguing with would seem to be an important area to be mindful of.

The need for self-trust and sound judgment
If we are going to be focusing on “being happy rather than right” it’s also important to build trust and confidence in yourself, your perception and ability to process the facts of the matter as far as they are available. We need to articulate and hold to our values as well as we can. Being happy doesn’t need to come at the cost of not being able to stick up for our position, and act accordingly. We need to be as objectively ‘right’ as we can in our own judgments, without being addicted to the need for other people to always affirm that position to us.

To be happy to be not understood and seen
If we are not affirmed as right, or even dismissed as wrong in a conversation and we want to be able to retain a degree of inner peace, then we need to be ok sometimes with not being seen or understood by the other or others. This is not easy! But there is a lot to be gained from paying attention when you are in positions like this, and using them as a test off your independent-mindedness, and ability to be even-minded in the face of the disapproval, scorn, disagreement or indifference of others.

The victory of peace
The victory we are aiming at here is the peace that comes from not needing to be right, or have the approval of others. I would add to this that in combination with this we need to be able to trust and feel confident in our own judgment, otherwise we risk capitulating to others in an inappropriate way, and “letting go” of difficult conversations/arguments that need to be pursued over time simply because they make us uncomfortable.

Summary points for mindful reflection:

  • Do I want to be right or at peace?
  • Can I accept I may not get the approval of affirmation of others sometimes?
  • Do I trust my own judgement and clarity of thinking in this situation?
  • Can I be ok with not being understood or ‘seen’ sometimes?
  • How committed am I to the victory of peace rather than rightness?

Related articleEngaged equanimity

Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2022, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

Saturday May 29th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

In a sentence: Experience unique Qi gong and Taoist breathing techniques to improve your immune system, energy level, psychological wellness and enhance your meditation…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)

Ongoing – The Way of the Mindful Warrior – Meditating with the Warriors creed

Tues 17th/Weds 18th May: Wesak meditation

Saturday May 29th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat

Saturday 11th June, 9.30am-12noon – Zen meditation deep dive mini-retreat


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Calm abiding, beautiful breathing (Inner air conditioning)

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would happen if you were able to focus your mind in a state of calm abiding at will, or at least more often? This weeks article explores this theme and how you can start developing this skill today!

In the spirit of the strength of calm,


Calm abiding, beautiful breathing (Inner air conditioning)

Overriding your brains need for over stimulation
One of the main things we are trying to achieve with mindfulness meditation is the ability to focus our mind calmly and continuously on one object for an extended period of time; we train our attention to become happy to be in one place, abiding peacefully. The problem we face is that our brain tends to reward and crave stimulation and new information; impulsively moving from one object to another, happy to remain distracted and busy. So to develop the long term benefits of ‘calm abiding’ we need to repeatedly override our brains craving for stimulation, bringing it back to an object of calming concentration.

The vicious cycle of fatigue and distraction
When we are tired and anxious during our day, often the last thing that we want to do is to bring our mind to a state of calm focus, because it requires effort. But remaining distracted also requires effort and dissipates our energy, making us feel even more tired. With mindfulness meditation we are trying to replace the vicious cycle of fatigue and distraction with the positive cycle of energy and focus.

The beautiful breathing
One of the medium-long term effects of practising calm abiding using awareness of our breathing is the experience of the ‘beautiful breathing’ (so called within the Forest monk tradition of Thai Buddhism) where

  • Our breathing starts to appear more clearly to our mind, with less effort needed to focus
  • Our breathing starts to feel increasingly peaceful, harmonious and ‘beautiful’ as we focus upon it.
  • There is a corresponding feeling of comfort, harmony and bliss within our physical body.

Cultivating the beautiful breathing
One way in which we can cultivate the beautiful breathing right away is to deliberately make our breathing more beautiful and harmonious right now. Here is an exercise for doing this:

  • Set aside a period of time, short or longer. For three-five breaths, deliberately place your attention on the breathing. Make your inhalation and exhalation as smooth, even, harmonious and ‘beautiful’ as you can. You can either make the inhale and exhale even in length, or the exhalation slightly longer according to your preference. Also, make the changeover at the top and bottom of your breath (from inhale to exhale and vice-versa) as smooth and flowing as you can.
  • At the end of your three-five breaths, relax the body as deeply and blissfully as you can; try and feel your body and bring as much ease and comfort as you can to that feeling.
  • Spend the duration of your session cultivating a sense of smooth, beautiful breathing with deep relaxation of the body.

By doing this exercise regularly for a short period of time (daily if you can), you will quite naturally increase your connection to the beautiful breathing, and accelerate the ‘speed’ at which you are able to start to experience it stably and naturally.

Your inner air conditioning
Today I was walking back to my place of work after lunch, focusing gently on my own experience of the beautiful breathing. It was hot, crowded and I was sweating, but because my mind was in a state of calm abiding, just enjoying the smooth flow of my breathing, I felt ‘cool’ inside. The heat and the sweat did not bother me nearly as much. It was almost like I had some ‘inner air conditioning’ with me. It’s a small observation, but it gives an example of what it feels like to have a stable experience of calm abiding, and how it can alter our basic experience of daily life.

© 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

Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:

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

Saturday June 18th, 2.30-5.30pm – Meditation & Mindfulness for Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention – An Introduction to Contemporary Meditation Practice

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The Eye of the Storm – Finding peace in the non-peace

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would happen if in the moments when you were feeling most disturbed and out of balance you were able to find a place of peace within that same moment? The article below explores how you can begin to do so.

In the spirit of the eye of the storm,


The Eye of the Storm – Finding peace in the non-peace
It’s always pleasant and valuable to seek out peaceful times and places in your day where you can cultivate your inner peace mindfully, but it can also be hugely valuable to learn to notice the peace that is present in the midst of the most stressful situations that you find yourself in, for example

  • When you have multiple demands upon your time
  • When your relationships are in crisis
  • When your health is not good
  • When you face setbacks nervousness or uncertainty

If you think about any of these type of circumstances in your mind or life as being like a storm, to find the ‘peace in the non-peace’ means to go looking for the eye of the storm in that moment; to locate and hold your awareness in that center point. You don’t wait for the storm to subside or go away; you actively look for the point of stillness within it as the activity goes on around and within you.
This is a very powerful way to learn to experience peace, as it is directly contrasted with the stress, movement and turbulence of your circumstances. Cultivating peace in this way also makes you more resilient, as your capacity to endure and relax into stress increases.
So, the next time you find yourself experiencing non-peace, remember the eye of the storm and look for the still point within the turbulence, placing your attention and awareness in that place. Find the peace within the non-peace.

© 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

Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:


Ongoing on Wednesday’s (Jan 13th, 20th) 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Saturday January 16th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Transforming Your Stress into Happiness – Meditation & mindfulness for cultivating a state of optimal flow in your mind, body, heart and life – A three hour workshop

Saturday, January 30th, 2.30-5.30pm  – Meditations for Transforming Negativity and Stress into Energy, Positivity and Enlightenment – A Three Hour Workshop

Starts 4th February – Transforming Stress into Happiness – An Introduction to Integral Mindfulness Meditation – A Five Week On line Course

Click the link to find out about the special 1:1 meditation and mindfulness coaching offer in January!

Integral Meditation Asia

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


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Connecting to Your Big Mind

Dear Integral Meditators,

Where is your mind? In your body, in your brain, somewhere else? The article below offers a meditators perspective!

In the spirit of the Big Mind,


Connecting to Your Big Mind (Is the Mind in the Body or the Body in the Mind?)

A contemporary, conventional view of the mind is that it is inside our body, most often the assumption is that it is in the brain. Our mind sits in our brain, and if we can just figure out our brain, then we will be able to figure out our mind. Right?

The Big Mind
If you have been meditating or practicing mindfulness for a while you will notice that there are times when your mind and energy seem to become open, spacious, almost limitless, transcending the mere experience of your physical body and brain. Even if we are not meditators we will have experienced times where our present moment experience seems to transcend our physical body and brain; perhaps when in love, when in the presence of a beautiful sunset, when we have experienced a profoundly moving work of art, or during a dreaming experience.
In Zen the awakened mind or mind of enlightenment is sometimes called the ‘Big mind’; an experience of a formless, timeless beingness that is without limitation, beyond time, beyond the body and brain,  and beyond the conceptual mind.

The body in the mind
From this point of view our body, and indeed the physical world and universe all exist within the limitless space of our Big Mind. So rather than our mind being in our body, our body is actually contained within our mind! Our brain is seen as a filter that filters out all of the infinite information contained within the Big Mind, enabling us to function operationally as an individual human being in the physical world. If you think about your brain as a computer, and the Big Mind as like the internet, this gives you an idea; the computer helps you to find the information you need from the internet, filtering it out from all the other information on the net.

An Exercise: Experiencing your body and brain in your Big Mind
Sitting quietly, imagine your mind becoming as big as possible; expanding our beyond your body and brain, out into the landscape around you, up into the sky and stars above you, and down into the earth beneath you. Let it become as big as you can, enter into the Big Mind experience. Then think about your body and environment as being contained within your Big Mind; everything you sense, think of and experience is all contained within your Big Mind; it is the context in which everything else is experienced.

Why does this matter?
Spending a period of time each day relaxing into your Big Mind can really change the way in which you experience yourself, your life, your challenges and your joys. Instead of being stuck in your body, you gain access to a bigger, stabler identity that enables you to experience the ups and downs of your life with stability, lightness, creativity and humour.

A final point; your small mind and small life still matters, and looking after it is still important, it’s just that it is contained within a bigger, more spacious identity and context!

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Three Types of Faith

Dear Integral Meditators,

I hope you are having a good weekend, this weeks article looks at how to integrate three different of faith into our life in order to improve our ability to go with the flow, decrease our stress levels and open to different patterns of meaning. I hope you enjoy it!

Final reminder for the online 2 week course starting this Wednesday, 3rd July: Going Beyond Happiness – Using the Wisdom of Paradox to Find a Deeper Level of Fulfillment and Wellbeing in Your Lifeif you enjoy the article below and the ones from the last 2/3 weeks, then you will definitely enjoy and get a lot out of the course!

Yours in the spirit of faith,


Upcoming Classes at Integral Meditation Asia:

Click on event titles for full details

Wednesday 3rd & 10th July – 2 Week Online Meditation course: Going Beyond Happiness – Using the Wisdom of Paradox to Find a Deeper Level of Fulfilment and Wellbeing in Your Life

Wednesdays 3rd and 10th July, 7.30-9.30pm on both days – Mindfulness and Meditation For Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention – A Two Week Course

Three Types of Faith

 You don’t need to be religious to use a mind of faith in a practical and useful way to enhance your quality of life and wellbeing. With so many uncertainties in life we could say that faith and a sense of trust in something is actually one of the most important minds that we can learn to rely upon as the basis of our inner wellbeing.

Here are three types of faith that you can cultivate on a daily basis:

Faith in ourself: This is a sense of trust in our own integrity, care and intelligence to help us through whatever challenges we may face. We don’t need to be perfect before we develop faith and trust in ourself, but we do need to work on demonstrating to ourself our ability to care, to take a positive attitude and to find a way to survive and thrive in life.
Faith in the unfolding process of life: Life is very complex, and there are always many things going on on many different levels at any given time. Looking at the apparent chaos it can occasionally seem like there are no patterns going on, no meaning. To have faith in the process of life means to trust that, whatever way things are turning out for us there is a pattern of benevolent meaning and unfolding. It means to go with the flow of what is happening and be open to the insights and enjoyments that each moment offers.
Faith in something bigger: To have faith in something bigger can be thought of as a formal belief in God if you are that way inclined, but really it means simply to have a sense of a larger force or metta intelligence that guides and informs the process of our life, and of evolution on earth at large. We may not know why many things are happening in our life and around us, but we can nevertheless be open to the possibility that it is a part of a larger pattern of reality of which we see only a small glimpse. To have faith in something bigger is simply to relax into the flow of our life, opening to the sense that we may be being guided by a higher and deeper intelligence.

One minute mindfulness:
To be mindful of a sense of faith in our life, we simply pick one of the three types of faith, develop a feeling for it and then relax into its flow, breathing and resting in its energy for a short period of time. Out of formal mindfulness or meditation on faith we try and retain a sense of faith, trust and flow in our life as we face our daily challenges

© Toby Ouvry 2013, 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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Meditating on the Inner Weather of Our Mind

Hi Everyone,
This weeks article focuses on the relationship between the way outer weather functions and the constantly changing ‘inner landscape’ of our mind. It is a useful analogy that I use a lot, particularly when there is a lot of outer rain and wind like there has been for the last few weeks in Singapore!


Yours in the spirit of flow and change,



Meditating on the Inner Weather of Our Mind 

Reflecting on the Changeability of our Mind and Mental States

One of the main challenges that we face in developing our inner peace and happiness is that our mind seems to be so changeable and unpredictable. Mind training techniques that we learn work for a while and then just seem to ‘stop’ working without any particular reason. We try and do all the ‘right’ things to make ourself happy and yet sometimes our relative happiness and sadness seems as fickle and unpredictable as it has always been.

It seems like one way or another if we are on a search for inner peace we have to factor the inner changeability of our mind into our approach, and learn to work with it rather than against it.


Using the Outer Weather as Our Teacher

One of the practical comparisons that I use when I think about the ever changing state of my mind is that of a landscape and the weather. We all know the weather changes all the time, and most of the time we are able to accept this change without too much of a fuss. This is because we know that it is the nature of weather in a landscape to go through cycles and transformations. There are periods of sunshine, brightness and growth, periods of rain, gloom and cold. This is just the nature of weather.

Similarly if we think about our own mind as existing within the context of the group mind of humanity, or Planetary mind, we can start to understand that there are different “inner weather conditions” that come and go within this inner group landscape.

There are different energies, moods, emotions and thought patterns flowing through the group mind all the time, as well as within the particular landscape of our own mind as an individual. The difference between our approach to the outer weather and our inner weather is that perhaps too much of the time we take our inner weather too personally and too seriously.

Perhaps we can try a new approach where we consciously choose to view the inner weather and landscape of our mind a little more lightly and patiently, like we view the outer weather?


Meditating on the Inner Weather of the Mind

The way I meditate on the inner weather of the mind is not so much a formal technique as simply a perspective or lens through which I choose to view whatever is going on in my mind. If I feel happy, glad, joyful, uplifted etc… I think about this as bright skies, sunlight, bubbling streams, plants in bloom and so forth. I go with the flow of this good weather, knowing that it won’t last forever, but will quite naturally change as time passes by.

Similarly if my mind feels dark and gloomy I see no reason to panic, it is just like a cloudy or rainy day. On this type of day things may feel a little more difficult of challenging, but really there is often nothing really ‘wrong’ so to speak, it is just a passing phase that will go away in its own time quite naturally if we hold it lightly and don’t try and fight with it or take it too personally.

I find approaching the ever changing nature of my mind in this way a very good way of staying simple, centered and just going with the flow of whatever is arising.

© Toby Ouvry 2011, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website