Bromley Mindfulness is the most well-known and established mindfulness training organisation serving Bromley, Beckenham and borders. Robert Mitchell teaches twice a week at the Mansion. We find out more
How did you start teaching meditation?
I learned meditation in 1988. At the time it was only taught by the Eastern religions. In 2013 I was asked by friends at a party if I would teach them to meditate, which I did every Thursday evening. After a few months, they suggested I teach from a local school room – my practice has grown organically from there. I’ve taught over 5,000 students, with over 500 having graduated from my mindfulness courses.
Over the last five years I have taught at a number of high profile organisations including Amazon, government bodies, law firms and an NHS trust. I also work with third sector organisations such as Mind, the mental health charity, and Age UK. The highlights of all this has been my work within our community.
What inspires you professionally?
My students. Their bravery, resilience and enthusiasm has been inspirational. I have some students with a shocking share of life adversity, but they continue to thrive despite their difficulties. The thing that I really didn’t expect when I started this was the growth of such a strong student community, which has become a key social connection and support for many people. We are connecting beings, living in a time of disconnection. I am dedicated to stemming and turning that tide of separation and fragmentation, by helping people to learn how to heal and recover from the damage that does.
What does success look like?
To me, success is when I rarely see my students because they have changed from the often anxious and fearful people that arrive at my classes into the strong, happy people they really are.
I heard a little anecdote from a student that was shy and reserved when she first arrived at my classes. She had taken a bit of a battering from life. A couple of years later, she was standing in the front row of a choir at the Royal Albert Hall. Some time after attending my classes she had joined Singology, which has choirs all around the country. She felt like she was staring out at 5,000 people and 5,000 people were staring back. She sought some solidarity and nudged the lady next to her and whispered loudly, “Nervous?” The lady whispered back. “Yes, but I’m staying calm. I’m doing my breathing exercises.” My student said “Really, that’s a coincidence. So am I; I learned them at Bromley Mindfulness.” The lady turned to her with a big smile on her face and said “So did I”.
How do you use the Mansion?
A number of my students had told me about this great space that I should think about running classes from. I visited, experienced the calm serenity of the mansion and park and fell in love with it. I love how it is tranquil but also the home of a vibrant community with local roots. I run regular meditation classes on weekdays and weekends, I also run Retreats and workshops. To a great extent, Bromley Mindfulness and our student community has adopted the mansion and the park as our home.
Tell us about your class
Many students tell me they can feel their stress slipping away from the moment they step into the park. The sessions give them an opportunity to reset themselves, leaving the week behind, which helps to give them an ability to cope.
I run four classes per week, two of which are at the mansion, currently 10 am on Saturdays for an hour and from November, 11 am on Thursdays for an hour. These are drop-in classes where there is no need to book and you can pay on the day. Single sessions are £10, plus we offer discounts for courses and concessions for the unwaged.
We also meditate on the park in the summer and do walks whenever the mansion isn’t available. We have met here a few times for evening drinks at some of the events. Day retreats are typically monthly and are advertised on our website.
I also teach regular meditation classes in Bromley Common, Orpington and Bickley South. I’m currently planning our second residential retreat weekend in Aylesford, Kent in January or February.
What are your plans for the future?
Since I started teaching here, the Mansion, park and my mindfulness training have all become increasingly well known. Bromley Mindfulness and the mansion community is growing and evolves to suit the needs of the community. This is all deeply needed; it’s an essential community resource, at a time when so much critical funding has been removed.
My goal is to continue building Bromley Mindfulness and engage with the local community and organisations more deeply, to provide mindfulness and meditation training and support in the areas that will benefit the most. I am actively seeking opportunities to do so.