March 2019 News: An Invitation to Insight

a warm-hearted guide on the challenging path of taming one’s mind

Dear Friend,

You are invited to join me in the talks, courses and weekend retreats I have planned in the UK this year. All have mindfulness as their base-line. And by that, I mean the quality that increases our ability to see what is actually happening around and within us with clarity & perspective.

Death and Rebirth: An Evening Talk in Liverpool 
Monday 18th March, 2019 – Premier Inn City Centre Liverpool L1 4AF

I’ve recently been spending a lot of time with my 92 year old Mum who was expected to die within days…then weeks… and then made a remarkable turn-around.

I remembered the words of a Tibetan Lama, who is one of my teachers, “The living can die before the dying,” and recounted these words to a relative. They took this statement as being rather gloomy and pessimistic. While I was contemplating the unpredictable journey we are all on, they were clearly thinking I was suggesting that something awful might happen to them on the way home! Well, of course it might! I may well die before my Mum!

Why not? Is that gloomy, or is it realistic? And with this realistic approach to life and death, can we transform our lives into opportunities to make the very most of, and experience the utmost, in every moment? Then doom and gloom can become joy and celebration. Because even being around someone who is very old and very ill offers us gifts of insight every moment if we are mindful.

It’s very tough because our emotions and complexities within family relationships can be obstacles. But with effort they can be the doorway to inner understanding and outer love.

The Centre for Wisdom and Compassion in Liverpool are starting a series of sessions on this topic. I will be there as a visiting teacher to open up the discussion and studies that enable us to make death a friend, not an enemy.

Managing the Ego: A Weekend Course in London and a Weekend Retreat in The Lake District
30th & 31st March, 2019 – Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London SE11 4NA
28th – 30th June 2019 – Rookhow Retreat Centre, Cumbria LA12 8LA

Teaching about the ego is a strong focus for me this year. I see this as the key to really working with destructive emotions and overcoming mental blocks to understanding and compassion. The ego is such a complex beast that it can destroy us (making us our own worst enemies) or help us reach our highest potential (becoming our best friend).

Every time we encounter a tricky situation, our ego jumps into action. It is so sly and devious that it kids us into thinking we are right and justified and that others are wrong and stupid. It then seeks support and enablement from friends and associates until we become convinced of our superiority.

But it is in these very situations that we can make profound changes to our egos that will give us genuine self-esteem and confidence, without the pride and arrogance that accompany self-righteousness.

Are you up to this challenge? For me, it’s a continual inner battle. A good sense of humour and treating the ego as if it is a scared baby are great methods for handling what can feel like an impossible task. During these week-ends we will find a lot to laugh about!

Jamyang Buddhist Centre London provides a supportive environment to chip away at the ego. The people there have been doing it for years! Just like me. 
Rookhow Retreat Centre in the beautiful Rusland Valley provides the perfect space for quiet contemplation on what makes us tick.

Mindful Relationships: Weekend Course in Northumberland
September 7 – 8, 2019 – Land of Joy Hexham NE48 1PP

You’ve got to move fast to get a place on this course. This fabulous retreat centre has its devotees. If you want to develop more meaningful, harmonious and joyful relationships then this is the one for you. No wonder it’s filling up fast! Who doesn’t want this!

Land of Joy is great value and attracts a secular crowd to my mindfulness courses. The place should be particularly lovely in the early Autumn.

On my website you can find more about these courses, as well as information on visits I’ll be making to my wonderful friends in Russia in MayLatvia in September and Finland in October.

Until we meet again, 

With Love,



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Liverpool evening talk: Monday 18th March, 2019

Ondy will give a talk titled “Introduction to Death and Rebirth” on behalf of the Jamyang Liverpool Centre for Compassion group on the evening of Monday the 18th of March, 2019 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm.

The group are currently studying “Presenting the Path”, the third module of “Discovering Buddhism”, but anyone is welcome to join them for an evening of meditation, ​study and discussion on these important topics.

The event will be held at the Premier Inn Hotel, 48 Hanover St, Liverpool L1 4AF

Suggested donation £5 per class per person. No booking necessary, just come along.

More information about this event and the Liverpool study group can be found on their own website:

Managing the Ego: 30th & 31st March, 2019

Jamyang Buddhist Centre – London.
10:00 – 17:00 each day.

A “Come prepared to be challenged!” Workshop. Topics covered:

  • who am I? – a consideration of the “self” 
  • what is the “ego”? 
  • what is the nature of my mind? 
  • how does my ego express itself? 
  • methods to manage the ego 

This course is suitable for all:

  • Any Buddhist who wishes to take a fresh approach to this central topic within Buddhist teachings – helping us to shift ingrained habits and tendencies to operate within a traditional learning structure
  • Any secular or other religious student who is dedicated to self-development and personal change to improve the quality of their inner and outer lives.
  • There will be some teaching, discussion, meditations and group work. Buddhist teachings are rich in observations and ideas around the ego but there will be an opportunity to consider other ways of understanding these profound psychological concepts and exploring our own experience and views. 


Suggested donation £70 for the weekend
(please note does not include lunch)
Booking is not mandatory but highly recommended it because Jamyang can give you a better service.
No-one will be turned away due the lack of funds. Dharma teachings run on a ‘Generosity model’, completely on voluntary donations. By donating you will help create the conditions for the teachings to be available, the meals to be served, accommodations to be clean, for the doors to be open and the lights on. Therefore people of any faith or background are welcome.

The Old Courthouse, 43 Renfrew Rd, Lambeth, London SE11 4NA, UK

Events in Russia, May 17 to 26

Invited by the Foundation for Contemplative Studies in Moscow, Ondy will visit Russia in May 2019. This is her seventh time teachings mindfulness and Buddhist psychology in Moscow!

Event schedule

May 17, Friday (7.30 to 9pm)
May 18-19, Saturday-Sunday (12 to 6pm
Weekend workshop: “Compassionate self-correction as a way of training the mind”

Venue: Otkrytiy Mir Center

Hearing so much about the need to achieve and do, we can easily extend the achiever mentality towards our psychological growth. What if I’m not enlightened by next Wednesday? This weekend workshop will explore the different ways of being gentle and compassionate with ourselves so that we can, indeed, gradually change our habits and become wiser and kinder people.

May 21, Tuesday (7:30 to 10:00pm)
Evening workshop: “Relaxation and observation: bringing mindfulness to the body”

Venue: Otkrytiy Mir Center

An exploration of how mindful attention to the body can allow us to develop our ability to relax, control our emotions and enhance our wellbeing.

May 22, Wednesday (7:30 to 9:30)
Evening workshop on emotional intelligence and mindfulness for women

Venue: Otkrytiy Mir Center

An evening for exploring our feelings, roles and practice together with fellow female practitioners.

May 23, Thursday (7:30 to 10:00)
Evening workshop: “Generous kindness: generosity and morality in Shantideva’s text”

Venue: Otkrytiy Mir Center

Using select verses from Shantideva’s “Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life”, Ondy will guide participants in an exploration of the perfections of generosity and moral discipline: how can we practise both to become kinder with ourselves and others?

May 24, Friday (7:30 to 9)
May 25 and 26, Saturday-Sunday (12:00 to 6pm)
Weekend workshop: “What’s my motive? Arousing joy of effort for personal development”

Venue: Ripa Buddhist Center

Mindfulness alone can greatly enrich our life, but what if we combine it with wise long-term aspirations? Using analytical tools, self-reflection and group work, Ondy will look into the various ways of generating wise aspirations and wishes – something perpetually relevant in both the secular and Buddhist context.

May 27 (Monday) to June 2 (Sunday)
MBMT (Mindfulness-based mind training) Train the Trainer course, part 2 

The seven days will be spent working through the remaining modules of the training and taking part in the final residential retreat.  (Only for registered participants from 2018)

News of some of Ondy’s previous trips to the Russian sangha can be read here.

Change your mind to change your life: February 2nd – 3rd, 2019

A Land of Joy course with Ondy Willson

We can change our partners, change our looks and change our homes to give us a sense of starting afresh and welcoming new experiences into our lives. Unfortunately, because these changes are external they often lead to similar discontentment somewhere down the line, and renewed efforts to find something else to satisfy our desires.

During this weekend we will consider how changing mental and emotional habits and tendencies can transform our lives and fulfil us in a way that does not rely on the volatile and uncertain circumstances of our lives, but continues to deepen and fulfil us as we draw on our inner strength and unique personal reservoirs of wellbeing.

Concepts covered:

  • The nature of the mind
  • Using mindful awareness in our everyday lives
  • Meditation for self- awareness
  • Genuine happiness
  • Emotional intelligence and resilience

This course will be presented in a workshop style and include teaching, discussion, meditations and relaxation.


Requirements: Everyone is welcome

Cost: Generosity Model – Donation only (no suggested amount).

Start and Finish times: The workshop will begin at 9am on the 2nd and finish at 6pm on the 3rd. People are welcome to arrive the day before and leave the day after.

Accommodation: Dormitory beds, double and single rooms will be available at Land of Joy. Camping can be an option at certain times of year if you have your own tent but space is very limited. Beds are allocated based on individual or logistical needs.


A Day for “Self” Reflection

an opportunity to consider the nature of the self, to support confidence and self-esteem.

Saturday 29th June 2019, 10:00 – 17:00.
Rookhow Retreat Centre, Rusland, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 8LA.

We are delighted to offer this special summer one day retreat, designed for Ondy’s local students in Cumbria, but open to anyone. 

On this retreat day we will have the opportunity to consider who we mean when we say “I”, and how we can manage our fragile “egos”. Over our lives we build up self-defence systems that can lock us into unhelpful habits and tendencies. So having the opportunity to consider the different aspects of the “self” and how to enhance our potential to be authentic will enable us to develop our self-awareness skills, self-esteem and confidence.

Ondy will guide us through Buddhist and Mindfulness based psychology and meditations to aid us in our journeys to discovering our true natures and unlocking the power of our incredible potential.

The course will include talks, meditations, discussion, and group activities as well as silent reflection in the beautiful grounds and environment of peaceful Rookhow:


10.00 – 13.00 MORNING SESSION

13.00 – 14.00 LUNCH
(bring a pot- luck lunch to share. Refreshments included)


Suggested donation for full day £30; half day £15

by emailing <ondyonline AT>


Mindful relationships: September 7 – 8, 2019

A Land of Joy seminar with Ondy Willson. 

Unless we’re alone on a desert island then relating well with others could be considered simply the basis of any kind of happiness. One could argue that relating to family, friends and colleagues are what brings us the greatest joy and satisfaction. When we fall out with others, or feel badly treated then we can be overwhelmed by hurt and confusion.

In this weekend course we shall consider how to train our minds to get the best from our relationships and be able to open our hearts to anyone, regardless of whether we like them or not.

Concepts covered:

  • Dealing with destructive emotions
  • Empathy and compassion
  • What makes a difficult person? Am I one?
  • Barriers to communication

This course will be presented in a workshop style and include teaching, discussion, meditations and relaxation.


Requirements: Suitable for everyone

Cost: Generosity Model – Donation only (no suggested amount).

Start and Finish times: The workshop will begin at 9am on the Saturday the 7th of September and finish at 6pm on Sunday the 8th of September. People are welcome to arrive the day before and leave the day after.

Accommodation: Dormitory beds, double and single rooms will be available at Land of Joy. Camping can be an option at certain times of year if you have your own tent but space is very limited. Beds are allocated based on individual or logistical needs.

Booking information

Helsinki Mindfulness October 12 – 14

Ondy will lead sessions on the topic of Mindfulness in Helsinki, Finland.

Sat 12th – Sun 13th October 2019: Change your Mind to Change your Life
10:00 – 16:00 both days

A weekend course looking at how our minds can develop through the practice of mindfulness, transforming our actions and attitudes to change our lives for the better.

Monday 14th October: The Four Applications of Mindfulness
18:00 – 20:00

An evening session focussing on The Four Applications of Mindfulness – an overview, discussion and practice.

All events are run by Tara Liberation Study Group and will be held at Buddhalainen keskus Sampo, Vetehisenkuja 3, 00530 Helsinki, Finland

Self-Care in Amsterdam October 19 – 20

Sat 19th  – Sun 20th October 2019

Compassionate Self-Care

A weekend course:

During this weekend course we will consider how being kind and compassionate towards ourselves enables us to monitor and manage our own mental and emotional wellbeing. The impact of this naturally increases physical health and longevity, relationships with others and gives us skills to live our lives with awareness and wisdom.

  • Managing anxiety and stress
  • Developing emotional wellbeing
  • Supporting a healthy psychology for living life well
  • Reducing dependence on others and increasing self-esteem and confidence

Venue and further information:

Maitreya Instituut, Tilanusstraat 8C, 1091 BH Amsterdam, Netherlands