Hi, and Welcome to The Meditation Course website!
I am Robert Mitchell. I want to tell you about my meditation journey, the Mindfulness-Based Resilience Framework I teach and how it can help you.
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.
My Mindfulness and Meditation Experience
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 get to sleep for 20 (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.
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.
A NEW PERSPECTIVE
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.
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'.
MY PERSONAL JOURNEY
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 TOOLKIT
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.
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.
ABOUT MINDFULNESS-BASED RESILIENCE
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.
ABOUT MY ONLINE TRAINING
I have recorded my training sessions since 2015. Initially, I put them online for students to listen to on SoundCloud. Here is a link to my first published guided meditation:
In 2018 I started a podcast which now has over 250 episodes.
In 2019 I began running livestreams on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.
Since 2020, I have run two online courses, The Meditation Course and The Deepening Course (originally The Loving Awareness Meditation Course).
The training sessions I run stay online as recorded content for students on this site, and I add some to my podcast.
To join us, sign up for four weekly live guided meditation classes each week for the same price as a weekly Starbucks latte.