With this year’s annual conference postponed, the Garden Centre Association (GCA) is looking back at highlights from its 2020 event, where Buddhist monk, Gelong Thubten was one of the stand-out key speakers.
In 1993, in his early twenties, Thubten suffered with stress and decided to go to a monastery to learn meditation. Initially planning to stay for a year, he ended up ordaining as a Tibetan Buddhist monk at Kagyu Samye Ling in Scotland, Europe’s oldest and largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery, where he is now one of the senior monks.
He has been teaching for more than 20 years and is a world pioneer in the mindfulness movement who is now considered as one of the UK’s most influential teachers in the field.
Thubten spoke to GCA members about mindfulness as an increasingly popular form of non-religious meditation. Attendees learned how mindfulness can change your reaction to stress and how to discover inner calm in the workplace – something members were keen to put into practice in their garden centres, if only for a brief period before the lockdown hit.
He explained that we are now more stressed than ever as a culture. We are all busy and this can be energising but can also tip us over into exhaustion. Thanks to social media and mobile phones we are almost always reachable, but it’s very important to have down time to replenish our batteries and prevent us feeling that we’re under attack from these very same devices!
Thubten went on to run a short mindfulness workshop with attendees, which was a very peaceful affair!
Thubten has been taught by some of the world’s greatest masters of meditation, and he represents a traditional and authentic training in meditation and Buddhist philosophy, and yet is able to translate that knowledge into a non-religious format which can be of benefit to all in our hectic modern world.
His wise words really resonated with GCA attendees, who still give feedback about how they are using mindfulness in their everyday work and personal lives. As gardeners well know, being surrounded by nature and away from electronic devices is one of the best things we can do for our mental health – we just need to get that message out to the rest of our stressed-out population!
The GCA hopes to host its 2021 conference this summer dependent on Government guidelines. Watch this space for more info.