A Simple Practice

Meditation can, in theory, be practised anytime and anywhere – but it usually helps to choose a time and a place that is reasonably quiet and where you are unlikely to be disturbed or interrupted. It is not essential to meditate in a location that is completely silent. If it were, very few of us …

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Podcast Interviews

I’ve been wondering whether to start a Just Meditation podcast, as another way of promoting the learning and practice of meditation, alongside my Blog. Over the years, I’ve been a guest on other people’s podcasts, and it does seem to be a good medium for talking in greater depth about more serious content, like meditation …

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The Rise of Mindfulness

Suddenly, in about 2014, everyone was talking about mindfulness. Although derived from Buddhist meditation practices, mindfulness achieved such unprecedented levels of mainstream popularity that many people may not even be aware of its Buddhist origins. The story of how this came about is, therefore, inevitably bound up with the wider story of the transmission of …

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A Month of Sundays

“The first forty-eight hours are the worst,” said a Benedictine monk of my acquaintance when I told him I was going to be spending a month at Parkminster. “But if you can get through that you’ll be fine!” he added cheerfully. Helpful advice, no doubt, but still – not exactly reassuring. Nowadays, few religious communities …

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Learning to Meditate

It is often said that we live in a society in which everyone is ‘searching for something.’ More specifically, they are searching, we are to infer, for some kind of ‘spiritual’ fulfilment. Sometimes my naturally sceptical disposition makes me think this is just one of those lazy platitudes that we’ve all just taken for granted …

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The Untold Story

In 1994-95 I spent six months living with a small group of Thai Buddhist monks in a forest just north of Aukland, New Zealand. It was, in so many wonderful ways, one of the happiest and most liberating periods of my life, and I wrote about it in my book ‘Tantalus and the Pelican’ (an …

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Just Trying to be Normal

Sunna means ‘empty’ in Pali – the language of early Buddhism – and if it wasn’t for the sign at the top of the drive, one could have been forgiven for thinking that the aptly named ‘Sunnataram Forest Monastery’ was nothing but an empty field on the edge of a wooded hillside about an hour north …

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