You are here: Home About Us
Wake Up – Young Practitioners
Wake Up – Young Adults for a Healthy and Compassionate Society, is a world-wide network of young people practicing the living art of mindfulness. We share a determination to live in an awakened way, taking a 21st Century version of the 5 Mindfulness Trainings as our path and guiding light.
The Wake Up network has grown out of Plum Village meditation center in SW France, under the guidance of Venerable Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Plum Village has been offering retreats to young people for over two decades, and the Wake Up movement was formally launched in Summer 2008.
Young monks, nuns and young lay people of many different nationalities help co-ordinate groups and events from Plum Village practice centers all over the world – Deer Park monastery in California, Blue Cliff monastery in New York, La Maison de L’Inspir’ in Paris, the European Institute for Applied Buddhism in Germany, and Thai Plum Village (in Thailand).
We want to help our world which is overloaded with intolerance, discrimination, craving, anger and despair. Seeing the environmental degradation caused by our society, we want to live in such a way that our planet Earth can survive for a long time. Practicing mindfulness, concentration and insight, enables us to cultivate tolerance, non-discrimination, understanding and compassion in ourselves and the world.
We are of all nationalities and of all faiths – or none. We don’t ‘believe’ blindly in the Buddha’s teachings on mindfulness; we each experience that they do just work. When we practice mindful walking, breathing, smiling, sitting, eating, talking, listening and hanging-out together, we experience happiness and peace – a kind of oasis of relief from the junk of life. At last we have a chance to live more deeply, happily and meaningfully. There is joy, relief and healing.
We know that by getting together for an evening, weekend or short retreat, we can create a strong collective energy of mindfulness that can nourish our joy, heal our pains, and develop our understanding and love. We also support each other online – through this website, email and through groups on The Book. In this way we help each other to realize our ideal of transforming and healing ourselves and the world.
The Wake Up network is also just very spontaneous and self-seeding – nobody needs to permission to start a group, you can just do it! There are different styles of get-togethers and groups depending on whatever feels like a natural way to hang out together and practice mindfulness – we’ve all been very creative so far and encourage you to be free-thinking too. To get some ideas about what you can do, please read our article on how to get involved.
We follow the Five Mindfulness Trainings, which are ethical guidelines that offer concrete practices of true love and compassion, and a path towards a life in harmony with each other and the Earth. These guidelines are the foundation of our lives and represent our ideal of service. Our practice is based on cultivating awareness of the breath and living deeply in the present moment, aware of what is happening within us and around us. This practice helps us to release the tension in our bodies and feelings, to live life deeply and more happily, and to use compassionate listening and loving speech to help restore communication and reconcile with others.
The Wake Up movement is inspired by Buddhism’s long tradition of wisdom and practices which help cultivate understanding and love; it is not based on beliefs or ideology. The spirit of our practice is close to the spirit of science; both help us cultivate an open and non-discriminating mind. We honor everyone’s diverse spiritual and cultural roots. You can join as a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, as an agnostic or atheist, or member of any other spiritual or religious tradition.
What we do
We aspire to be a place of refuge, nourishment and support for anyone with an aspiration to transform their own suffering and contribute to a healthy and compassionate society. We gather weekly or monthly in Wake Up groups to practice sitting and walking meditation, to listen to a teaching, practice total relaxation, listen deeply to one another, and recite the Five Mindfulness Trainings. We also organize mindfulness events and retreats, and visit meditation practice centers together to refresh ourselves and strengthen our practice. Many groups also organize music evenings, meditation flash mobs, picnics, hikes and other special events or actions.
You can do it
If you are a young person inspired to cultivate mindfulness and compassion in your life, we invite you to join the Wake Up movement in your country. Wake Up offers a way to pool our energy and act collectively, to create the world we want to live in! Anyone can get together and form a Wake Up group wherever they are. Please let us know what you are planning to do and what you are trying to achieve. We will do our best to support you.