My approach is grounded in cutting-edge science and ancient wisdom, blending these elements in innovative ways. I use the interpersonal dimension of mindfulness and how our daily interactions with others can foster emotional resilience, kindness, and inner peace. As a guide, I believe in co-creating a journey with you, where we work together to rediscover your true essence and empower you to transform your life.
In our journey together, I strive to create a safe and supportive space. I embrace and accept life as it is, allowing you to recognize and tap into your own inherent wisdom. I am passionate about authenticity and believe in embracing our true selves while acknowledging that everything is already as it should be.
By blending scientific insights and timeless wisdom, I aim to assist you in cultivating emotional strength, cultivating compassion, and inner harmony. Together, we will explore practical ways to integrate mindfulness into your daily life, enabling you to navigate challenges and experience personal growth.
My work extends beyond individual clients and has brought me into contact with corporate organizations, educational establishments, families, and young people. Through my extensive experience, I have facilitated over hundred transformative retreats, workshops, and public talks across the globe, positively impacting the lives of thousands of individuals. You can find out more about this here and you can read what other people say about these events here.
I have trained in many modalities including breathwork, brainspotting, non-duality and am trauma sensitive, both for my personal development and to support people I work with, you can find more about this here.
I am English, born in London, and I work remotely with clients from all over the world. Currently, I live near Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where I also offer in-person sessions. Amaranatho is the name given to me as a Buddhist monk. It serves as a reminder of what is sacred in life and honors my fifteen years as a monk and all the people who supported me. My work is secular and open to all views that are a fit with me. I share about Buddhism only by mutual agreement with my clients.
I was born in London, England and brought up in the Jewish faith. In my late teens, I had severe doubts about the faith and left all religion behind to work within the computer industry. As a young man, I became a technical support manager of a computer using parallel processing for Europe.I gained a degree in artificial intelligence from Sussex university and I was able to experience working in various research labs, such as BP, Philips, and the University of California Davis’ center for cognitive Neuroscience.
I spent four years traveling and hitch hiking the world. During this time I started to learn meditation and lived long term in a number of retreat center in Asia and Europe. During this time, a traumatic event happend and only a decade later did I understand I had post traumatic stress disorder – PTSD ,which I have fully recovered from.
In 2000 I took the decision to become a novice Buddhist monk and lived and trained at Amaravati Monastery near Hemel Hempstead for ten years and lived as alms mendicant. During his time I ran young people, family camps and creative residential mindful retreats for adults. I edited two books on mindfulness by Ajahn Sumedho, the Abbot of Amaravati, one called Intuitive Awareness which is available for free distribution and has been translated into several languages, and another called The Sound of Silence available from Wisdom Publications. The following is taken from the introduction to the Sound of Silence and explains the style of meditation he uses and I still am deeply influenced by.
… This book in its entirety is a contemplation, a reflection on the “way it is.” in Ajahn Sumedho’s words, this reflective approach is an empowerment. I am presenting things for you to investigate. I am not telling how you should think or even practice but presenting things to stimulate you, to look at things rather than just accept what I say or disagree with it…
Reflection is not something that you can do—it’s what the mind inclines to when you are relaxed and open. Another way of saying this is, it’s an attitude: the way you look at yourself and the world, is a choice—a choice to be who you really are, rather than what you think you may be…
Contemplation, on the other hand, is using the thinking mind to reflect. It’s taking a thought consciously, letting it affect the mind arid seeing what effect it has. To help with understanding this, Ajahn Sumedho reflects a lot on self personality or who we think we are…
…Ajahn Sumedho’s reflections offer humor, and deep insight into the conditions that support these complexities. He suggests that in reacting to these complexities, we tend to refer back to something we have learned, through our social and cultural conditioning. This is already the past, a memory. So we get manipulated, either by our own memories or by the social, cultural, and political environment. In this process of waking up, you are asked to investigate who you are, what the world is. In this way when we come from stillness, rather than reaction, we can then serve ourselves and humanity…
sometimes we can take life so seriously. By taking some of the human conditions and turning them into absurdities, we can get perspective on the way we bind ourselves to those very conditions. So, when we start to accept ourselves as we are, not as some ideal of who we think we should be, a relaxation can take place. This creates space for insight to arise. For some people this space is recognized as what Ajahn Sumedho refers to as the sound of silence, or simply a quiet or empty mind. However it manifests, this points to the unconditioned, beyond body and mind objects…
From this place of spaciousness, social and personal conditioning can be investigated or reflected upon, thus freeing the heart from the delusion of identifying with the personality. This is not a process of rejecting ourselves, of considering certain thoughts and feelings as wrong, but of learning to be a silent witness to all that arises without attaching to that experience or rejecting it. In essence it’s about trust, accepting what arises in experience as “the way it is” or, as Ajahn Sumedho often likes to say, “welcoming the suffering.” It is about listening, being receptive to and fully including everything
I then left the monastery and became a freelance Buddhist monk and lived on an organic farm, running gardening and mindfulness retreats. I got black mould poisoning during this time and end up spending a the next two years healing himself on every level.
I traveled to Malaysia and Australia and developed my the playfulmonk approach, where I facilitated many retreats, workshops, talks on mindfulness and self-development. This lead me to disrobe in 2015 with 15 years experience of being a monk. During this time I undertook many meditation for himself including three and one month retreats.
During this time I facilitated Jewish-Buddhist meditation retreats, men’s retreats, parenting courses, stress management courses, and trauma workshops and a host of other personal development course. Within the UK I worked as lead trainer and facilitator for the national charity AFAN, which explored the big questions in life from a faith and belief perspective for young people and staff in vocational colleges. This included being part of Eton college’s based Wisdom project and facilitated a large number of workshops for young people exploring the big questions in life, as well as train teachers to do the same.
I live in the Netherlands with my partner and live “a normal” life whatever that is! I am also a leadership consultant and mindfulness-based executive coach, helping executives, leaders, and teams to stay calm and connected in complex situations. I’ve worked with an array of clients, including founders of large startups, HR executives, and cybersecurity teams, where I’ved helped them improve self-reflection skills, boundary management, ethical awareness, and ability to manage personal and group tensions. His current focus is on collective leadership. I am also a coaching super-visor where I support other coaches develop through a collaborative learning partnership.
Currently, I serve as the part-time Head of Faculty and Leadership for Blend Associates, which supports National Health Service executives, leaders, and teams in navigating complex, chaotic, and stressful environments.
You can listen to these podcast to find out more about me and my journey
The Bearded man Podcast – a deep conversation with my Barber Wes (starts in Dutch) here
The Mindset Difference – here
Am I insured?
Yes I am insured for TRE, Life coaching and mindfulness
Am I part of any religious organization?
Although I have a kept my Buddhist name, I am not a member of any religious organization
What ethics do I follow?
I agree to the Global code of ethics which can be found here. I follow the five Buddhist precepts of non-harming, speaking kindly, no-intoxicants, appropriate use of sexual energy and not-stealing.
Who am I accountable to?
I am in regular supervision both 1 to1 and group and have been for over twenty years, with various registered supervisors
What have I Trained and accredited in?
Full details here
What other people have written about what I do?
Full details here (mostlyy from my time as a monk)