About Hosshin

Up the Glen in Heaven on Earth
Hosshin & Monty
Hosshin with Lila
Heartmind Retreat at Cliff College
Heartmind Retreat at Cliff College
Meditation in Nature
Hosshin in India 2003
Hosshin in India 2003
Hosshin - Yoga Practice

I have spent most of my working life since 1987 aged nineteen, serving people in the NHS and Social Services, initially training as a nurse for people with learning difficulties (RNMH) and then moving on to work in mental health and drug services, specialising in Relapse Prevention using Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation, before leaving the NHS in 2009. During that time I had a long standing personal interest in studying spiritual and philosophical traditions of the world, especially Eastern traditions, which started after an awakening to the spiritual life through a series of psychic experiences and some old cassette tape recordings of Ram Dass, just as I was about to start my training to become a nurse in 1988. When an opportunity arose in 2005 in-between work and family commitments, having already established a personal practice of yoga and meditation over the intervening seventeen years, I decided to train as a Yoga Teacher at the Sivananda Ashram in Kerala, India, so that I could start to share the benefits of this ancient system with others. It was actually while on a month long journey across Southern India in 2003 a few years before my yoga teacher training, that I had another life changing moment of realisation about the interconnected nature of the heart, the third eye and the field of consciousness that in yoga is called Brahma. It was out of this experience that I later decided in 2008 to set up a social enterprise and call it Heartmind, dedicated to sharing the wisdom gift of this insight and helping others to experience its grace in their own life. I will write more about this insight and the wonderful synchronous events that happen in our lives in a future blog post.

After my training and practice of meditation in the yoga system, I developed a deeper interested in mindfulness meditation through my study of the Buddhist teachings. Seeing the therapeutic potential of this form of meditation in a healthcare setting lead me to do a Mindfulness Teacher Training (MBCT) course at Bangor University in 2006, in the early days when mindfulness as a therapy was just taking off in the UK. Having done both yoga and mindfulness training and working within relapse prevention, I started to integrate these approaches with relapse prevention theory and began running combined sessions within the NHS for people in recovery from substance misuse. This approach was really effective, but sadly changes in NHS management brought them to a stop, so I decided to leave the NHS. After leaving the NHS to do degree studies at UHI in Sustainable Development, I went on to study Buddhist Chaplaincy with the Buddhist Society in 2013 and was honoured to be asked to act as a chaplain to the Mayor of Chesterfield in that same year. After this, I decided in 2014 I was ready to make a more formal commitment to Buddhism, so found a sangha that met my needs with respect to my life commitments and that I felt drawn to because of its progressive approach. I then began the process of taking refuge and embracing the dharma name I was given, Hosshin Ananda, which I continue to live by today for its aspirational meaning and spiritual gift in my life. However, after being involved in the sangha for about a year after ordination, I discovered quite significant corruption taking place by the main teacher of the sangha, that I had been unaware of when I initially ordained. So I challenged the teacher about his behaviour and left the sangha. In the process of leaving, this ended up making other sangha members aware of the spiritual damage he was doing through his corruption and resulted in the organisation effectively disbanding. It was for me both a sad experience and a great lesson that I will write more about in a future blog, as I have personally found it provides so much to learn from spiritually. After this, I continued to follow the Buddhist path independent of any sangha, sharing the benefits of my practice within my own community of 'Heartmind Friends' and in my mindfulness groups. Although I am still deeply inspired and guided by the Buddhist teachings and many of the great teachers, especially those of the Zen, Chan and Pure Land traditions, I find the path I walk today and share with others, is one of a 'universal' sense of spirituality, neither for nor against any religious doctrine or tradition, but to honour more simply a path of living in dharma arising from a good heart, which is what I believe heartfulness is all about. There are some good articles on my blog page by other authors that explain more about heartfulness as a non-denominational or omniest approach to life.

 

In September 2019, I set out to pursue a long term heartfelt dream of living closer to nature, having been inspired by the lives of Aldo Leopold and Zen Master Ryokan, and was guided to find my new home in a derelict old cabin in the woods of a picturesque Glen in Argyll, Scotland. I moved here in March 2020 ironically on the day that 'lockdowns' started in the UK to enter into a life of permanent spiritual retreat to follow the path of a hermit in pursuit of my own deeper practice of meditation. The synchronous timing of which still amazes and delights me to this day. In this sense of living in retreat, I try to limit my interactions with the wider world, going out only for food shopping and offering only a few Living A More Heartful Life sessions online each week to 'friends' of Heartmind, as a way of continuing to help others and as a means of financially supporting my life in retreat. I also try to inspire others to live a more simple, sustainable and spiritual life in harmony with nature through occasional social media content and intend to offer short private retreats here in future for good hearted spiritual 'friends' (a concept I greatly admire from Buddhism) who support the aims of Heartmind.

 

In essence, I try to promote the benefits of a compassionate heart based approach to living that draws upon the centuries old wisdom teachings from many spiritual traditions, as well as the latest science research into fields of mindfulness, neuroscience, consciousness and the emerging understanding of the central governing role of the heart in experiencing human happiness. I also deeply care about the state of the natural world and how looking after the earth, living in harmony with it, is an essential part of promoting this goal of human happiness.

Omnism.jpg

"The rain has stopped, the clouds have drifted away,
and the weather is clear again.
If your heart is pure, then all things in your world are pure.
Abandon this fleeting world, abandon yourself,
Then the moon and flowers will guide you along the Way."

Zen Master Ryokan