One-Day Mind and Body Connection Retreat 12 August in Beckenham

One-Day Mind and Body Connection Retreat

About the Day

Our minds and bodies are deeply connected in many ways. Some are obvious, such as sensory perceptions and body movement. But other connections are more subtle and have only been discovered through intensive investigation and study over many years.

How we think and how we feel emotionally affects our bodies and our bodies are a channel into how we think and feel. This retreat is an exploration of this relationship and how we can most positively affect our lives with this knowledge.

The retreat combines two disciplines: Meditation taught by Robert Mitchell of Bromley Mindfulness and Energy Tapping from Mirella Lukover who is an EFT Ambassador and Practitioner.

We will use these techniques to teach you the tools to master your mind’s relationship with your body for your benefit. This will leave you in a calmer, more relaxed, focused and happier place.

About Mirella and Robert

Mirella

Mirella Lukover is an EFT Ambassador and Practitioner. She is the founder of “Wellness by Mirella” and co-founder of “The Rite to Replenish”. Mirella is passionate about energy. Ever since she tuned into the power and possibilities of helping herself and others, she has found her life and the people in it changing for the better. She wants to pass this experience on to you. Through one to one sessions, group workshops and retreats, Mirella’s mission is to inspire and educate those she works with to incorporate wellness and holistic ethos into their everyday lives.

Mirella works with a variety of modalities including EFT and Matrix Reimprinting, Reiki, Crystal Energy, Dowsing, Ayurvedic Principles, Chakra Balancing and Elemental Rituals.

“Your body is more powerful than you can imagine… filled with life, energy, and a compelling ability for self-healing.”

You can find out more about Mirella here: More About Mirella

Robert

Robert founded Bromley Mindfulness in 2013. Since then, he has taught over 5,000 people at classes, courses, retreats and workshops. Both the general public and organisations.

Bromley Mindfulness is the most well-known and established mindfulness training organisation serving Bromley, Beckenham and the surrounding districts which is a catchment area of over 1 million people.

Robert teaches in organisations of all kinds. Local community organisations such as Age UK, the NHS through regular sessions at Darent Valley Hospital which have run since 2014. Robert also works with international businesses, some of which are household names, government regulators and top ten global law firms.

You can find out more about Robert here: More about Robert Click here to book

The Venue

You can step out of your daily grind and into our beautiful training space to experience a serene and inspiring escape from your busy life.

The retreat will be run in the sedate 18th century Georgian Drawing Room of the Grade II listed Beckenham Place Mansion which has a panoramic view of 237 acres of carefully tended gardens, lawns and flowers and woodland. The Mansion is a decorate and graceful space that sits in natural stillness, offering an inspiring place to practice without distraction. You will feel better, happier and more relaxed from visiting our pleasant retreat designed to bring calm, comfort and quiet.

Beckenham Place Park is being recovered for the wider community with £4.9M of Lottery funding. We are fortunate to have access to such a perfect location which enables a connection with the stillness and serenity of nature into our training space. The Mansion is surrounded by transport links with four stations less than twenty minutes walk away, many buses and free parking directly outside the building. See below for details. A light lunch is included. The Mansion also has a cafe which is the social centre of our community.

Click here to book

Pricing

Fees
£85
Click here to book

Agenda – Sunday 12 August 2018

Arrive at any point before 11 as the cafe is open downstairs. We will be in the Drawing Room from 11am.

Activities
11 am Introductions and Pranayama transition meditation
Mirella An introduction to Energy
Robert The mind-body connection
1 pm Lunch – a light lunch with vegetarian options is available
Mirella Tapping
3 pm Tea
Robert Connection through meditation
4:30 Finish
Click here to book

Letting Go and Moving On – Weekend Retreat in Kent – 7th to 9th September 2018

Letting go and moving on is a residential retreat, held in Aylesford in the beautiful Kent countryside on Friday 7th to Sunday 9th September 2018.

The past has no power over the present moment, other than the power we give it.

It can sometimes feel that our life choices disappear. Life becomes like a roller-coaster ride hurtling towards an uncertain future and all we can do is either hang on or try to enjoy the ride. Our choices become hidden by the hectic pace of life and the decisions we make become damage-limitation exercises and there is no sense of progress. The constantly accelerating pace of change leaves us off-balance and our inner wisdom becomes obscured.

We all know the wisdom that emerges from a still, calm and silent mind. It is crystal clear in its clarity and rooted in deep insights into our lives that aren’t available during our daily grind.

This retreat is designed to provide us with the space we need to reconnect with this inner wisdom. On Saturday, we will uncover and clear the obstacles to your personal journey. We will clear our minds, relax, your inner wisdom can then arise and guide you to the best possible outcome.

Friday Afternoon/Evening

Arrival from 1 pm, drop off your bags and meet up with the group or enjoy the buildings and the grounds
Supper
Sunset meditation – outside, or inside, if it rains

Saturday – Letting Go

Finding your Inner Stillness
We will begin the day with a transition meditation to bring us to a place of still, silent calmness and tranquillity.

Mapping the Landscape of the Mind
We need a map because we need to get from where we are, to where we need to be. Trial and error wastes your time. Others have already gone those ways. You don’t need to follow them to the same dead ends and diversions. We want to be familiar and comfortable with the landscape of our minds to navigate it safely and helpfully.
From here, we can identify the obstacles. We can learn what is intervening in our happiness and develop a strategy to overcome it.

Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable
Appreciation, forgiveness, compassion, self-compassion, gratitude, acceptance and impermanence. These are the tools that we use to learn how to sit with and release the inevitable discomfort of living our artificial lives.

Releasing uncomfortable emotions
To get past our current obstacles, whatever they are, we need to learn what they are there to teach us. We also need to learn how to process our emotions both for this session and also

Rebalancing our minds and bodies
Having done our work, we need to put away our tools and get back to an open, relaxed and balanced state at the end of the day.

Sunday – Moving On

The morning will have a number of activities designed to help us to process the learnings from the day before including mindful listening.

The afternoon will have activities designed to help us find clarity.
Mindful walk (weather permitting) in the 40 acres of grounds (options for high and low energy folks).
A Qi Gong session led by Graham
A silent tea
Meditation practices designed to help us discover our inner wisdom and also to then transition back into our busy lives.

The Venue

You can step out of your daily grind and into a beautiful training space to experience a serene and inspiring escape from your busy life.

The Friars at Aylesford is a 13th century Pilgrim’s hostel. Pilgrims still stay here, as they have over the centuries, to rest on their journeys to Canterbury and beyond.

Set in the heart of Kent, The Friars – Aylesford Priory – is an ancient religious house of the Order of Carmelites dating back to the 13th Century. Over the centuries and now today The Friars has become for thousands of visitors: a place of peace, a centre of welcome, a venue for gathering and a work of art.

The images below include the 13th century Pilgrim’s Hall where we will eat our meals, some photos of the buildings and grounds, the spartan but immaculately clean accommodation and various other photos.

Click here to book

Agenda

Friday 7th September – Arrival

Arrival and meet the other retreatants
Supper
Sunset Meditation inside or out (depending on the weather)

Saturday 8th September – Letting Go

Finding your Inner Stillness How our modern perspective fails us
Mapping the Landscape of the Mind What is it and how do we find it?
Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable The key tools for modern life
Emotional Release Releasing uncomfortable emotions
Rebalancing our minds and bodies Finding balance after our inner journey

Sunday 9th September – Moving On

Moving On Clearing the mind
Mindful Listening group activity
Clarity Meditation
Qi Gong with Graham Warren
Mindful Walk within the 40 acres of grounds


Pricing and Payment

Cost for the Day
All-inclusive price including refreshments and all activities – £250


Date and Times

Date and Times
Date: Friday 7th September from 1 pm to Sunday 9th September 4 pm.

Book now. We have limited spaces.
Click here to book

Mindfulness for Busy People One Day Intensive Retreat – July 22 2018

The focus is on practical experience backed up deeply with the information that gives you the why of mindfulness and not just the what.

Content

The retreat introduces the most effective mindfulness techniques. The retreat is packed with with real life examples. There is personal guidance and support combined with the latest tools and techniques. The retreat will equip you with the tools and techniques you need to learn mindfulness and resilience.

You’ll leave the day with skills to:

  • Reduce negative thoughts and emotions
  • Increase your wellbeing and happiness
  • Reduce the impact of difficult experiences

What you will get from the retreat

  • Intensive in-person multi-channel training
  • Key meditation practices
  • Supporting handouts for the day
  • Online video clips
  • Guided online meditation MP3s
  • Supported homework for a month after the retreat
  • E-book recommendations, scientific papers, news articles, literature and references
  • A springboard for your personal development or further study
  • Membership of the Bromley Mindfulness student community with regular meditation classes, retreats, retreat and social events
  • One month’s telephone, text or email support
Click here to book

Agenda – Sunday 22 July 2018

Arrive at any point before 11 as the cafe is open downstairs. We will be in the Drawing Room from 11am.

Time Activity
11:00 Introduction
11:10 Emotional Intelligence
12:00 Stress, Anxiety and Worry
12:30 Mindfulness
13:00 Lunch – a light lunch with vegetarian options is available
14:00 Peace of Mind and Relaxation
15:15 Tea
15:30 Integrating Mindfulness and Meditation into your busy life
16:30 Finish
Click here to book

About The Retreat

About Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a natural trait. Anyone can learn the state of mind that is mindfulness. You will learn to step into the present moment and get the very best from it. Our mindfulness training helps you to observe your thoughts, feelings and behaviour without being overwhelmed. You can unlearn unhelpful attachment and judgement.

The History of Mindfulness

Mindfulness training is an ancient collection of tools and techniques taught in a modern way. Thousands of scientific studies have produced evidence of reductions in stress and anxiety from meditation and mindfulness.

How Mindfulness is being used

Global organisations use mindfulness to advance themselves. Examples are: the NHS, Google, Intel, Bank of America, as well as sportsmen, athletes, the US military and many others.

What changes with Mindfulness?

We learn to step back from compulsive or repetitive thoughts and feelings. We learn to observe our surroundings with a sense of connection that brings fulfilment. These are simple yet powerful techniques. They can change how we think, feel and act in the face of the challenges of everyday life.

Who can benefit?

Our retreats are not just for stress reduction.
For high-achievers, our tools and techniques can accelerate your personal development. Everyone leaves with new skills and for some, the experience can be transformational.

About Resilence

Resilience is learning to cope with adversity in a way that helps us cope with future adversity. Resilience can be learned and there are a number of techniques that allow us to do so. We focus on these techniques during the retreat.

Dealing with stressful experiences

We teach tried and tested stress management techniques that you can use in the moment when you are expecting or experiencing stress. We teach techniques to deal with the aftermath and also how to return to a happy and balanced state of mind.

Finding calmness in the turmoil

By attending our mindfulness day-retreat, you will learn how to manage high-stress situations. You will learn to recognise and manage the after-effects. You can find that deep well of calm that only seems to be available to a few.

Training Location

Our Learning Space

Our learning space is a quiet retreat and ideal for mindfulness training. We are in a serene, high ceilinged, Victorian townhouse. Our training room has delightful patio with plenty of natural light for the summer and a roaring log fire for the winter. We are a four-minute walk from Bromley South station which is 16 minutes from Victoria.

The room is a perfect setting for practising and learning mindfulness. There is comfortable seating for all. Students can bring meditation cushions if they prefer.

QAA1
Click here to book

Pricing

Fees
£85
Click here to book Click here to book

 

BIFI and the bubble meditation

I have just added a new video to YouTube entitled ‘BIFI and the bubble meditation’.

What happens when we are stuck in a queue or can’t get where we want to be? Waiting for a train or a bus or left somewhere without knowing how long we will be there? Once, people would bring along a newspaper to read or a book. Nowadays, everyone stares into their mobiles. They are either picking up messages, or worse, surfing facebook.

Although, sometimes we need to get up to date, mostly, we are avoiding listening to our minds. This is unhelpful. We can instead use this time to meditate.

This video explains the meditation that I did for quite a while when I commuted regularly along with a tip.

You can find the video on YouTube (15 minutes) by clicking the button below (opens in a new window)

Remember to subscribe!

Click here to watch the video

 

Mindfulness practice tip of the day

Add the image below to the home screen of your mobile so when you find yourself stuck somewhere, it will remind you that there is an alternative to facebook!

meditate_iPhone

Self-compassion practice

We all have a collection of memories of our difficult past experiences. These can stay with us for a lifetime. Sometimes these experiences can build up and become a very real burden that is unhelpful for our happiness.

There are a number of ways that students of meditation can release their emotional baggage. Compassion, gratitude and self-compassion a key practices that I teach regularly.

At the heart of these practices is the self-compassion meditation which consists of three statements.

Adopt a relaxed, balanced and open posture with your back straight, elbows by your side and head balanced on your spine.

I suggest that when you practice this, you repeat each statement, either in your mind, using your inner voice, or spoken, as you breathe out. So each statement is synchronised with an out-breath.

Focus your attention on the breath at the top of the belly and lower chest. At the point where the belly and chest meet.

Ensure that you are breathing deeply by placing your tongue against the back of the top teeth so that you breathe through your nostrils.

Then repeat the self-compassion mantra:

  • May I be well
  • May I be happy
  • May I find peace of mind
    •  

      Be aware that this is not a magic practice designed to make you feel great about yourself and the rest of the world. It is a gentle mindfulness technique that helps to balance the negative self-talk and criticism from self and others that is part of our lives.

      Also be aware that for some, this may bring uncomfortable emotions into your experience. If that is the case, do this when you are feeling powerful.

      If it feels overwhelming, stop and either come back to it at some future point or find another gratitude practice that works for you.

One Day Forgiveness and Compassion Retreat May 2018

Letting Go and Moving on

A one day Retreat at The Mansion in Beckenham

_Robert_meditation-retreat_3_680x423

The Day Retreat

The day is an opportunity for healing and growth

Robert will guide and support you on a day of self-enquiry where you will learn to gently and cautiously discover, identify and question the beliefs, thoughts and fears that are the root cause of all of our suffering. It’s a way to understand what’s hurting you, to explore the cause and source of your suffering with clarity and focus.

Each topic will be supported with appropriate meditations that will enable you to strengthen your practices and assist you in your inner journey.

The process consists of acknowledging, accepting, releasing and moving on to a place of inner peace and happiness.

The day retreat at the beginning of August was wonderfully uplifting and my mind was almost still for 3 days after!
(The inner chatter of my mind subsided markably)”

Click here to book  
Robert
Robert set up Bromley Mindfulness in 2013. Since then he has developed the intensive Mindfulness-based Resilience course from which over three hundred students of mindfulness have graduated. Each week Robert teaches numerous students at a number of venues in Bromley and at a variety of organisations from local charities to global household names.

Mindfulness-Based Resilience offers a different way of being, a way of experiencing life from the perspective of the present moment rather than from the past, the future or an oppressive life-situation. Using the tools of Mindfulness-Based Resilience, we can learn to leave our pain out of our present moment and find the new perspective that really does lead to happiness.

Activities
The day will be a combination of activities and meditations designed to help retreatants to release the burden of memories and fears and doubts that we all carry courtesy of our complex artificial and unnatural lives.

The Venue

You can step out of your daily grind and into our beautiful training space to experience a serene and inspiring escape from your busy life.

The day-retreat will be run in the sedate 18th century Georgian Drawing Room of the Grade II listed Beckenham Place Mansion which has a panoramic view of 237 acres of carefully tended gardens, lawns and flowers and woodland.The Mansion is a decorate and graceful space that sits in natural stillness, offering an inspiring and ideal place to practice mindfulness and meditation without distraction. You will feel better, happier and more relaxed from visiting our pleasant retreat designed to bring calm, comfort and quiet.

Beckenham Place Park is being recovered for the wider community with £4.9M of Lottery funding. We are fortunate to have access to such a perfect location which enables a connection to the stillness and serenity of nature into our meditation experience in such a graceful way.We are surrounded by transport links with four stations less than twenty minutes walk away, many buses and free parking directly outside the building. See below for details.A light lunch is included. The Mansion also has a cafe which is the social centre of our community.

Click here to book

Agenda

Morning

Start at 11am
Compassion How can we practice it?
Self-Compassion Selfless Selfishness
Acceptance Can we really accept difficulties
Love How to love without being hurt
Lunch About 1 pm
Mindfulness The Foundation of Recovery

Afternoon

Gratitude How our modern perspective fails us
Inner Peace What is it and how do we find it?
Afternoon Tea
Forgiveness How we can release our baggage
The Truth How to discover our own personal truth
 Finish  16:30 pm


Day Retreat – Pricing and Payment

Cost for the Day
Day session including a light lunch and refreshments – £75


Day Retreat – Date and Times

Date and Times
Date: Sunday May 13.
Please arrive before 11am.
Lunch: 1 pm
Finish at 4:30 pm

Book your place now to avoid disappointment
Click here to book

One Day Mindfulness and Meditation Retreat Sunday June 24

Learn to meditate or learn to deepen your meditation practice.

By attending our meditation retreat, you will learn the skills that will help you to build a sustainable and helpful meditation practice. Our meditation training will help you to build your repertoire of meditations. You will learn how and why they work, which meditations will give you what you need. This will help you to bring mindfulness, calmness, relaxation and peace of mind to your day.

The focus of the retreat is meditation. Robert will take you on a journey from the basic practices of mindfulness meditation, through intermediate techniques that exercise our perception and through to advanced meditation in a variety of styles while also including his personally devised meditations such as The Presence Meditation, The Four Tens Meditation, The De-Stress Meditation and The Candle and the Breath meditation featured by Ruby Wax.

Join us for our first this year’s first One Day Meditation Retreat on Sunday, June 24, 11 am – 4.30 pm at The Mansion at Beckenham Place Park.

This day-long session will see you benefit from feeling more relaxed and less stressed and anxious, happier and empowered. You will also leave with tools and techniques you can practice and benefit from in your own time.

This intensive training session for the mind will leave you feeling refreshed, happier and more balanced.

The day retreat at the beginning of August was wonderfully uplifting and my mind was almost still for 3 days after!
(The inner chatter of my mind subsided markedly)”

What new meditation skills will you leave with?
By attending this meditation retreat, you will benefit from five hours of carefully selected mood-boosting, mindfulness relaxation and gratitude meditations accompanied by practical, expert guidance.

Location
The Meditation Day Retreat will be held at:
The Mansion, Beckenham Place Park, Beckenham BR3 1SY


Mindfulness Day Retreat – Pricing and Payment

Cost for the Day
Day session including a light lunch and refreshments – £85


Mindfulness Day Retreat – Date and Times

Date and Times
Date: Sunday June 24.
Please arrive before 11 am.
Lunch: 1pm
Finish at 4:30pm

Book your place now to avoid disappointment
Click here to book

A Movement for Beneficial Change

Be the change you want to see in the worldMohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Changer of the World - 1869-1948)

In the process of teaching mindfulness I encounter many wonderful people working extremely hard to effect beneficial change.

I thought it would be good to highlight some of these fellow travellers and help to raise their profiles using what has become a considerable social reach for Bromley Mindfulness.

So here are the first entries in that process:

Positive Pete Positive Pete - 70

Denise Riley has been a regular attendee at Bromley Mindfulness’s classes at least since 2015. She runs a charity called Positive Pete that does great work in schools around the London area by engaging volunteer mentors to work with young people that are struggling to cope with our ever-changing and ever-more-challenging world. Some of the transformations for these young people has been quite spectacular and has helped to turn them from destructive behaviours to help them grow and flourish.

Positive Pete trains volunteer mentors that can find some time and who then go into schools to mentor the young people. This is a win-win situation as the mentors grow and flourish along with the mentees. I can testify to the transformative nature of this process as we have mentors as part of the Bromley Mindfulness community.

Visit the Positive Pete website here: http://www.positivepete.co.uk/

Masismasislogo3

Peter Lyne is someone that has dedicated his time, with great effect to championing mobility for the disabled. Through his charity, MASIS, he is providing an information service for disabled people to understand how they can gain more mobility and a clearing house for information in that area. Peter works with other charities and organisations to make this available and to help and inform disabled folks about what they can do.

Check out MASIS here: http://www.masis.org.uk/

The Get Better Boxget_better_box

If you know someone that is poorly, then The Get Better Box is for you (and them). Marie is a Bromley Mindfulness student that has set up a business delivering get better boxes to the poorly, infirm or simply stressed. There is a get better box for most ailments and they are curated and packed and shipped by hand.

Spread the love to the poorly with The Get Better Box here: https://www.thegetbetterbox.co.uk/

Mindfulness for Busy People One Day Intensive Retreat – Beckenham April 29 2018

The focus is on practical experience backed up deeply with the information that gives you the why of mindfulness and not just the what.

The Venue

You can step out of your daily grind and into our beautiful training space to experience a serene and inspiring escape from your busy life.

The retreat will be run in the sedate 18th century Georgian Drawing Room of the Grade II listed Beckenham Place Mansion which has a panoramic view of 237 acres of carefully tended gardens, lawns and flowers and woodland.The Mansion is a decorate and graceful space that sits in natural stillness, offering an inspiring and ideal place to practice mindfulness and meditation without distraction. You will feel better, happier and more relaxed from visiting our pleasant retreat designed to bring calm, comfort and quiet.

Beckenham Place Park is being recovered for the wider community with £4.9M of Lottery funding. We are fortunate to have access to such a perfect location which enables a connection to the stillness and serenity of nature into our meditation experience in such a graceful way.The Mansion is aWe are surrounded by transport links with four stations less than twenty minutes walk away, many buses and free parking directly outside the building. See below for details.A light lunch is included. The Mansion also has a cafe which is the social centre of our community.

Pricing

Fees
£85
Click here to book

Content

The retreat introduces the most effective mindfulness techniques. The retreat is packed with with real life examples. There is personal guidance and support combined with the latest tools and techniques. The retreat will equip you with the tools and techniques you need to learn mindfulness and resilience.

You’ll leave the day with skills to:

  • Reduce negative thoughts and emotions
  • Increase your wellbeing and happiness
  • Reduce the impact of difficult experiences

What you will get from the retreat

  • Intensive in-person multi-channel training
  • Key meditation practices
  • Supporting handouts for the day
  • Online video clips
  • Guided online meditation MP3s
  • Supported homework for a month after the retreat
  • E-book recommendations, scientific papers, news articles, literature and references
  • A springboard for your personal development or further study
  • Membership of the Bromley Mindfulness student community with regular meditation classes, retreats, retreat and social events
  • One month’s telephone, text or email support
Click here to book

Agenda – Sunday 29 April 2018

Arrive at any point before 11 as the cafe is open downstairs. We will be in the Drawing Room from 11am.

Time Activity
11:00 Introduction
11:10 Emotional Intelligence
12:00 Stress, Anxiety and Worry
12:30 Mindfulness
13:00 Lunch – a light lunch with vegetarian options is available
14:00 Peace of Mind and Relaxation
15:15 Tea
15:30 Integrating Mindfulness and Meditation into your busy life
16:30 Finish
Click here to book

About The Retreat

About Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a natural trait. Anyone can learn the state of mind that is mindfulness. You will learn to step into the present moment and get the very best from it. Our mindfulness training helps you to observe your thoughts, feelings and behaviour without being overwhelmed. You can unlearn unhelpful attachment and judgement.

The History of Mindfulness

Mindfulness training is an ancient collection of tools and techniques taught in a modern way. Thousands of scientific studies have produced evidence of reductions in stress and anxiety from meditation and mindfulness.

How Mindfulness is being used

Global organisations use mindfulness to advance themselves. Examples are: the NHS, Google, Intel, Bank of America, as well as sportsmen, athletes, the US military and many others.

What changes with Mindfulness?

We learn to step back from compulsive or repetitive thoughts and feelings. We learn to observe our surroundings with a sense of connection that brings fulfilment. These are simple yet powerful techniques. They can change how we think, feel and act in the face of the challenges of everyday life.

Who can benefit?

Our retreats are not just for stress reduction.
For high-achievers, our tools and techniques can accelerate your personal development. Everyone leaves with new skills and for some, the experience can be transformational.

About Resilence

Resilience is learning to cope with adversity in a way that helps us cope with future adversity. Resilience can be learned and there are a number of techniques that allow us to do so. We focus on these techniques during the retreat.

Dealing with stressful experiences

We teach tried and tested stress management techniques that you can use in the moment when you are expecting or experiencing stress. We teach techniques to deal with the aftermath and also how to return to a happy and balanced state of mind.

Finding calmness in the turmoil

By attending our mindfulness day-retreat, you will learn how to manage high-stress situations. You will learn to recognise and manage the after-effects. You can find that deep well of calm that only seems to be available to a few.

Click here to book

 

One Day Workshop Dealing with Difficult People March 25 2018

Dealing with difficult people with mindfulness and compassion

For many of us, life can be frantic. At work, our colleagues, and ourselves, are often struggling to cope with high workloads and tight deadlines. Private lives have also become infinitely more complex and the ordinary challenges of life such as family, neighbours and friends can also be challenging or demanding. Together, this can all seem overwhelming.

How we manage our interactions with other people makes the difference between discord and harmony. Whatever happens in our lives, building constructive and positive relationships is a key element of our happiness and success.
Contact me to book our Dealing with Difficult People with Mindfulness and Compassion workshop on Sunday the 25th of March.

The content of the workshop will be:

  • The psychology of difficult people
  • Learning to manage our stress when meeting difficult people
  • Learning how to connect with difficult people and understanding if we can’t
  • Managing any anxiety we have about future encounters with difficult people
  • Coping with fallout from confrontations
  • Learn how to release our conditioned responses to having our buttons pressed
Click here to contact us

Location

The Drawing Room in The Mansion,  Beckenham Place Park, off of Beckenham Hill Road, BR3 1SY.

Transport

There is free parking directly outside The Mansion.
The Mansion is situated between four stations:

  • Beckenham Hill (ten minute walk)
  • Beckenham Junction (fifteen minute walk)
  • Ravensbourne (twenty minutes walk, almost all of which is through the park)
  • New Beckenham (twenty minutes walk)

The 54 bus passes the Mansion and numerous bus routes pass nearby.
Tramlink trams stop at Beckenham Junction which is a fifteen minute walk.

Transport Links

Times from the origin station to the Mansion.

Location Route Time
Bromley South Beckenham Hill 20 minutes
Orpington Beckenham Junction 30 minutes
Lewisham Station Beckenham Hill Road Stop W 35 minutes
Brixton Beckenham Junction 30 minutes
East Croydon Beckenham Junction 35 minutes
Victoria Beckenham Junction 35 minutes
Blackfriars Beckenham Hill 35 minutes
Hayes New Beckenham 30 minutes
London Bridge Beckenham Junction 50 minutes


Dealing with Difficult People Workshop – Pricing and Payment

Cost for the Day
Day session including a light lunch and refreshments – £75


Dealing with Difficult People Workshop

– Date and Times

Date and Times
Date: Sunday 25th March.
Please arrive before 11am.
Lunch: 1pm
Finish at 4:30pm

Book your place now to avoid disappointment
Click here to book

One Day Meditation Retreat Sunday March 4 2018

Meditation session at the Connection Retreat in March 2018

 

Click here to book

 

Learn to meditate or learn to deepen your meditation practice.

By attending our meditation retreat, you will learn the skills that will help you to build a sustainable and helpful meditation practice. Our meditation training will help you to build your repertoire of meditations. You will learn how and why they work, which meditations will give you what you need. This will help you to bring mindfulness, calmness, relaxation and peace of mind to your day.

The focus of the retreat is meditation. Robert will take you on a journey from the basic practices of mindfulness meditation, through intermediate techniques that exercise our perception and through to advanced meditation in a variety of styles while also including his personally devised meditations such as The Presence Meditation, The 10×10 Meditation, De-Stress Meditation and The Candle and the Breath meditation featured by Ruby Wax.

Join us for our first this year’s first One Day Meditation Retreat on Sunday 4th March, 11.00am – 4.30pm at The Mansion at Beckenham Place Park

This day long session will see you benefiting from feeling more relaxed and less stressed and anxious, happier and empowered. You will also leave with tools and techniques you can practice and benefit from in your own time.

This intensive training session for the mind will leave you feeling refreshed, happier and more balanced.

The day retreat at the beginning of August was wonderfully uplifting and my mind was almost still for 3 days after!
(The inner chatter of my mind subsided markably)”

What new meditation skills will you leave with?
By attending this meditation retreat, you will benefit from five hours worth of carefully selected mood boosting, mindfulness relaxation and gratitude meditations with practical guidance.

Location
The Meditation Day Retreat will be held at:
The Mansion, Beckenham Place Park, Beckenham BR3 1SY


Mindfulness Day Retreat – Pricing and Payment

Cost for the Day
Day session including a light lunch and refreshments – £85


Mindfulness Day Retreat – Date and Times

Date and Times
Date: Sunday 4th March.
Please arrive before 11am.
Lunch: 1pm
Finish at 4:30pm

Book your place now to avoid disappointment
Click here to book

Mindfulness and Wellness Day at the Mansion in Beckenham Place Park – January 28

Travel the world of wellness in one day

Our Mindfulness and Wellness Day is a one day event that is open to the public. No need to book, just pay on the door. Come along to meet our wellness practitioners, working in a number of different disciplines and attend introductory classes running throughout the day.

Introductory classes showcasing our wellness practitioners

Learn new ways to feel healthier and happier, calmer and more energised. Led by practitioners in disciplines from around the world, each 30-minute class uses a different approach to help you learn how to improve how you feel, mentally and physically.

Get expert advice and guidance from our practitioners between classes

In between sessions you can speak to the practitioners one-to-one. They will be on hand to offer advice and guidance, as well as answering any questions you might have.

Beckenham Place Park 1st session_680x510

Schedule

Timings of the 30 minute introductory classes. You can attend as many as you wish. Classes are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Time Activity Practitioner
11:30 Iyengar Yoga (bring your yoga mats) Susan Harris
12:00 Health Coach Sarah Newman
12:30 Mindfulness Meditation Robert Mitchell
1:00 Kitten Socialisation Therapy Silvana from Romney House
1:30 Qi Gong Graham Warren
2:00 Reiki & Therapy/Counselling Carolina Yepes
2:30 Holistic Health & Fitness Jonathan Verrinder
3:00 Aromatherapy Elisabeth Knight
3:30 Panel Discussion Wellness and Wellbeing

Prices – pay at the door

Ticket Type Price
Day Pass (Couples) £15
Day Pass £10
Day Pass (Unwaged) £5
Children under 16 (no access to classes) Free
Passes cover all day access including all classes.
Attendance at classes is on a first-come, first-served queuing basis.
Pay on the door, come and go as you please during the day.

Transport

There is free parking directly outside The Mansion.
The Mansion is situated between four stations:

  • Beckenham Hill (ten minute walk)
  • Beckenham Junction (fifteen minute walk)
  • Ravensbourne (twenty minutes walk, almost all of which is through the park)
  • New Beckenham (twenty minutes walk)

The 54 bus passes the Mansion and numerous bus routes pass nearby.
Tramlink trams stop at Beckenham Junction which is a fifteen minute walk.

Transport Links

Times from the origin station to the Mansion.

Location Route Time
Bromley South Beckenham Hill 20 minutes
Orpington Beckenham Junction 30 minutes
Lewisham Station Beckenham Hill Road Stop W 35 minutes
Brixton Beckenham Junction 30 minutes
East Croydon Beckenham Junction 35 minutes
Victoria Beckenham Junction 35 minutes
Blackfriars Beckenham Hill 35 minutes
Hayes New Beckenham 30 minutes
London Bridge Beckenham Junction 50 minutes
Click here for our information form

External Links offering information on Beckenham Place Park

Find out about other The Mansion (click here)
Friends of Beckenham Place Park (click here)
Lewisham Council’s Masterplan for Beckenham Place Park (click here)

Mindfulness Training in January and February 2018

It’s time to rediscover that elusive Peace of Mind

Remember that peaceful sense of calmness where everything just seems right with the world, and nothing needs to be done to change it?

Come to our mindfulness training and reconnect with that feeling.

Mindfulness for Busy People Day Retreat

For some, regularly attending an evening mindfulness course over many weeks can seem like a mountain to climb.
If you are one of those ultra-busy people, we have developed an immersive training session just for you.
On Sunday February 4th we are running a One-Day Mindfulness Training Retreat

Step out of your daily grind and into our beautiful training space to experience a serene and inspiring escape from your busy life. Our day retreat is held in the sedate 18th century rooms of the Grade II listed Beckenham Place Mansion with a panoramic view of 237 acres of carefully tended gardens, lawns and flowers.

The Mansion is a calming and graceful space that sits in natural stillness, offering an inspiring space to learn without distraction. You will feel better, happier and more relaxed from visiting our pleasant retreat designed to bring calm, comfort and quiet.

 

Robert_teaching_in_the_Drawing_Room_1128x386

Find Out More

January 6-week Courses

Join our 6-week mindfulness courses to learn mindfulness in a small group with expert guidance in an ideal training location.
Robert at CMS2_680x510
Learn about our courses

Our gentlest introduction to mindfulness and meditation

Come along to one of our regular mindfulness meditation sessions run in and around Bromley and Beckenham each week.
Beckenham Place Park 1st session_680x510
Learn about our classes

Mindfulness for Busy People One Day Intensive Workshop – Beckenham February 4 2018

The focus is on practical experience backed up deeply with the information that gives you the why of mindfulness and not just the what.

The Venue

You can step out of your daily grind and into our beautiful training space to experience a serene and inspiring escape from your busy life.

The workshop will be run in the sedate 18th century Georgian Drawing Room of the Grade II listed Beckenham Place Mansion which has a panoramic view of 237 acres of carefully tended gardens, lawns and flowers and woodland.The Mansion is a decorate and graceful space that sits in natural stillness, offering an inspiring and ideal place to practice mindfulness and meditation without distraction. You will feel better, happier and more relaxed from visiting our pleasant retreat designed to bring calm, comfort and quiet.

Beckenham Place Park is being recovered for the wider community with £4.9M of Lottery funding. We are fortunate to have access to such a perfect location which enables a connection to the stillness and serenity of nature into our meditation experience in such a graceful way.The Mansion is aWe are surrounded by transport links with four stations less than twenty minutes walk away, many buses and free parking directly outside the building. See below for details.A light lunch is included. The Mansion also has a cafe which is the social centre of our community.

Pricing

Fees
£75
Click here to book

Content

The workshop introduces the most effective mindfulness techniques. The workshop is packed with with real life examples. There is personal guidance and support combined with the latest tools and techniques. The workshop will equip you with the tools and techniques you need to learn mindfulness and resilience.

You’ll leave the day with skills to:

  • Reduce negative thoughts and emotions
  • Increase your wellbeing and happiness
  • Reduce the impact of difficult experiences

What you will get from the workshop

  • Intensive in-person multi-channel training
  • Key meditation practices
  • Supporting handouts for the day
  • Online video clips
  • Guided online meditation MP3s
  • Supported homework for a month after the workshop
  • E-book recommendations, scientific papers, news articles, literature and references
  • A springboard for your personal development or further study
  • Membership of the Bromley Mindfulness student community with regular meditation classes, retreats, workshops and social events
  • One month’s telephone, text or email support
Click here to book

Agenda – Sunday 4 February 2018

Arrive at any point before 11 as the cafe is open downstairs. We will be in the Drawing Room from 11am.

Time Activity
11:00 Introduction
11:10 Emotional Intelligence
12:00 Stress, Anxiety and Worry
12:30 Mindfulness
13:00 Lunch – a light lunch with vegetarian options is available
14:00 Peace of Mind and Relaxation
15:15 Tea
15:30 Integrating Mindfulness and Meditation into your busy life
16:30 Finish
Click here to book

About The Workshop

About Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a natural trait. Anyone can learn the state of mind that is mindfulness. You will learn to step into the present moment and get the very best from it. Our mindfulness training helps you to observe your thoughts, feelings and behaviour without being overwhelmed. You can unlearn unhelpful attachment and judgement.

The History of Mindfulness

Mindfulness training is an ancient collection of tools and techniques taught in a modern way. Thousands of scientific studies have produced evidence of reductions in stress and anxiety from meditation and mindfulness.

How Mindfulness is being used

Global organisations use mindfulness to advance themselves. Examples are: the NHS, Google, Intel, Bank of America, as well as sportsmen, athletes, the US military and many others.

What changes with Mindfulness?

We learn to step back from compulsive or repetitive thoughts and feelings. We learn to observe our surroundings with a sense of connection that brings fulfilment. These are simple yet powerful techniques. They can change how we think, feel and act in the face of the challenges of everyday life.

Who can benefit?

Our workshops are not just for stress reduction.
For high-achievers, our tools and techniques can accelerate your personal development. Everyone leaves with new skills and for some, the experience can be transformational.

About Resilence

Resilience is learning to cope with adversity in a way that helps us cope with future adversity. Resilience can be learned and there are a number of techniques that allow us to do so. We focus on these techniques during the workshop.

Dealing with stressful experiences

We teach tried and tested stress management techniques that you can use in the moment when you are expecting or experiencing stress. We teach techniques to deal with the aftermath and also how to return to a happy and balanced state of mind.

Finding calmness in the turmoil

By attending our mindfulness workshop, you will learn how to manage high stress situations. You will learn to recognise and manage the after-effects. You can find that deep well of calm that only seems to be available to a few.

Click here to book

 

Mindfulness at ofgem


Mindfulness-Based Resilience Training at 9 Millbank

Note that this training is for ofgem staff only.

Benefits

  • Calm the mind and sleep better
  • Learn to cope with Stress
  • Regulate Emotions
  • Reduce impatience, frustration and irritation
  • Learn to neutralise anxiety and stress
  • Improve focus

Details

Below are the locations and times for this year’s sessions.

Date Time Room London Room Glasgow
29 January 13:00-14:00 Room 3 Room 3
5 February 13:00-14:00 Room 8 Room 3
12 February 13:00-14:00 Room 8 Room 3
19 February 13:00-14:00 Room 8 Room 3
26 February 13:00-14:00 Room 8 Room 3
5 March 13:00-14:00 Room 8 Room 3
12 March 13:00-14:00 Room 8 Room 3
19 March 13:00-14:00 Room 8 Room 3
26 March 13:00-14:00 Room 8 Room 3
First session is free. It is good to book but do just come along. Fees are £10 per session for subsequent sessions. You can pay cash, cheque or card on the day if that is more convenient. Contact us for details.
Feel free to ask any questions that arise.

Booking a session

To book a session, contact Lindsey or Robert at Bromley Mindfulness:

Click to Call us  
 
OR
 
Click to Email us

Bromley Mindfulness Community Events and News October and November 2017

As our community grows, so do the news, events and happenings. We will start to send out reasonably regular newsletters with just community news which will be separate from our schedules of training.

November Social on Sunday the 5th of November


There is no meditation class at beckenham place park on Saturday the 4th of November so, on Sunday the 5th of November, we will meet at the cafe at Beckenham Place Park at 9:45 and walk around the park. Beckenham Place Park is 240 acres of forest and fields.
It is like being in the countryside so we intend to make the most of it. We think the trees will still be in late autumn leaf so that will be a real pleasure. We will get back for 11am then there will be meditation in the mansion and then we will walk up to Beckenham to meet for a coffee/tea/drink/chat and social.
Read More  

Bromley Mindfulness on YouTube

I have been using various videos to explain mindfulness, meditation and resilience so we now have a central place for all of these. We will also add videos from time to time with specific information.
Check us out on YouTube

Calling all Wellness Practitioners

Beckenham Place Park 1st session_680x510
On January the 28th, Bromley Mindfulness will be running a Wellness and Mindfulness Day at The Mansion in Beckenham Place Park.
We are looking for practitioners working in wellness, health and wellbeing.
We would like to invite ten wellness practitioners to attend. I will give priority to graduates and regular students.
Click here for a 3D tour of our presentation space  

We want a mix of practitioner skills so do drop us a line.
Find out More

Want to learn to teach mindfulness?

robert_at_the_meditation_retreat_1440x960
Are you a Bromley Mindfulness course graduate and want to learn how to teach mindfulness meditation?
We are just about to start (once we have enough enrolled applicants) a course to train meditation teachers. We will run training sessions on Monday or Thursday evenings once or twice per month.
Click below to contact us.
Contact Us

Helping out at Romney House

kitten_680x780
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could borrow a cat or a kitten to spend some quiet time with?

Well now you can if you are happy to volunteer to help Silvana and Sharon…
Sharon and Silvana work at Romney House Cat Rescue. SIlvana runs it and Sharon is a key staff member.
One of the many tasks they need done to assist at the cat rescue centre in Downe is called cat socialization. The cats and kittens are often found in a difficult way in the wild, or having experienced trauma.
They need human company for a while so that they become calm and happy enough around humans to be adopted.
To do this, you will need to dedicate some time to spend with the cats and/or kittens. At first they just need to get to know that humans mean them no harm then over time they will accept contact and eventually become integrated into our mutually beneficial human/cat world.

If you are interested in helping, with cat and kitten socialization or any other work around the rescue centre or at the shop in Petts Wood, please click the button below.
I want to help the kitties!

Mike’s walk to visit his father

Mike in the Pyrenees_680x510
Some of you know Mike Matania who is my Co-Founder at the Present Moment Project. Mike has been working hard setting up mindfulness for young people throughout the country with Mind the mental health charity and is currently walking from Charlton to Malaga in Southern Spain via Santiago de Compostela on a personal non-religious journey to meet his father.
His GoFundMe page has information on the what and why of his journey and he has also started a blog.
Over the last couple few days, Mike has descended from the foothills of the Pyrenees where the above photo was taken and is currently in the Pamplona area.
If you would like to learn more about Mike’s journey, click on the button below.
Mike’s GoFundMe Page

Midweek day retreat?

I have had a few requests for a midweek day retreat. It will probably be on a Monday or a Thursday. Please reply with an email and I shall add you to a list and run one once we have enough interest.
Midweek Day Retreat

Mindfulness for Busy People One Day Intensive Workshop – Beckenham November 12 2017

The focus is on practical experience backed up deeply with the information that gives you the why of mindfulness and not just the what.

The Venue

You can step out of your daily grind and into our beautiful training space to experience a serene and inspiring escape from your busy life.

The workshop will be run in the sedate 18th century Georgian Drawing Room of the Grade II listed Beckenham Place Mansion which has a panoramic view of 237 acres of carefully tended gardens, lawns and flowers and woodland.The Mansion is a decorate and graceful space that sits in natural stillness, offering an inspiring and ideal place to practice mindfulness and meditation without distraction. You will feel better, happier and more relaxed from visiting our pleasant retreat designed to bring calm, comfort and quiet.

Beckenham Place Park is being recovered for the wider community with £4.9M of Lottery funding. We are fortunate to have access to such a perfect location which enables a connection to the stillness and serenity of nature into our meditation experience in such a graceful way.The Mansion is aWe are surrounded by transport links with four stations less than twenty minutes walk away, many buses and free parking directly outside the building. See below for details.A light lunch is included. The Mansion also has a cafe which is the social centre of our community.

Pricing

Fees
£75
Click here to book

Content

The workshop introduces the most effective mindfulness techniques. The workshop is packed with with real life examples. There is personal guidance and support combined with the latest tools and techniques. The workshop will equip you with the tools and techniques you need to learn mindfulness and resilience.

You’ll leave the day with skills to:

  • Reduce negative thoughts and emotions
  • Increase your wellbeing and happiness
  • Reduce the impact of difficult experiences

What you will get from the workshop

  • Intensive in-person multi-channel training
  • Key meditation practices
  • Supporting handouts for the day
  • Online video clips
  • Guided online meditation MP3s
  • Supported homework for a month after the workshop
  • E-book recommendations, scientific papers, news articles, literature and references
  • A springboard for your personal development or further study
  • Membership of the Bromley Mindfulness student community with regular meditation classes, retreats, workshops and social events
  • One month’s telephone, text or email support
Click here to book

Agenda – Sunday 12th November 2017

Arrive at any point before 11 as the cafe is open downstairs. We will be in the Drawing Room from 11am.

Time Activity
11:00 Introduction
11:10 Emotional Intelligence
12:00 Stress, Anxiety and Worry
12:30 Mindfulness
13:00 Lunch – a light lunch with vegetarian options is available
14:00 Peace of Mind and Relaxation
15:15 Tea
15:30 Integrating Mindfulness and Meditation into your busy life
16:30 Finish
Click here to book

About The Workshop

About Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a natural trait. Anyone can learn the state of mind that is mindfulness. You will learn to step into the present moment and get the very best from it. Our mindfulness training helps you to observe your thoughts, feelings and behaviour without being overwhelmed. You can unlearn unhelpful attachment and judgement.

The History of Mindfulness

Mindfulness training is an ancient collection of tools and techniques taught in a modern way. Thousands of scientific studies have produced evidence of reductions in stress and anxiety from meditation and mindfulness.

How Mindfulness is being used

Global organisations use mindfulness to advance themselves. Examples are: the NHS, Google, Intel, Bank of America, as well as sportsmen, athletes, the US military and many others.

What changes with Mindfulness?

We learn to step back from compulsive or repetitive thoughts and feelings. We learn to observe our surroundings with a sense of connection that brings fulfilment. These are simple yet powerful techniques. They can change how we think, feel and act in the face of the challenges of everyday life.

Who can benefit?

Our workshops are not just for stress reduction.
For high-achievers, our tools and techniques can accelerate your personal development. Everyone leaves with new skills and for some, the experience can be transformational.

About Resilence

Resilience is learning to cope with adversity in a way that helps us cope with future adversity. Resilience can be learned and there are a number of techniques that allow us to do so. We focus on these techniques during the workshop.

Dealing with stressful experiences

We teach tried and tested stress management techniques that you can use in the moment when you are expecting or experiencing stress. We teach techniques to deal with the aftermath and also how to return to a happy and balanced state of mind.

Finding calmness in the turmoil

By attending our mindfulness workshop, you will learn how to manage high stress situations. You will learn to recognise and manage the after-effects. You can find that deep well of calm that only seems to be available to a few.

Click here to book

 

Practicing the 4-6 Breaths Stress Management Technique using the Heartrate Coherence+ App

The Breath and Stress

When we breathe in, we are activating the sympathetic (fight and flight) nervous system. When we breathe out, we are activating the parasympathetic (relaxation) nervous system. By increasing the ratio of time spent in relaxation, we relax the body. This sends signals to the brain that all is well.

By breathing regularly and smoothly we are sending signals to the brain that all is well. This results in reduced heart rate variability. Our heart beats with less variation of time and helps to induce calmness.

4-6 Breaths

The 4-6 breath breathing pattern is an easy breathing pattern that helps many students to become calmer. If this causes you and discomfort in any way please do not practice it. Instead you can learn some of the relaxation exercises.

To practice the 4-6 breaths follow these steps

  • Breathe in while counting to four seconds and breathe out while counting to six.
  • When you have achieved a comfortable natural rhythm, breathe in and out as smoothly as possible
  • To breathe smoothly, inhale the same amount of air at the beginning, the middle and the end of both the in breath and the out breath.
  • When you have achieved a comfortable natural rhythm again, focus your attention on the point where the out-breath stops, just before the in-breath begins. I call this the bottom of the breath.
  • Notice how it feels, each time the cycle of the breath returns there.
  • Maintaining the rhythm and cycle of the breath, as you breathe in, focus your attention on the top of your head
  • You may have to touch the crown of your head with your hand to focus on it, but once that is done you will have tuned in
  • As you breathe out, focus your attention on the movement of your belly button as it moves in
  • As the out breath finishes notice the bottom of the breath
  • Repeat this cycle with each breath for a few minutes
  • You will find that you become calmer

 
To assist in practicing this exercise I have added a youtube video that explains how to download, install the app, use it and analyse the results.
 

 
Let me know if any questions arise.

Bromley Mindfulness Autumn Social in Beckenham on Sunday November 5th 2017

For our next social we will make it close to home by incorporating a ‘country walk’ and a mindful walk at Beckenham Place Park before our regular meditation session then we will walk up to Beckenham for lunch/coffee/drinks at one of the numerous hostelries there.

We plan to meet at the cafe at the mansion in Beckenham Place Park by 9:45. We will leave from there and walk around the park which takes about an hour. The plan is to do the final part of the walk as a mindful walk which is a great form or mediation.

We will meditate as usual from 11am to 12am then walk up to Beckenham.

If you would like to, you can check out our facebook event here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/137729443632203/

Please click the button below and drop us a line if you want to know more.

Contact Us

How to press the pause button and calm your mind in 90 seconds

How to calm your busy mind in 90 seconds – works for 80 percent of people

Have you ever tried to meditate and found that your mind is so busy that it is an exercise in frustration?

On those rare occasions when life isn’t quite so hectic and we get the chance to stop the hectic carousel of our lives we can sit down for a moment to notice the workings of our minds. When we do that, we discover that there is an awful lot going on.

For many people there is a constant inner dialogue. The inner dialogue is that voice in our heads that labels, criticises, compares and comments. For many, this can be a continuous process. Our become permanently occupied by going over our infinite lists of infinite tasks as they infinitely overflow. Or we can spend days, months or ever years, dredging up events from the past and replaying them or constructing future outcomes and repeatedly rehearsing for them.

Left to it’s own devices, the modern mind is constantly busy. Silent, still calmness seems as remote as anything could possibly be and our society craves for those calm wooded mountain streams or the rhythm of waves on a sea shore that seem to be the only times when we can find this deep well of calmness that we all know, intuitively, can be found within us.

The busy, working day can become a blur of activities, internal and external.

How do we switch it off?

Everyone is different but there are some techniques that work for more, or less people. The technique that I am describing in this article helps, in 90 seconds, to calm the minds of about 80 or 90 percent of the people I teach it to. It is a combination of other techniques that I have learned from various sources and it is very effective in bringing calm to an overactive mind. I call it character counting.

Character Counting

Character Counting

Character Counting

Close your eyes and count random numbers between 1 and 10 in your mind, using your inner voice.
Each time you count a number, imagine you are writing the number in the air on a dark night with a sparkler. You need to notice how it would feel to move your hand and also, if you are a visual person, imagine how the number is displayed in the air.

Do this exercise for at least 90 seconds.

The majority of people notice that their mind becomes calm and still. The inner voice is often silent.
This is the most effective way to calm a busy mind in a short period of time.

If this doesn’t work for you, don’t despair, check out some of our other training on this site or come along to one of our events where you can learn something that works for you.

Mindfulness Training in Autumn and Winter 2017

It’s time to rediscover that elusive Peace of Mind

Remember that peaceful sense of calmness where everything just seems right with the world, and nothing needs to be done to change it?

Come to our mindfulness training and reconnect with that feeling.

The Truth About You Day Retreat

For some, regularly attending an evening mindfulness course over many weeks can seem like a mountain to climb.
If you are one of those ultra-busy people, we have developed an immersive training session just for you.
On Sunday October 8th we are running a One-Day Training Retreat

Step out of your daily grind and into our beautiful training space to experience a serene and inspiring escape from your busy life. Our day retreat is held in the sedate 18th century rooms of the Grade II listed Beckenham Place Mansion with a panoramic view of 237 acres of carefully tended gardens, lawns and flowers.

The Mansion is a calming and graceful space that sits in natural stillness, offering an inspiring space to learn without distraction. You will feel better, happier and more relaxed from visiting our pleasant retreat designed to bring calm, comfort and quiet.

 

Robert_teaching_in_the_Drawing_Room_1128x386

Find Out More

November 6-week Courses

Join our 6-week mindfulness courses to learn mindfulness in a small group with expert guidance in an ideal training location.
Robert at CMS2_680x510
Learn about our courses

Our gentlest introduction to mindfulness and meditation

Come along to one of our regular mindfulness meditation sessions run in and around Bromley and Beckenham each week.
Beckenham Place Park 1st session_680x510
Learn about our classes

The Truth About You – Day Retreat in Beckenham – Sunday October 8th 2017

The Truth About You

“You need to talk about you, and we all need to talk about us.”
In the 21st-century, life can feel like an infinite loop.
Get up, go to work, come home, watch the TV, go to bed, party at weekends.
Then there is the infinite loop of the mind.
Juggling infinite task, infinite lists of infinite tasks, going over past events, constantly rehearsing what to say, what to do and the endless judging: is this right?, is this wrong?, is this fair, is this unfair?, is this good?, is this bad?, will I won’t I? should I? would I? could I?
It is as if every waking moment is captured by the contents of our minds.
On this retreat, we will explore the nature of the mind and the content of the mind using powerful tools that can help us to find calmness and happiness in our otherwise hectic lives.

Understanding our minds

Science tells us that we spend half our waking lives in our own minds: thinking, remembering, imagining, shuffling the infinite task lists and worrying how it will ever get done. And yet, there is no public dialogue about our inner dialogue. There’s nothing in literature or in the media about that 50% of our waking lives.
Where are our lessons at school or at home about managing our minds? As a society we are constantly promoting a culture to nurture our physical body, but the health of our mind has never been on the social agenda unless we stop functioning when it is unhelpfully referred to as mental illness with all of the attendant stigma and baggage. The medical community, our National Health Service, are fully aware of the impact the mind has over our lives. Stress related illness and disease is on the rise, costing us billions.

Busy Mind

The Inner Voice – The Final Taboo

Michelle and Robert are determined to break the silence about this final social taboo, which is the contents of our own minds. We need to get the conversation into the public domain. With an abundance of self help books on the market, titles stretching from religion to science for guidance and support, it is often confusing to know where to begin. Leaving the spiritual or scientific jargon and dogma behind, Michelle and Robert will be discussing our minds, and the meditative tools we can use to explore them, in simple and useful ways that are accessible to everyone.

When is it?

The conversation about the inner conversation starts on Sunday October the 8th.

Where is it?

You can step out of your daily grind and into our beautiful training space to experience a serene and inspiring escape from your busy life.

The workshop will be run in the sedate 18th century Georgian Drawing Room of the Grade II listed Beckenham Place Mansion which has a panoramic view of 237 acres of carefully tended gardens, lawns and flowers and woodland. The Mansion is a decorate and graceful space that sits in natural stillness, offering an inspiring and ideal place to practice mindfulness and meditation without distraction. You will feel better, happier, and more relaxed, from visiting our pleasant retreat, designed to bring calm, comfort and quiet.

Beckenham Place Park has been recovered for the wider community with £4.9M of Lottery funding. We are fortunate to have access to such a perfect location which enables a connection to the stillness and serenity of nature into our meditation experience in such a graceful way. We are surrounded by transport links with four stations less than twenty minutes walk away, many buses and free parking directly outside the building. See below for details. A light lunch is included. The Mansion also has a cafe which is the social centre of our community.

Pricing

Fees
£75 – Includes a light lunch and refreshments. Contact us for details.

Click here to book

Who is it for?

This isn’t a therapeutic group or a mental health intervention. This is for people with healthy and busy minds that want to learn the tools to use, and the insight they need, to explore their own inner experience in a useful way with practical day-to-day benefits. Knowledge and understanding are the first steps on the most important journey of our lives, the journey to understanding our own minds.

Agenda

Morning

Introduction – 11am
Michelle Neverending Story – the narration of you
Robert Who’s in charge? – an insight into our inner experience
Lunch About 1pm

Afternoon

Michelle Making Sense of it all
Robert Who am I? – what is the self?
Afternoon Tea
Michelle How our body talks to us – taking a look at intuition and trust
Robert Communication – what is it really?
Feel free to arrive between 10 and 11 as the cafe is open downstairs. We will be in the Drawing Room from 11am.

Click here to book

Mindfulness Training in August and September 2017

It’s time to rediscover that elusive Peace of Mind

Remember that peaceful sense of calmness where everything just seems right with the world, and nothing needs to be done to change it?

Come to our mindfulness training and reconnect with that feeling.

Mindfulness for Busy People Day Retreat

For some, regularly attending an evening mindfulness course over many weeks can seem like a mountain to climb.
If you are one of those ultra-busy people, we have developed an immersive training session just for you.
On Sunday August 20 we are running a One-Day Mindfulness Training Retreat for busy people
at The Mansion in Beckenham Place Park.

Step out of your daily grind and into our beautiful training space to experience a serene and inspiring escape from your busy life. Our day retreat is held in the sedate 18th century rooms of the Grade II listed Beckenham Place Mansion with a panoramic view of 237 acres of carefully tended gardens, lawns and flowers.

The Mansion is a calming and graceful space that sits in natural stillness, offering an inspiring space to learn without distraction. You will feel better, happier and more relaxed from visiting our pleasant retreat designed to bring calm, comfort and quiet.

Robert_teaching_in_the_Drawing_Room_1128x386

Get Peace of Mind on our day retreat

September 6-week Courses

Join our 6-week mindfulness courses to learn mindfulness in a small group with expert guidance in an ideal training location.
Robert at CMS2_680x510
Learn about our courses

Our gentlest introduction to mindfulness and meditation

Come along to one of our regular mindfulness meditation sessions run in and around Bromley and Beckenham each week.
Meditating in the Park_680x510
Learn about our classes

An insight into my personal meditation practice

A question I get asked a lot is: “What does my personal meditation practice look like?”.

This post is for those guys. I hope you find it useful and feel free to comment.

I dictated this during my meditation on the morning of the 24th July.

I meditate in a variety of ways, places and times: everything from a regular morning practice to meditating wherever I find myself during the day, travelling or waiting in a queue or in a quiet five minutes. I also sometimes meditate in bed after I wake up or before I go to sleep (beditation). When I add the meditations that I teach (I always meditate when I am guiding a meditation), I probably meditate for a couple of hours per day on average.

I decided a while back to go over to using my Zen Bench as often as I can which is the best meditation bench I have been able to find. I usually meditate on one of a number of different cushions depending on my mood but I think that my posture is better on the Zen Bench so I am working on moving over to it. This is because when I teach I often find myself on random cushions or various chairs/stools or on the floor/ground.

If you are interested you can buy one here: http://zenbench.co.uk/ I have no association with the makers.

This article is an insight into a one hour regular practice meditation I did on the morning of the 24th of July. This is just an insight into my experience. It isn’t anything in the way of a regular experience as, for me, there is no regular experience. My meditations vary considerably. Sometimes I might meditate with an intention such as to gain some insight on a choice I need to make, or to just follow the breath, or to calm a busy mind or resolve conflicting thoughts or release some emotion (increasingly rare), or focus on the body, or relax or do compassion practices or open awareness or whatever. But most commonly now, I allow my meditation to go wherever it goes. This is one of those sessions.

I used an app on my iPhone called Drafts to dictate every so often so this is in the nature of a running commentary. I have edited it as much of the grammar was incorrect and many words had been captured incorrectly but there isn’t much change from what I dictated. I dictated a few sentences to describe my experience whenever I became aware to do so. After half an hour I noted the time into the meditation that I had reached. I have left the drafts dictation end bars === in place. These are created by Drafts at the end of each dictation. Any comments that I have added after the meditation, I have enclosed in brackets.

I did my morning yoga before I started which consists of Makka Ho stretches and a set of sun salutations: I do between three and ten depending on how I feel.

I didn’t meditate with any intention (except to dictate my experience) and just allowed the meditation to go where it wanted to go.

I sit so that my torso and head are at the point of equilibrium where leaning back causes my head or torso to fall back and leaning forward causes them to fall forward. This means no muscles are operating and I will be the more comfortable for longer.

My Meditation Space July 2017_680x907

My meditation
“Becoming aware of my connection to the Earth. Allowing myself to feel gravity pushing me down into the ground and adjusting my balance.
My eyes are open. I allow my body to relax with my arms by my side and no muscles are tense. Just maintaining my balance and allowing myself to notice where my awareness settles.

Aware throughout this of the breath. Also aware of the breeze moving the plants and trees in the garden and of the colours and shapes, textures, reflections, contrasts, patterns, shade, light, dark.

===
Allowing myself to become aware of any discomfort in my body and adjusting if necessary. Checking to see if I’m relaxing. Adjusting my balance again.

Checking in with my body
Noticing I’m calmly alert: not tired, no headache (I had a headache the previous night), a tiny amount of brain fog. Noticing it’s quiet, that there is movement somewhere in the house and traffic noise in the distance.

I can’t taste anything, there’s just a hint of a smell of some sort, not obvious what it is, now closing my eyes.

Becoming aware of my physical sensations: balance, comfort, relaxation, warmth, alertness. Noticing I can feel my heart beat, my attention moving to the breath in my chest. Noticing the rhythm.

===
Focusing on the sense of air in my nostrils, Again checking my balance. (I’m surprised to know how often I do that. Possibly it is because I don’t usually use the Zen Bench and I have an underlying intention to focus on my posture).

Now focusing on the breath I’m surprised to notice that I have now been meditating for 15 minutes.

===
Following the breath
The mind is quite calm this morning. When I allow myself to be aware of thoughts arising I notice very quiet, almost distantly in my mind, the beginning of sentences forming as thoughts: half formed sentences arise which stop when I become aware of them. (It is as if the mind is trying to get a train of thought going and my awareness of it doing so cuts it off).

I sit listening for thoughts. No images arise, just half formed sentences of the inner voice.
Adjusting my balance again.
Relaxing in the gap between half formed sentences arising. Slowly focusing on the breath and seeking the source of thought in the background. Now just the occasional word popping into my awareness and words not getting as far as forming into even the start of sentences. I’m aware that there is a potential for the inner voice to arise, but it is not transforming into a coherent statement and it slowly diminishes in the background as I focus on the breath, particularly the coolness of the in breath. Adjusting my balance again. Relaxing again.
Now just focusing on the coolness of the breath.

===
A calm mind
No thoughts arising now at all now. I’ve been sitting for 30 minutes.
Allowing myself to notice how I feel emotionally at 35 minutes. What emotions are there? There is nothing obvious so I’m just sitting, allowing any emotional state, any unsatisfactoriness, any discomfort or anxiety or joy or happiness to arise.
Nothing arises. Making a space for insights. (Sometimes when my mind is quiet, intuitive insights arise but not on this day).

===
Forming an intention to connect to the sensory present moment.

===
Open Awareness
Opening my eyes at 40 minutes. Moving over to open awareness meditation. Allowing myself to connect to all of my sensory experiences. Allowing my vision to roam around as it wishes. Closing my eyes from time to time to focus on the body, sound, smell, taste, the sensation of sitting, the breath, sounds, distant sounds, the sound of the breath, my balance.
Gently scanning my body, readjusting my balance, relaxing, noticing the sensation in my legs, noticing slight discomfort now in my right knee (an old injury). Allowing my sense of feeling and touch in my body to move out around me beyond my body. (I didn’t realise I did this. To me it was just a sensory experience where the sense of connection came into my body. Possibly that varies). Allowing my sense of feeling to move beyond the body and extend out into the room including all of my surroundings, down into the ground and above my head. My mood elevating and a sense of physical connection like a tingling and the best massage ever arising as I connect. Still aware of the sensations of discomfort in my right knee now but it is mildly improved with an adjustment of posture by repositioning my thighs on the bench.
Noticing the breath rising and falling feeling the sense of connection.
Eyes still closed, exploring my feeling of connection and noticing the joy arising. Smiling, noticing the discomfort in the knee, adjusting my body, checking in with my shoulders, ensuring I’m relaxed, tipping my head back to balance, a smile on my face, joy continuing to arise.

===
51 minutes now, I’m aware of the warm sensation throughout my body where the joy is filling it. Grateful and thankful for this.
Basking in the sensory pleasure of the feeling of connection to my surroundings, the rhythm of the breath in the body, the sound of the trees being blown in the breeze mixing with the traffic noise, the airplane noise and the sound of my breath. Connecting with the sound, connecting with feeling, noticing the same sense of pleasure and joy in my fingers and hands as there is in my chest and shoulders.
Settling back to calmly witness all of this, the quality of the joy changing from one of near euphoria to one of a calm collected connection.

===

55 minutes, eyes opening, observing the source of thought again, noticing that there is no thought and also no potential for thought.
Noticing the breath, noticing a sense of compassion
===

57 minutes
Noticing distant sounds, police sirens, airplanes, movement of the plants and trees. The sense of joy has become a calm relaxation.
===

One hour.
Ending the meditation and stretching.”

Namaste.

Mindfulness for Busy People One Day Intensive Workshop – Beckenham August 20th 2017

The focus is on practical experience backed up deeply with the information that gives you the why of mindfulness and not just the what.

The Venue

You can step out of your daily grind and into our beautiful training space to experience a serene and inspiring escape from your busy life.

The workshop will be run in the sedate 18th century Georgian Drawing Room of the Grade II listed Beckenham Place Mansion which has a panoramic view of 237 acres of carefully tended gardens, lawns and flowers and woodland.The Mansion is a decorate and graceful space that sits in natural stillness, offering an inspiring and ideal place to practice mindfulness and meditation without distraction. You will feel better, happier and more relaxed from visiting our pleasant retreat designed to bring calm, comfort and quiet.

Beckenham Place Park is being recovered for the wider community with £4.9M of Lottery funding. We are fortunate to have access to such a perfect location which enables a connection to the stillness and serenity of nature into our meditation experience in such a graceful way.The Mansion is aWe are surrounded by transport links with four stations less than twenty minutes walk away, many buses and free parking directly outside the building. See below for details.A light lunch is included. The Mansion also has a cafe which is the social centre of our community.

Pricing

Fees
£75
Click here to book

Content

The workshop introduces the most effective mindfulness techniques. The workshop is packed with with real life examples. There is personal guidance and support combined with the latest tools and techniques. The workshop will equip you with the tools and techniques you need to learn mindfulness and resilience.

You’ll leave the day with skills to:

  • Reduce negative thoughts and emotions
  • Increase your wellbeing and happiness
  • Reduce the impact of difficult experiences

What you will get from the workshop

  • Intensive in-person multi-channel training
  • Key meditation practices
  • Supporting handouts for the day
  • Online video clips
  • Guided online meditation MP3s
  • Supported homework for a month after the workshop
  • E-book recommendations, scientific papers, news articles, literature and references
  • A springboard for your personal development or further study
  • Membership of the Bromley Mindfulness student community with regular meditation classes, retreats, workshops and social events
  • One month’s telephone, text or email support
Click here to book

Agenda – Sunday 20th August 2017

Arrive at any point before 11 as the cafe is open downstairs. We will be in the Drawing Room from 11am.

Time Activity
11:00 Introduction
11:10 Emotional Intelligence
12:00 Stress, Anxiety and Worry
12:30 Mindfulness
13:00 Lunch – a light lunch with vegetarian options is available
14:00 Peace of Mind and Relaxation
15:15 Tea
15:30 Integrating Mindfulness and Meditation into your busy life
16:30 Finish
Click here to book

About The Workshop

About Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a natural trait. Anyone can learn the state of mind that is mindfulness. You will learn to step into the present moment and get the very best from it. Our mindfulness training helps you to observe your thoughts, feelings and behaviour without being overwhelmed. You can unlearn unhelpful attachment and judgement.

The History of Mindfulness

Mindfulness training is an ancient collection of tools and techniques taught in a modern way. Thousands of scientific studies have produced evidence of reductions in stress and anxiety from meditation and mindfulness.

How Mindfulness is being used

Global organisations use mindfulness to advance themselves. Examples are: the NHS, Google, Intel, Bank of America, as well as sportsmen, athletes, the US military and many others.

What changes with Mindfulness?

We learn to step back from compulsive or repetitive thoughts and feelings. We learn to observe our surroundings with a sense of connection that brings fulfilment. These are simple yet powerful techniques. They can change how we think, feel and act in the face of the challenges of everyday life.

Who can benefit?

Our workshops are not just for stress reduction.
For high-achievers, our tools and techniques can accelerate your personal development. Everyone leaves with new skills and for some, the experience can be transformational.

About Resilence

Resilience is learning to cope with adversity in a way that helps us cope with future adversity. Resilience can be learned and there are a number of techniques that allow us to do so. We focus on these techniques during the workshop.

Dealing with stressful experiences

We teach tried and tested stress management techniques that you can use in the moment when you are expecting or experiencing stress. We teach techniques to deal with the aftermath and also how to return to a happy and balanced state of mind.

Finding calmness in the turmoil

By attending our mindfulness workshop, you will learn how to manage high stress situations. You will learn to recognise and manage the after-effects. You can find that deep well of calm that only seems to be available to a few.

Click here to book

 

What’s happening to Britain at the Moment?

A few days ago a student of mine, who I have been privileged to know for a few years now, sent me a question. I thought it might be useful to publish his question and my response.

Q.
“What’s happening to Britain at the moment Robert? So much division and hate – all perpetuated by the media. They seem to wallow in it.”

A.
It’s fear. As Yoda so correctly pointed out… “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”
As 21st century humans, our only real fear is the fear of isolation. the fear that arises when we feel we are separate. It’s black and white. You’re either connected to all things or you’re separated from all things. When you feel separate, you try to find groups where you don’t feel separate then of course you’re connected to that group and then the outsiders are separate so you fear them. If you look at terrorism and the response to it, it’s all about us and them. Fear of outsiders. Nothing sells news like fear. As they say in the news media, “If it bleeds, it leads”.

Q.
But does it have to be so sad?

A.
Fear is the state of the human mind, almost universally. However, suffering has a purpose. The purpose of suffering is to expose whatever it is we believe that doesn’t align with reality and this is designed to be uncomfortable to make us to do something about it. The reality is that everything and everyone is connected. In areas like quantum physics and our other explorations of the universe, science is learning this on a daily basis. Though of course science is in denial and consistently uses terms like ‘spooky’. That word gets used more and more for very good reason. Einstein coined it to explain a connection between particles that was unexplained. He called it ’spooky’ action at a distance. (It’s still unexplained by the way). Suffering arises because either you, or someone else feels separate. The greater the sense of separation, the greater the suffering. You only have to look at the private lives of the terrorists to see how they feel separate and different. This is all there to guide us. It’s a lesson to us, you and me. Of course the media couldn’t get this in a million years because they all absolutely believe the very same narrative that we are all separate. Just billiard balls in the table of life bumping into each other in a meaningless random cosmic game. So what to do? Connect. Smile at one more person today than you would have yesterday. Smile at one more person that looks different to you, that you can’t understand or that you might feel some aversion towards or doubt about or even who makes you uncomfortable. This is how we change this sad world my friend, one smile at a time 🙂 🙏

Retreats

 

The view from our regular retreat centre at The Mansion in  Beckenham Place Park

Bromley Mindfulness runs regular retreats in and around Bromley, Kent and London. Our retreats are all themed on subjects associated with mindfulness and meditation. Check our retreat schedule by clicking the button below.

Visit our site regularly to discover the latest events or contact me for details or keep up with our events on our facebook events page.

OR
 
Contact us directly by clicking the button below for guidance, information or bookings

Contact Us

Regular Meditation Classes

Regular meditation classes

Step out of your daily grind and into our beautiful meditation space to experience a serene and inspiring escape from your busy life. Find the inner peace that comes from expertly guided group meditations. The meditation classes are held twice each week in the sedate 18th century Georgian Drawing Room of the Grade II listed Beckenham Place Mansion which has a panoramic view of 237 acres of carefully tended gardens, lawns and flowers.

The Mansion is a decorate and graceful space that sits in natural stillness, offering an inspiring and ideal place to practice mindfulness and meditation without distraction. You will feel better, happier and more relaxed from visiting our pleasant retreat designed to bring calm, comfort and quiet.

Click here for a 3D tour of our meditation space

 

Beckenham Place Park is being recovered for the wider community with £4.9M of Lottery funding. We are fortunate to have access to such a perfect location which enables a connection to the stillness and serenity of nature into our meditation experience in such a graceful way.

We are surrounded by transport links with four stations less than twenty minutes walk away, many buses and free parking directly outside the building. See below for details.

The Mansion has a cafe which is the centre of the growing community so we can easily continue our regular social meet ups that are such a key part of the Bromley Mindfulness meditation and mindfulness community.

The sessions are zero-commitment, no need to book, regular classes where you can just turn up as it suits you in what must be one of the best locations possible for a calming and relaxing meditation and mindfulness experience.

Page Sections

Schedule
Getting There
Prices

The Venue

The Mansion, originally the home of the Cator family, was built in 1760 and has been signifcantly remodelled over time. It is a Grade II listed building and is built in the Palladian style.

We are booked generally for the Drawing Room, also known as the East Room though in certain circumstances, we will locate in either the Dining Room or other rooms.

Gallery (swipe or click the arrows to view)

Facilities and Social

The Drawing Room and the Dining Room have disabled access. If you are disabled, please contact us before attending to ensure that we are using one of these rooms as from time to time we may be asked to use other rooms at the venue.
There is free parking just outside the mansion.
There is a cafe at the back of the mansion. It is open from 9am to 3pm weekdays and 9am to 4pm on weekends.

Community

The Mansion is the home of a thriving community of artists, craftsmen, designers and wellbeing practitioners. There is a yoga studio on site with a full programme of activities. See the links below for details.

Location

The Drawing Room in The Mansion,  Beckenham Place Park, off of Beckenham Hill Road, BR3 1SY.


Times and days

Note that sessions at both venues are subject to changes. Please contact us to confirm the days or visit our Facebook Events page. Details below.

Day Time
Saturdays 11am to 12am
Wednesdays 1pm to 2pm
Bromley Mindfulness Facebook Events
Click here to visit our Facebook events page which has details of the next classes.

Prices

Session Fee
Single Session £10
Pass – 4 sessions £34 (£8.50 per session)
Pass – 8 sessions £56 (£7 per session)
Concessions for the unwaged Pay whatever you can afford

Transport

There is free parking directly outside The Mansion.
The Mansion is situated between four stations:

  • Beckenham Hill (ten minute walk)
  • Beckenham Junction (fifteen minute walk)
  • Ravensbourne (twenty minutes walk, almost all of which is through the park)
  • New Beckenham (twenty minutes walk)

The 54 bus passes the Mansion and numerous bus routes pass nearby.
Tramlink trams stop at Beckenham Junction which is a fifteen minute walk.

Transport Links

Times from the origin station to the Mansion.

Location Route Time
Bromley South Beckenham Hill 20 minutes
Orpington Beckenham Junction 30 minutes
Lewisham Station Beckenham Hill Road Stop W 35 minutes
Brixton Beckenham Junction 30 minutes
East Croydon Beckenham Junction 35 minutes
Victoria Beckenham Junction 35 minutes
Blackfriars Beckenham Hill 35 minutes
Hayes New Beckenham 30 minutes
London Bridge Beckenham Junction 50 minutes
Click here for our information form

External Links offering information on Beckenham Place Park

The Mansion (click here)
Friends of Beckenham Place Park (click here)
Lewisham Council’s Masterplan for Beckenham Place Park (click here)

CHANGE OF VENUE – Beckenham Place Park Charity Walk Sunday 23rd July

Beckenham Place Park Charity Walk

We have changed the venue because of the weather!

Come along and join us on our Summer Charity Walk in Beckenham Place Park. We will be walking the nature trail and possibly extending it to walk by the Ravensbourne in Summerhouse Fields.

See the map below:

Photo 22-07-2017, 14 25 47

The Walk is for the benefit of the Salaam Baalak Trust which does great work supporting India’s street children. There are more details below.

To come along on our walk, please contact us directly (you can click the button below) and we will send you the information. There will be long and short walks for people with all energy levels.

Click here to book onto the Walk
Donate on our Just Giving Page

Here are some images of Beckenham Place Park

Location and times

We will meet up in the cafe at the mansion at 11am on Sunday the 23rd of July.

About Salaam Baalak Trust

When I visited Delhi in 2013 I went on a Salaam Baalak Trust City Walk.

Salaam Baalak Trust was set up 28 years ago by Indian celebrities to provide shelter, food and medical help to the street kids that lived around the main railway station. Children arrive daily from all over India having stowed away on trains, running away from home, wanting to be in Bollywood, being abandoned or even just being lost in the crowds of one of the huge festivals they have there.

Salaam Baalak do city walks that are guided by the ex street-kids that now work in the charity. They take visitors around to show them the places they lived in when they lived on the streets themselves. Our guide was in his early twenties. He was abandoned at a mosque as a baby and the Imam gave him to a childless family to look after. They were subsidised through the mosque funds. He was abused however. He said that his foster mother rubbed chilli into his eyes. At seven he ran away and started living on the streets. Salaam Baalak picked him up and he now views them as his family. He was learning to code when I met him…

Some images from the walk around Delhi Station

I was really moved by this and now that I am organising walks I thought it would be good to run a charity walk in central London (routes to be published) and gather as many people as possible to donate towards the Salaam Baalak Trust.

Contact us for details of the walk
Click here for the details of our Charity Walk

If you can’t make the walk but think that Salaam Baalak Trust is a worthy cause then please go to our Just Giving page to donate.

May 2017 Meditation Retreat Images

Check out the images from our meditation day retreat in May

In May Robert, Mike and Graham hosted twenty students for a day of meditation and Qi Gong largely focused on the body and the present moment.

 

Robert, Mike and the meditation group at our May meditation retreat

Robert, Mike and the meditation group at our May meditation retreat

 

Robert guiding a meditation at the May meditation retreat

Robert guiding a meditation at the May meditation retreat

 

Graham taking a Qi Gong class at the May meditation retreat

Graham taking a Qi Gong class at the May meditation retreat

 

Mike teaching at the May Meditation Retreat

Mike teaching at the May Meditation Retreat

 

The Group setting off into the Seekers trust grounds for a walking meditation

The Group setting off into the Seekers trust grounds for a walking meditation

 

Some retreatants relaxing by the conference centre at lunchtime

Some retreatants relaxing by the conference centre at lunchtime

 

One Day Forgiveness and Compassion Retreat July 2017

Letting Go and Moving on

A one day Retreat at The Seeker’s Trust in Kent

_Robert_meditation-retreat_3_680x423

Click here to book

Agenda

Morning

Start at 11am
Forgiveness
Michelle The Butterfly Effect
Robert The Gaia Process
Lunch About 1pm
Mindful Walk In the Seeker’s Trust Grounds (weather permitting)

Afternoon

Compassion
Michelle The Phoenix Effect
Robert The kevlar vest for the 21st century
Afternoon Tea
Self-Compassion
Robert and Michelle Selfless Selfishness

The Day Retreat

The day is an opportunity for healing and growth

Michelle and Robert will guide and support you on a day of self-enquiry where you will learn to gently and cautiously discover, identify and question the beliefs, thoughts and fears that are the root cause of all of our suffering. It’s a way to understand what’s hurting you, to explore the the cause and source of your suffering with clarity and focus.

The process consists of acknowledging, accepting, releasing and moving on to a place of greater calmness and happiness.

The day retreat at the beginning of August was wonderfully uplifting and my mind was almost still for 3 days after!
(The inner chatter of my mind subsided markably)”

Click here to book

 

Michelle
Michelle has lived in or around London all of her life and knows first hand how stressful it can be. She has had careers in fashion, advertising and the media as well as running a shop, an interiors company and also has two kids – It’s exhausting just thinking about it.Michelle has experience of how our modern day life brings very high expectations, costs, time restraints and stress.

Michelle teaches meditation, relaxation and offers holistic healing to women and families in Hither Green. Her focus is on sharing practices, exercises, ideas and research that can assist YOU in increasing your own ‘zest for life’.

Robert
Robert set up Bromley Mindfulness in 2013. Since then he has developed the intensive Mindfulness-based Resilience course from which nearly three hundred students of mindfulness have graduated since 2014.

Each week Robert teaches numerous students at a number of venues in Bromley and at a variety of organisations from local charities to global household names.

Mindfulness-Based Resilience offers a different way of being, a way of experiencing life from the perspective of the present moment rather than from the past, the future or an oppressive life-situation. Using the tools of Mindfulness-Based Resilience, we can learn to leave our pain out of our present moment and find the new perspective that really does lead to happiness.

Activities
The day will be a combination of activities and meditations designed to help retreatants to release the burden of memories and fears and doubts that we all carry courtesy of our complex artificial and unnatural lives.

Location
The Meditation Day Retreat will be held at The Seekers Trust near West Malling in Kent.

The full address is:
The Conference Centre, The Close, Addington Park, West Malling, Kent, ME19 5BL.


Day Retreat – Pricing and Payment

Cost for the Day
Day session including a light lunch and refreshments – £75


Day Retreat – Date and Times

Date and Times
Date: Sunday the 16th July.
Please arrive before 11am.
Lunch: 1pm
Finish at 4:30pm

Book your place now to avoid disappointment
Click here to book

St Christopher’s Charity Fun Walk in Keston on Sunday May 14th

Our next social event is taking part in the 2017 St Christopher’s Fun Walk to raise money for the world’s first modern hospice that was founded 50 years ago.

If you pre-register online, the cost is £5.  Pre-registration runs until the 7th of May and is £5 for adults, under 11s FREE (closes midnight on 7 May. You can register on the day. Cost is £15.00)

We will meet outside the Greyhound pub in Keston Common at 11am. Look out for the Green Banner.

Keston Common, Keston, Kent, BR2 6BP

There is very restricted parking but you can get the Free ‘park and ride’ service from Norman Park or the pick-up and drop-off service from Bromley South Station.

When you register, add Bromley Mindfulness to the ‘team’ field on the entry form.

One Day Meditation Retreat May 2017

Meditation session at the Connection Retreat in March

 

Click here to book

 

Learn to meditate or learn to deepen your meditation practice.

By attending our meditation retreat, you will learn the skills that will help you to build a sustainable and helpful meditation practice. Our meditation training will help you to build your repertoire of meditations. You will learn how and why they work, which meditations will give you what you need. This will help you to bring mindfulness, calmness, relaxation and peace of mind to your day.

The focus of the retreat is meditation. Robert, Mike and Graham will take you on a journey from the basic practices of mindfulness meditation, through intermediate techniques that exercise our perception, activities like mindful walking and Qi and through to advanced meditation in a variety of styles while also including his personally devised meditations such as The Presence Meditation, The Candle and the Breath meditation that was recently featured on Ruby Wax’s site and the De-Stress Meditation.

There will also be an emailed handout of the practices so that you can review what you have learned.

Join us for our first One Day Meditation Retreat on Sunday 21st May, 11.00am – 4.30pm at The Seeker’s Trust, West Malling.

This day long session will see you benefiting from feeling more relaxed and less stressed and anxious, happier and empowered. You will also leave with tools and techniques you can practice and benefit from in your own time.

This intensive training session for the mind will leave you feeling refreshed, happier and more balanced.

The day retreat at the beginning of August was wonderfully uplifting and my mind was almost still for 3 days after!
(The inner chatter of my mind subsided markably)”

What new meditation skills will you leave with?
By attending this meditation retreat, you will benefit from five hours worth of carefully selected mood boosting, mindfulness relaxation and gratitude meditations with practical guidance.

Qigong
Graham Warren is a long-time and regular student at Bromley Mindfulness.
Graham has practiced Qigong for decades and has taught Qigong on a number of retreats run by Bromley Mindfulness which have proved very popular. Graham teaches Qigong in West Wickham every Wednesday at 7:30pm.
The venue is West Wickham New Church Hall, 142 High Street, West Wickham, BR4 0LZ.
There is a car park across the road in a rather hidden slip road by Carpet Right and there are many buses and trains to the area.
You can contact Graham on:
07711 733058
gwarren851@gmail.com

Meditative Walking
The day also incorporates ‘walking as a meditation’ within the The Seeker’s Trust’s  39 acres of grounds and gardens, a light lunch (menu available on request) and a range of non-alcoholic hot and cold drinks throughout the day.

To learn mindfulness in our lives, we need to transfer the experience from our meditation practices to our day-to-day experiences such as eating and walking. Mindful walking is a wonderful introduction to this. We can both do a mindful walk in the grounds and also visit the Seeker’s Trust’s famous healing tree.

Click here to book
 
Location
The Meditation Day Retreat will be held at The Seekers Trust near West Malling in Kent.

The full address is:
The Conference Centre, The Close, Addington Park, West Malling, Kent, ME19 5BL.


Mindfulness Day Retreat – Pricing and Payment

Cost for the Day
Day session including a light lunch and refreshments – £75


Mindfulness Day Retreat – Date and Times

Date and Times
Date: Sunday the 21st May.
Please arrive before 11am.
Lunch: 1pm
Finish at 4:30pm

Book your place now to avoid disappointment
Click here to book

Mindfulness v. Mind Wandering

I recently received an email from a student asking about mind-wandering and mindfulness. He pointed out that he is quite attached to mind wandering and whether mindfulness is better than mind wandering.

“Something that is puzzling me; why do we have a default (“wandering”) mind if that task-positive mind is better and happier to be in? Does it help in some situations, does it encourage imagination, open-mindedness, a wider solution space? I think historically I’ve been quite attached to that default mode, I’m feeling a bit of cognitive dissonance in letting go.”

I can put your mind at rest.

Excellent question. There is no need to let go of mind wandering. It would be impossible to in any case as it is, like task positive mode, an essential activity for the brain. Remember that by fostering mindfulness, we are only ever exercising the ‘choice’ of whether we allow our minds to wander or return our attention to the sensory present moment. We are not, and can not, ever banish mind wandering from our experience entirely. We can also, always choose to let the mind wander if we wish. Mind-wandering is a subset of default mode. Default mode has a purpose. It helps in decision making and in retrieving social information and in a number of other ways. Mind wandering only becomes a problem when it entirely squeezes mindfulness out of our experience or operates compulsively or at inappropriate times (see below).
If I am a judge, mind-wandering is part of my decision making process, I will imagine how I will feel giving various sentences for example: letting the accused off, giving them a light sentence or giving them a heavy sentence. The result is gut feel. It is incredibly useful and can often outperform cognitive assessment. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink gives us an insight into that process. That useful intuition often arises in mind wandering.

Mind wandering is also a place for creativity and it can be a welcome experience. Positive mind-wandering is as enjoyable as actually doing something according to Gilbert and Killingworth, the Harvard guys who wrote the article ‘A wandering mind is an unhappy mind’ in the journal science after studying mind wandering through an app used by thousands of subjects.

What we are seeking to do with these mental processes is to become comfortable with them, understand them and regulate them for our benefit.
What our artificial lives have done is to overload what would be quiet moments of connection with often compulsive mind wandering and problem solving, when it is more beneficial to have a rest from it.

Examples of when mindfulness trumps default mode:

  • When someone else is speaking.
  • When we are trying to get to sleep and the mind is in overdrive.
  • When we are having a special experience, travelling, spending time with our family etc.
  • When we are eating.
  • When we are landing an airplane or doing our tax return.
  • When we are doing sport or exercising (think of a mind-wandering goalkeeper or the runner that doesn’t notice the rabbit hole).
  • Walking the dog or going for a stroll is most usefully a combination of mindfulness and mind-wandering which is exactly what will happen in any case for most of us.
  • When we are suffering from cognitive overload: Waking up with a head full of lists, suffering from anxiety or worrying about outcomes too much. Mindfulness is a refractory period for the mind.
  • When we are driving or crossing the road.
  • When the needle gets stuck and our thoughts become unhelpful, repetitive or affect our ability to sleep.

Examples of appropriate experiences for mind wandering:

  • Retrieving memories especially, social ones.
  • Social evaluations of the self and others.
  • As ‘part of’ the decision making process. A balanced decision making process consist of: rational choices (task-positive mode). Gut-feel – default mode and task positive mode collaborating. Loosely associated thoughts (creativity) are default mode or mind wandering. From this we are making use of three elements of decision making in a skilled way: How we feel, what our subconscious mind contributes and the outcome of our rational decision making processes.
  • Mind wandering is great when we require creative input. Drifting in and out of sleep (the hypnagogic state) is also immensely beneficial which sometimes results in us waking up with the answer in our heads which happens an awful lot to me now. Check this link out if you are interested in this: http://scienceline.org/2014/06/sleeping-on-and-dreaming-up-a-solution/
  • And most importantly, when we are just chilling and our monkey mind isn’t giving us any trouble.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any questions that arise.

One Day Connection Retreat – Sunday 12 March – West Malling – Kent

12th March, 2017
11.00am – 4.30pm
The Seekers Trust, West Malling, Kent, ME19 5BL

A collaboration between Bromley Mindfulness and The Present Moment Project

“Each person you meet is a doorway into another world”

About the retreat

Our ability to build and maintain authentic and meaningful connections plays a key role in maintaining our health & wellbeing. However, our ability to connect can be diminished by the nature of our modern 21st Century lifestyles. When this happens, we can be left feeling isolated, anxious and low.
In this retreat, Robert Mitchell of Bromley Mindfulness and Michael Matania of the mental health charity ‘Mind’ will guide you through a journey to help you deepen your sense of connection to yourself and others. Spend a day in the company of likeminded people as we explore the nature of human connectivity in new and novel ways. Through a series of meditations and practical exercises designed to challenge and inspire you, this retreat is less about your questions answered, and more about your answers questioned.

What you will leave with

A toolkit of meditations to foster:

  • A deepened sensitivity to your body
  • Intimacy with your inner experience
  • A heightened awareness of your natural environment
  • A reduction in the barriers between you and others

A set of experiences which will deepen our connection to other people by:

  • Softening our resistance to vulnerability and authenticity
  • Experimenting with eye contact
  • Activating our deep listening skills
  • Improving our self-expression

Connecting with others

  • Meet other people who value Mindfulness & authentic connection:
  • Lay the foundations for exploring new deep and meaningful relationships
  • Find support among peers who are also seeking personal growth and transformation

The day retreat at the beginning of August was wonderfully uplifting and my mind was almost still for 3 days after!
(The inner chatter of my mind subsided markably)”

The full address is:
The Conference Centre, The Close, Addington Park, West Malling, Kent, ME19 5BL.


Connection Day Retreat – Pricing and Payment

Cost for the Day
Day session including a light lunch and refreshments – £65


Connection Day Retreat – Date and Times

Date and Times
Date: Sunday the 12th March.
Please arrive before 11am.
Lunch: 1pm
Finish at 4:30pm

Contact us and book your place now to avoid disappointment
Click here to book

One Day Mindfulness Retreat January 2017

One Day Mindfulness Retreat

29th January, 2017
11.00am – 4.30pm
The Seeker’s Trust, West Malling, Kent, ME19 5BL

A day’s pampering for the mind

Join us for next year’s first One Day Mindfulness Retreat on 29th January, 11.00am – 4.30pm at The Seeker’s Trust, West Malling. Back by popular demand this day long session will see you benefiting from feeling more relaxed and less stress/anxiety, happier and empowered. You will also leave with tools and techniques you can practice and benefit from in your own time.

This intensive detox for the mind will leave you feeling refreshed, happier and more balanced.

The day retreat at the beginning of August was wonderfully uplifting and my mind was almost still for 3 days after!
(The inner chatter of my mind subsided markably)”

What will you leave with?
By attending this event you will benefit from five hours worth of carefully selected mood boosting, relaxation and stress management exercises, meditations, information and practical guidance.

Tailored to your goals
The day will start by each of us (anonymously if we wish) stating what we want to achieve from the day and in the long term. You may want to feel less stressed or anxious about something you are facing or faced with, for example.

This will inform us which exercises, practices and guidance given.

The day centres around four sessions focused on happiness, each containing techniques that are scientifically proven to increase long term happiness. These are:

  • Mindfulness
  • Gratitude
  • Compassion
  • Relaxation

There will be short introductory talks on each section followed by meditations, group and individual exercises. There will also be opportunities for group contributions from those that wish to do so.

Click here to book

Includes lunch and Mindful walking (weather permitting)
The day also incorporates a  ‘Mindful’ walk within the The Seeker’s Trust’s  39 acres of grounds and gardens, a lunch (menu available on request) and a range of non-alcoholic hot and cold drinks throughout the day.

Location

The Mindfulness Day Retreat will be held at The Seekers Trust near West Malling in Kent.

The full address is:
The Meeting Centre, The Close, Addington Park, West Malling, Kent, ME19 5BL.


Mindfulness Day Retreat – Pricing and Payment

Cost for the Day
Day session including a light lunch and refreshments – £55


Mindfulness Day Retreat – Date and Times

Date and Times
Date: Sunday the 29th January.
Please arrive before 11am.
Lunch: 1pm
Finish at 4:30pm

Book your place now to avoid disappointment
Click here to book

Mindfulness and Intuition

Intuition is something that I often find myself speaking about with students. It is part of our common experience and isn’t confined to realisations that change our lives or provide unexpected insights. Intuition is action without thought, it is how we live most of our lives. Decisions we take when driving are an example. We don’t think aloud in our minds which queue to take or when to brake it just happens.

The Science of Intuition

Intuition has seens some serious research study recently. Most noticeably from Daniel Kahnaman and Amos Tversky who won a Nobel  prize for their work and resulted in a book by Kahneman called ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’. In the book, Kahneman describes how our  brains enable us to get through the day.

There are two quotes from the book worth repeating. The first explains how our brains create a mental model or world view.

“The main function of [your subconscious] is to maintain and update a model of your personal world. [This model is constructed by associations that]  [determines your interpretations of the present as well as your expectations of the future.”

The second excerpt explains how we actually navigate our days.

“Whenever you are conscious, and perhaps even when you are not, your brain is] asking [some key questions:

Is anything new going on?

Is there a threat?

Are things going well?

Should my attention be redirected?”

What he is saying here is that there is a constant feedback loop between our inner experience and our outer experience and it is largely unconscious.

Mindfulness makes this loop conscious.

How Intuition and Mindfulness work together

The way that mindfulness practices work is to continually return us to an awareness of these otherwise unconscious experiences. One of my favourite definitions of mindfulness is “Awareness of unawareness”. This process of bringing previously unconscious experiences into the light of our awareness works at many levels over time as our meditation practice deepens. Mindfulness is a toolkit with one tool. That tool is a magic lens that helps us see through the fog of thoughts and emotions that cloud our experience and that distance us from the richness of our experience in so many ways.

Mindfulness and Mind-wandering

There is much talk about how mindfulness changes the brain but far less about what that change actually is.

Two studies that are worth reading are:

Impact of meditation training on the default mode network during a restful state

  • Taylor et.al 2013

Meditation experience is associated with differences in default mode network activity and connectivity

  • Brewer et.al 2011

These studies show that mindfulness operates on what we call default mode which is the state the brain is in when our minds are wandering.

It seems that connections to and from default mode grow after mindfulness training. This is probably our brains strengthening neural pathways that help to bring us out of the mind-wandering default mode state to full awareness. This has implications for many activities and circumstances but also provides a direct link between the subconscious and our conscious awareness that grows over time with practice. We can then become more aware of our unawareness and step back to witness our minds operating.

The Mind as an Iceberg

A common description of the mind is that it is like an iceberg with only a small part visible and the vast majority of work occurring where it can’t be seen in the subconscious. The work of researchers like Kahneman provide insight into this. He refers to intuition as “Thoughts and preferences that come to mind quickly and without much reflection”. What seems to be happening here is that we are retrieving information that is as it were, hard-coded, into our brains. The contents of our association cortex.

 

We can see by observing this exactly how we have become programmed to think, act and feel.

 

Sometimes of course, this direct connection with our programming can be unhelpful. Most of us have some sort of behaviour that, given the option, we would change so that it aligns more clearly with a behaviour that benefits our self-interest. Mindfulness is not a very useful tool for managing addictions directly, but what it does is to help reduce stress. Reducing stress helps of course so mindfulness is useful as part of an addiction programme. Mindfulness is however, the only tool that I am aware of, for observing our inner processes operating. We become incrementally more aware of self-talk, the operation of the inner critic and our unconscious responses and actions. This is one place where intuition and mindfulness come into contact. We become more aware of our intuitive responses.

 

Intuitive Realisation

The other way that mindfulness and intuition operate is that during meditation or periods of mindfulness, what I call intuitive realisations arise. We learn about ourselves and the causal links between experiences, thoughts and behaviours. I always keep a notebook by me when I meditate so that I can capture these insights. Most of what I have learned about myself, I have learned this way.

 

 

 

The Parable of the Chinese Farmer

A wise man once told me that back in the day, there was a Chinese farmer that lived with his son. He was very poor and only had one horse that he used to plough the fields. The Farmer was elderly and relied on his son and the horse to do all the work on his farm.

One day his son left the gate to the horse’s field open and the horse escaped.
The Farmer kept sending his son out to find the horse but it was nowhere to be found.

When the Farmer’s friends and neighbours found out they come round to commiserate with him and told him how unlucky they felt he was. The Farmer replied “Maybe”.

After many days of searching, the Farmer’s son found the horse. It was grazing with a group of other horses. When the Farmer’s son returned with the horse its new friends followed and when he closed the gate there were seven horses in it.

The Farmer’s friends were delighted and all visited to celebrate telling the Farmer how lucky he was. The Farmer replied “Maybe”.

The son set about breaking in the horses so they could be sold at market as tame rather than wild. When he was working with the last animal, he fell off and broke his leg. Again the Farmer’s friends and neighbours visited to commiserate and told him how unlucky he was. The Farmer replied “Maybe”.

The very next day, the Chinese army passed nearby. They were on the way to a huge battle with the Mongols and arrived at the Farmer’s house saying they had heard there was a young man there and he must come with them to fight the Mongols. The Farmer showed them in so they could see that the son had a broken leg. They left.

Again the Farmer’s friends and neighbours arrived delighted telling the Farmer how lucky he was.

The Farmer replied “Maybe”…

Three Day Fast – Fourth Day

Hooray it’s Thursday morning and I can eat!

I started this fast on a Monday morning so I am now on my fourth day of fasting which is the day that I’m going to break the fast. I’m going to have breakfast at Carluccio’s to celebrate.

That isn’t counter-productive, it’s what I promised myself to help to keep me going! What I will do is to avoid any carbohydrates.

Yesterday, I began to really notice some unhelpful mental effects of the fast. I taught three times for about seven hours in total yesterday and did a couple of hours of admin on the energy equivalent of about 1 innocent smoothie which is 86 calories. What happened is that on the last of my three teaching sessions I found myself lost for words by not remembering a specific word twice, though they both came to me when I stopped trying to retrieve them of course. In addition I was almost lost for words once. These things aren’t entirely unusual but to have three memory retrieval problems in one 2 1/2 hour session is a first.

Meditation was also interesting. With the teaching and my personal practice there was quite a lot of meditation. Probably two or three hours in all. Mystics use fasting as a way of bringing them closer to mystical experiences. During one of my meditations yesterday which was with with a student, and because of the company is invariably extremely powerful, I found that my mind was slipping into something like a dream state which actually wasn’t a dream state… I know what it feels like to drift off into semi-sleep whileI’m meditating and this wasn’t it.

Images arose that were like fast forwarded still photographs taken over time. A bit like amateurish time lapse. In addition, there was a moving images of crowds and so on. Not an experience that I can say I remember having, even during deep meditations.

However, putting those minor hiccups to one side, I didn’t feel hungry at all yesterday and I felt that I had sufficient energy.

Today, interestingly, I feel even less hungry. Eating breakfast this morning, although in a relaxing enjoyable way, will be an addition of nutrients and not a fulfilment of need.

Last night at about 3:45 I woke up with two solutions in my mind. One was a solution to a minor problem which is just something that I haven’t confronted yet and the other was a complete solution to a problem I didn’t even know I had! It would have arisen over the course of the next few days though. I was able to lean over and type the solutions into my mobile and go back to sleep. It was as though my subconscious mind had decided those things that I most needed to smooth out my next couple of weeks and provided me with clear and actionable solutions to them. One for the most urgent thing, and the other for the highest priority thing.

I also had some incredibly deep insights. I was talking through a problem and talked my way into the solution to it. It was a very, very big problem.

I also only had about 7 1/2 hours of sleep last night which is fine but I’m aware that I usually sleep longer during a fast so I feel a little sleep deprived.

Lessons learnt

Fasting clearly changes the nature of the operation of the mind.

On or after the third day the lack of energy is noticeable with poor memory retrieval.

The nature of deep meditation can change on or about the third day. Could this be the mystic visions or is it too early?

It is possible that fasting is a source of incredibly useful insight.

All in all, this fast was a fascinating and useful exercise and something that I absolutely will repeat at some point.

Three day fast – Second and Third Day

11am on the second day

I woke up this morning after a deep sleep and I wasn’t hungry when I awoke and I am not hungry now at 11am. What I do feel is ever so slightly woozy which I put down to still having a bit of a cold when I started the fast. I also, however, feel calm and relaxed.

On day one I stuck to my fast but I did start the day off with a small innocent green smoothie and a single shot coffee. I also had a single shot coffee later in the day and didn’t feel like it upset my stomach in any way. Late last night I had a herbal tea mix from T2 called Relax which was based on camomile. I was pretty tired when I went to sleep at 11 but it wasn’t a particularly demanding day.

The mental calmness is notable. It has been a while since I fasted and I forgot how good it is so hopefully this article, if I read it again, will remind me.
I shall check in either later or tomorrow.

8:45 on the third day
I slept for eight and a half hours. I had a very deep sleep and I feel refreshed. Yesterday I was struggling for energy so I had another small innocent green smoothie at about 5:30pm and a single shot coffee. I am drinking about two litres of water per day so drinking the occasional coffee or smoothie doesn’t seem to upset my stomach in any way. I am teaching all day so I expect I may need to have some coffee and or small smoothies to stay alert. I will try to limit/avoid that though.

Today I feel great. On the third fasting day, I have found in the past that the mind clears a lot and it feels in many ways similar to the third day of a solo retreat. Calm and clear mind with natural mindfulness.
I don’t feel hungry at all. I almost feel that if I was given food I wouldn’t want it. I may need to have one or two smoothies today to see how it goes and I have a large innocent smoothie in the fridge for that eventuality.

This feeling is the main reason that I fast. The sense of calmness and clarity is significant.

Fasting also clarifies my relationship to food. In our culture, temptations to eat are all around us. We are immersed in messages about foods that contain more simple carbohydrates than we could ever find in our natural environment. There are ubiquitous advertisements, smells wafting out of bakers that now have fans pushing the air out on purpose and freshly cooked pastries are in stalls everywhere. This triggers the emotional brain to reward itself which is what I notice when I am fasting. I am able to observe this trigger directly and, of course, ignore it and also observe the results of ignoring it.

Craving for food at this point of a fast, for me, isn’t actually hunger in that there is a sense of not having eaten. It is more a desire for something to taste. It seems it is the habit that is being denied rather than the need to eat.

Today is my last day and I shall add another article either this evening or tomorrow morning.

Day One of my three day fast

Every so often I fast for three days.

I have done three day fasts about ten times or more over the years.  I fast for a number of different reasons: to boost or kick-start diets, to detox and for spiritual reasons as the mind absolutely becomes calmer and clearer. I seem to remember going on to a fourth day while fasting on a solo retreat and found the mind’s response very interesting and slightly different to day three. Day three is different to day two and so-on.

Usually, I eat breakfast on day one and an evening meal on day three. This is because in the past I have focused on motivation and it doesn’t ‘feel like’ one has to go so long without food. I have found it difficult not eating in the past. Craving for food kicks in at some point on day two and I find myself wistfully observing others eat or looking into the windows of food shops. Whatever, my strategy has worked as I have never broken a fast and always seen through the three days.

For some reason, this time I don’t feel that motivation will be an issue in the slightest as it feels to right to be doing it now so I haven’t bothered with breakfast on the first day. Instead I have bought myself a green smoothie.

Over the years, this is what I have learned.

  • Hunger, if how you feel after three days of not eating is hunger, isn’t quite how one would think it is. There are occasional cravings that arise but it doesn’t stay in the forefront of your mind. I expect that over longer periods that changes.
  • The craving to eat is more common at the beginning of the three days.
  • The monkey mind will say. “OK, you can’t eat but you can drink!” and all sorts of suggestions for that will arise from coffee to smoothies that are like eating in any case! I did this once and it really didn’t help as my stomach churned. For this fast I will only drink water and if I do drink anything else it will either be herbal teas or very smooth and high quality filter coffee.
  • I need to sleep at least an hour more per night to get a good night’s sleep.
  • Mindfulness increases. The business of the mind most definitely diminishes.
  • There is always some realisation or insight. I always learn something about my inner experience. I can see why this is a spiritual experience practiced in many religions as we are replacing the usual business of thought with a calmer experience and reconnecting with our bodies.

I hope to have the time to blog each day of this fast though I may blog on the day after so you can get an idea of how that day went.

Namaste.

 

Peace of Mind

The Monkey Mind is the part of our mind that works against us.

The Monkey Mind is the combination of thoughts and emotions that keeps us awake when we need to sleep, it is the part of the mind that says we can have ‘just one more’ drink or that we don’t need to exercise. It is the part of the mind that keeps our worries and fears in the forefront of our minds and that pops up images and emotions related to difficult memories. It is the tape that continually runs in our heads. It criticises, it complains, judges, compares, and chides.

In the 21st century, the Monkey Mind is the backdrop of our lives.

The Monkey Mind is also the part of our minds that stops us from being happy.

This is what I teach. I teach my students how to calm their Monkey Mind.

When there is a great deal of thought and emotion, the mind is like a river in flood. There are waves, noise, froth, silt and foam. We can’t see below the turmoil on the river’s surface. There are whirlpools waterfalls and rapids. The river becomes dangerous and disquieting.

When the river calms, the surface stills and the water becomes clear. We can see the bottom clearly. We can also see any obstacles that are there. We can see the rocks and holes, the old shopping trolleys, the pieces of rotting wood and rusty metal sticking up like stakes ready to impale us.

To cross the river safely, we have to clear the obstacles when the river calms. We must climb in, discover and dispose of each obstacle in turn so the bottom becomes clear and we can navigate the river bed without fear.

In the river of the mind, both the current and the obstacles are thoughts and emotions. This is what the mind is: thoughts and emotions. Thoughts can be many things: memories, an inner dialogue, images, rehearsals, mental movies more. Emotions are often sensations in the body but for some they can be the speed and nature of thought or just our unconscious and sometimes unhelpful responses.

Certain thoughts and emotions become linked together in the mind. Sometimes, a thought arises, then an emotion might follow. At other times, we might feel an emotion which then triggers the thoughts that are linked to it. I call this entanglement. Entanglement of thoughts and emotions can become incredibly complicated and difficult to remove.

Mindfulness meditation enables us to separate our thoughts and emotions.

If we can calm the mind enough, we can observe the thoughts and discover how transient and temporary they are. We can then observe our emotions arising and subsiding entirely separated from the thoughts. Eventually we can learn that thoughts and emotions are transient, temporary and unconnected. When this happens, these entangled thoughts and emotions lose the power to fill our awareness. We can then choose whether to allow the mind to continue to flow, or instead, we can connect with the sensory present moment.

By connecting to the sensory present moment in the absence of the confusing turmoil of entangled thoughts and emotions, we discover the only thing that is permanent in our lives. We discover the infinitely changing and vividly rich experience of our sensory present moment and how it can be cleansed of turmoil, become calm and peaceful to then be filled with beauty, wonder and the joy of life.

This is happiness and peace of mind. It is accessible, sustainable and available to everyone throughout our lives by engaging with the ancient practices of mindfulness meditation.

Bromley Mindfulness Summer Walk 10 July at 11am

Bromley Mindfulness Summer Walk

Everyone is welcome to join us (members/non-members) our mindfulness walk at High Elms Country Park, Shire Lane, Farnborough, BR6 7JH on Sunday 10 July at 11am. We will be meeting at Green Roof Café near the main car park.

This is a relaxed, easy walk which will take approximately an hour, including mindfulness meditation There will be an opportunity to socialise afterwards over cuppa and a slice cake in the Green Cafe.

High Elms Country Park offers 250 acres of countryside to explore combined with a 150-acre golf course, which together form the High Elms Estate, originally the country home of the Lubbock family.
The estate is 15 miles from central London, located on the ridge of the North Downs on the rim of the Thames basin. Visitors to the estate can enjoy the woodlands, nature centre, ice well, formal gardens and wildflower meadows.

Cost
There is no cost for the walk or parking, but if you would like to contribute to a charity please donate to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Brom-mind-summer-walk-2016. This charity is the St Mark’s Hospital Foundation and has really supported on of our members. You will need to pay for any refreshments you would like.

By Car
There are two car parks, both off High Elms Road Main car park (Sat Nav coordinates: N51.35238 E0.07449;) Cuckoo Wood (N51.34316 E0.06611)

By Bus /Train
The nearest bus route to Elm Highs Country park is a R8 which is a 16 minute bus ride from Orpington Station. There is train service from Bromley South to Orpington alight the train and no. R8 bus stop H is at Tubbenden Lane Station Road.

High Elms Cuckoo Wood

High Elms Cuckoo Wood

Green Roof Cafe

Green Roof Cafe

Measuring Mindfulness with BIFI

For some time now I have been using a teaching tool that I call BIFI. I designed it to help my students measure their progress.

BIFI stands for boredom, impatience, frustration and irritation.

“So how does that measure mindfulness?” you might say…

The reality is that mindfulness isn’t a thing. It is the absence of a thing. The thing that mindfulness is the absence of, is those heavily conditioned responses that cloud our experience. Endless judgment, self-judgment, criticism and comparison robs us of the joy of life and connection to the present moment. Practicing mindfulness is a lifetime task of building an awareness of this jumble of unhelpful responses and responding to it by returning to the experience of the present moment.

BIFI is evidence that we are not mindfully aware. The more BIFI, the less mindfulness.

By noticing, noting, or even measuring BIFI by writing a BIFI journal, we can observe our negative responses diminishing and our mindfulness growing over time.

If you adopt BIFI as a measure, do drop us a line to tell us which direction your BIFI index is moving in and how fast.

Best of luck with your mindfulness journeys

Before you make any new year’s resolutions, read this

Why we do new year’s resolutions

Probably the main reason we feel a need for new year’s resolutions is that the holiday season is memorable and easily compared with the previous year which gives us a sense of perspective. A year also seems like a long time and there is a feeling we can achieve our goals in that time no matter how ambitious they are. The reality is that sadly, according to research, 88% of new year’s resolutions fail. [1]

Another reason for resolutions is that we can often look back over the year and feel that in some way, our achievements aren’t enough, that we could have done more, or that something is lacking. This can happen even in a successful year.

It is difficult not to compare ourselves with others. Comparison is an attribute of our genetic inheritance designed to encourage us to compete socially. This comparison is massively accelerated by the images we can project of ourselves in the 21st century. Facebook being the ultimate example of course. [2]

What is the alternative
So how can we make the most of our energy and desire for change without making rash promises or setting ambitious and unlikely goals? There is a very real desire for change that we should harness to our benefit.

My suggestion for making beneficial change is to ask yourself this question: “How much conflict has there been in my life in 2015?”

Conflict is counter-productive compared to it’s alternative which is collaboration. Conflict is evidence of our failure to convince or persuade. Relating smoothly proves we are successfully integrated in our community. It shows how much respect we are held in and whether we are viewed as hostile or collaborative by our peers.

How much conflict we experience is the only authentic and realistic measure of progress in our self-development practices. Nothing else can possibly be as authentic or as useful.

Measuring our progress
Here is an example end of year progress audit.

“Have I experienced more or less conflict in 2015 with my:

  • Partner
  • Family
  • Partners family!
  • Friends
  • Colleagues
  • Partner’s friends…
  • Neighbours
  • Acquaintances
  • Business contacts
  • Others”

Write less or more next to the category and give yourself an overall score. More conflict or less.

You can make up your own categories or do it thoroughly person by person, but we will all know pretty quickly, just by bringing to mind those people or groups, whether we have had more or less conflict with them in 2015 than we did in 2014.

Our new year’s resolutions then become simple, achievable and sustainable.

If there was less conflict in 2015 than 2014 for any group, identify why that is and your resolution will be to ensure that trend continues and grows in 2016.

If there was more conflict in 2015 than 2014 for any group, identify why that is and your resolution will be to try to reduce the level of conflict in 2016.

If you’re fortunate enough to have not experienced ‘any’ conflict in 2015, then your resolution will be to help others to also experience that in 2016.


Happy New Year to you all!

References

  1. A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7162692.stm
  2. Facebook makes us feel worse about ourselves (surprise!). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23709009

Love

“If love means anything, it means holding out our hand to the unlovable.”Quentin Crisp

As I sit here in a cafe watching the Christmas hustle and bustle, I can’t help thinking that Christmas has become partly a grand Consumer Festival dedicated to the great God of GDP and part a parody of its original spirit. Everyone hides away at home with ‘their’ loved ones and the original Christian message of love to ‘all’ men has become somewhat diluted. This and a message from a student has prompted me to write this post.

Just for a moment, put aside your preconceptions about love and have a little think about the quote above from Quentin Crisp. ‘Love’ has become misunderstood in our society to the point where it is only really spoken of in terms of romantic love. Love has almost become a taboo subject as romantic love and sexual attraction are difficult to disentangle which makes discussion of love a bit tricky for most people. Consequently, we have far too narrow a definition of love.

The ancient Greeks had several types of love as you can see here on Wikipedia.

one of these is Agape. Agape is the all pervasive love that was translated in the bible to the word ‘charity’  to distinguish it from romantic or familial love. Agape is love where there is no need for reciprocation. It is not the sort of love that we expect to be thanked for and so it has the  attributes of charity where ‘the left hand knows not what the right hand is doing’.

I understand that some biblical quotations are difficult to understand and interpret but this piece from Corinthians explains it better than I ever could:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
 
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.
 
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.
 
Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
 
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
 
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
 
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
 
Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
 
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
 
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
 
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
 
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
 
And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

~ Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1:13)

Have a wonderful holiday and a great new year!

Mindfulness Christmas Gift Vouchers delivered to your door

Give the gift of presence to your loved ones and they will bloom like flowers
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Struggling to find a last minute gift for your loved ones?

Four sessions at our mindfulness meditation weekly classes over five weeks: £24
Eight sessions at our mindfulness meditation weekly classes over twelve weeks: £48
Any of our mindfulness courses £160-£180

Delivered to your door in the Bromley area only for bookings made before Monday the 21st of December.

Click here to contact us for details.

all_vouchers

Mindfulness in the Media

All media coverage of new things follows the same pattern.

The tech industry has a concept known as the media hype cycle which was originally created by Gartner the business analyst consultancy.

The hype cycle works like this:

The Trigger
There is a trigger when the media becomes aware of a new buzzword. In this case ‘Mindfulness’. Bear in mind that at this stage it is absolutely a buzzword because the media understandably knows nothing about it.

The Peak of Inflated Expectations
The trigger is followed by the media hyping up that buzzword and everything related to it in what is known as ‘the peak of inflated expectations’.

The Trough of Disillusionment
The spike of uninformed speculation is inevitably followed by the ‘trough of disillusionment’ as the hype fails to live up to the media’s initial expectations and they then zero in on anything that could possibly contradict the hype they created in the first place. sigh…

The Slope of Enlightenment
Then we have the ‘slope of enlightenment’. This occurs when the media can no longer hype or rubbish the buzzword any longer as it has all been said many times and the reality behind the concept emerges. This also means the readers and viewers want more than uninformed opinion and so instead of publishing meaningless soundbites, recycled news stories and rewording press releases from poorly supported studies; real journalistic work must be done. It also takes this long for some journalists to build a level of expertise in the subject that enables them to comment on it in an informed manner.

The Plateau of Productivity
This final stage is the point at which the concept has been assimilated as an accepted practice. This is where we see the real benefits. For mindfulness, in the UK, this will probably take another five to ten years. Mindfulness is a natural trait which massively reduces the burdens of our crazy artificial life and I fully expect it to become more integrated into study, work and daily life as time goes on.

Where we are right now
Right now, mindfulness media hype is somewhere between the ‘peak of inflated expectations’ and the ‘trough of disillusionment’. I read stories both hyping and rubbishing mindfulness. These are often contradictory and often from the same sources. This is the understandable confusion that comes from trying to comment on something that is out of our experience. In time, various news sources will take sides and mindfulness will probably develop a political bias. Only about one in every ten articles I read has any balance or a foundation in fact worth reporting. When I find balanced or informative articles, I post them on Twitter. We need to move away from extreme and unhelpful interpretations of what is a subtle and beneficial practice.

If you want to learn more about mindfulness keep an eye on this blog or my Twitter feed:

Bromley Mindfulness Twitter Feed

Two unforgettable and inexpensive mindfulness and happiness Christmas presents for children

By giving these gifts this Christmas you can make some young children happy throughout the year and help them learn mindfulness too!

A Mind Jar

Ingredients:

  • One large jar with a screw-on watertight lid.
  • A small amount of coloured dye. Blue works best.
  • Some silver and gold plastic confetti.

Instructions:
Fill the jar with water, add the blue dye until you get the shade and colour of a light sky.

Add the confetti. Screw on the lid until the jar is sealed tight. Turn it on its top and leave it overnight to test it is watertight.
Get a piece of paper. On one side, write “Happy Christmas, this is your mind jar. See the other side of this paper for instructions”. On the other side write these instructions: “Turn the jar over, watch the twinkling, star-like confetti spin and turn as it slowly drifts to the bottom. Notice how quiet your mind becomes. Turn the jar over again and repeat for as long as you want.
Happy Christmas from (add your name here)”.
Wrap it up and give for Christmas to a child.
Their mum will love you forever because it keeps them quiet for ages!

A Happy Jar

Ingredients:

  • One small notebook.
  • One large jar with a lid that the notebook will fit in.
  • A small pair of plastic scissors. (the type you give to children for craft projects)

Instructions:
Cut a hole in the top of the jar. The hole needs to be large enough to easily post a small piece of paper through it. About big enough to get a 50p coin in. Be careful when you cut the hole and make sure there are no sharp edges left.
Write these instructions in the front page of the notebook.
: “EVERY day, write down three NEW things (don’t write down the same thing twice) that either make you happy, that you appreciate, or that you feel grateful for. (If you’re not sure about what any of this means, ask mummy)
You can’t write down the same happy things twice, so you may need to find very small things that have happened in the last day”.
Cut each new thing you have written out into a paper strip using the plastic scissors and post it into the jar.
Notice how the happy jar soon fills up.
When you’re feeling sad or confused, go to the happy jar and take out as many paper strips as you need to help you to feel happy again. Read them, add another three and put them all back in the jar.
Happy Christmas from (add your name here)”.

This will make some young children very happy and you can have fun making it too.

Have a Great Christmas!

Courses and discounts, our winter social, mindful weekends and free online guided mindfulness meditations

Here is a quick news update with links to click on for those of you that want to know more.

January Courses
In January, we are running courses at the following times/days:

  • Tuesday evenings
  • Wednesday daytimes
  • Wednesday evenings
  • Weekends

Details are here: http://bromleymindfulness.org.uk/mindfulness-courses/

Earlybird discounts
To see our Earlybird discounts visit our mindfulness courses page:http://bromleymindfulness.org.uk/mindfulness-courses/

Winter Social

Everyone is welcome and ‘Everyone’ means you too!
We have just passed the 300 members mark for our Bromley Mindfulness meetup.com group which is how I communicate our drop-ins and social events.

There is also a Beckenham Mindfulness meetup.com group which I run in tandem which has 160 members so that makes 460 mindfulness folk in and around the Bromley area!

We are meeting this Sunday, November 22nd at 2pm for a social. Details are here:

Bromley Mindfulness meetup.com group:
http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/226161800/

Beckenham Mindfulness meetup.com group:
http://www.meetup.com/Beckenham-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup-Group/events/226162172/

Free online guided mindfulness meditations
I have added some free basic mindfulness meditations you can download to Soundcloud here:
https://soundcloud.com/bromleymindfulness

Hope to see you at one of our courses or events!

Thanks,

Robert.

Mindfulness meditation stress and the military

Video


ABC US News | International News

Here’s a quote from Sgt. Nathan Hampton – US Marine Corps on the mindfulness meditation sessions that were included in his counter insurgency training prior to deployment in Afghanistan.

“A lot of people thought it would be a waste of time. Why are we sitting around a classroom doing weird meditative stuff? But over time, I felt more relaxed. I slept better. Physically, I noticed that I wasn’t tense all the time. It helps you think more clearly and decisively in stressful situations. There was a benefit.”

From Patrick Hruby – The Washington Times
Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mindfulness Cheat Sheet

Screenshot 2015-10-17 09.54.36

Over the years, I have collected a number of practices that have helped to boost my presence (present moment awareness).
This is absolutely the puropse of mindfulness training. If we spend our day experiencing what we can see, hear, smell, touch and taste instead of wandering in our minds to places that are unhelpful for our happiness then life simply becomes better.

Feel free to download it and share it as much as you’d like.

A useful personal collection of mindfulness tips, tricks, techniques and practices

Compiled by Robert Mitchell of Bromley Mindfulness 2015

View here

Download here
Daily Mindfulness Cheatsheet

The Candle and The Breath Mindfulness Meditation

In search of the quick fix

We live in a world of instant gratification. This is actually a built-in survival trait. We are are hard-wired to find shortcuts to rewards and to avoiding threats. Marketers know and understand this well. Many experiences in our lives have been designed to deliver this for us. Our ancestors had to work hard to change their circumstances or improve their experiences but technology is delivering the holy grail of having it all and having it all now. We have many comforts and pleasures at the touch of a button or the end of a phone.

For guided versions of the meditation, try SoundCloud or YouTube by clicking the buttons below:
Click here to go to SoundCloud  
 
Click here to go to YouTube

The traditional approach

Traditionally, mindfulness meditation teachers have always stressed that meditation is a long road, not a shortcut and needs persistent practice over many months and years. Progress cannot be predicted but will come in time. The advice for someone for whom meditation ‘isn’t working’ is usually to meditate more, and more regularly. Someone that is suffering from stress and overwhelm simply doesn’t want to hear this. They are probably already making many, many sacrifices to maintain this level of work. Meditation homework on courses is heavily stressed. There is a commonly repeated anecdote about the monk that goes to his teacher to explain that he can’t find twenty minutes each day to meditate. The master ponders this for a moment and says that the solution is to meditate for an hour.

A significant proportion of students struggle to find and maintain a daily meditation practice, despite experiencing clear benefits from a mindfulness course or classes. The reason for this is that those that can benefit from mindfulness the most, are often those that have the time and resources to introduce the practices the least. This isn’t just about time though it may seem like that to the student. Many factors can coincide to appear as time pressure such as: stress levels, work requirements, sleep deprivation, personal pressures and optimistic expectations from the practices. When life is going at 1,000 miles an hour, having daily practices that will return their benefits over an indeterminate future time just isn’t enough to gain and maintain our attention. Meditation is competing with so many experiences that promise instant relief from yoga to exercise to a glass of wine, to just switching on the T.V.

Mindfulness is the most transformative and the best researched personal development practice there is and mindfulness meditation is the key to that transformation. Mindfulness teachers must deliver what its students need which is quick results. They need this not because it will transform their lives in an instant, but because they need to build a sustainable practice and the busyness of the mind limits their motivation.

To assist busy-minded students in their quest for some respite from their incessant mental chatter, I have devised this meditation for this purpose.

The Candle and the Breath

Visualising the candle

This is a visualisation meditation but don’t be concerned if you find visualisation tricky. Visualisation is difficult for about 50% of meditation students but this meditation does not require the construction of a clear, detailed image in the mind. A dim image or an image that collapses and is continually reconstructed is fine.

The Candle

There are two parts to the candle and the breath. The first is to visualise a candle. You just need to close your eyes and imagine it in your mind.
If you are not a visual person, you may find that visualising a candle is extremely difficult and either you can’t see much in your mind or the image keeps collapsing. This is fine. Rebuild it in your mind or just try to stay focused on the dim image of the candle flame. It can help if you light a candle for a few moments and use that to help you construct the image.
If you are a visual person, you need to work hard too. Your job is to construct a highly detailed image. As detailed as possible. Imagine an ornate candle holder and focus on the details of the candle such as the wax dripping down the side and puddling in a transparent pool the top of the candle while reflecting the flickering light of the candle. Try to create the details in your mind as much as possible and move your mind from one detail to another.

The Breath

The other part of the mindfulness meditation is following the breath which is a basic mindfulness meditation. It is incredibly simple. Focus your attention on your breath, when the mind wanders, return your attention to the breath and repeat. That’s it. It’s the simplest thing in the world but it’s often difficult to stay with the practice as the mind will wander. Ideally you should focus on the sensation of the breath entering and leaving the nostrils as that feeling is usually more noticeable. If you find the sensation of the breath in the nostrils is uncomfortable or if don’t really notice much feeling, you can focus on the breath wherever it is comfortable for you such as, noticing the filling and emptying of breath in the lungs, the rising and falling off the chest or the feeling of breath as it hits the back of our throat.

The Candle and The Breath Mindfulness Meditation

Begin by focusing on the breath. Notice the sensation of the breath. When the mind begins to wander, instead of returning our attention to the breath as we do in the traditional following the breath meditation, move the focus of attention to the candle which we visualise at head height a foot or two in front of us. Construct as much of an image of the candle as you possibly can with as much detail and colour as possible. it helps to notice the flickering of the candle. Focus your attention on the candle, maintaining, exploring and adding details until your mind begins to wander. At this point return your attention to the breath and continue from there.

Order of activities in the basic candle and the breath meditation

  • Focus your attention on the breath
  • When the mind begins to wander, move your focus to the candle
  • When the mind begins to wander, move your focus to the breath
  • Repeat

Duration of the movement between the candle and the breath

You can move your attention back and forth either when you notice the mind wandering or after a number of breaths – usually about 5 or 6. With the first option you are intervening once the mind has wandered, with the second one you are keeping one step ahead of the thoughts by noticing how many breaths it takes before the mind wanders and moving ‘before’ you reach that number of breaths.

Additional elements for stubbornly busy minds

The simple version of the candle and the breath meditation will be sufficient for many people to silence the thoughts but for others we can add to the cognitive load and silence the thoughts. These are listed below

Flickering of the candle in time to the breath

When you focus on the candle, notice how the candle flickers towards you when you breathe in, and away when you breathe out. This way you can be aware of the breath in the back of your mind when you are focusing on the candle.

Noticing the candle flickering while we follow the breath

If you use the above technique ‘ flickering of the candle in time to the breath’, you can notice the candle’s flickering as you focus on the breath as a background experience.

Counting the breaths during the candle and the breath

If you use the above technique ‘ flickering of the candle in time to the breath’ you always have access to the breath in you mind, so you can count the breaths throughout the meditation. The way to do this is by counting from one to ten with each breath, when you reach ten, return to one. When you lose count, move your attention from the candle to the breath or from the breath to the candle and continue.

Moving the eyes behind closed lids from the candle to the breath and back

As you imagine the candle directly in front of you at head height, you can move you eyes from looking down at the breath, up to looking directly in front of you at the candle and back again behind closed lids. This helps to focus attention on the current element of the meditation.

Listening to the breath

If you are in a quiet place, it can help to listen to the breath as well as notice the sensation of the breath. This helps to maintain your focus.

How to use The Candle and The Breath in your mindfulness meditation practice

Our goal from this practice is to help the incessant, noisy train of thoughts to subside. There may be many reasons for this. you may just wish the mind to shut up. Your mind may be spinning out of control as you try to get to sleep or you might be frustrated by the busyness of the mind when you try other meditations. Like all meditations, you need to give it time to become an expert at it. You can mix and match all of the additional elements to give you what you need from the meditation. Remember that the goal is to fill the mind with the experience of the meditation to the level that random thoughts no longer penetrate into our consciousness. Our consciousness, our awareness, our attention should be fully focused on the meditation.

How it works

We have a common illusion that we can switch our attention in an instant. This is not the case. To notice the lag, move your attention from one part of your body to another and back. We can move a dim awareness quickly but to become aware of all of the sensations in each part of the body, we need a small but discernible time to say we are completely refocused.
What we can do is refocus our vision incredibly quickly from one element of our visual experience to another but when we move our attention from one sense to another or from one intensive element of our experience to another, there is a significant lag of several seconds. The more heavily focused we are on an experience, the slower it is for us to refocus on something else. This is why it can be frustrating when we are concentrating and we are constantly interrupted. In The Candle and The Breath meditation, we are moving from noticing our breath, using a part of the brain called the insula, to an intensive process of visualisation which uses the visual cortex. These are both quite unusual experiences for us to focus on if we are new to meditation. We need to both learn how to do these things and they are also cognitively intensive. I imagine that plugging someone into an MRI scanner while performing this meditation, we will be able to see these totally distinct parts of our brain activating in turn.

Because of the cognitive load and the lag, there is no room for thought. We are crowding the thoughts out by exercising other areas of our brains. We are crowding out our thoughts for the duration of the meditation.

My solo retreat day seven

The first three days

I have done a few of these solo retreats now and the pattern remains pretty much the same. For the first three days, the mind appears to be very busy. What is actually happening is that the lack of external stimulus from the solitude makes what mental chatter that there is, appear noisier than back in the busy urban environment. I don’t think that the mind is any busier than normal, it just seems that way because there are no distractions

Thoughts

From the fourth day on, each day brings more calmness and peace of mind. Today was exceptional. I am relaxed, peaceful and calm. There is simply silence with the occasional thought flitting across my mind like a cloud across the sky. Whenever I feel my awareness being pulled away from the present moment, I can gently return to Presence.

Emotions

In addition to the thoughts, I notice the deeper undercurrents of emotions arising and subsiding. They’re all older ones at they moment, popping up to remind me of my life’s legacy. :) It’s incredible how deeply rooted some of these are. I don’t think I have ever done a retreat where I haven’t encountered some psychological material that I didn’t know was there. It’s worth it just for that.

A New Meditation

One of the first meditations that I teach new students is called ‘labeling the thoughts’. In this meditation, we attach a label to our thoughts when they arise during the meditation. The label is an abstraction and normally consists of a word that identifies our thoughts such as ‘judging’, ‘resenting’, ‘comparing’, etc.

We use the label as a prompt to return our attention to the breath. This meditation transfers neatly into a daily practice where when we become aware of an unhelpful thought pattern, we label it and return to the breath. This single practice has been life changing for some of my students.

There is a problem with labeling the thoughts however, which is this. If a student has particularly compelling thought patterns that can take them to dark places, the practice tends to unhelpfully reinforce that their minds are out of control. Because this is unhelpful for beginners, I have devised an alternative version. I call it labeling the quality of the thoughts.

In this meditation, the labels we use have less emotional significance, even if the mind is heavily compelled to heavy and dark thought patterns.

Labeling the quality of the thoughts

Focus your attention on your breath. Wait for a thought to arise. When a thought arises, label it depending on how persistent it is. I use these categories but you can obviously use your own: fleeting, wandering, persisting, repeating.

Fleeting thoughts are the momentary images and words that pop into our minds unbidden. We can notice these during long or deep meditations if we have a busy mind as a bubbling cauldron of thoughts, competing for our attention and some of which we become conscious of.

Wandering is, of course, mind wandering and we only notice it once our minds have made many associations and wandered, often far away, from the original thoughts.

Persistent thoughts are the thoughts that hang around in our heads and refuse to leave a bit like the music that often plays in a seemingly endless loop in our heads.

Repetitive thoughts are those thoughts that return to our mind over and over again no matter how many times we put them to bed.

For me this pretty much covers everything but feel free to use your own labels.

This practice offers a different way of observing our thoughts and using them as a prompt for Presence that the ‘monkey mind’ will find more difficult to use against us.

If you’d like some instruction in meditation practices come along to one of our drop-in classes or book onto a course. Take a look around the site to find what’s most useful to you.
Namaste,

Robert.

Two quotes on presence (mindfulness) by Eckhart Tolle

Do not seek any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise you will set up inner resistance to what is the now. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes peace. Anything you accept fully will lead you into peace, This is the miracle of surrender. When you accept what is, every moment is the best moment. That is enlightenment.Eckhart Tolle
If you go into a forest with your mind only, you’ll only notice the sounds and the mind will try to interpret them. You might think you’re present; but you’re not really, you’re simply judging what you hear. But if you become aware of the silent dimension underneath the sounds and in between the sounds, then you become present because the moment you become aware of the silence, you also have become silent.Eckhart Tolle

Bromley and Beckenham Mindfulness News for June 2015

Mindfulness courses, drop-ins, talks and mindful country walks this month!

16th June Mindfulness-based Emotional Resilience Course
http://bromleymindfulness.org.uk/courses/
Our May Mindfulness-based Emotional Resilience course starts on Tuesday the 16th of June and runs for 8 weeks to the 4th of August.
If you would like to book or wish for more information, please contact me directly on the number or email address below.
This is the last course of the summer. The next courses will start on the week of the 7th of September.

Sunday Country Walk (Sunday July 12)
A country walk makes sense as getting out into the countryside is a great way of finding our way into the present moment. Nature is a portal into the present moment as Eckhart Tolle would say and we can walk into it.

We will leave from Bromley South station at 10:30am.

Book in here:

Bromley Mindfulness Meditation Meetup

Bromley, GB
314 mindful meditators

We are a friendly, mixed experience group interested in mindfulness meditation. Robert takes the guided meditations that are inspired by Eckhart Tolle. The mindfulness practic…

Check out this Meetup Group →

 

The walk we will be doing is an easy but picturesque five miles from Eynsford to Shoreham. It is mainly on the flat by the river Darent so that it is not too difficult.
Discovering Britain has the details of the walk but in reverse. See the link below. We are walking in the Eysnford to Shoreham direction because Shoreham is a nicer place to finish the walk with a couple of tea shops and a few pubs to choose from:

Thursday 25th June – Talk and discussion – Mindfulness and the Power of Now
I have Eckhart Tolle to thank for helping me to learn the power of the present moment quite a while before mindfulness had become popular and found its way into the UK.
I often speak about Tolle’s concepts in my courses and so I get asked many questions about the concepts in The Power of Now and the New Earth which are Tolle’s books. This session will be quite open with a talk then a discussion. The talk will be largely focused on the differences between Presence and Mindfulness.
If you are interested in Eckhart Tolle and/or mindfulness feel free to drop in.

Drop-in classes
Sessions at St Marks, Chantry Studios and Venue28 in Beckenham are drop-in classes. Everyone is welcome, no need to book, just turn up though it would be helpful if you RSVP via meetup.com

Every Saturday at 11am – Mindfulness in Beckenham
This is the second month of the regular one hour mindfulness and gratitude drop-in meditation session at venue28, 28 Beckenham Road, BR3 4LS, just by the entrance to Beckenham Spa.
Get your weekend off to a calm and relaxing start and leave the stresses of the week behind with an hour of guided meditation in Beckenham on Saturday mornings. Venue28 is an immaculate new venue. We have a calming and airy room with natural light.
The venue has chairs but there is no disabled access as the room is on the mezzanine floor.
Please arrive a few minutes early so we are not interrupted during the meditations.

St Mark’s Bromley South sessions
The first Thursday of every month is dedicated to the basic meditations and practices and includes an introduction to mindfulness. The other Thursdays, except for the last Thursday of the month, are dedicated to mindfulness and gratitude meditations.

Introduction to Mindfulness
The next Introduction to mindfulness session will now be on Thursday July the 2nd.The second and third Thursday are meditation sessions.The last Thursday is a workshop focused on a topic.

Every Tuesday at 1:15pm – Chantry Studios
http://bromleymindfulness.org.uk/chantry-studios/
Come to our weekly 1:15pm meditations at the enchanting Chantry Studios in Bromley Common. Take a look on our site for details. I teach a combination of mindfulness and gratitude meditation here. Everyone is welcome.

Want to keep up on the latest news about mindfulness locally and globally?
I personally curate the content for our twitter feed. Unlike many Twitter feeds it is a personally selected collection of the following topics: mindfulness news, news and information on subjects associated to mindfulness such as neuroscience and mental health, some local information for Bromley and Beckenham, a smidgeon of stuff that I find interesting, details of our drop-ins and courses and links to online resources that I also collect.
We currently have over 900 followers and counting down to that first thousand!

You can access our Twitter feed here:
https://twitter.com/BromMindfulness/
Our Twitter handle is @BromMindfulness

The Bromley mindfulness blog
http://bromleymindfulness.org.uk/blog/
I have been blogging on: meditation, mindfulness and associated subjects since 2010. Most of these posts I wrote for other sites and I have now consolidated them all on the Bromley mindfulness site.

Have a great June and feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.

Namaste,

Robert.
07590-489993
info@bromleymindfulness.org.uk
http://bromleymindfulness.org.uk/

This week at Bromley Mindfulness – 14th May to 21st May

As we have such a busy week I thought I would send out a bulletin

Today – 14th of May at St Marks – Introduction to Mindfulness

http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/222093466/

Due to the church room being used as a polling station on the 7th May the Introduction to Mindfulness session will be today. This consists on a talk on mindfulness for newcomers of about 15 minutes and the basic meditations so feel free to attend if you are a regular meditator and just want to experience the power of group meditation.

Saturday the 16th May at 11am – Mindfulness in Beckenham

http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/222254239/

Starting this Saturday the 16th of May, we shall have another regular mindfulness meditation meetup at venue28, 28 Beckenham Road, BR3 4LS, just by the entrance to Beckenham Spa.

Get your weekend off to a calm and relaxing start and leave the stresses of the week behind with an hour of guided meditation in Beckenham on Saturday mornings.

Initially, I shall teach a combination of mindfulness and gratitude meditations. We are a non-religious meet up but the practices are useful for both religious and secular people.

Venue28 which is an immaculate new events space. We have a quiet and airy room with plenty of natural light.

The venue will provide chairs but there is no disabled access to this room which is on the mezzanine floor.

Please arrive a few minutes early so we are not interrupted during the meditations.

If you’re in Beckenham, find details and RSVP here:

http://www.meetup.com/Beckenham-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup-Group/events/222253374/

If you’re in Bromley, find details and RSVP here:

http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/222254239/

This Sunday (17th) is the  St Christopher’s Fun Walk

http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/222182513/

You will need to register directly with St Christopher’s though please also RSVP so we can get together at some point.

http://www.stchristophers.org.uk/funwalk

RSVP and catch up with the other members here:

http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/222182513/

We are at Chantry Studios at lunchtime on Tuesday the 19th as usual

http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/222503436/

If you work in or near the City, on Thursday, 21st May at City of London Library, I am doing a talk – Learn Emotional Resilience with Mindfulness – Learn how to bounce back from the stress of modern life

https://www.barbican.org.uk/library/event-detail.asp?ID=18150

12:30, City of London Library in the Barbican centre

2nd floor, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS

The talk is free but please book with Barbican to ensure a place

You can RSVP on either of our meetup sites:

http://www.meetup.com/Beckenham-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup-Group/events/222255493/

http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/222255449/

 The session at St Marks on Thursday the 21st will be the usual mindfulness meditation

http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/222239918/

 Any questions about any of the events, feel free to either ask me directly or on the event page on meetup.com

 Thanks,

Robert.

07590-489993

info@bromleymindfulness.org.uk

http://bromleymindfulness.org.uk/

For News for the month visit:

Bromley Mindfulness March News

 

Mindfulness News Bromley and Beckenham May 2015

A note about our drop-in classes
Sessions at St Marks, Chantry Studios and Venue28 are drop-in classes. Everyone is welcome, no need to book, just turn up.

7th May St Marks- Cancelled Session
There is no mindfulness meditation session at St Mark’s on the 7th as our room is being used as a polling station.

14th of May St Marks – Introduction to Mindfulness
http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/222093466/
Due to the church room being used as a polling station on the 7th May the Introduction to Mindfulness session will be on the 14th.

16th May at 11am – Mindfulness in Beckenham on Saturdays
http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/222254239/
Starting on Saturday the 16th of May, we shall have another regular mindfulness meditation meetup at venue28, 28 Beckenham Road, BR3 4LS, just by the entrance to Beckenham Spa.
Get your weekend off to a calm and relaxing start and leave the stresses of the week behind with an hour of guided meditation in Beckenham on Saturday mornings.
Initially, I shall teach a combination of mindfulness and gratitude meditations. We are a non-religious meet up but the practices are useful for both religious and secular people.
Venue28 which is an immaculate new events space. We have a quiet and airy room with plenty of natural light.
The venue will provide chairs but there is no disabled access to this room which is on the mezzanine floor.
Please arrive a few minutes early so we are not interrupted during the meditations.

How to find us
By Car
Venue28 is the large red-brick building to the left of the main entrance of Beckenham Spa.
There is limited parking in the venue or you can use the spa car park.
By Train
We are a 1 minute walk from Clock House Station.
We are an 8 minute walk from Kent House Station.
We are a 15 minute walk from Beckenham Junction.
By Tram
We are a 2 minute walk from Beckenham Road Tram Stop
By Bus
The 54, 194, 227, 354 and 358 buses pass the door or stop nearby

Sessions start at 11am and run for an hour.

21st May City of London Library – Talk – Learn Emotional Resilience with Mindfulness
https://www.barbican.org.uk/library/event-detail.asp?ID=18150
Discover how to bounce back from the stress of modern life – a talk by Robert Mitchell
12:30, City of London Library in the Barbican centre
2nd floor, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS
The talk is free but please book to ensure a place

27th May Mindfulness-based Emotional Resilience Course
http://bromleymindfulness.org.uk/courses/
Our May Mindfulness-based Emotional Resilience course starts on Wednesday the 27th and runs for 8 weeks to the 15th of July. The course is 50% booked as of May 1st.
If you would like to book or wish for more information, please contact me directly on the number or email address below.
If you can’t make May, there is another course starting on 16 June for which I’m taking bookings so feel free to contact me about it.

28th May St Marks – May Mindfulness Workshop – Mindfulness and Spirituality
http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/222183072/
As many of you know I teach mindfulness from a perspective that is consistent with both science and spirituality.
Much of my study was done before the public had heard of mindfulness in the UK and many of the scientific studies were only beginning to make an impact.
My personal journey to mindfulness has taken me to some interesting spiritual places such as: Advaita, Taoism, Non-Duality, Drukpa, Zen and mainstream Buddhism to name but a few.
In this session I shall do a tour of the meditations that I have picked up from all of these different traditions and explain them in the process.
I will also include some meditations that I have derived from the original meditations.
Everyone is welcome, spiritual or secular. If you’re a secular meditator, I strongly suggest that you come along. You will get an opportunity to experience and hear about the practices without having to listen to dogma and hopefully add to your knowledge of meditation and mindfulness.

Every Tuesday at 1:15pm – Chantry Studios
http://bromleymindfulness.org.uk/chantry-studios/
Come to our weekly 1:15pm meditations at the enchanting Chantry Studios in Bromley Common. Take a look on our site for details. I teach a combination of mindfulness and gratitude meditation here. Everyone is welcome.

The Bromley mindfulness blog
http://bromleymindfulness.org.uk/blog/
I have been blogging on meditation, mindfulness and associated subjects since 2010. Most of these posts I wrote for other sites and I have now consolidated them all on the Bromley mindfulness site.

Have a great May and contact me if you have any questions.

Namaste,

Robert.
07590-489993
info@bromleymindfulness.org.uk
http://bromleymindfulness.org.uk/

Are you addicted to your mobile?

  1. Have you ever felt you should cut down on your mobile phone use?
  2. Have people ever annoyed you by criticizing your mobile phone use?
  3. Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your mobile phone use?
  4. When you wake up in the morning is the first thing you do to look at your messages?

Yes answers to 2 or more questions is a problem as they are adapted from the CAGE questionnaire used to identify alcoholics:

Link to the CAGE Questionnaire.

Mindfulness cures digital distraction. Contact me to find out more.

Bromley Mindfulness News April 2015

Hi All,

April MBER course

April’s Mindfulness-based Emotional Resilience 8 week course starts on Tuesday the 21st. Some places are still available, contact me for details or visit our site: http://bromleymindfulness.org.uk/courses

Beckenham and Bromley Mindfulness Meditation meetup groups are now over 250 members strong and the spring social

We now have 200 members in the Bromley meetup group and 52 in the Beckenham meetup group so come along and meet the others at our spring social at the Barrel and Horn in Bromley at 2PM on Sunday April 19th. There are 14 members currently RSVP’d to attend.

Everyone is welcome. If you are coming, please do book into the Meetup group and RSVP. You will find the URL here: http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/221174411/

I know there are many of you that can’t make the times of the drop-in classes and so you’ve never attended, but still do come along. It will give you a chance to meet like-minded people in Bromley.

We have booked the cool and quirky ‘Granny’s living room’ area at the Barrel and Horn. You can check it out here: https://www.google.com/maps/@51.405816,0.013502,3a,75y,326.54h,73.66t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sh9vxMRfw9mtWZ9t838XjiQ!2e0!3e2?hl=en

Changes to planned sessions
Chantry Studios Tuesday the 7th of April
There will be no lunchtime session at Chantry Studios tomorrow. I have been offered a session on Friday the 10th at 1:15pm by Chantry Studios. If you are interested in attending on that day, can you please contact me directly to confirm?

The Alhambra, Monday 13th of April is postponed
I had planned to take sessions from the 13th of April at 1a Balgowan Road but they have now been postponed as some administrative confirmation is required from the council to enable us to use it for meditation in the evenings. I shall keep you up to date on it.

Mindfulness Workshop, Thursday April the 30th
The workshop will be on Dealing with Difficult People. Do please RSVP. There is no limit on places but it is good to know who is attending. Click here for details: http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/220599210/

St Mark’s Bromley South sessions
The mindfulness meditation sessions at St Marks are now attracting a regular group and it is great fun.The first Thursday of every month is dedicated to the basic meditations and practices.The second and third Thursday are meditation sessions.The last Thursday is a workshop focused on a topic.

Monthly Introduction to Mindfulness
The first Thursday of every month is focused on the basics and is useful for newcomers to get an introduction to mindfulness and for experienced meditators to practice the basics.

Chantry Studios lunchtime meditation sessions
For this great lunchtime venue and fun, relaxed sessions I do a combination of mindfulness meditation and Metta Bhavana (Tibetan Buddhist loving kindness) meditations.

Guided Meditations Online
Guided basic meditations are available online to any group members or course graduates that want them. I am using DropBox so if you would like to download them please send me an email and I shall respond with the link.

Please do drop me a line if you have any questions about any of the above oninfo@bromleymindfulness.org.uk I hope that you all have a great April and I look forward to meeting you at one of our events, courses, workshops or socials!

One-to-one mindfulness coaching online and in person
If you would like some guidance on your mindfulness practices or meditations please drop me a line.

Thanks,
Robert.

How to measure your progress in mindfulness

I often get asked “How do I know I am making progress with my mindfulness practices? My mind is just as busy now as it always was. I sit down to meditate and my mind is still busy and clouded with thoughts.”

If we look up ‘mindfulness progress’, we will find a few responses from the Buddhist/Spiritual contingent. The secular contingent seemingly has nothing much to say on the subject and what advice there is largely boils down to “If you feel you’re not making progress, meditate more and/or more regularly”. There is no clarification of exactly what progress is and how we can measure it.

Here is that clarification.

Firstly…

What progress is NOT

  1. Progress is NOT less thought when meditating
  2. Progress is NOT any experience you have when meditating
  3. Progress is NOT keeping to any schedule you have committed to or building up your time spent meditating
  4. Progress is NOT ANY goal related to meditation

Progress is nothing to do with meditation. Progress can only be measured in your day-to-day experience.

The reason for this is because the meditation is the TRAINING.

We know we are making progress not because of what happens in our training but by the skills that training gives us. Skills that become part of us and that we can call on without thought or preparation.

How to measure progress in mindfulness

Just after Christmas I was speaking with one of my students who told me about how her sister had invited her Dad unexpectedly to their Christmas meal. My student clearly had issues with her Dad in the past. She told me how this encounter would have invariably led to fireworks in the past but she kept her cool and the Christmas meal went off without incident.

She then told me that she was worried that she didn’t appear to be making any progress with her mindfulness.

The key to measuring our progress

We can measure progress in our practices by the amount of conflict in our lives, internal and external.

Internal conflict can be seen in experiences like: anxiety, resentment, anger, fear, stress, procrastination, impatience, boredom and the level of intrusive thought in your day. If you are unaware of your levels of these experiences and how they compare, start a journal so you can look back and see how far you have come.

External conflict is obvious. Look at your relationships and ask yourself whether they are improving or not.

If you stick with the practices and keep a journal you will see positive changes over every three to six months.

Namaste.

 

Bromley Mindfulness March News

First lets start with the fun stuff. Get your diaries out!

Social Meetup
Come along to the Bromley Mindfulness Spring Social Meetup at the Barrel and Horn in Bromley at 2PM on Sunday April 19th.
Everyone is welcome. If you do intend to come, please book into the Meetup group and RSVP. You can book by clicking on this link: http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/221174411/

I know there are many of you that can’t make the times of the drop-in classes and so you’ve never attended, but still do come along. It will give you a chance to meet like-minded people in Bromley. I want to make the meetup group as inclusive, fun and useful as possible.

We have booked the cool and quirky ‘Granny’s living room’ area at the Barrel and Horn. You can check it out here: https://www.google.com/maps/@51.405816,0.013502,3a,75y,326.54h,73.66t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sh9vxMRfw9mtWZ9t838XjiQ!2e0!3e2?hl=en

Mindfulness courses starting at the end of March
I’m still taking bookings for the March 8 week courses but places are being confirmed daily so if you want to book up do contact me soon.
You can find the details here:  http://bromleymindfulness.org.uk/courses/

The Alhambra
From Monday the 13th of April I shall be running mindfulness meditation classes in Beckenham each Monday evening at 7:30pm.
The venue will be 1a Balgowan Road which is a community arts centre with a really cool upstairs room, one wall of which is covered with tiled islamic style isometric and geometric tiles hence the name Alhambra.
The venue is a few minutes from the Beckenham Beacon hospital.
The building is used as a community arts project run by a fascinating guy called Garnet and one of my students Tracie. Way to go Tracie!
The arts project provides facilities for local groups and they have a project working with the school opposite.
Garnet, the manager of the group is a fascinating character about whom a great creative Director Ed Perkins has done a documentary. You can see the documentary this Tuesday on BBC 4 On Storyville at 11PM. it is called The Lost Gold of the Highlands! I haven’t seen it but I can’t wait…
Link to the BBC4 site and programme is here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05n756x

St Mark’s Bromley South
I believe that I have found the right format for the drop-in classes
The first Thursday of every month is dedicated to the basic meditations and practices
The second and third Thursday are meditation sessions
The last Thursday is a workshop focused on a topic

Introduction to Mindfulness
The mindfulness meditation sessions at St Marks are now attracting a lovely regular group and it is great fun.
The first Thursday of every month is focused on the basics and is useful for newcomers to get an introduction to mindfulness and also for regulars or experienced meditations and mindfulness practitioners to

Mindfulness Workshop
This month, March, the last Thursday is the 26th and I shall be doing a workshop on Work Related Stress. Do please RSVP. There is no limit on places but it is good to know who is attending.
http://www.meetup.com/Bromley-Mindfulness-Meditation-Meetup/events/220599206/

Chantry Studios
For this great lunchtime venue and fun, relaxed sessions (it is so chilled!), I do a combination of mindfulness meditation and Metta Bhavana (Tibetan Buddhist loving kindness) meditations. There are a wide variety of Metta Bhavana meditations and I widen my repertoire of them on an ongoing basis. In addition to providing a brilliant way to explore your inner experience and find peace of mind, they also leave everyone feeling good…

Guided Meditations online
At Last! I have finally completed the audio editing of a set of basic mindfulness meditations that I will make available to anyone that wants one. Just email me at info@bromleymindfulness.org.uk
I will use DropBox initially so if you would like to download them please send me an email. Don’t worry if you are not on DropBox, it is free to set up and as simple as just clicking on a link. In future, I will set these up on SoundCloud.

Please do drop me a line if you have any question about any of the above on info@bromleymindfulness.org.uk

I hope that you all have a great March and I look forward to meeting you at one of our events, courses or socials!

Namaste!

How mindfulness brings peace of mind in a crazy world

Mindfulness isn’t a thing, it’s the absence of a thing. The thing that mindfulness is an absence of is unconscious conditioned responses. This is where we respond to an experience the way that we have learned to, without conscious awareness or thought.

How we spend our live in unconscious consciousness
This might be just how we spend our time while traveling our it could be something deeper such as how we respond to a family member or a colleague.

These sort if responses aren’t bad, but one unconscious response can lead to another and we can find ourselves with a complex pattern of behaviour that just limits our happiness and peace of mind.

Unconscious responses in action
Let me give you an example. Let’s take commuting. Thinking back to when I was working in central London, the commute, especially the morning commute, was a significant source of stress for me.

I was one of those people that calculates where the doors of the train would be, then stands there hoping to get into the train first. The reason for that is that I could then get a seat and I wouldn’t be squashed up against the other commuters when the train was busy which would add to my already significant burden of stress. When the doors opened I would dash for any seats I could find, but sometimes, someone would beat me to it. When that happened I would purse my lips and then spend the journey standing and seething internally. My thoughts were invariably about what I was going to do at work, going round and round in my head for the entire journey.

This would then be one of the many negative experiences that would add up to my having a bad day. I had a lot of bad days. I know I wasn’t alone.

Developing presence
In time, as I developed my mindfulness practice, that same scenario would still play out but at some point I would become aware of how my response to that experience was making me feel. This means that I would feel the Internal sensation of my personal stress and it would dissolve or dissipate. This is what happens to negative emotions when we develop mindfulness. They subside and we regain a sense of proportion. Our responses are proportionate to the experience.

Now, if that happened to me I would become aware instantly of any negative emotional response, I focus my awareness on it and it subsides.

Whether I’m standing or sitting, I can meditate to calm my mind no matter how crowded the train gets.

I still like to get a seat on the train but it has stopped being a problem when I don’t.

I hope this helps to give you an idea of how mindfulness can help you. If you’d like to try mindfulness training, come to one off my drop-in classes, book a course or arrange for a free online mindfulness coaching session.

Robert teaches mindfulness courses at Bromley Mindfulness. Click here to find out more.

Ruby Wax comes to the Churchill Theatre in Bromley to speak about Mindfulness

Ruby Wax - Sane New World Tour

Ruby Wax – Sane New World Tour

 

I was just in the Churchill Theatre in Bromley buying some tickets for Ruby Wax’s show.

She is touring with a one woman show called ‘Sane New World’. I have always liked Ruby. She is an incredibly insightful interviewer and very amusing. A few years ago I was surprised that this woman that spent her life making other people smile and laugh was actually through it all suffering from depression.

To her eternal credit she has been very candid about her life and her experiences. She has the advantage of being able to constantly defuse the pain she obviously feels with her terrific sense of humour.

Some time back Ruby discovered mindfulness. It has helped her and she has become one of a growing band of celebrity advocates. More power to her P.R. I say!

I have posted it as a meeting on our meetup group here if you’d like to come along and meet up at the interval!

Outing – Ruby Wax speaking about mindfulness and depression at Churchill Theatre

Sunday, Sep 21, 2014, 7:30 PM

Churchill Theatre
Bromley High Street Bromley, GB

4 mindful meditators Attending

Ruby Wax is doing a tour called Sane New World which is about her personal battle with depression and how mindfulness has helped her.Ruby is at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley. There are still a good tickets available as of Monday 8th of September.You can find out about booking here:http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/ruby-wax-sane-new-world/the-c…

Check out this Meetup →

 

 

 

Quotations on presence (present moment awareness) from Eckhart Tolle

If you’re coming to our coffee and mindfulness meeting tonight here is some food for thought, and if you’re not… here’s some food for thought. :)

“This is most people’s reality: As soon as something is perceived, it is named, interpreted, compared to something else, liked, disliked, or called good or bad by the phantom self, the Ego. They are imprisoned in thought forms, in object consciousness.”

“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.”

“The past has no power over the present moment.”

“Give up defining yourself — to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are”.
~ A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.”

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but thought about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral. It is as it is.”

What Mindfulness meditation isn’t

 

  • Mindfulness meditation isn’t a trance-like state.
  • Mindfulness meditation isn’t religious, though everyone is welcome.
  • It is not difficult or uncomfortable.
  • You don’t have to learn the half lotus position.
  • It isn’t a way to levitate!
  • You don’t need to learn to believe anything.
  • You don’t need to chant or do strange breathing exercises.
  • We don’t need to summon up invisible energies.
  • Meditation doesn’t need to be done on the top of a mountain or in a cave.
  • It is not a quick fix though most people benefit in a few weeks.
  • It is not running away from reality – we all have to go to work in the morning.
  • It is not self-hypnosis or anything else scary and weird.

If you are curious about the benefits that mindfulness meditation can bring, come along to one of our sessions and you can see for yourself.

What is Mindfulness Meditation?

Mindfulness meditation is a 2,400 year old practice that has been adopted by healthcare services, individuals and businesses because of the positive effects it can bring.

Mindfulness itself is a state of mind that significantly enhances our lives whether we’re in the state of stress or in state of happiness.

The techniques we learn while meditating allow us to refocus our attention on the present moment. Our worries, problems and fears are seldom about what is happening now but what we think may happen in the future.

When we are happy and enjoying life, mindfulness enhances the quality of our experience. This is not an altered state but an enhanced quality to our present moment experience free of distracting thoughts, judgments and emotions.

Mindfulness meditation and the associated practices that we teach enable us to bring mindfulness into our daily lives.

Many scientific papers have been written over the last few years which outline the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. These benefits are so overwhelming that mindfulness has been adopted by the National Health Service as a major therapeutic practice for people with recurrent depression or suffering from significant stress.

Mindfulness is also one of the key ‘five ways to wellbeing’ that constitute the evidence based process to improve wellbeing. This report was commissioned by the UK Government from the New Economics foundation, it has been adopted by the NHS and is championed by Mind, the mental health charity.

Bromley Mindfulness has taught at a number of frontline organisations and forward thinking businesses since 2013 when we were founded.