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Save The Date – Yoga Flash Mob!

We are excited to be collaborating with Wellicious for a Yoga Flash Mob this Summer to get into the Olympics spirit.

The location and teacher will be announced soon, but sign up to the event via this link below, so we can keep you posted on the details.

Share this event with all your friends – we hope to see you there!

Don’t forget to come to the meditation flash mob in Leicester Square next Wednesday!

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Upcoming Wake Up London events


Just a note to remind you that our next Afternoon of Mindfulness is this Saturday 26th. For those that are new, our Afternoons of Mindfulness is a space for young people, from 16 to early 30s, to practice mindfulness together, in the tradition of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. It is from 2:30pm to 5pm, and we practice sitting and walking meditation, listen to a teaching, practice mindful speech and deep listening and recite the 5 Mindfulness Trainings, which we use as a guiding light on our path. Read more here. We welcome a donation for every meeting.

If you’re coming for the first time, we will gently guide you through our meeting and offer some explanation on the practices (though, none of us are teachers, but peer practitioners).


Monday 28th May – Public Display of Positve Messages
6pm to 7:30pm
Bring a sign with a positive message – make the words BIG and BOLD.
Read more

Saturday 2nd June – Meditation // Drum Circle // Social Gathering at Thames Beach, Southbank
3pm onwards
Celebrating our 1 year anniversary of meditation flash mobs in London. Come along for a meditation by River Thames, drum circle and time for chilling out afterwards. Bring veggie food and drinks, musical instruments (especially DRUMS for a drum circle) and outdoor games (does anyone have twister?!)
Read more

Saturday 9th June – Afternoon of Mindfulness
2:30pm to 5pm
Our next bi-monthly meeting to practice mindfulness

Wednesday 20th June – Meditation Flash Mob in Leicester Square
6:30pm to 7:30pm
Meditate in the garden of Leicester Square, which has re-opened again after a period of refurbishment. Be the change!
Read more

Save the Date – Saturday 30th June – Walking Meditation Flash Mob (maybe)
We may organize another walking meditation flash mob since our 1st one in Oxford Street was rather enjoyable (see pictures) . If you’re interested – email us with a YES at

See you then! We love you!

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Day of Mindfulness with Zen teacher Edward Espe Brown

****** bookings now full – registration is closed *************

Dear friends,

We are happy to announce an upcoming Day of Mindfulness with Zen teacher Edward Espe Brown on 5th May, organized by Heart of London and Wake Up London sanghas. Please register as soon as possible to book your place.

This is a a rare opportunity to experience a Day of Mindfulness with this inspirational teacher (who is also well known for being really funny too). Day will consist of guided sitting meditation, walking meditation, dharma teaching, Qi gong and mindful eating. Exact schedule not confirmed yet.

When: Saturday 5th May 2012, 09:30am to 5pm
Where: Friends Meeting House, 52 St Martins Lane, London, WC2N 4EA (entrance at 8 Hop Gardens)
Nearest tube and overground: Leicester Sq and Charing Cross
Cost: £10 or £7 for student/unwaged – you can pay on the door.
For: All ages, experienced meditation pracitiotioners, beginners, curious people

Please bring a vegetarian lunch to share. Weather permitting, we will have a picnic in St. James Park, then return to the Friends Meeting House for the session in the afternoon.


Register your place by sending an email to


Edward Espe Brown is a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, teacher and chef.

Edward was ordained as a Zen Priest by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1971 and has been practicing in the Japanese Soto Zen tradition of Suzuki Roshi since 1965. He has however developed an eclectic practice over the years, with extensive Vipassana training, many years practising Yoga and Chi Gung, and has taken a number of retreats with Thich Nhat Hanh in the USA, as well as visiting Plum Village during the 1990s.

Edward wrote the famous Tassajara Bread Book in the early 70s, co-founded Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, and a documentary film was recently made about him called How To Cook Your Life. He currently teaches at Tassajara Zen Center, Green Gulch Farm, and Spirit Rock, as well as heading his own Sangha in Marin County.

Watch trailer for How To Cook Your Life

His website and bio is available here.


Edward will be visiting the UK as a Guest Speaker at The Do Lectures in Wales during the last week of April.

He will then be in London from April 29th to May 7th:

April 29th – Day retreat with London Insight

May 2nd – Talk at The Buddhist Society in London

May 3rd – The International Zen Association in London

(May 5th – Day of Mindfulness with us)

May 6th – Workshop with Alternatives at St. James Church

We look forward to spending the day with you!

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Another wonderful meditation flash mob last night

Dear friends,

Thanks so much to those who attended yesterday evening’s flash mob. It was lovely, as ever, and I’m so happy to see the community growing so beautifully and organically with these public meditation gatherings. So many of us were from different paths and different faiths, or or none, yet we came together as a single community. What is it that binds us together like this?

Also a warm thank you to the sound healers, Amy, Paolo, Mary, Sandira, Marcin, Bea and David (and others I’m not aware of) for bring your wonderful sounds at the end of the sitting.

I wanted to share with the wonderful photos on our Facebook page.

Please check out today’s Evening Standard on page 21 – our event has been featured!

And also we were featured as TimeOut London’s top 5 events of the week!

How wonderful to be getting this much coverage!

We’ll be posting future meditation flash mobs via our Facebook page Wake Up London. You can also join the Meetup group to ensure you get invitations direct to your email, as Facebook doesn’t have that function via a page.

In May, we have some different events planned…

like meditation flash mob through Oxford Street..

And also another event which will involve holding signs displaying positive affirmations to the public, to remind passersby to reconnect to their innate goodness and beauty. We will announce that soon!

Thank you for being there!

Much love
on behalf of Wake Up London

Be the change!

Peace SitVideoWake Up London

March 31st – Sit in Peace

Join us again for a mass meditation on March 31st – Sit in Peace in Trafalgar Square with Thich Nhat Hanh

Read more here

Listening to the bell I feel the afflictions in me begin to dissolve

My mind calm, my body relaxed

A smile is born on my lips

Following the sound of the bell, my breath brings me back to the safe island of mindfulness

In the garden of my heart, the flowers of peace bloom beautifully.

AudioCommunityWake Up London

Peace Sounds album out now!

Peace Sounds is a music album recorded over the past five months by Wake Up London, as well as songs contributed by their wonderfully talented friends.

It is now available for streaming and downloading here.

We are raising funds for an upcoming event with Thich Nhat Hanh on March 31st 2012 in Trafalgar Square, Central London called ‘Sit in Peace’, an invitation to sit together in peace in the heart of the capital city.

Together, we bring to life an album that celebrates peace within us and around us, in the here and now.

“I got a little garden growing in my heart
sowing seeds of poetry, music and art
I’ve been cultivating peace with my family
This garden is growing with the whole community”

-Joe Reilly, singer and songwriter

Minimum donation: £7

All proceeds will go towards registered charity The Community of Interbeing UK, who are funding ‘Sit in Peace’ and the entire UK tour with Thich Nhat Hanh.

By supporting The Community of Interbeing UK, we will help them continue to promote and facilitate the practice of mindfulness in the UK, by hosting future talks and retreats, and supporting local practice groups.

Check out the official album website:

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The Monk Who Gave The Gift Of Fearlessness

The Monk Who Gave The Gift Of Fearlessness: A Tribute to Brother Phap Kinh

– Anonymous “I would like to think it might bring some comfort to those who knew him, and go some way towards giving him the send off I believe he deserves”

Occasionally we have an experience with someone that is so unexpected and so meaningful that it stays with us for the rest of our lives. It influences us so deeply that person we had the experience with becomes one of the most significant people in our lives.

I met Brother Phap Kinh in December 2009, in the wintery paths of Upper Hamlet, Plum Village. I had arrived in the French Buddhist monastery after a long and hard journey. I didn’t yet know that we’d both experienced a similar hardship to get there. As he showed the newcomers around the grounds I thought he seemed reassuringly warm compared to the rather stolid image I had of Buddhist monks (naively so). And yet he also had an intensity and purposefulness about the way he spoke and moved. This, along with his north American accent, and strong, shaven-headed Daniel Day-Lewis looks, made him seem like a man with the combined worldly and spiritual power of a warrior-monk, straight out of a movie. As you can imagine, my first meeting with a Plum Village monk left me impressed.

I was surprised, then, to hear that he was only a novice, having been ordained just a few months earlier. As he submitted himself to his (often much younger) spiritual elders, performing duties around the village and participating in group activities, I was struck by his humility. In the twice-weekly services that took place in the great hall, all of the 50 or so monks would rise together and chant in unison. I remember thinking that he stood out amongst the more placid and inexpressive young monks that surrounded him. There was experience in his face, and passion burning out of his eyes – as if he were a great man who, in his wisdom and love, was bringing humility upon himself in order to set an example to others.

In one of the talks during the first week, we were invited to approach a monk if we wanted to learn more about the practice or discuss anything. I had learnt a lot since arriving, but I was unsure about how it would transfer to the outside world, and I wanted to find a way of using what I’d learnt to support my family. I arranged to meet Kinh after one of the twice-weekly services in lower hamlet.

He invited me to sit with him by the pond, and in his direct yet gentle way he asked about my experiences there and why I’d come. He told me about his own experiences, and, as if it was inevitable that we would meet one another and have this conversation, we discovered that we had both lost our mothers at a young age – and both to suicide. When he realised this, I could see that it moved him; he shook his head slowly and mouthed “wow” in surprise as I told him the story. After that, the conversation reached a deeper level of significance, and for the next hour or two we told our stories and compared experiences. In that peaceful environment, and with the benefit of his mindfulness practice, we were able to become counsellors to the thoughts and emotions that surrounded the circumstances that had brought us to where we were. Before we got up to leave, he looked at me intensely and said that the best thing I could do for my family was to be happy. Then he hugged me, and said he would never forget our conversation.

During the rest of the week, unlike the other monks, I never saw Kinh flippantly joking around or doing anything in a casual or trivialising manner. On the contrary, he seemed somehow to bring the intensity I’d previously witnessed to everything he did. It is strange that honesty and courage in a person can be so unnerving. Perhaps it’s because it holds a mirror up to one’s own character, and brings us to doubt how we measure up. Kinh was unnerving in his sincerity. It was a disposition that could only come from someone who had known both great suffering and great joy, and had managed to fuse them together into the love and compassion he freely offered others. The poet, Khalil Gibran, seems to be aspiring to such a state in his poem, A Tear And A Smile, saying, “I would that my life remain a tear and a smile…a tear to unite me with those of broken heart; a smile to be a sign of my joy in existence.” For Gibran this was the peak of being – albeit not an easy state. Whilst the suffering that ‘brings a tear’ might – to paraphrase Nietzsche – make one stronger, the increased strength is matched by an increase in the burden one has to carry.

On the evening before I was due to leave, Kinh asked me to meet him after dinner. When I met him outside in the moonlight it was like stepping into another reality – one where every movement, every word, every action truly mattered; where life was just this moment, and nothing else was certain. He repeated that he would never forget our conversation, and said that he wanted to give me something. He said that the gift he wanted to give me was not something material, but the gift of fearlessness. He gave me a steely stare as if transmitting it through his eyes, and added that, wherever I was, whatever I was going through in my life, I would always have a brother that cared for me. The strong hug he gave me as we said goodbye confirmed that his words were not hollow.

I saw him again some months later at a retreat in Nottingham. We walked together, and he said, “the only I thing I want to know is – are you happy?” I said I was, and asked how he was. He said he was very happy. He agreed that he would try to return to the UK soon so that we might give some talks to young people, and introduce some of the Plum Village practices. Some months later, when a party from Plum Village arrived to tour universities, I was sad that he was not among them. During the months before and after the Nottingham retreat our conversations remained vivid, and despite not seeing him again, the strength of his words meant that he was a mentor that I could turn to when I needed guidance.

Occasionally we meet someone who leaves an impression upon us that’s so powerful it stays with us forever. For me, Kinh is, and will always be, nothing less than a hero. I would sooner walk beside him than any of the historic idols we’ve raised on pedestals. He was a man with the conviction of any leader I’ve known, but the humility to walk as one with everyone else.

Brother, thankyou for my gift – I will try to use it everyday for the rest of my life.

“And so does the spirit become separated from
The greater spirit to move in the world of matter
And pass as a cloud over the mountain of sorrow
And the plains of joy to meet the breeze of death
And return whence it came.
To the ocean of Love and Beauty—-to God” – Kahlil Gibran, A Tear And A Smile

Full poem here.

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Sit in Peace in Trafalgar Square with Thich Nhat Hanh

Imagine the energy of thousands of people gathered together meditating on the open grounds of Trafalgar Square with one of the most influential people of our time.

Zen Master, author, poet and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh will guide a sitting meditation on Saturday 31 March in Trafalgar Square from 2.30pm.

This is a free event and everyone is warmly invited to join in this celebration of peace within us and around us.

Sitting meditation is one of the ways to contemplate peace. We invite you to sit together in silence, generating the energy of peace, solidity, and freedom.

You may like to bring something to sit on (it may be a good idea for this to be waterproof). You are welcome to sit on the benches and steps in Trafalgar Square.

This event is open to everyone, all ages, from every path, experienced or not.

“If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

RSVP to Facebook event invitation here.

RSVP to MeetUp event invitation here.

How to get to Trafalgar Square, see here

We are inviting everyone around the world to sit in peace with us. Check back later for the cities joining us on 31st March 2012. Email us if you would like to organise an event in your city!

Watch a clip of June 2011’s meditation flash mob in Trafalgar Square

Check out the rest of Thich Nhat Hanh’s 2012 tour in the UK here, including a public talk at Royal Festival Hall and a 5 day retreat at Nottingham University here.

Check out Thich Nhat Hanh’s Facebook page here.

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