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Awake in the World festival – 12 – 15th September 2013


Join us for a four-day festival of meditation, arts and social vision exploring the notion of creating an ‘awake’ or ‘enlightened’ society, and developing the practice of being fully alive in the present moment.

How do we nurture the inner resources needed for the challenges of living and working today? Can creating space for a practice of meditation or creativity transform what we do in the world?

Highlights will include:

• Workshops & discussions with professionals from fields as diverse as social action, climate change, mindfulness, education, psychotherapy and the arts
• Sessions on Non-violent Communication , Working with Emotions and Running with the mind of meditation , plus a workshop with Wake Up London on the Path of Generation Y
• Teachings from Sakyong Mipham and a day on Chogyam Trungpa – celebrating their vision of enlightened society

Also “Awake in the Park” – a meditation flash mob in Russell Square Gardens on 14 September:


Wake Up London and our friends at Awake in the World invite everyone to come and meditate together at Awake in the Park, and be part of creating an awake society in the heart of London.

Meditating together in public is a way to celebrate our very real capacity to generate wakefulness, already, in the here and now – and to use this as a force for positive change in the world around us.

A short guided meditation instruction will be given at the beginning of the meditation, and then we will sit together until the meditation ends with the sound of a bell. Please bring a cushion to sit on if needed. We will be in front of the Lime Tree Cloister on the North side of the Gardens – nearest tubes are Russell Square or Euston.

All welcome – whether experienced or new to meditation, and of any faith or none. The more we connect together, the stronger the benefit for ourselves and our society – and an awake world.

Awake in the Park takes place during Awake in the World – a festival of meditation, arts & social vision at nearby SOAS – including a workshop & teachings offered by Wake Up London.

More information:

News & EventsPeace SitWake Up London

Meditation flash mob and picnic in Regent’s Park this Sunday

This Sunday, we are joining our meditation flash mob with Arvind Devalia’s legendary picnic that takes place every year. Elina from Wake Up London interviewed Arvind Devalia recently:

Arvind Devalia

Arvind Devalia

Elina: Arvind welcome to Wake Up London! Though we have seen you at various Meditation Flash Mob events in London over the last year with your camera, most people may have no idea who you are and what you do.

Arvind: Elina, thanks for the warm welcome today. And for welcoming me to your events over the last year.

I must say I really enjoy your events and I always feel truly uplifted every time I share the space with you and your friends.

In simplest terms, I am here to put the “sizzle” back into the world and into people’s lives. I do this through my coaching, books, blog posts, speaking gigs and of course my events.

I have been coaching now for a decade and have published 10 books, one of which is a major Amazon bestseller in its category – “Get the Life you Love”.

And of course this year it’s the 12th year of my annual “Friends & Friend’s Friends Picnic” which is happening this Sunday (21st July) in Regents Park.

Elina: Arvind, one of the things you talk about in your work is your 3Cs – “Commitment, Connection and Contribution”. Please explain more what you mean by this?

Arvind: I believe that we should all lead a life of Contribution, Connection and Celebration. Let me go through each one in turn.

Contribution is all about making a difference to other and looking for ways to serve.

Connection is about connecting with people at a deeper level and seeing how you can bring people together and create a community.

Celebration is about living life to the full and looking for ways to bring joy into your life and that of others each day.

Which brings me nicely to my annual picnic in Regents Park which is on this Sunday (21st July).

Every year I organise a picnic in Regents Park called “Friends and Friend’s Friends Picnic” whereby I bring together 100’s of people and this is the highlight of my year every year. I have been so lucky and blessed with the people I have in my life that it’s my privilege to bring people together not just individually but on a bigger scale.

Elina: Yes, your legendary picnic! Almost everyone in London seems to have heard about it! Tell us more how this came about?

Arvind: 11 years ago, I had this vision of bringing together the various people in my life for a day of celebration of life.

I invited all my friends and immediate family for a fun day in Regents Park and the first year we had about 40 people turn up despite it being a typical British summer day i.e. it was raining!

My intention was to create a community from all the people in the different spheres of my life – friends, family, neighbours, coaching clients, business associates and really anyone I had interacted with in the previous few years.

Since then, the picnic has really grown and some years we have had almost 300 people!

Elina: Great! I can see how the picnic fits in nicely with your philosophy of the 3Cs – contribution, connection and celebration!

Arvind: Indeed. I am contributing to a lot of people by creating a fun and special day with the intention of everyone having a super, fun day in the park.

At the same time, I am also connecting a lot of people in a unique setting and with a common goal of celebrating life. I have been amazed and blown away with some of the connections that have come about through my picnic. One day soon, I am sure we’re going to have a wedding between a couple who first met at the picnic!

And of course, the day is a day of celebration!

If you can’t celebrate life and have a lot of fun with such amazing people in a beautiful setting, what’s the point of living!?

So yes, my annual picnic is a super day of contribution, connection and celebration!

Elina: Why did you choose Regents Park?

Arvind: For the simple reason that I believe it’s the best park in London! It’s so well kept and offers so many things to do and see on a Sunday.

Besides, it’s convenient and easily reached since it’s in central London.

Actually – the real reason I chose Regents Park – it’s near to my home in St Johns Wood;-).

Elina: I am really looking forward to finally attending this Sunday for the first time, after hearing so much about it all these years. What should people bring?

Arvind: Firstly brings lots of energy! Bring your own food & drinks for yourself – plus a bit extra to share. And bring any musical instruments and games you would like to play.

As it’s going to be another very hot weekend, do also bring sun protective cream and lots of water.

Elina: Super. And what’s the agenda or format of the day?

Arvind: There’s no agenda – except you must be willing to be chilled out and enjoy yourself!

The format is free-flowing and I just let things flow and happen as they are meant to. However I do frequently go around the group and ensure everyone is okay and enjoying themselves.

I always bring my African drums so we’ll be doing a lot of drumming and dancing – so everyone please do bring any portable musical instruments!

I’ll also be bringing my hula hoops, Frisbees and other games.

And Elina, thanks for suggesting a session of laughter yoga – that’ll bring even more joy and laughter to the picnic this year!

We usually end up having a mad game of mixed football – and of course we also eat a lot

Elina: I know you have also created a separate Facebook event page for the picnic. How can people find out more about the day and the exact location in Regents Park?

The best way to find out more about the picnic is the special page on my website:-

Friends & Friend’s Friends Picnic 2022 (Year 20!)

Then the Facebook event page is here:-

Do visit the Facebook page and confirm your attendance.

And of course, please bring all your friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues etc.

This year, the event has even been featured in TimeOut London magazine and you can read the online version here:-

TimeOut magazine has described the picnic beautifully:-

Indian author Arvind Devalia is on a mission to ‘create a movement of people who want to make the world a better place whilst also improving their own lives’. One of the ways he reaches out is through his annual FAFF picnic – which is in its twelfth year now – inviting people to bring their families and friends down for a day of pleasant picnicking (bring your own food), games, African drumming, dancing and guided meditation. The picnic will take place whatever the weather. NB: Enter the park via Hanover Gate.

Elina: And where is the picnic held in Regents Park?

Arvind: The picnic is held in the same spot every year. Please refer to the map on this page:-

Friends & Friend’s Friends Picnic 2022 (Year 20!)

All those years ago, I chose the exact picnic spot very carefully – it’s easy to find, it’s near the toilets, a café and a kiddies playground. There is also a paddling pool and a boating lake nearby. So there’s a lot to do!

Elina: What’s the best way of finding the exact picnic spot?

Arvind: This weekend is the cricket test match at Lords and it’ll be really buzzing on Sunday all around St Johns Wood and Regents Park, unless the match finishes early in less than 4 days!

There’ll be thousands of people in the area, looking for our picnic and meditation spot:-)

The cricket authorities have therefore very kindly provided us with a SpecSavers hot air balloon to mark the EXACT spot of our picnic!

It’s now very easy for all of you to find exactly where the picnic is. We’ll be based at the far end from where the cordoned off area is for the balloon.

So wherever you are in Regents Park, just look for the SpecSavers balloon and walk to its base!

Elina: What about people who are not able to attend this weekend? Any suggestions for them?

Arvind: If you are not able to come to London for this picnic, then no matter where you are in the UK or in the world, how about organising your own?

Check out my simple guide on how to hold your own picnic anywhere in the world:-

Elina: Thanks Arvind for organising this – and for inviting the Wake-Up community to your picnic on Sunday!

Arvind: It’s truly an honour and a privilege to have you all join us and co-creating this gathering. Thanks for accepting – and I am so looking forward to joining you all for the meditation and creating a wonderful sacred space for the picnic!

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MindfulnessNews & EventsWake Up London

Join us for an Evening of Mindfulness this Thursday!

This evening with Wake Up London offers us time and space to come together to disengage from all the busyness and begin to reclaim our freedom.

Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive and present with those around you and with what you are doing. With the tools of mindfulness practice, we will learn how to stop and listen more deeply to ourselves and others, to explore what binds us and what can make us more free.

When: 20 June 2013
Where: The Scoop At More London, 2A More London Riverside, London, SE1 2DB.
Cost: Free
Nearest tube: London Bridge or Tower Bridge
Directions: The Scoop is an outdoor amphitheatre situated between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, for directions, click here
For: Everyone
Bring: Feel free to bring a cushion/stool and mat if you have one.


18:30 Introduction to silent meditation
18:35 Silent meditation
18:40 Introduction to mindfulness
18:45 Guided meditation
19:15 Mindful movements
19:25 Silent meditation
19:40 Sound bath – invitation to chant whatever sounds or mantra resonates and bathe the amphitheatre with our collective voices
19:50 Event finishes

This event is in collaboration with London College of Spirituality and is part of the More London Free Festival running between June to September 2013. For more information, click here:

If you’re interested in exploring mindfulness practice in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, you can check out these communities in London:

Wake Up London – for people aged 16 to 35
Heart of London Sangha – for people of all ages
The Community of Interbeing UK– entire listing of communities in the UK

CommunityNews & Events

Music and Poetry Evening – Saturday 18th May

Music and Poetry Evening
Saturday 18th May 6:30pm to 9pm
Friends Meeting House, near Charing Cross

Please note, there is no Afternoon of Mindfulness this Saturday 18th May because our room is being used for an event.

However, in the evening from 6:30pm to 9pm, you are warmly invited to our Music and Poetry Evening in our usual venue. Confirmed performances include Charlie Shuttler, Kareem Ghandour, Joe Holtaway, Megan Gray, Anna Wawryzyniak and Tom Manwell.

We ask for a donation of £5 that will go towards the rent of the room and you will receive a free copy of Peace Sounds.

You’re welcome to bring some food and drink to share.

Enjoy these videos from last year’s event!

We hope to see you there. Please email us at if you have any questions.

Wake Up London


News & EventsPeace SitWake Up London

Meditation Flash Mob on International Women’s Day!

Wakeupwomensday IMAGE

March 8th is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women’s past, present and future. It is a day that offers the opportunity for all to acknowledge all of women’s accomplishments and to re-dedicate ourselves to the empowerment of all women and girls around the world.

Join us for a 1/2 hour silent sitting/meditation and hold in our hearts all the great women who have graced our lives and the world at large. May we send our compassion and love to all women who live in the despair of poverty, inequality, violence, trafficking, slavery, and abuse. May we envision a world where no woman is marginalised or abused, and where we can all live together as brothers and sisters, in peace and freedom.

When: Friday 8 March 6:30pm to 7:10pm

Where: In between Gabriel’s Wharf and National Theatre, Southbank, SE1 9PP in the space directly above Thames Beach (see picture:

Nearest stations: Southwark & Waterloo

Bring (optional): Something comfortable to sit on. A candle. Something meaningful to you that honours an important woman/women in your life – eg, a photo. A small gift such as a flower or a handwritten poem/quote to give away to a friend or stranger at the end of the event.

After the sitting, we will have a 10 minute soundbath where we chant any sounds we like, such as Om, Ah, Nah.

This event is open to everyone, women and men, children, people from any religion, faith and culture.

Find out more about International Women’s Day and ways to support women all year round.

Join us on MeetUp for updates on future meditation flash mobs.

RSVP on Facebook

News & EventsPeace SitWake Up London

Upcoming Afternoon of Mindfulness + Festive Evening + Meditation Flash Mob

You are invited to go within.

Our next fortnightly Afternoon of Mindfulness is on Saturday 8th December, at our usual time from 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM at our usual venue. We will practice various mindfulness practices in the tradition of our teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, or Thay, as he is affectionately known.

After the session, we invite you to a festive mindful meal. It will be a wonderful opportunity to spend some informal time with one another before many of us depart for our holidays. You are welcome to bring a vegetarian dish to share with us. Feel free to bring musical instruments and games too.

We will also be taking part in Amnesty International’s greeting card campaign, where we will be writing a message of support to prisoners of conscience. You can bring along some prepared cards, or we can make cards on the night.

Join us for the final meditation flash mob of the year in the magnificent Great Court of the British Museum, from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. In the spirit of the festive season, we invite you to bring a handmade gift to give to a stranger or friend afterwards.

Click here for the Facebook invitation

MindfulnessNews & EventsWake Up London

Mindfulness Workshop in London

The Mindfulness Workshop at Kings College Chapel on 20 October was a great success!

Around 100 young people gathered together to practice mindfulness as guided by monastic students from Plum Village, international monastery and meditation centre of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. Thank you to everyone who came! Your practice and openness was a gift to us and made the day feel very peaceful and at ease. A big thank you to the chaplain at Kings College for allowing us to transform the beautiful space into a meditation hall.

You can see pictures of the event here

Also check out the pictures of the meditation flash mob that took place after the workshop.

News & EventsPlum VillageRetreats

London Educators Retreat 2012

Non-residential mindfulness retreat for teachers, youth workers and all who work with young people.

From Saturday, 27 (8am) to Sunday, 28 October (5pm) 2012 (non-residential)
The American School in London, 1 Waverley Place, London NW8 0NP

The Educators Retreat is an opportunity to develop mindfulness both in ourselves and in our work with children and young people and to practice ways to cultivate mindfulness in educational contexts such as classrooms, college and universities, staffrooms and communities. We will explore the workings of our bodies and minds and learn how to use the power of silence, appreciation, self-care and compassion for others to increase clear and ethical thinking and action. During the retreat, we will share our lived experience of working with young people. We will also consider how we may use the techniques and practices of the retreat to help us form and sustain more mindful communities at school and at home.

This retreat is part of a wider long term initiative by Plum Village which is attempting to help school staff and students to develop mindfulness using Plum Village principles and practices. This initiative seeks to help teachers and other school staff to:

– develop a personal practice of mindfulness
– cultivate mindfulness in their students including the skilful use of classroom based activities materials based in the unique Plum Village – tradition
– build supportive schools and surrounding communities for teachers, parents and students.

For more information:

News & EventsWake Up London

Upcoming events

Just to remind you that our next fortnightly Afternoon of Mindfulness is Saturday 25th, 2:30pm to 5pm at the Friends Meeting House. Check out this page for directions. Do come a little before 2:30pm so we can start promptly.

The stuff we do in our Afternoons of Mindfulness is practice sitting and walking meditation, listen to a teaching by our teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, and share and listen to one another mindfully. We deepen our practice of mindfully, with the help each other, our brothers and sisters on the path. We welcome a donation to help support our sangha. Herbal tea and cushions available.

Other events:

Thursday 16 August – 7pm to 8:30pm: Public Display of Positive Messages
Millennium Bridge
With all the good vibes in the air lately in London, lets get together and expand it! Bring a sign with a positive message and show your beautiful smile!
More info:

Saturday 18 August – Action packed day!

1. Going Deeper 2.30-5pm – Friends Meeting House

A chance for those already grounded in the practice to explore The Five Mindfulness Trainings more deeply together. We look deeply into our own practice with the trainings through meditations, dharma discussion and touching the earth! Please bring some vegetarian food to share if you would like to stay for dinner or film night!

2. Film Night 7pm – 9pm – Friends Meeting House (first ever film screening!!)

A screening of Werner Herzog’s Wheel of Time – A look at the largest Buddhist ritual in Bodh Gaya, India. Amazing scenes and stories from this Tibetan festival, including interviews with the Dalai Lama. An estimated 500,000 Buddhists attended the initiation at Bodh Gaya, some travelling years on foot to participate, the film contains footage of never before seen rituals and unbelievable scenes of devotion from the pilgrims. Should be a lovely night, I hope you can join us, Please bring some vegetarian snacks to share!

3. Meditation flash mob on the Roof Terrace, near St. Pauls Cathedral 7pm – 7:40pm

Yep, we have a clash with the film night – oops!
But here’s the info:

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Mindful content from our community

Wake Up London is a community of individuals practicing together to promote peace and reconciliation within ourselves and for our planet. We’d love to highlight what’s happening within our community, and how the practice is positively impacting our society.