It was in 2000, alongside his successful career in television, that Alistair Appleton began his serious involvement in meditation. Trained mainly in the Buddhist tradition, Alistair took refuge with Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, the abbot of Samye Ling Monastery in 2000 and sat several retreats at this extraordinary monastery in the Scottish borders and in the meditation hermitage on Holy Island near Arran.
In the following years, however, it was the simpler, more direct teachings of the Thai Forest tradition that caught Alistair’s attention. He studied at Chithurst Monastery in Sussex with the sangha around Ajahn Sumehdo and completed a retreat at the famous training monastery in Thailand, Wat Pah Nanachat.He also studied with the teacher Ajahn Amaro who is abbot at Abhayagiri Theravadan monastery in Mendocino County, California.
Since 2004, Alistair has also drawn inspiration from outside the Buddhist world, working with the shamanic practices of the Amazonian Indians in Brazil. This colourful and powerful practice has brought him back into contact with the more shamanic aspects of Tibetan meditation. He is currently studying with the contemporary Vajrayana teacher, Mingyur Rinpoche.
And in 2004, his Tibetan preceptor, Lama Yeshe Rinpoche requested Alistair to teach a meditation course for beginners up on Holy Island: his “ABC of Meditation”. Since then he has led numerous courses on mindfulness, compassion training, self-soothing and the creation of joy – many of these weekend courses held in the beautiful Abbey in Oxfordshire.
In 2014, Alistair also completed his MA in Advanced Psychotherapy at the Minster Centre in London. This is an integrative training institute which looks at combining aspects of psychodynamic and humanist therapy and wonderfully complements the work in mindfulness and compassion, Alistair has learnt through meditation. He practices as a psychotherapist in Brighton, UK.
Alistair’s lively and non-dogmatic workshops seem to appeal to a very broad audience not usually attracted to spiritual practice and his easy manner brings the techniques of meditation alive for a practitioner living in the modern world. He is interested in combining the worlds of therapy and meditation in new directions and has led workshops on anxiety, dissociation, the issues arising for gay men in the world and the need for embodiment in our digitalised world.