Welcome to SittingLab

The place for 21st century meditation practitioners

Every human being has a natural inborn ability to feel still, fully present, and connected.

And yet, our lives often feel disturbed, distracted, and disconnected. What if we could rediscover and nurture our capacity for stillness, presence, and connection? 

How would your life be different? How might our world be different?

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

Grow a regular, consistent, and deepening sitting practice, wherever you are.

If you're a meditator of any kind, SittingLab gives you a simple, safe, and inclusive place to establish and sustain a regular practice. 

We offer easy-to-use online tools that enable you to sit together with others from anywhere, form meaningful friendships, and cultivate a deep sense of belonging. 

Our inspiration:

Friendship is the most important element in the spiritual path. Everything else naturally flows from it." — Norman Fischer, Buddhist Teacher and Poet

Gather, connect, and sit together with a community of like-minded friends.

Nothing will help you establish and sustain a meditation practice better than a community of friends to practice with. 

Having the support and encouragement of friends, you're able to develop new habits, grow your confidence and skills, expand your understanding, and discover a path that changes 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

We invite you to become a Founding Member of the SittingLab community.

SittingLab is now launching a private "beta" test phase. At this time we're slowly beginning to open up no-cost "seats" to a limited group of Founding Members. 

Ready to grow your sitting practice? Request to join and get on the waitlist.

As Founding Member you get access to daily live sittings and check-ins, and many other ways to deepen your practice. You'll also be invited to join our dedicated practice group and 21-day practice accelerator. Check it out.👇🏼

Request to join SittingLab today and... 

  1. Get on the waitlist to become a Founding Member.

  2. Get your invitation to The Slow Club, our dedicated practice group.  

  3. Get your invitation to Sitting Practice Design, our 21-day practice accelerator.


Interested in using the power of systems thinking to establish a regular, consistent, and deepening sitting practice?  

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. Experiment and try new things. 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.

Our inspiration:

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 heart of Sitting Practice Design is the Sitting Practice Canvas. 

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. 

Ready to grow a sitting practice that changes your life? 

Get your invitation to Sitting Practice Design by requesting to join SittingLab today.


Here's what people say...

SittingLab deepens my commitment to practice daily. I feel the support of others to be consistent when I might be feeling lazy.” –– Ernest B., Ph.D.; 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

How SittingLab works: 

First, show up.

Our Approach: Easily and safely sit together online. Meditate with others live from the security, comfort, and convenience of your own space. 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 and connect with others.


Then, keep it going...

Our Approach: Design your own practice, but grow it with others. Go slow, feel your way, and make steady progress. Give and receive support and encouragement. Shift your practice from individual effort to shared journey. Expand your sense of belonging to feel part of something bigger.

Above: Screenshot from SittingLab's practice event calendar.


By always helping others.

Our Approach: Meditators 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 and abilities by actively benefitting others. It's as simple as sitting together and being a friend. It's answering questions, hosting longer sits, giving talks, starting a group, being a guide, or creating a course.

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, Author, Environmental Activist

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

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 also the former longtime CEO of San Francisco Zen Center and Mindful Schools, two groundbreaking and internationally influential mindfulness and meditation practice communities. He's also 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. It will help you take good care of those around you. It helps you see different, think different, work different, and create different. 

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. The future stories and possibilities for your life––and the lives of those around you––change, in deeply meaningful ways. 

This is why I created SittingLab. 

So that we 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. 

This is how we help each other discover our full potential as human beings. It's how we collectively create the positive conditions for a different––and better––future.

I sit here every day. If you're interested in sitting together, for the benefit of all beings, please join me."

–– Robert Thomas, SittingLab Founder


Our Ten Core Values

We're Well-being-minded. Buddhist-inspired. Technology-enabled. Friendship-powered. Community-based. Inclusive-designed. Science-informed. Creativity-driven. Practice-focused. Human-centric.

Our Purpose

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

Our Manifesto

SittingLab redefines what it means to practice meditation in the 21st century. New conditions help us make the shift from inconsistent to daily. From fast to slow. From hard-to-find to convenient. From learning to unlearning and relearning. From control to autonomy. From teachers to friends. From practice center to network. From charisma to humility. From "me" to intention to benefit. From exclusive to inclusive. From central command to decentralized self-organizing. From esoteric to simple and rudimentary. From thinking to feeling. From hierarchy to peer cooperation. From large to small. From infrequent retreats to everyday community. From intimidating to safe. From disembodied voices to live human beings. From old fixed ways to adaptivity and experimentation. From climate impact to climate benefit. From individual effort to shared journey. 


Our Vision of Possibility

By the end of this decade, it's not that everyone will have a meditation practice that they do every day. It's that anyone anywhere has access to a community that helps them grow and develop as a human being and live their life for the benefit of all living beings. 


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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