Robert (and some cheeky photobombing mindfulness students) at one of our Aylesford retreats.
Since 2013, I have taught Mindfulness, Meditation and Resilience in about 3,500 courses, classes, workshops, and retreats.
I teach online and in person.
In that time, Bromley Mindfulness has become a community of friends on a journey of self-discovery, learning focus and calmness in an increasingly frantic world.
Robert running stress management and resilience training for the firefighters at Mitcham Fire Station.
Bromley Mindfulness is the most established mindfulness training organisation in Bromley, and the surrounding areas.
This is a catchment area of over 1 million people. We have built a natural presence through our active and engaged student community.
I have taught thousands of students mindfulness and meditation online and in person since 2013. I run classes, courses, retreats, and workshops for the public and many organisations.
I teach in organisations of all kinds. Local community organisations, the NHS (since 2015), and many others.
I want to tell you about my meditation journey, the Mindfulness-Based Resilience Framework I teach and how it can help you.
Robert and retreatants at one of our Seeker's Trust Retreats. (What's with all the photobombing!?)
I took up meditation in 1988 with a Zen meditation technique called 'mindfulness and awareness of in and out breathing'. It didn't become a regular practice, but I used meditation to help to get to sleep for 20 years (I still do).
I also meditated when I was calm and relaxed. Over time though, those moments of calm became increasingly rarer.
In 2009 I found myself in yet another high-pressure job. This was all part of my plan to push myself to earn more and be more successful. Managing the stress that resulted had become increasingly difficult.
My mind was always on the future. The present moment was something to get out of the way quickly so I could achieve my goals, which I believed would bring me happiness. I believed that the formula for success was to work harder, be more successful and then I would be happy.
Life became about the next pay rise, job, relationship, holiday, or experience.
I believed that I was in control of my emotions. I was proud of what I called my "mental dustbin". I tried to cope with the past by always focusing on the future. I was using the future to distract myself from the past. I filled the present moment with aspirational activities.
The present moment, if I was ever calm and quiet enough to experience it, was a place of boredom, impatience, frustration, and irritation. These feelings were a constant signal to me to do something. Or they were a reminder that there was something that I needed to do to reach my future success and happiness.
Robert running stress management and resilience training at a global top-five law firm in the City.
I was studying hard to understand my experiences. In late 2009, I was in Waterstone's bookshop in Bluewater, looking for answers to my mountain of problems. I picked up a book called 'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle. It was a New York Times bestseller. It seemed to offer insight into how I felt, so I bought it and took it home to read.
The concepts I learned from The Power of Now changed my life.I learned for the first time that: I was not my thoughts, I was not my emotions, and that the present moment is all we ever have. That may not sound transformative, but it made a huge difference.
I realised there was an alternative to how I felt and thought. The feeling of liberation was immense. I now viewed the world from an entirely different perspective. I had discovered the present moment.
Robert (at the back - no chance of being photobombed that way!) on the walk at one of our nature connection retreats in Shoreham, Kent.
The key to my new perspective, we were told, is 'Presence' or 'present moment awareness'. This was a 'way of being' which transcended our everyday awareness.
Often, awareness is clouded by unhelpful thoughts and unwanted emotions. I began practising Presence in my day.
I was later to discover that Presence had gained a new translation. It had become known as 'Mindfulness'.
These realisations rejuvenated my meditation practices. I spent more time meditating and learning about meditation. I embarked on a journey of self-study of the mind guided by my inner experience.
Each time I encountered a new experience in my life, I searched for an explanation in the literature. I looked for consistent answers scientifically, spiritually, and from my experience. If I couldn't find a consistent answer, I kept looking.
I studied neuroscience, cognitive psychology, social psychology and behavioural economics. I read spiritual books like the Bible, the Tao Te Ching and the Bhagavad Gita. I joined a group focused on the Advaita Vedanta (the non-duality) school of Hinduism. I attended meditation classes at Buddhist centres. I listened to spiritual teachers like Eckhart Tolle. I meditated, and I practised Presence in my day.
I tried out Buddhism for size, but I wasn't comfortable with things like reincarnation, so I let it drop.
At first, I could only meditate in silent solitude. I needed to be out in the countryside, alone in nature. My mind was so busy and my thoughts so invasive that any distraction would take my attention or irritate me.
Meditating in solitude taught me that I could observe my inner experience. I began to become familiar with thought and emotion and learned what my beliefs were. I uncovered my unhelpful underlying beliefs.
I discovered the fears and needs associated with my beliefs that affected how I felt and thought. Using this new set of tools, I worked through the beliefs limiting my happiness. I discovered that there were very many of them…
A New Set Of Tools
My meditation techniques and the concepts they taught were the keys to this change. I was releasing my unhelpful and self-limiting beliefs. I had never explored or challenged much of what I uncovered in the past. I often didn't know a belief existed until I discovered it with the meditative tools I had learned.
I learned that with meditation, I could release my unhelpful beliefs and fears through emotional processing. Over a few years, I worked through the heavy emotional baggage I had accumulated. I learned what happiness is.
I discovered happiness is freedom from suffering and being fulfilled by neutral experiences.
Happiness isn't 'lifestyle' enhancements or the comfort and pleasure I had been chasing. Throughout this, Presence was the key to my personal transformation and development.
In 2012 I had been practising Presence and the meditations that teach it,for three years.
Presence had found its way into the news. It was beginning to become known as Mindfulness. An 8-week course was developed in 1979 in the U.S. It is designed to help people suffering from chronic pain and terminal illness. The course was a set of basic meditations, yoga, and some stress management techniques. The course had come to the attention of the public and organisations. It was a secular way of teaching meditation. Meditation was previously seen as new-age mumbo-jumbo. I rarely told people I meditated.
Mindfulness and Stress
In 2012 I had been practising Presence and the meditations that teach it for three years.
Presence was in the news and was being called mindfulness. A course was developed in 1979 in the USA to help people suffering from chronic pain and terminal illness. This new training course taught meditation, yoga, and stress management. The only difference from what I had been doing was that it was taught as a non-religious practice.
Many scientific studies on the 'new' concept of mindfulness also proved it reduces stress.
I was invited by some friends to teach them to meditate in late 2013. I set up my first public meditation class in Bromley in 2014. I have run about 3,000 classes since then. I set up Bromley Mindfulness to teach what I had learned and developed the Mindfulness-based Resilience course in 2014. I have since taught many thousands of people in thousands of training sessions.
Mindfulness-Based Resilience offers a change of perspective. A different way of being. You can learn to experience life from the present moment rather than from the past or the future. An oppressive life situation can become far less intense. You can learn to leave your suffering out of your present moment. You can find a new perspective that leads to happiness and fulfilment.
I teach mindfulness and resilience to people and organisations.
I teach frontline staff in the NHS in regular classes at Darent Valley Hospital. I have run the mindfulness and resilience training there since 2014. Over 1,000 staff have gone through the training. Check the reviews page for the NHS official review. https://bromleymindfulness.org.uk/reviews
I founded Bromley Mindfulness in 2013. Since then, I have taught many thousands of students (online and offline) resilience, mindfulness, and meditation in classes, courses, retreats and workshops.
I run classes for organisations of all kinds, global, national and local.
Through my online training, I reach students throughout the world
I have taught over 300 online classes since September 2019. I have two podcasts that began as a resource for my students. I now have thousands of international listeners.
I have many hundreds of hours of online training content: classes, videos and training material. I use this library of training content to support my training online and offline.
The focus is on helping you develop the skills you need to build resilience. Peace of mind and happiness are achievable through mindfulness. The reach of our courses and training is continually growing.
Over 1,000 students have graduated from our 6-week mindfulness courses in Bromley South. The course has a 98% approval rate.
Regular meditation classes run (when possible) at our venues in Bromley and Beckenham.
Our day-retreats in Bromley and Beckenham offer a variety of different training options. Everything from how to build a meditation practice to how to deal with difficult people! (Very popular).
I run weekend retreats in Kent and Sussex for our regular students and course graduates. I work and collaborate with community support services like AgeUK and Bromley Carers.
Over the last seven years, our journey has become the journey of a group of friends.
Our active and engaged student group has grown into a thriving and vibrant community.
We meet after each class, where we chat and meet new students. We organise regular social activities like country walks, outings and lunches. We have a mindful photography group that meets regularly, and we connect in walks and social events.
I have been teaching Mindfulness-Based Resilience to hospital workers at Darent Valley Hospital since 2014.
I work with many organisations, big and small. Our customers vary from a global top ten law firm, to local community organisations.
Taking a course or meditating alone is not enough in our high-pressure world.
To make mindfulness work for you, you need a support network. You can get expert guidance from a highly experienced teacher.
You will have access to and membership in our thriving student group.
We run regular Mindfulness-Based Resilience courses.
Our courses can help you transform the way that you think, feel and act in the face of your life challenges.
Our regular mindfulness meditation classes are designed to help you to maintain your new practices.
Mindfulness will become a constant learning experience. You will learn as much from your fellow students as from the teacher.
We hold regular workshops on relevant topics which complement our other services.
Our retreats in Bromley, Sussex and Kent offer mood-boosting relaxation and stress management.
There is mindfulness meditation and training, information and practical guidance.