The Meditator's Toolkit (Part 1)

adventures in awareness course meditation
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For some types of adventure it's really clear what we need to take with us. But for the meditative journey there isn't an obvious 'what to bring' list. Which means that when we're faced with some obstacle - we start nodding off, or a difficult emotion takes over, or we just feel a bit lost or like we're banging our head against the wall, whatever it might be - we may not always have the right tools at hand in order to see us through. Too often, then, it can just end up being pretty frustrating, or boring, or hard, and we simply give up.

This 5-week course won't solve all your problems (disclaimer!), and it isn't comprehensive, but it will aim to equip you with some of the key skills that every meditator would probably benefit from knowing and having ready in their toolkit. Among other tips and tricks, we'll learn how to helpfully employ the breath in different situations; we'll look at alternative modes for paying attention, in case a quick switch-up might be what's needed to reinvigorate the practice; we'll  experiment with a few ways to skilfully and gently work with physical and emotional pain; and also what to do when we're feeling tired or restless and just want to stop. There'll be inquiries into effort levels and feeling tones, and explorations into concepts like the energy body and the push-and-pull dynamic.

Each weekly session will include a short talk, a guided meditation, and plenty of time for questions and discussion. The course is suitable both for beginners and for more experienced meditators, and pilgrims of any and all (spiritual/meditative/secular) paths are welcome.


Mark is part of a Buddhist tradition in which teachings are offered freely, within a culture of ‘dana’ or generosity. For that reason there is no fee for this course. If you would like to support Mark in his livelihood, and support the continued free sharing of these teachings, he will gratefully accept any donations, large or small. Those not able to contribute financially are just as welcome onto this course as those who are.

Donations can be made via PayPal to markovland [at], or if you'd prefer to do a bank transfer please just email Mark on that address and he can give you his details. Donations may be given at any time - before, during, or after the course. 

Course Dates

All sessions will be held 7-9pm UK time:

Wednesday 13th March 
Wednesday 20th March 
Wednesday 27th March 
Wednesday 3rd April
Wednesday 10th April

Mark will also offer a number of drop-in support sessions after the course has finished:

Wednesday 24th April
Wednesday 1st May
Wednesday 15th May
Wednesday 29th May


Mark Ovland

Mark began practising meditation in 2008. Since then he has lived and worked in various monasteries and retreat centres around India and the UK, and spent a further two years on intensive silent retreat. He was a close student of meditation master Rob Burbea and was blessed to have lived with and assisted Rob during the last years of his life.

Aside from offering retreats and teachings in traditional Buddhist settings, Mark has also taught in schools, universities, prisons, and the workplace. In 2013 he co-founded Freely Given Retreats, a charity in the UK that runs weeklong silent meditation retreats on a donation basis. He believes that no one should be excluded from these opportunities and teachings due to a simple lack of money.

Mark's relationship to psychedelics
The path Mark teaches does not involve the use of psychedelics, and by leading courses for the Psychedelic Society he is not intending to make any link between psychedelics and Buddhism. He does however recognise that Buddhist philosophy and practice can potentially help to contextualise experiences that are brought about by psychedelics and is more than happy to speak with participants about this question should it be raised within the context of the course material. 


REFUNDS: Please note that we do not arrange refunds or exchanges. We welcome swapping or reselling your tickets with people you know.

ACCESS: We do our best to include everyone in our events, regardless of employment or health circumstances. If you would like to attend this event but are truly unable to afford the ticket price, please do get in touch with the event organiser.

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Donations here support our organisational running costs. Donations to Mark for his teaching can be made directly during the course.

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