I was born in London and have worked as a freelance photographer and occasional writer in Asia and Africa.

My work as a photographer has been varied, with an interest in other cultures and in social and environmental issues. This has taken me over the years to North Africa, Central Asia, India, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar on travel, documentary and environmental assignments. My work includes reports on the threat to indigenous communities and eco-systems by large-scale development projects, and the  photographs have appeared in The Geographical, Geo, The Smithsonian, Time Magazine, Resurgence, The Observer, and have illustrated several books on countries such as Greece, Morocco, Tunisia and India. These years of travelling opened my mind to both the beauty and variety of so many cultures, as well as the inevitable problems of tradition confronting modernity.

My engagement with Buddhist wisdom teachings and meditation practice began during a visit to Sri Lanka in 1981 and a period as a resident lay Buddhist, an upasaka, on a remote Buddhist island hermitage on a lagoon. I have written a Memoir based on diaries I kept during my time on the island: The Island, A Mirror for the Soul. In spite of an active life as a travelling photographer I continued to deepen my study and practice of these teachings and how they could transform our understanding and awaken a deeper relationship with the earth to turn our global culture away from the path of destruction.

For over thirty years I have led a somewhat peripatetic existence, living at different times on three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa. Currently I am based in Kenya where I have been for two decades. In pursuit of my interest in ecological sustainability I recently qualified as a Permaculture Designer with PRI-Kenya, the Permaculture Research Institute. 

A few years ago in 2012, after contributing a series of photographs of the Tana River Delta to an exhibition of a seven year study of the Delta by ecologists Olivier and Stephanie Hamerlynk at the National Museum of Kenya,  I founded DEEP,  a Centre for Diversity Ecology Ethics and Practice as a space for people to meet, interact and engage with the pressing issues of our time. I began teaching Mindfulness to small informal groups, and currently I am teaching Mindfulness Practice (MBSR) which has its origins in the Buddhist Theravada tradition of Insight Meditation. I come to this practice from my years of engaging with the Dhamma and its capacity for radically shifting our orientation to the world by questioning given structures of belief, fostering awareness of the mind-body relationship, expanding our sense of who we are beyond our fears and self-judgment, and by awakening our capacity for insight, wisdom and compassion. I write poems and use poetry in the Mindfulness Sessions I teach, as they are often much better at conveying the paradoxes that lie at the heart of the awareness we nurture in this practice, and are nourishing as a source of inspiration and contemplation.

In June 2017 I participated in a new initiative launched by Christopher Titmuss, a well known Dhamma Teacher and Insight Meditation instructor from UK (see www.christophertitmuss.net), which was the first Mindfulness Teachers Training Course to create Agents for Change (MTTC) which was held at Pauenhof Retreat Centre near Dusseldorf in Germany. These courses are continuing and are also being held in Israel this year and next year.

I also attended the Mindful Self-Compassion Course facilitated by Chris Germer and Susan Pollak of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, USA in Limuru February 2018. And I am engaging with the Interpersonal Meditation Practice with Susann Herrmann (Dipl.Psych. MA) co-founder of London Meditation. This is based on Insight Dialogue developed by Dr. Gregory Kramer with the six guidelines - pause, relax, open, trust emergence, listen deeply, speak the truth - which has proved enormously beneficial increasing awareness in our daily social interactions.

I facilitate courses in Mindfulness Practice that can be found on this website.

You too can be an agent for positive change by becoming the change you want to see.

May All Beings Live with Clarity, Compassion and Wisdom

Metta

David Beatty