Alfred James Bio
Alfred James was born in North London, England, in 1978. A restless child who was always jumping from one hobby to another, he remembers always experiencing trouble focusing on one thing:
“There was always something more appealing than what I was doing. It wasn’t like I got bored with stuff quickly, I was just overwhelmed with how many great things life had to offer, and I wanted to do them all”.
Not content with a “normal” life, and sensing that he would never find sanctuary of mind where he was , James set out to study Eastern philosophy in his twenties. “I’d practiced wing chun kung fu for a number of years, and had always admired the Zen way of living. Doing my forms was one rare way of being able to get my mind to settle. I guess that’s what led me toward meditation”.
James spent three years in a temple in Southern China studying Shaolin Kung Fu and the art of cultivating Chi (life’s vital energy source). He then spent four years in Tibet studying meditation and Buddhist philosophy, most notably from Tibetan Dzogchen lama Sogyal Rinpoche.
“The one vital lesson I learned from my time in China and Tibet was that everything is a projection of mind. Nothing has any inherent meaning if you break it down far enough, other than life itself, of course. That might sound depressing to some, but it brought me incredible peace of mind. Life finally made sense. I found who I really was. I was just me. And I embraced myself with open arms. In that time of self-realisation I let go of the grasping and searching and turned the search inwards. I learnt to stop being led by my ego and began to understand the projections and judgements of mind. For the first time in my life I felt a beautiful peace. I began understanding life for what it really was; a series of perfect, beautifully sequenced moments”.
James travelled extensively in South East Asia; through Thailand, Laos, India, and Nepal, spending time as a monk in a number of temples, and learning mindfulness meditation from a number of respected teachers, including the globally popular Sadhguru (Jaggi Vasudev). “It’s funny; for someone who could never sit still or stay home alone, I became a person who was happy alone with nature for days at a time, and then, when I was around people, I had this heightened sense of gratefulness and appreciation of their love and company. In time I understood this was a result of understanding what it meant to be present”.
In 2011, James released his first short book, Pocket Mindfulness, which was well-received by his teachers for its innovative, modern and somewhat poetic approach to defining daily mindfulness practice. The book considerable time at the top of the Amazon Kindle Spirituality category, and has fast become a notable source of quotation for many meditators and mindfulness practitioners.
Due to its popularity, Pocket Mindfulness expanded into a series of three books, with the second volume elaborating on matters of “self”, ego, love, life, and death, and the third volume covering the manifestation of mindfulness through meditation.
“I was overwhelmed by the response to the first book, which forms more of a short guide through the meanings of mindfulness than extended chapters of writing like the second part in the series. It was a big deal for me because I wanted to capture the essence of everything I’d learnt, and at the same time answer the common questions I’m regularly asked by students. I don’t think the series was successful because I’m a good writer, but because I am able to connect with the people I’m writing for, and that’s because I speak with them every day. They’re just like me; we face the same thoughts, emotions and questions. Yet the difference is that I’ve been lucky to experience learning with great gurus, which allows me to pass on this wonderful knowledge”.
Alfred James’ Pocket Mindfulness series, and his other book releases are available for instant download here.