Bringing Mindfulness and Awareness into Daily Activities

Thursday, June 2nd, June 16th and July 7th, 2016 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Bat Fung will be leading us in mindfulness meditation practice for 3 weekly sessions starting from the 2nd June.  Mindfulness meditation is the practice of bringing a non-judgmental, friendly, open-hearted, and accepting way of looking at anything that arises in awareness. By intentionally practicing mindfulness, we can learn to spend less time on “auto pilot” and live more fully and be more present.  Each class will include an overview of some principles of mindfulness, as well as at least 30 minutes of silent mindfulness meditation practice.  New and experienced meditators alike are welcome.


Why Meditation Alone Doesn’t Work

Thursday May 19th, 2016

There was a time when it was easier to awaken through a path of meditation. People’s worlds were smaller and simpler and, depending on where you were in the world, pursuing the life of a spiritual practitioner (like a monk or a nun) would have been a more common path.

Modern life, especially for those living in the city, rarely allows for the kind of in-depth meditation practice needed to awaken as a methodology alone.

This is not to say that meditation is not important. A strong meditative/contemplative component is a vital part of a spiritual practice. Rather that in these busy and complex times, a meditation practice is unlikely to lead to awakening on its own. “Professional” meditators meditate upwards of 20 hours a day for extended periods throughout a year. The number of people with the opportunity – not to mention the proclivity – to practice like this is very small.

So, what do we have to do in addition to meditation in order to realize significant spiritual unfoldment, and awakening, in our lifetime? We will be exploring this during this week’s class.

As always, we will be incorporating 30 minutes of meditation practice into the class.


The Fast Track to Spiritual Awakening

Thursday May 26th, 2016

These days we are constantly looking for ways to do things faster and with less effort. The good news is that in terms of spiritual unfoldment, there are ways to satisfy the first requirement: speeding up our progress. (Sorry to say that the effort piece can’t be avoided… 😉 )

If we are willing to accept the challenge of meeting our limiting conditioning head on, to swim directly upstream to the flow of our karma, we have access to a powerful and joyful method of unfolding. By embracing the principle of short-term discomfort for long-term freedom we can make dramatic changes to our levels of stress. sense of connection, peace of mind and compassion.

Come to this talk and meditation practice to explore ways to jumpstart and turbocharge your awakening journey. As always, we will be incorporating 30 minutes of meditation practice into the class.


9 Point Meditation on Death and Dying

Thursdays, April 28, May 5, May 12, 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Contemplations and meditation on death and impermanence are considered to be some of the most important reflections for Buddhists. The idea is that by forcing yourself to look at these ideas that typically arouse fear for the Westerner, the meditation student can embrace life more fully. It is thought that these contemplations help show how precious and short life is, and also that by familiarizing ourselves with the death process, we can remove our fear of it. Both of these endeavours can actually free up mental energy and help us live our lives with greater meaning and more fully.

As always, there will be at least 30 minute meditation time in each class, and you are welcome to attend just one class, although you will find it most helpful to attend the series. These classes are part of a series, but the content of each class will stand on its own.  You are welcome to attend any or all of the three classes.


The Brahma Viharas – The 4 Immeasurables

Thursdays, March 24th & 31st and April 7th & 14th, 2016

Come and find out how to transform your daily life: live with more kindness and understanding for yourself and others. Embrace a life with more joy and easefulness.

The Brahma Viharas, or “The 4 Immeasurables”, are said to be the only 4 ‘feelings’ of a fully-awakened being:

  • Lovingkindness towards all (Mettā)
  • Compassion when taking action (Karunā)
  • Sympathetic Joy in witnessing the wholesomeness in others (Muditā)
  • Equanimity: non-attachment to the result of one’s actions (Upekkhā)

Each class in this series will explore one of these immeasurable states, both its theory and practice.


The Stages of Insight

Thursdays, February 25th, March 3rd, 10th and 17th, 2016

As we unfold towards greater freedom, our calm, wisdom and insight into the true nature of reality deepens.  In this series of four classes, we will explore different stages of development as our meditation practice progresses.  Various Vipassana meditation exercises will be used in the class to help practitioners gain insight into these stages and their own practices.

Although these classes are part of a series, the content of each class will stand on its own.  You are welcome to attend any or all of the three classes.


Self-Acceptance & Commitment

Thursdays, February 4th, 11th and 17th, 2016

This class will explore how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is related to Buddhism, and how it might apply to reducing your own suffering. Students also find these methods help to make their meditation experiences richer, and provides them a context larger than mindfulness for understanding their barriers to happiness.

First, you will learn to be with yourself and to observe your own feelings and experience them (acceptance). Next you will learn to recognize that your reality is a construct seen through the world of your own lens (delusion). You will learn to contact the observer of feelings (self as context). And finally you will learn to alleviate your own suffering by committing to what matters the most to you (commitment and values).


2016: Your Best Year Yet

Thursdays, January 7th, 14th and 28th, 2016

The basics of a fulfilling life aren’t complicated: exercise, nutrition, work/social balance and study/exploration, to name a few.

And yet maintaining health/momentum in all these areas can feel so elusive. Why is that?

To kick off 2016, Awaken in Toronto will be exploring these questions together. We’ll be setting the path and putting supportive conditions in place for a year of growth and greater states of peace and freedom in our lives. 

Ready for your best year yet? 


Dharma If You Dare!

Dharma if you DareWhat is my life’s purpose? How is it possible to live a life that is full, fulfilling and also free from the entanglements of the ego? What is the fullest expression of this life that I’m living?

In this series, on Thursdays from July 30th to August 13th Christopher Lawley will be leading classes inspired by the book Dharma If You Dare: Living Life with Abandon by awakened meditation master Achariya Doug Duncan. Dharma If You Dare is an entertaining, accessible and empowering look at how we can free ourselves from limited views of our capacity and unlock the full expression of our lives. It lays out the basic tools and attitudes necessary to awaken in this lifetime. (more…)

Summer Series Kicks Off: Freedom From Habits


Meditation has been a powerful tool for millennia to gain perspective over powerful unconscious drives. Modern brain research is adding to these tools, giving us insights into the mechanisms behind our habitual patterning. Together, these two areas of knowledge can help us unlock our most deeply-rooted and stuck patterning and allow us to access for freedom and sense of agency over our lives.

Christopher Lawley will be leading 3 classes inspired by both his meditative and mindfulness training and the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, which explores the most up-to-date science around how habits work. We’ll be looking at what this research tells us about how habits are formed and how we can apply this to our lives. We’ll also be integrating meditative practices into the classes aimed at deepening our understanding of our own habits. (more…)