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Dealing With Mental Health in the City

mental health in the city


2 million Londoners will experience mental health problems this year; and only 25% of these people will actively deal with their difficulties, according to the London Health Board. Living in the city can be much more stressful and mentally draining than living outside urban areas. City-specific stressors such as noise, lack of natural spaces and increased social interaction make us much more susceptible to mental health issues. Living in the city provides excitement, freedom, and opportunities; however, we have to remember to slow down, become aware of its effects on our mind, and care for our mental well-being.


The City’s Effect On Our Mental Well-Being


In urban areas, the main issue is over-stimulus. Excess noise, the lack of open and green spaces, constant interactions with people either directly at work or passively on the tube; they all keep our senses on edge. According to a study conducted by King’s College, London, the heightened biological response to stressors causes an excess in dopamine; which is one of the main causes of mental illnesses like schizophrenia or depression. Too much dopamine makes us more susceptible to many negative and dissonant feelings such as anxiety, stress, and paranoia. To compensate for all the over-excitement that city living provides, we must find the time to unwind and meditate; and allow these dopamine levels to return to their normal levels.


How We Can Care For Our Minds Through Meditation


Being subject to all these additional stressors, it is necessary for our minds to have down-time in the midst of urban life. We must allow our minds to enter their natural, meditative states on a much more regular basis; and the practice of meditation offers a holistic and accessible solution. Whether it’s through beginner’s classes, drop-in sessions or one-off retreats, there are many different methods of incorporating meditation into our daily practices – even for busy city-dwellers.

Meditation not only gives our senses a break, returning us to our core state of relaxationit also teaches us how to reduce the dissonance when experiencing city life through breathing techniques and mindfulness. Meditation repairs the parts of our mind that have become desensitised to direct and visceral experience, whilst simultaneously helping with symptoms of schizophrenia, depression, stress and anxiety.

City life can have an unavoidable, negative affect on our mental health. The over-stimulus of urban living and working can unconsciously take its toll on our minds, resulting in feelings of anxiety, and can even lead to much deeper set mental illness. However, by incorporating meditation into our regular routines – be it a morning exercise or a way to unwind after work – we can care for our minds whilst still functioning in the bustling city.


This post was kindly written for us by Lucy Lucas. 

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Learning From Plastic-Free February

going plastic-free


It turns out that going plastic-free is far from easy. In fact, as Will mentioned in his last post, it’s nigh-on impossible. The use of disposable plastics has become so pervasive that it’s only possible to appreciate it once you are trying to cut down, and the problem goes far beyond taking our own bags to the supermarket (although this is a great start). If we all want to make a change in our consumer habits, which as Will explained here is the best way to convince corporations to change their behaviour, then we may need a little extra help. This post will give you a few pointers on where to start. 


Consumer activism on plastic.


We can feel as if we have very little control over what goes on in the world. From the use of child labour in cobalt mining (which keeps our smartphones running), heavy metals in the air, to the fact that some corporations pollute on such a vast scale that individual action apparently dwarfs in comparison, it can all feel pretty helpless. However, if enough consumers changed their behaviour, it could make a real difference – especially if it threatens the bottom line.

By committing to reduce our plastic consumption by 50%, the shops who cater to us will naturally change their practices in order to gain our custom. Think of each pound you spend as a vote of endorsement. By choosing items that aren’t covered in plastic as much as possible, you are indicating your approval of less plastic packaging – and shops will quickly adapt to meet consumer demand.


Letting retailers and manufacturers know when they can do better.


You and like-minded friends can send letters or emails of complaint to organisations* when you believe their use of plastic is excessive, and even suggest alternatives. Mention that you will take your custom to competitors who use less plastic, and use specific examples of what they can change.

For example, we recently saw a pack of two avocados (which one may observe are already covered in their own natural packaging) wrapped in a plastic container, which was then placed in a plastic bag. Then there are pears, apples and other fruits, placed to no real benefit on a plastic tray, or the choice to bag bananas even though there’s no conceivable reason for doing so. You may point out that supermarket bakery bags for fresh bread often include a plastic window – even though you’ve had a very good view of the bread as you’ve picked it up to place it in said bag – and this feature is quite wasteful.

When we examine these packaging decisions, they soon appear completely senseless. Plastic may be cheap and available, but considering the damage it’s causing to our bodies and the environment (and the fact it’s made from a finite resource), the nonchalant use of this product is clearly irresponsible. But we all use plastic irresponsibly until we are educated about its impact. Much of the inclusion of plastic in packaging is so casual – often incorporated as a design feature or to make products more appealing – that it may only take pointing out how silly it is to retailers and manufacturers for the situation to change. And as soon as plastic-covered products no longer sell, they will slowly disappear.


Other ways to spread the message.

While focusing first on reducing your own use of plastic is a huge step, there are small things you can do to help others make the change. For example, you might:

  • Mention to your favourite coffee shop that encouraging customers to bring their own reusable cup for takeaways is a great idea. 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK – and less than 1 in 400 are recycled. Perhaps they could offer a 10% discount to those who bring their own cup, or give them their 7th coffee free. Even just putting a sign in the window may be enough to jog people’s memory.
  • If you have school-age children, you could suggest to the headteacher that an assembly or perhaps some lessons based around the use of plastic and plastic pollution could be really helpful, and encourage the school canteen to cut down on its plastic use.
  • Write to your local MP to communicate how important this issue is to you, so it gets more representation on a government level.
  • Suggest initiatives at work to reduce the use of plastics in the workplace. For instance, your employers may be willing to provide everyone with a reusable water bottle and put a filtered-water pitcher in every break room, to stop people heading to the vending machine for bottled water. Or they might put up posters encouraging staff to bring in their own fountain pens to cut down on the use of throwaway biros. Even small steps like this, across a company, can make a big difference.

It’s in small, everyday steps that we’ll reduce our use of plastics, and empower ourselves to change the world around us.

* When dealing with large chains, try to get in touch with the dedicated customer service team (who can refer the complaint to the relevant staff member) through contacts on brand websites, rather than bringing it up in-store. Alternatively, reach out to higher management, or product manufacturers. Those “on the ground” in shops often do a busy job and have next to no say in how their organisation is run, so won’t be too pleased to deal with complaints that are well above their pay grade!

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Plastic Waste and The Tragedy Of The Commons

plastic waste


When I studied Economics at Uni I found myself largely turned off by much of the theorising that took place, it seemed so far removed from what was actually going on in day to day life. However, there were a few principles which struck me as being absolutely bang on. One of them, was ‘the tragedy of the commons’, which helps to explain a lot of the destruction that goes on in our world, and which I’ve been reminded of as I embark on a plastic free month.

The concept pertains to any situation whereby there is a shared resource, such as common land, a river, a forest, the sea, the earth’s atmosphere etc, and the users of the resource behave like self-interested actors, steadily depleting it as time goes on, instead of pulling together to protect and optimise the resource.

Each individual is wrapped up in their own life story, attempting to get by, and extract as much joy and comfort from life as possible. If there is a resource which they consider benefits them in some way, and they have lots of access to that resource, then they will keep on extracting well above the sustainable limit. Now if the other users of the resource don’t maximise their usage, then it’s ok. But the problem often arises that many of the actors involved in the use of the resource also seek to maximise their own personal benefit and the aggregate effect is an unsustainable depletion of the resource so that there is less and less left for people to gain utility from.

Now very evidently, there are many corporates who engage in an unsustainable depletion of resources, and its having such a destructive impact – its like the tragedy of the commons on steroids.

However, before we get on our high horses about the corporate impact, shouldn’t we perhaps look closer to home and examine our own behaviours? Because are we not all responsible for using up an unsustainable amount of energy to power of our homes, our gadgets, and the construction of our consumer products? How many of us chuck on the air conditioning when we go to a hot country? And who amongst us is eating more than a sustainable level of fish from our seas? And how many of us use plastics? On this latter point it would seem it is all of us. And this is a huge problem, because 12.7 million tonnes of plastic are being dumped in our seas every year and it is being swallowed by every part of the aquatic food chain.

I was always vaguely aware that I was using a lot of plastic, but its only since I’ve tried going plastic free that I’ve realised JUST how much I am using, its actually really scary. Its not just plastic bags from the supermarket, which can be easily substituted, it’s the packaging on almost all of our fruits and vegetables from the supermarkets. In fact, it appears that 90% of all goods from the supermarket involve plastic packaging, its hard to escape it! And if you wish to buy food on the run, often times that’s in plastic packaging too. Humans have been living on the earth for at least 2.5 million years, and plastics only really came on the scene in the 50s. Since that time, we have produced 6.5 billion tonnes of plastics, and in the next 32 years, we are set to double that number (each year we use an average 8.4% more plastics than the year before). Unless of course, we the people say enough. We’ve lived without plastics before, we can do so again.

Governments have proven inept at protecting our common resources, precisely because they’re interested in winning votes, and we the electorate have demonstrated so much apathy towards our common resources that it has provided little in the way of motive political force. Corporates continue to be mainly driven by profit motives, so the only way that they are going to change their profit driven use of cheap plastics is if we the people show them that we favour more organic produce, that can be more easily broken down, and which won’t fill our land and our seas with hardcore pollutants.

You see, as Herschel once said, the opposite of good is not evil, its indifference. And for as long as we all remain indifferent to the hundreds of millions of tonnes of plastic being produced each year, we will be a party to a tragedy of our common lands and our seas, and leave our children a plastic soup of an ocean and an environment whereby the landfill plastics leech into our soils, harming the soil fertility, and into our water supply, adding to the health burden we are already facing from all sorts of commons tragedies like the air we breathe and the denuded and de-nutrified food we eat from industrial agriculture sources.

In recent years, tests have been carried out on our water supplies, and it was found that billions of people globally are drinking water contaminated by plastic particles, with 83% of samples found to be polluted. Now would any of us choose to consume plastic of our own volition? I highly doubt it. It seems like an inherently poor idea, and yet, hidden within so much of our water now are plastic particles that will slowly clog up our cells and tissues, mirroring the fish in our seas, which are slowly choking on the by-product of our rampant consumption patterns.

So let us all take individual action, and see if that aggregates. Its when people start demanding gluten free, or dairy free, or vegetarian options, or carbon neutral products that the early adopters and then later the corporates listen, and the government are more likely to take action if they can see a real and meaningful movement by the populace. Politicians are populists by nature, and if they think they can gain an advantage by announcing a popular policy first, they will. So let’s give them the cue.

I will admit that from my research thus far that it’s almost impossible to live a regular life without using plastics. But I bet we can all reduce our plastics consumption by 50%. That is a game changing shift, and the more we show a preference for plastic free goods, the more the corporates will provide more options, and then 3 years from now, we can reduce by another 50%, adding further weight to the movement. The momentum would be extraordinary and we could keep iteratively using less and less until eventually, we can all be using perhaps only 5% of our present consumption. Maybe even one day we can get back to where we at 60 years ago, with minimal plastics production, and we can turn the tragedy of our commons into a triumph.

It starts with us.


Will’s tips for reduced plastic consumption

*Put a £1 coin in the charity box of your supermarket every time you use a plastic bag, that will soon help you remember to take a bag!

*Order fruits and vegetables via a veg box scheme such as Abel and Cole and insist on no plastic. Shop at farmers markets (both initiatives are healthier and better for the environment)

*Buy your toiletries from places like lush, using natural products without the packaging.

*Install a water filter such as Berkey to drink purer water without using plastics – and purchase a reusable bottle to take water with you each day.

*Take a reusable coffee cup with you.

*Avoid using straws to drink liquids with.

*Use a food flask for carrying food, instead of buying food on the run – its far healthier if you cook it at home and take with you, and the beauty is you only have to half cook it while getting ready in the morning because the food continues to cook in its own heat once inside the flask.

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Is Meditation the Secret to a Happy Relationship?

meditation for a happy relationship


To the general delight of chocolate manufacturers and restaurateurs everywhere, it’s Valentine’s Day! There’s so much love in the air that the police have to be sent out to shepherd all the pining lovers wandering the moors back to the safety of their own homes, and you can’t move for people serenading their paramours under moonlit balconies (violating many public nuisance laws).


But while it’s easy to be cynical about Valentine’s Day – yes, we all know it’s actually a commercial enterprise designed to get people to buy so many roses and tiny teddy bears that the sheer weight of merchandise tilts the earth off its axis, and sends us all spinning helplessly into space – really, it’s quite a nice thing, isn’t it?


Celebrating this most cherished human emotion gives us the chance to tell our loved ones that we appreciate them; and in a world where we increasingly encouraged to look inwards, and think mainly of ourselves, this is a rather lovely act. And when we consider long-term relationships – the ones that have lasted 5, 15 or even 30 years – these little moments of gratitude can make all the difference.


Long-lasting Love


The cultural commentary around long-term relationships and commitments like marriage can be pretty downbeat. A few hours watching soaps and you’d be forgiven for thinking at least one half of every partnership is having an affair and/or a secret murderer, and there’s always someone happily reminding you how many marriages end in divorce.


Yet we humans do keep pairing off, sometimes having kids, and spending years together – so it can’t be all doom and gloom. Love is very much the thing that binds our species, and the love we find in our long-term romantic partnerships is often particularly profound. That first flush of romance and lust makes our partner’s sheer presence a joy, and as life together progresses, this can evolve into something extremely meaningful.


However, before we get too soppy, (we blame the general Valentine’s Day atmosphere – our brains have become clogged with heart-shaped chocolates) this isn’t to say everything is forever perfect once you’ve found the right person. Much like the other relationships in life  – from the one with our mothers to that bloke down the road who wants us to join the neighbourhood watch – there will be issues at some time or another.


While they are undeniably times where these issues can seem insurmountable, and you have to make the sad decision to go your separate ways, many problems can be solved when both parties are willing to change. And one such change that can keep a relationship ticking along happily (and maybe even a little bit sexily) is meditation.


Meditation for a Happy Relationship


Meditation does so many things to improve a relationship that taking it up is less a chore and more a revolution – like the invention of the wheel, or chocolate waffles. The negative things that can affect a relationship over the long-term often have their roots in stress – something which meditation gets straight to the heart of. It also keeps our libido healthy, which doesn’t hurt. To explain further, here are some of the common issues that can take the shine off a once loved-up relationship:


  • Taking our partners for granted (or vise versa)


One of the stumbling blocks so many of us encounter in our long-term relationships is that we forget to appreciate our partner as the full and separate human being they are, and instead begin to view them solely as an either an irritating or convenient appendage to our own lives. We stop thinking about our partners in the way we did when we first met them, and start seeing them purely in relation to ourselves – what they can do for us, or how they’ve annoyed us.


It’s when we no longer truly see or hear our partner (or they don’t see or hear us) that the mutual respect so vital to a healthy partnership can become eroded, and often leads to an awful lot of…


  • Unresolved resentment


This can arise from so many situations, even fairly benign ones. Say you’ve got a great promotion that requires you to move cities. Your partner isn’t so keen and is invested in their own career, but is swayed by your enthusiasm and desire to move, and opts to compromise. But as you move forward in a dynamic career, make loads of friends and are often out enjoying yourself, they haven’t found a new job they like and are finding it extremely difficult to settle in.


It’s just one scenario, but one that can build to a point of resentment that either destroys the relationship or results in it limping along, with one very unhappy partner and a toxic atmosphere. This is especially dangerous if one of you is more used to getting your own way, and unconsciously steamrolls a more accommodating partner into a life they feel they have no real say in. And this can be hugely exacerbated by…


  • Lack of communication and emotional neglect


When we come home from work and are stressed, tired and irritable, and our partner has left the laundry yet again for us to do, we are unlikely to look at them with the same starry eyes that the relationship began with. In fact, we’re probably going to be pissy with them, while they hopelessly try to work out what they’ve done wrong. These sorts of situations can play out within the relationship in all kinds of ways, with a constantly switching dynamic – and stress makes them a whole lot worse.


If we’re stressed, have started to forget the full separate humanity of our partner, and are harbouring resentment towards them, communication can very quickly break down. We can blame them for annoyances that they are completely unaware of, taking their unconscious or thoughtless poor behaviour as a direct attack, or a reflection of their bad character. It’s when we start believing that they are simply just selfish, or lazy, or irresponsible, rather than seeing these traits as part of a varied and full person with plenty of good qualities, that profound problems can arise.


This may sound a bit depressing, but all it takes is a little diligence and commitment to working things out as the relationship evolves to ensure that small problems (because 9 times out of 10, they are small) grow beyond all sense. And this is where meditation comes in!


Why Meditation will Strengthen your Bond

Meditation has been proven to:


  • Increase your empathy and kindness
  • Lower stress
  • Improve your sex drive
  • Increases our happiness.


All of which is pretty helpful in the context of long-term love. No relationship (romantic or not) can thrive without kindness and empathy, because we humans are a fairly complicated bunch who have to rely on each other to be nice – even if we’re being really irritating that day. Meditation makes us see the bigger picture, and become stressed far less easily. Instead of snapping at our partner when they decide to tell us everything that’s wrong with our driving when we’re giving them a lift to work, we feel able to let it go.


This avoids hurt feelings, and something silly escalating into a full-blown argument, or two days of the dreaded silent treatment. As our stress levels lower we become far less combative, and more able to see actions for what they are rather than a veiled attack. It also makes us better able to talk through anything that is a genuine issue in our relationship. We don’t instantly feel on the defensive, or feel the need to prove that we actually haven’t done anything wrong (even if our partner thinks very differently) and “win” the argument.


Rather than being apathetic, irritable and neglectful because our brains are wheeling and panicking over everyday life, we are able to become more present within our relationships, and less clouded by negativity. Our energy is no longer expended on stressing out, so doing nice things for one another doesn’t feel like a chore or inconvenience – it simply comes naturally.


Meditation can also become one of your “couple rituals” – the things you do together that strengthen your bond, like setting aside time to have coffee and catch-up each morning. By meditating together, we spend that bit more quality time in each other’s company, and demonstrate our commitment to becoming our best selves for our partners.


All in all, it’s a pretty great and easy way to bring all the brilliant things about ourselves – our love, desire to support each other, the happiness we derive from each others company – and bring it to the fore.


If you think you and your partner would like to learn more about meditation, come along to one of our free intro talks in London. We’d love to see you there!

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Protecting Your Children’s Mental Wellbeing in the Modern World

protecting children's wellbeing


Here at Will Williams Meditation, we’ve helped many people deal with the cumulative effect of years of stress and worry, and it’s been my observation that the particular pressures of the modern world are weighing most heavily. Unfortunately, this increasingly seems to be impacting our children. Whether it’s social media, exams, appearance pressure or some other theorised trigger, it appears that modern life is having a negative influence on the mental wellbeing of many young people.

This is borne out in the series of worrying statistics below. Parents must now wonder what they can do to ensure they protect the mental wellbeing of their children, in an environment that seems to be very hostile to young people’s happiness.

  • More than a third of girls aged 10-15 in the UK are unhappy with the way they look, while one in seven are not happy with their lives overall.1
  • The rates of depression amongst young people aged 12-20 have increased in the US.2
  • 20% of UK adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year. 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24.3
  • The American College Health Association surveyed 100,000 college students at 53 US campuses and found that 84% of US students feel unable to cope.
  • In the UK, the number of children and young people turning up to A&E with psychiatric conditions has more than doubled since 2009 and, in the past three years, hospital admissions for teenagers with eating disorders have also almost doubled.
  • Mental health issues in the USA are, in general, on the rise, and are a leading cause of disability.4

With the happiness and health of their children already being a huge worry for parents, this paints a pretty bleak picture. To complicate matters, it can also be very hard to recognise the difference between the usual childhood ups and downs (there aren’t many of us who didn’t write a melodramatic teenage poem or two) and problems that a young person needs help with.

Say your fourteen-year-old hasn’t talked to anyone for a week, snaps at you, and spends most of their time morosely listening to sad music — is that normal teenage behaviour, or do you need to start worrying? Enforcing a constant state of happiness is both impossible and potentially damaging – all teenagers need the space to be their natural hormonal, moody selves – but on the other hand, you don’t want to be complacent. Like everything else in parenting, it’s something of a minefield.

Disclaimer: there’s only so much you can do. You are never going to able to guarantee your children won’t become unhappy. Neither can you completely shield them from unpleasant experiences (nor should you – in small doses, they are an important part of our experience as we grow). There’s also regrettable pain in life that you may not be able to prevent your children from encountering, such as a beloved family member passing away, or the parental relationship ending in divorce.

It’s difficult not to, but you shouldn’t feel guilty for not creating the perfect environment for your children to grow up in, because doing so is an impossible task – all you can do is your best. However, there are ways you can try to help your children be the happiest they can be.

Prioritise you, where you can

All parents know that their wants and desires (like wanting to get a couple more hours sleep rather than waking up at 5:30!) tend to get put on the back-burner. This is inevitable because you have a little person in your life whose needs invariably trump yours.

However, being happy and content yourself is a big factor in how your children are feeling. Dr Christine Carter, a sociologist and the author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, said that:

“Extensive research has established a substantial link between mothers who feel depressed and ‘negative outcomes’ in their children, such as acting out and other behaviour problems. Parental depression actually seems to cause behavioural problems in kids; it also makes our parenting less effective.

“Although the study did find that happy parents are statistically more likely to have happy children, it couldn’t find any genetic component.”

Even though the quote above specifies mothers, the sentiment applies to both partners. If you are prone to depression or anxiety, don’t neglect self-care, and get as much support from your partner and wider family as possible. Also, if you aren’t already separated, take some time to focus on your relationship. Becoming parents can add a lot of strain, so putting effort into maintaining your partnership (such as organising date nights or sitting down with a coffee together every morning) can make a big difference.

Safe and Loving Environment

Kids can feel a huge amount of pressure these days, from lots of different sources. Social media means that they can quantify, through the competitive lenses of ‘Likes’, ‘Follows’ and ‘Friends’, just how socially successful they are. Exams and schooling have them constantly graded for their intelligence. And in an appearance-focused society, they believe they know exactly how they need to look in order to be loved and accepted by others.

Your home can be a sanctuary from all of these things. Creating a stable and loving environment gives them a point of calm (even if the presence of kids can make a family home seem rather chaotic!) from which they can build the resilience needed to face these pressures. A lot of this is making sure they know that within your four walls they are accepted and loved for who they are. It may seem obvious, but avoid mentioning their appearance, don’t make it seem as though your love or appreciation is purely dependent on them doing well at school, and actually listen to what they have to say.

Avoid piling on the pressure, especially academically. Dr Carter concluded that “parents who overemphasize achievement are more likely to have kids with high levels of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse compared to other kids.” Furthermore, the pressure of being labelled ‘smart’ actually puts some children off attempting harder challenges, lest they fail and lose their status.

Try not to focus on wealth and materialism

Steve Taylor, a senior psychology lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, UK, wrote a paper that goes some way to explain how materialism makes us unhappy:

“No matter how much we try to complete or bolster our ego, our inner discontent and incompleteness always re-emerges, generating new desires… No matter how much we get, it’s never enough.

“As Buddhism teaches, desires are inexhaustible. The satisfaction of one desire just creates new desires, like a cell multiplying.”

Associating happiness with material gain, and putting too much store in the “right” clothes or items, could make your children vulnerable to becoming unnecessarily discontented.

Be aware of the effects of social media

Social media has very quickly become a big part of our lives. The cat is out of the bag, and how you choose to deal with this is up to you as a parent.

Both Facebook5 and Instagram6 have been linked to feelings of depression, envy and loneliness in major studies. It’s also important to remember that the longer children stay on their devices, the more they are exposed to both blatant and subtle advertising – which, in its nature, encourages feelings of dissatisfaction and even insecurity.  

Furthermore, younger children could find it harder to distinguish between what people post authentically and social media content that is sponsored by advertisers. Even media-savvy kids can internalise these artificially orchestrated, photoshopped images, believing that they reflect a reality which they are failing to live up to.

In this, arguably the best you can do is explain. Make them aware of how people use social media. They should know that their peers and even celebrities choose highly curated photos, and leave out the bad and boring parts of their lives. If you can encourage them to view it more as a compelling story, than anything to do with “real life”, it can lose some of its power.

Allow for emotional expression & teach optimism

One of the other significant things about social media is that it has led to our “public face” infiltrating even our most private moments. In this, even adults can feel like they are unable to be their authentic selves, and you can contend that children are even more sensitive to social pressure.

Furthermore, we may have been bought up to push down or belittle our own emotions (“Boys don’t cry”,  “there are kids starving in Africa, you know”, “it’s not that bad, cheer up”) and might not be sure how to approach them when it comes to our kids. Alternatively, we may find seeing our children upset so heartbreaking that we instantly try to fix the problem, distracting them with treats or turning to other temporary solutions.

An alternative method is to allow your children to express themselves, attempt to empathise with them and validate their emotions, and help them understand what they are feeling. Although you should do this for both boys and girls, boys in particular can benefit from feeling that there’s nothing wrong with talking about how they feel.

You can also teach them, through example, to be optimistic. If they are feeling bad, remind them that although you understand their feelings, it won’t be long until they are feeling better. Communicating a generally “glass half full” view of life can be hugely valuable, and allow children to view the world in the most positive light possible.



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Three Ways Donald Trump Could Benefit From Meditation


It’s undeniable that Donald Trump is already a capable and impressive man. With the thick, flowing locks of a Disney princess, a brain which could beat up Albert Einstein’s in a bar brawl and thick thighs like mighty oaks, he’s the president that the USA both wants and needs.  But that isn’t to say there isn’t any room for improvement. Sometimes even the most beautiful Donald-Trump-shaped lily can benefit from some gilding, and that’s where meditation comes in.


It’ll help him stay in fine physical form


When a man oozes as much masculinity as Donald Trump, there is the ever-present danger of over-oozing, draining him of his precious essence and leaving him depleted and weak. Even Thor, the Norse god of thunder, has to take time off every now and then to replenish his energy in the space-city of Asgard, and Donald Trump is no different.

It seems clear that his man-off with Kim Jong-un, watched from a distance with a mixture of fear, admiration and (let’s face it) arousal by the general public, will soon reach its inevitable conclusion. Before long, they’ll tear off their shirts and, roaring mightily, take to the ring for a wrestling match that will once and for all decide which of the two of them has the most monumental balls. It’s imperative for the future security of America that Donald Trump is at his physical peak at this moment, and utilising the energy-boost that meditation can give him.

why donald trump should meditate


It will sharpen his formidable intellect


As we all know, Donald Trump is very highly educated and has all the best words, words he uses to devastating effect when tweeting famous actresses, former muscle men and heads of state to take them down a peg or two. Whether he’s interacting with other intellectual heavyweights like the leaders of Britain First and those people who think the world is controlled by intergalactic lizards, or carefully explaining that his hands are actually very large and he doesn’t have a problem in “that area”, he often astounds us with his challenging and innovative thinking. But with meditation, his already enormous brain could grow further, like a terrifying soufflé with its hands on the nuclear codes.

Women will find him even more attractive

As a confident, powerful and good-looking man, Donald Trump already knows he is extremely attractive. “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected,” he once explained – and it’s true. Whether they realise it or not, women are intoxicated by Trump’s presence, even if their minds are saying silly things like “I do not fancy this man”. His appeal is simply so powerful it actually skips past their conscious brain and grabs straight at their hearts 💖

But with meditation, his skin will improve, his physique will refine and he’ll stand even taller, glowing like a beautiful lava lamp. Melania’s obvious attraction to him will go through the roof, and it’s possible she’ll have to be restrained for her own safety, while other women will be doomed to admire him from a distance, tortured by the knowledge that he’ll never be theirs.


trump melania meditation

And there we have it! With just forty minutes of meditation every day, the noble and thick-skinned president will become (if possible) an even better leader and family man. However, it isn’t only handsome business moguls that can be improved with the practice of meditation. While we may have written this piece with tongue in cheek, the benefits of meditation are very real, and you can find out more on one of our free intro talks. See you there!

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Why We’re Trying Veganuary 2018


What we eat is important in so many different ways. In a world of 7.6 billion people, (825 million of which are still undernourished) how our species is going to keep itself fed and healthy is an increasingly complicated question. Environmental pressures are becoming ever more profound, ethical concerns are creeping inexorably into the public consciousness, and the fact that many of us are consuming much more than is good for us is increasingly clear. For some, the answer is a vegan diet, which is why we’re trying Veganuary 2018. 


We believe there are some compelling arguments that support the case that this is indeed one of the alternatives that can really make a difference to the planetary cause:


Veganism and the environment


Rearing livestock for human consumption has a profound environmental impact, contributing to deforestation, soil erosion, fresh water scarcity, climate change, biodiversity loss and many other pressing issues. In 1990, the World Hunger Program at Brown University calculated that harvests could provide a vegetarian diet for 6 billion people, while the meat-rich diet of wealthier nations is only feasible for 2.6 billion.


This demonstrates that it simply isn’t possible for the whole human population to consume meat as freely as many of us in wealthy countries currently do. The Earth’s capacity for livestock, with its finite resources, is severely limited if we all expect to eat meat at the current rate. This has social and moral implications when we consider the millions of people who are, and could potentially be, left unprovided for.  


As more people begin to eat more meat in countries such as China (something their government is attempting to tackle) and India, the environmental pressure will continue to grow. This has the potential to accelerate environmental damage and make it harder to produce food of any kind in the future, as climate change threatens crops and water supplies.


The increase in meat consumption globally is linked to positive developments in socio-economic, environmental, and health conditions, along with changing dietary patterns (in short, more people being lifted out of poverty – clearly a good thing). Yet these factors suggest that over the long term, it could push more of us into food poverty and undernourishment as environmental factors take their toll and result in a net negative.


The ethical question


These days there are more and more people becoming vegan purely for environmental reasons, but traditionally, the raison d’etre for many vegans was the cruelty of mass meat and dairy production – or indeed killing any animal, in any fashion, for food – it’s simply too troubling for them to contemplate eating meat. It’s human nature to empathise with other creatures, and few people could walk through an abattoir completely unfazed. Many industrial farming practices are extremely efficient and streamlined, but uncomfortably oblivious to the needs of the living animals involved. And with 277,000 animals slaughtered for meat production every minute, it does seem reasonable to not wish to participate in that if your conscience is troubled by it.


A story that highlighted the issue for one couple and their hundreds of thousands of social media followers is that of Esther The Wonder Pig. On discovering the “micropig” they adopted from a friend was in fact a commercial breed and destined to become 650 pounds, Steve and Derek became animal advocates. They realised the personality, intelligence and sensitivity of their not-quite-micro friend and were horrified to think of her fate as a caged breeding sow (and after 3 years, food) had she not have been bought as a potential pet. Their work has convinced many to go vegan.


Esther the Wonder Pig. Image Source: How One Pig Convinced Thousands to Go Vegan.

A vegan diet and health


Vegans have (for the most part) a diet that is far higher in fruit, veg, cereals, nuts and seeds than those who rely more heavily on animal products. This is a great starting point for a generally healthier lifestyle, full of the stuff that is good for us. Additionally, by cutting out meat and animal products, those embarking on a vegan lifestyle can dramatically cut their consumption of saturated fat, which is linked to increased cholesterol levels and a higher risk of heart disease. There is also the issue of long chain fatty acids, which have a very negative impact on your gut health, which is increasingly being shown to be such a key driver of our overall wellbeing.


Because meat and animal products are often calorie-dense, vegans tend to regulate their calorie intake more naturally. As a result, statistics show that vegans have a lower BMI (height-to-weight ratio) than meat eaters. While it’s true that vegans have to be a little more conscious in sourcing nutrients such as vitamin B12, and sometimes may choose to take supplements, this is in reality not that different from the general population, who can find they are consuming more than enough calories but are nutritionally falling short.


As veganism becomes more mainstream, supermarkets and restaurants are making more efforts to accommodate those with a meat, dairy and egg-free diet. Many towns and cities even have dedicated vegan cafes and restaurants, and having a varied and healthy diet as a vegan is arguably easier than ever.


These are just a few of the reasons we are trying Veganuary this month, and we would love to hear from you if you are joining in too. Get in touch on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with your hints, tips and recipes.

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Trump and Modern America: Is Gun Violence a Mental Health Issue?

Is Gun Violence a Mental Health Issue


It’s been just over a week since a Texas church shooting claimed 26 innocent lives, and already we can see the incident fading from the news. It will go down in history as yet another mass shooting in the USA, just one part of a wider trend where mass shootings are becoming more frequent, and resulting in a greater number of fatalities. As the USA faces this reality, many have begun to ask, is gun violence a mental health issue? 

At the time of writing, there has been 389 mass shootings in the United States this year, including the most lethal in US history. Taking place at a Las Vegas country music concert in October, this senseless, apparently motiveless bout of violence left 58 people dead and 546 injured.

This came only a year after the murder of 49 people and injury of 58 others in a gay nightclub in Orlando, apparently driven by the killer’s extreme religious ideology and violent homophobia. It later emerged that this was likely to have been borne from his own homosexuality and the shame he attached to it; but whatever the source, his personal issues manifested themselves in the most destructive way possible.

The incident in Texas has once again prompted all the usual questions about gun control, American culture and male alienation (considering that these incidents – and other terrorist acts – are almost exclusively carried out by men), but a statement from President Trump has more firmly than ever pushed the issue of mental health to the centre of this problem.

During a press conference in Tokyo, Donald Trump said:  

“I think that mental health is a problem here. Based on preliminary reports, this was a very deranged individual with a lot of problems over a very long period of time.

“We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isn’t a guns situation … we could go into it but it’s a little bit soon to go into it. Fortunately somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction, otherwise it wouldn’t have been as bad as it was, it would have been much worse.

“This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very sad event … these are great people at a very, very sad event, but that’s the way I view it.”

Mental Health and Gun Violence

However, not everyone agrees that it’s mental health at the heart of mass shootings in America. Lisa Gold, a forensic psychiatrist at Georgetown University of Medicine and editor of the book ‘Gun Violence and Mental Illness’, believes the concept “is all a red herring”, and that “the vast majority of mass shootings are not committed by the diagnosable mentally ill, no matter what politicians try to suggest.”

Many us of probably winced at the use of the outdated and loaded word “deranged” in Trump’s statement, especially considering that those who suffer with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrator of it. When Trump spoke, no diagnosis suggesting mental illness had come to light regarding the killer, which perpetuated a unhelpful habit of “armchair diagnosis”.

Ironically enough, this is something Trump himself is regularly subjected to, being ‘diagnosed from a distance’ with everything from sociopathy to Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It makes a certain amount of sense that a happy, well-balanced individual is very unlikely to open fire into a crowd of people, but it is extremely simplistic to write gun violence off as a “mental health problem at the highest level”.

Like many countries, America is struggling to cope with the rising numbers of people suffering with mental health issues, and people find it difficult to get the comprehensive support they need. A maelstrom of economic, social and cultural factors appear to be making many of us in the Western world unhappier.

However, the number of unhappy or mentally unwell people who go on to commit violent acts is still vanishingly small. It becomes even smaller once you leave the confines of the USA, which plays host to 31% of the globe’s mass shootings despite accounting for only 5% of the total population. It’s strikingly clear that the roots of gun violence paint a far more complicated picture than Trump would like to suggest — and that gun violence is something peculiarly embedded in the culture of the USA.

It is also interesting to note that other acts of mass violence – in particular, those motivated by Islamic fundamentalism – are rarely framed as potentially resulting from a mental health problem.

Violent Personal History

It did later emerge that the Texas church shooter was deeply troubled, having escaped from a mental health facility earlier in his life. But perhaps most pertinently, he was able to obtain a gun despite convictions for violent behaviour towards his family, including holding a gun to his ex-wife’s head and fracturing the skull of her child.

His domestic violence record should have barred him from buying a gun by Texas law, but an oversight in this case has had tragic consequences. The need to perform comprehensive background checks has never been more clear; especially as domestic violence, which is horrifying in its own right, can be a precursor to even more serious crimes, such as murder (or in this case, mass murder).

At least three women every day are killed by a partner or ex-partner in the USA. In the church shooter’s case, it appears that feelings towards his mother-in-law may have partly motivated his crimes.

Gun Control

As Trump alluded to in his statement, the church shooter was slowed down by “a gun pointing in the other direction”. An armed citizen shot him in the arm and torso, and he ultimately took his own life. The idea that US citizens with guns can protect themselves from “lone wolf” attackers who open fire on innocents is a well-worn linchpin of pro-gun arguments.

The Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, cemented this idea further with his own suggestions; that churches should be hiring armed security, and parishioners should carry guns to services. This followed the 2015 church shooting in which a 21-year-old white supremacist murdered nine people at a Charleston congregation. The theory goes that if everyone has a gun, then everyone will be safer.

After a lifetime of believing this very thing, the guitarist who was playing when the Vegas shooter opened fire into the crowd in Las Vegas has changed his mind.

For many people, what Caleb said makes a lot of sense. How would the police be able to distinguish between attackers and defenders? If it seems counterintuitive that more guns will solve anything, that’s because it probably is. If someone with a semi automatic weapon decides to suddenly open fire on a school, the likelihood is they will do an awful lot of damage before a gun-toting teacher gets a chance to eliminate the threat.

Most Americans support stricter guns laws, but those who don’t are far more vocal and engaged on the issue than those who do, and there is a powerful pro-gun lobby in the USA. This is why, to his visible frustration, Barack Obama found it nearly impossible to impose even small changes in the law.

One of the issues is that, for many US citizens, gun ownership is tied up with ideas of freedom and self-defence. If the population are well-armed, then they can overthrow a tyrannical government, or defend themselves against the kinds of people who have wreaked havoc in locations such as Texas, Orlando and Las Vegas.

However, given that the US government is in possession of weapons far more destructive than any firearm and well placed to resist a popular uprising, and the unpredictability of those “lone wolves” intent on killing as many people as possible, guns offer more of an illusion of control than anything real. Perhaps it’s no surprise that in a world where we can feel so out of control of our own lives, this illusion has become so cherished by so many.

The Simple Solution

The unfortunate truth is that, despite Trump’s protestations, this is “a guns situation”. It’s also tied to mental health, American culture, domestic violence, racial tensions, white supremacy, violent misogyny, religious extremism, homophobia, alienation and a thousand other factors. Such a tangled and labyrinthine problem cannot be solved overnight.

But the one thing the USA can change immediately is its gun laws. Culture, belief systems and people are complicated, and we lack any short-term answers to societal factors that have been hundreds of years in the making. This means that limiting access to guns is the simplest and most obvious solution – but one that, unfortunately, still looks a long way from being enacted.

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Religion Versus Spirituality

religion versus spirituality


One of the most interesting and challenging areas of exploration is the distinction between religion versus spirituality.

We get lots of enquiries from people asking if this whole Vedic thing is really non-religious. Or we get others saying they don’t want anything spiritual from the practise, assuming that it may be too hippy, new age, cultish or religious for their liking!

I feel it’s therefore worth exploring what these terms mean and how they apply to different bodies of knowledge. How one interprets religion is open to debate (however vehemently!), so perhaps let’s start here and see where it leads us…

If we look at the majority of the world’s major religions, there appears to be a certain amount of dogma about how we are supposed to behave. There are either books telling us what to do, or priestly middle-men telling us what the book is telling us to do. If we want to be good, then we need to attend temple, participate in religious holidays, pray to a higher power and define ourselves as ‘xyz’ and put that above all other considerations.   

Now, before we go any further, I would like to go on record as saying that we are big fans of every founding master of every major religion. Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, Confucius, Buddha, Zoroaster, Mahavira and various others all seem to be pretty righteous dudes who are mostly beyond reproach. They were evidently all enlightened masters who attempted to teach people tools and principles that have great merit.

Indeed, the amount of consistency and coherence between their teachings suggests that they were all singing from pretty much the same hymn sheet. It’s their followers, who built churches in their name, who seem to disagree, and that’s perhaps where religion has developed a bad name with some.

One of the features that has often developed and defined religions since their founding masters’ demise was a sense of exclusivity. The ‘my way or the highway’ (or hell!) approach has always fascinated me because it implies that 85% of all the followers who are certain that their way is THE way, must be wrong? Not only are you expected to follow their principles in order to attain the fruits of heaven, paradise or whatever delights are promised, in most cases you are encouraged to ONLY follow their path, as to co-opt any other knowledge or practise into your life is considered unfaithful, or downright heresy. It’s as if they have a monopoly on the knowledge of, and indeed access to, the one true God (or pantheon of gods).

And this brings us to what might be the most distinct feature of all modern religions. They are all, it seems, faith-based. The follower is asked to believe in this or that worldview without being given the means to experience it. There is a God. There is a heaven. If you engage in jihad, you will get rewarded with 72 Virgins etc etc. But the only way you’ll ever find out if your faith has been well placed is when you die. Statistically, the odds of you being right are about 1 in 7. Those odds are even worse than Russian Roulette! That’s a big gamble for your soul to take.

Another interesting feature is that some interpretations of religion appear to be fairly absolutist. This is right. That is wrong. There seems to be little room for grey areas, and that doesn’t seem to mirror real life that effectively, and creates a binding effect on the follower. There is a central truth, or set of truths, and these are incontrovertible, no matter who you are.

Another defining characteristic is that all the tenets are conceptual. There might be practises as well, like prayer or charity or being a Good Samaritan. But all of those practices are driven by your conscious mind, which is not actually in control of the vast majority of your thoughts, words and behaviours. With the exception of certain mystical branches, none of them offers techniques to help people transcend their conscious mind and operate from a deeper, more universal level.  In the absence of such techniques, you will likely find yourself at war between what your conscious mind wishes to occur and what your sub-conscious programming is impelling you to do. Cognitive dissonance becomes rife!

Some people feel empowered by their religions. And there is no doubt that they provide comfort, motivation and moral guidance for a lot of people. It seems every human being needs meaning and by subscribing to one school or other, your life at least has some level of meaning and that can be very good for your physical health and mental wellbeing. But for others, religious doctrine can be very limiting and disempowering.

If you choose religion because it suits you, then that certainly feels a lot more empowering than if you weren’t given a choice but to conform.

This is my heartfelt view anyway.


Spirituality I consider to be materially different from religion. Although many may disagree, I see the essence of spirituality as something which is universal, which contains no dogma. There are no rules to follow, there is only your conscience.

There is wriggle room for many shades of grey (perhaps even 50!), rather than being reliant on absolutes to guide the way.

They tend to be hallmarked by consistent Laws of Nature rather than by some divine presence who organises things according to whim.

As far as I can tell, spiritual teachings tend to be all-inclusive. You can practise whatever you like, whenever you like, and with whomever you like. There might be a suggested pathway to follow, but there is no issue if you decide to determine your own routing – a bit like deciding whether to go Manchester via the M1, the M6 or the backroads. Your choice!

It also tends to be more about the here and now, rather than the afterlife. Admittedly numerous Buddhist schools put a lot of attention on death, more so than for my particular taste, but they also advocate presence, and it’s hard to argue against that.

I also like spirituality when it promotes self-sufficiency – ie you’re not dependent on the ‘mothership’ for your wellbeing. This feels so much healthier and more empowering.

Another defining characteristic of spiritual approaches is that they give you techniques to help you advance, rather than concepts.

This then means that the truth of life can be more experiential rather faith-based. If the techniques are good, they should open your mind beyond your present, limiting beliefs, and enable you to feel more balanced and perceive more in life. If the techniques enable you to experience full or partial transcendence, then your cognitive and creative capabilities will go through the roof and expand your horizons.

However, spirituality isn’t seeking to control you, own you, or feel insecure about whether you are justifying its premises by agreeing with them. Truly spiritual schools are happy for you to use their techniques regardless of whether you see the world as the ancients did. If you want these tools for purely practical reasons, then great, simply use them to help you achieve whatever goals flow through you.

Yoga is a great example of this. There is a very rich and comprehensive philosophy of yoga (It is one of six Indian systems of philosophy). As such, it is a practice that can be both practical and spiritual – atheists and theists alike enjoy it. It’s the same with Vedic meditation.

There are many ways in which Vedic meditation really stands out. One is the comprehensiveness of the knowledge base, and the fact that it is fully coherent and consistent. Hundreds (if not thousands) of the most enlightened masters contributed to the knowledge base of tools and techniques, much like science does today. Indeed, the word Veda and the word Science basic have the same meaning – knowledge.

The main difference is that the Vedic knowledge base was all about improving the instrumentality of the observer (the scientist) more than it was about improving the man-made instrumentality that we see in Western science. Both are important of course. However, given that quantum mechanics tells us consistently (and rather mind-blowingly) that the observer influences the results that come from observation, the Vedic emphasis on developing the instrumentality of the observer is incredibly smart, prescient and forward thinking.

With so many contributions made over such a large timeframe, there are an astounding amount of observations that have all been verified by western science over the last thousand years or so.

One of the most beautiful (and empirically verifiable) results of all this research and refinement is thus; all the competing worldviews and truths that are espoused in the world sit alongside each other in a congruent spectrum of phases of consciousness that are mutually inclusive. It’s simply that everyone has a different state of consciousness, and the variance is such that those in different states of consciousness experience the world differently. These inform our truth in the moment.

It’s not unlike how the dream state and waking states can feel so real in the moment. The main difference being that as you progress to higher states of consciousness, what you previously considered real seems as laughable as your dreams currently do.  

The same can be said of our state of consciousness as a child, compared with where we are now.  Rather than competing with each other, they complement one another. Nothing more. Your truth is your truth. And if you want to realise the universal truths that all the founding masters espoused, no problem. There are a number of techniques you can use to help you get there (or at least beautifully close), so that you yourself can operate from these more enlightened states of experience.

And because the knowledge base is observational, there is no ownership of this knowledge. Much like science, it is completely universal and open to everyone. It has its reference points for guidance, and it has a language built upon the language of nature, and all of this is formulated so that you can be a free and liberated human being in this lifetime.

There is also very little absolutism. It’s all about developing the mastery to maintain dynamic balance at any given time. It’s incredibly nuanced and sophisticated, and yet it’s so completely natural and intuitive, much like Nature itself!

You could even say the Vedic knowledge base stands out as the archetypal system of everyday knowledge and spirituality. It delivers huge spiritual growth, yet is not dependent on you seeking it or buying into anything other than a useful tool to make life better. And if you prefer to live your life a different way, or wish to eschew the spiritual stuff in favour of practical considerations, that’s your choice and good luck to you…the play of life is all about diversity so bring it on! May each person shine as they wish to.

Now, I must close with a caveat. In my enthusiasm, I have let my consciousness have free reign and written what came to me in the moment. I am sure it is evident in my writings that I favour opening oneself to spirituality rather than church-based religion. I can’t apologise for this bias because it is my feeling that taking an open-minded approach is going to serve the individual and humanity better.

However, I do apologise if my bias upsets you in any way. My role is to challenge every assumption, and sometimes in doing so, it upsets people. My hope is that my approach is always as balanced as possible, but I am human and I err like everyone else, so if you feel I have erred, please forgive me, offence is certainly not intended.

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The Power Of Group Meditation

I remember when I first learned Vedic meditation. There were only a few of us in the class and yet I still remember the meditations in class being significantly more potent than when I did them on my own. The day after my course finished I attended a group meditation with about 20 people and I was absolutely blown away to discover how much more powerful it was!

How could this be so? How could a group of individuals, sitting quietly with eyes closed, all gently repeating different mantras, cause my meditation to feel so much more deep and profound? Surely this was impossible? And yet, it was a visceral reality. I distinctly remember the paradigm shifting moment when the lightbulb switched on and I realised that I clearly didn’t understand the world nearly as well as I thought. It opened my eyes and my mind to the possibility that there was something extraordinary going on with this meditation that I couldn’t yet comprehend, and it sparked my curiosity to find out more.

Being of a scientific disposition, I retained a healthy scepticism and decided to return for several more group meditations to see if it really was the case. Did the experience bear the sort of consistent repeatability that would transform this experience from remarkable curiosity to discernible phenomena.

In the ten years that have followed this life changing juncture, I have been able to verify and articulate the many reasons why this is so.

It’s not to say that my first instinctive reaction that the psychology of investing time to come to such an event and surrendering to the experience didn’t play its part. Clearly it did and continues to make a difference for all those who attend our group meditations. We all know that creating space in your day for a true experience of internal surrender tends to have a more deepening effect than the more psychologically distracted approach of ‘squeezing it in’. But we can prep ourselves for a super fine meditation at home and it may or may not be any more exquisite as an experience. However, doing it in a group (provided we’re not super self conscious), always seems to deliver.

So it was with great delight that I discovered the work of the good people at who have found a very significant foundation for why this reality is experienced by all.

It transpires that there is a one foot electromagnetic field around our brains, and an eight feet field emanating from our hearts. How cool is that? Even more remarkable, is that the wave patterns of our hearts influence the brain patterns of those within our event horizon (the eight foot field). So if I’m in a calm state, and my heart is harmoniously and gently beating away, then my internal state of harmony will begin to have a soothing impact on all the people who come into my range, by calming down and soothing their brain sates. Even to this day, with all that I know, I still find this absolutely mega!

Like all field effects, there is an inverse square law at play whereby the closer people come to us, the more this effect becomes amplified.

Another one of my favourite factoids is that we each emit a six foot cloud of hormones around us at any one time. At any given moment we are in a certain neurological and physiological state that causes neurotransmitters to be racing around our bodies at al times. Curiously, some of these neurotransmitters are released through our pores and into the atmosphere around us. Now, when we’re agitated, not only does our heart frequency become distorted and racy, but we start to emit a cocktail of stress chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline which pollutes the atmosphere around us and starts to be ingested by anyone within our hormone horizon. We are sharing molecules with each other all the time, and they are entering the neurotransmitter receptor sites of the people in our orbit and creating chemical messages within their systems that are not coming from their brains!

The only real question we need to ask ourselves is; Are we emitting stress chemicals or endorphins? Because if we’re emitting endorphins, then we help give people a feel good factor that goes even beyond the feel god factor of our calm and tranquil heart states.

So next time you’re going on a date, maybe get some meditation mojo rising and increase your pulling power!

Of course, when we’re in a  group of people who are all optimising their heart states and their neurochemical profiles, we find that we are all contributing to a smooth and harmonious heart field that we are all a party too. This has a calming and soothing effect on each other’s brains. There is then a feedback loop that calms the heart states of each participant even more, and that then adds further juice to the meditative effect and activates even more release of yummy neurochemicals like serotonin, oxcytocin, and dopamine (the bliss chemical named after the sanskrit word for bliss).

In addition, there is also a strong scientific argument for their being a field of consciousness that is even more subtle than the electromagnetic field. Now this is more speculative, but when you’ve spent the last decade of your live becoming familiar with this field, it imbues you with a certain confidence that this theoretical field truly does exist. If that is the case, then if the laws of field theory also apply to this consciousness field, then by individually putting ourselves into a more expansive state of consciousness, then we are collectively enhancing our ability to access this field when we meditate together.

Another very noticeable and tangible phenomena is when there are advanced meditators in the room. When I do advanced mantra courses, the power of the regular meditators is noticeable – as you practice more, the power of your field effect increases. When they start using more powerful mantras the group meditation we have on the second session of the course is really very powerful. Indeed, in the interests of full disclosure, I no longer notice the effect of group meditations, even when there are 35 people in attendance. But if there are 10 advanced meditators in the room, I really notice it and absolutely love the juiciness of it!

It’s the same when people have done retreats. It kicks up their state of consciousness and imbues them with more power. And when peeps do the The Veda Course, the power of people’s field effect goes up exponentially. Interestingly, I recently completed a very advanced course called the Siddhis, and although there were only three of them on the course, the group meditation we shared during the course was as powerful as a group meds I have done with three hundred people! That’s how much we can scale up our personal power and by doing so, have a hugely positive influence on all he people around us

So if you want more juiciness in your meditations, here are our top tips for achieving more from your daily practise:


  1. Attend group meds regularly. Not only will they keep you on track, you will learn more about the subtleties of meditation and tricks for integration and further personal development. The extra depth from the group effect will put wind in your sails for a few days at least. There are 24 a month of these now, so no excuses not to attend some from time to time! Feel free to pop your name down for a group meditation anytime here.
  2. When meditating every day, do the best you can to set up a non-stimulated, non-rushed approach to your meditation. That means; no staring at phones before your morning med; giving yourself a bit of space around the meditation so you’re not sweating about time; psychologically preparing yourself to let go of your cares and nonchalantly surrendering to whatever is about to come.
  3. Attend a retreat and learn the technique of rounding which will allow you to self generate the same sort of power as a group meditation, in the comfort of your very own home!


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