From scientists such as Daniel Siegel and Rick Hanson to Zen teachers like Bernie Glassman and Thich Nhat Hanh, our influences are rich and diverse.
The Science of Heart and Mind
It is only through the combination of scientific evidence and practical application that a heart-based approach to life becomes substantive and meaningful.
We are inspired by the efforts of figures such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, Rick Hanson, Kristin Neff, Daniel Siegel and others who have worked to explain and evidence mindfulness-based approaches from a neurophysiological perspective and who give clarity and rigour to the field of mindfulness work.
Alongside them, we draw on the work of the HeartMath Institute, which has generated over three decades of research on heart intelligence and the science of Heart Rate Variability and coherence.
The work of seminal figures such as Besel Van Der Kolk, Peter Levine and Gabor Mate, who bring the insights of somatic approaches to bear upon the therapeutic model, also inspire our own approach in its attempt to re-integrate head, heart and body and to bring a psychologically aware and trauma-informed understanding to our work.
Engaged Mindfulness and heart-based Social Action
We gather inspiration from pioneering teachers who have left legacies of heart-based social action. We are particularly influenced by the example of zen master Thich Nhat Hanh who taught that secular mindfulness is more than just a ‘tool’, but instead is offered as an engaged practice, capable of bringing about profound personal and social change.
The Heart Movement has also been profoundly inspired by the work of the late zen teacher and radical social entrepreneur, Bernie Glassman who spent his life seeking to understand social struggle from the perspective of those living it. Acting from this understanding, he was committed to creating social organisations, businesses and community programmes with an ethic of listening at their heart.
The Institute of Heartmath is a not-for-profit research body dedicated to investigating the psychophysiological role of the heart. They are world-leaders in scientific research on the heart-brain connection with many thousands of inhouse research studies and conducted by independent organisations.
Their partner organisation Heartmath UK and IRL offers trainings in HRV biofeedback and coherence to businesses, schools, hospitals and other organisations throughout the UK. Their training tools are shared in the NHS, Nuffield Health and throughout the public and private schools sector.
Zen Peacemakers International is an NGO created by the late Bernie Glassman to serve as a global movement and network for mindful social action. Their work is informed by ‘three tenants’ of social action that serve to inspire responses to injustice that are informed by experiencing connection and direct encounters with challenging situations and environments. Participants and leaders of the ZPI have participated in experiences of bearing witness to the social and political conditions of homelessness, urban food poverty, arms trade, the refugee situation and the conditions that create genocide and their legacy in Poland, Rwanda, Bosnia and South Dakota. Their aim is to witness in order to learn and to take action from a place of humility and depth of understanding.
Compassionate Mental Health is a UK-based Community Interest Company which offers experiential events designed to inform, inspire and empower people living and working with mental distress. Part of a growing worldwide movement calling for a more integrative approach to mental health- one that celebrates and encourages the power of community, connection, self care and solidarity in the process. Their events are for anyone curious about a fresh approach, including people and families with personal experience of mental distress, frontline staff, commissioners, managers, clinicians, policymakers and Third Sector staff.