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British School of Meditation Blog

British School of Meditation Blog


Welcome to the British School of Meditation blog on Meditation Teacher Training

DBS replaces CRB Checks

Disclosure and Barring Service or DBS. Questions and Answers.

1.What is a DBS?

This replaces the old CBR checks.

2. Do I need a DBS.

You will need to have a DBS check done if you are going to work with Children (under 18) or Vulnerable Adults.

3. What is a Vulnerable Adult?

A vulnerable adult is someone aged 18 or over:

  • Who is, or may be, in need of community services due to age, illness or a mental or physical disability
  • Who is, or may be, unable to take care of himself/herself, or unable to protect himself/herself against significant harm or exploitation

(Definition from the Department of Health 2002)

4. How can I get a DBS done?

You can only get a DBS done by your employer if it is needed because of your work, or though an agency if you are self employed. There are several on the internet I have looked at this one  You simply down load the information that is needed and they do the rest.

If you intend to work with children you will need the Enhanced Disclosure.

5. Do I need a DBS check if I do not intend to work with children and vulnerable adults?

No, but it might be good practice to apply for a Basic Disclosure.

Hope this helps. Helen

Article in Huffington Post

The push-up is an incredible tool to help you get in great physical shape; that's why it's used in almost every gym in America. With all the scientific evidence pointing to mindfulness meditation, the practice is literally becoming America's next push-up for the brain.

Here are 10 reasons why you should do the practice.

1. It may make you happier.

The practice helps you to cultivate more positive states of mind; if you're happy you will do better in every area of your life. Emotions are contagious, and when you're happy you spread that feeling to everyone around you.

2. There's evidence that it strengthens the brain.

A study done at UCLA suggests that meditation actually strengthens the brain in a good way. Studies like this are pointing to the fact that meditation is literally a workout for the brain. How about right before you do your sit-ups, you incorporate some meditation to strengthen the brain?

3. It may help you focus at work.

Our hectic, technology-filled lifestyle is talking all of our attention; we're constantly checking emails, Facebook updates, and our Twitter accounts. A new study suggested that meditation may make you more focused at work.

4. It could make you a more compassionate person.

Meditation helps you to calm down by centering your focus on your breathing and the sensations in your body. It also helps you recognize positive emotions within your own body, and to use those emotions to act more compassionate toward others. A new study from Northeastern University and Harvard University researchers showed that people who meditated acted more compassionate afterward than those who did not meditate.

5. It may help you lose weight.

Mindfulness is a way to pay attention to the all the sensations you're experiencing. When you do meditation while you're eating, you become more conscious of what you're putting in your mouth.

6. It may relieve stress.

study in the journal Health Psychology showed that mindfulness decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This is something everyone in American could use, considering stress has literally become an epidemic here.

7. It may help you do better in school.

A new study done in the journal Mindfulness showed that meditation improved the test scores of students in a psychology class. Some of the students meditated before the lecture, and another group did not. After the lecture, the ones who meditated did better. Want your kids to do better in class -- why not show them how to meditate?

8. It may help American troops.

A number of programs are working with troops to give them the tools of meditation to better their quality of life. Organizations like Project Welcome Home Troops, the Mind Fitness Training Institute, and the Samueli Institute are using it with troops.

9. It positively changes the brain, even when you're not meditating.

A new study has indicated that by participating in an eight-week meditation program, you can potentially change how the brain works even when you're not meditating. The brain is just like a muscle you work out at the gym: If you do meditation every day, it's going to positively influence your life.

10. It may help protect against colds.

study done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that people who practiced mindfulness meditation or engage in physical exercise suffered less from colds than those who did not.

Cheers to America's new push-up for the brain! With all the scientific evidence coming in over the years, meditation is now becoming a practice that anyone from any walk of life can embrace. You don't have to practice any religion or have any set of beliefs to use this incredible tool for the brain

Loving Kindness

Loving Kindness –Sharon Salzberg.

Sharon Salzberg, a world renowned meditation teacher came to Cheltenham to talk about Loving Kindness Meditation practice.

Sharon is an inspirational teacher, she spoke about Metta which can be translated from Pali (the language of the Buddha) as ‘love’ or ‘loving kindness’, and from Metta , compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity grow.

Sharon teaches that every living being wishes to be happy and when we practice Metta Meditation we are allowing happiness to develop both in us and in our surroundings.

So how do we develop this practice, in essence it’s very simple.  Find a quiet place to meditate, close your eyes if you wish or softly focus on a spot in front of you. Visualise yourself if you can and repeat these very simple phrases.

May I be safe, May I be happy, May I be healthy, May I live with ease. ( I like to add ,May I be filled with Loving Kindness). 

When you feel ready move on to someone who has helped you in the past, use the same phrases but instead of ‘May I’ say ‘May you’.  Again when you are ready you could think of a loved one or friend, and finally finish the meditation by focussing on yourself again

As Sharon says that at times it will be hard and the meditation may not flow, or your thoughts may wander, if they do just bring them back to Loving Kindness.

Loving Kindness meditation or Metta meditation is part of my practice and over time I have noticed how my attitude to people and myself has changed and I feel more peaceful.

Sharon also focused on Gratitude and how important this is, rather than just think about the one thing that went wrong during the day we should, at the end of the day look back with Gratitude at all the good things that have happened. Sharon suggested that we have a Gratitude book and write down at least three things that we are grateful for at the end of the day.  Well I thought what a great idea, so I have brought a lovely note book and when on the first evening  I began to think of all of the good  things that had happened to me it was a lot more than three:-

I am alive

I have had lovely food today

The green grass looked beautiful

I smelt the fresh air

My husband made me laugh

I had a good chat to the lady at the checkout

I met Mary

And so the list goes on, I did have challenges, but when I looked at the good things they just became less important.

I would really recommend that you buy Sharon’s book, ‘Loving Kindness, The Revolutionary Art of Happiness’, or her new book: ‘Real Happiness, The Power of Meditation, a 28 day program’.

May you be filled with Loving Kindness.


Dr David Hamilton


 At the beginning of March we welcomed Dr David Hamilton to speak at a CPD day for our graduates and students. It was a really great day and David’s talk was inspirational.

Here is an extract from his latest newsletter.

Find out more at

So how does your mind affect your body?

Most people learn from an early age that the mind is just something that we use to think with and that interprets life events. Any ideas that the mind could somehow change the body have traditionally, in the West at least, been written off as fantasy or some mysterious and unexplained mind-over-matter effect. 

Actually, it's not mysterious at all and evidence shows that there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the mind impacts the body. Try to think of a sexual fantasy without having a physical impact or causing hormonal fluctuations in your body!  

Click here to read the rest of this article. The link takes you to the article page of my website.


Words of wisdom

When the Dali Lama was asked what surprised him the most about humanity he answered

with the following...

"Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money in

order to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not

enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives

as if he is never going to die and then he dies having never really lived."

Meditation in the supermarket

A Three Breath Meditation in the supermarket.

I am sure that this scenario will resonate with some of you.

  I was in the Supermarket buying the weeks groceries, and can you believe it, other people were there as well, they even had the cheek to leave their trolleys unattended, and exactly where I wanted to be.  One person even bumped into me!  As I was working my way around the store I could feel myself getting more and more cross and out of balance, but yet I continued feeling this way muttering under my breath.

Eventually I got to the check out and yes you have guessed it, there was a queue, how dare these other people go to the same checkout as me, and what’s more the checkout operator was so slow, I began to get very impatient, my head was beginning to hurt. 

I suddenly thought Helen what are you doing, look at what you are putting yourself though, take a breath.  I stood still, focused on my feet and took three deep breaths, noticing the air as I breathed in and breathed out, after the three breaths I looked up and smiled. Immediately the lady in front turned around and we had a lovely conversation and I helped her un-load her trolley, even the check out operator speeded up.

This very short meditation just turned the situation around for me, allowed me to re-centre myself, and all it took was three deep breaths.

Try it yourself.


Dalai Lama

  The Dalai Lama: profile

 This article from the BBC website gives a brief outline of the life of Dalai Lama. 

In March 1959, as Chinese troops crushed an attempted uprising in Tibet, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, fled into India.

Then a young man in his mid-20s, the future must have seemed bleak. With few countries prepared to respond to China's actions, he faced a difficult task to protect Tibetans and their traditions. Yet despite 50 years in exile, the reach of Tibet's spiritual leader has extended far beyond his community and he is now recognised as one of the world's leading religious figures. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his consistent opposition to the use of violence in his quest for Tibetan self-rule.

 Child leader

The 14th Dalai Lama was born on 6 July 1935, in a small village just outside the current boundaries of Tibet. His parents, who named him Lhamo Dhondub, were farmers with several other children. When he was two years old, a search party of Buddhist officials recognised him as the reincarnation of the 13 previous Dalai Lamas and he was enthroned before he turned four. He was educated at a monastery and went on to achieve the Geshe Lharampa Degree, a doctorate of Buddhist philosophy.

It would be natural to compare him with Mahatma Gandhi, one of this century's greatest protagonists of peace”

But in 1950, when he was 15, the troops of Mao Tse-tung's newly-installed Communist government marched into Tibet. As soldiers poured into the country, the Dalai Lama - his title means Ocean of Wisdom - assumed full power as head of state. In May 1951, China drew up a 17-point agreement legitimising Tibet's incorporation into China. When Tibetans took to the streets in 1959 demanding an end to Chinese rule, troops crushed the revolt and thousands of protesters were killed. The Dalai Lama fled to India on foot and settled in Dharamsala, in the north of the country, which is now home to the Tibetan government-in-exile. He was followed into exile by about 80,000 Tibetans, most of whom settled in the same area.

'Middle way'

In exile, the Dalai Lama began the task of trying to preserve the culture of the Tibetan people and publicise their plight on the world stage. He appealed to the United Nations and persuaded the General Assembly to adopt resolutions in 1959, 1961 and 1965 calling for the protection of the Tibetan people.

He has met political and religious leaders throughout the world and visited the late Pope John Paul II on several occasions.

The Dalai Lama has advocated a "middle way" to resolve the status of Tibet - genuine self-rule for Tibet within China.

In 1987, amid protests in Lhasa against the large-scale relocation of Han Chinese into Tibet, the Dalai Lama proposed a five-point plan, in which he called for the establishment of Tibet as a zone of peace. But he did not move from his stance of peaceful resistance and in 1989 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The committee praised his policy of non-violence, which it called "all the more remarkable when it is considered in relation to the sufferings inflicted on the Tibetan people".

New challenges

Despite their disagreements, the Dalai Lama has continued to seek dialogue with Beijing. Talks between the two sides broke down in 1993 and there were no more for nearly a decade. Discussions resumed in 2002 and have continued intermittently but with no apparent progress.

In March 2011, the Dalai Lama said that he planned to hand his political responsibilities to an elected representative, saying such a move was in the best interests of the Tibetan people."My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility," he said. "It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run. It is not because I feel disheartened." "Tibetans have placed such faith and trust in me that as one among them I am committed to playing my part in the just cause of Tibet”.

A blank piece of paper

Blank Piece of Paper

I am sat looking at this blank piece of paper thinking what shall I write, in this my first  blog, when it occurs to me that what we are aiming for, in our meditation practice, is that our mind becomes a blank piece of paper. You might think that’s this is a strange concept and to be fair it probably is, but please bear with me.

To state the obvious a blank piece of paper is blank; you could almost say that it’s at peace, as there is nothing disturbing its blankness.  As soon as we write or draw on this piece of paper it is no longer blank.  Just a dot removes the blankness. These lines and dots and words could form something beautiful or they could be total chaos, it’s our choice what we put on our piece of blank paper.  This is where meditation come in, the blank piece of paper is our mind (I am sure you guessed this already) meditation can give us the focus to create something beautiful in our mind and avoid chaos, but we have to understand that this takes a life time of practice, just like an artist or writer, and you need to have patience with yourself in your meditation understanding that some days mediation is easy and sometimes it is not and both are ok.

So have patience with yourself in your practice with the aim that you are creating a beautiful work on your blank piece of paper.

Helen Galpin

Here, to help us feel better about any possible New Year meditation resolutions,
a few confessions from Ted Weinstein, posted on

Ways I have been A Bad Meditator
I have swallowed repeatedly.
I have thought about eating a piece of dark chocolate.
I have moved my leg because I couldn’t endure the pain in my knee.
I have wondered whether I left the oven on.
I have tried to slow my breathing.
I have looked at my watch before the meditation bell rang.
I have thought about whether to register for a retreat this coming summer.
I have thought about kissing the woman sitting on the cushion to my left.
I have thought about shushing the heavy-breathing man on the cushion to my right.
I have wanted the teacher to notice how well I am meditating.
I have wondered how the teacher can really meditate while constantly checking if it is time to ring the bell.
I have missed my old girlfriend.
I have remembered why I broke up with my old girlfriend.
I have thought I can’t date anyone who isn’t a meditator.
I have listened to the sound of the rain.
I have worried if I closed the windows of my car.
I have wondered if living in the moment means I don’t have to put money in a retirement account.
I have imagined going to Stockholm to accept the Nobel Prize in Meditation.
I have thought about how my goddaughter laughs when I turn her upside down.
I have wanted this feeling of joy to continue.
I have focused on the rising and falling of my stomach while breathing when I was trying to focus on the
sensation of my breath going in and out at my nostrils.
I have decided meditation retreats are a waste of time.
I have wanted to ring the bell at the end of the group sitting.
I have opened my eyes to look if the teacher’s eyes are open.
I have been annoyed at the bird outside that won’t stop cawing.
I have wondered whether it is time to buy a new meditation cushion.
I have thought about making up items for this list.
I have wondered if I could ever complete this list.
I have decided I will never achieve enlightenment.
I have told myself I am a bad meditator.

So, you see it isn't just you! We all have meditation sessions when it feels we aren't getting anywhere; but the important thing is to realise every session can be different and one were you are distracted as above can easily be followed by a blissful session. 


 Some days meditation doesn’t come easily and we may begin to feel discouraged and perhaps even think of abandoning our practice.  What we need to remember, however, is that it is a practice and that we need to practise. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when you feel your practice is difficult:  

1. Be gentle with yourself, treat yourself with lovingkindness.

2.   Focus on being in the present moment rather than trying to achieve something. Try to ‘just be’.

3.  See wandering thoughts as part of your meditation rather than getting in the way of it. Accept that your mind will wander, that is what our minds do. Be gentle with yourself and when your attention wanders just accept that it has wandered and bring it back to whatever is the focus of your meditation.

4.  Relax tension in the body as you breathe out. Relax and let go.

5.  Allow yourself to smile, don't take it too seriously. A light-hearted attitude helps bring joy to your practice. Think of the Dalai Lama and his wonderful smile. 

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The British School of Meditation has been established to train teachers in meditation techniques to meet the growing demand for highly trained and accredited meditation teachers throughout the UK including: the Midlands, South West, Wales, North West, North East, London and the South East.