It’s that time of year again, when people all over Britain go off for the traditional New Year’s Vipassana retreat. But not me – this year, I decided to keep it old school. I went on a Benedictine retreat. Last Sunday, I traveled down to the Isle of Wight, to stay at Quarr Abbey (it’s Read more…

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Earlier this week, my girlfriend and I toured around Yorkshire and Northumberland, once the stronghold of English medieval monasticism. We visited the beautiful ruins of Rievaulx Abbey, which once boasted the biggest church in England. As we wandered around the ruins, I wondered what we lost, when Henry VIII dissolved more than 1000 monasteries in Read more…

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This weekend, I was at a conference in Boston called the International Symposium on Contemplative Studies. I know  – sounds pretty niche, maybe two monks, a chakra healer and a shaman with maracas?  Well, it was enormous – 1600 people, 300 presentations, including ones by some of the leading psychologists in the world, and the Read more…

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I sent out a tweet last week asking to interview someone who’d found mindfulness useful for coping with depression. Mary got in touch and told me her story, which was fascinating. I thought I’d share it for this week’s newsletter. Mary is a 25-year-old ordinand-vicar, who uses mindfulness to cope with the Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder that developed Read more…

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Jane Davis says that literature saved her life. She grew up in a broken home, with a single mum who died of alcoholism. She left home and lived in squats, with a husband who also eventually died of substance abuse. She was helped by a Women’s Liberation group and then went to study English Literature Read more…

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