FutureDharma donors support thousands of Mitras training for ordination each year. Dan Sleat, a GFR Mitra from the London Buddhist Centre, and Senior Policy Advisor at the Tony Blair Institute, generously dedicated himself to 100 hours of Metta on behalf of our vital projects supporting those wishing to join the Triratna Order.

Before joining an intro course in January 2019 at the LBC Dan had been meditating for 12 years with a particular focus on mindfulness to help with stress whilst working in parliament. He soon realised that mediation and mindfulness pointed to something far more mysterious and that it could in fact lead to a wider, and more fulfilling, approach to life.

Dan became a Mitra in November 2019 and soon after asked for ordination in January 2020. Training for ordination is an area close to his heart and he recognises the importance of creating a Triratna context where everyone can connect to this path of liberation.

After hosting a Gratitude & Giving evening in conjunction with FutureDharma for his Mitra study group, Dan realised the scale of the work our donors support for those training for ordination globally and was inspired to find ways to help support our projects and therefore support others in more challenging contexts than him.

Dan has raised £1200 in his latest fundraising efforts for us and we are delighted to share his journey with you.

“I’ve just finished a 100 hour Metta meditation challenge for the Future Dharma Fund. It took me the first half of the year to complete and was a really incredible experience, and not for the reasons I expected.

First things first, what was the challenge and why did I do it:

Around the time of my birthday in January I realised I wanted to do some type of meditation challenge with loving kindness. There felt, and to be honest still feels, there is so much going wrong in the world, most of which I have no tangible ability to affect. Faced with this I decided that just focussing on loving kindness practice would at least be something practical and helpful I could do. It also followed on from a chat I had with Karunatara on how I could help fundraise for FutureDharma to help the Indian Ordination teams. This felt something important to do because my life has been transformed by my own contact with the Dharma and being able to train to be ordained: especially thanks to the guidance of close friends like Jnanavaca, Maitreyabandhu and Maitreyaraja.

All in all the stars aligned to do a 100 hour commitment of doing the Metta Bhavana. I expected the challenge to open up a deeper and deeper sense of well wishing for others, particularly those in places in the world facing conflict and hardship. In a way this is what happened, but the 100 hours unfolded in other unexpected ways too.

Looking back over the challenge I can see that it unfolded in roughly three phases.

The first phase, over the first couple of weeks of the challenge, I found I was much more sensitive. I felt more open. The front of my chest, which can sometimes feel a barrier between deep connection between me and others, felt really open. I felt more alive to emotions, at both ends of the scale. It hasn’t really been until I became a Buddhist that I have been comfortable working with stronger emotions so this was a really interesting chance to explore those and how they were manifesting.

The second phase of the practice I found I was feeling much more connected to people around me. Experiencing their joys and difficulties in a more pronounced way than usual. If this means anything to you I am a Highly Sensitive Person, at the high end even of that scale. So experiencing the emotions of others more strongly was another interesting thing to work with in my practice and something that has helped me both feel more connected to others but also have helpful boundaries in place when needed.

The third phase of the challenge was, in a way, the most unexpected and most impactful: I began to develop a much deeper sense of Metta for myself. The journey of fully accepting myself, being at peace with who I am and working with however I feel has been a long one, with many miles left to cover. The Metta challenge though has helped me take a big step forward in this area. Compared to before the challenge I feel a greater sense of kindness for myself: I feel more deeply aware that most of the time I am just doing the best I can. I also feel a stronger faith in the fact that beneath the currents of transient emotions there remains a deep pool of loving kindness accessible, which will be with me for life and help me navigate any challenges I face.

So, I finish the 100 hours deeply grateful to all those who supported me in the fundraiser and to FutureDharma for giving me the chance to do this challenge. I feel lucky to have had this chance to open myself up more, connect more with others, send loving kindness to the very many people who face difficulties and, importantly, to end the challenge more at peace with myself.”

~ Dan Sleat, GFR Mitra, London Buddhist Centre

FutureDharma is unique in enabling numerous Triratna projects worldwide. There are many ways you can support us, from sharing inspiration, awareness, donating, or fundraising for us. Find out more about fundraising.