Welcome to the SittingLab Community

The support you need to sustain and deepen your sitting practice.

Our Inspiration:

Sitting is not our usual way of doing or thinking. It's taking time to step back and turn inward. It's being wholeheartedly present and allowing ourselves to feel into our fullest human potential as deeply interconnected beings.

–– Robert Thomas, SittingLab Founder

Everything changes when you have a steady sitting practice.

When you have a regular and deepening sitting practice, you see different, think different, work different, and create different. Your life transforms in ways you could have never imagined.

That's why we believe the best sitting practice is the one you do.

And the best way to have a sitting practice you do –– consistently and regularly –– is to do it together with others. With the SittingLab community you can join live daily group sits and create your own custom practice schedule.

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

We want to help you sit where, how, and when it works for you.

Establishing a regular sitting practice is hard. Our practice ecosystem enables you to safely and comfortably sit with others in the places and at times that work best for your life. 

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, Author, Activist

We believe the best way to have a practice is to sit with friends.

The best way to deepen your practice is together with a group of good friends. Nothing helps a sitting practice grow better than friendships that support and encourage you on your path.

Our Inspiration:

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

–– Norman Fischer, Buddhist Teacher, Author, Poet

We invite you to join us and become a Founding Member.

SittingLab is not a social network, a mindfulness program, or an affinity group. We're different. It's for you if meditation is a priority for your life, you're ready to deepen your practice path, and you want to help others do the same.

SittingLab is currently in private beta and slowly offering seats to a small number of practitioners committed to sitting together with others. If you will benefit from the support of friends –– and others will benefit from your presence –– we invite you to request to join.

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, Author, Tibetan Leader

When you request to join SittingLab... 

  • You'll be placed on a wait-list to become a Founding Member. If accepted, you can immediately begin participating in daily Open Sit sessions, monthly Live Talks, and longer Retreats.
  • You'll also get an invitation to The Slow Club, a private and intimate, once-a-month meditation practice group led by SittingLab's founder, Robert Thomas.
  • And if you haven't already attended, you'll receive an invitation to Sitting Practice Design, our powerful 28-day meditation practice accelerator.

Our Inspiration:

My teaching is not a philosophy. It is the result of direct experience. My teaching is a means of practice, not something to hold onto or worship.

— Buddha

SittingLab's 28-day Practice Accelerator: 

Sitting Practice Design

Learning to meditate is easy, but learning to practice is hard.

Would you like help creating a regular sitting practice that works for your life? Tired of starting and stopping over and over again? Need more support, encouragement, or guidance than you're getting? Ready to go to the 'next level'?

We call Sitting Practice Design a practice "accelerator" because it quickly moves you past the usual barriers to having a regular, deepening practice. It's part small-group community, part meditation retreat, and part online course. We're science and living systems-oriented, yet inspired by the centuries-old wisdom of monastic training.

Join a Sitting Practice Design 28-day sprint and begin using SittingLab's simple tools to attend daily group sits and connect with new friends. Discover new possibilities to grow your practice with our systems-based approach and live daily support from SittingLab's Robert Thomas. 

At the heart of our accelerator is the Sitting Practice Design Canvas.

The Sitting Practice Design Canvas enables you to see and work with your sitting practice as an integrated whole made of five key parts: Purpose, People, Practice, Place, and Path. 

Over the course of one month you'll learn how to use the Sitting Practice Design Canvas as a transformative tool for creating a personalized sitting practice that works for your life. 

Note: The next cohort of Sitting Practice Design is scheduled for Summer, 2023. Get an invite by requesting to join SittingLab.

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 show up.

We make it easy to show up. Meditate with friends from the safety, comfort, and convenience of your environment. Simply reserve a spot and block the time in your calendar. You'll get a reminder, then click the link. No 'gurus.' No voices. No ads. No music. Just breathe and enjoy.

We do daily, 20-minute, silent sits that you access through your digital device. SittingLab is Buddhist-inspired but open to all styles of meditation. You decide what method works best for you. After sitting we briefly "check-in" to share our practice, connect, and support each other.

2. Feel your way, together with friends.

At SittingLab, we value not-knowing, exploring, and feeling our way –– with the support of practice friends. This is a radical shift: from solo effort to shared journey. Our freshly designed community platform fosters relationships that help you discover a path that feels right to you.

Above: Screenshots from SittingLab's practice event calendar.

3. Go deeper by giving more than you take.

Meditation practitioners are cultivating skills that today's world desperately needs: Kindness. Empathy. Compassion. Understanding. Clarity. Resilience. Wisdom. But to grow your practice in these ways is hard. That's why we need the support and encouragement of practice friends.

We believe the best way to deepen your sitting practice is when you have the intention to practice not only for yourself, but for the benefit of all beings. We embody and express this intention by sitting together, being kind and caring friends, and deepening our paths together. 

Over time, you naturally gain the capacity to benefit in other ways: Responding to questions from peers, engaging in 1:1 conversations, sharing stories, hosting sittings, giving talks, writing articles, creating courses, guiding the practice of others, and hosting your own practice 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

The SittingLab project is led by longtime meditator and community leader.

SittingLab's Robert Thomas discovered Vipassana meditation as a novice monk at a Thai forest monastery in 1993. He went on to ground his life in sitting practice, spending six years as a Zen monk in a remote mountain monastery. He's ordained as a Buddhist priest with 'Dharma Transmission' and has been teaching meditation internationally for over 20 years. 

Robert is currently the Executive Director of Tara Mandala, a groundbreaking Buddhist community dedicated to the Sacred Feminine. He's a former Executive Director of two highly influential practice communities: San Francisco Zen Center and Mindful Schools. He's also a digital artist (pathofkindness) and entrepreneur.

One day, many years ago, sitting in a Zen monastery, the person next to me asked the Zen Master, "what are we learning?" The Zen Master immediately replied, "we are learning how to be a human being."

Sitting here today, I imagine that if our world could speak, it would be urgently calling on us humans to change, to adapt, and to learn what it means to be a human being.

I imagine it would be imploring us to not waste time, and begin collectively transforming the way we see and know ourselves, and the world around us.

I imagine it might be begging us to do whatever it takes to make a collective evolutionary leap toward realizing our full potential as deeply interconnected beings.   

At SittingLab, our deepest intention is to help us learn how to be human beings in the 21st Century.

We do this by enabling support for what we believe is an essential precondition for greater human vitality, understanding, connection, and adaptation: a regular and deepening meditation practice.

We do it with care and kindness and a sincere hope that our small steps and unique approach will provide a platform for larger leaps that eventually contribute to the flourishing of every living being. 

That's why we sit here every day. If you want to sit together with friends, for the benefit of all beings, please join us. 8)

–– Robert Thomas, SittingLab Founder

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 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. Not-knowing. Science-informed. Practice-prioritizing. Technology-enabled. Creativity-driven. Imagination-embracing. Emergence-nurturing. And Human-being. 

Our Vision:

We imagine and work toward a future in which everyone has a regular, deepening sitting practice. But our dream is bigger. 

We see a day when anyone, anywhere can connect and practice with friends who are supporting 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