A Glasgow Zen centre is changing lives with their free mindfulness classes.

Cloud Water Zen Centre, which was founded by members of the Zen Buddhist Society, has been running a variety of programmes like walking meditation and intensive meditation retreats for the last seven years.

But it is perhaps the centre’s free classes for low-income households, refugees and asylum seekers which is seeing the most impressive improvement in the lives of Glasgow residents.

Covering transport costs too, the centre has said the classes have helped attendees feel more connected and present day-to-day.

Glasgow Times:

Karl Kaliski ( Known as Karl Sensei amongst his students), director of the Zen centre and qualified Zen teacher, said: “People shouldn’t need to spend money to access skills, that is what we’re trying to do here.

“Mindfulness is all about learning to use your attention more skillfully.

“We do mindfulness of the breath exercises and practices that reduce anxiety and increase relaxation.

“People attending these classes have said that they have found life to be more vivid and their experiences are richer. People feel more connected and present and that is crucial.

“We want to keep expanding these opportunities for people who may be struggling with the costs of commercial courses.”

To keep expanding, the registered Scottish charity is looking to open a second location within striking distance of the city, which will be the very first rural Zen retreat centre in Scotland.

Glasgow Times:

This will be a not-for-profit, affordable, and community-oriented space where people can come for meditation retreats, periods of residential living and a whole range of activities like yoga and Tai Chi.

Karl explained: “We want to provide another not-for-profit space which is striking distance to Glasgow but more rural than the city.

“We want a space where people can step back, pause and get a fresh perspective.

“Somewhere maybe 45 minutes of the city in the Renfrewshire area would be ideal, just anywhere accessible for us and those who visit the centre.”

Glasgow Times:

The idea came after the Zen centre’s latest week-long retreat – where they go to an amazing centre which is sadly two and a half hours away.

Karl said when the group was there, he saw so many groups in the guest book from the city and thought there must be an obvious demand and interest.

To get the plans off the ground, the centre has been fundraising for the last two years via concerts and auctioning off donated artwork, as well as running the West Highland Way, which they aimed to complete as a non-stop 24-hour relay race. 

Starting at 4pm on Saturday, June 1, the team finished at 2pm on Sunday, June 2. 

Glasgow Times:

Karl said the run went really well, thanks to a friend of the centre, Kev Craig, who Karl referenced as an ultra running expert, who crewed for the team  and was driving all over the place in his campervan to set people up.

The centre have so far raised close to £15k. 

To donate, click HERE

Glasgow Times:

Cloud Water Zen Centre will be hosting an Introduction to Zen Buddhism on Saturday, June 15. 

To find out more, click HERE