Stephen Schettini is the creator of Mindful Reflection™ & Quiet Mind Workshops. He is a former Buddhist monk who spent eight years studying Buddhist philosophy, psychology, and debate in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Switzerland. Stephen has taught Quiet Mind Workshops in the Montreal area since 2003 and for many years hosted a post-Buddhist blog entitled The Naked Monk. He is the author of The Novice, a memoir of his monk years, as well as It Begins with Silence, a secular guide to the Buddha’s teachings. He now hosts Mindfulness Live, a three-time-a-week program that helps you build mindfulness into an ongoing lifestyle and supports your ongoing practice.
Through his brand The Inner Monk, Stephen empowers groups and individuals in midlife to pursue new challenges and rediscover themselves through coaching in Buddhist thought, modern science and mindfulness meditation. You can watch Stephen’s TEDx talk HERE.
The following paragraphs provide a more personal introduction to Stephen.
Your Dad was a What?
Dad was a lion-tamer and Mum was an acrobatic dancer. They inspired me to live the life I wanted, so I was faced with the momentous decision to become a Buddhist monk, I didn't hesitate. I hitch-hiked to India and became a Buddhist monk, staying with the Tibetans for eight years, learning their language and philosophy, and publishing my memoir in 2009.
Mindfulness lies at the heart of Buddhism, and to me it's not so much a spiritual practice as an incredibly useful tool. Three times a week I teach the Live Group, and twice a week I help cancer patients manage their anxiety and explore the rest of their lives.
I teach at the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre in Montreal, and at Cedars CanSupport in Montreal’s McGill University Health Centre. Some of these patients are learning to care for themselves (truly) for the very first time.
When I met my wife Caroline and found out she had multiple sclerosis, she seemed to think that would scare me off, but what did she know? Some people say I’ve never been very practical—and I admit it—but meeting her changed my life and ultimately my sense of who I am. Imagine missing that?
What beats all is our conversation. Every single day there are new insights and new directions. In my experience, the advantages of being practical are relative. I believe that if all of us took a little time each day to do nothing at all, the world would be a better place.
Caroline and I live in a little house in a small town in Quebec with our cats, Sam and Ziggy. She's not just a real life coach, but also an MS Warrior who depends on diet and exercise, not drugs, to stay on her feet. More about Caroline HERE.
People used to take a step back when I said I’d been a Buddhist monk for 8 years. Not that I ever made an issue of it. For me, meditation and mindfulness are just ways to train your mind, the same way you train your body—for health, balance and enjoyment.
My teachers were the last generation of Tibetan masters to be trained in old Tibet. I studied with them in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Switzerland. From Geshe Tamdrin Rabten, a sparring partner to the Dalai Lama, I learned Buddhist philosophy, psychology and reasoning.
But my favorite teacher I didn't see much of. His name was Lama Yeshe and he seemed to play the game like most traditional Tibetans, paying homage to his elders and accepting it from his juniors. But there was something seditious about him. The more I saw of the Tibetan social hierarchy, the more I understood the freedom he found with us Injis, as they called us—foreigners.
Few lamas at that time spoke English. He did so in full-throated hippy slang. His grammar was wildly imperfect but he knew how to touch your heart. Like everyone, I loved him, and I wrote about him in my memoir, The Novice.
I always wanted to be a teacher like him. Someone who listened and loved and reflected, but I needed time. Only after I got past the slanted jargon of Buddhism did I learn to speak plainly from my own heart.
I became a husband and father and worked in Montreal writing, designing and typesetting. My monastic skills translated well into the arcane arts. At the same time I became The Naked Monk, a blogger who poked under the covers of Buddhism and belief.
I teach mindfulness now because it's the best thing I know. For more information about public workshops, corporate training programs or one-on-one coaching, email me or call 450-458-8030. I’m in the Eastern Time Zone (UTC -5:00) of Canada, where I live just outside Montreal with my wife Caroline.