Meditation for World Peace & Healing Script

There are four stages:

– Centering
– Sending Peace and Healing
– Prayers and Mantra
– Receiving Inner Peace

18.00 – Centering

We close our eyes and allow ourselves to drop down into our bodies.
Our bodies know how to be at ease.
Like sitting in your favourite armchair or sofa at home . . .
Or sitting at your favourite cafe people-watching . . .
Or out in nature watching clouds . . .
Dropping, sinking down into our bodies . . .

Move your feet just a bit to help you anchor down . . .

Notice the subtle sensations of your clothes against the skin of your thighs . . .

Notice the subtle sensations of your clothes moving against the skin of your chest and stomach as you breathe . . .

Your eyes are soft and kind . . .

Your heart warm and open . . .

And you take three or four very soft, slow, quiet breaths down into your stomach . . .

Slow and quiet now . . .

I will be silent now for a few minutes as we each settle down into our bodies . . .
And connect with each other across the landscape . . .
Heart to heart.



18.10 Send Peace and Healing

Stay in the silence . . .

For the next few minutes, we send peace and healing to wherever there is conflict and suffering . . .

Calmly, patiently, we send peace and healing . . .




18.15 Prayer & Mantras

Stay in the silence . . .

For the next few minutes we each in our own way, according to our culture and tradition, say our prayers and mantra for peace and healing. . . .


 18.20 Receive Inner Peace and Healing

Stay in the silence . . .

For the next few minutes, so that we ourselves may model peace and healing . . .

we allow ourselves to accept inner peace and healing. . .

We breathe it in . . .

Deep into our bodies . . .

Deep into our hearts . . .

Deep into our minds . . .

We accept inner peace and healing.


18.25 Ends

Slowly . . .
Gently . . .
Stretch . . .

Thank you everybody.
Thank you for community.
Thank you for love.


You can download a PDF of this script here:
World Peace Healing Meditation Script

Meditation Does Not Need a Silent Mind


One of the most helpful insights I ever heard from a meditation teacher is this:

There are two types of meditator.

Those who require a silent mind. And those who do not.

I was in my early twenties, just beginning my meditation practice, and was confused because my personal experience contradicted what everyone was teaching, that meditators must have a silent and empty mind. In fact, many of the books and teachers asserted that an empty mind was the real outcome and reward of meditation. But that was not my experience.

Early on I had discovered that I could go into a very mellow, centered and watchful space, with my mind, the proverbial monkey-mind, continuing its chatter. I was, it seemed, one of those meditators who did not need a silent mind. But importantly, I did need to manage it.

This blog then is about managing mind-chatter and comes from my experience of practicing and teaching meditation over five decades.

The crucial factor is whether you are able to observe your mind-chatter with friendly kindness.  Compassionate equanimity.  If you can step back and witness your chatter, then your consciousness has expanded; and expansion of consciousness is one of the wonderful outcomes of meditation.

As an observer then, like a supportive therapist, you can watch with friendly interest what arises in your mind-brain. With patience, emotional intelligence and benevolence you can usefully interpret the chatter and guide it.


The Saboteurs of Impatience and Self-Criticism

Watching myself and many others, my experience is that the main saboteurs of managing mind-chatter are impatience and self-criticism.

These two attitudes are usually the result of bad teaching. You may well have been taught, like I was at the beginning, that your monkey-mind must be silent. So, understandably, you may get judgmental and impatient when your brain is still creating thoughts.

Much of this erroneous teaching derives from the frequent misinterpretations and mistranslations of Buddhist terms like ‘sunyata’ or Christian ‘emptiness.’ The void, the emptiness of meditation, is not a frozen space with nothing in it. It is an infinite, vast dimension, ocean and space that contains everything. It also moves and flows.

The void contains the whole cosmos, Buddha consciousness, Christ consciousness, Nirvana, mysteries and levels of awareness beyond our human understanding. It also contains us. We ourselves are in the vast ocean of the void. Nothing is excluded. Nothing can be excluded and that includes our mind-chatter.

You may appreciate too that any meditation tradition and teaching that comes out of a mainly male, militaristic, martial arts, monkish, background may tend to reflect that culture and be emotionally frigid, stern and insisting on an absolutely silent mind. Don’t move. Obey. Be quiet. Empty your mind. Be a good and obedient soldier of your tradition.


Anchorperson, Host and Compere

A helpful teaching here is that you can imagine your mind, your consciousness in meditation, to be the world’s best host at a great and wonderful party, the infinite party of the void.  One of your guests at this extraordinary event is your mind-chatter. As a great host, you are not just at ease with the chatter, but you warmly welcome it with friendly and supportive curiosity. In meditation you are the experienced anchorperson and compere of this extraordinary event, which is your psyche in relationship with the cosmos.


Your Brain is Endlessly Stimulated

Here’s a biological angle that may help us better understand our mind-chatter.

From one perspective our brains are like flowers sitting on top of a trunk, a shaft, a stalk, of nerves and chemistry. This trunk runs from the base of the spine, up along the gut, then stomach, lungs, heart, mouth, nose, ears and eyes, into your brain. This central nerve also branches out through every cell in your body, including your skin. Your brain, sitting on top of it all, is triggered into activity by endless chemical and electrical events, which are themselves triggered by endless events, experiences, stimulations, conditionings, memories, senses and perceptions – some strong, some very subtle – that arise from every part of your body.

Your biology is designed for survival, with the brain as one of its major functions, perpetually noticing and interpreting lived and felt experiences. No wonder your brain keeps churning out thoughts as it is aroused and stimulated by relationships, money, oven on or off, digestion, pains, itches, tensions and every other major and minor trigger that sends ripples through your neuroendocrinal system.

There is often too much information, overload. In particular, the brain is designed to keep functioning until there is a satisfactory interpretation and closure, so that all possible threats are ended.

All of this is to articulate that, of course, your brain keeps creating thoughts. That is its job, and it sits in a complex and vulnerable endocrinal vehicle, your body, that itself sits in a never-ending culture and society of events, perceptions and stimulations. In meditation we calm the whole system.


Many Strategies, One Universal State

Because of this biological reality many different strategies have been developed to help people drop into a state so that they can meditate. These many strategies include breath, movement, reading sacred texts, mantra, body awareness, emptying and more.

Whatever the tradition or strategy, they all result in a universal experience that we call meditation. This experience does not include the frigid silence of the mind.  This universal state can be summarized as including:

  • Your body is at ease and not stimulating the mind-brain.
  • Your mind-brain is at ease, maybe burbling, but not causing anxiety, tension, or impatience in your body, your neuroendocrinal system.
  • Your mind-consciousness is able to step back and observe everything, body included, with compassionate equanimity.
  • There is a sense of connection with a benevolent Oneness (there are many words and terms for this.)


Some Hints on Managing Mind-Chatter

This still leaves the challenge of finding the right strategies for managing the brain-chatter. Remember. The issue is not to silence the brain-chatter. The issue is to develop your compassionate and wise observer. So here is some advice, which I hope you may find helpful.

Be Friendly.
Develop your ability and your attitude to be affectionately curious and interested in what your mind-chatter is saying. This is also useful personal development that can spill over into the rest of your life. Be patient and friendly towards yourself – and others.

Contemplate and reflect.
Learn to assess whether the mind-chatter is useful. For example, perhaps you really have not switched off the oven, so get up and check. Perhaps it may be a good use of your meditation time to contemplate a difficult family relationship, or a financial problem, or your next steps in personal or professional development.

This is one of meditation’s greatest gifts. When you are quiet, at ease, observant, and with a sense of connection, you are in the best possible state for wise contemplation about yourself. Know thyself.  This is good contemplative, reflective practice.  Where better to look at the challenges in your life? You can then guide this reflective contemplation to a close when you have had enough.

Use your mind in other ways
It is very useful to know that many meditation traditions actually teach activities that the mind can practice. This is to say, do not close down your mind. Use it in other ways. Well-known practices include prayer, healing, seed thoughts and reflective contemplation.

So when you assess that you have had enough reflective contemplation on your mind-chatter and its meaningfulness, you can direct your brain into one of those other activities. It is, for example, always good to pray for the relief of suffering.

Always, always, dissolve your impatience and develop patience.

Meditate Longer
Finally, over the decades there is a consistent piece of advice that I have given to students, colleagues and to myself. If you are experiencing challenges with your practice and your mind-chatter, meditate longer. If your usual time is twenty minutes, stretch it to thirty. If your usual time is thirty, stretch it to an hour. Stretch through the discomfort and develop your skills and capacity – more love, more consciousness, more compassion.

The groove of meditation is highly enjoyable and I always smile at Yogananda’s assertion that one good meditation is worth a year of ordinary human development.


This blog was triggered by my friend, Jan Cisek, who nudged me to look at Arnaud Delorme’s new book ‘Why Our Minds Wander: Understand the Science and Learn How to Focus Your Thoughts’ 

Why Are Some Meditators So Smug?

There is a lovely human contradiction here.
Meditators are strung out between being primal primates and transcendent gurus.

The organic reality is that meditators sit in a complex system of nerves, juices and synapses. These  biological essentials are hardwired into basic instincts for survival — for the individual and for the species. Sometimes these built-in nature drives can be bloody and harsh.

In the culture of traditional eastern meditation this is reflected in the classic Tibetan Buddhist mantra:
I am a sack of skin filled with unpleasant things.

Less harsh is the mantra:
I have a body, but I am not my body.

Softer and emotionally literate is the more modern version:
I have a body, but I am more than my body;
I have emotions, but I am more than my emotions;
I have thoughts, but I am more than my thoughts.

But these mantra pose a really interesting and substantial paradox. Who is the “I” who has all these things?

The “I” is obviously still a persona, an identity, a “me!” But this “I” is claiming to transcend and be detached from the sack of skin, the body, emotions and thoughts. This “I” is more than the flesh and blood identity.

In the Christian tradition we know only too well the problems associated with detaching from and condemning the physical body. The arising challenges range from a gentle dissociation that is harmless to others, to an uncontrollable flood of repressed, corrupt and abusive libido. This pathology of course is not restricted to Christianity, but may be found in any tradition that represses the body and its instincts.

But there is also a psychological challenge which is hardly acknowledged and requires more enlightenment. It is more subtle and has to do with status and survival. And is sometimes very destructive.

It is one of the most ordinary basic instincts in human beings. It is the survival drive that requires a stable sense of status. Where we sit in the social pecking order is a crucial element of psychological stability. We can see the politics of dominance hierarchies playing out all across the animal kingdom.

In the human species, status anxiety, and not knowing where one stands in the social hierarchy, can lead to mental illness and suicide. Moreover when someone’s status is threatened or disrespected, it can trigger powerful basic instincts of defensiveness, anger and aggression. This is the culture of gangs, bitchfests, prisons, mafiosi and dictators.

When a meditator, therefore, self-soothes and calmly observes the world around them, they transcend the usual dynamics of status and survival. In their consciousness the meditator is detached from, higher than, everyone else who is caught up in the noise, arousals and delusions. By virtue of being calm and watchful, the meditator has achieved – at least within their model of reality – a higher status.

This higher status gives them, as a biological creature, quite naturally, feelings of superiority. No wonder some meditators feel smug. At its worst the gentle smile of a meditator may be an expression of conceit.

And . . . perhaps they have genuinely achieved a higher status. Perhaps this is a positive evolutionary step onward for human beings.

If calm meditative watchfulness is a positive evolutionary step onward, then what matters now is whether the meditator has the reflective skills to understand the trickiness of the human psyche and whether they have insight into the hardwired drives of their sack of skin filled with unpleasant things. What matters too is whether they have an instinct for compassion.

Looking back at my own practice, I remember that in my twenties i was a smug meditator for a while. I did not know better and it was a stage before I developed a more insightful and loving temperament. 

In fact, I now wave a flag and will assert that the experienced meditator has reached a higher stage of human evolution and development — has higher status!

But this higher status, in the context of the great ocean of cosmic consciousness, is meaningless. (Try competing with a galaxy!)  As meditators experience over time, there are never-ending new and higher states of consciousness in our infinite enquiry into love, wisdom and the mystery.

Our plateau of calm awareness is but a starting point for ever more expanded states, more compassionate awareness and service.

So yes, I would have everyone on the planet able to practise the skills of calm awareness. But I would also want them to understand and appreciate the flesh and blood realities, the basic instincts of their biological creaturehood.


Meditation requires insight at all levels.


The image below is of St Simeon the Stylite who lived on top of a pillar for decades.

Distant Healing – The Heart-Opening Technique

Many meditators, healers and people of goodwill are attracted to the idea of distant healing — that in meditation, contemplation and prayer we can help relieve suffering and pain at a distance.

But how exactly do we do this? I will share with you one golden rule, briefly list the most well-known techniques and then describe the strategy that I prefer.

First, the golden rule.

This is simple: Distant healing must always be done in a relaxed, calm and loving way. Otherwise, you may be sending agitated vibrations and energies. In particular, you need to monitor that you do not have any neediness that there be a healing.

If we are needy for healing, then we radiate neediness. Not useful.

So stay calm. The keynote is compassionate equanimity.


The most well-known distant healing strategies are:

  • Kind thoughts
  • Sending healing energy (keep to the golden rule above and check you are not interfering)
  • Praying for help and intercessions from whichever tradition, gods, spirits, angels, saints, gurus, etc, who are in your culture.


Then there is the heart-opening strategy that I prefer to use.

I like it because it is relevant to both suffering and the causes of suffering. It is also realistic about the fact that some illnesses and distress are chronic and long term, and that death is an inevitability.

This strategy is simple. It is a sense, a visualisation, a calm expectation that the hearts open of those who are suffering.

In the same way, the hearts open of those who create suffering.

In a calm state of compassionate contemplation, bring any person or situation of suffering into your loving awareness.

May your heart be open. May your heart be open. May your heart be open.

When someone’s heart opens, they move into a different mood. They connect with the benevolent flow of the universe. Their emotions and minds become more accepting and kinder. Healing at all levels becomes more accessible. Space is created for waves of grace.

There are other ways of practising this that may better suit you.

If for example you have a Christian background, then you may prefer some wording like this, which has the same effect: May the Christ within you awaken. Or May the Christ consciousness in you be fully awake.

From a Buddhist background, you might feel more at home with: May the Buddha within you awaken. Or May the Buddha consciousness in you be fully awake.

Of course, you are free to adapt the wording in whatever way works best for you.

Within the Buddhist tradition there is also the foundation prayer of Om Mani Padme Hum often translated as the Jewel in the Lotus. In many respects, this is a heart awakening mantra. Each of us is a lotus, a beautiful flower with stems beneath the water and roots deep into the earth. And within us is a jewel. Perceive it. Let it be fully present.

Again, this is congruent with the Hindu greeting of Namaste. I greet the soul within you. I greet your soul. I greet the Christ within you. The Buddha within you. The Goddess within you. All of these facilitate heart-opening.

Some people may prefer to work with the chakra system. You can sense-visualise-imagine the love petals of someone’s heart chakra opening with compassion and wisdom.


I use this heart-opening approach when, in meditation, I send healing to the dictators and politicians who are oppressing their peoples. I sense their hearts opening. May your heart be open. I greet your soul.

Similarly, I use this strategy when contemplating those who are suffering with pain and fear. May your hearts be open. I greet your soul. Om mani padme hum.

Softly, gently, empathically, connect with suffering and sense heart-opening.

As always, you as an individual practitioner can explore and feel your way into the approach that is authentic for you.

Remember too to practise basic health and safety. Your fuel, inspiration and safety come from your connection with Spirit, by whatever name you call it. At the end of any healing, bring your focus fully home to your own body and close your energy field like a flower at night closing its petals.


I honour and respect activists who work on the front lines to relieve suffering and create safe space for all life to grow and fulfil.

I also honour and support the meditators, contemplatives and prayer-workers who work with distant healing.

Three Meditation Strategies to Manage Mind Chatter

This blog has three insights to help us manage mind chatter in meditation.

They come from fifty years’ experience of practising and teaching meditation. Monkey mind is one of the most frequent concerns.

But first be realistic and less concerned. Mind chatter is completely normal.

Our brains are hardwired to create thoughts and narratives about every perception, cognition and experience. The average brain, it is estimated, has 100 billion neurons; and each neuron has 7000 synaptic connections with other neurons.  They are busy interacting, buzzing and thinking and they continue their activity, as dreams, even when we sleep.

So when we go into meditation and withdraw from external stimuli, it is completely natural that we will meet the whirring electrochemical activity of our grey matter and its billions of internal connections. It is naive to expect this all to stop just because we close our eyes and sit still.

Unfortunately newcomers to meditation often have this unrealistic expectation that their minds will easily calm down and  they feel like failures, often not continuing with their practice.

This expectancy has also been fuelled by an error in how meditation is often taught in the West. When eastern concepts were first translated into English, the concept of the void (sunyata) was frequently interpreted as meaning an empty and completely silent space. In fact, the void refers to an experience of cosmic spaciousness in which everything and nothing exists, and everything and nothing is welcomed. It is infinite and like an ocean.

When it comes to managing mind chatter the actual issues are:

  • Can you calm your impatience?
  • Can you step back with compassion and good humour to observe what your mind is doing?
  • Do you know how to assess your mind’s activity and guide it into something useful?

 (The image is Hieronymous Bosch: Visions of Tondal)


There are a some crucial life skills needed by meditators.  One of them is the discipline and motivation to get into the groove of regular practice. Without regular practice we cannot develop the muscle memory and neural grooves that support our meditation practice becoming a comfortable and habitual rhythm.

But inside the discipline of regular practice the essential life skill we also need is patience. Patience — so that we continue to sit even when we feel triggered by irritability and feelings of impatience. So that we continue to sit and breathe even when we are jibed by internal judgments that we are wasting time or cannot do it properly. Patience when we are frustrated by monkey mind and find it difficult to flow into being at ease and calm.

All experienced meditators know that we have ‘bad’ days when mind chatter just does not stop. Any wise honest meditation teacher will own up that this happens to them sometimes. In my case it still occasionally happens after decades of practice. Why does it happen? There are several possible reasons. Unresolved karma and trauma in our psyches may be arising. We have been overstimulated by events. A global mood is influencing us. All this stuff is normal for human beings – and meditators are human beings.

To repeat, the most important strategy we can use here is patience. If we become impatient, it triggers neurochemistry which further stimulates the brain’s 100 billion neurons, just making things worse.

To help us develop patience there are many strategies, such as watching and guiding our breath, or repeating a mantra. Their core effect is an attitude of patience that then spills over into a calm mind and body.

One minute of patience, ten years of peace. Greek proverb

Witnessing with Good Humoured Compassion

Then there is that fundamental core part of meditation, which is the ability to mentally step back and observe everything and anything with compassion, care and good humour. This includes witnessing all the many sensations that arise in our bodies and, of course, being able to observe our own thoughts.

For many of us, therefore, the real issue with the chattering mind is not its chattering. The real problem is that we not able to step back and watch it with good humoured compassion.

One of my earliest teachers once said to me that there are two types of meditator — those who require the mind to be silent and those who can happily meditate with the mind burbling in the background. What is certain is that we have to develop that part of our psyche that can observe our minds at work. What shall we call it — higher mind, witness, observer, big mind, soul . . .?

In some militaristic schools of meditation there is a cold, abrupt and disciplined approach to developing this witnessing bigger mind. It is bootcamp enlightenment. Wake up! Observe! Witness!

This patriarchal approach to mindfulness has its source, I surmise, in those meditation traditions that are related to martial arts and to hierarchical monasteries and abbeys. This harsh approach of shock consciousness awakening can work well providing it is balanced with love and compassion.

The better, more appropriate and, I suggest, easier way into good-humoured self-observation is to develop an attitude of tolerance and kindness.

When stuff arises and the mind chatters, do not amplify the speeding brain electrochemistry with criticism and irritation. Instead drop down into an ambience of love and friendship. Ah. There I go again. Bless.  And this attitude then becomes the foundation and the mood that support our ability to witness.

Assess and Guide Your Mind

Finally there is a strategy that usually surprises students and colleagues.

When your mind is chattering away, ask yourself a simple question. Is my chatter useful? If the chatter is useful, let it continue and appreciate its value. If the chatter is not useful, then guide it into something that is constructive.

In my meditation today, before I started to write this blog, I found that my mind was exploring what I should write, contemplating different approaches. This is ironic, I thought. My chattering mind is chattering about managing chattering. However —I assess that  this is useful and creative. Where better to contemplate writing an article on monkey mind and meditation than in meditation?

This is the essence of contemplative meditation. We deliberately allow our minds to contemplate a subject for which we welcome insights and wisdom. This is classic meditation practice. The most profound school of Christian meditation, the Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, is precisely a series of contemplations on the life of Jesus. Buddhist meditation is sometimes described as enquiry.

In my own daily practice I welcome my mind contemplating what is happening in my life. I think of this as clearing my desk. I have many things in my life that deserve careful contemplation and consideration. Where better to ponder these things than in a meditative state where I am at ease, connected, watchful and caring? For example, difficult relationships can be explored in meditation, where there are no external stimuli muddying our clarity. In meditation we can contemplate our psychologies, patterns, woundings, ‘hungry ghosts’ and bring loving awareness to them.

And if you find yourself thinking about what to cook for dinner, you can assess whether that is a useful contemplation. It might be useful if you guided your thinking to include diet and wellbeing. The choice is yours. This is one of the great gifts of meditation. Inside the privacy of your silence you can do whatever you assess to be best for you.

I once queried an abbot who taught meditation and emptying. In your silence, I asked, don’t you contemplate your fellows and your visitors and explore what might best serve them? Of course I do, came the calm smiling response.

And there we have it — the internal emptiness has space for wise contemplative enquiry. We just need to be watchful and carefully guide ourselves.


So to repeat the three strategies:

Be patient.

Develop good humoured and compassionate witnessing.

Assess your thinking and guide it to be useful contemplation.

Three Reasons People Fall Asleep in Meditation – and Solutions

Over the decades that I have been teaching and leading meditation there is a common problem that arises. People fall asleep when meditating.

Here are three possible causes and their solutions.



The first challenge is straightforward.  People are tired and when they give their bodies the opportunity to be still and at ease, their bodies follow a natural instinct and slip into slumber.

There are two solutions. The simple one is do not meditate when you are tired. Timing will vary. For instance, some people have energy after eating, but others need a nap. Some people can easily meditate when they get home from work; others need a meal and a rest. Some people also need to make adjustments according to the time of year and seasons. You need to understand what works best for you in terms of timing and your circadian rhythms.

The other solution is less straightforward. Many people experience a general fatigue due to their lifestyle. Too much work. Too much fun. Too much family. Whatever the reason, falling asleep in meditation is a prompt to tweak how you are living. Your body is dropping into sleep in order to make up for the stress from the rest of your life. The solution here may be troubling or a very useful nudge: change your lifestyle.


Dissociation and Avoidance

A second reason for why people fall asleep in meditation is more subtle and sensitive. When people meditate and drop into a sense of calm and being at ease, they may start to experience bodily sensations that are due to muscle and cellular memory. These sensations, which may be very subtle, are often related to trauma and injury. So it is natural that people will want to avoid these negative feelings and reliving the unpleasant experience. Falling asleep is a good strategy to avoid the pain.

In worst case examples, people who were abused as children may, during their abuse, have dissociated from their bodies. This is a poignant but effective escape and survival mechanism. It is as if their consciousness absented itself from their bodies and the traumatic experience. So later in life, in meditation, as old memories surface, they follow the same survival pattern that they used in childhood. They dissociate and fall asleep.

This is obviously tender material and requires careful compassionate attention. If people feel that this may be their case, then there are two ways forward. The first is to recognise what is happening and use the meditative practice of deep self-compassion to address the painful history. This strategy only works if the meditator is strong, balanced and able to turn up the volume on self-compassion.

The second method is to engage with a therapist or meditation teacher who understands how histories of trauma are held in the body. In the last two decades there has been a useful growth in body-based psychotherapy.


Stodgy and Inert Energy

A third reason why people may fall asleep in meditation is that their mind, emotions and body are stodgy and not in flow. This can be an understandably uncomfortable realisation.

Especially as people sink into being at ease or, practice techniques in which they connect down into the Earth, then it can feel as if their energy and vitality clog up like slow treacle. This is like taking a sleeping pill or sedative. The brain feels heavy. Morpheus and Hypnos, the gods of sleep, magnetically attract people into slumber.

The solution to this problem is systemic. The whole system needs to be freed up into a more fluid state of movement.

Inside meditation this can be achieved by doing exercises frequently taught, for example, in Qi Gung and Kabballah. Sense and guide energy up and down, through and around the body, varying the circulation and speed.

At the same time people can review their diets and general exercise regimes. Reduce foods that sedate instead of vitalise. Move your body in expansive movements. Check that you are flexible in your emotional and mental stances.