Welcome to SittingLab

A Practice Community for Serious Meditators

At SittingLab, we're serious about meditation. Because life is short and we all need to realize our full potential.

We want to help you slow down, be still, calm and present, and cultivate a deep sense of connection with everything. That's because we believe these are the essential preconditions that enable you to manifest your fullest human potential for wisdom and compassion.

But slowing down, being still, calm and present, and cultivating a deep sense of connection is hard –– especially in today's tech-stressed world. That's why we're creating an ecosystem that offers the support and encouragement you need to have a regular, deepening sitting practice.

Sitting is stepping back and turning inward. This is different from our usual ways of doing and thinking. It's turning our attention to and being fully present with whatever is arising for the mind and body in this present moment.

–– Robert Thomas, Meditator and SittingLab Founder

What if you could sit with others when and where and how it works for your life?

SittingLab enables you to sit together with others from the comfort, safety, and security of your own space. For meditation practitioners of all kinds we offer simple digital tools that allow you to easily join live daily group sittings and create your own personal practice schedule. For free.

Our Inspiration:

Meditation practice in the 21st century should become a collective practice. Without a community of friends, we cannot achieve much.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist Teacher and Activist

What if you could deepen your sitting practice with the support and encouragement of friends?

Nothing helps you establish a regular, deepening sitting practice better than having a group of friends to sit with. An inclusive, encouraging place to gather, form friendships, and feel a sense of belonging in community is the best way to become more consistent and grow your practice.

Our Inspiration:

Friendship is the most important element in the spiritual path. Everything else naturally flows from it. 

–– Norman Fischer, Buddhist Teacher and Poet

Become a 'Founding Member' of SittingLab's practice community.

We're not a social network, a mindfulness program, or a traditional meditation center. We're something new and different. We're for those of you who want to take your sitting practice more seriously, make it an important part of your life, and help others do the same.

We're in a private beta phase and slowly giving away free seats to a limited number of people who want to gather and sit together with others. If you think your sitting practice will benefit from the support and encouragement of friends, request to join and launch your daily practice.

Our Inspiration:

The past is past. The future is important. You in the West should be creative in adapting the timeless essence of the Dharma to your own cultural times and circumstances.

— His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Buddhist Teacher and Tibetan Leader

Request to join SittingLab... 

  • And get on the wait-list to become a Founding Member and, if accepted, start joining daily open sitting sessions
  • Get your invitation to Slow Club, a dedicated, private, monthly-meeting practice group guided by SittingLab's founder, Robert Thomas 
  • Get an invitation to the next sprint of Sitting Practice Design, our powerful 21-day practice accelerator (see below)

Our 21-day Practice Accelerator: 

Sitting Practice Design

Ready to get serious about your sitting practice?  

Tired of starting and stopping over and over again? Not sure how to create a practice that works for your life and is sustainable? Need more support, encouragement, or guidance than you've been getting? Ready to go deeper in your practice?

Sitting Practice Design is a practice accelerator that's part small-group community, part meditation retreat, and part online course. We're science and systems driven, yet inspired by the wisdom of centuries-old Buddhist monastic training.

Join a Sitting Practice Design 21-day sprint to begin using SittingLab's simple tools, learn our intuitive, science and systems-based approach, engage in daily group sits, make new friends, unlearn old ways of thinking, and get live support from SittingLab's Robert Thomas. 

The core of Sitting Practice Design is our Meditation Practice Canvas.

The Meditation Practice Canvas enables you to see your sitting practice as an integrated whole made up of five essential components: Purpose, People, Practice, Place, and Path. 

Over the course of a 21-day sprint, you'll learn to use the Meditation Practice Canvas as a powerful tool to create a custom sitting practice that works for your life. 

Note: Sitting Practice Design is by invite only. You can get your invite by joining SittingLab.

Our Inspiration:

The most radical thing any of us can do at this time is to be fully present to what is happening in the world.

— Joanna Macy, Buddhist teacher, author, and environmental activist

What people are saying:

SittingLab deepens my commitment to practice daily. I feel the support of others to be consistent when I might be feeling lazy.  

–– Ernest B. PhD, Education Therapist

Before I joined SittingLab, I wanted to meditate more regularly but had a hard time prioritizing the time for it. I would also feel too antsy to sit still for much more than 5 minutes. After joining SittingLab, I've now been able to meditate more regularly (at least three times a week), and I'm amazed at my ability to simply "be" for our entire sitting sessions. After each session, I feel more centered, calm, and connected in a deep way with my fellow meditators. 

  –– Karla P., Writer and Life Coach

Robert helped me get over the initial challenges of meditation. I'd tried in the past to meditate on a regular basis and was never able to. With this retreat, things started to click, and I began to relax into it instead of trying so hard and ultimately stopping. This made all the difference in me establishing a regular practice. I feel like I have a path forward now.

  — Edward P., retreat participant

Robert provided the group with an inspiring blend of yoga practice and meditation that was warm, non-judgmental, and fun. He took great care to address everyone's needs and encouraged each person to stretch their own comfort zone. I thank Robert for his mindful presence, good humor, commitment, and wisdom. 

  — Barbara R., retreat participant

How SittingLab works: 

1. Schedule your sit and just show up.

We make it easy for you to gather and meditate live with friends from the safety, comfort, and convenience of your environment. Block the time in your calendar and get reminded to show up. No gurus. No ads. No voices. No music. Just show up, breathe, relax, and enjoy.

We do daily, 20-minute, silent sits that you can easily access through your computer or phone. Your meditation style or method is completely up to you (we are Buddhist-inspired, yet non-sectarian). After sitting, we do a group "check-in" about our practice to support each other.

2. Feel your way, together with friends.

At SittingLab, we don't think our way, we feel our way, with the support of practice friends. Sitting with friends helps you get the daily encouragement you need to find your own practice and be consistent. This is a shift from solo effort to shared journey. It's unlearning old habits and feeling your way with others onto a more joyful and nourishing path for your life.

Above: Screenshots from SittingLab's practice event calendar.

3. Go deeper by helping others practice.

Meditation practitioners are cultivating skills that today's world desperately needs: Kindness. Empathy. Compassion. Understanding. Clarity. Resilience. Wisdom. But to grow and develop in these ways isn't easy. We all need the support of caring friends. Our practice deepens as we dedicate ourselves to generously helping others. 

The best way to deepen your sitting practice is with an intention to be of benefit to yourself and those around you. We can do both at the same time. The most basic way we do this is by showing up to sit together and being a kind, compassionate friend to others in the community. 

Over time, as you deepen your practice, you naturally gain the ability to help in other ways: Responding to questions, engaging in 1:1 conversations, sharing stories, hosting sittings, giving talks, writing articles, creating courses, being a practice guide, or starting your own group.

Our Inspiration:

When we sit, we bring joy and nourishment to ourselves and others. Every time we sit, we can sit in such a way that the world can profit from our sitting.

–– Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist Teacher

SittingLab was created by a long-time meditator and community leader.

SittingLab's Robert Thomas, discovered Vipassana meditation as a novice monk at a Thai forest Buddhist monastery in 1993. He then grounded his life in sitting practice for six years as a Zen monk in a remote mountain monastery. He's been a Zen Buddhist priest and globe-traveling meditation teacher for more than two decades. 

Robert is Executive Director of Tara Mandala, an international Buddhist community committed to the sacred feminine. He's the former CEO of San Francisco Zen Center and Executive Director of Mindful Schools, two leading meditation and mindfulness communities. He's also an artist (pathofkindness) and successful entrepreneur.

The best meditation practice for us 21st century humans is the one we actually do. The practice we do helps us take better care of ourselves and the world around us. It helps us see different, think different, work different, and create different. 

I began SittingLab because I know from experience that everything changes when you have a regular and deepening sitting practice. Your mind changes. Your body changes. Your way of relating to others changes. 

With a practice, how you see the world and what's possible for your everyday lives changes. Your ability to be an effective catalyst for good changes –– in deeply meaningful and lasting ways.

For millennia, meditating together has been a way for human beings to help each other realize their full potential. Today, it's also a way to evolve our human capacities and co-create new conditions that enable our endangered world to adapt and thrive.

That's why I sit here. 

If you're looking for no BS support to sit with friends, for the benefit of all beings, please join me.

–– Robert Thomas, Meditator and SittingLab Founder

Our Values:

We are Wellbeing-minded. Buddhist-inspired. Friendship-powered. Community-based. Inclusivity-creating. Vitality-oriented. Benefit-intentioned. Commitment-empowering. Understanding-seeking. Sense-engaging. Feeling-guided. Connection-discovering. Cooperation-leading. Possibility-focused. Safety-establishing. Adaptivity-enabling. Future-readying. Slowly-knowing. Science-informed. Practice-prioritizing. Technology-enabled. Creativity-driven. Imagination-embracing. Emergence-nurturing. And Human-being. 

Our Purpose:

We enable meditation practitioners of all kinds to gather, connect, and sit together so that we can support and encourage each other to build a regular and deepening practice.

Our Manifesto:

SittingLab is redefining what it means to meditate in the 21st century. New tools and conditions are allowing us to make different kinds of creative and generative choices. At SittingLab we are on a collective journey to understand how meditation can help us human beings save ourselves from ourselves, and not only avoid complete global system collapse, but co-create a world in which all living beings can grow and thrive. To that end, we work to build a space that enables us to shift and change at both personal and global scales. Here we try to go from being experts to beginners. From learning to unlearning. From probability to possibility. From thinking to sensing & feeling. From ignorance to understanding. From separation to intimate interconnectedness. From rules to experimenting & innovating. From getting to giving. From big ideas to small steps. From inconsistent to familiar. From dangerous to safe. From fast to slow. From isolated to connected. From disembodied voices to live human interaction. From no access to convenient. From command & control to self-organizing. From teachers to guides. From large community to small group. From competitors to friends. From standardized to co-creating. From charisma to humility. From "me" & "us" to benefit for all beings. From exclusive to inclusive. From esoteric to authentic. From top-down hierarchy to peer cooperation. From centralizing to decentralizing. From rare experiences to everyday practice. From brittle to adaptive. From climate harming to climate benefitting. From individual effort to shared journey. From sleep-walking to awakening. And from human doing to human being.

Our Vision:

We imagine and work toward a future in which everyone has a regular sitting practice. But our dream is more than that. 

We see a day when anyone, anywhere can feel part of a community of friends who are supporting and encouraging them to realize their full human potential for wisdom and compassion.


Our Inspiration:

In an age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow. And in an age of distraction, nothing is so luxurious as paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still." 

–– Pico Iyer, traveler and author

Ready to start sitting?

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