These teachings are drawn from multiple sources within the Buddhist tradition. Those sources include the Anapanasati sutta, Satipatthana sutta, Pure Awareness practice, and the Brahmaviharas. I am deeply grateful to my teachers for sharing these teachings with me, and encouraging me to find my own way to work with them.
How to practice the radical embrace
The radical embrace can be understood in four stages, easy to remember as GROW:
Grounding – in what’s happening now, in the earth beneath us, the sky above, the space all around, this body as it can be directly experienced in this moment, and the awareness that holds it all.
Resourcing – with our own capacity to experience calm, pleasure, joy, love and happiness.
Opening – to the ways we experience ourselves, our sensations, thoughts and emotions, and to how we experience others.
Wondering – about the familiar habits and patterns that we strongly identify with and keep us locked in cycles of suffering, as well as how we may begin to unbind ourselves from these habits, and create new ones.
This work is deeply somatic, and takes place almost entirely in the body.
Finding a comfortable meditation posture
Audio talks and led practices
Here you'll find all the latest teachings shared in classes, courses and on retreats. Please forgive background noise, as these are recorded live and minimally edited.
Radical Embrace Retreat - a series of talks and led practices shared on the spring 2019 retreat at Vajraloka. Great to follow along to on a solitary retreat.
What we wake up into: the three doorways to liberation - A 25 min talk on the vimoksas or doorways to liberation that can be known through our direct experience of suffering, impermanence, and insubstantiality.
Resting in experience meditation - a long, luxurious 40 min practice of open awareness using the six sense and getting curious about our habits of relating to experience by either wanting, not wanting or not being so sure about what’s actually happening.
What we do matters: reflections on Karma - an hour long talk on how we can work with the law of karma in practice, from appreciating the conditioning we all start out with, to building confidence that we can work creatively with our mental states towards more and more awake ways of being.
The taste of freedom - a brief introduction to the seven enlightenment factors followed by a 20 minute led practice supporting us to drop into more liberating mental states.
Anapanasati Sutta day retreat - a series of short talks and led practices using the Buddha’s instructions for waking up through the body, sensations, thoughts and emotions and the nature of reality itself.
We are survivors of immeasurable events,
Flung upon some reach of land.
Small, wet miracles without instructions,
Only the imperative of change.
- Rebecca Elson
Working with painful experiences in meditation - A 15 minute teaching on how to meet painful aspects of our experience in meditation. Sometimes when we're meditating we become aware of a part of ourself needing some extra attention. How can we turn towards and meet that part with curiosity and love? What insights might be gained from doing this?
Sitting with our painful parts - A 30 minute practice to do when you know there is a part of you that is hurting and needs some tender, loving care. Starting with some grounding and breathing, and then gently beginning to turn towards our pain, can bring a relief and also insight into our own habits around our suffering.
Being with body and breath - A 30 minute practice that begins with a head to toe body scan and then gently transitions to breath awareness. A great way to start or end your day!
On time and energy - a 20 min led practice feeling into the energy of the body, followed by a 45 min talk on time and energy, drawing on Buddhist cosmology and reflections from my early life and practice.
Path as Symbol Retreat - here you'll find a series of teachings and practices from a recent meditation retreat I led on the Triratna System of Practice. Progress from gentle grounding through to liberating insight. Enjoy!
Enjoying the Mindfulness of Breathing - a 35 min led practice from the second evening of a 4 part series on Anapanasati, or Mindfulness of Breathing, at the West London Buddhist Centre. Here I invite you to open to the enjoyment of embodiment through breath awareness.
A happy mind is a concentrated mind - a 20 min practice from the second evening of a 4 part series on Anapanasati, or Mindfulness of Breathing, at the West London Buddhist Centre. It doesn't take long to focus the mind and find the ground of stillness that is always available to us when we remember.
Surrendering to earth and sky - a luxurious 40 min meditation practice that starts lying down and connecting with earth, sky and body and ends in a seated mindfulness of breathing.
Samatha and Vipassana - 15 mins of input on how to work creatively with the mind, paying particular attention to the quality of awareness and what is arising within it, followed by a 25 min led practice that supports grounding in energetic releasing in the body as a way to open us to a more spacious, clear awareness.
Breath awareness into choice-less awareness - a 30 min meditation inviting us to begin from the heart, move into the breath and then widen out our awareness to include a broad, open acceptance of all that is arising and passing in our direct experience.
This unfolding life - a 40 min practice that encourages us to open to our experience of life as its unfolding. We begin with a lying down body scan, using the breath to help bring awareness to different parts of the body, and then moves into a seated practice.
Edging into what else is possible - a 3 min exploration of the difference between samatha (absorption) and vipassana (insight) and how we can learn to work creatively with both towards freedom from habitual patterns of thinking.
What you counted and carefully saved - a 45 min talk on the Buddha's teachings on loss and gain, two of the eight "worldly winds" that can knock us off our feet if we aren't careful, yet with awareness and kindness might become the means to liberation.
Opening to energy - a 20 min practice inviting an exploration of energy in the body as we get more and more absorbed. Absorption naturally supports a freeing up of energy that we can enjoy and fully. This allowing in helps to habituate the mind to become more and more sensitive to sensations of opening, expansion and joy.
Body scan into breath awareness - a 35 min practice that begins lying down with an emphasis on direct sensations throughout the body and then moves into a seated mindfulness of breathing. Ideal for when the mind is particularly busy!
Opening to the six senses (including the mind!) - a 25 min meditation practice exploring the rich texture of sensations coming in through the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, body and mind. Can we get curious about the fullness of our experience as its unfolding right now through sound, sight, smell, taste, physical sensations, and thoughts and emotions?
Body and breath awareness - a 30 min meditation practice beginning with grounding in direct sensations of the body in order to support a deepening awareness of the breath.
What is actually going on? - a full teaching with input, a led practice, and a bit more input on the Buddha's teaching on Dhammas in the Satipattana Sutta. Here we explore how the mind works, how awakening happens and how we can apply a deeper understanding of reality and our own conditioning to gain freedom from suffering.
Coming back to the breath - a 15 min meditation practice supporting us to return to the breath again and again when we notice the mind wandering, as it will. What can we get curious about when we turn our awareness towards breathing?
Meeting ourselves and others with kindness - a 30 min metta bhanvana, or cultivation of loving kindness, meditation practice using the traditional 5 stages, ourselves, a good friend, someone we don't know very well, someone we don't like very much (at least at the moment!), and eventually all beings everywhere.
Mindfulness of Breathing - a 25 min meditation practice to help calm body and mind, focusing on the sensations of breathing, and not worrying too much about thoughts!
Mindfulness of the Body - a 40 min long, luxurious meditation on the body, ideally done in a lying down position.
Radical Inclusivity - an exploration of our deep need to belong and how important it is to accept and love all the parts of ourselves, in order to accept and love others.
Grounding in direct experience - a short introduction and led practice to support bringing awareness to our experience of the body and the breath.
Introduction to the dhyana factors - a short introduction and led practice that helps us to learn to notice and dwell in pleasant experiences in meditation.
Breaking the spell of delusion - a short introduction and led practice that invites us to begin to get intrested in our habitual patterns of thinking and feeling, and how we can begin to liberate these through mindfulness of the body.
Opening to what's possible - a short introduction and led practice that helps us open to what else is possible in our moment by moment experience when we are not lost in habitual patterns of thinking and feeling.