Director of the World Community of Christian Meditation, WCCM, Father Laurence is a great asset to any conversation about meditation but is also an ambassador for meditation as a way of accessing the space behind all difference and all activity. Meditation is a way to come out of what we are not and become the consciousness which is our eternal Self.
Born in England in 1951 and educated by the Benedictines, he studied English Literature at New College, Oxford University. Before entering monastic life, he worked with the United Nations in New York and had experience in banking and journalism. In the monastery, his spiritual teacher was John Main who he helped establish the first Christian Meditation Centre in London. At the invitation of the Archbishop of Montreal, in 1977, he accompanied John Main to establish a Benedictine community of monks and laypeople dedicated to the practice and teaching of Christian meditation. Fr Laurence studied theology at the Université de Montreal and at McGill University. He made his solemn monastic profession in 1979 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1980.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche then asked Lama Zangmo to put her experience to good use by helping to run Kagyu Samye Dzong London, which was officially opened in 1998. Since then the London Centre has flourished under Lama Zangmo’s guidance and established itself as a much needed Dharma Centre in the capital city, providing a full and varied programme of teachings and events throughout the year.Lama Zangmo’s strong connection with Kagyu lineage and in particular with Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche has inspired her to work tirelessly and joyfully in service to the Dharma and helping others. In recognition of her long experience, selfless qualities and commitment, she became the first person in the UK to be honoured with the title of Lama by our organisation at a heart warming ceremony in Kagyu Samye Dzong London in June 2001.
Neville Hodgkinson is a writer and journalist who worked for more than 20 years as medical and science correspondent of several national newspapers in the UK. He is also former social policy correspondent of The Times. He has a particular interest in building bridges between science and spirituality and has been a co-organiser of four international symposia on science and consciousness.
His first book, Will To Be Well – the Real Alternative Medicine (Hutchinson, UK, 1984; Samuel Weiser, USA, 1986) was one of the first to describe the intimate links between health and happiness in terms of modern scientific findings. His interest in mind-body medicine, along with a life-changing vision in Westminster Abbey, led him to take up the practice of meditation and spiritual study in the early 1980s, and he has been a student for 34 years with the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. He is chairman of the Janki Foundation for Spirituality in Health Care, a UK-based charity which encourages research and awareness in the field of values and health.
Neville was married for 25 years to the journalist and author Liz Hodgkinson and has two sons, Tom and Will, and five grandchildren. He now lives and works at the Global Retreat Centre near Oxford, opened by the Brahma Kumaris in 1993. He says the main thrust of the life there, besides hosting thousands of guests, is to quell the demands of the egotistical self and emerge our sense of common humanity and shared spiritual origins. He believes that a recovery of this way of thinking and living is the key to resolving many of the world’s current problems.