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Our History

In 2008, Zen-master, poet and peace-activist Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village community started a global Wake Up movement as a way to encourage young people to practice togetherness and nurture collective awakening.

Two years later, Wake Up London was founded by a group of friends who met each other for the first time on a retreat in Nottingham in September 2010. We started out with about 10 friends meeting for self-facilitated Afternoons of Mindfulness.

Now, we have 30 to 40 people each week attending our sessions, and a growing volunteer base who help to run the meetings each week.

We are grateful for the support of our sister community, the Heart of London sangha, who offered us a place to practice in 2010, for their guidance on facilitation and all of their resources that we can use for our meetings.

Our Aspiration

We aspire to be a place of refuge, nourishment and support for young people aged roughly 18-35. We want to provide a unique space for young people to practice together and share deeply from the heart whenever that feels needed. Practising together as a community of friends, we can create a strong collective energy of mindfulness that can nourish our joy, heal our pains, develop our understanding and love and cultivate peace within and around us.

We gather weekly to practice sitting and walking meditation, to read books from Thich Nhat Hanh, practice deep relaxation, exercise mindful movements, mindful speaking and listening, and recite the Five Mindfulness Trainings. We organize retreats to refresh and strengthen our practice. Occasionally we organise “meditation flash mobs” and public events to promote meditation, peace and unity in the city. 

We sometimes organise public events together with monastics from Plum Village.

Inclusivity

While Wake Up London draws its inspiration from the Buddhist teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, our community is not exclusively Buddhist. Mindfulness is a capacity that we all have. Our community is focused on practice and not on beliefs or ideology. We honour the unique roots of every individual and you can join as a Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jew, or Muslim as well as an agnostic, atheist or member of any other religious or spiritual grouping.

A good community is needed to help us resist the unwholesome ways of our time. Mindful living protects us and helps us go in the direction of peace. With the support of friends in the practice, peace has a chance.

THICH NHAT HANH

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