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?
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
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.
Friendship is the most important element in the spiritual path. Everything else naturally flows from it." — Norman Fischer, Buddhist Teacher and Poet
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.
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
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.👇🏼
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.
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., 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
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.
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.
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.
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 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).
–– Robert Thomas, SittingLab Founder
Our Ten Core Values
Our Vision of Possibility
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