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Sinking your centre of gravity

“If you observe your body during the day, you may notice is that, if there are a number of things that trigger your stress levels in succession, then your centre of gravity rises higher. If you consciously lower your centre of gravity, this can help build greater resilience to that stress.”
Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article explores somatic awareness and how it can help you deal better with stress.  Enjoy!

In the spirit of  balance,






Bringing your centre of gravity down

If you observe your body during the day, you may notice is that, if there are a number of things that trigger your stress levels in succession, then your centre of gravity rises higher.
For example, if during breakfast you are reminded of a project at work that is stuck, that thought causes your centre to rise a bit from your lower belly up into your stomach.
Then your partner reminds you that you haven’t started to organise for the party on the weekend, so your centre rises up into your chest. This is accompanied by shallower breathing, from the mid and upper lungs, you are no longer using the lower lung.
Then you go to work and 3-4 people are trying to get your attention. You can’t settle into a task, and even more stress is triggered. By now your stress levels are forcing your energy into your upper chest and shoulders. Your shoulders rise towards your ears, you are breathing from the top of your lungs, and your getting brain cramp behind your eyes as you try and ‘think’ your way out of all the uncomfortable feelings you are having!

Sinking your centre of gravity
One simple way to reduce your stress level then is to simply notice when your centre of gravity rises in your body, and spend a few moments bringing it down. here is one simple method that you can use:

  • Notice the height of your centre of gravity in your torso. For example, it may be in your upper chest or clavicles. Place your hand/palm on that level, and breathe, being aware of it.
  • Then place your hand mid-way between your current centre of gravity, and your lower belly area. As you breathe the next few breaths, ‘sink’ your centre of gravity down to this level, taking slightly deeper breaths than usual.
  •  Now place your hand over your lower belly area, just beneath the belly button. Over the next few breaths sink your centre of gravity down from your mid-level down into the belly. This makes your centre of gravity low, with your upper body relaxed. Feel your torso becoming ‘broad’ at the base (hips and belly) and ’narrow’ at the top (head and shoulders), like a mountain or pyramid.

Keeping your centre of gravity low in your body like this helps to release stress as it arises, and decompress stress that has been building up over time. Try doing the exercise three times a day, for just a minute each time, and observe the effect that it has on you.


Article content © Toby Ouvry & Integral Meditation Asia 2019.

Upcoming classes and workshops

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm (Restarts 21st August) – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings (Restarts 13th August), 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Tuesday 12.30-1.30 – Integral Meditation classes at Space2B on Stanley Street

Saturday November 16th, 11.30am-1pm – Get your meditation pratice started now – The shortest and most time effective meditation workshop ever

Saturday November 23rd, 10am-1pm – Qi Gong for Improving your Health and Energy Levels and for Self-Healing

Re-Starts Monday November 4th, 6-7.30pm – The Men’s Group – The path of conscious manhood

Tues  10th & Weds 11th December –  Monthly Full Moon Meditation & Manifestation Session


Integral Meditation Asia

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The Reasons We Resist Deeply Good Feelings

Dear Integral Meditators,

What would happen to your life if you truly committed to feeling the deepest, best feelings that were available to you in each moment? This weeks article explores this theme, and the reasons we often turn away.

Courses and coaching offers for October are detailed in the upcoming courses section.

Yours in the spirit of feeling deeply good,


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia in October:

Sunday October 19th – Mindfulness and Meditation For Creating a Mind of Ease, Relaxed Concentration and Positive Intention

 Launches 24th October – The Meditation for Creating a Mind of Ease Online Course

Special 1:1 Coaching offer valid for October 2014: Get 15% off the 3 session Stress Transformation Coaching Package.

The Reasons We Resist Deeply Good Feelings

The following is a list of reasons why we either choose to accept negative feelings and focus upon them when there are positive ones we could be focus upon, OR we choose to accept superficially ‘positive’ feelings and emotions when there is a choice available to touch something deeper and more profoundly alive within ourselves.

  • There are many varied and often real reasons not to feel good
  • My ever increasing list of broken dreams as I get older
  • My fear of being judged by others (don’t stand out in the wrong way!)
  • Everyone around me seems negative or guarded, why take the chance?
  • The positivity can’t last, I’m setting myself up for disappointment, the feelings will betray me
  • Real, visceral enjoyment and pleasure is not something I am worthy of
  • My partner/child/parent/friend (etc…) is not happy, so why should I be?
  • I’m waiting for someone else’s permission to feel this good
  • I might start having all sorts of creative ideas (and that might be risky)
  • I’m uncertain and worried about my future (to feel good doesn’t match that reality)
  • My business/job is not going well
  • The suffering of the world, the environmental crisis
  • I haven’t forgiven myself for ‘x’
  • I’m addicted to my own pain
  • If I feel really good it will highlight all the areas of my life where I feel pain, I don’t want to b reminded of that
  • If I’m feeling good there will be no one else to blame for my pain
  • I would feel empowered and so would have no excuses for not taking responsibility for my life
  • I will start to feel truly alive (and that would be scary)
  • I’m addicted to feeling ‘high’ rather than actually deeply happy
  • I want to feel and be what gets the approval of others rather than what really serves me

I wrote that little list in 5 minutes before I cooked dinner tonight. It seems sometimes like the choice to feel truly good, whole and well each day despite “all of it” is not the act of the mindless hedonist, but the mindful and courageous few.

© 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 

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That Which Solves All Your Problems and None

Dear Integral Meditators,

All of us crave a final solution to all our problems, a place where we can go and find true peace. The good news is that such a solution it always available to us in each moment.  The challenge is that after we have solved all our problems in this way, we still have to solve all our problems. You’ll see what I mean below.

I’ll be doing a free talk on Mindful Self-Leadership on the 4th May, full information can be found HERE.

Yours in the spirit of problem solving,


That Which Solves All Your Problems and None

One of the fundamental insights from the enlightenment experience induced by meditation is that, behind every tangible experience that we have there is an experience of formless, timeless awareness which embraces, enables and transcends that experience.

The interesting thing is that, whereas the experience itself may give rise to pleasure and pain, dilemmas, anxiety, elation, depression etc, this formless timeless dimension that lies behind the experience is simply and continuously present to what is arising, witnessing what is going on with both benevolent intimacy and (to our perception), terrifying indifference.

Whereas I, Toby as a body-mind am a distinct person on a personal (hopefully developmental) journey through life, the part of me that is simply formless timeless awareness is already at the destination to that journey, and at the same time has never begun that journey in the first place.

Whilst the Toby in this world works to develop a business, become a better, kinder person, work off the weight that the Easter eggs have put on his waist line, sets goals, suffers, and has successes, the formless timeless Toby has no ambition to develop or to achieve because from its perspective everything has been achieved already, and ultimately there was no-thing to achieve in the first place.

While the Toby in time and space craves resolution to his problems, anxieties and dilemmas, as well as the fulfillment of his deepest wishes, the transcendent Toby has no problems, and even if he did (which he doesn’t) they would be solved instantly in the experience of the timeless present.

So, as I think you can start to see spiritual enlightenment, that is a living connection to the formless, timeless, ever present dimension of reality solves all of our problems ultimately, but in the mean time it solves none of them at all! We are still challenged to face off with our challenges in time and space each day with curiosity, courage and care, and do the best we can.

There is no doubt that many people come to meditation and spirituality as a means of escaping from a seemingly intractable, chaotic and painful world, and it is an easy trap to fall into. I however like to think of the peaceful, problemless space of the timeless present as an invitation to get our hands dirty in the world of time and space, to participate fully, to play the game.

As an exercise for this week if you choose, simply sit quietly and think to yourself “Ultimately all of my problems are solved”. Enter, sit with and breathe in this space where everything is well, and all problems never existed. Recognize this space, let yourself go into it.
As you reach the end of the exercise, let your mind full up again with the intractable messiness, imperfection and vulnerability of your life.

Now, go and solve your problems.

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Curiosity, Courage and Care – Cornerstones of the Mindful Encounter

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article is an exploration of the mindful encounter – what it takes to stay truly alive and curious to our own life path each day. I hope you enjoy it! The article also explores three of the core components of Mindful Self-Leadership.

Wishing you all the very best for the Easter weekend,


Curiosity, Courage and Care – Cornerstones the Mindful Self-Leadership Encounter

What qualities are going to enable you to successfully encounter and lead yourself through the challenges of your life with success in the terms that you (not somebody else) define it?

What qualities will encourage a living (rather than mechanical) experience of encountering your life, and encourage you to live your own life story in a meaningful and engaged way?

The cornerstones of this type of ‘mindful-encountering’ are three; curiosity, courage and care:

Curiosity – To practice mindful curiosity means to be committed to being deeply interested and thoughtful about what is arises in your life. This applies not only to the things that are pleasant and desirable, but also the things that make you feel vulnerable, uncomfortable and afraid. Curiosity means a full blooded commitment to being aware of everything that comes into the field of your awareness in each moment and to stay with that awareness throughout the day.

Courage – To sustain a commitment to conscious awareness in your life, to be ‘naked’ to what is arising without editing, armouring or avoiding takes courage; it takes courage to be curious and to be courageous means to engage in our life with constant, unwavering curiosity.

Care – Many of the realities of our mind, of our feeling and of the world around us can encourage us to anesthetize, insulate or armour ourself from our reality, to cut ourself off from it, to not feel it, to look away from it. So the third quality of the MS-L encounter is care; to commit to caring, to not cut ourself of from, to not turn away from that which comes into the field of our awareness.

What are the consequences of not engaging in the mindful encounter?

If you are not prepared to be deeply interested and curious about your life, your wants, your needs, your direction, your meaning, then why or where would you expect to find someone else who is?

If you are not prepared to have the courage to face what needs to be faced in your life, why would you expect someone else to do it for you?

If you don’t deeply care about your life, yourself and the people you share it with, no one can create that experience of caring for you; it comes from committing to it.

If you care, have courage and are deeply curious in your life, significant people around you will tend to see that and respond by giving their own curiosity, courage and care to your endeavors. And even if they don’t, you will have found something that no one can take away from you.

A Meditation Image for the Mindful
Self-Leadership Enc

I found the image for this image on pinterest.  It is of a baby being held by a rescue worker during the London blitz.
Your life is like the baby, it is vulnerable and needs someone to be curious, care for it and have the courage to do what needs to be done to keep it safe and take it in the direction it needs to go.You are the rescue worker holding the baby; it is your job to save the baby and take it to where it needs to go to grow up safe, happy and fulfilled.
There are no other rescue workers; you are the rescue worker of your own life. Other people; parents, coaches, friends, partners can assist but cannot do it for you.
You are in charge of your own mindful self-leadership encounter.

© 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


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The Four “-lessnesses” of Enlightenment

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article looks at four characteristics of enlightened awareness. Explanations of spiritual enlightenment can seem a little like riddles, and this article is a little like that, but at the same time I hope it is accessible enough for you to feel as if you can enjoy exploring enlightened awareness  for yourself.

Yours in the clear and chaotic space of enlightenment,


The Four “-lessnesses” of Enlightenment

Spiritual enlightenment means to locate the centre of your awareness in a place that is radically different from the place where it is for most people.
One of the difficulties of getting to this space of radically different space is that it is really quite difficult to describe, as it is beyond our usual use and experience of language. One of the best ways to try and describe it is by indicating what it is not.
So, with this in mind here are four “-lessnesses” that if we contemplate them can give us an idea of what resting in a state of spiritually enlightened awareness might be like:

Form-lessness – Enlightened awareness itself is formless, it has no physical or mental form. It is just that part of ourself that is pure awareness.
Time-lessness – Enlightened awareness is that part of our awareness that is beyond all ideas of past, present and future
Self-lessness – The Enlightened self is beyond any ordinary concept of self that we might normally have. It has no physical or mental characteristics that we can say ‘this is it’. In this sense it is a selfless-self.
Home-lessness – Our enlightened self has no location in time and space. Its home is in a place where there is no concept of home. Thus is at home everywhere and nowhere.

Four images for connecting to your Enlightened Nature

1. Imagine that the world around you dissolves into space. Then imagine that your body dissolves into space. All that is left is a formless space. Rest quietly in your awareness of that.
2. Drop all concepts of past present and future. Rest entirely in that place that lies beyond our understanding of ordinary time.
3. Forget the person you are. Drop all ideas of your story and personality. Rest in the awareness of that part of you that lies beyond any ideas of who you are.
4. Let go of the idea that ‘home’ is a place that you can ever find or get to. Rest in that part of your awareness is at home wherever you are, whatever you are doing, that does not need a place to go to feel at ease.

Your enlightened nature is a place that you can rest in, a place you can regenerate your energy, a place that gives the rest of your life in time and space perspective a context. It won’t give you the answers to your life, but it is a place that will give you the confidence to go and find those answers for yourself.

For this week you might like to sit and mindfully explore one of the four images above in contemplation, simply allowing your mind to rest for a few minutes in a state of form-lessness, time-lessness, self-lessness or home-lessness.

© 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

Support for you Meditation Practice 

If you enjoyed the article above, and are interested in sound technology that can help you more easily get into deeper states of meditation, the following two tracks work well with cultivating formless, timeless meditations:

Harmonic Resonance Meditation

Audio Serenity

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Mindfully Expanding into Tension, Challenges and Growth

Dear Integral Meditors,

I’m keeping it very practical with this weeks article, it is a way of using your body awareness to enhance the way you approach emotions and situations you find challenging, enjoy!

Quite a lot of meditation and mindfulness courses to enjoy over the next few weeks, starting this Tuesday evening with the Meditation skills class. This is then followed by the 2nd opportunity to attend the Greenworld Meditation workshop on Sunday 2nd of March. On that same day there is a Walking Meditation workshop in the morning.

Finally, date for your diary, the Main March workshop will be Meditations for Integrating your Ego, Soul and Spirit which I should have the full write up for by the next newsletter.

Yours in the spirit of expansion,


Upcoming Meditation Classes and Workshops at Integral Meditation Asia 

Tuesday 25th February, 7.30-8.30pm: Monthly Meditation Skills Class and Coaching Session

Sunday 2nd March, 8-10.30am: An Introduction to Walking Meditation Workshop

Sunday 2nd March, 2.30-6pm: Meditations for Connecting to the Greenworld – An Introduction to the Path of Nature Mysticism

Sunday 16th March, 2.30-6pm: Meditations for Integrating your Ego, Soul and Spirit (Full details out shortly)

Mindfully Expanding into Tension, Challenges and Growth

This is a simple but profound somatic mindfulness exercise designed to change our perception and experience of threatening and difficult energies and situations.

Normally when we experience challenging emotions, difficult situations, anxiety and so forth our fundamental reaction is to energetically ‘contract’ away from it. This is experienced as a kind of energetic tightening or contraction within our chest.
The idea is to practice feeling the anxiety and rather than unconsciously contracting away from it, to consciously expand into it.

Step 1: Bring to mind a situation that is causing you anxiety, fear, discomfort etc in your life. Could be a relationship, a financial uncertainty, whatever.

Step 2: Observe the instinct that your body-mind has to contract away from the difficult energy. This is experienced most often as a tightening in the centre of the chest. It is almost like an effort to turn away from or deny the issue. Take a bit of time here to see and experience this as clearly as you can.

Step 3: Now, whilst holding the same situation in mind consciously relax/de-contract the energy in your heart. As you breathe out feel your energy opening and expanding into the circumstance and the feelings surrounding it. By doing this, invite your body-mind to be friendly with the challenge you are facing. Do this for a few breaths or even a few minutes. Observe how this simple expanding into, rather than contracting away from changes the dynamic of your experience. Get comfortable with the discomfort.

Step 4: Now ask yourself the question “What is it that this situation offering me? What opportunities for growth and creativity are there?”

I was a reading Harry Potter to my daughter last night, and Professor Dumbledore said to Harry whilst they were in a dark cave, crossing a still lake filled with dead bodies “It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more”.
If we make a habit of expanding into our own challenges rather than contracting away from them, perhaps we might find the same kind of thing?

© 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

Sample feedback from meditation coaching client:

I was a relative mess when going to see Toby. Talking to someone always helps, but Toby’s easy “beginner’s” meditation sessions were a great way to control the anxiety I was suffering. I also found Toby relating his personal experiences to my own as a great way of telling me that I wasn’t alone. I would recommend this style of coaching to other people. Whilst Toby has had a different background to most of us, he is an “every day” guy which helps one relate to their own issues and makes the “strange new world” of meditation, easier to approach. Toby is a professional operator – BW

Click HERE to find out more about Toby’s 1:1 Coaching Services

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The First Task (and Achievement) of Meditation

Dear Integral Meditators,

At its best meditation is a practice that leads over time to a personal, direct and stable experience of enlightened awareness that is not defined by any religion, theory or philosophy. This weeks article explores the first step…


The First Task (and Achievement) of Meditation

The first task and result of a decent meditation practice is to create a unified body-mind. This means to become aware that our mind and body are in continuous relationship with each other. When we have a thought in our mind, this translates into a physical energy and posture in our body. For example when our body feels tired or refreshed this easily and often affects the dialog that we are having in our mind.

For most people this relationship, whilst intellectually understood is not seen and experienced in reality; when we are caught up in our mind we become unaware of the posture and energy of our body. When we are focused on our bodily feelings our mind often gets left out.
So then the first task of meditation is to use awareness and mindfulness to see how our mind and body affect each other and to help them to communicate and work together as a single unit or partnership, rather than working against each other and causing each other friction.
When through awareness and meditation we are able to create a unified body-mind then two positive results come:

  1. Our unified body-mind starts to perform at a level that is far greater than our body and mind could ever do as individual units. As a result our capacity for creative growth in all areas of our life increases. Whether in our work, our relationships, sports or spiritual development the capacity to develop and maintain a unified state of body-mind dramatically increases our potential and performance.
  2. The harmony created between our body-mind creates a space of concentrated stillness.  This stillness and harmony gives us a deeper inner peace and stability within which we can start to access higher, deeper and more subtle levels of consciousness that lie beyond our everyday body-mind. Thus it acts as a doorway to the next level of meditative or consciousness development.

An image of the unified body-mind
In integral literature the unified body-mind is sometimes called the Centauric level of development. A centaur is a mythical creature with a human head and torso with the lower body of a horse, half animal, half human. Thus the centaur symbolizes the unity of our animal body and rational mind, our instincts with logic, our conscious mind with our unconscious mind.

How to work on unifying your body-mind each day.
Take a topic in your life. It could be to do with work, relationships, any area you want to investigate.
Bringing to mind the subject and allow in your mind to explore it with thought and emotion. Observe the principal patterns of thought/emotion that arise.
Now turn your attention to your body. Be aware of the energy that arises in your body whilst you have been generating the thoughts and emotions in your mind together with the posture that your body has adopted. Observe how thought and emotions create a language of feelings and postures within the body.

Finally, observe with awareness the co-arising of thoughts/emotions in the mind together with feelings/posture within the body. See how they are a single, unified, symbiotic experience. Take this awareness of your unified body-mind as your object of awareness for the remainder of the time you have set aside.

Working with this exercise even for a short time each day over a period of time will help you to instinctively start to view the body-mind as a unified entity and to experience the benefits that result.

© 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


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The Way of the Rat

Dear Integral Meditators,

If you look at my website, articles and workshops, you’ll see there is quite a lot of material on transforming difficulties, re-directing negativity into positive energy and so on. Who taught me all this? Well I had a meeting with a rat 14 years ago that set me on the right track…

Yours in the spirit of fur and claws,


The Way of the Rat

When I first came to Asia as a Buddhist Monk in 1999, I stayed for 6 months or so in Johor Bahru at a small Buddhist Centre, whilst making regular trips into Singapore to explore the possibilities of setting up a meditation center there.
Over the 2-3 days of new year period 2000-2001 I was at this small centre, pretty much all alone, and at the time having doubts about my capacity to do the work that I had been asked to do. The meditation center was an apartment on the top story of a shophouse, with the stair well being the only way in and out.
During this period of aloneness and self-doubt, a large rat ran up the stairs from the street and disappeared under a cupboard before I could scare it back out. Realizing I was stuck with it for the night, I shut my bedroom door firmly before bed!
The next morning I was sitting meditating on the floor in the main shrine room, deeply relaxed, when suddenly I felt this pressure on my knee. I opened my eyes and this big rat had crept up on me and now had its front paws on my knee and was staring up at me inquisitively. He only had half of his fur, and was clearly a bit worse for wear! I had actually been in quite deep meditation, and so having a big rat suddenly leaning on my leg and staring up at me really shocked the cr**p out of me! I jumped up very quickly with a yell and he then ran off and hid in my bedroom.
I never saw him again. After checking he had moved out from my bedroom, I left front door open that night, with the metal gate shut, and I think he must have just gone down of his own accord when he found there was nothing much to eat!

Qualities of the rat
My encounter with the rat was the beginning of a series of experiences where I became aware that chance meetings with animals were actually playing and active part in my spiritual path and journey. This was a time in my life where I had really been thrown back on my own resourcefulness and capacity to survive, persist and problem solve as intelligently as I could. What better a companion, example and object of meditation could there be for me than the rat, an animal that survives and thrives in the most difficult, dirty and persecuted of circumstances?

Looking out for animals in your life
If a dragonfly flies through your window and spends a couple of hours with you while you are cooking dinner, or you go for a run and see a snake in the path, it’s worth just exploring what the qualities of the animal are and how its virtues and strengths could be applied to the challenges that you are going through right now. You may find it surprising how quickly your mind can free-associate a tangible and useful meaning between the qualities of the animal and what you need to do.

Re-awakening to our intimacy with the animal kingdom
For our ancestors living close to nature it would have been natural to feel close to animals (to both love and fear them), and to see spiritual meaning in their interactions with them. I think contemporary society has numbed our sense of intimacy with the natural world, but looking out for the coming and going of animals in your life in the way described above can be a first step toward re-awakening our own intimacy with, care for and support from wild creatures, even the dirty ones that live in our drains!

© 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 Sound of Silence

Hi Everyone!

Inner silence is often spoken of as one of the main goals of meditation, but how can you go about getting there? In this week article I talk about something called the “sound of silence” as an object of meditation that can really help enhance our capacity to move into a space beyond thought without too much difficulty.

In the spirit of silence,


Meditating on the Sound of Silence

When I was young I can remember sitting in my bedroom, or lying on the bed and becoming intensely aware of in inner ‘ringing’ in my ears that became louder and more prominent the quieter my surroundings became. I used to enjoy just listening quietly to this sound and allowing my mind to become free from thought almost effortlessly as a side effect of listening.
Now that I am an adult and a meditator, I find that this inner “sound of silence” makes a very pleasant object of meditation; it is constant, relaxing and, with a little practice you can learn to ‘hear’ it even when there is quite a lot of sound around you. Because it is constant and continuous, it is has a natural relaxing effect on the mind, which gently encourages us to enter into a state of non-thinking.

One way in which you can encourage a greater sense of stillness and silence as you are listening is to focus on your brain and try and find the inner space or cavity in the middle of the brain that the Taoists call the “cavity of original spirit”. This is an actual space in the centre of the brain where, if you place your attention there you find that there is no mental activity whatever, it is literally a silent space that you can find by exploring and finding it using your own awareness. It is in the area where the thymus and hypothalamus are located in the brain, but you really don’t need to know too much about the brains actual anatomy, if you just go into the middle of your brain and explore, you’ll find that there is a specific place where, if you place your attention there it has a naturally quietening effect upon the mind.

Meditating on the sound of silence:
So, a basic meditation on the sound of silence would look something like this:

  • Sit down somewhere reasonably quiet and focus on listening. After a short while you will start to become aware of a gentle high pitched sound within the ear that is ever present, but that becomes especially prominent when everything around is quiet. Once you have found the sound of silence, simply focus on it gently and allow your mind to relax into the experience.
  • If you want to, you can then enhance the depth of the silence by combining your focus on the sound of silence with deliberately locating your attention in the central area of the brain, or “cavity of original spirit” as explained above.
  • Remain focused in this way for as long as you wish, it makes a great short three minute meditation, but you can also use it as a way of moving to deeper, expanded states of consciousness in longer meditations.
  • Once you have finished the meditation, do take time to ground yourself fully into your physical body and environment, particularly if it is a longer meditation!

© 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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Dreams, Meditation and Working with the Bright Side of Your Shadow

Hi Integral Meditators,

The dreams and imagined images in our mind can be a powerful source of inspiration and growth. This weeks article looks at how we can go about capitalizing on positive dream and imaginary images that our mind produces by considering them in the light of our golden or bright shadow, or the positive part of our repressed unconscious.

Wishing you all the best in your inner journey,



Dreams, Meditation and Working with the Bright Side of Your Shadow

The Shadow is the part of ourself that we have repressed or rejected and that lies within our unconscious mind.
Normally when the shadow is talked about it is referred to as the dark, damaged or broken part of our self. However it is also equally true that we reject parts of ourself that are strengths and positive qualities but that we do not believe we are capable or deserving of. For example we might be a potential very good public speaker, but because of excessively shy or humble nature we repress and deny that capacity and have no awareness that it exists within us.
One of the ways that we can start working with our bright or golden shadow is to look for images and figures that come up in our dreams that seem to indicate a part of ourself that we are not aware of that seems to have positive potential. Once we have identified such a dream figure, we can then work with it in meditation in order to find out what part of our bright shadow it represents, and how we can go about integrating it consciously into ourself as well as expressing it in our life.

Here is one example from my own shadow work: A couple of nights ago I had quite an extensive dream with Robert Plant in it (the former lead singer of Led Zeppelin). In the dream I spent quite a long time chatting and hanging out with him, ending in a concert in a small venue with other related figures like David Lee Roth (ex lead singer from Van Halen).
So, observing the prominence and clarity of the dream I decided to do a little bit of shadow work with it, using the 6 step shadow process that I teach in my workshops on the shadow:

Step 1 – Seeing/spotting the shadow: In this case the subject was already clear, the figure of Robert Plant appearing in my dream
Step 2&3 – Feeling and interpreting the shadow: Recalling the dream, the feelings and ideas I felt when I focused on RP were a feeling of ‘shining’; not being afraid to be centre-stage when necessary and also a commitment to staying at the edge of my creative process. Robert Plant as a lead singer quite obviously embodies the ability to be the centre of attention (which I myself have some aversion to), and his life has always been a commitment to never resting on his laurels, and working on music projects close to his heart, even if they are not popular or famous
Step 4&5 – Being it and owning it: Now I have identified the qualities embodied by my dream image – the capacity to ‘shine’ and the commitment to staying on the edge of my creative process. So during this stage in my contemplation I focused on really integrating a sense of these qualities as a part of ME, a part of who I am.
Step 6 – Integrating it: The final stage of the golden shadow practice is then to focus on integrating and expressing this “new” part of ourself into our daily life.
So for me deliberately placing myself in situations where I am being a little more positively extrovert as well as re-committing to staying on the edge of my own creative process becomes my follow up practice.

A Practice for the Week:
Watch what positive images/figures come up in your dreams (or daydreams if you can’t remember your sleeping ones!). Once you have one or more image/figures to work with, practice exploring and integrating what part of your bright shadow they might represent by using the steps outlined above.

© 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