John Munroe is a Toronto-born, Tokyo-based entrepreneur, philanthropist, translator, and meditation enthusiast with a contemplative practice spanning over four decades. In addition to his primary teacher Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche, John has studied paths of awakening with U Thila Wunta Sayadaw, U Pandita Sayadaw, HH Drukchen Rinpoche, HE Choeje Ayang Rinpoche, Dr. Thomas Verny, Anagarika Munindra, S.N. Goenka, Dr. Daniel Ingram, and many other distinguished teachers. Since 1977, John has completed dozens of retreats, varying in length from ten days to four months, in Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Thailand, Ecuador, Egypt, the United States, and Canada.
John has devoted the fruits of his professional life to providing financial, logistical, and advisory support to meditation teachers and retreat centers. He co-founded two meditation centers in Japan and one in Canada, and has served on numerous nonprofit and ethically-oriented corporate boards. He has been teaching meditation (in English and Japanese) in Tokyo and elsewhere since 2000.
John returned to the University of Toronto in 2018 to complete the undergraduate degree he postponed in 1990 to study Tibetan Buddhism with Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche. His first course upon returning was an online course in Tibetan Buddhism taught by Professor Frances Garrett. He will graduate from the University of Toronto with a BA in East Asian Studies in June, 2022.
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Questions for Reflection
What do the words Caring, Helping, Celebrating, and Stillness mean to you? How does each word make you feel in your body? Take a few minutes to explore this.
The Beautiful Minds practice offers specific colours and locations in the body for each of the four modes. After exploring these, see if you can find alternatives that resonate with you.
When experimenting with the Caring for Our Senses practice, did you find that one sense predominated over the others. How about the left vs. right side and so on?
If you think of our senses as superpowers, how might that change your experience of them? How about if you think of them as gifts?
When working with the Beautiful Minds and Caring for Our Senses practices, set an intention at the beginning that aligns with what you hope to achieve through the session. Afterward, review for a minute or two, noting any specific phenomena that occurred, whether visual, auditory, tactile, conceptual, or other. A journal can be helpful in developing these practices.
Kindness Practices as a Supplement or Alternative to Mindfulness-Based Practices for Wellness: This paper, written as part of an Independent Studies undergrad course with Dr. Garrett in 2021, outlines the concepts and goals of the Kindness Practices under development by John Munroe. It explains John’s thinking in sharing from his lifetime of meditative tech with a wider audience, and provides some background and overview that will inform the practices presented in the videos.
Beautiful Minds Mind Map: The audio presentations for these Kindness Practices are based on mind maps John created to capture the essence of decades of personal practical instruction he has received from meditation experts. Here is a mind map for the Beautiful Minds Guided Meditation. Feel free to study it and use it as a supplementary guide.
Caring for Our Senses Mind Map: Here is a mind map for the Caring for Our Senses video. By reading and even writing out these steps, the practice can be internalized and invoked in times of stress to soothe and bring calm and energy to the senses through which we live.
Beautiful Minds Practice Overview
John introduces the background of the Beautiful Minds practice and talks about the importance of cultivating positive states of mind as a powerful support to mindfulness or focusing on what is already there. He uses his own journey to illustrate how reframing simple techniques can nourish our being and give us the strength and resilience to meet the challenges we face. Closed captions are provided.
Beautiful Minds Guided Meditation
Combining the powers of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic imaging, John walks us through four modalities of inner strength and nourishment: Caring, Helping, Celebrating, and Resting. This progression uses our innate skills of friendliness and resilience to pervade our experience with supportive energies, encouraging establishment of safe spaces for ourselves and those around us. Listen or view with closed captions.
Caring for Our Senses: Guided Meditation
Our senses are our interface for experiencing our world. By steeping our sensory bases in supportive, nourishing energy, our sensory feed is soothed and strengthened, leading to a greater sense of connection and confidence in our own experience. This practice is guided with visual cues—feel free to pause the video while moving through the steps.