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Spiritual aspects of healing – The medicine Buddha

Spiritual healing is the art of bringing a higher, more whole and inclusive dimension of reality to bear upon a lower dimension, in order to bring that greater wholeness, healing and inclusivity to bear upon the lower dimension, thus effecting healing.

(Link to image source)

Dear Integral Meditators, 

The article below looks at principles of spiritual healing practice in general, and also specifically in terms of Medicine Buddha practice, which is something I picked up in my days as a Buddhist monk, and continue to engage with today. If you enjoy the article & are curious, do join me live or online for the Medicine Buddha Healing meditation this Saturday 11am-12.15pm.

Also, 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 Saturday’s session:Get Your Meditation Practice Started Now – The Shortest and Most Time Effective Meditation Workshop Ever

 
In the spirit of healing,

Toby


Spiritual aspects of healing – The medicine Buddha

What is spiritual healing? You might think about spiritual healing in terms of this definition:
Spiritual healing is the art of bringing a higher, more whole and inclusive dimension of reality to bear upon a lower dimension, in order to bring that greater wholeness, healing and inclusivity into the lower dimension, thus effecting healing.
To practice spiritual healing is then basically learning to meditate (Yes, mediate, or channel) higher, deeper dimensions of energy to people or places where healing is needed. It can be done in different ways:

  • To effect physical or psychological healing for ourself
  • To effect physical or psychological healing for others
  • To direct healing energy to groups of people or places on the planet

What/who is the Medicine Buddha
The Medicine buddha practice is an example of a spiritual healing practice. Sometimes Buddha’s are linked to actual people, but more often these are mythic rather than factual stories, and the Buddha in question is more of an embodiment of a particular enlightened quality, a primal archetype rather than a ‘person’. In the case of the Medicine Buddha, he may be thought of as the healing power of all the Buddhas (and our own enlightened Buddha nature) embodied in a human form, albeit with a blue body (!)
Having been related to in this way for over two thousand years, visualizing the Medicine Buddha and reciting his healing mantra provides a ready-made pathway in the human group consciousness that we can use to access this particular spiritual healing energy from the higher dimensions of reality to bring healing to ourself and others.

Paradigms for understanding disease
In the traditional Medicine Buddha teachings, there are four types of disease/illness:

  1. Illness that we can recover from without medicine (physical or spiritual)
  2. Illnesses that we need medicines to recover properly from
  3. Illnesses that have a ‘soul’ level or karmic cause, and that cannot be healed by physical medicine alone, but can be healed through spiritual healing practice
  4. Illness that is essentially untreatable, spiritually or with traditional medicine, and that we cannot recover from once they manifest.

From this we can see that spiritual healing practices like the Medicine Buddha are primarily helpful for the third class of disease, and as a preventative for helping to avoid the fourth class of disease coming into manifestation. In my own practice of the Medicine Buddha, I primarily focus on:

  1. Daily practice as a future disease prevention. This is a bit like taking supplements to increase immunity(!)
  2. Working to build strength and wholeness in the ‘weak’ spots in my body, again making illness and injury less likely
  3. In relation to symptoms of diseases I get, for example reducing pain and activating healing around a recent gastric flu I had. This was in conjunction with regular TCM type medication.
  4. For others I know who are sick and in need of healing, or who are vulnerable to illness

Healing meditation with the medicine Buddha, 3 ways
The methodology used to do spiritual healing is often deceptively simple, in the case of the Medicine Buddha it can be done in a very simple way by:

  • Generating a compassionate motivation
  • Visualizing him in the space in front of you, setting your specific intention for requesting healing
  • Reciting his mantra
  • Imagining healing light and nectar flowing down from his heart (where the mantra sits), into the person, area of the body or part of the world where you want the healing energy to flow
  • Finishing with a brief period of stillness

The mantra itself is Sanskrit:
TAYATHA OM GATE GATE, PARAGATE, PARASANGATE BODHI SOHA

(Link to image source)

This means quite literally ‘Oh doctor (Gate), doctor, great doctor, doctor of doctors, please grant us the healing attainments!’
The practice may look simple, childish even, but combined with good quality intention and focus, the effects can be felt quite rapidly and easily. It’s a practice I have had for years, if your looking for another dimension to your own healing methodologies, this is one I highly recommend.

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 www.tobyouvry.com


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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,

Toby


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 www.tobyouvry.com


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Mindful imagination – From superstition to manifestation

“Mature imagination combined with consistent action can make you an “unstoppable force for the good” in your life, opening up possibilities that surprise & delight you & those around you”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

Imagination is the power of your mind to create mental images & ideas. About yourself, your life, & what is possible. Its potentially a superpower, but used in the wrong way it can create all sorts of problems. In the article below I talk you through how to start to harness its potential mindfully.
If you enjoy the article, it will be the subject of this week’s Tuesday & Wednesday class. You are welcome, live or online!

Quick heads up, I have just put up the Integral meditation deep-dive mini-retreat for the morning of May 25th
 
In the spirit of mindful images,
 
Toby


Mindful imagination – From superstition to manifestation


Our imagination is one of our superpowers, but it can also be a crippling limitation for some people and a debilitating distraction for others. In this article I’ll tease apart these different types of imagination, and offer a way of ensuring that your imagination is more of a superpower for you than a liability!
 
How and where does our imagination start in life?
Our capacity for imagination (image-creation within our mind) starts around 18 months. At this stage we are only able to think from our own perspective, and our sense of the world is that it revolves entirely around ourselves (!) It consists of, instant gratification & magical/fantasy thinking.

  • I want milk, an image of milk appears in my mind & I cry so that it appears, which it does, because a parent brings it
  • I believe if I think of something it will come true

Of course we grow beyond this type of imagination, but it continues to show up for many adults in different ways, for example:

  • Fantasies of ourself being incredibly special & unique, famous stars, with the world at our feet
  • Superstitions thinking: If I think something it will come true, if I see a black cat I will have bad luck, if I stick a pin in a doll of someone they will be harmed by it (‘vodoo’ type beliefs)
  • Excessive indulgence in things like online shopping, I click it and it comes it me. Other types of easy, instant gratification activities

 
What happens if it stays that way?
Then our image making capacity as adults remains severely limited, and cannot be released for mature acts of creativity, problem solving, goal setting, leadership envisioning and so forth. It makes it very difficult to forge a meaningful path and achieve significant things if our image-making capacity is continually distracted by child-like fantasy. 
 
How we can develop dysfunctional imagination as adults
As adults we can also develop ‘imagination-malfunction’ when we think from excessive fear, limitation, or dystopia.

  • We create images of ourself in our mind as a person who ‘could never do that’
  • We out picture the ‘worst-case’ scenario in our mind, with no ‘best-case’ counterbalance
  • We allow the images we have received whilst growing up to entirely determine our sense of what is possible, and never imagine beyond that

If our imagination is trapped in these patterns then it becomes the thing that is limiting our potential, rather than releasing us into our potential.
 
How can we release the power of our mindful imagination?
If our imagination is released from the infantile ego-fantasy and self-imposed limitation of the above, then we can use it to grow. We can use it for:

  • Mature acts of creativity, and the creation of harmony and beauty
  • For problem solving and goal setting, combining this with steady activity towards those goals imagined
  • Leadership envisioning: leading ourself and others toward heretofore unimagined possibilities

 
A mindful imagination exercise

  • Sitting in meditation, become aware of the current imaginative activity in your mind. Be curious (and non-judgmental) about how much of it is mature powerful imagination, and how much of it is of the infantile & self-limiting type.
  • Try doing the same thing around specific areas of your life, notice the role that your imagination plays.
  • Practice acknowledging and witnessing your dysfunctional imagination, with the eventual aim of letting it go and dis-identifying with it
  • Practice deliberately articulating your mature imagination in the service of your goals, inner creativity and self-leadership.

Notice how realistic imagination combined with consistent action can make you an “unstoppable force for the good” in your life, opening up possibilities that surprise and delight both you and those around you… 
 
 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 www.tobyouvry.com


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Integral Meditation training page: Using distractions, sculpting thoughts & soft body

Dear Integral Meditators,

Welcome to the Using distractions, sculpting thoughts & softening the body training page. In it you will learn how to do this integral meditation combination effectively, & you can then use the meditation recordings & readings below to practice. Scroll down below to

  • Watch the video
  • Listen to the studio quality guided meditations. There is a 20minute & an 8 minute version
  • Read the related article

Each of these practices are fundamental to good meditation technique. Once familiar with them, they will continue to help you in your other meditation practices almost continuously!

In the spirit of meditative presence,

Toby

Intro to the practices:

Guided meditations:

Listen to the Twenty minute using distractions, sculpting thoughts & soft body meditation

Listen to the eight minute using distractions, sculpting thoughts & soft body meditation

Related articleUsing distractions, sculpting thoughts, softening the body

The Integral Meditation Training pages are a free resource, but if you feel you have benefitted, & would like to donate to the Integral Meditation training pages & project, you can do so via PayPal or if in Singapore you can do so directly by PayNow on +6596750279. Thanks!

​All content © Toby Ouvry 2024, you are welcome to use or share this page content, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com


VIEW OTHER INTEGRAL MEDITATION TRAINING PAGES


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New Therapeutic Mindfulness coaching service & reading anthology

Dear Integral Meditators,

From September thru December 2023 I facilitated a course called Re-discovering your inner vitality & joie-de-vivre – An introduction to integrative therapeutic mindfulness & meditation.

I am now offering it as a 1:1 coaching service, which can also be facilitated in a group coaching context. You can read about the coaching & training by following the link above. Essentially the question it seeks to answer is “How can we re-work our relationship to the past in a way that helps us to see the present & future with clarity, enthusiasm & vision?”


I have also created this ‘Therapeutic mindfulness reading page’ which is an anthology of all the articles that I wrote during that time. You can find these summarized below, with links to each article.

The recordings of the original course are also available as an online course, if you are interested in that then just drop an email to info@tobyouvry.com

In the spirit of re-awakening inner joy,

Toby


Therapeutic Mindfulness Article Anthology

Creating an inner therapeutic mindfulness space – six positions

The purpose of therapeutic mindfulness is to go back to previous stages in our development in order to reconnect to feelings, emotions, body sensations & memories that we have repressed, denied, or lost touch with. The healthy re-integration of these experiences sets the scene for a renewed sense of wellbeing within our present life, & for safely engaging in higher, deeper levels of personal growth.”

Mindfulness of mood & atmosphere of your life-story

“You might think about your inner mood as being like the weather. If you are playing a game of tennis in a sunny, lightly breezy day, its completely different from playing it on a rainy, very windy day. We can usually shift ourself at least partially toward a better mood if we try, and this then affects everything for the better”

The projector behind you – How the past interweaves your present & future

“Past-focused mindfulness involves delving consciously into past memory & narratives, releasing pent-up energy, and then gently reworking these stories to create a more optimistic and energized outlook

Progressively recovering your joie de vivre (Meditating with your inner child)

“If you are prepared to do the work, it seems there truly are no edges to your level of inner joy”

Meditating with your teenage-self

“The ‘teenage self’ is one of several aspects of our inner-self or psyche that, if we take the time to connect to, we can find ourselves being enriched. For example, if I am well connected to my inner teenager, then I can draw upon his innate curiosity, ambition and appetite for life in a way that other middle-aged folk who lack a vital connection to their inner teenager cannot!”

Suppression & repression – the difference, & it’s importance

“Suppression can be used positively and strategically to enhance our effectiveness and wellbeing in life, whereas repression almost always results in long term inner turbulence and interference in our ability to see and work with our present life as it is”

Re-working your ego by expanding your self-concept (AKA: Van Halen therapy)

In a situation where your self-concept doesn’t believe you can meet & solve a challenge, you can do one of two things. You can give up, or you can change your idea of yourself, making it one that can work with what is presenting

Transcending & including – Integrating the big & the small selves

“As you grow & mature, if you repress your previous selves, they can become ‘allergies’. If part of you remains trapped within them, they become ‘addictions.  Transcending & including means to grow beyond who you were, whilst still giving your previous self a seat at the table”

 All 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 www.tobyouvry.com


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From fusion to Supermind – The journey of developmental mindfulness

“Supermind is a stage and structure of consciousness that has to be earned, step by step. This is different from simply a ‘Big-mind’, or non-dual awakened state that we can have in meditation, but that can occur at any stage in our inner growth”

Dear Integral Meditators,

This week’s article looks at growing your perspective taking capacity through mindfulness. Essentially it explores 5 perspectives:

  1. Your first person ‘I/me’ space
  2. Your second person ‘we/us’ space
  3. Your third person ‘it’ space
  4. Your fourth person ‘self-as-the world’ space
  5. Your fifth person ‘integral perspectives’ space

Growing all these together within you gives what Ken Wilber describes as ‘Supermind’. If you enjoy the article, then do consider joining us for the Exploring your hidden maps of consciousness –mindfulness meditation for growing up course that starts this week!

In the spirit of the journey,

Toby

From fusion to Supermind – The journey of developmental mindfulness

The journey from fusion to ‘Supermind’ is essentially a journey of perspective taking. It is the journey of going from being a baby to a fully developed and integrated human being. A main goal of mindfulness in this developmental sense is to stimulate our growth along that journey, making more and more perspectives functionally available to us as time goes by.

The stages & perspectives of consciousness that we journey along are essentially 1st to 5th person perspectives, and from egocentric, to ethnocentric to worldcentric, to universal/Kosmocentric. Here is a very summary in seven stages:

Egocentric, 1st person, ‘I/me’:

Note with egocentric these are essentially childhood stages, but adults can and do regularly regress to these stages in their daily life.

Level 1 – Archaic/fusion – Our first year of life is spent like this, largely fused perceptually with our physical and emotional environment, reactive to very basic needs, hunger, thirst, warmth, cold etc…

Level 2 – Tribal fantastical – Fantasy wish fulfilment emerges 18months to 3 years old: Superstitions or magical thinking within self, being incredibly special & unique, the world revolves around me (hence the ‘terrible twos!’ etc…).

Level 3 – Mythic fantasy – 4-7 years old – Often termed ‘self-protective, ‘security’, ‘power’ or opportunistic’ level. Self-centred desires for power & control.

Ethnocentric, 2nd person ‘we/us’

Level 4 – Mythic membership – 7-12 years, but still a dominant perspective in many adults lives today. “Belonging-ness” (to groups, family, race, religion etc…) stage. The shift from me focused to we/us focused, or group focused. Strict conformity to the rules. Them vs us. 

Worldcentric, 3rd person, ‘it’

Level 5 – Rational/scientific – The emergence of an objective, 3rd person ‘rational’ perspective, capacity to care for all of humankind, even if not part of our ‘group’. The emergence of true individuality, self-esteem, and goal/achievement focus.

Universal, 4th person

Level 6 – Pluralistic – The ability to take a 1st and 2nd person ‘I/we/’ perspective on our 3rd person rational/worldcentric perspective, resulting in a capacity for deep compassion and empathy for all living beings and the world.

Integral, 5th person

Level 7 – Integral – The ability to:

  1. Take an objective perspective on our 4th person pluralistic perspective, resulting in ‘Universal objective subjectivity’ (!)
  2. Take all the previous developmental stages along with their perspectives (1-6), and ‘transcend and include’ them – Each has their place honoured in the overall picture, but none are identified with exclusively. They function together in an integrated and ‘whole’ way, like a healthy organism.

This integral level of perspective taking is what is referred to as ‘Supermind’. Supermind is a stage and structure of consciousness, which is different from simply a ‘Big-mind’, or non-dual awakened state that we can have in meditation, but that can occur at any of the developmental stages mentioned above.

So then, the interesting thing about this list is, at the moment, all of us have main ‘centre of gravity’ at one of these stages. By practising mindfulness around each of them we can:

  • Unearth the hidden maps of consciousness within us
  • Note which stage we are at, and how that changes or varies in different situations in our life
  • Observe or ‘videotape’ the level you are at in mindfulness meditation in order to transcend & include it, and encourage movement to the next level*

You can then observe your current the lower and higher levels of development within you, ‘cleaning up’ the lower levels that you sometimes notice yourself regressing to, and opening to the higher stages by becoming familiar with what they are and how they function.

Related articles: Your primal self as your object of mindfulness

Transcending & including – Integrating the big & the small selves

*Three named terms in this paragraph from Ken Wilber’s ‘Integral Meditation’ book.

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 www.tobyouvry.com


All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Starts Tuesday/Wednesday evening 9/10th April – Exploring your hidden maps of consciousness –mindfulness meditation for growing up

Saturday & Sunday April 20th & 21st – Integral Meditation 1.5 Day Retreat


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Your primal self as your object of mindfulness

“As we develop from one stage of growth to another as a person, we leave behind the old self in favour of a more evolved one. This new self-sense them becomes ‘I’ or me, with the previous self-identity becoming part of us that we manage or parent”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This weeks article explores looks at oour early-stage development as an object of mindfulness, & what the benefits of doing so might be. If you like it, do consider joining us on the new adventure starting on 9/10th April: Exploring your hidden maps of consciousness –mindfulness meditation for growing up, either live or online!

This week there will be only one meditation class on Wednesday, & it will be on the subject of single-headness (how to manage your stress more effectively thru mindfulness) & ‘head-lessness‘ which is a kind of non-dual meditation.

In the spirit of primal integration,

Toby



Your primal self as your object of mindfulness
 
As we develop from one stage of growth to another (psychologically) as a person, we leave behind, or objectify the old sense of self, in favour of a more evolved one. This new sense of self them becomes ‘I’ or me, with the previous self-identity becoming a part of us that we manage.
 
Our first sense of self – Basic appetites, fusion confusion
 
The first 18 months of our life is characterized by the absence of a separate self-sense. Initially we are ‘fused’ our environment. Later we start to separate our self-sense physically, but remain for a while longer in a state of emotional fusion with our environment and particularly our mother.  This is a  symbiotic or fusion stage, a bit of a fusion-confusion!
This self-sense is accordingly completely dominated by our physiological needs, food, thirst, warmth, coolness, comfort, discomfort, rest.
 
Addictions & allergies – Yes, we left it behind but…
 
We start to grow out of this fusion-confusion stage from 18 months. As a 51 year old I say “I am hungry” rather than “I am hunger!”. I can distinguish myself physically and emotionally from my environment. However, if I have left parts of me behind at that level, either as a secret identity or as a dissociation, then that can result in an ‘addiction’ or an ‘allergy’. For example, regarding hunger:

  • Addiction: If I still have a part of me still fully identified as being (not having) hunger, then this may result in me having trouble regulating my diet and weight, resulting in extreme cases as obesity
  • Allergy: If I have dissociated myself from hunger, then I may be out of touch with my basic hunger needs, not eating properly and being underweight or undernourished. In extreme cases this might manifest in anorexia or bulimia

Sometimes also you may notice a fusion-confusion type experience with your environment or in your relationships. Public spaces become confusing as your senses ‘merge’ with them, or the emotional space between yourself and others becomes very blurred and difficult to regulate. Some of this may be due to a part of self that has been left behind at the primal stage.
 
Clearing up to grow up more fully using mindfulness
 
From a mindfulness-as-therapy point of view, the essential method is quite simple; you bring to mind basic needs like hunger, thirst, as well as experiences of ‘fusion-confusion’ mentioned above (separately, not all at once!), and practice mindfully observing them, and your relationship to them. The making subjects into objects nature of mindfulness will naturally help start to clear up any allergies or addictions that may remain at this stage…
 
My personal experience of being mindful with this stage
 
Regarding basic appetites I discovered that I tend toward the “allergy” relationship to food, I usually have trouble keeping up my weight, and eating is a discipline rather than a joy. So, it helped me re-balance that which was useful.
Secondly the revisiting the fusion-confusion stage resulted in me feeling a surprising increase in clarity regarding my environmental and relational awareness.
 
Integrating, transcending & including
 
A healthy integration of your primal-self* enables you to create healthy self-regulation of your basic needs & appetites. It also helps create a clear distinction of self from others & environment. We have a healthier ‘separate’ self-sense, but can engage (and withdraw from) conscious ‘fusion’ when appropriate.
 
I’d encourage you to spend some time with this as a practice, it seems initially that we should all have grown fully out or this stage. But if you look at problems humans have around basic appetites and self-regulation like food, we can see that there are huge imbalances there. You may be surprised at how powerful and transformative it is for you. It certainly was for me!
 
*In integral psychology this is level 1 of human psychological development, and termed ‘Infrared archaic’
 
Related contentSubjects to objects – How meditation helps you grow to greater degrees of freedom

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 www.tobyouvry.com
 



All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Starts Tuesday/Wednesday evening 9/10th April – Exploring your hidden maps of consciousness –mindfulness meditation for growing up

Saturday & Sunday April 20th & 21st – Integral Meditation 1.5 Day Retreat


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Integral Meditation Asia

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

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A Mind of Ease Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Meditation techniques Mindful Resilience One Minute Mindfulness Presence and being present

Using distractions, sculpting thoughts, softening the body

“Use distractions to remind yourself that you are in the present,

Use your thoughts to sculpt your perception of reality,

Soften your body to still your mind”

Dear Integral Meditators, 

This weeks article explores combining three practices into a short meditation form. I find that putting different practices together makes for more interesting and more complete meditation, and this is one such example, enjoy!

In the spirit of integration,

Toby



Starts Tuesday/Wednesday evening 9/10th April – Exploring your hidden maps of consciousness –mindfulness meditation for growing up

In a sentence: Combine all the benefits of a conventional mindfulness practice with the progressive inner growth & transformation of developmental psychology.

Suitable for: Beginners and more advanced practitioners alike. May be of particular interest to those interested in psychology, coaching, philosophy, & how to combine these disciplines with a living, dynamic meditation practice…read full details


Article of the week: Using distractions, sculpting thoughts, softening the body

What I have done in this piece is to put together three practices, ‘Being mindful of the non-present moment’, ‘Sculpting your thoughts’, and ‘Finding strength through softness’ into an integral practice, where they are done together in a single session. You can do them in the order described, or in a different one as you prefer. Using the order presented, you could say do:

  • Five minutes mindfulness of the non-present moment
  • Five minutes mindfulness of sculpting your thoughts
  • Five minutes mindfulness of inner strength through softness

Or you could emphasize one main practice for 10 minutes, and then doing 2/3 of minutes each of the second two.

‘Being mindful of the non-present moment’

“By studying the non-present moment more closely, often our mind quietens down substantially and becomes more present, without effort on our part”

Watch the distractions coming into your awareness from your environment and senses, and from your mind. Notice that all the sounds around you are in the present moment, and that when you focus on your awareness of them, this can bring you back into the present moment, not away from it. Notice that even though your thoughts may be of the past or future, the thoughts themselves are happening now, in the present! By recognizing this and being present to your distractions, they help you to come into the present moment, rather than taking you away from it!

‘Sculpting your thoughts’

“Look at the thoughts you are experiencing right now, and ask yourself the question; Are they sculpting me, or am I sculpting them?”
The first position here is simply to watch your thoughts. By doing some become aware of your minds mental content, and start to see how each of your thoughts is influencing your perception of yourself and your world. By thoughts I mean not just sentences, but images, memories, mental impulses, anything that is being generated on the mental plane. Then ask yourself the question: “What is the optimal way for me to mentally frame what my mind is dwelling upon, so that I derive maximum value and minimum unnecessary pain from it?”
Practice making small, creative interventions in your thinking process, guiding your thoughts according to the principle of the above question.

‘Finding inner strength & mental stillness through softness’

“How can I still the mind with as little effort as possible, using the softness of the body?”

Whenever you think a thought, the tension or energy of that thought will turn up as an energy in the body. The practice here is to make the body as ‘soft’ and relaxed as possible, so that your body energy is unable to ‘support’ the energy of your thoughts. Whenever a thought tries to appear, relax the areas of your body where you feel the energy of the thought, and let the thought dissolve away. In this way let your mind gradually relax into a still, thoughtless space where you can regenerate your inner strength.

Related readingBeing mindful of the non-present moment
Sculpting your thoughts
Finding strength through softness

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 www.tobyouvry.com



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 – Effortless effort – The art of doing by non-doing, a ten-week meditation course

Tues & Weds 19,20th March, 7.30-8.30pm – Spring Equinox balancing and renewing meditation

Saturday March 23rd, 9-11.30am – Integral meditation deep dive mini-retreat

Starts Tuesday/Wednesday evening 9/10th April – Exploring your hidden maps of consciousness –mindfulness meditation for growing up

Saturday & Sunday April 20th & 21st – Integral Meditation 1.5 Day Retreat


Follow Toby onLinkedInYouTubeInstagram

Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
A Mind of Ease Energy Meditation Insight Meditation Life-fullness Meditation and Psychology Meditation techniques Mindful Confidence Mindful Resilience Mindful Self-Leadership

Single-headedness – Not getting anxious about anxiety

“What are the situations where you tend to put a “Head upon a head”, or create a problem about your problem? Those are the places that would be good to start practicing ‘Single-headedness’!”

Dear <<First Name>>, 

The practice of single-headedness is one that I have been working with various coaching clients over the years, recently I realized that I hadn’t written an article on it, so the one below rights that wrong!

This week’s Tuesday & Wednesday meditation is the  Spring Equinox balancing and renewing meditation all welcome, both in-person or online

And heads up for two short meditation retreats, the first this Saturday: Integral meditation deep dive mini-retreat & second the April 20th & 21st – Integral Meditation 1.5 Day Retreat. If your interested in really deepening your level of practice, then these are two to consider!

In the spirit of single-headedness,
 
Toby 


Not putting a head upon a head – not getting anxious about anxiety
 
When do you put a ‘head upon a head’?
‘Don’t put a head upon a head’ is an expression that I might have picked up from Zen somewhere, but I can’t find the reference, so it may be something that I came up with by myself (!) Essentially what it means is that you make two problems out of one:

  • When you get anxious about the fact that your anxious
  • When you get stressed that you are stressed
  • When you get angry that you are angry
  • When you get depressed about being depressed
  • And so on…

Then you are “putting a head upon a head.” What this means is that you already have a challenge, but as well as feeling the actual stress of the situation, you are feeling stressed about the stress itself, which compounds the difficulty and makes it worse!
 
Not putting head upon a head
So then, to not put a head upon a head, the essential manoeuvre is acceptance.

  • If I am anxious, I work on simply acknowledging that anxiety, accepting it, thereby not adding to the already existing anxiety
  • When I get stressed I create an ‘inner holding space’ for my stress so that it stays simple stress, not stress because I’m stressed
  • If I am angry, I don’t judge being angry too harshly, I accept it and focus on what can be constructively done about it
  • If I am depressed, I don’t add to the burden by thinking “I’m such a looser because I’m depressed, why am I always depressed?” (which is depression about depression), I simply work on holding space for the existing depression in the present, as I find it.

 
Some simple examples
 
Uncertainty
I’m anxious because the result of something that I care about is not entirely certain (Eg: Giving birth, marketing a new product, recovering from an illness or not, giving a speech to an audience…). In such a situation, anxiety and degree of fear would be quite natural. So, I want to be accepting and working with the natural anxiety that I have. If I can do that then I can prevent having to deal with the ‘second head’ of fighting the existence of my anxiety and getting anxious about it!
 
Unable to sleep
Let us say you are in bed, and you must be up early, but you can’t go to sleep. Then you start thinking about how you need to be up early, how tired you will be if you can’t go to sleep. You start getting stressed about the stress of not being able to sleep. Then you try a bit to hard to get to sleep, and the tension of trying too hard makes it even more difficult to fall asleep. It starts to spiral from there. To “Not put a head upon a head” would be to accept that you can’t fall asleep, be a bit curious about it, and relaxing into the experience of non-sleeping. That acceptance and relaxation may mean that you actually start to fall asleep, but even if it doesn’t, your experience of not sleeping will be less stressful and more relaxing.
 
What are the situations where you tend to put a “Head upon a head”, or creating a problem about your problem? Those are the places that would be good to start practicing ‘Single-headedness’!

Related articleWhat happens when you are not afraid of fear?

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 www.tobyouvry.com


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 – Effortless effort – The art of doing by non-doing, a ten-week meditation course

Tues & Weds 19,20th March, 7.30-8.30pm – Spring Equinox balancing and renewing meditation

Saturday March 23rd, 9-11.30am – Integral meditation deep dive mini-retreat

Saturday & Sunday April 20th & 21st – Integral Meditation 1.5 Day Retreat


Follow Toby onLinkedInYouTubeInstagram

Integral Meditation Asia

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

Categories
Integral Meditation Integral meditation training pages Meditation Recordings Meditation techniques

The basic meditation state, functional breathing & flow training page

Dear Integral Meditators,

Welcome to the basic meditative presence, breathing & flow training page. In it you will learn how to do this integral meditation combination effectively, & you can then use the meditation recordings & readings below to practice. Scroll down below to

  • Watch the video
  • Listen to the studio quality guided meditations. There is a 20minute & an 8 minute version
  • Read the related articles

Each of these practices are fundamental to good meditation technique. Once familiar with them, they will continue to help you in your other meditation practices almost continuously!

In the spirit of meditative presence,

Toby


Intro to the practices:

Guided meditations:

Listen to the Twenty minute meditative presence, breathing & flow meditation

Listen to the eight minute meditative presence, breathing & flow power meditation

Listen to the building strengths through mindful flow 10minute meditation

Original articles

Meditation – Not missing your life (Your basic meditation state or space)

The foundational pillars or ‘goal-posts’ of meditative presence

Using mindful flow to train in strengths-building

Functional breathing – four meditations

The Integral Meditation Training pages are a free resource, but if you feel you have benefitted, & would like to donate to the Integral Meditation training pages & project, you can do so via PayPal or if in Singapore you can do so directly by PayNow on +6596750279. Thanks!

​All content © Toby Ouvry 2024, you are welcome to use or share this page content, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com

VIEW OTHER INTEGRAL MEDITATION TRAINING PAGES


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Integral Meditation Asia

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