May 21st: World Meditation Day

Did you know about this? It’s news to me. A local yoga and meditation studio here in West Vancouver just sent me an invite to join their special session today. In London, England they are setting up recreation centres and parks for group meditation. There is a Brit who is hosting a meditation session in London this morning and flying to Vancouver to hold a group session at our Museum of Anthropology tonight.

Kind of wonderful for more and more people to de-stress and enjoy mindfulness. Our appointment with life is in the present moment. If we do not have peace and joy right now, when will we have peace and joy – tomorrow or after tomorrow? What is preventing us from being happy right now? As we follow our breathing, we can say, simply, “Calming, Smiling, Present moment, Wonderful moment.” (Thich Nhat Hanh: ‘Peace Is Every Step)

How appropriate that our North Shore Sangha meets tonight and will meditate together with people around the world.

Enjoy your day!



Please join us for a Day of Mindfulness on Saturday, June 22, 2019 led by Dharma Teacher Trish Thompson (True Concentration on Peace), Founder and Director of The Loving Work Foundation in Vietnam.  

Date:                     Saturday, June 22, 2019

Time:                     10:00AM to 4:00PM

Cost:                     $15

Location:               1863 Alberni Street (at Denman), Vancouver, BC   

                              Readily accessible by transit  

                              Parkade on east side of the building

Wheelchair accessible building

We will enjoy an inspiring day of meditation, dharma talk, walking, deep relaxation, and sharing together.  Our venue is a comfortable space steps away from Stanley Park. 

Please bring:

  • packed lunch, snacks and drinks for the day.  If weather permits, we will eat mindfully in Stanley Park
  • meditation cushion if you prefer, otherwise chairs are provided
  • yoga mat or blanket for deep relaxation 


Space is limited.  Please register by emailing: with your full name and we will send you Interac information or an address to mail a cheque to complete the registration process.

For more information about Trish Thompson please visit her website  

For inquiries email  Visit our website and our new Facebook page at North Shore Mindfulness.

Vancouver Retreat: Transforming the Heart

Two Special events in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh


I am delighted to announce that this coming August, Brother Phap Hai and Brother Hue Truc, two senior monks from Deer Park Monastery in California, will be coming to B.C. to lead a special Residential Retreat at Rivendell Retreat Centre on Bowen Island as well as two Days of Mindfulness in Vancouver.

“Transforming the Heart” – Residential Retreat at Rivendell, Bowen Island.

3 p.m. Tuesday August 23 to 12 noon Thursday August 25.

This retreat will be a special opportunity to dive deeply and experientially into the Buddha’s teachings of deep healing and transformation. We will be exploring together eight key practices that can help to transform our inner and outer worlds.

This Retreat is limited to 22 persons/pillows. Registration is $200 per person sharing a double room.    You will bring your own breakfasts and lunches and bring one Vegetarian Pot Luck Dinner item (ten-portion size) to share.

“Opening the Heart” – Two Days of Mindfulness at 1863 Alberni Street 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Saturday August 27 and Sunday August 28.

Cost will be $60 per person for these two Days of Mindfulness.  You will bring your own lunch and drinks.

Please email me at to register for the Retreat or Days of Mindfulness.  Registration will be on a first come first served basis.  Full payment will be required upon acceptance of registration.

With loving kindfulness,


True Virtue and Gratitude.

Monies paid for both these Retreats will cover the costs of the residential accommodation, weekend room rental and the monk’s transportation from California.  Any remaining balance, after expenses, will be given to the monks for Deer Park Monastery.  DANA is also warmly welcomed.


Brother Phap Hai

Brother Phap Hai is a senior monastic disciple of the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh. He was ordained as a monk in 1997 and formally authorized to teach in January 2003. Originally from Australia, he is an active meditation teacher who leads retreats, days of mindfulness and talks throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, South America and Asia.

Brother Phap Hai has the ability to offer a charming blend of ancient wisdom, Dharma scholarship, and contemporary applications, sharing deep teachings in a warm, accessible and humorous manner.

“Nothing To It: Ten Ways to be at Home with Yourself”. Phap Hai’s first book was published in 2015 by Parallax Press. He resides at Deer Park Monastery, Escondido, California.








Brother Hue Truc

Originally from Italy, Brother Hue Truc is a deeply insightful and empathetic monk with a strong background and interest in yoga, Pilates and psychology. He has taught in both Europe and the United States.  He resides in Deer Park Monastery, Escondido, California.







Article in North Shore News

by Penny Handford – North Shore News
Saturday, Mar 23 2013 20:00:00 -04:00

Just Breathe

AFTER a serious accident and two life-threatening illnesses in quick succession, I realized that the way I was living my busy life was not working. Fortunately, my son took me to a meditation retreat where I learned to slow down.

I was on the right track. A growing body of science indicates that meditation reduces stress. In a ground-breaking study reported in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine July/August 2003, researchers compared the brain waves of people who had learned how to meditate, with the brain waves of a control group. The study found that the meditators showed a pronounced shift in activity to the left frontal lobe. As a result, they were calmer and happier than before. Since then, research has shown that meditation has many benefits for brain activity. For example, it’s believed to improve learning, memory and the regulation of emotions.

According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation may also be useful for medical conditions. With the caveat that some researchers remain skeptical, the clinic’s website states that a growing body of scientific research suggests that meditation may help such conditions as allergies, asthma, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and can help relieve symptoms in people who suffer from chronic pain.

Meditation generally involves sitting quietly while focusing on one’s breath, a word, or a phrase. Meditators also practise when walking, standing or lying down. According to Janice Walker, a long-time meditator, what is important is that one practises mindfully with full awareness of the breath. “Meditators learn to pause, to touch stillness, to become peaceful and to live in the present moment,” she says.

Meditation is, at its essence, a spiritual practice and this is what it has become for me. I am learning how to be more understanding and generous.

Jennifer Solley, also a regular practitioner, says that because of meditating she is now more able to live with compassion, peace, love and joy. This has a profound effect on both herself and others in her life.

While meditation is a solitary activity, many people find it difficult to maintain a meditation practice alone and joining a meditation group can help. There are many traditions and countless meditation groups. I am now part of the North Shore Mindfulness Practice Community, which meets every Tuesday evening. The group practises in the Buddhist tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who has developed a meditation practice that is easy to follow.

For members of the public who would like to learn more about this approach to meditation, the group is offering a public talk entitled, Quieting the Mind, by Eileen Kiera, a senior teacher in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh who has led retreats throughout North America. The talk is on Friday, April 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $10.

For those who would like to explore this practice further, Kiera will lead a Day of Mindfulness and Meditation on Saturday, April 6 from 10 a.m. to 4: 30 p.m. The day will include walking, sitting, and eating meditation. The fee for this event is $40-$60 on a sliding scale. It is necessary to register by calling 604-980-4310.

Both events will take place at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, 885 22nd St, West Vancouver (close to Marine Drive). No one will be turned away because of inability to pay.

Penny Handford is a consultant in private practice working with non-profit social service agencies and communities. She is a member of the Care Taking Team for the North Shore Mindfulness Practice Community.