Happy New Year 2021

We’ve not updated the website much in the last year. So much of what we normally put here is based on the events we have held or hope to hold and all that has been on hold. To start 2021 on a different foot here is a lovely poem from one of the Sangha.

Christmas Poem for all in my heart

As 2020 leaked away through the sieve holes of day to day life,
I reflected on recent retirement and
wondered if torpor like this was usual….
As the days dripped by, then shone by, all the while eating cake,
my life passed before me…. several times

Friends, family, ancestors, colleagues, neighbours, all, would pop into my head
and I would revisit events and fond memories, smiling wistfully … sometimes a tear.
How are they doing in all of this?
Wouldn’t a chat or a letter be such a great idea ….
If only they were near (or alive) we could walk and talk…
I miss them all.
Aaah the busy thoughts of the idle mind, from where do they come and where do they go?

… After the bustle of the brief summer respite where we all came up gasping for air,
The leaves turned red and gold, and the geese departed,
and, like the bear my energy and initiative hibernates.
I miss them still.

By this time though it was clear, I was not alone…
There is little consolation that all humanity is catatonic together,
except perhaps as proof positive that we are all indeed one
and our illusions of separateness are finally in shreds at our rooted feet,
revealing the ache for our team mates in the team we didn’t even know we were in…

So… here we are, rushing expectantly towards Christmas trying to rekindle that optimism
and sparkle of childhood and sensing that, if we all sparkle together stoically,
we may just light up the world and feel some joy…
and then ,
well then,
we can go on to pour hope into 2021 … like there was no tomorrow..

Only kidding… of course there’ll be a tomorrow…
The catatonia will pass ….
But, we need to link arms, claim the path and stride into the sunshine.
It’s only possible together, all together …
Let’s link hearts ….

Ann Samuel Till, December 17, 2020

COVID-19 (‘Coronavirus’)

We inter-are with all humans, animals, plants and even minerals. Just now the spread of the Covid-19 virus is illustrating this very well.

At this time we need to be especially aware that our health and wellbeing is not separate from the health and wellbeing of every member of our society.

We must do what we can to slow the progress of the virus through the population and so help our health professionals cope with those who become very ill.

The Wild Geese intend to meet when we can to support each other and the wider community. When we do meet we must follow all the guidelines that are given by the authorities such as:

  • Washing our hands before and after meeting.
  • Avoiding physical contact with each other.
  • Catching our coughs and sneezes – but not in our hands.
  • Not coming to meetings if we have a cough or temperature or are in contact with people who have these symptoms

Some meetings will need to be cancelled or re-arranged. This page will be updated to show what’s going on.

  • Mondays at Santosa – Cancelled till further notice.
  • Tuesday Mindfulness@Lunchtime at St Marks – Cancelled till further notice.
  • Thursday evenings at St Marks – Cancelled till further notice.
  • Friday mornings Sitting at Dawn – Cancelled till further notice.

The Mindfulness Peace Walks we normally organised are cancelled for now. We hope we will be able to run one in the late summer or autumn.

We have arranged an on line Zoom meeting for Thursday evenings. If you are in the Edinburgh area and would like to join us please fill out the Contact Us form so we have your email address. We will then send you details of how to join the virtual group.

This page last updated Friday 19th June 2020

16th Annual Mindful Peace Walk @ Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Sadly the 2020 Peace Walk has been postponed due to the current situation with the Covid-19 virus. We will walk together again when the situation improves.

‘We walk just for walking. We walk with freedom and solidity, no longer in a hurry. Let us enjoy every step we make.’

Thich Nhat Hanh.


For the 16th successive year we are happy to be able to facilitate a mindful peace walk at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in collaboration with the Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace EICSP.

Venue: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, John Hope Gateway, Arboretum Place, Edinburgh, EH3 5NZ.
Date: Sunday 22 March 2020
Time: 10am for 10.15am ends by 11.15am. Meet at West Gate entrance to the John Hope Gateway, Arboretum Place. Introduction to mindful walking at 10.00am. Walk begins at 10.15am.
Cost: Admission Free. Just come along on the day.

This silent walking meditation is an open event. It will be led by the lay members of the Edinburgh Sangha of the Community of Interbeing, who follow the practice and teachings of Zen Buddhist Master, Thich Nhat Hanh. The walk begins at the John Hope Gateway of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Before the walk begins there will be a brief introduction to mindful walking as meditation practice. This is not a protest or a campaigning event, so please do not use any banners. Children are welcome when accompanied by adults. Please remember to wrap up warmly – in 2018 it was snowy!

More walks?

This is the first of three walks organised with the EICSP. There will be two more; one at Lauriston Castle on 14th June and one at Saughton Park on 11th October. We hope you can join us.

Love Letter 
to the Earth 
- an All-Age Retreat

In the context of the Climate and Ecological Emergency, this All-Age Retreat will focus on Love Letter to the Earth that Thich Nhat Hanh wrote in 2013.

He calls on us all to “understand the Earth as a living, breathing organism” so we can heal ourselves, heal our lives and heal the earth, the plants, creatures and all the natural world as well.  

We hope a gifted teacher will share how we can find healing ways of being as we learn more about the great challenge our children and grandchildren face.  

  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Walking Meditation – in the woods and grounds
  • Touching the Earth
  • Planting seeds and engaging in mindful gardening
  • Taking the Five Mindfulness Trainings
  • Dharma talks
  • Art projects for all ages 
  • Preparing for COP26 Glasgow, 9-30 November 2020

Wiston Lodge www.wistonlodge.com – with its extensive grounds and natural environment against a backdrop of Tinto Hill – gives us the opportunity to deepen our awareness of Interbeing with Nature and with one another.  

The doors are wide open for all ourfriends.  We hope everyone young and old will feel nourished and enriched through the explorations of the practice.

 Book: https://augretreat.eventbrite.co.uk  

Q? Email Paul info@tintomusicandarts.org 

or Meg.Beresford@gn.apc.org or call Meg 

07835 362 774.  Share our Facebook Event 

 The Border Collie Sangha is part of the Community of Interbeing – a network of people who practise mindful living according to the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh,  Zen Master.  Web sites: http://interbeing.org and www.tintomusicandarts.org  

Christmas & New Year 2019/20

Just to let you know that the Monday evening sessions at Santosa have now finished for this year and we will meet again there from Monday 13 January 2020

The final Thursday session at St Marks for 2019 will be on the 18th December and then we will be off until Thursday 9th January.

In the meantime our Unitarian friends are offering a series of events over the Christmas period:

Or it is a lovely time to go for a walk:

There’s no Peace Walk, the Peace is the Walk.

Sex, Spirit & Sangha: The Third Mindfulness Training A Day of Mindfulness with Jane Ellen Combelic

“True love… is an infinite force of light and of love that speaks
of our interconnectedness with all things.”

Love’s Garden: A Guide to Mindful Relationships by Peggy Rowe Ward and Larry Ward

Together we will investigate the third of Thich Nhat Hanh’s five mindfulness trainings (precepts), “True Love,” which begins: “Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating sexual responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society.”We will look deeply at the creative and destructive power of sexual energy, and see how spiritual practice can enliven and enhance our most intimate relationships.

Jane Ellen Combelic is a storyteller, writer, and artist who teaches mindfulness and embodied spirituality. She is a senior student of Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and former editor of The Mindfulness Bell. After being ordained into the Order of Interbeing in 2006, she founded Lotus Blossom Sangha in her hometown in Colorado. Since her move to Scotland in 2010 she has been an active member of Northern Lights Sangha at Findhorn, where she frequently leads days of mindfulness. For the last three years she has also been a student of Living Tantra, a deeply spiritual practice integrating body and mind. Jane is the author of a memoir, No Coming, No Going, about the year she spent at Plum Village and in Vietnam with Thay, and she’s at work on a sequel—about finding true love.

When: Saturday 30th November 2019 – 9:15am to 4:00pm (please try to arrive a little earlier so that we can start at 09:30; stay for the whole day or just the morning)
Where: St. Marks Unitarian Church, Castle Terrace
Booking: Just turn up.
Bring: Small amount of vegetarian food to share if that is easy.
Cost: By donation – to cover the cost of hiring the venue etc. Suggested: £10 (£5).

Morning of Mindfulness Saturday 2nd November 2019: The Fading of Desire

Breathing: Our Way to FreedomBreathing Exercise 14: The Fading of Desire

This session will continue our exploration together of the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing. Having contemplated impermanence in the 13th breathing exercise, any desire we may have had for fame, power, wealth and sensory overindulgence is likely to have waned, having seen how transient they are. In fact, seeing from afar the hazards of a celebrity lifestyle, we may not feel the slightest desire to be rich, famous and powerful!

But what kind of power are we talking about and to what use do we wish to put it? Thay has spoken of the power of understanding, love and letting go. He has also spoken of the power of stillness.

If we change the language slightly and speak instead of recognition, influence, security and intimacy, then we encounter powerful volitions that affect us all in one way or another.

We will explore our own experiences of seeking recognition, influence, security and intimacy using guided meditation, readings and sharing in small groups. We will also investigate the causes and conditions of contentment.

We will share a mindful lunch so please bring a little vegetarian or vegan food to share.

Tea will be provided. Cushions, mats and blankets are available at the venue, but you are welcome to bring your own if you prefer.

The session will be facilitated by Pete and Gustaf and will run from 09:15 for a 9:30 start until 1:00 pm at St. Marks Unitarian Church.

When: Saturday 2nd November 2019 – 9:15am to 1:00pm (Please try to arrive a little earlier so that we can start at 09:30)
Where: St. Marks Unitarian Church, Castle Terrace
Booking: Just turn up.
Bring: Small amount of vegetarian food to share if that is easy.
Cost: By donation – to cover the cost of hiring the venue etc. Suggested: £10 (£5).

Practising in Unsettling Times Mindfulness Retreat Thursday 19 September – Sunday 22 September 2019 The Burn, Edzell, Angus

The Touching the Earth Sangha in Banchory are delighted to invite you to our special retreat at the Burn, near Edzell, during the 3rd weekend of September 2019. 

Led by Teri West, an experienced mindfulness practitioner and lay teacher in the tradition of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. (You can find Teri’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/inbedwiththebuddha/ ). We will be offered a range of opportunities to discover life in the present moment. For beginners as well as for those with experience, this is a rare chance to enjoy learning about mindfulness through practice in a most beautiful environment.

The retreat will run from 18.00 on Thursday 19 September (arrival from 16.00) until 15.00 on Sunday 22 September 2019.  Although, our facilitator is a lay teacher of the Zen Community of Interbeing, the weekend will be run in a largely secular manner. Everyone is welcome including those from all religious traditions as well as agnostics and atheists.

We are anticipating a high demand for this retreat so we recommend early booking using the form below.

Teri has pursued various occupations since leaving home as a teenager. By her mid 40s she began working as a professional storyteller, singer, part-time poet and as a member of an improvising clown group in the Nose to Nose school of clowning. She currently takes to the stage at every opportunity, using song to take a dharma message into the unlikely environment of the world of cabaret and has co-led the weekend course, ‘Clown and the Art of Mindfulness’, on three occasions at the European Institute for Applied Buddhism in Germany. Further such courses are scheduled for June and September this year.

Teri was fortunate to be invited to Plum Village in 1988 as a guest with friends of Thay who had worked with him in the ‘70s on founding a charity for Vietnamese refugees. This was a powerful experience. Teri bought ‘Breathe, you are alive!’ which, together with ‘The Miracle of Mindfulness’, brought Buddhism into a grounded, practical form that Teri could relate to, having previously read somewhat intellectual, complicated theories.

She’s been a student of Thay’s since that time, working on various retreats, particularly those that welcome families and founding the Westcountry Sangha (which brings together practitioners from the South-west and provides a base where members of all the local sanghas in the region can come together to share practice). She’s a member of the North Devon Sangha.

Teri was ordained into the Order of Interbeing in 2000, receiving the dharma name ‘True Door of Virtue’ (chan duc mon) and the Lamp Transmission as a dharma teacher in 2016.

Listen to Teri explain why she writes Haiku poetry.

Watering Seeds of Creativity & Joy: 5th October 2019

Our friends in the Poppy Seed Sangha are hosting a Mindfulness Day with Susanne Olbrich on Saturday on 5th October 2019 from 10am to 4pm at Westbank Natural Health Centre in Strathmiglo, Cupar.

A group of us Wild Geese are planning to fly North and help make this a joining of the Sanghas. Near the time we will try and synchronise travel arrangements. If you are going please drop Orla an email as numbers are limited. If you could offer a lift, or need one, please speak out at one of our regular meetings or use the contact form.

We all have the seeds of creativity and joy in us and this day will be an opportunity to water them. Let’s come together for mindful breathing, sitting, walking and eating to slow down and reconnect with the source of peace and joy inside. By coming home to ourselves, relaxing body and mind, and allowing the senses to open up, we will embark on a journey of discovery with sound, music, words, colour and nature materials. Through simple creative activities, weather permitting outdoors, we will nurture awareness, openness, playfulness, curiosity, kindness and a spirit of adventure in ourselves and each other. You are invited to explore and experiment, to be receptive, to be. Everyone welcome!

Susanne Olbrich, True Ever-present Stability, is a musician, music educator and mindfulness teacher based at Findhorn, where she co-founded the Northern Lights Sangha. In 2016 she received the Lamp Transmission as a dharma teacher in Plum Village. She loves offering retreats and days combining mindfulness and creative expression.

If you use Facebook you could register your interest on the Facebook event.

Please bring:-

  • A musical instrument if you have one (whether you can play it or not), crayons or pastels.
  • Food for the day. We will provide teas/ coffees.
  • A meditation cushion/ stool if you have one, don’t worry if not, we have a few spare and some chairs (these are quite hard so a small cushion can be beneficial).
  • A favourite blanket or shawl for warmth. Slippers or warm socks can also be nice.
  • Outdoor shoes and coat.

There is no fee for the day but the opportunity will be there to offer dana (a voluntary contribution) to our visiting teacher.