And yet, so often we feel the opposite: disturbed, distracted, and disconnected.
What if you could rediscover and nurture your innate human capacity for stillness, presence, and connection? In a way that's simple, easy, safe, and secure?
SittingLab enables anyone to have a daily sitting practice from the comfort and ease of your own environment. For meditators of all kinds, methods, or styles, we offer a welcoming, inclusive place to gather and practice together with others.
Enjoy simple online tools that allow you to easily join live sittings from wherever you are, form meaningful friendships, and cultivate a felt sense of community.
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 and Activist
Nothing will help you establish and sustain a regular meditation practice better than a group of friends––friends who you connect and sit with on a regular basis.
SittingLab gives you the support and encouragement of practice friends because we know this is the best way to learn new habits, develop your confidence and skills, and deepen your understanding.
Friendship is the most important element in the spiritual path. Everything else naturally flows from it.
–– Norman Fischer, Buddhist Teacher and Poet
SittingLab is now launching a private "beta" phase. That means we're slowly giving away no-cost "seats" for a limited number of people who want to start sitting together. If you like to meditate, request to join and start getting support for your daily practice.
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
Tired of starting and stopping over and over again? Not sure how to design a meditation practice that works for your life? Looking to meet and connect with fellow practitioners? Ready to go deeper and take your practice to the next level?
Join Sitting Practice Design to make new friends and get the support you need. Participate in daily group sittings. Learn, unlearn, and relearn. Complete weekly challenges. Get live guidance from SittingLab's Robert Thomas.
Sitting Practice Design is part small-group cohort, part meditation retreat, and part live online course. Our approach is modern and systems-based, yet inspired by the wisdom of training principles used in traditional Buddhist monasteries.
The past is past. The future is important. We are the creators. 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
The Sitting Practice Canvas enables you to see your sitting practice as a whole system made up of five parts: Purpose, Practice, People, Place, and Path.
Over the course of 21 days, you'll become familiar with our experiential and intuitive process for integrating the five fundamental elements. The canvas gives you an adaptive, flexible tool to design your very own sustainable sitting practice.
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, Adjunct Faculty, University of San Francisco
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 meeting Robert and 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.
Overall this was a wonderful experience, and I thank Robert for his mindful presence, good humor, commitment, and wisdom.
— Barbara R., retreat participant
SittingLab is sitting together with others virtually. Easily and safely meditate with friends live from the security, comfort, and convenience of your own environment. No gurus. No ads. No voices. No music. Just show up, breathe, relax, enjoy.
We do daily, 20-minute, silent sits. The particular meditation style or mindfulness method is up to you (we are 100% non-denominational and non-sectarian). "Check In" after sitting to notice what's happening and connect with others.
Design your own practice, but do it together with others. Go slow, experiment, and make steady progress. Give and receive support and encouragement. Expand your sense of belonging to feel part of something bigger. See your practice shift from individual effort to shared journey.
Above: Screenshot from SittingLab's practice event calendar.
Meditation practitioners cultivate what our world needs more of: Kindness. Empathy. Presence. Compassion. Understanding. Resilience. Wisdom. But to grow in these ways is hard. It takes time. That's why we need to help one another.
At SittingLab, we develop our skills with an intention to contribute in ways that benefit ourselves and others. We do this by sitting together and by being friends. We do it by answering questions, hosting longer sits, giving talks, being a guide or mentor for others, or starting our own practice group.
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, Author, Environmental Activist
SittingLab's founder, Robert Thomas, was a Zen monk who grounded his life in practice by meditating in a remote mountain monastery for six years. He's been a Buddhist priest for 22 years and an internationally traveled Dharma teacher for nearly 20 years. Robert is one of a small number of Western practitioners with "Dharma Transmission," the highest level of ordination in the Soto Zen lineage.
Robert is currently the Executive Director of the interntional Buddhist community, Tara Mandala. He's also the former CEO of San Francisco Zen Center and Mindful Schools, two internationally influential mindfulness and meditation practice communities. He is a visual artist (see pathofkindness.org).
"I believe the best meditation practice for 21st century humans is the one that you actually do. The practice you do will help you take good care of yourself and it will help you take good care of those around you. It helps you see different, think different, work different, and create different.
I know from experience that everything changes when you have a regular sitting practice. Your brain changes. Your body changes. Your field of awareness changes. Your way of being changes. Your ability to be a force for good changes. The future possibilities for your life change, in profoundly meaningful ways.
This is why I created SittingLab. So that more of us can connect as friends ready to support and encourage one another to have a sitting practice that can change our lives and change our world. Sitting together is how we help each other discover our full potential as human beings. It's how we can collectively create the positive conditions for a different––and better––future.
I sit here every day. If you're interested in sitting together with friends, for the benefit of all beings, please join me."
–– Robert Thomas, SittingLab Founder
Our Core Values:
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