Dissolve your stress and come alive…

 

Welcome to Entering the Stream!

We’re an online school and community for inner peace in the modern world, available everywhere.

As practitioners have known for centuries, inner practice can open, heal, and transform your mind, body, and energy, freeing you to reduce stress and suffering, come alive, and come into alignment with your most genuine and peaceful life.

My name is Mary Hartley Platt. (It’s a double first name! I go by “Mary Hartley” or “MH.”)

I’m a practical spiritual teacher, apprenticed to my primary teacher, Zen master Julian Daizan Skinner, founder of Zenways in London.

In his words (and thanks to his life-changing example), I’ve had “a remarkable experience of [my] own life having been transformed by Zen [meditation and mindfulness] practice,” and by the other techniques I’ve found and developed (and now teach). I incorporate modern approaches to compassion, trauma healing, energy psychology, the sacred feminine and masculine, social justice, and neuroscience, alongside our Zen tradition. I have been able to heal from decades of depression, anxiety, anorexia, complex trauma (C-PTSD), existential doubt, and more.

It’s been beyond my wildest dreams of what I realized was possible in life (and continues to develop more every day).

So, sharing this style of transformational practice with you now is my greatest honor and pleasure.

Life can get better and deeper, more peaceful, free, and real. The key is starting an effective inner practice, that washes away stress in your mind, body, and energy system, heals past pain and limiting beliefs at the roots, connects you strongly to the present moment, and reveals who you really are, so you can embody that truth fully and freely, in the world off the meditation cushion.

It’s natural to get stuck in stress and suffering. The structure of the human mind, and the ways our society has developed, make this essentially a universal experience (and not your fault!). However, it does not have to be a life sentence. It is fully possible to grow and heal beyond this state, and learn techniques to open up your deepest peace, happiness, wisdom, freedom, and fulfillment. You can be the person you’re most meant to be (the person you already are, beneath whatever blocks you may be experiencing).

I can help you discover and enter this reality, through simple, inner techniques.

Click through to learn more about our 6-week introductory course (“Finding Inner Peace”), online practice community (“Stream Circle”), and one-to-one sessions — all available online from wherever you are — so you can get started in your own transformational inner practice.

I can’t wait to meet you and practice together!

A more peaceful and satisfying experience of life is waiting for you…

I’ll answer some frequently asked questions below, so keep reading if you’d like to learn more.

Frequently asked questions

Who is this for? Who can benefit?

Entering the Stream is for those facing the stresses and suffering of modern life who are ready for relief and meaningful change. Everyone is welcome here. If you feel open and intrigued, this is definitely for you!

By practicing simple, daily skills, distilled from Zen meditation and mindfulness, modern somatic therapy, energy psychology, and more, we can train our minds and enter a deeper experience of life, where stress, suffering, and pain wash away, and a reality of greater peace, flow, meaning, ease, and connection can emerge — our genuine life. Inner practice is the way in, into “the stream” of the universe (as the Buddha called it), right here in the places where we find ourselves. There’s no need to move to a monastery, or undertake a long retreat. You can start right now, today. Whether you’d like to dip your toes in or dive in deeply, our methods will work for you, as they’ve been doing for generations. Unlocking inner peace is relatively easy once you have the right tools. A more satisfying life awaits! (If you haven’t signed up yet to receive our free PDF guide, “How to Create a Life-Changing Home Meditation Practice,” you can do that right here.)

How can I get started?

We offer three entry points, and you can pick the one that feels right to you: taking our 6-week course (“Finding Inner Peace“); joining our online practice community (“Stream Circle“); or doing a one-to-one session or program. All three options are available online, from wherever you are.

What are meditation and mindfulness?

Meditation is usually a formal practice, and mindfulness is bringing your full attention to whatever is happening in the present moment.

Meditation and mindfulness are both methods for training and healing your mind (and your whole system). They work because of the property of neuroplasticity (the ability of your brain and nervous system to change based on new signals from the environment). Our Zen practices have been developed over thousands of years to heal your mind, body, and energy, restoring them to their most natural, free, and empowered state of presence, flow, balance, and connection, which is where you’ll find your genuine happiness (even bliss!), peace of mind, service to others, and life fulfillment. The modern tools I’ve added alongside our Zen approach make your results even more rapid and effortless. It’s a beautiful process and reality. A small amount of practice every day will unlock this for you. It’s easier than you might imagine.

What are the benefits?

There are innumerable benefits to inner practice. Bringing your mind, body, and energy into balance and expanded awareness through our powerful tools can create a life of joy, peace, and freedom far beyond what you may have realized is possible. Here are some of the many positive effects that can emerge through your ongoing practice:

  • Relief from stress, fear, and pressure
  • Deep inner calm and contentment
  • Peace, joy, and clarity (even bliss!) about your life
  • Release and freedom from the past
  • Unlocked creativity and creative flow
  • Stronger focus, mental clarity, vision, and problem-solving
  • Heightened senses and awareness
  • Greater energy, presence, and grounding
  • Enjoying and seeing the present moment in its remarkable abundance and completeness
  • Deeper connection to and appreciation for others
  • Deeper connection to and appreciation for your real self
  • A natural blossoming of self-compassion, and compassion for others
  • Softness, gentleness, humor, and empathy
  • Ease of creating new habits and effective self-care
  • Clarity and ease in seeing and respecting boundaries for yourself and others
  • Greater peace, meaning, and safe attachment in relationships
  • Letting go of addictions, coping habits, denial, and unconsciousness
  • Deep healing of stress, chronic pain & illness, anxiety, panic, painful & chronic emotions, eating disorders, depression, confusion, limiting beliefs, and more at the root levels
  • Safe and deep release of tension and trauma energy stored in the body, and easing of PTSD symptoms (including complex or developmental PTSD)
  • Discovering directly who you really are, in relation to the universe — awakening, genuine insight, or enlightenment (which the Buddha called “entering the stream”!). This is fully possible for you, right here in the modern world, and is much nearer at hand than you might imagine…
  • Discovering more about who you are as a unique person, your authentic life, expression, and fulfillment
  • Letting go, just being, and coming into genuine alignment and flow
  • Natural emerging of purpose, direction, and confidence — and at the same time simplicity, faith in life, and peace with not knowing
  • Deepening integration, vitality, strength, emotional stability, and energy balance
  • Appreciating and living life fully — present, awake, and alive in each moment — as your experience unfolds

What is Zen? How is it unique? What is our tradition?

Zen is a school of Buddhism, with roots in India, that took shape in China and then migrated to Japan.

Rinzai Zen (which is our tradition) is one of the main branches of Japanese Zen. The Rinzai branch historically developed to support samurai warriors in accessing genuine insight, fearlessness, and grounding within a dangerous and demanding life. (They had no time to lose, and in a way, neither do we!) It emphasizes achieving an early and direct personal experience of awakening (kensho or satori in Japanese, “seeing your true nature” and the nature of reality — traditionally known as enlightenment, and referred to by the Buddha as “entering the stream”), and then practicing further to digest suffering at the roots within, and deepen and embody your insight so that it extends into every moment of life. In the modern world, we might call this deep trauma healing (“reprocessing”) and authentic life alignment.

Our direct lineage within Rinzai Zen is represented by our teacher in Japan, Zen master Shinzan Miyamae, of Gyokuryuji temple in Gifu prefecture, and his successor in London (my primary teacher), Zen master Julian Daizan Skinner, who founded Zenways and certifies our Zen teaching and practice here at Entering the Stream.

Our tradition of Zen is unique because of how thoroughly, deeply, and swiftly it liberates and rebalances mind, body, and energy, reacquainting us in unusually short order with our real selves and most genuine lives, and reprocessing inner knots and constructs through the specific methods of practice, so that we become free to express ourselves fully and live at peace. I have seen Rinzai Zen transform and save lives (including mine!) more deeply and completely than any other method I’ve found or witnessed (so far). Daily Zen practice both unlocks a perspective of unbroken peace and compassion (“awakening”), and also rewires our nervous system, being, and embodiment from the inside out to rest into the flow of that deeper dimension (“inner alchemy”). From my perspective, it’s one of the most beautiful and powerful paths to inner peace, healing, and embodiment of reality that exists in human history and knowledge, and we are so lucky to engage with it.

The Zen techniques we’ve inherited are a gift, distilled over generations and passed down to support us in relieving suffering at its roots and coming to live our most authentic and beneficial lives. It’s my honor to pass these methods on to you.

My personal style of Zen meditation and mindfulness teaching emphasizes compassion, trauma-sensitive approaches, anti-bias work and social justice, inner alchemy (doing the deep inner practices to dissolve suffering at the root levels in mind, body, and energy and create lasting freedom and transformation, through the power of neuroplasticity), embodying peace in the world by embracing our genuine alignment (letting go of cultural limits and becoming who we really are), restoring equal respect for and awareness of the feminine energies in all of us and the universe, and valuing nature and sustainable living, to safeguard a long and healthy future for our planet and all beings. I also integrate skills from modern somatic therapy and energy psychology alongside the Zen practices, to make your healing journey more rapid and easy.

Is it religious? Will it conflict with my beliefs?

It’s not religious, and will complement whatever beliefs, religion, culture, perspectives, questions, doubts, or more you bring to your practice. For me, “spirituality” or inner practice is simply about life’s nature — similar to physics, medicine, math, art, psychology, and more. It’s one (very powerful and practical) route for looking more deeply at who we are, and how to live well and at peace. Our approach at Entering the Stream will likely feel essentially secular to you, and accessible and useful for modern life. (Our Zen tradition has actually been teaching meditation and mindfulness practices specifically for health and well-being, not just for spiritual insight and development, since at least the 18th century.)

The beloved modern Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh likens Buddhist meditation and mindfulness practice to a fruit: “Eating a mango does not require you to abandon your habit of eating oranges. Why not try it? You may like it a lot. Buddhism is a kind of mango, you see – a way of life, an experience that is worth trying. It is open for everyone.” I hope you’ll come try the unique toolkit of ancient and modern methods that we practice and offer here!

 

Here’s my professional bio:

Mary Hartley Platt, PhD (Oxford University), is a modern spiritual teacher. She is certified to teach Zen meditation and mindfulness by Zenways in London. She has been training with her primary teacher, Zen master Julian Daizan Skinner, founder of Zenways, since 2011. Meeting him felt like a lightning strike, and radically transformed the course of her life and work. Mary Hartley has 20 years of meditation experience (since she was 16), and almost 10 years (and ongoing) of dynamic Zen training. She is certified to teach modern trauma healing skills by Deirdre Fay (international trauma expert and founder of Becoming Safely Embodied). She is trained in energy psychology (including energy meridian “tapping,” for rapid and painless neuroplastic change), in the style developed by clinical psychologist David Feinstein. She also has a PhD and MPhil in Classics from Oxford University (Balliol College), and a BA from Bowdoin College. She loves people, nature, learning, teaching, writing, poetry, movement, cultural and community healing, social justice, trauma healing, compassion approaches, the sacred feminine and masculine, neuroscience and physics, swimming and sailing, music, and Zen and other awakening and embodiment traditions. Her goal is to make expanded consciousness and liberation from suffering accessible, fun, and widespread in modern life. Her Zen name, Daikan, means “Great Insight.” She is a monk, based in Washington, DC, where she grew up.

 

Was your question not answered here? Please feel free to get in touch.

“Rather than being disheartened by the ambiguity, the uncertainty of life, what if we accepted it and relaxed into it? What if we said, ‘Yes, this is the way it is; this is what it means to be human,’ and decided to sit down and enjoy the ride?” –Pema Chödrön
“As we let go of the stuckness, the tightness, we slip into a new reality. We ‘enter the stream,’ as the Buddha put it. In doing this we join the lineage or family of the [awakened] ones. […] Will you let go into this sparkling stream, and take your place in the lineage? […] You, too, if you keep going, will enter the stream and enjoy it fully.” –Julian Daizan Skinner